Monday, December 13, 2010

Now QRT - 1115 QSOs into 70 DXCC entities

The weekend DXpedition to Magnetic Island is now over. During the 60 hours on the island there was around 42 hours of actual operating when you factor in sleep and meals. Propagation was definitely not as good as Fitzroy Island, for instance in the first 60 hours of operating there I made 1739 QSOs versus the 1115 made here.

Mind you this IOTA is not as rare and has been activated once this year by a JA operator to another island. Nevertheless it was still lots of fun. 20m was terrible in the evening and very few Europeans there were contacted however 15m to Europe was great. North America continued to be a bit of a no show on all bands so that’s a shame.

Here’s a breakdown of the contacts made:

1071 (96.1%) SSB
    43 (3.8%) PSK31
      1 (0.1%) RTTY

608 (54.5%) 15m
242 (21.7%) 20m
135 (12.1%) 10m
130 (11.7%) 40m

551 (49.4%) Europe
382 (34.3%) Asia
153 (13.7%) Oceania
  24 (2.2%) North America
    3 (0.2%) Africa
    2 (0.2%) South America

Just for interest sake I’ve done a quick comparison between this weekend trip on Magnetic Island OC-171 in December and the weeklong trip to Fitzroy Island OC-172 in October. The clear difference is the poor 20m conditions to Europe in the late evening but fortunately 15m in the late afternoon/early evening meant that many Europeans needing this IOTA were satisfied. Poor conditions to North America continued. Another difference to the past DXpedition was the it was the ARRL 10m contest so there were quite a few VKs there to push up the Oceania percentage.

SSB                96.1% (OC-171) and 90.7% (OC-172)
PSK31             3.8% (OC-171) and 9.2% (OC-172)
RTTY                0.1% (OC-171) and 0.1% (OC-172)

15m    54.5% (OC-171) and 21.6% (OC-172)
20m    21.7% (OC-171) and 65.4% (OC-172)
10m    12.1% (OC-171) and 11.7% (OC-172)
40m    11.7% (OC-171) and 1.3% (OC-172)

Europe                       49.4% (OC-171) and 70.0% (OC-172)
Asia                            34.3% (OC-171) and 25.6% (OC-172)
Oceania                     13.7% (OC-171) and 2.7% (OC-172)
North America            2.2% (OC-171) and 1.4% (OC-172)
Africa                            0.2% (OC-171) and 0.1% (OC-172)
South America           0.2% (OC-171) and 0.2% (OC-172)

Saturday, December 11, 2010

1 day down, 1 day to go

It's just over the half way point of the short trip. I'm spotting myself on the cluster everytime I change band to give people a chance to work OC-171. So please excuse all the self-spots but with a 100W and a vertical its not like I'm lighting up any spectrum analysers with my little signal and I'm trying to make the most of the limited band openings here.

Conditions to North America have been terrible. As expected the hills are blocking long path on 20m and there is no short path prop on 20m this time of year. Nothing on 15m short path and the best hope, namely 40m has been incredibly noisy. I did work a few stateside last night on 40m with the dipole but I was spending most of my time calling and calling and listening to the noise. At the same time I had a great opening on 15m to Europe so I ended up spending time there. I'm glad I did because 20m last night was pretty useless here which was a big surprise.

So will such a short time here it's just a matter of working what's open.

I'll keep trying for 40m tonight for North America in case I have more luck. Yesterday there was a total of 702 QSO's made. 73s

Friday, December 10, 2010

40m dipole up finally

After the small pile up of JA's got their Q's on 20m SSB and PSK31 this morning, at 930am local time or 2330 UTC I did the game of "let's get the 40m dipole up" again.

In blazing sun and ridiculous humidity I was able to get it up at a lower height but it's in the clear with a good SWR and a LOT LOT LOT less noise than the vertical. So tonight I'll try for North America on SSB, RTTY and PSK31 in the 0900-1300 UTC period.

Up and running but conditions not great

I'm up and running. The QRN and radar levels on 40m have been really bad. The palm trees are very high and late yesterday afternoon I just couldn't get the support rope up into the palms after many many frustrating throws. The vertical is too noisy for 40m and I really need the dipole up, so fingers crossed today. Email reports last night from W/VE indicate conditions between VK and North America weren't great anyway.

20m to Europe last night wasn't as good as I experienced on Fitzroy Island a couple of months ago. I did get a decent run during the 1300-1400 period including some W/VE's too.

40m tonight

Sorry everyone, 40m is full of radar noise and QRN levels are s7-9+.

I've only been able to get into JA tonight up until 0940 UTC, I will check later tonght hopefully, I'm off to 20m

On the air

I'm now set up after some delays late this afternoon and early evening. I only have the multiband vertical up and the noise on 40m is horrendous. I hope to get the dipole up tomorrow which will be a lot quieter on that band. So tonight much of my time will probably be on 20m if I cant hear anyone on 40m.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Latest OC-171 Operating Schedule

I’ve come up with an updated operating schedule that makes best use of the current propagation here in north Queensland so that North America, Asia and Europe all get a chance of working OC-171.

The focus will be SSB, I don’t do CW but I may do some RTTY and PSK31 if I’m not getting through on SSB. I’ll be using vertical antenna, so there’s no need to worry about beam headings, it’s all up to band choice and propagation.  

I’ll be arriving on Magnetic Island at 4pm local time (0600 UTC) on Friday afternoon and I hope to have the station operational by 0800 UTC which is my greyline at sunset. So the operating schedule will be:

Friday December 10th (UTC)

0600 UTC arrive at island and assemble station

0800-0900 UTC 40m (for America's) or 15m (for Europe) 
0900-1100 UTC 40m
1100-1300 UTC 40m (for America's) or 20m (for Europe) 
1300-1700 UTC 20m
1700-2000 UTC 40m
2000-2300 UTC sleep
2300-0000 UTC 15m

Saturday December 11th (UTC)

0000-0700 UTC 15m
0700-0800 UTC 10m or 15m
0800-0900 UTC 40m (for America's) or 15m (for Europe) 
0900-1100 UTC 40m
1100-1300 UTC 40m (for America's) or 20m (for Europe) 
1300-1700 UTC 20m
1700-2000 UTC 40m
2000-2300 UTC sleep
2300-0000 UTC 15m

Sunday December 12th (UTC)

0000-0700 UTC 15m
0700-0800 UTC 10m or 15m
0800-0900 UTC 40m (for America's) or 15m (for Europe) 
0900-1100 UTC 40m
1100-1300 UTC 40m (for America's) or 20m (for Europe) 
1300-1700 UTC 20m
1700-2000 UTC 40m
2000 UTC go QRT and dismantle station
2200 UTC depart island

I’ll be sleeping at 2000-2300 UTC, this will be my ONLY time to sleep. I know that this is a time for long path North America on 20m, however I’m pretty sure that the hills to my south west will block this path. If I can work into the America’s at this time, then I’ll just stay on air during this 60 hour period until I drop – hi hi!

At times when there’s propagation to North America, I’ll be listening above 7175, 14225 and 21275 for the US Generals.

I’ll have internet access and so I can spot myself on the DX cluster to let everyone know where I am.