|Friday September 8
Left Missoula, MT in the morning and flew to Seattle, WA. Then flew from Seattle to San Francisco. Waited about 7 hours in San Francisco for our flight to Sydney just before midnight.
Saturday September 9
Flew all day to Sydney, Australia
|Sunday September 10
Arrived in Sydney in the morning, waited 6 hours for our flight to Perth. Arrived in the evening in Perth, where we waited for the next flight to Cocos/Keeling (on Tuesday). I think we figured it took us something like 44 hours travel time from Missoula to Perth, and we still weren't at the final destination yet!
|Monday September 11
We spent about 4 or 5 hours traveling to and touring the Caversham Wildlife Park. Great time seeing many kinds of indigenous birds and mammals, all new for us of course. Then had a delightful dinner with friends of friends.
|Tuesday September 12
After breakfast at the hotel in Perth, we walked across the street to take photos of a black swan nest in the pond next to the Swan River. Then we checked out, got a taxi to the airport and waited for our flight to Cocos/Keeling. Since we had to fly via Christmas Island, we didn't get in until late afternoon. We had a nice dinner before retiring early (I still can't figure out what time my body is on). By the way, the operating schedule that has been appearing on my website has the wrong local times for VK9C. We are now 6.5 hours ahead of GMT, not 7 as shown (and as Christmas Island, further east). So if any of you are wondering what our local time is here, it is the same strange time zone as Yangon.
|Wednesday September 13
I got up an hour before sunrise to start work on the antenna siting and assembly. VK4KJJ, who was over here visiting his son, came by for a few hours and helped me align the elements. By 3:30 pm local time, the antenna was up and cabled.
Then I started setting up all the equipment in the house. After dark, I was ready for a test, but the SWR was too high to operate the amp and something was wrong with the antenna.
|Thursday September 14
Again up before dawn checking connectors and then dropping the antenna down for closer inspection. The first thing I checked was in fact the problem ;-) I was too distracted chatting with VK4KJJ during the antenna assembly, and was too sleep deprived and tired, and had made the error of inserting a GRAY color coded element tip into the Driven Element instead of a WHITE color code one. So half the DE was the wrong length. This was in spite of the fact that I had even written "GREY" on the proper element extension and "DE" on the other, anticipating how they might be mixed up. Oh well, just need to muster more attention during assembly!
Anyway, I quickly found the problem, switched the elements and raised the antenna and was in operation by 9:30 am. Fortunately, the moon was still up around 40 degrees in the western sky, so I was able to give it a try on EME. Despite the Degradation of over 5 dB, I completed contacts with S59A, UR0MC, F6BKI, ZS6NK,ZS4TX, K2ZD and S51V. The contact with K2ZD was a "6M FIRST" from USA to VK9C.
I also copied S57RR, OH7KM, LZ2WO, and sent OOO reports for a half hour to KJ9I, who peaked here at -22 dB while his moon was still below the horizon there. Before going to bed early to get some napping in before moonrise, we had a very nice dinner out under the stars at a small cafe ;-) Then tried to catch a few hours' sleep before getting up at 1 am for moonrise.
I will be on 50.190 again tomorrow in the first sequence JT65A when my moon rises, and am looking forward to the improving Degradation. Please be sure to read the procedure and information on my DXpedition website, and use the ON4KST EME CHAT page to coordinate your calling frequencies so you don't end up on top of somebody else!
|Friday September 15
The weather before dawn was cloudless and clear - perfect for visual aiming of the antenna ;-) Today I worked an additional 23 stations, bringing the total to 30 after the first full moon pass today.
In order, the new stations worked were: N7IP, W6XU, W7GJ, KB7Q/7, K6EME, JG2BRI, NJ6P, ES6RQ, US0LW, UT7QF, SM7FJE, GM3POI, OZ4VV, ZL3NW, ON4GG, ON4IQ, EA8DBM, JG1TSG, G8BCG, OH7KM, S57RR, G5WQ, and OK1RD.
Also copied today but not worked yet were these 16 stations: W5ADD, W7JW, KG7H, K5DOG, K7RWT, W9GA, AJ7LL/7, W7EW, OH6MIK, S51ZO, GD0TEP, FK8CP, F5LNU, G3WOS, JA7QVI and KJ9I.
