TX5N Austral Islands DX-pedition

The TX5N project is on schedule, planned to be on the air April 16 – April 28, 2022. 
Several last minute topics were discussed during a March 15th team meeting, including entry formalities for French Polynesia, the government’s required Covid documentation and the operator scheduling.

Our equipment was delivered to Raivavae by cargo ship, and is now stored at the guest house from where we will operate. Included in the shipment are Elecraft K3 stations, one Flex PGXL amplifier and two Elecraft KPA-500 amplifiers. Several items will be hand carried to the island, including a Gemini DX-1200 amplifier and RadioSport headsets. Antennas are monoband VDAs for HF, one inverted-L for 160, two SteppIR BigIR w/80m vertical antennas and an NA4RR hexbeam for 10-20m.  The team will operate CW, SSB and Digital.  Band plan at: TX5N.net
 
As Internet is available the logs will be uploaded daily to M0URX.com  OQRS.
73,  Team TX5N

Ukraine Mail Delays

Start date: 24 February 2022
Latest update:24 February 2022
End date: To be advised
Incident Airspace currently unavailable

Latest update
Due to the rapidly developing situation in Ukraine we have been advised by the Ukrainian postal service (Ukrposhta) that Ukrainian airspace is now closed. We are working with the Ukrainian postal service and other postal partners to establish road routes into the country. We are still accepting items for Ukraine but please be advised that deliveries to all parts of the country are subject to unpredictable delays. We will provide further updates as soon as we receive them.

3Y0J DXpedition to Bouvet Island


Press Release #8 from 3Y0J team – 08/02/2022  3Y0J DXpedition to Bouvet Island , January 2023

Since we signed the contract with Marama we have been working on fine tuning the dates and port of departure. Today we can confirm that the departure date for the 3Y0J DXpedition will be January 6th 2023. It is complex to plan the logistics of such a huge project like the 3Y0J Bouvet DXpedition which involves many parties. The new dates are mainly related to the Marama vessel logistics, but as well the new dates enable us to return to Cape Town in late February 2023. We can confirm the scheduled duration of the DXpedition is 44 days and that we have reserved a week additional contingency at the end giving us more flexibility. We have contracted 22 days at Bouvet Island, and it means we will spend more than 3 weeks at Bouvet. As we have the flexibility to still decide the port of departure Ushuaia or Port Stanley this will be done at a later stage.

It is with great pleasure we inform that we have completed all equipment selection for this trip.

For the station setup we will lineup 12 stations, that will include 8 human mode CW/SSB stations and 4 FT8 stations so to achieve our new goal of 200,000 QSOs. We will be using the Elecraft K3S, a well proven in the field DXpedition radio as the CW/SSB radio and SunSDR2 DX as the FT8 radio.

During peak time we will run up to 12 radios simultaneously by using 4O3A triplexers and InnovAntenna/Wimo tribanders together with Messi&Paoloni coax. We plan for minimum downtime on the radios, and to achieve this we will setup the 4 FT8 stations to run 24/7 so that these can either be run by one operator separately or be run by any other operator in a simplified SO2R setup. This will be done so that each operator can log into the FT8 machine from his operator position and run CW/SSB and FT8 simultaneously. Running several radios by a single operator this way has shown to be very efficient.

At Bouvet we are pleased to announce that we will use the well-known S.P.E. EXPERT amplifier. We will bring with us various models where the 1.5K-FA will be the main model, but for 160m we will be using a 2.0 kW amplifier and a vertical running a K3S with diversity RX. We will also have several spare amplifiers.

We are also pleased to inform that as the RX antenna system we will be using a ground independent RX loop system developed by LZ1AQ. This RX antenna will be located 300 meters away from the camp and will provide us with a RX antenna for 160-30m with 8xRX output signals. It also includes possibility to switch from loop to dipole mode.

We have procured 5 rugged YANMAR diesel generators to provide the station supply that will also include 1 spare generator.

Going to Bouvet is a huge undertaking financially and it would simply not be possible without the support from the vendors and our sponsors Expert Electronics, S.P.E., 4O3A, Messi&Paoloni and LZ1AQ. If you want to have the opportunity to work the rare #2 DXCC Bouvet island, please consider supporting us by donating upfront.

You can follow our plans from our website and the 3Y0J Facebook pages:
http://www.3y0j.no
https://www.facebook.com/groups/3093983840726129

Thank you, Oslo February 7th 2022
Ken Opskar LA7GIA, Co-Leader
Rune Oye LA7THA, Co-Leader
Erwann Merrien LB1QI, Co-Leader

TX5N Updade

Over the weekend of January 28th several TX5N team members met in Northern California to consolidate, test and pack the TX5N equipment for shipment to Raivavae, Austral Islands. After reviewing several transportation alternatives, we located a firm in Tahiti that will accept our shipment and transport it to the island via cargo ship.

We have approximately 1,000 pounds (450kg) of equipment on the way to Tahiti. The equipment inventory includes Elecraft transceivers and amplifiers, a Flex PGXL amplifier, two SteppIR BigIR antennas w/80 meters, various mono band VDAs, an NA4RR hex beam and a 160m vertical.

