AN OPERATION TO ACTIVATE ANOTHER DXCC FOR THE FIRST TIME ON 6M EME
View toward Sunset
Providing the first ever 6m contacts
to the United States from VK9C and VK9X in 2017
and from C2 last fall is a tough act to
follow! This year, I am activating two rare
DXCC that have never been on 6m EME before. Nobody
in tthe USA has ever contacted S7 on 6m, and I
understand it also is still quite rare in Europe,
Africa, Asia and other countries. Since
it is the bottom of a very poor solar cycle,
there is little 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 at a
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 with practically
every half million mile contact. In
order to provide sufficient advance planning for
stations wishing to contact me while I am in S7,
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
messages (the two tone RO, RRR and 73) in
JT65A! I look forward to contacting you on
As you know, a
good location can mean everything to the success
of one of these DXpeditions. The above
photos show you some of the key reasons that make
this a highly desirable location. Most of
the time I will be elevated, and everything west
of 330 degrees azimuth is out over the
ocean. I will be 30 m east of the beach, and
expect to have good ground gain on my moonset,
although there probably will not be very low
lobes, since I will only be 40' above the ocean
and their are islands only a few miles
offshore. There is a rise to the east, but
it may be possible to have a ground gain lobe
between 7 and 13 degrees elevation on my moonrise.
site does afford reliable AC power, a source of
food, a secure and safe location for the
equipment, and an open spot to be able to set up
and operate the antenna immediately to the north
of the station. And, in the event there IS
some ionospheric propagation, I have a clear shot
over the water toward Europe. And the power
lines are to the east, which is a direction I will
rarely be pointing.
My equipment is described in detail here. As you can see from reviewing the results on my web pages from previous 6m EME DXpeditions, many contacts 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!
If you copy me, please spot me on the DX Cluster so people will know the correct grid locator, as well as the frequency and my status. I will diligently try to be QRV during all my moonsets as published on the operating schedule. The antenna should be installed at a height of 40' above the ocean, and it will soon become clear after a few moonsets and moonrises which elevations are best for my ground gain lobes and what effects, if any, the trees to the west of my antenna have. 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. I try to decode all callers every receive sequence, and I make a note of each caller and their DF (or "offset:") so I can reply to you as soon as I am able, or use that frequency to identify you later if you are copying me (by sending me 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. I also will be giving priority to those stations who have demonstrated their unselfish commitment to 6m EME by their willingness to accept schedules as requested by other DXers who still need their DXCC.
NOTE TO ALL STATIONS: Remember that I am using a single yagi, and it can be elevated only to a maximum elevation of 65 degrees (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 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 very short common moon windows with NA stations on my moonset. If you are in EU and you have a 6m EME array with elevation, PLEASE call me before moonrise in NA. I will be giving priority to NA horizon-only stations during their moonrise. There is lots of time to work EU while we are both elevated and/or during your moonrise - 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. 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, I expect to be able to send out daily updates to the MAGIC BAND EME email group and revise this website daily with a list of the stations worked. Please watch the MAGIC BAND EME email list for updated information. Please also share any updates with others on the ON4KST EME CHAT page. If there is some question regarding a contact, please DO call again. However, once you have confirmed a contact with me, please do not call for a second contact - some of the common moon windows during 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 $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 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 on 50.313 MHz. My QTH is very close to the geomagnetic equator, so there very well may be some ionospheric propagation somewhere - please spot me if you copy me on a direct path (my DT=0).
It is extremely expensive to haul a 6m EME station halfway around the world. Too many times, we hear DXpedition stations say they can't take a 6m beam and/or amp because "they are already overweight and cannot afford the excess baggage fees". If you want to do a good job and are committed to going halfway around the world to succeed, this unfortunately is a large part of the necessary expense. Although I always keep my costs as low as possible, my travel, excess baggage and lodging costs alone to activate this rare one 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 recognize that a large percentage of the costs are incurred before leaving, and have already very generously contributed to this DXpedition:
K2ZD, N7IP, KJ9I, SP4MPB, JA7QVI, K5QE, SM7FJE, G8VR, ZL3NW, JG1TSG, K7CW, ON4IQ, ON4GG, OH7KM, GM3POI, N3XX, K6EME VE1JF, OH2BC, N8GTI, W8PAT, I4EAT, I4YRW, N4II, W3UUM, UR0MC, SP3RNZ, S57RR, YU7EF, LY2IJ, W8OI, KL7HBK, JO1PSX
PHOTOS AND UPDATES
SUMMARY OF RESULTS