Next weekend biggest contest in 2015 for me. CQWW CW
I will be a member of EI1Y this year.
I had good opportunity to visit EI0PL and check condition on the bands , what to expect from where , etc. It was also pleasure to chase some DX!
1) VK9WA Willis Island ....
Already in the log on few bands but it will be good time to try some more. Plan was to get 20/40 in the log and maybe ... maybe 10.
20M was tricky SSB QSO on noise level not sure 100% if went OK.
Had moment to make sure that 20M will be logged on RTTY later on. Narrow split 1-3 makes it hard to work.
10M CW was open for a short period via SP and later via LP but no luck at all. Today for example not a peep on 28Mhz
40M - Moxon was winded down because of high winds so it wasn`t good to use. Yesterday was first day when could go higher to work some DX. And .... did Willis at 3PM during daylight with lovely 5/9 , VK9WA was stronger than DQRM from EU. Here is a video how strong they were in EI shortly after my QSO
VK9WA on 40M daylight in EI
80M! Yes 80M! It was absolutely amazing what happened! Left radio on their QRG , switched RX to JAPANESE beverage and went doing some other things in the shack. Then received 5NN , what ?
It is Willis on 80! Wow ... it was hard on the beginning. Bang on on our sunset which is 16:20 at the moment. Great signal was getting even stronger. First QSO done but wasn`t sure if went 100% .30 minutes later much stronger signal and few callers and EI9KC , EI9KC 5NN on 80M sorted!
Here is how beautiful , clear their signal was on 80M yesterday. RX on beverage. Also what I must say was.... discipline! I was able to hear them on 3524 for about 3h and station wasn`t spotted on DX Cluster! Some great DXers were calling him and went into their log. This is difficult path for EI on low bands so more than happy to have Willis on 80.
2) 9G5XA Ghana
Ghana is very rare DXCC from Africa in my log and 9G5XA Alan (G3XAQ) is now active from this country. The thing is ... to log him on the bands you have to be QUICK. For same reasons when Alan is spotted very goes QRT soon. I was chasing him on the bands and happy to have 15M in the log as new DXCC on this bands and 20M and 17M when QSL from Ghana is still needed. I had QSO with Alan from Ghana in 2011 on 28Mhz confirmed via LoTW so fingers crossed that this time his QSL Manager G3SWH will use LoTW again.
3) S79C new IOTA from Africa AF-119
Coetivy Island AF-119 was announced as a NEW IOTA in July 2014, during the 50th Anniversary IOTA Convention in Windsor, England. (info from their website) and one of the Best DXers in EI , Dave EI9FBB is leading DXpedition S79C to activate this IOTA for the first time.
Had pleasure to make few QSOs with them, top DXers on the AF-119
S79C -EA3NT - 21Mhz SSB
S79C - SP5APW - 18Mhz SSB
And here is Dave EI9FBB on 28Mhz SSB
Thank you for this IOTA! It will be hard to hear this Island anytime soon.
BTW I have nice souvenir from Dave which is in use every day:
S79C AF-119 souvenir
4) JAPAN on TOP BAND !!!!
Yes , I did it , finally :) K index 0. Bands clear and very "sharp"
JA SR at 21:33 our time
SWL few JAs on 80M, decied to give a try on TB. 160M is a tricky one and good experience is need to get 100 DXCC in the log. Good RX antennas is a must.
Started calling CQ on JA portion of the band and after few CQ DX I was spotted on DX Cluster by RW3XW. Thank you Igor for that , appreciate very much because just after his spot lovely JA signal came back after my DX PSE K
JA7NI - Kunikazu from Akita in Japan gave me a call. Lovely 559 confirmed and logged my first Japan on Top Band.
I was able to log two more stations from Japan that night:
It was great day at EI0PL , great warming up to chase some MULTS during CQWW CW next weekend!
This is when I`ve heard about this DXCC for the first time by looking at this beautiful card
But VK9DWX is a history now. Island wasn`t activated since ...
Demand for Willis is big. Ranked 32 Most Wanted DXCC by Clublog
Willis Island - North Cay
Willis Islets map
Now thanks to VK9WA we have Willis Islets on the air!
VK9WA Willis Island 2015 is operating from Middle Islet.
Location very similar to TX3X Chesterfield Island DXpedition 2015 which was very hard to work from Western Europe ! How will be with Willis then ?
2`nd day of operation and I`m happy to have VK9WA on 4 bands !!! and two emissions ....
