FO/W7GJ in BG37oi

6m EME DXpedition by W7GJ

AN OPERATION TO ACTIVATE ANOTHER DXCC FOR
THE FIRST TIME ON 6M EME

October 15-24, 2021

 

QTH on Rimatara. Photo is facing toward the east.
INTRODUCTION

This DXpedition was originally scheduled for 2020, but had to be postponed to 2021 because of the Covid 19 pandemic. Significant schedule changes were required because of reduced flights and then additional changes as more flights were added back into the airline schedule.  I have extended my stay to include favorable days for EME operation as well as common moon with just about all active 6m EME stations around the world.

Some old timers have already worked FO/A on 6m on F2, but it is still quite rare in North America and even rarer in Europe. And the Austral Islands have never been activated on 6m EME. Of course, one of the reasons for this is the very high expense in getting there with all the equipment.  However, another very challenging obstacle is finding a location that affords common moon windows with most of the rest of the world. It is especially important to be able to have a relatively good moonrise and moonset in order to be able to work eastern Europe and Africa.  I found a location at the Perruche Rouge Pension on Rimatara Island that has a negative horizon toward moonrise and moonset. There also is no village to the north, so hopefully it will be a quiet location with good ground gain. This location also affords an excellent common moon window with horizon-only stations across all of North America during their moonsets. 

Since this DXCC is VERY rare, I am looking forward to providing a new DXCC with practically every half million mile contact. In order to provide sufficient advance planning for stations wishing to contact me while I am in FO/A, I am providing plenty of advance notice of this DXpedition. I am planning to use Q65 for all my EME operations, but I may have to resort to JT65A if a station has too much frequency instability.  I urge you to gain experience with both JT65A and Q65. Please  follow my Step-By-Step JT65A Setup Checklist and Step-By-Step Q65 Setup Checklist to make sure you are using them properly for EME!  And please also review the JT65 QSO PROCEDURE and Q65 QSO PROCEDURE that I use most effectively on these DXpeditions.  Remember also to use the SHORTHAND (SH) messages (the two tone RO, RRR and 73) in JT65A but do NOT check the SH box with Q65!  I look forward to contacting you on 6m!

                                                       

As explained above, a good location can mean everything to the success of one of these DXpeditions.  The photos above show some of the key reasons that make this a highly desirable location.  The antenna will be installed at a height of 106' above the ocean, will see a negative horizon from 109 degrees through north to 265 degrees azimuth.  Even when aimed to the southeast, toward the highest point on the island, the horizon is below 3.5 degrees elevation. Local time there is 10 hours before UTC. The maps below show where in the world this very remote little place is located.   



AUSTRAL ISLANDS, FRENCH POLYNESIA




Antenna Location at 106' above sea level on Rimatara Island





LOGISTICS

Because of the lengthy plane flights, in addition to lengthy layovers, several days are required for traveling and then setup. I expect to periodically have access to the internet.  I should be able to update this page daily with progress reports and stations worked and will also be sending out the same updates to the Magic Band EME email group.  I  will try to check in from time to time on the ON4SKT EME CHAT page. I have been advised that there is no WiFi available in my Bungalow, but that I can access the internet from the main building. So, I should be able to update the log of worked stations regularly, although probably not until the next day. I probably will set the computer clock before each session using GPS, and update the clock as necessary using W9MDB TimeFudge, based on the DT of signals I receive..

I am going to the Austral Islands before the TX7MB DXpedition in the Marquesas.  Please work me from both DXCC!  Info on the TX7MB DXpedition is HERE.


EQUIPMENT

My equipment is described in detail hereAs you can see from reviewing the results on my web pages from previous 6m EME DXpeditions, many contacts were made with single yagi horizon-only stations.  The smallest station contacted from all the DXCC so far was N3CXV with his single 6M5X yagi (and 8877 amplifier) and extremely short, low loss feedline.  If you have a good yagi, good ground gain, a quiet QTH, good power and lots of patience, we should be able to complete, even if you are a horizon-only single yagi station!
 

OPERATING SCHEDULE

My tentative operating schedule as an Excel spreadsheet is here, in pdf format is hereThis assumes that all the flights remain as scheduled, and I am able to get all my gear on each flight with me. All I can say is that I will TRY to be QRV for as much of the published operating schedule as possible. Please try to work me quickly when I do finally get set up. The moon position from FO/W7GJ during the operating schedule is shown here. As shown in the planned schedule, operation is planned whenever the moon is above -2 degrees elevation.  Please watch the ON4KST EME CHAT page and/or the DX Cluster for updates on what people are copying and when. 

Please keep calling me even if you copy me working someone else, or even if you don't copy me.  As long as you are not on the same frequency as the other station, you will not be interfering with them, and your call and offset frequency will be added to the AVERAGE.  Please coordinate your calling frequency with others on the ON4KST EME CHAT page to prevent interfering with each other - ideally, stations should be spread out every 100 Hz.  I try to decode all callers every receive sequence, and I make a note of each caller and their DF (or "offset:") so I can reply to you as soon as I am able, or
use that frequency to identify you later if you are copying me (by sending me reports - see the special DXpedition QSO Procedure links above). Therefore, NEVER change your transmit frequency after you start calling - pick a clear frequency nobody else is using, stay on it, and don't wait until you see me before you start calling!  I will try to contact any callers I can copy, but first priority will be given to people who are copying at that particular time, contributors, and stations with shorter common moon windows. 
I also will be giving priority to  those stations who have demonstrated their unselfish commitment to 6m EME by their willingness to accept schedules as requested by other DXers who still need their DXCC.

