C21GJ in RI39ll


W7GJ 6m EME DXpedition
September 28 - October 14, 2018

Republic of Nauru

(CQ DX Zone 31, IOTA OC-031)


  Antenna Location at Budapest Hotel on the northeast shore of Nauru is indicated by red astetisk.
  


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




INTRODUCTION

Providing the first ever 6m contacts to the United States from VK9C and VK9X last fall is a tough act to follow!  In order to keep up with this high standard, this year I am again activating another new DXCC that has never been contacted before on 6m from the United States.  I am confident it is also quite rare in Europe, Africa and other countries in North and South America!   Since it is the bottom of a very poor solar cycle, there of course is no chance of making any long distance contacts on 50 MHz via the ionosphere.  However, I believe I have located a good site to operate EME (moonbounce), and will be active there during optimum days of the month and time of the year to take advantage of the superb EME conditions afforded at this point in the low solar cycle!  Since this country is VERY rare, I am looking forward to providing a new DXCC to virtually every half million mile contact.  In order to provide sufficient advance planning for stations wishing to contact me while I am in Nauru, 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!

As you know, a good location can mean everything to the success of one of these DXpeditions.   Over the last few years, I have been looking for a suitable QTH in C2, and think I finally found one that shows some promise.   When I finally found the above location, I decided to go for it even though it is so far away and is so expensive to reach from Montana.  The above photos show you some of the key reasons that make this a highly desirable location:

1. Reliable AC power
2. Proximity to the ocean on moonrise for ground gain with both EU and NA and lengthened window with NA stations
3. Located such that the antenna will never be aimed at the village or any buildings during common moon windows, decreasing the chances for receiver noise
4. No buildings, hills or other solid structures on the ground between the antenna and the ocean on moonrise or during EME operation.
5. Secure and safe location for the equipment

Background on Nauru can be found here.  My VISA to enter Nauru is here.  My tentative operating schedule as an Excel spreadsheet is here, in pdf is here. The local time is 12 hours ahead of UTC. The maps show where in the world this remote place is located - 1800 miles southeast of Guam, 1500 miles east of Papua New Guinea, 1400 miles northwest of Fiji, and 700 miles northeast of the Solomon Islands!  I hope you will make the effort to look for me!



 
LOGISTICS

Because of the lengthy plane flights, in addition to the layovers waiting to connect with weekly flights from Fiji to Nauru, there are a number of days required just in traveling!  However, I expect to have everything operational in plenty of time for the optimum EME conditions.  The remoteness of this location causes the common moon windows with EU and NA to be relatively small.  However, these days DO include the lowest Degradation days of the month (also over a full moon weekend), so I hope that will provide enough opportunity for people who are serious about working me on 6m EME.  And, its location does permit moonset windows with most of EU and all of NA.  There will be a chance for some moonrise windows with eastern EU stations while I am elevated.

I will be leaving home early on September 25 and plan to finally arrive Nauru on the evening of September 28.  I hope to be QRV by moonrise on September 30.   I plan to tear down around October 11 or 12 and depart for home on October 14.   The location planned for the antenna provides a view of moonrise over the ocean, which is 30' below the antenna.   Because of buildings to my west and northwest, I expect to have no ground gain on my moonset, and too much noise that direction to be active on moonset anyway.  The location was chosen because I have common moon with all of Europe and the Americas during my moonrise out over the ocean.  For those European stations who need to contact me on their moonrise, I will try to remain active until the moon sets in western Europe.   Since there is no common moon with the East Coast of North America during their moonrise, I will shut down after moonrise in western Europe.   Of course, if I find I have contacted everybody in a region, I will not stay on during that period.  Since I am very close to the equator, the moon will go very high for me when I am aiming to the north.  Please remember that I do have difficulty elevating over 50 degrees, and I lose any ground gain above 45 degrees elevation.  So, if you can, please look for me when my moon is lower than 45 degrees. 

Depending on where I am able to fit the antenna on the site, I may be severely restricted in aiming to the west for European moonrise.  The only thing I feel confident about is my ability to be able to aim out over the ocean on my moonrise.  So, if you can, please try to contact me when my moon is further east than about 295 degrees azimuth.

I expect to have access to the internet where I am setting up, although I probably will not have time to watch the internet while I am trying to operate EME.  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 also will try to check in from time to time on the ON4SKT EME CHAT page.



EQUIPMENT

The plans for the 6m station are essentially the same as used at VK9CGJ and VK9XGJ last year, although I have had to trim back the weight even more due to the more restrictive carry-on limits on the international airlines involved this year.   I intend to use a Yaesu FT-857 (modified to drive my amplifier, as shown here) with my Mirage KP-1/6 external preamp, and an M2 6M1K2 amplifier.  This year I will be using a single Meanwell RSP-3000-48 220 VAC switching power supply (since I will definitely have 240 VAC) for the 50 VDC required by the amplifier, and the PowerWerx SS-30DV 110/220 VAC switching power supply to provide 12 VDC for the transceiver and preamplifier.  The 50 VDC from the power supplies is connected to the 6M1K2 amplifier via a twisted pair of #8 stranded copper wire cables, attached to the #10 pigtails coming out of the amp using a 50A battery cable connector (NAPA #740234, like a really big Anderson Power Pole connector).   After connection failures in VK9 with the standard Yaesu 12 VDC power connector plug, I am also now using a NAPA #740234 for my 12 VDC connection to the FT-857.

