Posts Tagged ‘DXpedtions’

Never heard Heard

I saw on Facebook this morning, that many were thanking the VK0EK expedition for the ATNO and were thanking them, in general, for a wonderful DXpedition. I would suspect they have gone QRT.

And I would guess I'm in the minority as I'm not in any of their logs.  In fact, I never even heard them decently well enough to work them.  There were a couple of times that I could tell they were on a given frequency, but they never loud enough that I would be able to hear my own call come back to me, on the off-chance that they would have heard me.  It didn't seem right to just add to the QRM.

Am I disappointed?  You're darn tootin' I am!  Working VK0EK would have been an ATNO for me and I sure as heck would love to have them in my DXCC tally.  But I'm not depressed about it.

It all goes back to that post a few weeks ago about balance.  Yes, I do not have Heard Island as an entity worked. However, the sun is still shining, the birds are still chirping, our solar system is still plowing its way throughout the galaxy.  I still have to go to work tomorrow and earn a living.

And while I didn't work them, and life goes on, I still applaud their effort.  It's not easy to go to a remote island near Antarctica, and brave the elements and hardships to provide the rest of us Amateur Radio ops with a bunch of excitement and fun.

Thank you Team VK0EK - even though I'm not in your log - thank you for a job very well done, indeed!

72 de Larry W2LJ
QRP - When you care to send the very least!

Never heard Heard

I saw on Facebook this morning, that many were thanking the VK0EK expedition for the ATNO and were thanking them, in general, for a wonderful DXpedition. I would suspect they have gone QRT.

And I would guess I'm in the minority as I'm not in any of their logs.  In fact, I never even heard them decently well enough to work them.  There were a couple of times that I could tell they were on a given frequency, but they never loud enough that I would be able to hear my own call come back to me, on the off-chance that they would have heard me.  It didn't seem right to just add to the QRM.

Am I disappointed?  You're darn tootin' I am!  Working VK0EK would have been an ATNO for me and I sure as heck would love to have them in my DXCC tally.  But I'm not depressed about it.

It all goes back to that post a few weeks ago about balance.  Yes, I do not have Heard Island as an entity worked. However, the sun is still shining, the birds are still chirping, our solar system is still plowing its way throughout the galaxy.  I still have to go to work tomorrow and earn a living.

And while I didn't work them, and life goes on, I still applaud their effort.  It's not easy to go to a remote island near Antarctica, and brave the elements and hardships to provide the rest of us Amateur Radio ops with a bunch of excitement and fun.

Thank you Team VK0EK - even though I'm not in your log - thank you for a job very well done, indeed!

72 de Larry W2LJ
QRP - When you care to send the very least!

You can’t work ’em if you can’t hear ’em.

The snow plows came through to clear our street.  Even so, they never really plow the entire street. They clean it up for sure, so that you can travel safely down the road, but there's always that snow plow residue on the sides of the street. So, until the snow melts substantially, I can't park on the street, as I usually do, there's just not enough room to park and still have space for other cars to get by.  That means I have park in the driveway. Since I generally get home last, I have to get up and move my Jeep when my wife Marianne has to leave for work at 5:00 AM (I've mentioned - she's a nurse).

So this morning, after moving my car for her, I made some coffee and headed down into the shack. I had about a half hour before I had to shower, shave and get dressed for work. I figured that maybe, just maybe, I'd hear K5P, as this is their last day on the island, I believe. And sure enough, there they were on 80 Meters, calling CQ!  And from the rate they were answering stations, you could tell they were listening for ATNOs - stations they had never worked before (which would have been me!).

They were decently loud - about 559 with QSB on 3.530 MHz with QSB.  Even so, this was the best I've heard them throughout the entire DXpedition. I put the KX3 into "Dual Watch" mode, so I could figure out where they were listening, and then I fired up the KXPA100 to 90 Watts and jumped into the fray.

Then some idiot proceeded to come onto their QRG (the frequency they were transmitting on) and began to send an non-ending string of S9 dits, totally obliterating them.

"You can't work 'em if you can't hear 'em."

Sigh.

72 de Larry W2LJ
QRP - When you care to send the very least!

You can’t work ’em if you can’t hear ’em.