NOTE TO ALL STATIONS:  Remember that I am using a single yagi, and it can be elevated only to a maximum elevation of 65 degrees, and if the guy ropes are wet, the elements are shorted out causing high SWR, making operation impossible.  I have a lot better success when my elevation is below 45 degrees.  So....even if you figure we have plenty of common window time, PLEASE don't wait until my elevation is too high to work you - if you are horizon-only, I encourage you to try to contact me when my moon is lower than 45 degrees elevation if at all possible!  There is also another reason for trying to contact me when my moon is lower -  Because my antenna is only 24' above the ground, I normally do get some additional ground gain when my moon is below 45 degrees elevation.  That is one reason why I have been so successful on 6m EME with only a single yagi!  If you are in NA and you have a 6m EME array with elevation, PLEASE call me after moonset in Europe or Africa.  I will be giving priority to Region 1 stations during their moonset.  There is lots of time to work NA while we are both elevated and/or during your moonset - MNI TNX!!! 

On the above tentative operating schedule spreadsheet, I have indicated times when the elevation is over 65 degrees by marking the time periods with diagonal lines throughout the cells.  If possible, I will try to remain QRV when the moon is higher than that but I may choose to go QRT when the moon is above 65 degrees. Please check on the ON4KST EME CHAT page for updates regarding my activity during such periods. 
Please also note that  heavy rains can create a 1.5:1 SWR on the antenna, which is high enough to shut down the amplifier, and static crashes may make decoding difficult.  So, I may have to be off the air at times.  Please just keep watch on 50.190 and I will try to stick to the published schedule as well as I can.
I hope you will make the effort to look for me!
 


CONTACT INFORMATION

As explained above, I expect to be able to send out daily updates to the MAGIC BAND EME email group and revise this website daily with a list of the stations worked.  Please watch the MAGIC BAND EME email list for updated information.  Please also share any updates with others on the ON4KST EME CHAT page.  
If there is some question regarding a contact, please DO call again.  However, once you have confirmed a contact with me, please do not call for a second contact - some of the common moon windows during my moonrise and moonset are extremely limited, and many stations are expected to be calling during those short windows. 

QSL INFORMATION
I will be using full color photo QSL cards.  I will also submit my log to LOTW.  Please QSL DIRECT with SASE (foreign stations include a current IRC or $2 USD for postage) direct to:

Lance Collister, W7GJ
P.O.Box 73
Frenchtown, MT   59834-0073
USA

If we have completed an EME contact, I am happy to QSL direct to you for free.  However, I will very much appreciate receiving your card and a self addressed envelope to relieve some of the burden of looking up all your addresses! PSE make sure your correct mailing address is listed on QRZ.COM!  MNI TNX!


FREQUENCY AND SEQUENCE
For EME, I plan to operate on 50.190 and will always transmit in the first sequence.  I  plan on using Q65-60A mode in WSJT-X and will transmit on an "offset" of 1500 Hz.  With the "Wide Graph" of  WSJT-X, and my wide, flat bandwidth receiver, I should be able to see callers from an offset of about 200 to 2600 Hz. However, remember there could be a 100 Hz doppler shift on your signal, so please don't try to get too close to those band edges, or I may never be able to find you!  Here is how you spread out with Q65 mode:

http://www.bigskyspaces.com/Q65%20Offset%20Guide.pdf

Please check the ON4KST EME CHAT page for news from other hams in case I have to change this frequency due to receiver birdies at my end !  If you should copy me on some ionospheric mode while I am pointed at the moon and calling CQ on Q65 mode, please answer me on Q65 mode and let's make a quick contact!  It is very inconvenient for me to switch modes while I am calling CQ or working EME stations on Q65 mode, so please do not call me on CW, SSB or FT8 and expect me to switch over to answer you. 

When I am not aimed up at the moon, I very well may be on FT8 mode trying to take advantage of any TEP.  For FT8, I will be using WSJT-X on 50.313 MHz.  The QTH appears to be around 20 degrees south of the geomagnetic equator, so I expect there to be some TEP or other ionospheric propagation somewhere - please spot me if you copy me on a direct path (my DT=0). 
If there is too much flutter on the ionospheric signals for FT8, please look for me on Q65 mode on 50.305 MHz.
CONTRIBUTIONS
It is extremely expensive to haul a 6m EME station halfway around the world - especially on solo trips like this one involving lots of flight change and excess baggage charges!  Therefore, any contributions toward the DXpedition are greatly appreciated!  If you would like to contribute, please send your contribution by check or cash to my QRZ.com mailing address, or directly via PayPal to my email address, which is my current PayPal account.  I am only able to do these long distance 6m EME DXpeditions every year because of the continued support from the 6m community and I am extremely indebted to you for your continued support.  I have the time and equipment to go more often than once a year to new rare DXCC, but I just don't have the finances available.  Many thanks to those hams who  recognize that a large percentage of the costs are incurred long before leaving, and have already very generously contributed to this DXpedition.  All contributors for both the Austral Islands and Marquesas operations are combined on the TX7MB webpageMany many thanks for your support!

         http://www.advancedreceiver.com/101.gif         M2 Antenna Systems,
                              Inc            The DX Shop

PHOTOS AND UPDATES

Tue Oct 12
Wed Oct 13
Thu Oct 14
Fri Oct 15
Sat Oct 16
Sun Oct 17
Mon Oct 18
Tue Oct 19
Wed Oct 20
Thu Oct 21
Fri Oct 22
Sat Oct 23
Sun Oct 24
Mon Oct 25



SUMMARY OF RESULTS




Last  revised on 9 October, 2021