All team members have their airline and hotel reservations to Papeete, Tahiti with onward passage to Raivavae. The operating location will be Pension Tama Raivavae, a small inn which has hosted many previous DX-peditions.

Each team member will have a small bungalow, and radio operations will be conducted from a dedicated building on the beach. Most antennas will be beach mounted. Being on the north side of the island we expect good working conditions.

There are several photographs of the Equipment Weekend activity at: TX5N
We are on schedule for this April, 2022 project. 73, Team TX5N

VE3LYC ‘Dream Big & Dare to Fail’ Book

VE3LYC Cezar’s new Book, ‘Dream Big and Dare to Fail’ now being  mailed by the M0OXO QSL Service.
Reserve your copy today!
“​This book is addressed to all radio amateurs, chasers and activators alike. It will take you through the voyages I carried out as a solo operator or team member of various radio expeditions, from the Arctic to the Sub-Antarctic regions. You will join me along each journey and discover the challenges encountered in bringing on the air remote islands belonging to 25 IOTA references, 19 of which ranked in the Top #30 on the IOTA Most Wanted List out of 1136 groups activated to date. Apart from its documentary aspect I wished to provide, I hope that its reading will encourage everyone to pursue his/her own adventure dream, whichever may be, and strengthen his/her resolve in coping with all the ups and downs that it may entail. This project also gave me a new opportunity to acknowledge many of those who helped me bring my own adventure dreams to life.”

New Mailing Solutions

With the significant changes to International mailings now being enforced by world Customs areas, it has meant that this also effects QSL management and i believe that we are the only QSL management team in the world that has been working with our national mail provider, Royal Mail, to discuss mailing solutions and secure access to the right products to keep the direct and bureau QSL cards posted.
The products that we had been using for many years were getting more expensive and were not suitable in the current Covid and customs climate.

Royal Mail had made the decision that these products were going to be removed and replaced by a new stream of mailing products that had to be accessed only by an online mailing solution to give us the correct customs clearance for the Bureau dispatches, however we urgently still require IARU to discuss a unique commodity code to reflect the “0” value at customs of QSL cards. It is quite clear that we are a long way off from this if it happens at all, the result of this no action is that Bureau boxes are now attracting TAX and handling fees around the world which some IARU Bureaus are failing to understand and refusing to pay the TAX and i have to say that I predicted this as far back as 2017, which begs the question why has no action been taken to secure the future of QSL’ing?

For “Direct QSL cards” we are proud to announce that we have secured access to a new mailing product which secures a better package for our daily mailing of direct QSL cards around the world. Prices are considerably more competitive and means that there will be no price rises for your QSL requests going forward into 2022. This is great news for those that enjoy QSl’ing and excellent news for DXpeditions using our QSL services. We are very confident that our UK QSL managers are the only worldwide QSL providers that work with our national providers to give you the best QSL service out there today.

JW0X QO-100 DX-pedition

We take up the challenge… Please mark 22 | 23 | 24 April 2022 in your calendar. From 78° North, the first Svalbard “QO-100 DX-pedition”.

For Full website information click here:
When we posted our first messages on social media that we were planning to travel to Svalbard, we were quite quickly contacted by several radio amateurs from all over Europe asking if QO-100 would be part of this DX-pedition.

Others wanted to provide us with a complete QO-100 station. We answered every message saying we would investigate the possibilities.

In the meantime, we did some research and to our great surprise we couldn’t find anything about QO-100 activations from Svalbard. The search continued but it yielded nothing. We contacted active QO-100 users, but nobody had JW – Svalbard in his logbook. This became even more fascinating to us, and we had to conclude that apparently no one had ever activated QO-100 from Svalbard.

We looked closely at several QO-100 footprints and scoured quite a few websites so we could prepare further. We found out that the QO-100 satellite is totally inaccessible from Longyearbyen. The high mountain peaks and very low elevation of only 3° made it impossible. This finding was not a nice feeling and made us immediately realize why no one has activated QO-100 from Svalbard yet. In the meantime, we were so fascinated that we continued our search for a solution.

Via Google and by watching a lot of YouTube movies, we came across Svalsat. Svalsat is an ESA satellite base at 400 meters ASL. We had contact with Ole Petter Storstad from the ESA Svalsat station. He answered all our messages nicely but unfortunately, he could not help us. He had left Svalbard two years ago and was no longer the director of the ESA Svalsat base. All other contacts with Svalsat were fruitless. After further research, the mountain peaks would also remain a problem here. So no guarantee of success from this location and we certainly didn’t want to take that risk.
Kapp Linné – Isfjord Radio
Finally, our eye fell on Kapp Linné a place where also Isfjord Radio is located. From this location we have a nice open view towards the QO-100 satellite and no mountain tops to make life difficult for us.

During the month of April, it is still very cold winter weather, so Kapp Linné is not accessible by boat because the sea is completely frozen. The only way to get there is by snowmobile. Via the mainland, this is a trip that takes at least five hours in temperatures of -20° a -25° Celcius. If the weather is very bad, this can quickly increase to seven hours.

