Tristan da Cunha is a British Overseas Territory; it is one of the remaining former colonies which have not yet asked for independence, and wish specifically to retain their link with the United Kingdom. For Tristan, the link dates back to 1816, when the island was garrisoned by Britain. It has never been activated on EME on any band, and remains quite rare around the world on 6m. It is home to under 250 residents, who live in the small settlement of Edinburgh Of The Seven Seas, located on the northwest corner of the volcanic island. Its proximity to Antarctica places it in an extremely isolated and stormy region in the south Atlantic Ocean.
Continuing the efforts to provide the
first ever 6m EME contacts from rare DXCC, this is
probably the most difficult and challenging I have
faced so far. I have tried for some time to got to
ZD9, but was told at the end of 2022 that my berth
from Capetown to Tristan da Cunha had to be
re-assigned to a government contractor who had
been delayed due to the previous Pandemic travel
restrictions. I have been placed high on the
waiting list to travel to ZD9 in late August,
2024, so I will work hard to make it happen this
time! In order to provide
sufficient advance planning for stations wishing
to contact me while I am in ZD9, 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. Ideally, the site
must be quiet, provide enough open space to erect
and operate the large antenna and - especially
from a location as distant from potential contacts
as ZD9 - must provide a good view of the moon
rising and setting out over the ocean. I am hoping
to be able to secure a spot for the antenna that
will at least provide a good view out over the
ocean on moonset. The location on the
northwest tip of the island is shown on the map
above. The other 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, and in pdf format is here. The ZD9 local time is the same as UTC. On the operating schedule, I have indicated times when the elevation is over 50 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, or if I have already worked stations whose moon is on the horizon, or if the weather prevents me from operating during those periods. Please check on the ON4KST EME CHAT page or the HB9Q LOGGER for updates regarding my activity during such periods. Please just keep watch on 50.213 and I will try to stick to the published schedule as closely as I can. I am expecting extreme weather that also may very well limit my ability to untie the antenna. A file with my moon positions during the trip is here.
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 around 120' over the ocean, and it will soon become clear after a few moonpasses 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. 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! With Q65 Pileup, it is very important for me to decode you so you will then go into the current version of my "Active Stations List" so I can decode you during other sequences with maximum sensitivity. Please coordinate your calling frequency with others on the ON4KST EME chat or HB9Q LOGGER pages to prevent interfering with each other - ideally, stations should be spread out every 100 Hz (remember that your doppler shift can be up to 100 Hz during your moonrise and moonset). 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.
As explained above, I hope to be able to send out updates periodically to the MAGIC BAND EME email group and revise this website 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 upon my return home. Please let me know of any logging discrepancies, as I can correct any errors by referring to my paper logbooks as well as the WSJT-X ALL.TXT file. I also will be printing photo QSL cards. If we have completed an EME contact, I plan to send you a QSL card to your QRZ.com mailing address. Other stations, 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
FREQUENCY, MODE AND SEQUENCE
For EME, I plan to operate on 50.213 MHz. 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 will have the ZD9GJ 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:
Often, more frequent updates are included in the WSJT-X IMPROVED version, which is here:
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! (Just double click on message # 4 to toggle back and forth between RR73 and RRR).
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. If those frequencies are too busy, I will try somewhere else and will announce the QSY on the air.
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 pm 6m EME, 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 for this operation will be staggering. And there are no amateur radio clubs or associations that provide funds for EME DXpeditions (they only support HF DXpeditions). Therefore, any contributions toward this 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 using the "FRIENDS AND FAMILY" option 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 generous 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
(more photos and updates may be
available on my FACEBOOK
SUMMARY OF RESULTS
|FOLLOWING ARE THE
LOGGED 6M EME CONTACTS DURING the