Archive - June 2011

“QSL-TÜV” for outstanding QSL-Service to the DX-community


I received the news today from DX-World,net that it was announced at Friedrichshafen, Germany during the Ham Radio fair that i had been voted joint 3rd place by CQ-DL Magazine readers for Outstanding QSL-Service to the DX-community. DL2VFR Ric explains:

“During this forum the annual “QSL-TÜV” for outstanding QSL-Service to the DX-community (determined by readers of CQ-DL-Magazine) was awarded to –

1st place GDXF-QSL-Service (DK8UH),
2nd place to DL7AFS and G3TXF,
3rd place W3HNK and MØURX.”

Thanks to those readers that voted for M0URX, i can tell you that when I decided to go into QSL managing, I wanted to do it differently to other QSL managers, provide a faster more efficient service and give the DX’ers what they want from a QSL Service / Bureau.

It is a team effort without that team the service is NIL. Firstly there are the guys that i am QSL manager for, they are the DXpeditioners. they provide me with accurate logs and regular updates.

Then there is Oliver the IT guy, he has played a huge role in the team by modernising my IT capabilities, this work is ongoing as we have a new OQRS system to install and Oliver is again working on this one.

Then there is ON5UR, Max the printer, who works on the design for the QSL cards and printing.
MW0JZE, Anthony our Ink dealer. Without his Ink at a good price I cant print the labels.
G4VPD, Mike the office business supplier who supplies me with labels and envelopes and all things for the office.

Also not forgetting all the volunteer Bureau workers around the globe that sort to get the cards to you.
So as you see, when M0URX is mentioned, it is the whole team that provide you with this outstanding service!

MS0INT 2011 – The Story


I wold like to thank Col MM0NDX for writing this report on the recent Expeditions to Monach Islands and St Kilda Archipelago. Thanks also to the team for allowing us to use your photographs.

By Col, MM0NDX
When a DXpedition ends, the question is often asked “Where do we go next?”. With MS0INT 2011, the question could easily be “Where do we start”?!
A starting Point
In writing this piece, I knew well in advance that it would be long and needed a starting point; so let’s begin on June 13, 2011. That morning I arrived in Benbecula, Outer Hebrides three full days in advance of MS0INT beginning activities. Lots of things needed done before the team assembled, namely collecting a mountain of gear stored at the local community hall in Berneray isle, filling petrol containers, getting familiar with the roads (and passing places) all over the Uists. Speaking of roads, to say the 16 seat hire bus we had was antiquated is an understatement, although in fairness, it did get us to all intented destinations – with gear stored at the back end of the bus, we did look like a group of New Age travellers!

Team arrive in Benbecula
By June 14th, Vincent F4BKV arrived in Benbecula, fresh from his mini GM-IOTA tour (EU012, EU009, EU123) which would coincide with joining team MS0INT. Immediately upon arrival, he and I set off to South Uist island (EU-010) and activated from a superb spot with the sea almost under us. 200+ QSO’s were quickly made from here before heading to North Uist and finally ending the days activity as MM0NDX/P & MM/F4BKV from our base on Berneray isle.

CQ from EU-010
HostelVincent briefly activated Isle of Benbecula on Wednesday June 15th as we waited on the plane arriving with the rest of the team. Simon IZ7ATN and his XYL Monica were to arrive later that day, so after meeting and greeting, EA3NT, EA3OR, EA5KA, EI6DX, F4BKV and MM0NDX all set off to Baleshare, EU010 where various MM/ home callsigns were used. Although part of the vast EU-010 group, Baleshare as a seperate island, has not been activated often. The CW pileup especially reflected this. Later that day, we returned to the airport and collected Simon & Monica. Next stop was the supermarket where we’d individually stock up on groceries for the upcoming EU111 and EU059 activations. MM/IZ7ATN and MM/EI6DX were both active that evening from the hostel on Berneray isle, our base before departing for Monachs the following day.