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Raivavae Island DX-pedition (OC-114)

A team of seven experienced DX-pedition / contest operators will activate Raivavae (Austral Islands) OC-114, French Polynesia as TX5N from April 16 to April 28, 2022. Team members are: Rob N7QT, Walt N6XG, Heye DJ9RR, Gene K5GS, Steve W1SRD, Melanie N7BX and Doris K0BEE.

Current plans call for Elecraft K3 / amplifier equipped stations. Beach mounted verticals and one hexbeam round out the antenna plan. They will operate 10 – 160m, CW, SSB and Digital. The QSL manager will be Tim M0URX

The team will meet in Papeete, Tahiti on April 12th and fly to Raivavae on April 15th. As with all international travel, Covid restrictions may require us to reschedule or cancel.
Thiss self-funded project welcomes your donations through the website. Donations will be used to off-set the equipment shipping expenses.

Website: https://tx5n.netPlease direct questions to: support@tx5n.net
73, Team TX5N  Happy New Year  GS K5GS

Electronic Pre Delivery Advice Data

Thank you for the excellent feedback on my last Blog entry regarding the Universal Postal Union UPU’s postal regulations called Electronic Pre Delivery Advice Data that was introduced in 2017. I have had some emails asking for a further explanation and understanding of the new postal regulations. 

The reason for the new regulation was to prevent terrorism by ensuring that every parcel sent internationally was linked “electronically” directly to a person both the sender and the recipient. Also so that every parcel can clear customs more quickly through the new S10 Bar Code system.
It is no longer enough to send a Bureau parcel by address only as done in the past.
The sender must now provide the following, full name, email address, telephone number of sender & recipient and UPU commodity code.

January 1st 2021 these regulations were enforced worldwide.
I informed IARU of the new customs laws back in 2017, however they felt that making the data public was against GDPR so did nothing. 

  • It is important to remember that QSL cards as documents are exempt from these regulations. BUT…. Without following the regulations it is down to the customs officers in your country to enforce the regulations.

    The customs officers will do one of 4 things:
    1. Allow the parcel to its destination.
    2. Add a customs TAX + handling fee to the parcel and forward on.
    3. Return the parcel.
    4. Destroy the parcel.

    So doing nothing is not an option as it will lead to all of the above! We are currently relying on |Number 1, the customs officer allowing the Bureau parcel to be forwarded  on to the Society.

I have a problem putting a UPU commodity code 9705000090 on the parcel the nearest code is for Post Cards, but this could / will result in a TAX being put on the parcel. As this code does not distinguish between commercial product or hobby document.
Ideally we need IARU to pay for a UPU commodity code to show the parcel contains QSL Cards with no value and show as documents. So as you can see this is what the new worldwide customs regulations are about for shipping bureau parcels.

I have no control over your customs officers decision. Bureau card delivery is now at serious risk. The very survival of the Bureaus is in the hands of the IARU, who at this time and for the last four years have ignored this situation developing. 

Undeliverable Bureau cards

As we have reported previously there are some Bureau parcels that remain undelivered which is why we cannot guarantee ANY bureau QSLs requested. We strongly advise that you always use OQRS Direct.
Let me go through some of the problems that continue:

Argentina QSL Bureau – Parcels get returned almost every time endorsed “not collected”. Despite sending these again and again we cannot get these to Argentina Bureau.
Brazil QSL Bureau – Despite some parcels getting through. The address alone is not sufficient for getting through customs. IARU will not provide correct information on its website. Brazil customs return most parcels without Pre-Electronic Delivery Advice. Package returned 6 times, One package got through.
Cuba QSL Bureau – For the past 5 years at least, Cuba Bureau packages have been returned uncollected from the PO Box. We can only assume that the Cuba Bureau is no longer functional.
Portugal QSL Bureau – July package was returned endorsed “Non-reclaimed” We are now in communication by email to REP. Package to be reposted!
Sweden QSL Bureau – July parcel was returned. Insufficient documentation. Swedish Customs now will NOT accept any parcels that do not have Pre-Electronic Delivery Advice. IARU does not provide the complete information. Sweden Bureau cannot be supported until full data is provided to us.
Turkey QSL Bureau – July parcel was returned. Insufficient documentation. Turkish Customs now will NOT accept any parcels that do not have Pre-Electronic Delivery Advice. IARU does not provide the complete information. Turkish Bureau cannot be supported until full data is provided to us. Package returned twice. 

We have reported the issues with the lack of data for the Pre-electronic delivery advice to IARU many times since 2017 and repeatedly told that they consider that putting this data on the IARU website contravenes GDPR regulations. However, without it the Bureaus will cease to function. There are many other Bureau packages that have been returned due to Covid restrictions or non-collection or other reasons that we have been able to resend and eventually arrived at the destination Bureau. To continue re-sending the Bureau packages costs more money. 

If you are in one of the above countries and requested Bureau cards, we suggest that you request Via Direct using OQRS only as we are unable to get the cards to your Bureau. If any of you have connections with those Bureaus listed above, we would like to engage in discussions to allow re delivery. But if Bureaus and the IARU continue to bury their head in the sand to ignore the new worldwide Pre-Electronic Delivery Advice customs regulations it will be catastrophic for the Bureau system.