Western Pacific 6m EME DXpedition

Full pdf report now available here.

T8GJ in PJ77hq

Choll Village, Ngaraard State, Babeldaob Island,

Republic of Palau

(CQ DX Zone 27, IOTA OC-009)

August 18 to August 25, 2016

Tentative Operating Schedule (xls)
Tentative Operating Schedule (pdf)
Projected moonrises and moonsets (.txt)

V6M in PK90va

Falalop Island, Ulithi Atoll, Yap State,

Federated States of Micronesia

(CQ DX Zone 27, IOTA OC-078)

August 29 to September 3, 2016

Tentative Operating Schedule (xls)
Tentative Operating Schedule (pdf)
Projected moonrises and moonsets (.txt)

Yellow asterisk shows 6M8GJ antenna location at 130' ASL
Horizon at T8GJ
Background on Palau can be found below:

The local time is 9 hours ahead of UTC.  My T8GJ license is here.  The map below shows where in the world this remote place is located - 800 miles southwest of Guam!

Yellow asterisk shows 6M8GJ antenna location at 55' ASL
Horizon at V6M
Background on Ulithi Atoll in Yap can be found below:


The local time is 10 hours ahead of UTC.  My V6M license is here.  The special Council of Tamol permit to visit the outer islands in Yap is here.  The maps below shows where in the world this remote place is located - 400 miles southwest of Guam!

Red circle shows location of Choll village on the main island of Palau

Red Labels show the locations of Palau and Yap in the western Pacific

Red circle shows location of Falalop Island in Ulithi Atoll, FSM


By now, you know perfectly well why somebody would haul all the equipment for a serious 6m operation to the opposite side of the world  at a time of year and during a solar cycle with little to no chance of ionospheric propagation.  It is because good locations were found there to take advantage of the superb EME conditions afforded at this point in the low solar cycle and minimize ionospheric interference at this time of year!  If you are thinking about a trip, you might as well go someplace VERY rare so you can hand out a new DXCC with virtually every half million mile contact.  In order to provide sufficient advance planning for stations wishing to contact me while I am overseas, I am providing plenty of advance notice of this DXpedition.   I urge you to gain experience with JT65A and especially review the QSO PROCEDURE that I use most effectively on these DXpeditions  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.   I always look for a site with as many of the following ideal factors:

1. Reliable AC power
2. View out over the ocean on moonrise and moonset for ground gain and extended window with more distant stations
3. A site such that the antenna will never be aimed at the village or any buildings during common moon windows, decreasing the chance of receiver noise
4. No buildings, hills or other solid structures on the ground between the antenna and the ocean on moonrise or moonset or during EME operation to degrade ground gain
5. Secure and safe location for the equipment

Operation from Palau is challenging because of the steep terrain and location of most of the lodging establishments being blocked either toward the east or west, and being located in close proximity to a noisy urban area.  After considerable investigation, a suitable operating site for T8GJ was found in a very rural village on top of a ridge with excellent views out over the ocean to both the east and west.  The first few days, my horizon toward moonrise may be around 1.0 degree elevation; after that, I have a negative horizon out over the ocean for all my moonrises.   All my moonsets have a negative horizon out over the ocean during the entire operation.  I look forward to activating T8 for the first time on 6m EME.

Falalop Island is still devastated after Typhoon Maysak in 2015, but I am going there again to try to catch up with the stations I missed last year when my power supply and amplifier failed.   I hope to complete with many of those stations I missed last year - so you get yet another chance to put V6M in the 6m log!   Of course, if we completed last year from V6M, please stay out of the way, since I still expect there to be many stations calling during the short common moon windows.  All my moonrises and moonsets are negative horizon out over the ocean.

I hope you will make the effort to look for me from both these DXCC!