Prior to the VK9 DXpeditions in 2017, I purchased an ARR MSP50VDG RF-switched preamp that I modified to provide a separate preamp output. This output can then drive my USB RTL Dongle (NooElec NESDR SMArt - Premium RTL-SDR w/ Aluminum Enclosure 0.5PPM TCXO) which is used with Virtual Audio Cable and SDR-Console Version 3 to provide another receiver option.  A small 50 MHz bandpass filter from Down East Microwave is used ahead of the RTL Dongle to prevent overload from out of band signals.  I will be using that as my main receiver, since it worked so well from VK9.  I also plan on using my MSI 17" inch gaming laptop with a large display screen to allow me to have more windows visible at the same time.
 
A RIGblaster Plug & Play interface is used with my Windows 10 64 bit laptop computer to operate JT65A for EME mode from WSJT10.  At this time, I plan to use JT65A mode in the WSJT10 Version 6088 program release.   I have found it to be just as sensitive as WSJT-X on JT65A, and it uses less screen and CPU processing, and currently has features that make it easier to work pileups on EME.   HOWEVER,  I very well may use WSJT-X modes such as FT8 for beaconing or terrestrial contacts. 

The antenna again is my 6M8GJ yagi with my home-made manual elevation mount and fed with 110' of low loss LMR600 low loss cable (for a total feedline loss of under .75 dB).  I usually try to use only 75' of LMR600, but it appears that there may be obstacles to the building that will require this extra length to work around.  So, I have already prepared the coax and have jettisoned some of the usual grounding hardware to help offset the extra coax weight. 

As you can see from reviewing the results 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.   If you have a good yagi, good ground gain, a quiet QTH, good power and lots of patience, we should be able to complete!  This is especially true with western EU stations, since there may be many situations in which we should both have ground gain at the same time! 

OPERATING SCHEDULE

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 as published on the operating schedule.   The antenna should have a good view at a height of 30' over the ocean, and it will soon become clear after a few moonrises which elevations are best for my ground gain lobes.   Please watch the ON4KST EME 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.  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 so I can reply to you as soon as I am able, or
use that DF 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 and stay on it!  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.  

Because of my location in the South Pacific, the only possibility for ground gain with NA is during my moonrise or your moonset.  Since the Degradation INCREASES and the EU window DECREASES after October 8, I expect most the activity to be between Sunday, October September 30 and Monday, October 8.  Degradation is still acceptable and I certainly will have continued windows with eastern EU stations and all of NA for several days past that, so I will continue to be as active as possible.

NOTE TO ALL STATIONS:  The days of lowest Degradation are October 5 to October 8,  which includes a weekend ;-)  How much more convenient can it be for you?   However, please be aware that, after October 2, the Declination moves further south, which makes my moon even higher.   So, especially for horizon-only NA stations, please pay attention to my elevation and try to contact me when my moon is lower in elevation,  when (or if)  I have ground gain.   Remember that I am using a single yagi, and it can be elevated only to a maximum elevation of 65 degrees (with great difficulty, trying to interlace the elements between the guy ropes), 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 earlier in the trip 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 20' above the ground, I 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! You will also notice that I do have a short window with western Europe during my moonrise during the first half of the operation.  If you are in North America and you have a 6m EME array with elevation, PLEASE WAIT to call me after the moonset in western Europe - MNI TNX!!!

On the above tentative operating schedule spreadsheet, I have indicated times when the elevation is over 50 degrees by marking the time periods with diagonal lines throughout the cells.  If possible, I will try to remain QRV when the moon is high and elevate as high as I can, especially during the days of lowest Degradation.  However, if nobody seems to be around, I may choose to go QRT if nobody shows up during those periods, or if I have already worked stations whose moon is on the horizon during those periods.  I noticed that I was able to make some contacts even at high elevations when I was in VK9 last year, but many stations stayed away assuming that I would simply not try when the moon was high.  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.  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.
 


CONTACT INFORMATION

As explained above, 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 very limited, and many stations are expected to be calling.  

QSL INFORMATION
Sorry, no LOTW, eQSL or other newfangled ways of confirmation.  I will be using old fashioned photo QSL cards.  Please QSL DIRECT with SASE (foreign stations include a current IRC or $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 at no additional charge.  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!


FREQUENCY AND SEQUENCE
For EME, I plan to operate on 50.190 and will always transmit in the first sequence JT65A mode.  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 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 or 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 SSB or FT8 mode.  For FT8, I will be using WSJT-X Version 1.9.1 on 50.313 MHz.