Every QSO is a separate story to tell:
1) 17M CW - Yesterday , late in the morning they started on 30CW and 20SSB
Hexebam is low because of high winds and stormy weather , decided to put it up for a short time only ... on 20M very weak , 30M is ok but not the best moment to try .... then .... discovered CQ CQ from VK9WA on 17M CW ... hurry ... not spotted ... few station already calling him. One by one , up1 , still no spot on DX Cluster ! Robot W3LPL wasn`t able to send his spam on DX Cluster , great ,,, QSO with EW station and after that .... EI9KC 5NN !!!! Wasn`t sure 100% but WFWL ... Opeartor on the other side was "slow" on CW and he was keying by hand ... few hours later first log upload on Clublog I`m in !!! QSO with Jared N7SMI Co-Team leader!
2) 15M CW - Sunday - Massive EU pile-up , up 1 to 15 totally packed , like Navassa ... very hard to find split or system what Operator on the other side is running ,,, finally after long battle discovered what is what and EI9KC 5NN , sorted ! Uff !
3) Missed short opening on 10M in Ireland today , SWL them 5/3 but strong winds didn`t let me do more ... Weak signal on 12M CW , lets give a try ! Pile-up not that big like on 15M but on 12M 50% of callers are not possible to hear .... so to discover split preferences will be much harder. But hold on yes ... I can "see" many stations calling him up 10-12 on CW with nice 5NN. I was trying too ... QRX 10MIN .... small break for coffee and here we go again ... CQ CQ VK9WA VK9WA up .... no callers ! But up 1 to up 5 packed with massive pile-up ... still CQ CQ VK9WA VK9WA ...UP ... one station went trough 5NN ... hello ! He is listening up 10!!! After few attempts magic EI9KC 5NN received ! Not an easy one but very lucky for sure.
4) QSO on 17M SSB was easiest .... one call ... Operator on the other side was calling up 5-15 but he was listening up 20 from time to time :)
5) No luck on 20M SSB , signal fair enough , readable but on their QRG 14.190 was big radar noise. Some kind of digital emission causing much difficulties to copy them correctly ... Not many callers but no joy .... 40M CW lovely signal but ... NA only ... so deiced to wait for good moment on 30M CW. Massive signal in the afternoon here but NA/SA only .... 1h later EU/AF .... let`s try .... pile-up MASSIVE up 1 to up 10 solid wall , no ideas how Operator on the other side is working pile-up ... took me 1h to discover his style ... FIND THE GAP! It was the answer ... no way to call on the same or similar QRG where 5NN was copied ... Last QSO for today sorted when EI9KC 5NN went back few times , yes few times beacause DQRM were horrible ....
VK9WA Willis Island 2015
That was it ! I will try later this week for 20M maybe 40 and 10 ...
Many thanks VK9WA Team for great thrill by being there on Willis for us.
Uff it was challenge! One of the hardest DX to work so far! Needed as All Time New One! First opportunity I had on first day. Signal on 20M was great, both CW and SSB but I wasn`t able to break the pile-up ... using one of the strongest antennas in EI @ Papa Lima! Next few days I wasn`t near radio at all. Busy with other commitments. I was watching DX-Cluster to make some plans when and how to work them in poor condition on the bands ....
Day & Nigh Poor - all HF bands
Solar activity SFI: 81 - Magnetic activity K: 5
On top of that Aurora hits Norther Europe , etc.
One morning when I switched on radio I had to check antennas are still on the masts as bands were so quiet. How to work Chesterfield ? How ?
On Tuesday was nice opening in EI on 20M and several EI`s worked them on that band but I was at work.
DX-Cluster spots TX3X on 20M
CQ CQ no takers ....UFF !!!
One of my plans was .... to take day off from work on Wednesday ...
Arrived @ Papa Lima QTH early before SR , all prepared. Waiting.
NIL on low bands , NIL on 20M , the rest are closed here.
Finally 20M CW. TX3X was there. 14.023 magic QRG occupied by so many of us these days.
Signal weak but workable. Easy to say workable but they did hear our part of EU that moment.
Huge EU pile-up. Mostly East EU. No hope. Spotted EI6IL in the pile-up , no joy either.
Few hours without luck.
That was 7`th October ....
Then TX3X Team published their update #9
5. We are not hearing some parts of EU.
Almost gave-up. They will go QRT on 12 October. It will be nice to work them just on one
band , one QSO. Still few days left. I had to make some arrangements to be able give a try next morning. It was worth it!
Thursday 8`th October arrived @ Papa Lima early as usual.
