Author - Tim Beaumont

9M6XRO tells us how it went!

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Today i am pleased to report that 9M6XRO John has arrived home from his low band activity. 2,100 Qs were logged by John since his last log update, this has now been uploaded to LoTW and all QSL cards have been prepared for posting. Here is what John reports today:

All in all I was quite happy with the operation from the Seaside Travellers Inn which is only about 10km south of my apartment in Kota Kinabalu. The owner and staff could not have been more helpful, even assisting us to mount a fibrgelass mast on their water tank tower.
Unfortunately the noise level was quite high at times on both 160 and 80. It seems nowhere in Sabah is free of the dreaded ‘frying’ noises from power lines etc. Still having only worked two countries on Top Band since moving here 4 years ago due to the local noise at my apartment, I can’t complain too much as after these four days of operation I now have well over 50 countries worked on 160! Many of the European signals were received at phenomenal strength whereas propagation from North America was extremely disappointing even though I was there at all the ‘right’
times – in fact I did not have a nights sleep during the operation!
Fortunately I was able to complete most of the skeds I’d made beforehand but apologies to those who did not make it into the log this time. In total I made over 1500 QSO’s all on CW with the bulk of them on 160 and 80. The best DX on 80 was FM5CD and NP4Z plus a few U.S. East Coast stations, always a difficult path from here. There were good openings to North and South America on 20m shortly after our sunrise when 160 and 80 had dropped out. I also had a good run on 30m one night when things were slow on the low bands. Gotaways: a 9H1 on Top band and possibly one of the VP8’s on 20m, both jammed by callers who could not standby even for a minute to let me make the QSO…..

I have attached 3 pix which gives some idea of our set-up. Despite how the shot of the rig appears we were NOT operating Maritime Mobile – we were just that close to the sea! Used the FT-1000MP and Quadra Linear from my home station with my old Thinkpad 600E 366Mhz Laptop running N1MM Logger on DXpedition mode. Great program.

hi_tide_smallThe photo taken at high tide was snapped from the verandah which was about 3m above the sand. At first the HF6V was mounted right on the beach in front of the Inn but on the first night the base of the antenna was awash at high tide so we moved it up onto the verandah. For Top Band I used a Marconi 1/4 wave Inverted-L wire with the feedpoint just above the sand. Using a fibreglass pole mounted on the verandah gave us a roughly 16m long vertical section with the remainder running horizontally away from the beach. You can just see the wire running vertically upwards to the right of the fibreglass mast. We had about 8 or so radials for the Top Band ant. The longest straight line radial was
1/4 wave long. Other 1/4 radials were looped back to the feedpoint in a triangular configuration which had worked well on our /P Labuan OC-133 trip. We got the system resonant around 1830 KHz and were able to feed it directly with 50 ohm coax for an SWR of 1:1 – a match that is a sure sign of a poor ground installation, I know! To be honest, the radial system looked very messy, with twisted connexions etc but it appears being that close to the sea makes for a very forgiving environment!

lo_tide_smallThe low tide photo shows just how far the tide went out. The island in the photo is actually one of the Sabah Coastal Group IOTA OC-133 – you could practically walk out to it at low tide! You can just make out some of the locals gathering cockles way in the distance. BTW the two boats in the foreground, the Kit Cat and the Fat Cat belonging to an adjacent resort were built by Godfrey, 9M6GY, who owns a local boatbuilding company!

It was interesting to note quite a swing in the resonant frequency of the antennas, especially the HF6V, depending on the state of the tide.
At low tide the resonant freqs all seemed to go higher. Luckily the Quadra Linear’s built-in tuner was able to cope.

For those that didn’t make it this time, watch this space. Operating right on the beach takes a lot of beating and I certainly hope to have another go in the near future.

73 – John – 9M6XRO

9M6DXX Steve reports home

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I’m back home now (late Monday morning local time) after 2 nights at an Inn on the coast, where John, 9M6XRO, and I put up an inverted-L for 160m and a Butternut HF6 for 80 – 10m. John has been operating almost exclusively 160m CW while I was on 80, 40 and 20m SSB. John is staying at the QTH for another 2 nights and will also be doing some
80m CW and possibly 30m, as well as 160m.

There is a massive tidal range at this QTH and the feedpoint of the 160m inverted-L was inches above the sea at high tide. The HF6 feedpoint was literally underwater the first night (and it has probably ruined the HF6 20m coax matching stub!) but we moved the antenna to a more elevated position for the 2nd night of operating.