CONTRIBUTIONS
It is extremely expensive to haul a 6m EME station halfway around the world to this location - and the excess baggage charges alone are actually more expensive than the very expensive plane tickets! 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 will be over $8000.  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 have already very generously contributed to this DXpedition:

  SM7FJE, K2ZD, GD0TEP, W5ADD, ZL3NW, G8VR, SP7VC, SP4MPB, SP3RNZ, N7IP, LZ2CC, W5ADD, K6QXY, W6XU, KJ9I, AB3CV, W6TOD,  NJ6P, EA8DBM, S51DI, W8PAT, N8GTI, KG7H,  OH7KM, GM3POI, F6BKI, W6UC, JG1TSG, ZS4TX, W9GA, AC0RA, K0DAS, IW5DHN, G8BCG, YU7EF, K7CW, DL8YHR, K7RWT, OH2BC, KB7Q, ZS6NK, N3XX, W9JN, S57RR, N8RR, N6JV, KL7HBK, OK1RD, W7EW, DK8NE, N1DG, VE1JF, I4YRW, VK3KGR, K4PI, YL2AO, I4EAT, OZ4VV, VK5PJ, VK3PP, VK3DUT, ON4GG, ON4IQ, N7NR, N7NW, G6WQ, LA7DFA, K9CT, N4II. MM0AMW, W7JW, PA5Y, G3WOS, UR0MC, PA7MM, HA0DU, SM5AQD                   

    
MNI MNI TNX for your continued support!!

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


PHOTOS AND UPDATES

TUESDAY SEPTEMBER 25.  All the equipment is checked through from Missoula to Nadi, Fiji and I am on my way!  I was very fortunate in that PA5M (who is in Nauru on business until the end of this week) had some spare time over the weekend and was able to walk around the Budapest Hotel while showing me a video via SKYPE!  This enabled me to get a better idea about where and how I might be able to erect the antenna in the very constricted area available to me.   This will be the most difficult and challenging portable operation I have been on so far, due to all the different obstacles.  I hope I will be able to post some photos next weekend showing the antenna erected at the site.   I have made arrangements to purchase a large data SIM card at the airport when I arrive on Friday morning, and will be using that to access the internet.  More info will be made available as the trip progresses.

THURSDAY SEPTEMBER 27. Arrived in Nadi, Fiji with all the luggage at 5:20 am.  Went on a snorkeling trip to Beachcomber Island.  Checked luggage to Nauru.

FRIDAY SEPTEMBER 28. Left Nadi at 1:00 am local time; arrived Nauru at 4:10 am local time.  Purchased data SIM card so I could access the internet via a "hot spot" from my cell phone, so will have very limited internet.  Transported all luggage to the Budapest Hotel.  Sited the antenna and installed the mast.  Met the Nauru Telecom administrator and he said just start using C21GJ whenever I am ready...Today is a holiday (I couldn't believe the shut down the government for my Birthday!) so everything is closed today but I can pick up the license on Monday.   No chance to sleep or eat yet, but by noon, but maybe tonight...

This is NOT an ideal location like I usually am able to secure :-(   I have many obstacles that are going to interfere with ground gain when I am on the hoirizon, and also will make it very tough to raise the antenna.   However, after spending all morning trying to figure out what to do with the site, I THINK I will be able to raise the antenna between a 6' fence and shipping containers.  The orientation of the guy lines is not as ideal as I usually am able to do to maximize elevation, but it is what it is, and if the raising works tomorrow, this is the only way I can do anything with this site.  On the positive side, the feedline will be shorter than last year....maybe shorter than ever!   I hope to be able to get by with 50 or 60' of LMR600!  Anyway, the mast is up and ready for the antenna to be assembled and mounted on it.  Below are a few photos with the mast up in the air to give you an idea what the site looks like.  The containers and water tanks are 10' tall, so I WILL see over them, although the containers will certainly affect my pattern when the reflector is near them.  Fortunately (at least at present) the four 12' diameter green plastic water tanks are empty, so I should have a good shot through them when the moon rises that direction. 

This photo is taken from the second floor stairway looking due north:



This one is toward 285 Degrees and shows the window of my room.  Moonset is always between the corners of the blue house and the red container:



Below photo shows view through empty plastic water tanks at 70 Degrees azimuth.  Moonrise is always to the right of the red container:



This last photo shows the view toward 230 degrees azimuth:



As you can see, the guy lines to the SW and NE are actually tied to the bottom corner of the neighboring containers!  Obviously, there will be some combinations of azimuth and elevation that I will not be able to operate because of the close proximity of the building and containers.  We will see how it goes!

SATURDAY SEPTEMBER 29. Antenna was up by 11 am.  Sorry I waited until it was so hot!  I can't seem to drink enough water here on the equator! I took a movie of the unusual escapades - don't know if I will have the bandwidth to put it on YouTube until I get home and have better internet, though.  However, SWR looks good toward moonrise tonight, I am able able to run a KW out without blowing any circuit breakers ;-)  I don't see any birdies on 50.190 so that is where I will be on my moonrise at 1000Z. As my moonrise moves more north, watch for higher ground gain lobes off the containers 10' below the antenna in that direction!  

As you can see, I am set up right next to the building, and right between the shipping containers, so there will be some combinations of az and el where I will have to be QRT.  I don't think there will be an RFI problem here, since I will never be aiming back at the ham shack (I couldn't if I wanted to because there is no room to swing the antenna to the southeast or south).  But the good news is that they drilled a hole in the wall for my coax, and I am only using 58' of LMR600UF ahead of the preamp ;-)   The photo below shows the antenna aimed at moonrise tonight:



  Below  is a photo of the setup inside.  You can see where the LMR600UF comes in through the wall at the right of the photo.  The 12VDC power supply for the FT857 and ARR preamp is hidden behind the 6M1K2 amplifier.  All the interconnecting cables to the wattmeter and the preamp are LMR600UF.



