TO7GJ in LH27nb

6m EME DXpedition by W7GJ

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


September 6 -18, 2022

  Mbouanatsa Village, Boueni Commune, Grande Terre Island, Mayotte
IOTA AF-027,
CQ DX Zone 39, ITU Zone 53

 
INTRODUCTION

I have purchased all the airline tickets and excess baggage fees and have made a deposit on a house in Mayotte (FH) in LH27nb for September 6-18 this year. After exhaustive research, this appears to be the best - and possibly the ONLY - suitable site on Mayotte for 6m EME! There is just barely enough open space to set up the 6M8GJ there. A good location can mean everything to the success of one of these DXpeditions. This site does afford reliable AC power, a nearby access to a source of food, a secure and safe location for the equipment, internet access, air conditioning and an open spot overlooking the ocean to be able to set up and operate the antenna.

I have received approval to operate on 6m EME as TO7GJ. If you were thinking about trying 6m DX via EME, THIS IS YOUR OFFICIAL ALERT! You have plenty of time to get that larger yagi or array up, and get that new 6m amplifier going!  I know many EU stations have already worked FH. However, there is no record of any previous 6m contacts to Mayotte from North America, so all contacts will be new ones! Although many stations in Europe have already worked Mayotte, FH is still needed by many EU stations outside the TEP Zone. And it has 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 and the expense of staying there.  However, another very challenging obstacle is finding a location that affords a large enough clearing for the antenna and also affords a clear shot to the west for moonset over the ocean. Such a location is essential in order to take advantage of the limited common moon windows with North America during their moonrise. The location I secured has a clear view out over the ocean on all FH moonsets, blocked only by a single row of trees. Moonsets from FH not only correspond to moonrises in North America, but also provide for matches with moonsets for horizon-only stations in Eastern Europe and the Middle East. FH moonrise is blocked by the operating building and mountains, but even if operation is only undertaken after the moon reaches 30 degrees elevation, there are still excellent common moon windows with stations throughout the Pacific and Asia. 

Because of the rapid increase in Cycle 25, it is expected that we may have geomagnetic disturbances during the DXpedition. However, it is hoped that we will have enough common windows with everyone to be able to weather those storms. Most of my EME operation will take place during my local night, so I will not be plagued with the dreaded daytime equatorial high TEC clouds to interfere with the EME signals. In order to provide sufficient advance planning for stations wishing to contact me while I am in FH, I am providing plenty of advance notice of this DXpedition. I am planning to use the most current version of Q65-60A available for all my EME operations, so please become familiar with it before September! Please  follow my  Step-By-Step Q65 Setup Checklist to make sure you know how to use it properly for EME!  And please also review the Q65 QSO PROCEDURE that I use most effectively on these DXpeditions.  Remember to NOT
 check the SH box with Q65!  I look forward to contacting you on 6m!

 


I prefer to have the antenna clearing on the side away from the operating position, and this site offers that as long as I don't operate when the moon is below 30 degrees during moonrise. 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 hills to the northeast will not be a problem, and there is no need to ever aim to the south. There is a negative horizon out over the ocean to the west on all moonsets, and the antenna is low enough at 67' above the water, so that there should be some good ground gain lobes below 15 degrees elevation. 

Local time in Mayotte is 3 hours ahead of UTC. Most of my EME operating time will take place after dark there, so I will not be plagued with the dreaded daytime equatorial high TEC clouds to interfere with the EME signals. These times should also allow NA and EU operators plenty of opportunity during non-workplace hours. The maps below show where in the world this remote place is located.   

           

LOGISTICS
Because of the lengthy plane flights, in addition to lengthy layovers, a few days are required for traveling and then setup. Many of the flights are at night and I am traveling across 9 time zones to the east, so it may seem like I am getting their quickly but a large problem will most likely be jet lag!  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 expect to have access to the internet at the operating site. 



EQUIPMENT

My equipment is described in detail here.  As you can see from reviewing the results on my web pages from previous 6m EME DXpeditions, many contacts have been 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 FH during the DXpedition is shown here. As shown in the planned schedule, operation is not planned when the moon is below 30 degrees elevation during my moonrise, or when the moon is greater than 65 degrees elevation. This schedule assumes that all the flights remain as booked, 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.
 

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 moonsets as published on the operating schedule.  The antenna will be installed at a height of 67' above the ocean, and it will soon become clear after a few moonsets which elevations are best for my ground gain lobes and what effects, if any, the local trees have on my signal. 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 Q65 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 50 degrees elevation if at all possible!   If you are in NA or EU and you have a 6m EME array with elevation, PLEASE call me before  my moonset! I will be giving priority to Region 2 stations during their moonrise.  There is lots of time to work EU 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 red cells.  I plan 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 moonset periods are extremely limited, and many stations are expected to be calling during those short windows. 

QSL INFORMATION
I will be making full color photo QSL cards and also will submit my FH log to LOTW.  If we have made a non-EME contact and you want a QSL card, 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 to your QRZ.com mailing address.  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!  MNI TNX!



FREQUENCY AND SEQUENCE
For EME, I plan to operate on 50.190, the frequency I always use for my 6m EME skeds, 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 wait until after my moon sets to call me!  It is very inconvenient for me to switch modes while I am calling CQ or working EME stations with very limited common moon windows 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.  For FT8, I will be using WSJT-X on 50.313 or 50.323 MHz, and I expect I will be active on FT8 during times of the day favorable for ionospheric propagation. 

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 try to keep my costs as low as possible, my travel, excess baggage,  and lodging costs to activate a rare DXCC far exceed 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 (please remember to designate it for "Friends and Family") 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 to Mayotte:

G8BCG, K2ZD, K5XI, ZS4TX, N0TB, OH7KM, JG1TSG, N7IP, KJ9I, W8OI, K7CW, JA7QVI, GM3POI, K4ZOT, ZL3NW, N7NR, N3XX, I4YRW, N8GTI, W8PAT, W9JN, G8VR, K5NA, K5DU, N8RR, JR3DVL, F5LNU, SP7VC, N1DG, NJ6P, W6UC, W5ADD, JA9SJI, EA8DBM, S57RR, KL7HBK, K8CX, W8TN, KB7Q, WB9Z, NV9L, K7KX, K4PI, K5QE, K9RX, N4BAA, IW5DHN, G4IFX, WA5VGI, DK8NE                  
               
MNI MNI TNX for your continued support!!

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

PHOTOS AND UPDATES

Tue Sep 6
Wed Sep 7
Thu Sep 8
Fri Sep 9
Sat Sep 10
Sun Sep 11
Mon Sep 12
Tue Sep 13
Wed Sep 14
Thu Sep 15
Fri Sep 16
Sat Sep 17
Sun Sep 18







SUMMARY OF RESULTS







Revised  16 August, 2022