Lady Anne
The vessel to Monachs EU111 was Lady Anne, a converted fishing boat. Nick, the skipper, was the man to take us to EU111. This particular voyage was rough as we fought against a spring tide, 5m swell and exposed sandbanks. In talking to Nick, he confirmed that was one of the worst passages he had ever done. Sick bags testified to that! After 90 mins at sea, the Monachs, and the Old Schoolhouse there, came into view. Thankfully, the bay where we landed was sheltered from a roaring Atlantic.

Sinking Tender
Sinking_TenderUnloading all our equipment, food and personal items was time consuming. Indeed, one of the two tenders used to ferry our gear to the beach started to capsize with Ramon EA3OR in it, primarily due to the skipper over-loading and the crewman’s inexperience in rowing ashore. A near disaster with the generator and radios was averted as the tender slowly sunk. Four of us rushed out knee deep to retrieve these important items before the sea swallowed them! Once everything was transported to the beach, and with the weather being glorious, we decided to quickly erect an HF antenna and get on air. Simon IZ7ATN started on 10m as MS0INT/P, then onto 20m. Pileups were good and steady. The plan was to base ourselves at the same QTH as GS3PYE/P had done one year prior. This we did, but no way would we sleep in the old schoolhouse such was the utterly ridiculous state it had been left in by passing fishermen. Tents outside, stations inside. We operated 20 and 40m from EU111. Generator issues caused huge problems for the team and, in hindsight, we did extremely well to make over 2000 QSO’s from here in under 18 hours. One of the sponsored IC7000’s also had a display problem, fortunately back up rigs were taken. We were scheduled to leave Monachs at 0900 local next day. 

MonachOn Friday, June 17th, Seaumas Morrison of Sea Harris boat charters collected us on the Enchanted Isle, a 42ft Interceptor vessel. Let’s be charitable and say the difference between landing Monachs to leaving was like night and day, such was the smoothness of Seumas’ operation. Hundreds of curious seals watched our every movement as we departed the scene – wonderful moments captured by the offical team photographer, Monica.

From EU111 to EU059 takes just under three hours at a steady 18kts. The weather was fantastic to St Kilda, but changed rapidly as we approached the magnificent sea stacs and the towering Boreray (3km north of Hirta, the main island in the chain). Squally showers pounded the sea as we landed in a south easterly wind; the “worst kind” of wind direction for a Hirta landing we were told. Nevertheless, we landed quickly, in heavy rain, with all gear intact and on the pier ready for transportation some 250m above. It is at this point, I can’t thank enough the people involved in permitting us to 1) operate at height from Hirta, 2) assist in transporting all kit to the top – you know who you are! 

Flying Tent over Village BayArriving_St_Kilda
At 250m above Village Bay, the view is spectacular, but only on a good, clear day. We all gathered together in a howling wind and rain, probably all thinking the same: “Why do we do these IOTA”? Team morale comes to the fore in these situations, and it was high. Pitching tents, to keep items dry, was a challenge. Hats off (literally) to Raul EA5KA and Ramon EA3OR in quickly erecting the first tent, weighted down by luggage just to keep it in place. The large tunnel tent, to be used as the operating shack, with room for eight people, proved extremely difficult to erect on the plateau of Mullach Sgar. Initially, we attempted to pitch it on a field deemed suitable by NTS, but this was an accident waiting to happen. Had we not decided to move the tent behind the outbuilding of the now seemingly disused Ministry of Defence second radar base, I firmly believe it would have flown. Indeed, my own tent, when pitching, did just this! Thankfully, Simon and Monica brought a spare tent!

CQ from EU-059 St Kilda Archilpelago
Once the shack tent was finally erected and secured, we got to work in setting up stations, antennas and our own sleeping tents. In a move to surprise IOTA chasers, we decided to open proceedings on 30m CW, and not the usual 14260 IOTA freq. Christain EA3NT started up from EU-059. Axel, DL6KVA was first in the log. After a few CQ’s, it was apparent MS0INT appeared on the Dx cluster and the fun then commenced. Soon 17, 20 and 30m were all on air. It should be pointed out that although the tent appeared to be sheltered a little, it was still very much “bouncing” in the cold south easterly gale – it was difficult operating conditions in more ways than one. Working throughout the night, +1000 QSO’s were quickly attained. [