I also ran some RG58U coax through the in the wall before I plugged it up, in case I can figure out where it might be possible to string a 20m dipole. 

Weather was good for the first moonrise.  I had visual aiming throughout the pass, and I remained QRV the entire time despite the fact that the moon was up to 12 degrees above my highest available elevation.  It also is very difficult to try to point the antenna so high because the guy ropes keep getting in the way and get burned.  If they are wet, the amp will kick out and the guy ropes can be destroyed.  Please don't count on me to operate so high every night, but I will try to stay on all next weekend because conditions are optimum then, and people may still be able to copy me when I am far off the moon.  I will try to update my operating times each day on the ON4KST EME CHAT page.

Many thanks to all the serious moonmen who turned out this weekend without waiting for the optimum conditions next weekend ;-) During the first moon pass, the Degradation was around 3.8 dB.  Despite the relatively high Degradation, I completed with G8BCG, N3XX, K2ZD, W7JW, GM3POI, N7NW, K7CW, N8RR, K4PI, VE1JF, JG1TSG, KG7H, KJ9I,  OH6MIK, UR0MC, UT7QF, ES6RQ, OH2BC, IW5DHN, ON4GG, OZ4VV, ZS4TX, ON4IQ, and DL8YHR.

I also copied but did not complete with the following stations: W5ADD, NJ6P, FK8CP, AC0RA, ZL3NW (on both his moonrise and moonset), KA1R, KR7O, OH3SR, SP3RNZ, YL2AO, OH7KM, F6BKI, and G5WQ,

Not surprisingly, my noise level rose considerably when I pointed down the street at all the power lines and dwellings when I lowered the antenna to the horizon during my moonset (noise was 20 dB stronger than a 50 ohm resistor load)  :-(  Best to try to catch me when my moon is higher than 15 degrees if you are in Region 1 and have a choice!  On a more positive note, my moonset appears to be just north of the containers adjacent to the antenna.  The rear of the yagi just barely clears the building when I aimed at moonset!  Hope to see you in the log toward the end of the week as conditions improve!
SUNDAY SEPTEMBER 30. (2ND MOON PASS)  Another clear, calm night - perfect for visual aiming!  Despite the higher Degradation of -4.5 dB, I was happy to be able to work four stations before I had to elevate when the moon reached 14 degrees. It also was nice to have some company when I went out at night to move the antenna - a mama cat and her three kittens were frequent visitors out there around the antenna tonight.  It seems like the locals are all up and playing their loud music and driving down the road in the middle of the night over here.   Probably because it is so oppressively hot during the day that the evening is the only time to be active without killing yourself!  I know that from all my daytime antenna work!

New stations worked today were: NJ6P, EI3KD, FK8CP, W6UC, W5ADD, K6EME, K4RX, AC0RA, W6XU, US0LW, UW7LL, UB7K, OH3SR, and ZL3NW

Copied but not worked were: G5WQ, K7RWT, VK3DUT, W1JJ, N9IW, KR7O, YL2AO, OH7KM, SM7FJE, DK8NE, SP3RNZ, OK1RD, DF9OX, S57RR, G5WQ, and G3WOS

Looking forward to the better conditions on Thursday through the weekend, but I will be on again tomorrow at moonrise and hope to pick up some more of the larger stations to make room for the harder ones later this week ;-)
MONDAY OCTOBER 1. (3RD MOON PASS) The day started out clear and calm again, so visual aiming was possible until later toward moonset.  The Kp index is down at 1, which is good, although can make the polarization lockouts long.  The -5.7 dB Degradation really hurts with a small portable station like mine, though :-(  I can't wait until the Degradation improves starting Wednesday, and we start moving into the optimum days of the month for 6m EME!  I only worked 2 stations during my moonrise, which actually I guess is rather good, considering the high Degradation today.   However, overall, I was very pleased to add another 14 stations in the log on the worst day of the week for EME ;-)  The total stations worked via 6m EME now stands at 52.

New stations worked today were: G8VR, MM0AMW, JG2BRI, JS2CQA, N6JV, UT4MF, OH7KM, LA7DFA, S59A, DF9OX, G5WQ, G4FUF, F6BKI and GD0TEP.

Copied but not worked were: G4FUF, K7RWT, W1JJ, KX4R, N9IW, NT0V, SM7FJE, ON4AOI and S51DI.

Sure looking forward to the improving conditions starting tomorrow! 

TUESDAY OCTOBER 2. (4TH MOON PASS)  Again the day started out clear and calm with visual aiming.  The Kp index was 1 and the Degradation had dropped down to -4.3 dB.  The lower Degradation was nice but the low Kp index definitely showed itself with a polarity lockout on my moorise.  Although I copied three stations, I was unable to complete any new contacts during my moonrise.  By the time I completed my first contact of the day, the Degradation had already dropped down to -3.9 dB.