Because of the lengthy plane flights, in addition to the layovers waiting to connect with non-daily flights, plus all the time required to assemble and tear down the station and antenna at each location, there unfortunately are a number of extra days required in which there won't be any 6m activity.  As a result, I expect to have only 7 full days of operation from Palau and 5 full moon passes from Falalop Island.  The remoteness of both these locations also causes the common moon windows with EU and NA to be relatively short.  However, these days DO include the lowest Degradation days of the month (even taking place over a weekend while I am in Palau), plus good common moon each day with both all of NA and EU, so I hope that will provide enough opportunity for people who are serious about contacting those DXCC on 6m EME. 

I will be leaving home  on Monday August 15 and hope to be set up  in Palau before NA moonset on Thursday, August 18.  Because I will have to leave the site by late morning on Saturday, August 20, I will have to begin dismantling the antenna and station after the NA moonset on Thursday, August 25.   Unless there are unforeseen local obstacles, I  expect to be able to erect the antenna in Palau so it will have a view of both moonrise and moonset over the ocean.  Since the antenna will be about 130' above the ocean, I expect to be able to operate EME down to -1.5 degrees elevation in both directions.  
KB3SII has very generously provided a GO!  Iridium satellite transponder so I can send brief updates to the Magic Band EME email group regarding my status and stations worked.  These will be posted by SM7FJE daily on the page listed below, in the PHOTOS AND UPDATES section.  I will try to add photos and updates myself when I have access to the internet, which I hope to be able to do at least in between T8 and V6.

I will flying from Palau to Yap on Sunday, August 28 and will be arriving on Falalop Island in Yap State, Micronesia late in the morning on Monday, August 29.  I know it is challenging, but if the weather permits, I hope to be set up by my moonrise that evening, to take advantage of that optimum day of low Degradation.  From my operation there last year, I expect to be able to start copying signals below +1 degree on my moonrise and down to -1.5 degrees on my moonset.    As explained above please watch for daily updates to the Magic Band EME email group, which will also be posted on the SM7FJE page shown below.  Other than that, please just refer to my posted schedule above and watch for me on the air.   Also,  please watch the ON4KST EME CHAT page and DX Cluster for reports that show my activity.  I will be leaving Falalop Island on Monday morning, September 5 so I will have to tear down and pack on Sunday, September 4.  That means my last planned activity will be a few hours after my moonrise on Saturday, September 3.   I will be returning home from Yap on Wednesday September 7 (the next flight out of Yap).


The updated 6m station will be a Yaesu 857 with my Mirage KP-1/6 external preamp, and an M2 6M1K2 amplifier.  I will be using a pair of new Meanwell RSP-2000-48 110/220 VAC switching power supplies (run in parallel) for the 50 VDC required by the amplifier and a new 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).   The Meanwell power supplies (very generously donated from GW4WND at The DX Shop ) were specially programmed to provide full power output for up to 60 second transmit periods, even down to 100 VAC input voltage.  In fact, initial testing here indicated full power output down to 92 VAC input line voltage!

A RIGblaster Plug & Play interface will be be used with my HP Windows 10 laptop computer to operate JT65A for EME mode from WSJT10.  Please use JT65A mode in the WSJT10 Version 6088 (or more recent) program release:  http://www.physics.princeton.edu/pulsar/K1JT/WSJT-10.0-r6088-Win32.exe

The antenna again is my 6M8GJ yagi with
my home-made manual elevation mount and fed with 75' of low loss LMR600 low loss cable.   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 many of those places 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 European and eastern NA stations, since there 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 moonsets and moonrises as published on the operating schedules posted above.   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.  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.  Closer spacing than that can cause false decodes on the "shorthand" two tone messages of RO, and 73.   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, and will
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.   Please understand that I will be watching your DF for partial decodes showing "#", indicating that you are copying me at that time, and I will know which caller to answer by referring to my list of DF's from previously decoded callers.  

Because I am so far west, the only possibility for eastern NA is during my moonrise, and the only possibility for western EU is on my moonset.   Please refer to the posted planned operating schedules above.   If you think that you will not be able to be QRV for any of the times shown on the operating schedule, or are concerned that you think I may not be QRV during your only moon windows, please send me an email and I will try to make a special effort to watch for you.  However, remember that I will only have regular internet access from home until August 14!  I know there also are a number of new stations planning to come onto 6m EME in the coming months - please make sure that I have your callsigns and grids squares in my CALL3.txt file so I don't disregard your call as a false decode!