, June 18th was a truly beautiful day. Sunny, warm, clear. We were informed by island staff to be on the look-out for blue whales in the ocean below. Operations continued with very many contacts being logged. JA were being easily worked on 17 & 20m. Outwith Rockall EU-189, we knew Japanese IOTA chasers needed St Kilda next on their most wanted list. It was very pleasing to see so many calls enter the logs. Additionally, NA/SA chasers were being worked with great aplomb – if heard, you were worked. The 40 and 80m vertical was installed in the afternoon, same with the 6m yagi. On 50Mhz, mainly south EU was logged – conditions never good enough to contact more from this rare counter. An excellent run to NA/SA ensued on 20m that evening. Reference must be made to the fact our main generator, similar to on Monachs, stopped working. Thankfully, our back-up generator performed admirably.
Windy Day
Suddenly, and with no warning, the weather changed rapidly – again the wind picked up, like a carbon copy of the previous night. It was a relentless bombardment, captured on video for posterity! How the shack tent survived, we’ll never know. A few snapped poles inside confirmed the wind was more than strong. The 30m vertical was downed – large rocks used in tying antenna ropes were being tossed to one side, and this was a summer gale! I can only imagine the severe winter storms battering St Kilda. Despite the often adverse weather, we continued at a good rate working the world. EU-059 was becoming less wanted for many – the real reason behind this IOTA expedition. During the peak of operations three HF stations and 6m were on air.

The scenery and wildlife on Hirta, St Kilda confirms why the archipelago is only one of 25 UNESCO listed locations around the world for natural beauty and heritage. Lord Howe island, including Balls Pyramid, to put in context, is one of the other listed locations. Monica took some memorable photos for sure. The QSL card depicts her work.

EI6DX_in_shackSunday, June 19th. With thousands of QSO’s already in the log, we continue hard to work all stations calling us. Propagation was mixed; not poor, not great is one way of describing it. However, this was the one day the wind didn’t arrive – and very grateful we were too! 40 & 80m was prime focus during the evening, with 20 & 17 also going well. PSK31, like the previous day, was also in use by Vincent F4BKV. We had plans to tear down the station gradually during Sunday as we had to leave the island by 0900 latest next morning. However, it was decided to keep going right through until daybreak Monday, to maximise the chances of all who called to enter our logbook.

At 0351z, Monday June 20th, the last station, UY7QF, was worked by Stan EI6DX (Pictured left) on EU-059. In 75 hours of operating time as MS0INT/P & MS0INT, we managed to make 11496 QSO’s.

Although the end of transmissions had ceased, we were not without drama as we packed up and descended the steep road back to Village Bay. We had taken two bikes with us. Unfortunately, Ramon EA3OR fell off onTeam_Photoe of the bikes on the way down and sustained an injury. It wasn’t until the expedition was over, it transpired he had broken his hand. With also nearly capsizing in the tender at Monachs, you could say Ramon had an eventful journey!

There is only one logical target for MS0INT next year subject to substantial fund raising, and weather/sea conditions permitting. It’s a little further west than St Kilda. I’m sure you can guess where our thoughts have turned to!

With many thanks to all sponsors listed on our website in making this expedition happen. Special mention to Andrew Ross on Berneray – you’re a star! Thanks too to our webmaster and twitter updater, Niko DD1MAT.

QSL cards for MS0INT and MS0INT/P go via M0URX.


MS0INT – EU-059 – St Kilda Expedition from F4BKV Vincent on Vimeo.

YJ8A Vanuatu

P29CS Andy will be in Vanuatu, Efate Island, OC-035 until 17th July, Andy will be QRV as YJ8A QSL Via M0URX

The CQ DX Challenge 2010 Result


Well done once again to Bob Locher, W9KNI overall winner of the 2010 CQ DX Marathon. Bob worked 285 of the 291 countries available in the 2010 Challenge and with 40 CQ Zones was top with a score of 325. I have to say that I read his book “A Year of DX” last year and was myself inspired to take part in the 2010 Marathon. It was tough, very tough and to my surprise I came 2nd in the World in the SSB Mode category.