All prepared , all ready to go. SR passed , no sight of TX3X on any bands.
Then ... 1h after SR here RBN gave us info:
40M RTTY !
Let`s check .... wow .... I can read their print. CQ TX3X TX3X TX3X up 5-10
One shot! They got me! EI EI ? EI9KC EI9KC EI9KC
I had to repeat few times more. Started loosing them ... only 75% of RTTY print was
readable that time ... but I`ve got my magic EI9KC 599 EI9KC on return!
Wow that was something! I don`t know if any other EU station worked them that time , that moment on 40M. EI 1h after SR but I spotted some Dutch station calling on same QRG I was using.,
Anyway ..... after that never ending JA WALL stared the have fun ...
@ Papa Lima chasing TX3X
I don`t want to blame them for "poor knowledge" of propagation , etc. So many comments was on DX-Cluster already. Appreciate it that they are there for us one way or the other.
No much time left that Thursday , I had to go ... few more minutes .... then ....
G4EZT 14185.0 TX3X + up 5 eu lonely
One call .... EI9KC 5/9
Wow , wow , wow
Two bands in one day!
This is my record of TX3X shortly after my QSO on 20M SSB
Chesterfield - SORTED!
CW QSO will be nice ....as this is my favourite mode , 308 DXCC worked on CW , there is still hope ....
Friday 9`th October
Same story as yesterday and day before.
Bands quiet , SFI low , K index high ...
TX3X spotted on 20M CW in EU , NIL here .... too early .... possible opening after 9:00 our time.
They were active on 30M CW, massive EU pile-up , very weak to try then QRX
At 9:05 .... on 20M CW 14.023 Mhz CQ TX3X TX3X UP
I had to reply my call few times. Signal was strong, solid 559 but looks like on the other side much different condition and they did not copy me well.
Usually I will send my call once for CW. This time I had to repeat twice:
TX3X - EI9KC 5NN 20M CW QSO
to get my 5NN from TX3X on CW!
Update #13 from TX3X explain a lot:
We also had excellent openings on 20 CW to the UK, Nordics, and other northwest EU countries. Until now there’s been very little to no propagation to that region. We know that you are hearing us better than we’re hearing you. With the A having been as high as 77 it’s a miracle you hear us at all.
10 minutes after my QSO their signal was much stronger:
EU EU EU at last :)
All my 3 QSO in the log.
TX3X , Chesterfield Islands was hard to work. I hope bands condition will improve for
This is E6GG Niue on 20M CW yesterday in the morning. Lovely signal, very strong via S/P , Niue as default on 20M in EU on that band.... My hunting for E6GG is finished now. Happy with 2 new bands (40/30) and one new mode (RTTY) Dream QSO on 80M didn't happen ... I wasn`t able to copy them. Today in the evening nice surprise on 12M CW and my probably last QSO with E6GG Congratulations to EI4KL who managed QSO on 28Mhz! So far they have 15 QSOs with EU on 10M! All QSOs already confirmed on LoTW. This is great QSL policy and big thanks to whole Team for big effort. I had pleasure to be 7 times in their log - 4 times on the other side was Nigel G3TXF ( 12/17/20/40). BTW no QSO with EU on Top Band ..... yet. Good Luck! Few days left .....
E6 is a new prefix for Niue , 3 years ago ITU updated its Table of International Call Sign Series to reflect a call sign change for Niue Island from ZK2 to E6. I had ZK2 in my log and E6 too. My first QSO with Niue new prefix was with E6AK in 2013 on 20M CW.
Looks like HF bands are switched off ... I was chasing E6GG on the bands last few days and I was surprised how quiet can be on the bands. 10/12/15 are dead here no joy whatsoever. OK logged Comoros Islands on 15M CW but this is much closer than Niue ... My plan for Niue is ... low bands. Had chances to work them last Friday on 30M but no much time to stay on the radio. Decided to visit EI0PL to enjoy real low bands fun. Saturday in the morning managed QSO on 40MCW with Niue as new country on this band and that was it. First off all signal was from skewed not 330 degrees but 270 and was so small and hard to copy. No beep on 80 but I heard 2 EU stations in QSO with them .... 30M .... even worst than 40M. Signal was hardly readable and highest peak was for about 30 minutes around our SR.
Sunday morning was even worst than Saturday. 40M was disaster and 30M was dead as stone. No signal at all from Niue even on 20M! This was really big disappointment as we expected Niue to be there as default on 20 one way or the other.
