Logs have been uploaded to LOTW and Clublog.
PO BOX 375
PAWLING, NY 12564
This was a fairly last minute expedition and had very little time to test the gear before packing and departure. Here is the 2m EME array setup a week prior to packing.
All packed and ready to go!
Arriving at the island.
The airport at Canouan. We then took a charter over to Bequia, this is about a 10 minute flight.
We then arrive in Bequia!
We arrived at our villa and the views were spectacular.
Here is a time-lapse of the antenna building process.
My operating position under the cabana for the VHF station.
Here is the 2M EME station complete with a cannon 🙂 You can see the hex beam and the awesome view looking SE.
The “pileup” on 2M EME.
Video of the EME operation.
We arrived safely to Bequia and immediately started setting up the stations. I went to work on the 2m EME station in an attempt to get some qso’s in before I got some rest. Here are the stations I worked the first evening.
EME: IC-910H, Atlas 1KW SSPA, SSB Electronics LNA 2x9V element Innov
Congratulations to Conrad PA5Y for being the first QSO in the log from J8 when I answered his CQ.
OK 33 stations in a couple hours, not bad!
41 Stations worked.
26 Stations worked.
FG4KH – Tropo -10
15 Stations worked.
16 Stations worked.
VK5APN -28 First VK-J8 Contact
YO9HP -28 Congrats Alex #100 DXCC 2m!
22 Stations worked.
153 Total EME QSO’s !
Having QRO and a LNA made a big difference with this 2nd attempt of EME on Expedition. I feel I am getting the process down and understanding the basics. I can see there is a lot to learn when it comes to the moon. The only concern I have from my end is the proper protocol for how do deal with calling stations that do not send RO’s after a number of sequences? Is there a preferred number of sequences that the expedition should attempt before moving on to the next call? There was a situation when I had between 5-7 stations all calling just about all on top of one another and it was very difficult to decode if I was getting RO’s. I also ran into the situation where I had sent OOO’s to a particular station and that station never sent RO’s after 3-5 sequences. I would then decide to “move on” to the next caller only to see RO’s a few sequences later from the original caller I gave up on. What is the best way to deal with this situation?
I would like to consolidate this station down even further. I am considering a single long boom XPOL yagi instead of the pair of Yagi’s. I would also like to possibly eliminate the az/el rotor and try manually or if there is a much lighter az/el rotor system available I would consider that. I am open to suggestions/options and would love to hear from other EME expeditions or portable stations.
IC-910H and M2 LEO PACK, G5500 with Greenheron AZ/EL controller
FY5HB – Thanks Said for sending in the video! Was nice to work you on the previous pass!
PU2NGB 1725z 26 AO-07
AO-07 3/26/16 (best pass)
PY2RN 2015z gg66
PU2RAS 21z gg49en
K4FEG em55 27z
Disclaimer: This is from the view of a dxpeditioner. These views and points may be way out in left field but I think it’s important to express them from our perspective. I would also like to make clear that I have not operated satellites since the late 80’s early 90’s with AO-13 and RS10/11.
First, I would like to thank the AMSAT community for really going above and beyond and answering phone calls and emails “on demand” while in the heat of the moment! Special thanks for Pete W2RJ and Lou for spending countless phone time with us!
We averaged about 1/2 qso per pass. There were many passes (good passes with large amounts of east coast US) where there was no activity at all. To be honest this is frustrating and problematic. There is a crazy amount of time, money and effort to test, build, break down, pack (small enough to move across the globe easily) erect, and then the time to grab the passes to only hear ourselves. To give a comparison, the EME community was almost obsessive (ok maybe a little) with the up to the minute updates on our testing before the trip, travel points during the trip and status of the install of the gear during setup! On the flip side we would find a random conversation on the satellite passes where the operators had no idea we were even on the air. My only conclusions I can come up with are the following:
- We (dxpeditioners) need to make a bigger effort with the announcements to the AMSAT community on upcoming expeditions.
- Pre-determined pass information between participating stations to ensure activity and a game plan for a pass.
- Correct “étiquette” for a DX station on satellite. My suggestion might be the DX station to always adjust the uplink frequency this way we can always be found on one set downlink frequency. Suggestions?
- Geosynchronous or elliptical orbiting satellites. ~10 minute passes are just not going to cut it to be able to keep peoples interest in this aspect of the hobby. Just as you finally get your station configured, up/downlinks synced and you either find someone to work or someone answers your CQ the pass is already halfway over. Not to mention that this is simply not enough time to “keep the excitement”. Don’t get me wrong, I am in no way claiming that the effort that goes into funding, designing, building, testing then strapping this thing on top of a controlled bomb and then delivering it into orbit over the earth is an easy feat, I get it 🙂 I just think in order to ultiimately gain interest in users and also MANUFACTURES to think there is a big enough market to produce and sell gear for this mode of operation we need to rethink this a little. When we were in S9 there were only a couple of passes that which we could reach southern Europe. For future expeditions that do not produce a big enough footprint we will opt out of taking the gear with us to focus on a “better return” for the effort. We would be more than happy to work with AMSAT to better publicize expeditions in anyway possible through forums, emails, bulletins, social media and other avenues.
