Posts Tagged ‘DXpedition’

Travel Footage: 3Y0Z Antarctic Bouvet Island DXpedition 2018 Expedition (by EY8MM)

Here is video footage of the journey to Antarctic Bouvet Island, made by the 3Y0Z amateur ham radio team. This footage caught a few moments on the deck of M/V Betanzos.

As you can see in the last moments of this footage, the weather conditions contributed to the decision to abort the DXpedition, as it was far too dangerous to continue this expedition.

As reported by ARRL:

“Our captain has decided that it is in the best interest of safety and expediency to proceed directly to Capetown, South Africa, rather than Punta Arenas, Chile. We are now heading north to avoid the possibility of encountering ice. Currently, there is no ice in sight or on radar. In due time, we will head easterly toward Capetown. Our entire team is safe. Most are resting in their bunks and in good spirits. We will keep the amateur radio community and our families informed, as we continue our journey.”

In a huge disappointment for the DX community and the members of the 3Y0Z Bouvet Island team, the DXpedition’s leaders announced at 2000 UTC today (February 3) that a decision had been made to abort the DXpedition and head back to Chile.

“During the last 72 hours, we continued to experience the high winds, low clouds, fog and rough seas that have prevented helicopter operations since our arrival at Bouvet,” said an announcement on the 3Y0Z Bouvet Island website. “No improvement was predicted in the weather forecast for the next 4 days. Then, last night, an issue developed in one of the ship’s engines. This morning, the captain of the vessel declared it unsafe to continue with our project and aborted the DXpedition. We are now on our long voyage back to Punta Arenas. As you might imagine, the team is deeply disappointed, but safe. There is already talk about rescheduling the DXpedition.”

Bouvet Island currently is the third most-wanted DXCC entity, behind Kosovo and North Korea. The 3Y0Z DXpedition, comprised of top operators with considerable DXpedition experience, has been in the planning stages for 2 years and had attracted contributions from clubs and individuals around the world.

A dependency of Norway, Bouvet is a subantarctic island in the South Atlantic. The last Bouvet activation was 3Y0E, during a scientific expedition over the winter of 2007-2008.


Video Author: Nodir Tursun Zade, EY8MM

This copy is used BY PERMISSION from EY8MM, given in writing on 23 February 2018

VE3WDM's QRPower BLOG 2013-04-02 19:16:00

I finally had a chance to fire up the K3 on Monday afternoon, it has been a very busy weekend besides I have been reading on most blogs how poor the conditions were....even for the digi folks. It was very windy and cold up this way on Monday with the surprise of snow in the morning. We have some 230KV lines at the back of the house and when they start to blowing around some (I guessing) loose insulator cause me some QRN. The blogs were spot on and the bands were not in real good shape at all besides the power line QRN was not helping either. Later in the afternoon the winds settled and the bands had some CW spikes showing on the P3 here and there.
230KV lines out back
I was on 20m and heard CT8/PA4N who was operating from Sao Miguel island (EU-003) on the Azores.  Frank was only going to be on the island until April 3rd so I wanted to give him a shot. The band was not busy at all, they were not running split and since conditions were not that great I pumped the K3 up to 5 watts. With only one repeat of my call I made the contact. As I was entering the logging info into DxLabs there was a pileup developing so it would seem I got in at the right time.  I also noticed that fellow blogger John N8ZYA has also made contact with the team as well.

Anonymous is getting very smart!