Where we will go next? Last year after Great Blasket invasion we had no plans for this year IOTA Contest. Shortly after spring time when summer arrives to Ireland Papa Lima DX-Group members decided to go somewhere to do IOTA Contest. Plan to stay at home wasn`t an option. First idea was Aranmore Island or Inishbofin Island but .... distance was a big problem during busy holiday period.
At the end of June Adam EI5JQ , Oleg EI7KD and Maciej SQ9DDD went to see Dalkey Island possibility. Someone told them ... "you can`t stay overnight there". So one more option on Irish Sea was .... Ireland`s Eye Island beside Howth. Brief visit around the island and no other options left we decided to activate Ireland`s Eye Island this year for IOTA competition. It will be our first time from EU-121.
Adam EI5JQ unloading boat
We landed on the Island Friday afternoon. Shortly when all our equipment was safe we went to find place for camp. Not too far from landing spot but still a distance to move our heavy boxes. First tent as usual was radio - tent. The same tent we used for kitchen on Great Blasket last year ...
Then time for antennas. Just three antennas this year. 5 band HEXbeam by SP7IDX , GP7DX multiband vertical and Inverted V for 80M.
Heaviest item! PA power supply.
View from the hill on our camp
Multiband vertical GP7 DX
Inverted V for 80M ready to go up
Oleg EI7KD started contest on 20M CW run station
Adam EI5JQ on mults station
Friday evening, when Hexbeam was installed we did few QSOs as EJ0PL.
Early in the morning on Saturday antenna work continued. Then shack need to be set , all networks connections , computers etc. Around midday on Saturday Jurek SQ7IT arrived on the Island with 2`nd power generator. Set-up was simply. Two stations , two power amplifiers, two power generators.
Now contest time! For some reason we thought that competition starts at 14:00 .... what a mistake! Hurry up few things are not working as it should be but great help from Michal EI3KG by phone let us set computers.
Oleg EI7KG started and he was on run station for first 3 hours. Then he had to go back to main land with Maciej SQ9DDD. Just three operators left on the Island. EI5JQ , EI9KC and SQ7JT. Shortly after contest started we realized that EJ1Y is the only off-shore island station during IOTA Contest 2015 from Ireland. No competitors again ....
At about 2:00 at night we took 4h break for sleep.
Weather forecast for Sunday was not great. To be honest was bad. Very bad ..... and it was. Rain started at 6:00AM , heavy wind makes tents fly. Radio shack was secure , antennas as well. But 80M Inv 80M had to be lowered because one mast guy rope supporter was loose.
First part of the contest I was on multi station. We used N1MM plus logging software and it was mistake. It was very hard to find and log multiplier station. Maybe because I was using this software for first time .... but for sure previous version N1MM was much better.
I had my time also on RUN station but on Phone. I was too shy to try CW with long serial number and IOTA ref on top. But in the morning I decided to go on RUN station on CW!
Yes, why not. 28 WPM was my speed and 99% stations came back to me with similar speed. It was great, Mistakes can happen but practice make you master.
Band condition wasn`t great. 15M was closed on Saturday with a small opening on Sunday. 10M was dead. 40/20 did a great job.
As far as I remember now EJ1Y logged about 1500 QSOs during competition.
At 12:00 just one hour before end of the contest EJ1Y went QRT
We had to contact our boat man to get instruction for departure.
Boat was booked for 4PM. So we had just 4h to dismantle station.
Heavy rain plus wind din`t help. Makes this DXpedition hard. We had to protect every single electronic device against rain ... it was hard job.
When all boxes were packed and ready to be loaded on the boat our boat came from Howth ... but high waves makes departure from the Ireland`s Eye impossible ....
Boatman contacted us and told us about emergency landing spot on the Island which can be used during high tide only! At what time is next high tide on Howth then ? 20:30 .... we had to wait few hours for it ....
Waiting for high tide
When boat arrived with high tide we had just few minutes to pack all our gear. But we had great help from our non radio members and departure was much easier. When boat was loaded was too heavy to reverse because emergency landing spot on Ireland`s Eye in not so deep even in high tide and our boat ran aground! We were stuck for few good minutes. Finally escaped .... and reached deep water.
Lucky we had no option to stay on the Island another night or so.
Great adventure it was and our first time from EU-121 ...
All gear safe on Howth`s pier.
Our boatman was happy too to have all of us safe in the port. Last year boatman said "I hope I won't see you again" ... this time boat owner asked us .... "did you win ?"
Yes we did! We won Irish leg of the contest. IRTS IOTA trophy is ours for next year!