Windows with NA are very limited, but my main ground gain lobe lines up with moonrise in the NE USA. I was surprised that there were no W1, W2 or W3 stations interested in working a rare DXCC during their moonrise. Maybe they are waiting for the better cndx this weekend... 6m EME cndx were very bad today, with the degradation above 3.5 dB and the Kp hovering around 5 all day. The result was very erratic polarizatiion and QSB. Hopefully this weekend will be better!
I will be on again in the morning for my moonrise. The full operating schedule is here:
There are also pdf copies of the schedules for both VK9CGJ and VK9XGJ on my DXpedition web page:
I also updated the above planned operating schedule on my DXpedition website, to correctly reflect the local times here in Cocos (6.5 hours ahead of GMT, in the same time zone as Yangon, Myanmar). The 7 hour difference from GMT shown for Christmas Island is correct.
We had a delightful dinner with Vk4KJJ, his son and family at their home here in Cocos. We were treated to some barbecued beef with local coconut honey glaze. It rained on and off throughout the evening.
|Saturday September 16
This was the second moonrise and second complete moon pass. The sky was clear at moonrise this morning and that made for great visual aiming, at least until the afternoon clouds rolled in. With the waning moon, daytime visual tracking is going to be difficult for the next week, even if there are no clouds. However, I feel confident I can come close enough with the manual indicators I have for azimuth and elevation.
Today the Degradation was around 2 dB, which was great! HOWEVER, the Kp index was between 5 and 6, which is ABSOLUTEY HORRIBLE for EME The forecast is for this geomagnetic disturbance to start subsiding tonight, which would be REALLY a wonderful thing for EME tomorrow!
In spite of the terrible conditions today, I managed to add 18 more stations to the 6m EME log, bringing the total so far to 48. New stations worked today were: KG7H, W7KNT, N9IW, KJ9I, K7AD, OH3SR, UW7LL, OH5VY, JA7QVI, DL8YHR, G4FUF, S51ZO, OH2BC, G3WOS, SP4MPB, LZ2CC, LZ2WO and SM6LPF. 17 others copied today but not worked were: W8PAT, W7JW, K4PI, K7RWT, W6SR, N8JX, N5DG, N6JV, K7CW, W7IUV, KR7O, FK8CP, F5LNU, JR1LZK, LZ2DF, WW2DX, and W1JJ. I was pleasantly surprised to see some new stations that I had not worked before on 6m EME! The windows with North America on my moonrise and moonset are very short, so I ask that European and Asian stations try to contact me outside of those windows. Unfortunately, I was unable to complete any contacts with North America today during my moonset, due to the very unusual ionospheric blockage taking place.
Today I was able to continue operating even during the higher elevations of the moon here. Unfortunately, moonrise in southwestern Europe takes place when the moon is very high here in Cocos, and it will become increasingly more difficult to safely orient the antenna around the guy ropes at these higher elevations. So, I may have to either take a break during the middle of the moon passes, or simply aim the moon as close as safely possible to the moon and hope that the pattern is broad enough to work at those higher elevations. I will try to announce any such disruptions in operation on the ON4KST EME CHAT page.
Sunday September 17
Although the lowest Degradation of the month (0.8 dB), the Kp index hovered around 4 all day, making 6m EME more difficult. As a result, only 13 new stations were added, bringing the total so far up to 61. New contacts were made with: AC0RA, K6QXY, YL2AO, 9A8A, PA5Y, HA0DU, SP3RNZ, S51DI, HA7TM, LZ2DF, LZ2HM, HA8CE, and W1JJ.
15 others copied but not worked were: K4PI, K4RX, N8JX, W6SR, W9GA, N7NW, K0DAS, N6JV, K7CW, KR7O, OH6MIK, SM5AQD, HA8FK, FK8CP, and F5LNU. One reason I planned these long periods of operation from both VK9C and VK9X was to allow for days that may be adversely affected by geomagnetic storms. Hopefully, the Kp index with drop down soon.
By afternoon, the moon was too small and dim for visual tracking, so that will have to be reserved for early morning hours before sunrise.
I also completed local ground wave contacts with VK4KJJ/P on 6m, 2m, and 70cm ;-)
Each Sunday night is "pizza night" in the small community here, so we had a great little veggie pizza made by local Tony and his crew.
Monday September 18
YAY - the Kp index finally started coming down and was actually below 3 some of the time before heading back up again to around 5. And the Degradation was still only -1.0, so this was probably one of the best days of the trip in terms of conditions - at least when the Kp index briefly dipped down!
