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:
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!
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!
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.
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.
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
Frenchtown, MT 59834-0073
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.
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!!
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
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!
|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
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
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
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.