Archive - March 2011

4W6A Press Release



The September 2011 Timor-Leste DXpedition has now received its callsign – 4W6A – from ARCOM, the licensing authority in Dili. The team is very grateful to ARCOM for issuing this special one-letter callsign for use on the DXpedition.

The DXpedition has a website, at, which includes profilesof the team members,  propagation predictions and lots of information about Timor-Leste and Atauro Island, the location of the DXpedition.

Unfortunately, Franck, VK8FNCY, has had to withdraw from the DXpedition due to health reasons. His place has been taken by Tim, M0URX, and Ant, MW0JZE. Oliver, MW0JRX, is now resident in Darwin and has recently received his Australian callsign, VK8DX. The other team members remain Stuart, VK8NSB; Steve, 9M6DXX, and John, 9M6XRO. As the team now comprises six operators, we have increased the number of stations from three to four.

The group is requesting donations from DX clubs and individuals who wish to help, in order to cover the high cost of generator hire, fuel for the generators and the boat charter to and from the island. There is a “Donations” page on the 4W6A website. Payments may be made by credit or debit card (you do not need to have a PayPal account yourself in order to make a donation).

4W6A will be QRV from Atauro Island (IOTA OC-232), Timor-Leste (East Timor), from 16 to 26 September 2011. Activity will be on all bands 10 to 160 metres, using CW, SSB and RTTY.

The QSL manager is M0URX, direct (SAE plus 1 IRC / $2), via the bureau, or LoTW. The entire log will be uploaded to LoTW as soon as possible after the end of the operation or, if possible, even during the DXpedition. QSLs may also be requested using the QSL request form on the website.

73, Steve, 9M6DXX (4W6A Team Member)

Weekend in Brunei By V85/9M6XRO


The XYL and I got back to KK yesterday evening just before dark. The actual distance by road is not that great but we have to go through 8 immigration checkpoints plus one river ferry crossing in EACH direction! That’s 16 chops in your passport!

The band conditions were in and out but I was getting on for 2000 Q’s in total including over 1200 on RTTY which was the mode I had targeted, as CW and SSB are pretty well catered for in Brunei. I only found very brief openings on 10m but 12m produced a bit more and on one night 20m surprisingly stayed open until after 3am local time with mostly North America coming through. Operating that late curtailed my early morning sessions though. I did not operate on 80m this time but made one QSO on Top Band with my friend Go, 9M6YBG, who needed Brunei on 160m. I did a bit of unplanned SSB in the CQ WPX Contest (65 Q’s) but my call sign V85/9M6XRO did not exactly roll off the tongue and I took a long time getting it across on almost every contact, even when signals were S9! Still the stations I worked were glad of the multiplier once they did figure out where I was 🙂

My XYL really enjoyed the trip and says she will be happy to go back before my visitor’s license expires in May so “watch this space”…

I have attached a photo I took from atop the watertanks on the hotel roof so you can see that the HF6V had a great take-off in all directions. I was running my IC-7000 (I get to like this rig more and more each time I use it) into the IC-2KL Linear and a Daiwa CNW-419 ATU when required. 73 for now – John – 9M6XRO

M0URX CQ-WPX Weekend!


I have to admit I am not a contester, but I love to trawl through the bands and pick off the juicy DX that you find on such a fantastic contest as CQ-WPX. Propagation at the start of the weekend wasn’t anything special but  improved as the weekend went on. On Saturday evening on 21.392 MHz, Saskia, ZL2GQ was calling CQ from Hastings New Zealand, I was beaming Short Path which for me is over the North Pole, the signal from Saskia was weak but she was doing well into North America. I spotted her on the cluster expecting the hoards from Europe to work her, but nothing, no one from Europe was working ZL2GQ, I called and she heard me just fine. I listened for almost two hours.  

M0URX – NH7O 28,476 km QSO 10m SSB.
When I woke in the morning it was just getting light outside, made my first cup of coffee of the morning and took it into the shack, I looked at the cluster to see what was happening, conditions were still FB. AH6RR Roland was spotted from Hawaii on 28.441 MHz, I checked on the short path, not a whisper, I turned the Hexbeam to the long path, really not expecting anything at all, but wow there was Roland on the long path, time to “Fire Up the Acom” those 3 minutes while you wait for the Svetlana to warm up can be the longest 3 minutes of your life! Roland gave me my first KH6 on 10m, wow a great start to the day, just a little down on 28.435 MHz was NH7O again on the long path, but no problems to work this one, another Hawaii station in the log! A distance of 17,694 Miles or 28,476 kilometres on 10m! Wow, to me that is simply awesome!