SSB Mode
        Call Sign  Countries Zones Score

1st     N3CDA   246          40      286 Certificate Winner
2nd    M0URX  243          40      283  (73rd overall)
3rd     PY2ADR 234          40      274 

For me this is a massive achievement, as I only have a 2up, 2 down terraced plot of land. The only antenna I have is a G3TXQ-Broadband Hexbeam (built by MW0JZE) which is mounted on a 12m Tennamast type mast at the back of the house. Only 6m through to 20m and no LF antennas here. (Waiting till I retire hahah to venture down there) 

So it goes to show that you do not need to have an array of towers with Yagi’s at varying heights to compete with some of the top DX’ers in the World. Being a postman I am quite often told I am lucky to have the afternoons to myself which last year enabled me to be on air and work some pretty nice DX while many where probably still at the office watching the cluster from work… (Yes I mean you Neil hehe sorry) 

However this may sound very familiar to some of you. I did notice that the Challenge becomes extremely addictive, so much so that you end up towards the end of the week planning your weekend NOT by the social events, or the family but “what is on the bands, who, what and where” Just how sad is that?

Deciding you can’t go to the wedding of your colleague from work because T32AJ is on air and the long path opening at tea time when the wedding reception starts is your only chance of picking that DXCC up this year! Yes, I can see you sniggering over there, because you know it’s true! 

This year I will be out of the running, the QSL work has kept me busy and has reduced my band tuning down to being a cluster tart. Take part in the CQ Marathon Challenge, it really is great fun.
2010 Results.

MS0INT St Kilda EU-059


MS0INT St Kilda EU-059

June 17-20: St Kilda Archipelago, EU-059 activity until latest 0800UTC on June 20th. Callsign: MS0INT.
Three HF stations CW/SSB + 50Mhz. Sponsored by ICOM UK. 

St Kilda Is an isolated archipelago 64 kilometres (40 mi) west-northwest of North Uist in the North Atlantic Ocean. It contains the westernmost islands of the Outer Hebrides of Scotland. The largest island is Hirta, whose sea cliffs are the highest in the United Kingdom. St Kilda was awarded Dual World Heritage Status in 2005 making it one of only a few places in the world in recognition of its natural and cultural significance. Getting to St Kilda is not easy.

Col MM0NDX confirmed to me that the exact QTH is Mullach Sgar the 2nd lowest radar station and is WAB area NF09

Please be aware that MS0INT EU-059 & MS0INT/P EU-111 will be TWO separate QSL cards check QSL INFO before posting. Insufficient postal costs will be sent Via Bureau.
LoTW & online log search will be uploaded when the logs arrive here.
The team report at 1800z on the 19th that 8,500 QSO’s logged so far.

MS0INT/P Monach Isles EU-111


MS0INT/P Monach Isles EU-111

Again led by MM0NDX Col, the 2011 IOTA team includes EA3NT Christian, EA3OR Ramon, EA5KA Raul, EI6DX Stan, F4BKV Vincent and IZ7ATN Simon.

June 16: Depart Grimsay for Monach Isles, EU-111. Spend approx 24 hours on Monachs. Callsign: MS0INT/P.

Monach Isles are a small group of five low-lying Scottish islands lying about 4miles (6km) to the west of North Uist. They lie wild and exposed to the full force of the North Atlantic and experience gale-force winds on around 160 days of the year. The highest point of the islands is only 19 metres above sea level. This beautiful and remote location is home to a very special nature spectacle – 9000 Atlantic grey seal pups are born here every year. Completed and now on St Kilda.

The WAB area for the Monach Isles activation is corrected to NF66

MC0SHL – Ramsey Island 2Ø11; Trials & Tribulations


Written by Charles Wilmott M0OXO.
The Strumble Head team met at the Club House on Tuesday giving us time to test, prepare and pack the items needed for this year. As before, we always try to be more efficient and to take only the essential items to the island but also with consideration that we may have to stay longer than anticipated should the weather turn poor.