REMINDER TO ALL STATIONS:  I  STRONGLY encourage you to try to elevate your antenna so you can contact me when my moon is lower in elevation,  when 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 -
if at all possible - during the trip when my moon is lower than 45 degrees elevation!  I have included these guidelines on the operating schedule sheets.   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 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!

In the above proposed operating schedules, I have indicated times when the elevation is over 50 degrees by marking the time periods with dotted 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 is calling during those periods, or if I have already worked stations whose moon is on the horizon during those 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 closely as I can.


As explained above, I probably will only be able to send short satellite updates while I am QRV from Palau, but am sure I will at least be able to send out a more complete summary when I have access to the internet at the end of the operation before I leave Palau.   I also expect to be able to send out updates and access email from Yap before and after I travel to Falalop Island for the 6m EME operation.  However, I don't expect to be able to send updates from V6M on Falalop Island other than the very updates via satellite.   Please share any updates regarding my activity with others on the ON4KST EME CHAT page and on the Magic Band EME email list.  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 - the common moon windows  are very limited, and many stations are expected to be calling.   In order to avoid confusion and save time, please use the standard W7GJ DXpedition procedures and STANDARD JT65A messages!

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

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 (although I anticipate that both locations will extremely quiet)!  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 during my limited moon windows, so please do not call me on CW or SSB and expect me to switch over to answer you using some other mode.   When I am not aimed up at the moon, I very well may be on CW or SSB, or ISCAT mode.

It is extremely expensive to haul a 6m EME station halfway around the world to these locations - and the excess baggage charges alone are staggering, especially since I am not taking my little KX3! 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.  And the V6M operation again is a solo DXpedition and, unfortunately, I also will have to take a lot of extras (such as food, water, island gifts, etc.) in addition to all the 6m EME equipment.   Although I always keep my costs as low as possible, my travel and lodging costs will be quite high for this trip to activate two DXCC.  Therefore, any contributions toward the DXpedition are greatly appreciated!  If you would like to contribute via PayPal, 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 activate 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 the success of this DXpedition:


MNI MNI TNX for your continued support!!

M2 Antenna
                                        Systems, Inc                                                                         The DX Shop                                                                           


During the DXpedition, SM7FJE will be posting current daily updates of status and stations worked on a separate page HERE.

                                 Assembly of the 6M8GJ along the east side of the building         6M8GJ ready for raising. Video of raising at https://youtu.be/j8m3wfUFPkM                                 6M8GJ aimed at moonrise  
                                                    Antenna installation, facing north                                                                       T8GJ ham shack                                                                       First moonrise from the ham shack

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             6M8GJ installed at V6M and aimed at moonrise
                                                            2016 ham shack at V6M                                                               Aiming the antenna during New Moon                                              The 6m EME station at the Ulithi airport



I had run several 6m EME skeds with Japanese hams vacationing in Koror, and I always copied them on their moonrise, but they never copied anything from me because of the high urban noise level in Koror.  That was what convinced me to find someplace far from the city to go and properly activate T8 for weak signal work.   As shown on the map above, the operating site was on top of the ridge at the most narrow part of the main island on Palau, in the small, remote village of Choll.  At my request, M&A ECO Beach Bungalows had made special arrangements early in 2016 with the local governor to install a bed and refrigerator in one end of the community center/storm shelter there, and reserve the building for our use.   The site affords views of the ocean to both east and west, providing good common moon windows with horizon-only stations in eastern North America and western Europe.  This site and several others in the area (with views to either east or west) under development are available for rent through that small resort.  