YL Contest op 11 Years old
On 15m KH0/KH7ERI had been calmly working in the contest all weekend, every time I tuned to 15m I could hear her signal. I checked the profile on and I see she is only 11 years old. This is great to see such a young person enjoying the competitive World of Radio contesting, and doing it so well too, not getting flustered by close in overload, just cracking away one after another in the log. Watch out guys Eri will be winning some major contests very soon! Well done Eri!
Photo – KH0/KH7ERI, Eri.By permission of Masa Shimizu, AH6KY, Eri’s father.
Masa says that they are scheduled to go to KH2 and will be QRV for one day.

FRA AGM 2011


At the annual board meeting for FRA (Faroese Radio Amateur) this year, OY1A Arne was elected as honorary member. This is for long service recognition, close to 35 years.

Arne was on the board of FRA, editor of the club magazine OY-arin, taking care of communication with IARU, NRAU, FSE (local Telecommunication Authority)

Arne is 89, and is looking for someone to replace him for the duty of IARU, NRAU and FSE which he still is taking care of.

Even though this is the 47th board meeting, this is honorary member #1 elected at FRA.

Thank you to OY4TN Trygvi Nysted for this report and photo.

Photo: OY3JE Jan, president of FRA handing the diploma to OY1A Arne, together with a good bottle of wine and free life time membership.


DX Activity

9M6XRO, John, will be QRV as V85/9M6XRO Brunei from the 23rd to 27th March 2011.

9M6DXX, Steve,  will be active in the CQ-WPX contest with some activty before, QRV as 9M8Z, Sarawak, East Malaysia.

Strumble Head DX & Contest Group, will be on air from 23rd until 27th March also, and in CQ-WPX as MW9W Wales.

UK Scout Contest Team, M0XXT will be having a maintenance day at the shack but will also be active for a short while as M0XXT & M9X over the CQ-WPX weekend.

For QSL Info please follow the link as usual. NO QSL cards are required through the Bureau for the above activities.
Save Bureau costs. Request it DON’T send it!

Latest QSL Designs


The QSL designs for the recent DXpeditions are coming on well. Cards will be printed very soon.
9M6XRO/8 & 9M8Z/P Pulau Satang Besar IOTA OC-165 – KH0/G3ZEM Northern Mariana Is OC-086 – T88ZM Palau OC-009 – V85/9M6XRO & V85/9M8Z Brunei Darussalam & ZL/GD3OOK Waiheke Island OC-201.





ZL/GD3OOK IOTA OC-201 Report


QTH: Ostend, Waiheke Island. Loc: RF73MF

Delayed Start
I had a delayed start due to an oversight on my part. I didn’t know that ZL uses a different type mains plug from Malaysia and the U.K. so when I set up my rig I could not plug anything in! It was next day before I could find an adaptor on the island and get powered up, so I caught up on my rest the first night on OC-201. If anything, the bands in ZL are even quiter than in Borneo during daylight hours so once I had mains power I had to twiddle my thumbs waiting for the bands to open. Waiheke is a beautiful island and I thoroughly enjoyed walking and taking in the scenery when the bands were dead.

Solar Disturbances
All’s well that ends well they say and I ended up with 1275 Q’s which I am quite happy with especially after getting back to the mainland and discovering there were solar flares and disturbances during my brief operation. I decided to go for 20m SSB the last night but a flare had taken the band out completely! Still, particularly pleasing were comments like “big signal” from the U.S. East Coast and S9+ on the DX Cluster from Europe since my antenna was a simple W3EDP 84 ft long slung over a tree in an inverted vee configuration, with a maximum height of around 35 ft, and a single 17 ft long radial. The rig was a mixture of old and new – an IC-7000 driving a 30+ year old Loudenboomer linear (using four TV sweep tubes, remember them?) to about 300 watts. The antenna was made from very thin copper wire salvaged from old TV tube focus coils, and fed through a Daiwa ATU which matched it up on all bands from 80-10m although neither 10 or 12m showed any sign of life with precious little on 15m either come to that.

I have attached a photo of the “Bach” I stayed in – quite a contrast to the accommodation recently on Pulau Satang Besar OC-165. It was luxury by comparison!