Sea and weather conditions were forecast to be very poor for the crossing on the Thursday morning but what a surprise to awake at 04:45 to see a beautiful morning on the Pembrokeshire Coast. The vehicles were loaded and we arrived at the Lifeboat Slipway around 07:30 where shortly afterwards the ‘Thousand Island Boat Charters’ arrived and we were on the Island by 08:00, amazing.

After heaving all the gear to the top of the ‘harbour’ we then had the massive climb to the top of the Island where we bunk in a Barn (complete with broody Chickens!). Carrying 2 x Acom 1000 Amplifiers, 2 x FT1000MPs and worst of all the Kenwood TL922 to the accommodation is always a huge challenge. Fortunately the RSPB Warden and his wife (Greg & Lisa) are very accommodating and helped us up the hill with the Quad and trailer for which we are always very grateful.

DSC_1619We got off to a good start and as always, no one sets their stations up until all antennas are fully up and we work together to achieve this. The 2 x G3TXQ Hexbeams (built by Ant MW0JZE) were the first up and then we worked on the Windom for 40 and 80M. Everything ran as a well oiled machine and shortly after lunch, all three antennas were up and we moved inside to set up the stations.

Around 15:30 local we had all three stations on air and were qrv from ‘IOTA EU-124 Ramsey Island’. Chris G1VDP started the Digi station on the Windom working 30M, Ant MW0JZE started up on 20 SSB and Tim M0URX worked 15m SSB. Pile ups were pretty fast, the World Flora Fauna reference helping to boost them as well 😉 .
Almost immediately the station used by Chris suffered a major problem when lights on the FT1000MP flashed and the dedicated PSU and TL922 also shutting down. Then worse to come was that dreaded smell – something was on fire. A subsequent check showed a hole on a transistor within the PSU and sadly totally  unrepairable for now at least. We were now down to two stations.

DSC_1845We worked very well and most stations had solid pile ups until late in the evening. Conditions weren’t brilliant and most of the traffic was from EU with Yuri A65CA from Asia and a few stations from North America. Tim had a good run into NA and also the Caribbean but again, conditions definitely down. We had over  1000 in the log and with the two stations we were happy at that.

The next morning we all woke early after a terrible storm kept most of us awake during the night and we got started. We worked early on 40M SSB and then 20M SSB using both Acoms and running 300/400 watts. Rob MW0RLJ and Charles M0OXO decided to take a boat to the mainland to take the faulty equipment back and to collect a spare rig to replace it. The guys continued to work well and on their return the qso count was 2500.

It became very obvious that conditions were giving us some Sporadic E propagation so they started pushing the higher bands (17, 12, 10 & 6) to give the Island IOTA to as many that required it. We had an amazing time, many stations commenting on how pleased they were to get EU-124 onto the new bands and in particular many ‘G’s that needed it as a new DXCC Band slot. Ant had been slogging away on 6M for a long time with a huge pile up and handed the Mic to Charles to continue. 6M continued to be very good and in total we finished with well over 396 qso’s & 29 Countries on one run on 6m, the better one maybe CN in Morrocco? Before we left we set ourselves  a target of 4000q’s for the whole trip and by midnight we closed on 4035 q’s, amazing and very pleased but that was to be short lived.

Charles got up the following11062011078 morning (Day3) to find a problem. We had Voltage issues and it seemed the current was poor and not enough Amperage to run even the radio. We traced the problem to not just one but both our generators had gone down, who would believe that? The black cloud descended over us and we spiralled into depression. We worked several theories for several hours and eventually decided to run the spare ‘Robin’ generator only and to run 100w only. We never gave up the fight and tried many theories were explored over a pot of Porridge (thanks Jane!) and we came up with a plan! Greg (RSPB Warden) kindly offered to allow us yet another Generator which could give us 6Kva so the mood lightened and again, we weighed up our options over a chat until 0930………

Time moved on and by 1130 we were on air again. Conditions were ok and by 1.00pm we were running well as we approached 1300 and the beginning of the World Flora Fauna’ GreenDay’ event, We used all bands from 40m thro 10m and as we were using 12 & 17m, we were not in a ‘contest’ but just an ‘event’! All continued OK with runs predominantly into EU but with the odd DX station thrown in the mix. When 1500 came the bands just died with barely a trace of anyone on 20 thro 10m. In a few hours this eased and we pushed on on 20m, 17 and 40M. 40M was running very well with Chris on the Mic running 100w from the FT890 but only 20 and 17 really had any decent propagation to EU. As the evening moved along we had another good run with many JA stations on 20M and a few down into OC with VK. We closed at 0030, filled the generator and after a few hours stargazing we slept………but not well!