I set up the antenna as scheduled, starting at dawn Thursday morning after arrival in Koror late Wednesday night.  I was pleasantly surprised to find that the building where I would be setting up the station had a 220 VAC outlet right next to the operating position (for the amplifier), as well as a 110 VAC outlet near the floor (for running everything else).  XYL Karen was with me on this leg of the trip, and rented a car and spent the day Thursday driving the hour south into Koror, tracking down three hardware stores before finding the particular 220 plug that I needed to set up the equipment that evening.   While she was out shopping for the correct 220 VAC plug, I assembled and raised the antenna by myself.  Starting at 6 am, I had the antenna up by mid afternoon as the storm clouds were moving in.   I was QRV by moonrise just after sunset, during typhoon rains and winds.   As I started copying moonset stations in North America, a tree was blown down across the power lines, and I lost power for most of the NA window.  By the time the power returned, I was only able to contact KR7O on the West Coast.    The next couple of moonrise windows were plagued by line noise until it finally rained again and cleared up the line noise.   Despite the intermittent line noise to the east, a high Kp index, and a couple of untimely power outages, and the inability to elevate high enough for horizon-only stations in western NA and eastern EU, 49 6m contacts were made via EME, plus two terrestrial contacts with Guam, 800 miles to the northeast. 23 additional stations were copied via EME.  The detailed log is shown below:

T8GJ 2017 Activation by W7GJ


1 KR7O 08/18/16 1257 -22
1 EA6SX -22
1844 -29
2 EA6VQ -20
1850 -25
3 EI3KD -19
4 S57RR
1908 -25
4 F5LNU -25
1945 -27
5 G3WOS -26
2002 -18
6 G4BWP -18
2018 -23
7 GM4WJA -26
2040 -27
8 K4MM -26
2055 -25
9 K7CW -17
2118 -22
10 K7RWT -25
11 KG7H 08/19/16 1100 -28
11 N3XX -22
12 OA4TT
1146 -26
12 N8JX -23
1934 -22
13 NJ6P -27
14 HA0DU
1958 -25
14 OK7XX -21
15 N7NW 08/20/16 1420 -26
15 OZ1DJJ -23
2018 -29
16 S51DI -25
17 G8VR
2056 -18
17 W3XO -28
18 DK2PH
2120 -26
18 W6XU -29
19 LZ2CC
2129 -27
19 W7MEM -22
20 S59A
2134 -25
20 W7UT -22
21 F6BKI
2138 -22
21 W9JN -25
2206 -23
22 WA4NJP -30
23 ZS6NK
2224 -25
23 ZL2DX -24
24 ZS4TX
2236 -24