Happy to be back from the vet's
First off  I took a vacation day from work as I  had to take Oliver (our cat) to the vet for a followup after dental surgery and by the way looking back on my career decisions I should had been a veterinary dental surgeon! They do say hind sight is 20/20. Oh and for those wondering Oliver had a great checkup, he was ecstatic  to get out of the veterinary clinic and home. Some of the other time today was spent on the radio TRYING to make contact with TX5K. On all the bands I had absolutely no problem hearing the pileup trying their luck at making contact but I could not even hear TX5K!! On Saturday my wife has a hair appointment and a trip to the surgery just a checkup....BUT  in ham radio lingo what does XYL at the salon and dentist spell........RADIO TIME!!! So I am going to give TX5K another go before the DXexpedition is over. So why did I entitle this post "Anonymous is getting very smart!" In the past I had
maybe 2 or 3 "anonymous" postings a week. Now let me clarify what I mean my anonymous......these are advertisers trying to post a comment on my blog but the main idea is to plug their biz with a link! Blogger has been excellent with the ability to discern between the real deal anonymous comment and the...let me take advantage of your blog and plug my biz anonymous comment.  Over the last month I have noticed a large increase of anonymous comments (the take advantage type) trying to use my blog. Not sure why this blog can't be all that popular? I really don't care if they "try" to post their fake comments but what I have noticed is they must be getting smarter in how they word the comment. Blogger is  not recognizing it as spam but seeing it as a legit comment. These past couple of weeks I have had to go through my comment section of blogger and delete comment posts that are just plain spam! Has anyone else had this issue? Or do you have suggestions on how to deal with this?

A new antenna coming soon………

I was going through my QST this week an had notice an add for a new antenna by SteppIR. In the past I would had just passed by the add but this antenna in the picture had an eye catching look to it. It's called the CrankIR vertical and can be used from 2m to 40m or another unit that goes from 2m to 20m (an 80m unit is in the works) The antenna is great for portable ops, field day, emergency and neighborhood restricted antenna areas...and the list goes on!! For me this antenna can easily fit into a nap-sack and carried out into
Mounted on bench
 the great outdoors, placed in the truck of my Scion IQ and hauled to a park and setup at a picnic bench were I have done many a mini contest from.
So lets look at the nitty gritty of the antenna first off it's made by SteppIR who has a GREAT reputation and has been the choice of many DXpeditions. The 20m version extends to 9 feet and when folded up is only 26 inches. The 40m version is 18 feet and reduces to 30 inches. As far as I am concerned both sizes are very manageable for transporting. I am not gong to high light evey detail as there is a link on this post to the SteppIR CrankIR page with limited info but more to come!!  This antenna is due to make its purchase date in the spring of this year. I did send an email to SteppIR with some questions about the antenna and Bart was very prompt to get back to me.

My Questions were........
1. I did not notice any radials are there any? (I asked this because for portable ops sometime radials can become a pain especially if you are in a park where the public is.)
Bart's answer was.....
The antenna will be designed to work with a single, elevated, tuned radial (included) 
Now what I get from this answer is the radial is the crank up wire that is surrounding the antenna I had thought this was for the cranking of the antenna up and down. 
 Note...see green section below for correct after the fact info.....
My next question was....
 2. Was the cable and crank up device part of the antenna or a separate piece?

Bart's answer was......
 The crank is for extending or retracting the element around the frame of the antenna. It does not raise/lower the antenna or support tube.
The 40 to 2m retracted

This is were I got the impression the cable was not to raise and lower the antenna element and was the elevated tuning radial he spoke of. As for the whether or not it was attached to the antenna  was not sure what his answer was...BUT the picture to the left seems to look like it is attached to the base of the antenna. There looks to be a bolt just below Mike's hand.

Bart's answer was........
Prices have not been set, but we do expect them to start at about $250.  
So there yo go just some tidbits of info about what seems to be a very nice antenna from a very reputable company!!


Band conditions were great….if I was a SWL!!!!!

For the first time in over a week I found time to wind up the Elecraft K3 and get on the air. In many blogs I have seen WSPR reports of great conditions on 10m, that would be great if I was retired and home during the day....but........I wanted to see how conditions were in the evening. I was very pleased I was able to hear no problem the DXpedition of 3B9SP on Rodriguez Island  This is a small island off the coast of Africa. They were armed with 3 Elecraft K3's and 2 Elecraft KPA 500 amp's. They had a very strong and clean signal here on 20m but the pileup was large. I was able with the help of my P3 to see the stations in the pileup 3B9SP was going back to but I still was not able to break the pileup for a contact.    I then turned it over to 30m which for me most evenings had been a very good band for contacts. I came across HK1MW in Columbia and again a very good signal here into VE3WDM. Columbia is not all that far from my QTH (ham radio speaking that is) and 30m has always been good to me. I gave him a go but there was nothing and the conditions were starting to change as well with lots of fading. Besides my goal for the last 1/3 of this year is to get the last 19 countries for my DXCC Jubilee award. I already have Columbia so it was time to move on. The cluster was showing A45XR out of Oman now I have not had to much luck at all with that luck meaning never hearing them.
I would not advise this while driving but he did make the contact!!

