FO/W7GJ in BG37oi

6m EME DXpedition by W7GJ


October 23-November 2, 2020

  Rimatara Island, IOTA OC-050,CQ DX Zone 32, ITU Zone 63


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.  Included in the 8 scheduled moon passes are windows with eastern EU and AF .

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 urge you to gain experience with JT65A and follow my Step-By-Step JT65A Setup Checklist to make sure you are using it properly for EME!  And please also review the QSO PROCEDURE that I use most effectively on these DXpeditions.  Remember also to use the SHORTHAND messages (the two tone RO, RRR and 73) in JT65A!  I look forward to contacting you on 6m! And if there is any TEP while I am there, I will operate on FT8 from the current version of WSJT-X.


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.   


Antenna Location at 106' above sea level on Rimatara Island


Because of the lengthy plane flights, in addition to lengthy layovers, a couple of 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 am going to the Austral Island before the TX7MB DXpedition in the Marquesas.  Please work me from both DXCC!  Info on the TX7MB DXpedition is HERE.


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!


My tentative operating schedule as an Excel spreadsheet is here, in pdf format is hereThe 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.  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 200 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 OOO - see the special DXpedition QSO Procedure link 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! Please notice that my moon is especially high toward the beginning of the operation, but during the last few days, the moon elevation is totally within range of the antenna from moonrise to moonset.  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 from thunderstorms make JT65A impossible.  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!


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. 

I will be using full color photo QSL cards.  I may submit my log to LOTW if I can set up a separate account for this callsign.  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

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!

For EME, I plan to operate on 50.190 and will always transmit in the first sequence JT65A mode.  I will be using WSJT-X and will transmit on an "offset" of 1270 Hz, to align with DF=0 for people still using JT65A from WSJT10. With the "Wide Graph" of JT65A from WSJT-X, and my wide, flat bandwidth receiver, I should be able to see callers from an offset of about 150 to 2550 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!  It is always safest to have your signal fall within + and - 1000 Hz of 1270 Hz.

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 JT65A mode, please answer me on JT65A 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 JT65A 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.  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 there very well may be some TEP or other ionospheric propagation somewhere - please spot me if you copy me on a direct path (my DT=0).

It is extremely expensive to haul a 6m EME station halfway around the world - especially on solo trips like this one!  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 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 webpage.  



Last  revised on 6 January 2020