25 DF9OX
2306 -27

2312 -20

27 W6XU 08/21/16 1458 -29

2028 -23

2048 -24

30 OK1RD
2104 -26

31 0Z4VV
2123 -22

32 HA7TM
2126 -18

33 LZ2WO 08/22/16 0004 -17

34 K6MYC
1558 -24

35 S51V
2202 -26

36 SP3RNZ 08/23/16 0038 -25

37 W7GJ
1656 -27

38 ZL3NW
2208 -21

39 W1JJ 08/24/16 1452 -26

40 KB8RQ
1538 -24

41 K2ZD
1600 -25

42 N3CXV
1640 -25

43 N8JX
1748 -30

44 KJ9I
1817 -26

45 K6QXY
1916 -26

46 K4PI 08/25/16 1556 -25

47 W5ADD
1638 -27

48 W7JW
1659 -25

49 W8PAT
1808 -25

Terrestrial KG6DX 08/19/16 1100 -28

KG6JDX 08/24/16 0746 51 USB

KG6DX 08/24/16 0757 59 USB


Because of the equipment failure last summer, which was the result of trying to operate the entire station on a single overloaded 15A 110 VAC circuit breaker, I decided to add a return trip to the same location to make up for some of the contacts I missed the first time around.  I was staying at the Ulithi Adventure Lodge again this year, and I had taken down information from their main circuit breaker box last year, to insure that I would be able to have access to 220 VAC right from the start of the operation this time.  As soon as I arrived on Falalop Island late Monday morning, I began unpacking and getting things set up.   I had brought a circuit breaker with me to insert into their power box and a cord to accept standard extension cords to it.   I immediately connected to the main 220 VAC supply, then began assembly of the antenna.   Fortunately, one of the rooms that did have a new roof over it was the one on second floor in the southeast corner of the building - the room closest to the antenna.  So, this year, the roof did not leak in my room, and a newly installed air conditioner, along with a directional fan aimed at my power supplies and amplifier, kept the equipment cool during operation.  The toilet still needed a bucket of water for flushing, and there was no running water for taking a shower, but I was provided with desalinized water to boil for the freeze-dried meals I brought over with me.  The antenna and feedline were up by sunset, and I moved on to assembling the equipment inside under lamp light.   I was QRV as scheduled for the first moonrise. 

The major operational challenges included a power outage during a critical operating window, a new metal roof overhang that obstructed the clear shot over the water on the early moonsets, along with high TEC during the afternoons that interfered with effective European contacts during the moonsets.   I also had the same antenna aiming constraints as in T8, and was unable to elevate high enough to match the windows with horizon-only stations in western NA and eastern EU.  Despite these obstacles, I completed contacts with an additional 43 stations via 6m EME to add to the 37 that were completed in August 2015.   19 additional stations were copied via EME.  The detailed log is shown below:

V6M 2016 Activation by W7GJ



1 OA4TT 8/29/2016 2008 -23
1 EA6VQ -21
2 K4PI
2018 -23
2 EI3KD -24
2026 -26
3 ES6RQ -22
4 W9GA
2030 -23
4 F5LNU -26
2054 -24
5 G8VR -19
6 W9JN
2100 -26
6 K4MM -26
7 W6XU
2106 -27
7 K7CW -17
2126 -25
8 K7LED -21
2204 -27
9 K7RWT -19
10 HA0DU 8/30/2016 0336 -21
10 KD7DCR -30
11 G8BCG
0340 -25
11 LA8AJA -25
12 HA7TM
0428 -22
12 N8JX -21
13 F6BKI
0422 -23
13 OH7KM -27
0508 -16
14 VE3MMQ -25
15 S51V
0628 -26
15 W3XO -21
16 N3XX
1954 -25
16 W5ADD -24
17 K0DAS
2055 -20
17 W6SR -23
18 W7GJ
2102 -26
18 W7MEM -25
19 N8GTI
2146 -25
19 ZS6NK -22
20 N0LNO
2318 -28

21 OZ4VV 8/31/2016 0404 -22

22 S59P
0532 -20

23 NU0P
2110 -26

2150 -26

2304 -20

26 AC0RA
2310 -24

27 LZ2CC 9/1/2016 0514 -19

28 S51DI
0530 -28

29 9A8A
0550 -23

30 G5WQ
0556 -21

31 LZ2DF
0622 -20

32 G4FUF
0556 -24

33 LZ2WO
0728 -26

34 NR0X
2204 -21

35 OH6MIK 9/2/2016 0528 -27

36 LZ2HM
0606 -24

37 S51ZO
0640 -17

38 DF9OX
0908 -24

39 K0EGQ 9/3/2016 0020 -23

0040 -22

41 ZL2DX
0728 -29

42 DK2PH
0742 -26

43 G3WOS
0834 -26

Operating 6m EME from a location in the TEP Zone is tough because there is almost always high ionization (TEC) around you during the daytime and evening.    My best success has always been operating in the middle of the night, when there is little ionospheric activity to interfere with the moon-bound signals.   Unfortunately, it is virtually impossible to have both moonset and moonrise during the middle of the night, so some compromises have to be made.  Fortunately, when the antenna is elevated, the local high TEC becomes less of a factor, which helps.   However, when operating near the equator, the moon can be quite high in the sky - higher than it is possible to elevate a single yagi - that certainly was a factor from both T8 and V6 during this trip.   But through diligent operation, 92 contacts were completed on 6m EME, and new DXCC were provided to a number of stations.     

This page last revised on 2 October, 2016