Unfortunately, 80m in particular was very disappinting due to local noise at that site. The noise is S9 or over on the FT-1000MP S-meter and the two noise blankers do absolutely nothing to reduce it. At times I knew I had many stations calling on 80m, but I just could not copy them through the crud.

John, on the other hand, had a great time on topband and made 300 QSOs at his first sitting, mainly JA and Europe, and another 300 last night, mainly EU.

We discovered by accident this morning that the 160m inverted-L was a much quieter receive antenna on 80m than the HF6. John is rigging up a way of using the 160m inverted-L as an RX-only antenna on 80m for this evening, so he may have a lot more success than me.

GL to anyone needing 9M6 on the low bands. 73, Steve, 9M6DXX

Low Band Operation from 9M6 East Malaysia

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John, 9M6XRO, and Steve, 9M6DXX, will operate using vertical antennas at an ocean-front location in Sabah (IOTA OC-088) between 7 and 10 February, as follows:

9M6XRO will operate on 10 – 160m mainly CW from 7 to 10 February, concentrating on 80m and 160m CW; 9M6DXX will operate 10 – 80m SSB only on 7 and 8 February, concentrating on 40 and 80m SSB.

They will use one station with full legal power (400W) to a Butternut HF6V vertical very close to the ocean on 10 – 80m, and a 17m-high inverted-L on 160m, again within a few metres of the ocean.9m61

QSL both 9M6XRO and 9M6DXX via QSL Manager Tim, M0URX.

Sunset in 9M6 is at 1027 UTC, sunrise at 2233 UTC.

9M6DXX Steve is chasing DXCC all band status, QSLs welcome.

9M6XRO John, If you need a Bureau QSL please request Via email no need to send yours. For all other QSL information click “Direct & Bureau Instructions” in the menu.
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This week has been a busy time head down at the computer processing logs for LoTW. I am pleased to report that 145,000 log entries have been uploaded for 3DA0OK, 9M6DXX, 9M6/G3OOK, 9M6XRO, 9M8Z, A25OOK, C91XO, G3OOK, V8FEO, V8FRO, XU7DXX, XU7XRO, ZS6/GM3OOK this has resulted in matching 32,000 Qs so there should be some there for you.

Steve 9M6DXX reminds you that if you work him he wants your paper QSL!

Thanks in advance and hope to work you this weekend for the 9M6 low band DX Party!
Ed- Tim M0URX

Uzbekistan on 17m

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I decided to tune through the bands this morning to see if I could find any DX. Usually i am so busy with filing QSL cards that quite a lot of the time I end up being a “cluster tart” and not looking myself. I stopped on 18.150 MHz as I had come across a signal, time to turn the beam until it was S9.. Excellent here we go, wait a moment until I hear his callsign…. there it is, UK9AA Uzbekistan, I glanced at my band sheet and realised that this was a new band slot for me. Great… he has finished his QSO time to call. He comes straight back to me.. “M0URX you are 59 my name is Fedor in Tashkent The buzz working a new slot is great! It wasn’t until after the QSO that I checked my log and saw that my last contact with Uzbekistan was in April 2006 so almost 3 years ago. Let’s see what else I can find on the bands…..

Aidan gets his new call sign M6TTT

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You may remember my Christmas Blog  I told you about Aidan the 12 year old from Birmingham that passed his Foundation Amateur Radio Exam, well at last he has now got his callsign, so very soon we will be doing some on air training with Aidan to help him find his feet in this great hobby of ours. It is Amateurs like Aidan that are the future of our hobby! Good luck Aidan!
Aidan’s excited email goes like this:

“Callum came round today and helped me with getting my callsign, and Callum noticed that I had done my first name and last name wrong way around (accidently), so as soon as I had done that and called up  Ofcom who fixed it INSTANTLY I could apply, but then the hard part actually choosing the call sign. We had a long and thoughtful conversation as my family started to come home, from work etc. We all had a talk  and then Callum had a phone call from James and he asked James what would he surgest as a callsign, and he was thinking T’s. So after that I finished and  Callum had an idea of M6TTT and that is what I choose.

World Licensing & Operating Directory

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 By Steve Telenius-Lowe, 9M6DXX

If you have ever thought of taking your radio on holiday or organising a DXpedition, the World Licensing and Operating Directory is the guide for you. Written by well known DXer Steve Telenius-Lowe, 9M6DXX who has visited 83 DXCC entities and operated from 37 of them, this book has been meticulously researched and has input from nearly 100 contributors. There is all the information you need to get on the air from over 200 countries and territories around the globe.