  I gave it a go and there was Chris loud and clear!! He was operating split and with my dual receivers in the K3 I was able to hear both sides of the adventure. It was great the band was not at all as busy as with 3B9SP so I gave him a go...and a go......and a go......until in the wink of an eye he was gone just replaced with static. Well that was my Thursday evening of ham radio. I will say I did have a blast and did miss getting  on the radio.

KH6 – Hawaii Bound

My current assignment at Fort Leavenworth has me traveling quite a bit. My intent has been to bring a rig with me and have some casual QSOs while on the road. My success has been mixed. I would mostly attribute this to either a lack of planning on my part or being in a stuck in a hotel room with zero antenna opportunities.

One of the most inspiring ham radio blogs I ever ran across was the 100 Pound Dxpedition. I enjoyed how Scott, NE1RD, covered his adventures of conducting portable operations… documenting what worked and what did not. His last post on that paticular blog was back in 2007, but I still use the site as a reference. Scott’s praise for the Buddipole led me in using the Buddipole during my recent tour in Korea. Another tip from Scott I am going to try out is using a hardside golf bag case to transport my Buddipole to Hawaii.

Now for a rig… I think the Elecraft KX3 would be ideal for a Hawaii trip. With 10 watts output and an internal battery, I can’t think of better rig to take to the beach. But the wait time for the KX3 is still quite a while. I have both an Elecraft KX1 and a Yaesu FT-817ND. The KX1 would be great due to its small size and ease of use. But it is limited to only CW and I would like to do some PSK in addition to CW.

I pulled out my FT-817 and conducted an inventory:

    – West Mountain Radio RIGblaster Plug n Play connects directly to the DIN socket on the back of the rig.
    – CAT cable that connects from the RIGblaster to the rig’s ACC socket which enables rig control.
    – PowerPole 12v adapter.
    Palm Paddle.
    Elecraft T1 Auto-tuner.
    – Nifty manual for the FT-817.

My FT-817 has quite a few of the optional bells and whistles from W4RT:

I also splurged on two recent upgrades:

    Peg Leg tilt stand – I think this will be helpful as one of my significant dislikes of the FT-817 is the small display which is hard to see.
    – Magnets for the Palm Paddle – this is critically important as the Palm Paddle by itself is not heavy enough. The magnets allow the Palm Paddles to firmly stick to the top of the FT-817.

For PSK, rig control, and logging I have my Dell Mini netbook. I had not used the netbook in a while, so I started it up to see how it was working. I initally purchased it back in 2009 baselined with Ubuntu and have kept Ubuntu installed on it since then. After booting it up. I updated the distribution to 10.04 LTS and installed fldigi. The RIGblaster easily interfaced with the netbook via a USB connection and the headphone/microphone jacks.

I configured fldigi to work with the RIGblaster to include rig control using Hamlib:

    – Audio: PortAudio using the netbook’s hardware soundcard for both Capture and Playback
    – Rig: Hamlib; Device /dev/ttyUSB0; Baud rate 38400; Stopbits 2; PTT via Hamlib command checked

… clicked on the Initialize button and I was good to go.

Setting up the macros on flidigi is pretty straightforward with the default macros only needing slight tweaking for my personal preferemces.

Once I fired everything up all I had to do was switch to 14.070 MHz, switch the mode to DIG, and drop the input level a bit. With the narrow yellow PSK streams cascading down the waterfall, I picked one that was calling CQ and answered. Transmit worked and my home antenna provided a nice low SWR, no need for the tuner. My macros worked and the QSO was concluded successfully. All with 5 watts.