13 new stations worked were: K0DAS, NR0X, KC0SKM, KD7DCR, N7NW, UB7K, OH6MIK, SM5AQD, GD0TEP, S59P, LZ8SIX, K1SIX and OK7XX
Noteworthy were the some really great signals: KD7DCR (-19 dB), UB7K (-17 dB), OH6MIK (-17 dB)when the Kp index was lower.
14 stations copied but not worked were: N8JX, K4PI, W9GA, N6JV, N5DG, W6SR, NU0P, K7RWT, KR7O, HA8FK, FK8CP, F5LNU, G4RGK and WW2DX.
The total 6m EME worked so far stands at 74.
Tuesday September 19
The Degradation was under 1.5 dB, and the Kp index actually was around 3, so I was optimistic about my chances for today. However, I got totally skunked on my moonrise :-( I did have a couple close calls with N5DG and VE5UF, but made no contacts. I copied N9JX, N5DG, NU0P, KR7O K4PI, AL7RT, W6SR, VE5UF, N6JV, W7MEM, W7EW, and UX0FF.
When the moon was too high for me to aim the antenna up on it, I did complete with my first station of the day, DK8NE, during his moonrise. Then, just as I was able the antenna on the moon again as it was starting to go down, I worked VK5PJ on his second lobe during his moonset. I also copied G4RGK many times again today, and worked LZ2JE.
By moonset the Kp was actually below 2. Although I copied WW2DX, K2ZJ and WA1EAZ, I could not complete with any of them.
By the end of the pass, there were 3 new stations worked, bringing the total worked up to 77. I am thinking very strongly about cutting back my operating schedule to just moonrise (and maybe moonset) after tomorrow. If you still haven't worked me, and are interested, please get on and do it! I can't continue to spend these 12 hour shifts to work one or two people...
Wednesday September 20 - NEW MOON!
Started out with Degradation at -2.0 dB and Kp=3. I did not hear any sun noise bursts. I spent the first couple of degrees at moonrise on the wrong sequence, which didn't help with such a short window. But even on the correct sequence through my main ground gain lobe, I didn't complete with anyone :-( I copied VE5UF, N5DG, N6JV, W6SR, W9RM, K7CW, W7MEM and W7EW.
Toward the middle of the moon pass, I copied UX0FF, HA8FK, FK8CP, G4RGK and EI3RD, but did not complete with any of them. The only contacts in the middle of the day were G8VR and SP7VC. By moonset, the Kp was 3 and the Degradation was up to -2.4 dB. On moonset, I did complete with WW2DX, for contact #80 ;-)
Because of the large reduction in the amount of activity, plus the high moon elevations during the middle of each pass, high TEC toward the moon during the middle of the day now and the increasing EME Degradation, I will only be QRV now through Sunday September 24 during moonrises and moonsets (horizon only - when my moon is below 18 degrees elevation. If you just got your 6m EME station going or returned from Antarctica or something, and you want to make a special request for me to be on at a certain time, please let me know. Otherwise, I will see you on EME during my moonrise or moonset only and will not be QRV on EME after my moonset Sunday GMT.
I remind you again that I will have exactly the same elevation problems in VK9X next month. So please spread the word to have people try to call me when my moon elevation is below 50 degrees. These times are shown on my operating schedules on my web page. Thanks!
Also, although I have had real-time internet access here at VK9C to use the ON4KST EME CHAT page while I am on the air, I do NOT expect such luxury at VK9X. So please watch your email and my web page for updates!
Thursday September 21
At moonrise, the Degradation was -3.7 dB but the Kp index was down to 1.3. I copied W6SR, VE5UF, K7CW, W7EW, W7MEM and KL7HBK. I completed with KR7O and N6JV. As the moon set in KL7, I copied KL7HBK, but he never received my final RRR.
I went grocery shopping from 0500-0800, when the moon was too high for me to aim at. When I returned, I copied F5LNU but we did not complete.
During my moonset, I completed with DK2PH & S59Z.
The total number of contacts so far is up to 84. I will be on again for my just moonrise and moonset on Friday.
Friday September 22
At moonrise, the Degradation was -3.5 dB, but the Kp index was down to 1. I only worked W6SR. I copied VE5UF, K7CW, W7MEM and W7EW.
I got on for moonset when my moon was still at 45 degrees elevation. I completed with VP8EME before his moon reached 4 degrees elevation. Counting the 2 new stations worked today, the total now stands at 86 6m EME stations in the log.