The World Licensing and Operating Directory is lavishly illustrated throughout with over 230 photographs and maps. There is information on how to obtain an amateur radio licence in almost every country in the world – but this is only part of the story. There is information on organising a DXpedition and “All you wanted to know about licensing (but were afraid to ask)”. There is also a major section of the book that provides full details of how to rent more than 75 amateur radio stations around the globe – from Europe to the Pacific and from the Arctic to the Equator! There is a 32-page full-colour section with spectacular photographs of rental stations, including some of the most impressive antenna set-ups in the world.

This unique book will appeal equally to hardened contesters or DXers looking for a competitive station to rent and to those who simply want to complement their family holiday with some amateur radio operation from an unusual location.

Available from RSGB Book Shop: http://www.rsgbshop.org/acatalog/Online_Catalogue_What_s_New_26.html
For RSGB home page go to: http://www.rsgb.org

9M6 Low Bands Activity & John Survives Thunderstorm

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If you need 9M6 on topband, John, 9M6XRO and Steve 9M6DXX are planning a weekend low-band operation from a coastal site in East Malaysia before the end of February. Steve will do 80m SSB (and probably higher bands during the day) while John will do CW, including 160m. I’ll put an anonuncement on the “Blog” when we have a date fixed.
(This will be from mainland Borneo, IOTA OC-088, not Labuan OC-133.) 73 Steve 9M6DXX

I received an email today (January 21st) from John 9M6XRO he reports
Well we have just had a BIG thunderstorm here and I think the apartment building was probably hit. I had been operating on 40m though a torrential downpour with thunder and lightning in the vicinity. I decided to tell the pile-up ‘thunderstorm’ and went QRT. The lightning moved closer and the lights went out. I had just walked out of the shack into the lounge and suddenly the walls seemed to be crackling and I had a buzzing noise in my ears then “Kerash” lighning bolt and thunder simultaneously, and car alarms going off all round. I thought there was no way my front ends could survive that – all the ants were connected to the Quadra because I never unplug them. We just now got the power back and incredibly everything seems to be working OK according to the SWR on the HF2 and the Quad!

The tower on the roof has a very heavy earth strap running all the way down the side of the building then underground and all I can think of is that it might have taken the strike. I will take a good look round in the morning in daylight and see if there is any evidence of just what was hit!”

Ed – Pheww glad you got through that one safely John!

Expedition Teams – Do you need a QSL Manager?

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The Italian Job E44M in Palestine

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A frustrating few days for me, the desk cleared of all incoming QSL cards and some time over last weekend to work a “new one” Palestine E44M, but despite hours of tactical calling, firing up and down the split frequencies to find where they were taking most calls and trying to find a clear window in which to be heard from my small station in Middle England. It just wasn’t to be, the pile ups were huge. I have to say I think it was quite a brave decision to go to Palestine at a time when Israel are at war in the Gaza Strip. I guess for this reason the wire antennas that are being used seem rather low which would account for the low signals that I was hearing. One main problem for me was that Italy are a very good hop away from E4 and were always going to be a 5/9 both ways for our Italian Amateurs, it was going to be a game of patience, in fact on two occasions both on 20m and 17m after waiting for the “E44M listening up 5 to 10” again I replied… “Mike Zero Uniform Romeo X-ray” I heard “URX again” so I gave my call but on both occasions my calls weren’t heard and an Italian had called over me to get that elusive log entry.

Despondent but NOT beaten I realised that my chance was gone as I had a busy weeke44m_ant at work coming up and I knew by the time I got home the band conditions would be dropping out.

Tuesday 14:44z: Home from work and my luck changed, E44M, weak but workable on 14.250 MHz, and few people were calling I called but they can’t hear me, I scan the split, where are they listening?… yes, here on 14.259 and they finally heard me. That magical reply “M0URX 5/9” Phew at last I made it, at least on one band! DXCC No 272 worked.

See their website for latest news, logs and forums: http://www.dxcoffee.com/e44m/

XU7XRO New QSL Card

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Happy New Year to everyone and may 2009 bring lots of happiness and lots of DX for us all. The last two weeks have been very busy in the Bureau office, between the family get togethers there has been a large amount of QSL work in progress. 3,000 QSL cards are now boxed up ready for posting to the RSGB QSL Bureau.
Max ON5UR has designed the new XU7XRO QSL card which will be ready for you by the end of the month.
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