The snow plows came through to clear our street.  Even so, they never really plow the entire street. They clean it up for sure, so that you can travel safely down the road, but there's always that snow plow residue on the sides of the street. So, until the snow melts substantially, I can't park on the street, as I usually do, there's just not enough room to park and still have space for other cars to get by.  That means I have park in the driveway. Since I generally get home last, I have to get up and move my Jeep when my wife Marianne has to leave for work at 5:00 AM (I've mentioned - she's a nurse).

So this morning, after moving my car for her, I made some coffee and headed down into the shack. I had about a half hour before I had to shower, shave and get dressed for work. I figured that maybe, just maybe, I'd hear K5P, as this is their last day on the island, I believe. And sure enough, there they were on 80 Meters, calling CQ!  And from the rate they were answering stations, you could tell they were listening for ATNOs - stations they had never worked before (which would have been me!).

They were decently loud - about 559 with QSB on 3.530 MHz with QSB.  Even so, this was the best I've heard them throughout the entire DXpedition. I put the KX3 into "Dual Watch" mode, so I could figure out where they were listening, and then I fired up the KXPA100 to 90 Watts and jumped into the fray.

Then some idiot proceeded to come onto their QRG (the frequency they were transmitting on) and began to send an non-ending string of S9 dits, totally obliterating them.

"You can't work 'em if you can't hear 'em."

Sigh.

72 de Larry W2LJ
QRP - When you care to send the very least!

All in all – a good day!

There were a lot of things to get done before playing in FYBO, and (channelling Yoda) get them done I did. Believe it or not, my FYBO operation was from the street in front of our house. I live on a relatively quiet side street, so there was no danger of being hit by a car or something like that. I opened up the hatch of the Jeep, just like I do at work, and set up my nylon camping chair and used the "trunk" of my Jeep as an operating table. My antenna was the Buddistick/magmount combo on the roof . I'm sure the neighbors were staring - wondering, "What the heck is he doing now? And what is that tall stick poking up from his car roof?" "And why is our dishwasher going crazy - I'll bet it's him!"

As I set up it was flurrying slightly and the temp was 35F (1C). And then it happened. I tried tuning up the KX3 and couldn't get a decent match. Of course these things always happen at the worst time! Calmly, I took the Buddistick off the roof and inspected it - no problems there. Then the magmount - AHA!  Where the coax meets magmount, the dielectric foam surrounding the center conductor wire cracked open (from the cold, I guess, because I keep it in the trunk when not in use). The shield was ever so slightly touching the center conductor and was making for a bad situation. A quick trip to the basement shack was in order. I cut the coax back, soldered on two new ring terminals and put everything back together. The KX3 was a happy camper with a 1:1 match.

In about two hours of operating, here's my summary:

W2LJ
Team Polar Bear
Field - Yes
Category - Single Op
Alternative Power - No (Batteries- Mains charged)
Lowest Temperature - 35
QRPp - No
Final Score - 7780 points

BAND  QSOs  SPCs  NQ7RP Stns
------------------------------------
    20      15       12          0
    14      10         8         1
------------------------------------
TOTAL:  24       20        1

Score - (24X20) (X4 Temp multiplier) (X4 Field Multiplier) +100 =7780

15 Meters was pleasantly active, affording me 10 of my 24 QSOs. 20 Meters was also busy but noisier, with some TN QSO Party stations and some SOTA stations thrown into the mix. I also was contacted by an SKCC station - I guess they have something going on this weekend, as well as one DX station - G4OBC. I tuned around 40 Meters at the end of my operating time, but heard no FYBOers.

There was no wind to speak of, so it actually didn't feel that bad outside.  I think the temperature reached a max of 38F (3C) while I was out. I was comfortable, except that my hands were cold, as I really couldn't send Morse while wearing heavy Winter gloves. And another discovery - the older you get, the more bathroom breaks you need when it's cold!  Too much information? Sorry!

