Providing the first ever 6m contacts
to the United States from FH last fall is a tough
act to follow! Until recently, 3B9 also had never
been contacted before on 6m from the United
States, but 3B9FR is doing a great job on TEP and
F2 ;-) So I will focus on activating 3B9 on 6m EME
to contact stations who cannot take advantage of
the ionospheric propagation to 3B9. In order to provide sufficient advance
planning for stations wishing to contact me
while I am in 3B9, I am providing plenty of
advance notice of this DXpedition.
As you know, a
good location can mean everything to the success
of one of these DXpeditions. I have been looking
for months for a suitable QTH in 3B9, and think I
finally found one that will provide capability for
good EME and terrestrial success. The location on
Rodrigues is shown on the above map. The maps show where in the world this
remote place is located I hope you will
make the effort to look for me!
As you can see from reviewing the results from my 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 in the many situations in which we should both have ground gain at the same time! A complete description of all the equipment being used on this DXpedition can be found here.
My tentative operating schedule as an Excel spreadsheet is here, in pdf is here. The 3B9 local time is 4 hours ahead of UTC. On the operating schedule, I have indicated times when the elevation is over 55 degrees by marking those cells in red. 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. Please check on the ON4KST EME CHAT page for updates regarding my activity during such periods. Please just keep watch on 50.190 and I will try to stick to the published schedule as well as I can.
If you copy me, please spot me on the DX Cluster so people will know the correct grid locator, as well as the frequency and my status. I will diligently try to be QRV during all my moonrises and moonsets as published on the operating schedule. The antenna should have a good view at a height of 240' 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 100 Hz. I will be using Q65-60A in the "Q65 Pileup" mode in the most recent version of WSJT-X. This averages callers on their particular offset frequencies, so 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 Indian Ocean, the only possibility for ground gain with NA is when the moon is rising or setting for one or both of us. I expect to have many callers from horizon-only stations in NA as the moon rises across the continent. Depending on your location, I may also have ground gain during my moonset at your moon rises. Let's make some real magic!
NOTE TO ALL STATIONS: The days of lowest Degradation are August 29 to September 3, which includes a weekend ;-) How much more convenient can it be for you? However, please be aware that the Moon's Declination is further south during the beginning of the trip, which makes my moon even higher. 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 when my moon is lower than 45 degrees elevation and/or when you have ground gain if at all possible! There is also another reason for trying to contact me when my moon is lower - because my antenna is only 24' above the ground, I 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!
As explained above, I expect to be able to send out daily updates to the MAGIC BAND EME email group and revise this website daily with a list of the stations worked. Please watch the MAGIC BAND EME email list for updated information. Please also share any updates with others on the ON4KST EME CHAT page. If there is some question regarding a contact, please DO call again. However, once you have confirmed a contact with me, please do not call for a second contact - some of the common moon windows are very limited, and many stations are expected to be calling.
Sorry, no eQSL or other newfangled ways of confirmation. I will upload all contacts to LOTW. I also will be printing photo QSL cards. Please QSL DIRECT with SASE (foreign stations include a current IRC or $2 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 free. However, I will very much appreciate receiving a self addressed envelope to relieve some of the burden of looking up all your addresses on QRZ.com
FREQUENCY, MODE AND SEQUENCE
For EME, I plan to operate on 50.190, where I run EME skeds when I am at home. I will always transmit in the first sequence Q65-60A using "Q65 Pileup" mode. Please call me using either Q65-Pileup or NA VHF Contest Mode from the most recent version of WSJT-X. Please DO NOT call me using any other modes. I will not be sending signal reports - in NA Contest Mode, only the grids are exchanged! So if you want to get in the log, make sure to spread the word to get on WSJT-X and operate in NA VHF CONTEST mode, which is the most sensitive for me to decode with Q65 Pileup mode on my end, and also results in faster contacts. And this will NOT work well with compound callsigns!! That is why I have applied for a real 3B9 callsign and I suggest that you just send me your callsign and grid, even if you are operating portable. Do NOT call me with a /P or /R or /# after your callsign - your grid will show where you are!
Here is the link to download the most recent version of WSJT-X:
Here is my step-by-step checklist to setting up Q65-60A for success on EME:
And here is a more detailed explanation of the DXpedition procedure I am using:
Remember, PLEASE, DO NOT USE A SINGLE RR73 to try to complete a contact with me! Change your messages so you send RRR instead, for as long as it is needed!
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 ! It is very inconvenient for me to switch modes while I am calling CQ or working EME stations, so please do not call me on CW or SSB or FT8 and expect me to switch over to answer you. If you should copy me on some ionospheric mode while I am pointed at the moon and am calling CQ on Q65-60A mode, please answer me in that mode and let's make a quick contact! Please do NOT call me on anything other than EME unless I am calling CQ! Please only contact me once! Do NOT interrupt me if I have already contacted you before!
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 the most recent version of WSJT-X on 50.313 MHz. If signals are strong and there are many callers, I may switch to FT4 on 50.318.
It is extremely expensive to haul a 6m EME station halfway around the world to this location.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 $7000. 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 using the "FRIENDS AND FAMILY" option. 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:
PHOTOS AND UPDATES
SUMMARY OF RESULTS