New stations worked today were: W1JJ, JA7QVI, NT0V, OH5VY, DK2PH, ON4AOI, DK8NE, S57RR, ZS6NK

Copied but not worked were: CT1HZE, ON4AOI, K7RWT, K1SIX, WA1EAZ, KX4R, W9GA, N9IW, K5NA, SM7FJE, S51DI, I4YRW

Total stations worked currently stands at 61.  Hopefully this will allow a bit more to spend with some of the other stations as cndx improve further.

HEADS UP!  In studying my local obstacles, I can see my moonrises will be blocked after Sunday, and I will also have very limited windows to NA after Sunday.  I encourage all people who are interested in contacting me to try to get on before Monday, because I may decide to go QRT after Sunday GMT moonset.  If this is a problem for you, and you only have a common moon window after Sunday, please email me and propose a time for a sked.  With the best conditions taking place over the next 5 days, I would think I should be able to fill the log with any remaining people who are interested in a 6m contact. Already it seems I am going long periods without seeing any callers.  Thanks!
WEDNESDAY OCTOBER 3. (5TH MOON PASS)  First of all, a big THANK YOU to all of you for following my 6m EME DXpedition Procedure! Thanks also for spreading out your calling frequencies so nicely!  Without your cooperation, none of this would have been possible! 

The pass started out at Kp-2, and the Degradation was around -2.5 dB, a welcome improvement!  I was very pleased to work 5 stations during moonrise today before I had to start elevating.  The partly cloudy skies did not interfere with the aiming at all, at least not until the clouds moved in for the last couple hours before moonset.

New stations worked today were: VP8EME, CT1HZE, EA8DBM, G4BWP, N7IP, W7KNT, VK5PJ, K1SIX, N8JX,  W9GA, W9JN, K9CT, ND0B, YL2AO, HA0DU, S51DI

Copied but not worked were: K7RWT, K2ZJ, WW2DX, KA1R,KX4R, N9IW,SP4MPB, OK1RD, LZ2CC, ZA5V, PA5Y, G3WOS, I4YRW

Total worked is now up to 77 stations. Tomorrow is the best day of the month for 6m EME ;-)  Let's see if we can make it to 100 stations after tomorrow!
THURSDAY OCTOBER 4. (6TH MOON PASS)  With a Kp=1 and Degradation down to -0.6 dB, the day started off great!  I only worked one station on my moonrise before elevating, but the signals were very good ;-)  It poured rain last night and I think that had something to do with the outside part of the air conditioner because I kept blowing the circuit breaker this morning until I turned the A/C off.  When the sun came out and dried everything up, I was able to run the A/C again to help keep the room and amplifier cool again.  The moon is getting up over 70 degrees due north (during midwest NA moonsets) and is creating quite a challenge, since I can't aim that high.   I also have to be especially careful not to let the rear elements touch the wet salty guy ropes today... I also am about out of food, so will have to try to get someone to drive me to the market again to stock up for a few days.  It became cloudy after the moonset in NA, so the only aiming was by instruments.  We even had a few light rain showers this afternoon.  The last four contacts of the day were made on my moonset when I was lowered down at the horizon.  I have over 6 dB more noise when I am below 20 degrees, but I found that the Noise Reduction function of the SDR Console receiver software, plus the ground gain of my yagi during moonset, makes it possible for me to continue to make contacts when the moon is down to about 4 degrees elevation.

New stations worked today were: VE5UF, K6QXY, K7RWT, VK3DUT, N4II, W8PAT, N8GTI, KL7HBK, YL2AO (2nd time), SM7FJE, OK1RD, PA5Y, G3WOS, S59Z, SP4MPB

Copied but not worked were: N1DG, WP4G, KX4R, KA1R, WW2DX, VE2DFO, K8MFO, K5NA, N9IW, W6TOD, W3XS, LZ2CC, SP3RNZ, 4O6AH

Total contacts now stands at 90 stations on 6m EME.  Still a number of workable stations out there!  See you all tomorrow ;-)
 
FRIDAY OCTOBER 5. (7TH MOON PASS)  The day started out clear but quickly became cloudy all day with rain showers on and off.  It had rained overnight again, so everything was wet.  The Degradation was -0.6 and the Kp=4.  I was very pleased to make more contacts during my moonrise before I had to elevate.  I only rarely caught glimpses of the moon today.

New stations worked today were: N1DG, K2ZJ, K9TVG, KC8ENN, K8OM, K0DAS, KX4R,SP3RNZ, LZ2CC, PA7MM, ZA5V

Copied but not worked were: W1VHF, KA1R, VE2DFO, N4QWZ, N4BRF, NR0X, N9IW, JE3GRQ, W6TOD, HA8FK, HA8CE, PA2CHR

Total 6m EME contacts now up to 101.  It was quite a special treat to contact Drago at the ZA5V DXpedition.    I will be on at moonrise in the morning!
SATURDAY OCTOBER 6. (8TH MOON PASS)  The Degradation was just under -1.0 dB all day long, and Kp index went from 1 to nil, which wound up making some pretty one-way propagation during my moonset.  After sunrise today, the moon was obscured by clouds and proximity to the sun, so it was aiming by instruments all day after moonrise (photo below).  I did switch to WSJT-X Version 1.9.1 for my moonset today and overall had good results.  I did run into some glitches, but they may have been from my inexperience using it or perhaps there have already been some enhancements made to the upcoming version.  I found it much slower to use, but I figured since most of the heavy pileups were over, I'd give it a try and see if it could pull a few more out of the noise ;-)



New stations worked today were: WG8Q, VK4WTN, WA9LFO, N9IW, W6TOD, JE3GRQ, PA9RX and I4EAT.