I plugged in the Palm Paddle, switched to 7.115 MHz, listened and heard nothing, then used the paddles to send QRL? a few times. SWR still looked decent. After a few CQ calls, I got an answer followed by a short QSO. Great – both PSK and CW were working FB.

Now the question is: do I want to bring my small Tokyo Hy-Power HL-100B amplifier that will raise the output to 100 watts? If I bring the amp, I will have to bring a power supply and a different tuner. I am thinking I need to be able to use two different configurations:

    (A) Beach and Buddipole: using the barefoot FT-817, running everything on batteries.
    (B) Lanai Portable: used from the hotel room, with amp and assoicated power supply.

Now it is time to go through my Buddipole bags and figure out what I need to pack.

Looks like I will be there during the Hawaii QSO Party!

Soon there will be a new KX3 coming to town…

Elecraft KX3
To help raise the funds for the new Elecraft KX3 some items here at the shack have to go up for sale....including my beloved KX1!! I have a new page with all the "for sale" items on it have a look and see if anything there can find a home in your shack. Yes Yes there was a post on my blog regarding my Elecraft K2 and how it was just fine (and it still is) and I did not need a KX3........BUT the bug has bitten.........and it has gone from a need to a want!!!

Other goings on at VE3WDM
When I ordered my Elecraft K3 some years ago I had it outfitted with the 100 watt most you know I am not a QRO op....not that there is any at all wrong with QRO but for me QRP and QRPp is the best option considering my stealth operation. So the 100 watt module (KPA3) was put up for sale and sold in 1 day to help fund my KX3. Now my Elecraft radio is what is called a K3/10 (10 for 10 watts max output). Removing the KPA3 meant taking out my Sub receiver from the rig, the NB board along with some jumper cables. When events like this come I just hate opening up a 5K rig and playing around with the "stuff" inside. All went well and  it's back together and working just fine. 
I tried and I tried and tried to contact CY9M but it just did not work out that DXpedition is not shut down and it just was not meant to be. This weekend is the NAQP CW contest it starts at 2pm local time and runs til late evening. I am going to give this popular contest a go considering the not so good propagation lately this local contest will be fun even with max 5 watts. 

What else in new
I have an Elecraft K2 with the internal battery pack and up to this point I really have not been charging the internal battery to optimize its life. Some time ago I came across A&A Engineering   They offer a great charger for the Elecraft K2 internal battery. I ordered it and it arrived in no time it's waiting to be assembled because....surprise surprise.... I ordered the kit!!

As for my kit from DIY electronic kits the USB 0-500mhz USB power meter kit has been soldered  and is all together BUT is seems it has to be calibrated as the output of the rig is not even close to the readings I am getting with the kit. I have emailed the DIY electronics company over and over again but nothing.......seems that was 90.00 down the drain. I am going to keep it up and if I can I want to  find a phone number I will then call them and demanding a refund!!! On an up beat note I posted a short time ago about a kit that I ordered and put together call the QRPometer. This kit is a great QRP watt meter and SWR meter but it only goes done to 500mW' for most of you that is just fine but not here at VE3WDM!!! I like to operate now and then at QRPp levels. This means I need a meter that will give me good and reliable wattage readings from about 10mWs up to 100mWs. This was the reason for me ordering the USB 0-500mhz USB power meter it brags of getting down to the low mW levels..........IF YOU CAN GET IT TO WORK AND GET THE DAM TECH SUPPORT TO EMAIL YOU.........take a deep breath......ahhhmmmm.........ok Im back. Talking with the 4 state qrp group (those who produce the QRPometer) I am told the meter can have it's decimal place changed!!! This would give me the QRPp readings I need. This is a project that is now in the works and I will keep the blog readers posted as to it's progress. 
In conclusion I always like to preview my blog post before it has goes "live" and for some reason the post is DOUBLED SPACED I have looked into this but am unable to find the answer..........keep you all posted on this one!!

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