View to the northeast from the QTH in Ta'aoa, Hiva Oa

TX7MB in CI00ld

6m EME DXpedition by W7GJ

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

2m EME DXpedition by KB7Q
(for 2m EME, please see the information from KB7Q: https://tx7mb.blogspot.com/ )


November 3-15, 2020

  Ta'aoa Village, Hiva Oa Island, IOTA OC-027,CQ DX Zone 31, ITU Zone 63


INTRODUCTION

Some old timers have already worked FO/M on 6m on F2, but it is still quite rare in North America and even rarer in Europe. And the Marquesas have never been activated on 6m or 2m 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 from the Marquesas in order to be able to work eastern Europe and Africa.  As you will find, most available locations in the Marquesas are blocked to the east by the very steep and rugged mountains that are so characteristic of the topography there.  However, I finally found a location that appears to have an open enough view to the east to enable contacts during moonset in Eastern Europe and Africa. Although the mountains and neighboring houses to the west will prohibit operation below 20 degrees during my moonset, there will still be plenty of opportunity to contact stations as far west as Japan and Australia while I am elevated, as well as horizon-only stations across all of North America during their moonsets.

Since it is the bottom of a very poor solar cycle, there is little chance of making any long distance contacts with high latitude stations on 50 MHz via the ionosphere. However, I will be active there during the optimum days of the month and at a time of the year to take advantage of the superb EME conditions afforded at this point in the low solar cycle. 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/M, 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 especially 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 we are there, we will operate on FT8 from the current version of WSJT-X, provided we don't have to aim further north than about 30 degrees azimuth.

   

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. Most of the time, the antenna will be elevated, so the mountains to the north will not be a problem. And since 80 through 117 degrees azimuth is out over the ocean, the moonrises after November 10 will be out over the ocean.  Although the antenna will be over 375m west of the ocean, it also will be over 66m above sea level, so there should be some good very low ground gain lobes, at least for the last 5 moonrises. This site does afford reliable AC power, nearby access to a source of food, a secure and safe location for the equipment, internet access, and an open spot to be able to set up and operate the antenna. I prefer to have the antenna clearing on the other side of the operating position, but we will have to hope that by siting the antennas directly to the south, the effects from aiming back north will be minimal, since the antenna will be at maximum elevation in that direction.

Local time there is 9.5 hours before UTC. The maps below show where in the world this remote place is located.   



MARQUESAS




Antenna Location at 216' above sea level in Ta'aoa, Hiva Oa




LOGISTICS

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.




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 hereThe moon position from TX7MB during the operating schedule is shown here. As shown in the planned schedule, operation is not planned when the moon is below 20 degrees elevation on moonset, or when the moon is greater than 75 degrees elevation. With those exceptions, I hope to be QRV from moonrise November 5 until 2000Z November 14, 2020 UTC. This operation DOES include the lowest Degradation days of the month (November 7-11), so I hope these 9.5 moon passes will provide enough opportunity for people who are serious about working me on 6m EME. And my moonrises are very convenient times of day for people in NA who are not available during the daytime!  If there seem to be few callers toward the end of the DXpedition, I may terminate the operation early, since there should be plenty of opportunities for contacts earlier in the week.

If you copy me, please spot me on the DX Cluster so people will know the correct grid locator, as well as the frequency and my status.   I will diligently try to be QRV during all my moonrises and moonsets as published on the operating schedule.  The antenna will be installed at a height of 217' above the ocean, and it will soon become clear after a few moonsets and moonrises which elevations are best for my ground gain lobes and what effects, if any, local trees and bushes have on my ability to aim in certain azimuths/elevations). 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! With the ground sloping so rapidly east and west of the antenna, however, I am sure my usual ground gain lobes will not be there, and will only be realized after the first few days.   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!
 


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 the lowest Degradation periods 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 may submit my log to LOTW if I can set up a separate account for this callsign.  For 6M CONTACTS ONLY, 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!

NOTE: for 2m EME, please see the information from KB7Q: https://tx7mb.blogspot.com/


FREQUENCY AND SEQUENCE
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 25 degrees north of the geomagnetic equator, so there very well may be some ionospheric propagation somewhere - please spot me if you copy me on a direct path (my DT=0).

CONTRIBUTIONS
It is extremely expensive to haul a 6m EME station halfway around the world.  Too many times, we hear DXpedition stations say they can't take a 6m beam and/or amp because "they are already overweight and cannot afford the excess baggage fees".  If you want to do a good job and are committed to going halfway around the world to succeed, this unfortunately is a large part of the necessary expense. Although I always keep my costs as low as possible, my travel, excess baggage and lodging costs alone to activate a rare DXCC far exceed any contributions.  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 the following hams who  recognize that a large percentage of the costs are incurred before leaving, and have already very generously contributed to this DXpedition:

KJ9I, K7CW, ON4IQ, ON4GG, GD0TEP, DL8YHR, SP4MPB, JS2CQA, JG2BRI, N3XX, N7NR, OH7KM, N1DG, ZL3NW, K2ZD, EA8DBM, ZS4TX, K8CX, W6UC, N7IP, SP4MPB, K5DU, K5NA, GM3POI, S57RR     
               
MNI MNI TNX for your continued support!!

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

PHOTOS AND UPDATES


SUMMARY OF RESULTS


Last  revised on 17 January 2020