Log is now on the online log search. LoTW will be uploaded on Monday. QSL card will be designed very soon.

Waiheke Island IOTA Ref: OC-201


A planned short operation by John 9M6XRO, as ZL/GD3OOK from Waiheke Island OC-201 New Zealand,between March 7th to 11th using a linear and wire antennas.

QSL Direct via M0URX and LoTW.
Bureau by OQRS Only!

Please do NOT send your card Via Bureau. ONLY use OQRS. Thank you.
If you do send Via Bureau it MUST have QSL Via M0URX clearly marked.

9M8Z/P & 9M6XRO/8 Setang Besar Island Report


John, 9M6XRO, and I got back home just after dark on 3 March after a nearly 3000km round-trip – Borneo is a BIG island. That’s about 1km of driving for every QSO made!

Murphy was very much with us on this trip. The first casualty (not serious) was my watch, the nearly new battery of which failed between Brunei and Kuching. Then my digital camera, which had worked perfectly the day before we left, also failed. John’s wife had his camera and he was relying on me to take all the photos, so that was mini disaster number 1. Fortunately we had three local hams from KK with us, and two of them had cameras. They flew to Kuching and we met up with them there and we went out to the island together. They did not want to do any operating, just came along for the experience. (Photo above: 9M8Z/P Steve & 9M6XRO/8 John, on Setang Besar Island. Photo by 9M6GY Godfrey)

Bad Weather
We were lucky with the weather both on the trip out to the island and the way back, which was pretty calm and clear in both directions. The weather on the island was appalling, though. We had more than 24 hours of rain – not just drizzle, but a continuous tropical downpour. It was windy too, so the rain was blowing in to the shack, which had no door and mainly open windows. Add to this a couple of thunderstorms. I was amazed how cold it could be only 1 degree from the equator! All our clothes, everything, were cold and damp for pretty much the whole time we were on the island.

Hill Blocks Europe!
Conditions were poor too. One problem was that because we wanted to operate two stations we had the two antennas as far apart as possible. I had bought a 100-yard length of RG58 coax the last time I was in Singapore, and we used this for the Butternut HF6V, with a short additional length joined on so that it could be put up on the beach. However, the line loss on this length of cable was so great that our signal was well down. This coupled with a nearly 1000ft high hill immediately behind the antennas in the direction of Europe meant our signal was not as good as it should have been. The hill is in the worst possible direction for working EU. On the first day, though, I did have a good run working Europe on the long path on 20m, so we were getting out reasonably well towards the south. The VKs and ZLs were loud too, but there aren’t that many of them.

Another problem was the generators. We had been told there were three 3kVA diesel generators on the island. This was my main concern before the trip but we had received messages from the island owner that the generators had been maintained and were OK. When we arrived we found there were only two working – not a problem, two 3kVA generators should be ample for what we wanted to run. Initially we tried to run both stations off one generator but this proved impossible – every time John transmitted my linear tripped out. OK: plan B was to run one station off one generator and the second station off the other generator. Neither generator was regulated so whenever a load was put on, the voltage dropped dramatically. The solution was to increase the volts to around 270V off load so that when on load the volts would be around 220V. This worked OK for a while but then my MFJ switch mode power supply blew up – too high input voltage!

One Station QRV
From this point on (the second morning) we were down to one station only, and we were careful not to put too high a voltage to that one. This meant the power output, which should have been around 500W from John’s IC-2KL, was generally only around 250 or 300W at most and at times far less.

One positive effect of this, though, was that because we now only had one station, on the last day we moved the Butternut to a location much closer to the other antenna, using a much shorter length of feeder, and this definitely seemed to make a difference – signals were now better.

One other minor equipment problem was the spindle in one of the fans in John’s IC-2KL had become loose, causing it to rub against the PA compartment, making a nasty grinding noise. We operated the whole time in Brunei on the return journey with it sounding like this. Fortunately the fan was still working, so there was no danger of the amp overheating as a result.

So that’s it: a trip with Murphy very much in attendance. I was very disappointed by the number of QSOs made. V85 was OK, though we were only on for a few hours on each occasion. On the island I spent a lot of time calling CQ and not getting replies; a combination of poor conditions, the screening effect of the big hill and the attenuation on the long run of coax.

Thank you to 9M6DXX / 9M8Z Steve Telenius-Lowe for the above report. QSL cards will be designed soon.