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 the USA has contacted S7 on 6m for many years,
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
southwest of 330 degrees azimuth is out over the
ocean; all the moonsets are between 265 and 295
degrees azimuth. I will be 100' 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 44' above the
ocean and there 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;
all my moonrises are between 65 and 90 degrees
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 (and 8877 amplifier) and extremely short, low loss feedline. If you have a good yagi, good ground gain, a quiet QTH, good power and lots of patience, we should be able to complete, even if you are a horizon-only single yagi station!
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 will be installed at a height of 44' 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 east and west of my antenna have (in terms of attenuation and also as possible obstructions preventing aiming in certain azimuths/elevations). 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, 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 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! You will also notice that I have very short common moon windows with all NA stations during 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 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 when the moon is above 65 degrees. 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 extremely limited, and many stations are expected to be calling during those short windows.
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 for free. 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! On my last DXpedition, I had two cards that I sent out direct that could not be delivered because the address on QRZ.COM was incorrect - PSE make sure your correct mailing address is listed on QRZ.COM! MNI TNX!
FREQUENCY AND SEQUENCE
For EME, I plan to operate on 50.190 and will always transmit in the first sequence JT65A mode. I will be using WSJT-X and will transmit on an "offset" of 1270 Hz, to align with DF=0 for people still using JT65A from WSJT10. With the "Wide Graph" of JT65A from WSJT-X, and my wide, flat bandwidth receiver, I should be able to see callers from an offset of about 150 to 2550 Hz. However, remember there could be a 100 Hz doppler shift on your signal, so please don't try to get too close to those band edges, or I may never be able to find you! It is always safest to have your signal fall within + and - 1000 Hz of 1270 Hz.
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 quick 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, 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 FT8 mode. For FT8, I will be using WSJT-X on 50.313 MHz. My QTH appears to be around 15 degrees south of 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, G8BCG, N6JV, W6UC, S51DI, F6BKI, N1DG, SP7VC, K4PI, K4RX, KB7Q, W6XU, K6QXY, K5NA, K5DU, N8RR, YL2AO, ZS4TX, K7KX, S59Z, G4BWP, K2ZJ, IW5DHN WB9Z, NV9L, W5NZS, OZ4VV, W5ADD, K7RWT
PHOTOS AND UPDATES
SUMMARY OF RESULTS