Copied but not worked were: VE2DFO, KA1R, N4WW, K7ULS, KR7O, HA7TM, UX0FF, HA8CE, LZ2DF, S53R, and LZ2WO

That brings the total stations worked on 6m EME now up to 109, surpassing my record of 106 worked during last year's VK9X DXpedition.  Because the moon's declination is coming south, and its elevation here on the equator is therefore getting ridiculously high, I will only be on for the next two days when my moon is below 60 degrees elevation.  I will see how it goes, and there may be further operating time adjustments made depending on how the local obstructions interfere with my ability to aim the antenna.  Due to the increasing Degradation, and the diminishing number of remaining stations I can contact, at this point I am not planning to operate past moonset on October 10, but I may even tear down earlier than that, depending on the availability of helpers to assist me in lowering the antenna safely down between the fence and the containers.  It also will depend on the weather.
SUNDAY OCTOBER 7. (9TH MOON PASS)  Another calm, partly cloudy day.  Of course, there was no visual tracking available after the sun came up, because the moon is getting too close to the sun.  The Degradation was an encouraging -1.4 dB, but the Kp index was 4 and quickly rose to 5 with the geomagnetic disturbance. It didn't start dropping down again until moonrise in Europe.   Many thanks to the team of hams that activated my home station today.  They all made contacts with the exception of K7VK - great job guys!  I used JT65A in WSJT-X all day to get a feel for it.  My efforts to try to snake the array in and around the guy ropes to continue to work horizon-only stations in North America just didn't work at all.  Not only was it an excercise in futility, it resulted in my having to turn off the transmitter for extended periods of time, and proved that there is just no way I can effectively work EME when I aimed over 25 degrees away from it.  So, in the next  two days I won't even attempt to aim the antenna above 60 degrees, which is the highest the elevation mount can go.

: W7GJ, KB7Q/7, K7MTD/7, KF7VSX/7, AJ7LL/7, NN7J, UX0FF, SM5AQD

Copied but not worked were: AA1V, VE2DFO, K7ULS, KA1R, WA1EAZ,N1KWF, K8MFO, K5NA, S53R, HA8FK and I4YRW

The total 6m EME contacts now stands at 117.  A severe geomagnetic storm is forecast and I just hope it doesn't interfere too much with moonrise and moonset contacts tomorrow!
nting
MONDAY OCTOBER 8.(10TH MOON PASS)  Degradation was still under 3 dB.  Kp started out at 4 but moved down to 3 by the time the East Coast USA moonset was finishing.  I completed with no stations on my moonrise, although I copied a number of stations after elevating before the moon got too high for me to elevate at it (65 degrees).  One of the few remaining USA single yagi stations with elevation that I had not worked was K7ULS and I copied him many times during my moonrise.  WT8V hopes to have elevation by tomorrow.

When I started up again for European moonrise at 0200Z, the Degradation was -2.8 dB, the Kp Index was down to 3, and most of the Europeans were undoubtedly asleep  in bed.  I was very pleasantly surprised that, now that the moon is setting almost due west, I have much less noise than when it was setting more to the northwest.  However, I am not sure my ground gain is as good as it was when I was aiming to the northwest, directly down the paved street. I operated all but two hours in the middle of this moon pass (when the moon was too high for me). Either the activity was much lower than on the weekend, conditions were worse today, I have already worked about all the capable stations I am likely to contact, or a combination off all of these.  I worked no new stations at all today. The total stations contacted still stands at 117.

Copied but not worked were: K7ULS, VE2DFO, K1WHS, WT8V, JH2COZ, K8MFO, N4QWZ, HA8FK, S53R and I4YRW.

I will next start up again at my moonrise and operate for North America from 1920 to 2400Z  I will then begin operating again 5 hours later for the European moonrise at 0500Z on October 10 GMT.  Tomorrow is probably the last day for EME, but that will depend on EME conditions and activity levels. 
TUESDAY OCTOBER 9. (11TH MOON PASS)  The day was partly cloudy and very windy.  The Degradation started at -2.8 db.  The Kp index started at 4 and was down to 3 by 2400Z and I had to stop due to the moon being too high.   I only made one contact during moonrise, but copied 5 other callers.  From 0000Z to 0430Z, I called toward NA on FT8 mode but had no success via the ionosphere. The Kp index dropped to 1 by my moonset, but I only copied HA8FK and was not able to complete with him.

The only new station worked today was N2RVU, bringing the total 6m EME stations worked to 118.