Due to other obligations, I will NOT be able to be on for the NA moonset (my moonrise) tomorrow, Saturday GMT, or for my moonset tomorrow. I am still planning to be QRV for my moonrise and moonset on Sunday September 24 and will try to extend my operating times if cndx warrant.
| Saturday September 23
I was not QRV for moonrise or moonset.
6m Degradation was -5.6 dB, and Kp index was 1.3. The only station copied was AL7RT in DN28, but no contact was made.
Nothing was copied in the 2 hours I was on during moonset.
Monday September 25
Degradation was -6.7 dB, Kp
index was 2.3. A REAL long shot! I copied
AL7RT at -18 dB and W7EW at -20 dB, but failed to
complete with anyone. The final tally still
stands at 86 6m EME contacts. I will take
down the antenna today. Hope to see many
more of you from VK9X starting next week!
Went snorkeling at Trannie's
Beach, Spotted turtles at the old jetty at the
north tip of West Island. Went to the old barge art gallery and
interacted with baby red footed boobie.
Indoctrinated to Hash House Harriers.
|Tuesday September 26
Visited The Farm. Antenna came down and was dismantled. Had dinner at Peter and Felicity Robinson's home.
|Wednesday September 27
Heavy rain all day. Went out in the lagoon in canoes to spot turtles. Went to Home Island for dinner and met a local there with a 3 element beam but no license! Station dismantled and packing begun
Mast was disassembled.Scroungers golf.
|Friday September 29
|Saturday September 30
Transported our luggage to the Cocos Island airport for check-in at 8 am and waited to clear security and board the plane. Left the airport at 3 pm with our luggage after it was learned that plane would not be arriving to transport us to Christmas Island. Returned to our original accommodation and purchased an additional night.
|Sunday October 1
Like Saturday September 30, we spent most of the day transferring our bags back and forth from the airport and waiting around as the Virgin Australia airline flight changed, was delayed or cancelled. Finally they decided to fly from Christmas to Cocos and return to Christmas that night, so we did actually make it to Christmas Island by 11 pm Sunday night. Although the place we had rented 6 months ago was occupied when we arrived, a very helpful agent from Virgin Australia found us a "room" (more like a prison cell in a modular cubicle out of town) to spend the night. Everything was overbooked because of a week of delayed or cancelled Virgin flights. But by 0130 local time Monday, we at least were someplace with our luggage.
|Monday October 2
After a fitful 5 hours of sleep, we were off to try to get something to eat, straighten out the housing situation, and line things up for the portable operating site. We attended an awards BBQ at the Cricket Club, and got a key to the kitchen there so I could set up after the festivities were over and the all the staff was finished cleaning things up.
|Tuesday October 3
- Kp =3 and Degradation=-2.7 dB
Arose just after sunrise, had breakfast and was dropped off with all the gear at the Cricket Club by 8 am. The next 7.5 hours were spend assembling the antenna, siting the antenna, setting it up, setting up the station in the kitchen of the club house there, and - much to my astonishment - given a password to their new wi-fi netfork! I hustled all day, but only was able to get on the air for the end of the NA moonset. I actually was not able to calibrate my aiming until after the NA moonset
The noise was on my moonrise was horrendous :-( The refugee housing units (reportedly not in use) were producing lots of noise, as were contractors running power tools in that area until well after sunset. All the electrical equipment in the housing units is apparently running to try to maintain the facilities, and the failing fluorescent bulbs blinking on an off everywhere contributed to the din. On top of the noise, I did not notice any ground gain because of all the "ground clutter" of these buildings in front of my antenna on moonrise. But let's hope for improvements as moonrise becomes later and hopefully the workmen go home.
During the NA moonset, I did copy K6EME, N6JV and K6IJ. My first contact was JG1TSG. I returned to the site after the moon had passed zenith, and worked ZS6NK, G8BCG, S57RR, ZS4TX, OH2BC, DL8YHR, ON4IQ, ES6RQ, ON4GG, SP3RNZ, F6BKI, SP4MPB, OH6MIK, S59A, OK1RD, EA8DBM, UR0MC, YL2AO, UT7QF, UW7LL, G5WQ. I have a hill toward my moonset, but I was able to decode VP8EME until my moon got down to 5 degrees elevation.
Other stations copied but not worked on the first moon pass were VK5PO, 4O6AH, OH3SR, GM3POI, F5LNU, and LZ2WO.