Since we had such a great QTH for VHF along with a pair of 9 element yagi’s and 1KW, I could not resist to try to make some noise and see if there was any activity on 2m SSB. I would randomly send a number of CQ’s on 144.200 looking mostly north up the Caribbean island chain. I never received any unsolicited replies but I knew it was possible since I worked the guys at FG4KH via tropo while on the moon. That was a distance of over 200 miles and we had nice signals! The issue was no one knew I was there. I won’t make this mistake a second time, I will be more proactive on future trips to lets neighboring “DX” know we will be in the area. I also realized that I think the correct QRG in the Caribbean is 144.300 the EU calling freq. I ended up working FM5EP via a satellite pass and we emailed each other and tried a tropo contact, no problem! I then sent mail to Chris 9Y4D who was around the 200 mile mark to the SW which was a really nice direction for us. You will see below that we made the contact and later I found out his antenna was elevated 40 degrees!
FG4KH – Tropo -10 WSJT
Distance between FK93JA & FK96HF is 357.22 km (221.975 miles), bearing 357.1 degrees
Distance between FK93JA & FK94LO is 176.98 km (109.978 miles), bearing 5.8 degrees
9Y4D 1702z 3/26 144.300 usb Chris
Distance between FK93JA & FK90GG is 307.01 km (190.776 miles), bearing 185.1 degrees
Chris was running 100w and a 5 element horizontal yagi 10′ off the ground.
9Z4BM 1951z k90 144.300 usb 100w 746 vertical Leon
Here is the video from the other direction 🙂 Thanks Leon!
Distance between FK93JA & FK90GG is 307.01 km (190.776 miles), bearing 185.1 degrees
Attempted tropo contacts with NP4G, NP4BM and WP3EF but no luck. Otis NP4G even drove up to the top of his nearby mountain to see if we could make the contact! I should have been better prepared before the trip to get the word out that we would be on J8 with QRO and great terrestrial gear. I think we could have made a number of great QSO’s from this QTH even if we used JT65 terrestrially.
HF: 2 x Electaft K3’s 2 x Expert 1K-FA’s, 1 Hex beam, 1 OCF and 1 TWA.
We ended up making over 7,500 qso’s “holiday style”. I think we made about the same from FJ. Operating from the Caribbean is simply fun that never ends. I love getting called from exotic places when you least expect it. ZD8MA called me on 10m SSB, he later emailed me said he was running 100w and a buddy pole 🙂 Asia will call over the top of NA then they will “disappear”. Really wild random prop. Low bands suffered this time since we had a horizontal antenna. We are thinking about alternatives for 80/160 vertical ideas.
A on air recording someone made of me on 17m SSB.
The TWA antenna which ran a crazy amount of JA’s on 17m RTTY.
Lori KB2HZI running the pileup!
N2iEN, W2RE and WW2DX
N2iEN nailing in the RTTY QSO’s.
Licensing was pretty easy to acquire. First you want to go to the NTRC website, download the forms and fill them out.
I was able to secure the email address of the licensing administrator from a previous license holder. I then emailed the forms with all my information on the trip. A few days later I received an email from the administrator that my license was ready to be processed. If you are going to J8 email me and I will pass along the email address to the administrator.
I opted to pay in person since my experience wiring money to S9 was not so successful. Here I am picking up the license from the NTRC.
The island of Saint Vincent is just north of the island of Bequia. There is a ferry that runs from Bequia to Kingstown. The best part is when you leave the ferry the NTRC building is straight in front you! I paid, picked up the license then we walked to find the “Subway” restaurant which had a very nice bar and restaurant above it called “Flow”. I would recommend a scotch and a meal there!
Bequia general information:
Right side drive left hand road. Complete opposite of the states. Not very difficult to figure out and there is very little traffic on the island but the roads are very poor, steep and narrow.
The focus is a little off but you get the idea.
There are a number of really nice and fun restaurants on the island, you will have no problem finding something you like. Be prepared, eating out and food in general (groceries) are very expensive. A standard pack of fig newtons were $14/US to give you an idea. The island will take EC (Eastern Caribbean Dollars) or USD currency. Rule of thumb is $50 EC = 20-25USD.
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines for the majority use the UK Type G 220v plug. Many buildings also have US 110v plugs as well. To be safe, I would grab some of these adapters.
Thanks for all the QSO’s!
See you from the next one.