Now, if that wasn't enough - my FYBO day was made even better by finally working K1N with 5 Watts. YES!!! I came down to the shack this evening to enter my FYBO log into my Master Log. While doing that, I heard K1N on 20 Meters (haven't worked them there yet) and they were truly 599 loud.  I double checked my power setting to make sure I was at 5 Watts and I jumped into the pileup. In about somewhere between 5 to 10 calls, I finally heard my call come back to me. Sweet! My personal goal is now complete. I got K1N in the log for an ATNO, and I also got them in the log using QRP power.

It was a good QRP day. A VERY good QRP day!

72 de Larry W2LJ
QRP - When you care to send the very least!

Mission half accomplished

Not really believing it myself, I sit here in the shack at 4:42 AM (0942 UTC), coffee-less and typing into this computer.  My plan of getting up early and losing very precious moments of sleep did pan out.  I now have K1N in the log!

Knowing I was going to be up super early, I decided to leave the shack computer running, after last night's failed attempt on 40 Meters. We must have had a power failure during the night, because when I got down here, the computer was off.  So I re-booted and while waiting for the microprocessor to do it's thing, I turned on the KX3. Lo and behold, K1N had not budged from the frequency that they were on when I left them last night.


On a hunch, I decided to activate the KX3's dual watch, sub receiver. This time, after listening for a bit, I was able to determine the split was a manageable "up 5" (not like last night, where the split was something like "up 10-15 and everywhere in between") and I started sending my call. Within 12 minutes at 0912 UTC, I was in the log. As an aside, let me state outright - my fist at 4:00 AM without coffee was NOT a thing of beauty. Not at all - it was almost like I couldn't get my hand to work right. I was actually staring at it for a few moments wondering "What's going on here? You know how to do this!"

After a few seconds of happy dancing, the shock wore off. "What do I do now? Go back to bed?" I really hadn't expected to be successful so soon. Better judgement was telling me to go back and get a few more Z's before beginning the work day, but Ham judgement took over. "No, since I'm up this early, let's try 80 Meters." You'd do the same thing, right?

K1N's signal was a tad weaker on 80 Meters as compared to 40 meters, but I decided to give it a go, anyway. After listening with the KX3's sub receiver, I was able to determine that again, the split was manageable, and not all over creation. Even better, the K1N op's movements were steady and predictable. At 0938 UTC, I was in the log on 80 Meters!  Holy cow!  Two bands, within a half an hour of each other!  The rest of my day is either going to go extremely well, or it's all downhill from here. The KX3, KXPA100 and my W3EDP did their job for me - thanks Elecraft, and mucho thanks to the K1N ops for digging me out of the pileup.

Enjoying a well deserved "Cuppa Joe" after some early morning success!

And yes, as per this blog post title, the mission is only half accomplished. With the remaining time that they are there on Navassa, W2LJ will make another attempt, on another band, to get into their log once again - this time with QRP power. Since K1N probably won't be activated for another 25 years or so, the first goal was just to get them in the log with my new DX Rule - WFWQL (Work First Worry About QRP Later). With that monkey off my back, I can relax somewhat and now try to beat the pileups with 5 Watts.

Hopefully, that will be another interesting story that I will be able to write about.

72 de Larry W2LJ
QRP - When you care to send the very least!


A double edge sword

I'm not trying to brag here, or toot my own horn. But by virtue of living in New Jersey, I can't even count how many times I've worked into the Caribbean with 5 Watts or even QRPp power. Reaching that part of the world has NEVER been a problem for me.

Until, possibly, now.

K1N should be starting up very soon. Navassa Island is nestled  comfortably in territory that I have always reliably communicated with. But this little spit of land is so high on the DX wish list, that it rivals North Korea on some DX'ers most wanted list.

I expect nothing less than pandemonium in the near future. Expect mile wide pileups on the HF bands as everybody and their uncle try to work this DXpedition. So, while 5 Watts has never failed me up to now, I haven't decided my approach to K1N, yet. If I decide to jump into the fray very early, it will be with 100 Watts. However, I may also wait for the second half of the expedition, when a 5 Watt attempt may be more doable.

UPDATE: K1N is on the air! I am listening to them on 40 Meters on 7.023 MHz, Currently the pileup is going past 7.035 MHz.  I think there might be an issue for the 40 Meter QRP Fox hunt Tuesday night.

72 de Larry W2LJ
QRP  - When you care to send the very least!

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