The total stations worked during the first pass was 22. I will be on for moonrise again on Wednesday, and will try to see how high I can stay QRV during the high overhead moon during the next pass. I apologize at not being able to sort through my hundreds of emails that are piling up in my inbox, but I hope you appreciate the fact that my highest priority is to become active and make 6m EME contacts. So please don't feel neglected if I haven't had time to read your email or I don't respond to you comments on the ON4KST EME CHAT page - I am usually too busy actually operating or aiming the antenna to bother even looking at the page myself.
Wednesday October 4 - Degradation - 2, Kp = 0
I found that I do have some sharp ground gain lobes starting around zero degrees elevation, although it seems the ground gain from closer terrain does not appear that significant. On moonrise today, I completed with KJ9I, W6XU, K7AD, KR7O, K6EME and JG2BRI. I also copied W5ADD, N3XX, KG7H, KD7DCR, N9IW, W6SR, W7MEM, K6IJ, NJ6P, N6JV, and N7NW. I took a break between 1430 and 1630Z, because the moon was too high for me.
Upon returning at 1630Z, the moon
was quickly coming down from its zenith. I
completed contacts with ZL3NW, SM7FJE, GD0TEP,
OZ4VV, US0LW, G4FUF, HA0DU and OH7KM. Copied
but now worked were OH3SR, OZ1DJJ, SM5AQD, PA5Y,
GM3POI, VK5PO, LZ2WO, VP8EME and S51DI.
By my moonset, the Degradation was down to 1.6 dB and the Kp was still under 1. Often in the conditions where both stations are in the dark and the Kp index is very low, the polarity changes very slowly, if at all. Such was the situation often today with Europe, where stations seemed to be either in for extended periods of time or simply no signals at all were copied for very long periods. But when the polarity did line up to be reciprocal, signals were great and contacts were fast ;-) That is why it is so important to follow the special DXpedition QSO procedure explained on my website. It was obvious which stations were failing to do this, and they probably thought that I was not copying them when in fact I seem to be receiving extraordinarily well!
Oh, almost forgot to mention the
Robber Crab incident! Imagine my shock
when I returned to the ham shack after adjusting the
antenna position to find my headlamp illuminating a
HUGE Robber Crab waiting for me at the open
doorway! These are the world's largest
crustaceans and the front legs are each about a foot
long, with the main body part the size of a large
coconut. I closed the door rather than have
him sneak into the shack and snip cable with his
claws (the size of my hand)! They are a
protected species here on Christmas Island.
Oh, and then there was the poisonous
6" long centipede right outside my door on another
trip to the antenna! I had been asked to destroy
these if I encountered any, so I pounded him into
parts with a hammer...
All the equipment is becoming covered in a film of salt from the strong never ending winds here on the mountain top. Please don't wait until the last possible day on the schedule to try to contact me - the equipment may not last :-(
Thursday October 5 - Degradation = -2.3 dB, Kp=0.3
No visual tracking possible
tonight. During moonrise, I worked KG7H,
W9JN, N7NW, KD7DCR, and N6JV. I took a 2
hour break before EU moonrise. When I
returned, I worked, LY2BAW, SM5AQD, OH3SR, PA5Y,
G8VR, OZ1DJJ, SM6LPF, S51DI and S59P. I also
copied, but did not work, FK8CP, 4O6AH, 9A8A,
JR1LZK, G3WOS and VP8EME. The low Kp and the
fact that both ends of the EME contact were in the
dark meant that the polarity rotation was going to
be slow, and it certainly did seem stuck for long
By moonset, the total 6m EME contacts after 3 moonpasses was 50.
Friday October 6 - Degradation = -2.7 dB, Kp-1.7
In the clouds again and rainy up
here on the mountain tonight, so no visual
tracking. What a shame to have such a big
bright full moon and not be able to see it!
Moonrise has moved more to the
north, so I no longer beam down the road during
moonrise, but out over dozens of modular units
used for refugee housing. I have been
worried about noise there, with some type of
workers using power tools and all the flickering
lights and air conditioning running in the
housing, which is said to be no longer used.
However, as the moon rises after dark now, it
seems there isn't any worry about power
I still had been worried about the ground clutter from all the various units breaking up the reflections contributing to ground gain. Obviously I worry a lot on these operations... Anyway, I was very pleasantly surprised tonight to find that the flat metal rooftops they have installed over all the modular housing units seem to make great reflectors for ground gain! As they say over here, "No worries, Mate! She'll be right!".