Copied but not worked were: WA2TP, JR1LZK, K1WHS, KD7YZ, JH2COZ, HA8FK

Tomorrow morning we take down the antenna and I will pack it up.  Then I will see if a 20m dipole strung between the containers will produce any FT8 contacts.  Thanks to everyone for making the DXpedition so successful!  Good luck to all in making 6m EME contacts with the VP6D DXpedition, which departs next week!
WEDNESDAY OCTOBER 10.  Last night I went through the contacts in preparation of posting the entire log on this page.  The corrected total is 119 contacts in 34 DXCC ;-)   The spreadsheet counts better than me ehrn I am trying to hand log during a pileup ;-)  There were a number of very notable contacts, including some first EME contacts for new stations.  Even a contact with a 100w single yagi station!  And a very treasured contact with the ZA5V EME DXpedition ;-) I am glad I was able to get on a week early so I could save the optimum days with lowest Degradation to spend more time making some of these unusual contacts!  Thanks again to all of you who put in the time to watch for me and make the DXpedition such a resounding success!

With the assistance of some very capable helpers, the 6m yagi came down and was off the mast in about 30 minutes this morning. The antenna had to be lowered in a slightly elevated position in order to align with the narrow space available between the containers and the security fence. The reflector *where I was standing to take the photo) just cleared the other set of containers when the antenna rested on the prop.  Almost looks like it was planned for that space, doesn't it?  Now you know why I spent so much time figuring out the siting on my first morning in the rain on Nauru!






Almost all the 6m gear is packed up now.  I did string up a 20m dipole about 6' off the ground this afternoon and was greeted by a huge pileup on FT8 mode, despite my high SWR and terrible antenna location.
The final local Thursday, Friday and Saturday were spent packing, preparing a summary, designing QSL cards and preparing envelope labels.  And operating some 20m FT8.

SUMMARY OF RESULTS
After arrival on September 28, the station was assembled as publicized on the advance schedule, and operational by moonrise on September 29.  Degradation was not optimum, but being operational a week ahead of the lowest Degradation allowed for more time to spend contacting smaller stations during the optimum days.  I always try to allow extra days of operation to accommodate unpredictable events such as equipment malfunction, geomagnetic disturbances, and extreme weather. There were a couple of geomagnetic disturbances toward the end of the operation, but most of the contacts that were going to be made had already been made at that time.  The EME operation was terminated at the end of the 11th moon pass because of that, and also to provide ample more leisurely time to tear down and pack up the station. 

All stations were advised months in advance to try to contact me earlier in the DXpedition rather than later, due to the fact that the elevation of the moon in C2 would be rising beyond the ability of my antenna to elevate as the operation progressed.  This was certainly another reason for the declining number of successful contacts toward the end of the operation.  A number of single yagi stations (a single 5 element yagi in one case), along with one 100w single yagi station were contacted.  Although the site available for the antenna was not ideal, and there was significant ground clutter near the antenna, the more distant view during moonrise was out over the ocean, and provided good good gain in that direction.  Moonset to the west was noisier and did not the same ground gain, since the antenna was aiming inland toward buildings, roads and rising land mass.  The majority of each moon pass from moonrise to the start of moonset placed the moon out over the ocean, and the receiver noise was very low as planned.  Toward the beginning of the operation, when the larger stations were calling, it was possible to achieve the expected three to 5 contacts before elevating the antenna.  The antenna and equipment worked well and no significant problems were encountered.

The preferred location was at the north end of the Menen Hotel, which would have provided an open clearing with excellent ground gain toward both moonrise and moonset.  However, that whole end of the hotel was reserved for long term residents.  The Menen Hotel also offers eating facilities, which the Budapest Hotel does not, but advance communication with that hotel was very difficult. 

Although the antenna site at the Budapest Hotel was not ideal, it did allow the antenna to be erected very close to the station location, so that only 50' of LMR600UF was required.  This was undoubtedly responsible for the excellent reception achieved during this operation.  The remote location of the hotel undoubtedly also contributed to the relatively low receiver noise.  Mr. Criden Appi, the Chief Communications Regulator, was extremely helpful not only in obtaining the radio license, but also in guiding me in the process of obtaining a VISA to enter Nauru.
  
Nauru was extremely rare on 6m outside of Region 3.  The reason such a difficult to reach and expensive destination was chosen for the DXpedition was because virtually every contact provided a new DXCC for the station making the contact.  It was fulfilling to be able to provide so many firsts to people all over the world.   The final results are shown in the log below. 119 6m EME contacts were made in 34 DXCC, and 33 stations in an additional 2 DXCC were copied but not worked.  This easily surpasses my personal record of 106 6m EME contacts made last year from VK9X. Over 50% of the contacts had been made by the end of the 4th moon pass, and over 90% had been made by the end of the 8th moon pass.  As on the VK9 DXpeditions last year, it seems that 10 moon passes should be a sufficient amount of activity to complete with stations which are readily capable of contacting a small portable station such as mine.

Special thanks to the many supporters who helped fund this operation, and to the many dedicated 6m DXers who turned out to provide 6m EME contacts.  As with past 6m EME DXpeditions, photo QSL cards will be mailed out directly for all EME contacts. 




