LURED TO THE MOONLance in front of 2m EME antenna

 
First QSO as WN3GPL - on 2m AM!
Lance was first licensed as WN3GPL, shown here making his first QSO (September 21, 1965) from a hilltop outside of Lancaster, PA. Since that initial contact (made on 2m AM using 5 watts from a Heathkit Twoer  transceiver and a 3 element beam mounted on the chimney), his primary interest has been VHF DXing and building equipment.  Within a year, he upgraded and was assigned the callsign licenses of WA3GPL (for PA) and WA1JXN (first operating from NH, and then later from VT and MT).   In the mid 1970's, he was asssigned WB7CCI during his first move to Montana, but never got on the air with that callsign.  In 1996, he finally got tired of signing WA1JXN/7 on CW during EME contests, and obtained the "vanity callsign" of W7GJ.  W7GJ was originally held by Arthur F. Bertuleit in Portland, OR up until the 1960's. 
During the early 1980's, WA1JXN/C6A was operational on 144 MHz 4 times from Treasure Cay, in the Bahama Islands. The station used 4x KLM yagis (16 LBX and 18 LBX), erected on the beach overlooking the ocean to the north. Here, Lance and his dad, Dick, are shown installing the array (which was broken down for storage in between visits). In addition to working over 120 different stations via EME, 48 states were contacted.
Raising 4 yagi EME array in C6A
Old 12 yagi EME array
In early December 1983, operating from Montana as WA1JXN, Lance was the first radio amateur to communicate with the Space Shuttle. Astronaut Dr. Owen Garriot, W5LFL, was contacted using this 2m EME array of 12 yagis as STS-9 passed down along the West Coast of the USA. Shortly thereafter, inspired by a Central States VHF Conference hospitality room brainstorming session over rum drinks with Don Falle, VE2DFO, the antenna was rebuilt into the current 16 yagi array.
First in 1990 and again in 1995, Lance operated on 2m EME as ZF2OC/ZF8 from Little Cayman Island. He is shown here atop the borrowed Rhon 45 tower used to support the two yagis during the 1995 DXpedition.
1995 2m EME array in ZF8
J3 yagi for 6m In February, 2000, a vacation was combined with a mini DXpedition on 6m to FK92GL on the island of Carriacou in Grenada.  The QTH for J3/W7GJ was at the top of a canyon among banana trees, overlooking the islands of Petite Martinique and Petite St. Vincent.  The cottage was the  "Belair Gardens Guest Cottage", belonging to Michael, J37LD, and his wife, Becca.  Because of the location, it always enjoys a nice breeze, it was very comfortable, and there were no insects :-)

The cottage has both 110 and 230 VAC and is available for very reasonable rent (hams are especially welcome).  Late afternoon connections are available from Barbados to Carriacou via small Trans Island Air, which makes it particularly convenient to fly from Europe or Eastern USA locations as long as you do not have very much luggage. 

Otherwise, it is best to fly to the main island of Grenada, overnight there, obtain the license in person in St. Georges the next morning, and then take the ferry boat to Carriacou. The photo above is looking toward northern Europe; below is facing east to Africa. The 3 element 6m beam had been left there on loan, courtesy of W1AIM.
The top of the hill behind the cottage (a couple hundred feet higher, and only a few minutes' walk from the cottage) affords a clear shot in all directions.  The flat mountain-top site has a couple small meadows with a transmitter building housing a 1 kw FM broadcast XMTR (with extra room for ham equipment) that can be used for mountain topping and/or contesting. Although HF wire antennas are easily strung up around the cottage, large arrays (such as for EME) would best be set up at the hilltop location. J3 QTH

ZF8 6m yagi
In June of 2002, ZF2OC/ZF8 was put on 6m from Suzy's Cottage (in Little Cayman Island, EK99).  The M Squared 6M5X yagi shown was provided through the courtesy of W7ALW. Azimuth indicatorVery reliable power (120 VAC, 60 Hz)  is available now on Little Cayman. After using this fine little antenna, I am confident that an array of four of these small, lightweight yagis could be used quite well to work 6m EME with the new JT44 mode.   Shown at right is the simple azimuth indicator system made from some paper clips and a protractor.  
As you can see from the photo below, there also was time for  snorkling at Bloody Bay on the north side of Little Cayman.Hawkbill turtle "Oscar" with barracuda

 



In 2009, W7GJ went on his first 6m EME DXpedition.  He had been gathering up equipment suitable for doing a world class 6m operation from some rare DXCC, and by March of 2009, he took a K3 with PR6 preamp, 50' of LMR 600UF, a 6M8GJ yagi, a homemade manual elevation mount, and a solid state amplifier to Rarotonga.  Victor E51CG was kind enough to loan a 20' section of tower to use as a mast, and a special bracket was brought along to allow the antenna to be mounted easily on the tower, yet rotated.   Most of the contacts were made while the antenna was elevated.  The result was 26 different stations worked via 6m EME - the most stations that had been worked on a 6m EME DXpedition up to that point.  Complete details of the trip are available at http://www.bigskyspaces.com/w7gj/E51SIX.pdf


In the fall of 2010, he activated another rare country ono 6m EME, this time traveling to Fiji.  The equipment was similar to the the Raratonga trip, except this time he also took his own 20' portable mast.  The results were even better than before - twice as many stations contacted (52) via 6m EME and 17 additional stations copied.  Complete details are available at http://www.bigskyspaces.com/w7gj/Fiji2010.htm





Revised February 3, 2011
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