I started out decoding AC0RA when the moon was just a fraction of a degree above the horizon. Then I worked AC0RA, NR0X, W9GA, K0EGQ, K9TVG, N9IW, and K6QXY. I also copied N3XX, K4PI, W5ADD, NU0P, and W6SR before elevating the antenna. After elevating the antenna, I worked NJ6P and copied K6IJ. While the moon was too high, I took a break until 1730Z.
When I came back at 1730Z, the moon was close enough to due north that I could elevate up as high as it would go and the rear elements were in between the SE and SW guy lines. That was good because it was raining at that point, and the guy lines were dripping wet Dacron ropes. The SWR stayed low even during periods of heavy rain...I guess that is one reason to be thankful for the high winds up here blowing all the raindrops away ;-) The poisonous centipede here in the ham shack hid before I could attack him with a tool big enough to safely defend myself.
As the moon was coming down,
I worked DK2PH, UB7K, 9A8A & G3WOS . I
copied PA9RX, FK8CP, 406AH, VK5PJ & HA7TM.
The total 6m EME stations worked now stands at
Although around 5 degrees
now, my horizon on moonset does become lower as
the moon moves further north. Hope to see more
of you in the log this coming weekend!
Saturday October 7 Kp index=0.7 Degradation=-3.4 dB
Even though this weekend is the
ARRL EME Contest weekend, cndx for 6m were not
ideal. In addition, the low Kp index and
both stations being in the dark for both NA and EU
as well as here on Christmas Island meant that the
polarity changed very little. Lots of
"one-way" propagation and seeming to be "locked
out" for long periods.
During moonrise, I completed
with KB8RQ and JH2COZ. I copied but did not
work K7CW, K6IJ, K4PI, and N3XX.
After the NA window, I took a
nap from 1600-1800Z. When I got up again I
found a poisonous centipede inside and got him
this time! I then proceeded to work OZ7OX,
IW5DHN, LZ2WO, LZ2CC, PA9RX, LZ2JE & 4O6AH.
I also copied but did not work UT3MD,
FK8CP, G4BWP, LZ8SIX, JR1LZK
The total 6m EME contacts after
today is 71.
Sunday October 8 - 5th Moon Pass Degradation=3.1 Kp index=0.3
The car wouldn't start, but a
very helpful Australian Federal Policeman gave me
a lift up to the operating site. Then I
couldn't get the 6m station to work. But I
finally reset everything and started everything
back up before the moon reached 1 degree.
LOTS of QSB from sequence to sequence and stations
would disappear :-(
During my moonrise, I worked K8OM, KC0SKM, N7IP, NU0P,& W6UC. I copied W8PAT, K4PI, N3XX, W7JW, N8RR, K0DAS, K7RWT & VE5UF. When the moon was too high, I took a break from 1745-1845Z.
Starting when the moon was due
north and then descending,I worked S51V, VK5PJ,
SP7VC, I copied FK8CP, G4BWP,
VK8MS,JR1LZK and WW2DX.
The total now stands at 79 stations worked on 6m EME.
|Monday October 9
|Tuesday October 10
|Wednesday October 11
|Thursday October 12
During my moonrise, I worked W8PAT, W7JW, K4PI, W7GJ (operated through the generosity of KB7Q), and JA7QVI. I copied additional stations KA1R, W5ADD, K2ZD, N3XX, N8GTI, N8RR, VE5UF, K7RWT and W6SR.
As the moon passed over Europe, I worked UT3MD, OH5VY, YU7EF and EI3KD. I also copied FK8CP, VK5PO, S59Z and JS2CQA.
After completing with YU7EF, I took a short break to cut out the Yaesu power connector on the FT857. The voltage drop across the connector was starting to cause the FT857 to drop out during transmit periods because the voltage at the rig was less than 12.5 VDC. I always carry some wire nuts with me on these DXpeditions, so I was able to eliminate the connectors and just splice the 12 VDC supply voltage to the FT857 and my preamp.
By the North American moonrise, the Degradation was -2.2 and the Kp index was below 3. The only station I copied during my moonset was KA1R operating a remote station in FN65, up on the Maine coast.
By moonset, the total 6m EME contacts was up to 88.
|Friday October 13
At moonrise the Degradation was down to a nice -1.1 dB, but the Kp index was over 6 and climbing. There was also a strong Es opening across central USA, which certainly didn't help either! On moonrise I worked N8GTI, VE5UF, K0DAS. I copied W5ADD, N3XX, W1JJ, K2ZD, K7RWT, K1SIX, W6SR, N8JX, N0NLO and K6IJ.