C21GJ LOG OF 6M EME

















COMPLETED CONTACTS







COPIED BUT NOT WORKED





















TOTAL
MOON


SIG













QSO #
PASS    DATE UTC CALL DB MODE   PROP   DXCC
   #
CALL
  DXCC

1
1 29-Sep-18 1028 G8BCG -20 JT65A   EME
1 G
1
4O6AH
1 4O

2


1040 N3XX -24


2 W
2
AA1V




3


1052 K2ZD -27





3
HA7TM




4


1100 W7JW -22





4
HA8CE




5


1106 GM3POI -21


3 GM
5
HA8FK




6


1132 N7NW -23





6
I4YRW




7


1138 K7CW -24





7
JE3GRQ




8


1230 N8RR -24





8
JH2COZ




9


1406 K4PI -26





9
JR1LZK




10


1444 VE1JF
-19


4
VE

10
K1WHS




11


1458 JG1TSG -27


5
JA
11
K5NA




12


1506 KG7H -19





12
K7ULS




13


1816 KJ9I -23





13
K8MFO




14


1822 OH6MIK -26


6
OH
14
KA1R




15


1826 UR0MC -19


7
UT
15
KD7YZ




16


1834 UT7QF -18





16
KR7O




17


1848 ES6RQ -23


8
ES
17
LZ2DF




18


1958 OH2BC -20





18
LZ2WO




19


2013 IW5DHN -20


9
I
19
N1KWF




20


2020 ON4GG -14


10
ON
20
N4BRF




21


2040 OZ4VV -20


11 OZ
21
N4QWZ




22


2124 ZS4TX -29


12 ZS
22
N4WW




23


2132 ON4IQ -22





23
NR0X




24


2142 DL9YHR -24


13 DL
24
PA2CHR




25
2 30-Sep-18 1136 NJ6P -25





25
S53R




26


1152 EI3KD -20


14 EI
26
VE2DFO




27


1158 FK8CP -17


15 FK
27
W1VHF




28


1202 W6UC -23





28
W3XS




29


1244 W5ADD -23





29
WA1EAZ




30


1540 K6EME -28





30
WA2TP




31


1550 K4RX -26





31
WP4G
2 KP4

32


1614 AC0RA -21





32
WT8V




33


1754 W6XU -30





33
WW2DX




34


1900 US0LW -21













35


1908 UW7LL -18













36


1926 UB7K -19


16 UA








37


1928 OH3SR -20













38


2126 ZL3NW -24


17 ZL








39
3 1-Oct-18 1232 G8VR -17













40


1252 MM0AMW -28













41


1620 JG2BRI -23













42


1626 JS2CQA -26













43


1930 N6JV -30













44


1950 UT4MF -20













45


2022 OH7KM -21













46


2116 LA7DFA -25


18 LA








47


2140 S59A -24


19 S5








48


2202 DF9OX -23













49


2228 G5WQ -22













50


2246 G4FUF -25













51


2306 F6BKI -27


20
F








52


2338 GD0TEP -21


21 GD








53
4
1612 W1JJ -22













54


1832 JA7QVI -23













55


2006 NT0V -27













56


2016 OH5VY -22













57


2220 DK2PH -22













58


2242 ON4AOI -26













59


2240 S57RR -19













60

3-Oct-18 0010 ZS6NK -26













61


0020 DK8NE -29













62
5
1416 VP8EME -21


22 VP8








63


1434 CT1HZE -23


23 CT1








64


1438 EA8DBM -21


24 EA8








65


1444 G4BWP -27













66


1450 N7IP -12













67


1530 W7KNT -19













68


1742 VK5PJ -26


25 VK








69


1756 K1SIX -22













70


1856 N8JX -27













71


1906 W9GA -21













72


1912 W9JN -20













73


2014 K9CT -16













74


2048 ND0B -23













75

4-Oct-18 0004 HA0DU -23


26 HA








76


0144 S51DI -23













77
6
1700 K7RWT -20













78


1534 VE5UF -26













79


1630 K6QXY -23













80


1752 VK3DUT -24













81


1906 N4II -26













82


1914 W8PAT -24













83


1926 N8GTI -28













84


2344 KL7HBK -25


27 KL7








85

5-Oct-18 0002 YL2AO -21


28 YL








86


0038 SM7FJE -19


29 SM








87


0108 OK1RD -28


30 OK








88


0114 PA5Y -22


31 PA








89


0200 G3WOS -19













90


0226 S59Z -22













91


0244 SP4MPB -23


32 SP








92
7
1614 N1DG -29













93


1630 K2ZJ -26













94


1838 K9TVG -21













95


1946 KC8ENN -26













96


2040 K8OM -23













97


2056 K0DAS -21













98


2126 KX4R -26













99

6-Oct-18 0146 SP3RNZ -26













100


2020 LZ2CC -17


33 LZ








101


0230 PA7MM -30













102


0318 ZA5V -29


34 ZA








103
8
1716 WG8Q -23













104


1840 VK4WTN -26













105


1928 WA9LFO -28













106


2142 N9IW -25













107


2356 W6TOD -23













108

7-Oct-18 0148 JE3GRQ -20













109


0412 PA9RX -21













110


0422 I4EAT -30













111
9
1828 W7GJ -12













112


1838 KB7Q/7 -15













113


1848 K7MTD/7 -17













114


1854 KF7VSX/7 -19













115


1906 AJ7LL/7 -16













116


2146 NN7J -26













117


0346 UX0FF -28













118


0446 SM5AQD -21













119
11
2136 N2RVU -22
























































This page last revised on  13 October, 2018