10062011042We were kept awake most of the night with the predicted ‘bad weather’. Sadly it was worse than expected. Torrential rain was hammering at the windows of the barn and roof and the wind was tremendous. First light at 04:00 saw 2 x Hexbeams both leaning to the side and getting buffeted by the very strong wind. There was little we could do, they were unusable in that state so after a chat (again over a bowl of porridge) we decided they needed to be taken down to prevent damage. We all donned our wet weather gear and got stuck in. Taking them down took 15 minutes for each Hexbeam with us all working on the same antenna at the same time before moving on to the other. It initially appeared that the fault was either the rotators not being up to the strain of the wind or the strain on the stub mast and clamps were too weak. Another thought for another day but they were all down and we left the Windom in place.

We spent the remainder of the morning inside the barn, we dismantled all the equipment and packed it away just leaving the Elekraft K3 and the Windom to use later in the afternoon with a view to making the few required qso’s which would give us 6000 log entries.

The afternoon was poor, but we worked through trying our best but pretty soon we ran out of time. We had the (now traditional) ‘Party’ looming with invited guests joining us for supper and a few drinks. By the time 7pm came we had 11 people for supper including Greg & Lisa, Nia, Mike & Nicola. We must not forget the now famous Border Collie ‘Dewi’, now a celebrity after his debut on the BBC’s ‘Countryfile’! After a lovely meal provided by Jane, we all had a few drinks (some more than others!) and spirits 😉 were high. Some of us were in a bit of a tacking by 0030, and with an empty bottle of Famous Grouse, one of Romiel and several bottles of red wine, we turned in for the night. At that point it seemed extremely unlikely that we would wake in 6 hours feeling well but Charles did and fired up the generator for a quick blast. Another 60 stations were logged on 40m which brought us to a final total of 6024 q’s and the end of the 2011 trip. We got the gear down to the slip and from that point it took us 50 minutes to load the boat, do the crossing, unload at the Lifeboat Slip, carry the gear up to St. Justinians and to load the Van for the trip back to the farm.

DSC_1820It just leaves me with a few thoughts and thanks for the help we received this Year. Greg & Lisa Morgan (RSPB Wardens) were once again invaluable in help, planning, advice and in allowing us on the Island, two people who’s performance, committment and drive is outstanding and a major asset to the RSPB. ‘Thousand Island Expeditions’ once more gave their personal service to us and were extremely kind, a service recommended by us. Mike Chant and his crew aboard the ‘Gower Ranger’ also pulled out the stops with their prompt and personal service. Good luck to Nia Stephens (Assistant RSPB Warden) in her future career and not forgetting Mike and Nicola who give their time as RSPB volunteers.

Finally a big thanks to all of you that worked us whilst on Ramsey Island. We were very pleased to give so many of you the new Band Slots, IOTA and WFF areas. I guess almost all stations on 6 meters would have been very pleased to get IO71hu in their logs so a good job all round. Some stations worked us on 7 band slots and many more with 6 contacts which was remarkable. Of course we wouldn’t be without the odd negative comments either. Some made good points and others were well, just pathetic but all in all, a great trip to Ramsey in 2011.

Thanks to everyone from the Strumblehead DX Group; Rob MW0RLJ, Charles M0OXO, Tim M0URX, Chris G1VDP, Ant MW0JZE and of course Jane (our Support Staff 😉 ) who kept us fed with over 120 meals, doing this with 2 small gas rings on a Baby Belling stove and little facilities was a great & welcomed achievement!

73 de Charles Wilmott M0OXO