After I started to elevate, I was able to see the moon through the clouds from time to time, which is always comforting (although it probably makes little difference). I worked JS2CQA and took 30 minutes when my moon was passing through zenith here to work 3DA0MB during his moonrise. I copied but did not complete with VK5PO, DK8NE,EI2FG, FK8CP and HA7TM.
By moonset, the Kp index was 5 and the Degradation was down to -1.0 dB. During my moonset I only worked S58Z. I copied only KA1R. At more northern moon declination, my azimuth for moonset points over top of a single story building only 100' in front of the antenna. I think this is the biggest factor contributing to my lack of ground gain on moonset.
The total 6m EME contacts is up to 94.
Saturday October 14
Degradation was -1.0 dB and Kp
Index was down to 3. On my moonrise, I worked
N8JX, W7KNT, N0NLO, and K6IJ. I also copied
K2ZD, W5ADD, N3XX, W6SR and VK5PO.
As the moon passed overhead, I worked DK8NE and S51ZO. I copied KL7HBK again, but we did not complete.
As the moon sank in the west, I
copied HA7TM, JR1LZK and KA1R, but made no
At the end of this pass, there were 100 6m EME stations in the VK9XGJ log. I am planning on 2 more moon passes after this. This was the weekend of good 6m EME conditions that I extended the trip for. I hope the Kp comes down!
|Sunday October 15 - 9th
Kp index was down to 3, Degradation still very low at -1.2. I had visual from moonrise until dawn....the first time I have had a good view of the moon in a long time! Very cool and windy out. On moonrise, I worked K4RX, W5ADD and K7LED. I also copied N3XX, N8RR, N4II, W7MEM, W6SR and KL7HBK.
No stations were seen calling after the NA moonset until the moon was approaching moonset. I copied JR1LZK but he did not copy me. By moonset, the Kp index was still around 3 and the Degradation was -1.3. During NA moonrise, the window was very small, and my moonset ground gain is very poor at this QTH. I copied nobody during my moonset.
By the end of the day, the total 6m EME contacts was at 103. Tomorrow is the last planned EME operation - I will QRT from EME at 0600Z on October 17.
|Monday October 16
At moonrise, the Kp index was down
to 2.0 and the Degradation was still only -1.8
dB. Conditions for 6m EME looked very
encouraging! During moonrise, I worked W9RM
and copied N3XX, K7CW, W6SR and W7MEM. I also
killed my third centipede outside the door to the
ham shack in the early pre-dawn hours!
After the NA moonset, I copied KL7KY
and F5LNU but only completed with HA7TM and HA8CE.
At the time of the final contacts, the Degradation
was still only -1.0 dB and the Kp Index was down to
After shutting down the EME
operation, the total 6m EME contacts from VK9X stood
at 106. The best DX (measured over the face of
the Earth) from VK9XGJ was W5ADD in EN40wl at a
distance of 10,722 miles (17,255 km). The best
DX from VK9CGJ was K2ZD in FN21nr at a distance of
10,335 miles (16,632 km). Contacts with
stations on the opposite side of the Earth are
really tough on EME because both stations need very
low antenna lobes and excellent horizons!
Thanks to all who made this
DXpedition such a success. I would think that
the high Kp index and geomagnetic disturbances
during the best days of the month for EME would have
had an impact, but I don't think they really did,
since we had other days with good conditions.
I know that some stations in Region 2 were
handicapped by the very short (or non-existent in
some cases) common moon windows, and I apologize for
that. However, there is nothing I can do about
the geometry that makes these islands so far from
many spots in Region 2. To those who would say that
EME is too easy, I suggest that there are also many
other physical, ionospheric and astronomical
considerations that do make it quite a challenge! I
wish you all success in the current 3DA0MB
DXpedition, and also in the upcoming 6m EME
DXpeditions. I hope to see you all - including
those I missed this time - from another rare DXCC at
some point in the not-too-distant future!
Those of you who followed me on the TX5K DXpedition to Clipperton Island may be interested in seeing the professional video done for French public television, which is finally now available:
MNI TNX, GL and here's to much more Magic Band DX! VY 73, Lance
SUMMARY OF RESULTS
This page last revised on 5 December, 2017