Wednesday, September 30, 2015

V6M QSL arrived

It's been some time without new post here, well, it was quite busy month as well.

Today postman bring nice suprise: Lance's V6M DX pedition QSL.

Thank's for new one and interesting EME experience Lance !
Where You will go next ? :-)


Thursday, September 3, 2015

V6M - EME DX pedition by W7GJ - in log now ;-0

It has been really lucky day yesturday. No doubts that it can happen once in a Year as for 6m.
Actually it has happen once with 5V7MI this Year, so probably pulled my bonus DX track for 2015.

After 2 days of trying to get anything from Lance on my Moonrise with decreasing Degradation, yesturday finally we reach the lowest one this perigee.
Good thing was Lance sent short message via Iridium phone informed that he heard lot's of station from EU including me.

V6M for August 28 GMT - Part 2 (3rd EU moonrise)
Had severe equipment problems, only able to run QRP. Only worked S59A, GW4WND and a station who wished not to be named. EU stns copied but not worked were EA6VQ, G4BWP, G4IGO,HA7TM, HA8FC, JR1LZK, LZ2DF, LZ2WO, OH3MIK, OZ1DJJ, OZ4VV, SP3RNZ, VK5PO, YT0EME, ZS4TX, ZS6NK.

That encourages me well to fight next day. 

Started on Saturday again just before moonrise at -1,6deg of elevation counting on GG at my Eastern horizon. It was proven that sometimes it works.
Lance's signal appeared quite fast, slowly drifting down from start of the period, as well as having much fluctuation on it... Appearing suddenly after short while in period or dissapearing before end.
( Note - now, we know what was the reason - Lance increased power during TX periods, his message below )
I've seen his trace almost every period, but sfter unsuccessfull struggling with AFC and Freeze I set his DF 54Hz and called each period. Signal was very hard to decode, drift, very fast Faraday rotation and quite fast fadings give sometimes 15 sec of good signal then nothing.
Suddenly his signal was getting better from period to period and 17:49 miracle happen !  

After I got his RRR and posted the infor on KST page, Ants ES6RQ and Drago S59A confirmed that I had copied my "OOO" and Lance's RRR, and QSO with V6M is completed.
Pure luck, new dxcc and First SP-V6 QSO on 6m ever.

Next after me Marek SP4MPB worked him as well, and HA8FK. His signal was better and better then gone after main lobe of my antennas just around 8degress...

Suddenly at 18:40 LZ2DF posted the info NA guys got from Lance that his Amplifier blew up and he's gone QRT 18:30UTC :-( What a pity. Read the full story in latest message below..

V6M for August 28 GMT - Part 2 (3rd EU moonrise)
From: Lance Collister, W7GJ
Date: Tue, Sep 1, 2015 at 3:29 AM
Subject: [Magic Band EME] V6M Update - September 2, 2015
To: Magic Band EME Group

Hello Moonbouncers!

I didn't have much chance to file an update after the amp blew up at 1830Z on 8/29/15. Now I am currently on a merchant ship traveling to Colonia, Yap, and when this message gets sent it will be via real WiFi, so it can be longer and more detailed.

Anyway, on August 29 during the NA moonset, I worked W1JJ, W7JW, W3UUM, W7UT, and KR7O. I also copied K4PI, K7CW, K7RWT, N3CXV, N3XX, N5DG, N8JX, VE1JF, W3XO, W6XU, and W8TN. MNI TNX to all of you NA stations for making the effort to get up in the middle of the night to try with me. I know it was especially inconvenient a window for you, and based on the fact that I worked BV2DQ off the back of the beam during one of my moonrises while I was beaming southeast, there apparently was some TEP zone ionization taking place for me during those times :-( Seems like these latitudes always have some propagation on 6m!

During the EU moonrise, before the amp blew up, I worked ZS4TX, SP3RNZ, SP4MPB, and HA8FK. I also copied IT9YTR, LZ2DF, LZ2WO, OZ1DJJ, S51DI, S51V and ZS6NK.

I am so sorry that there were not more of you in the log, and I hope to find another (more accessible!) spot in V6 to provide this DXCC to the rest of you. By the strengths of the signals I received, it sure seems I should be able to work everyone I copied. I understand that some of you were having trouble decoding the JT65A from the KX3 when my signal was weak, and I will go back to the K3 next time (even though it will require yet another piece of excess baggage to be checked). The KX3 is a GREAT little rig, and I sure was receiving well, and I had great success using it on 6m FSK441 when I was activating rare grids from mountain tops this summer, but I can see that it just will not do the job on JT65A for EME on 6m :-( I may have to try to sell it to finance repair or purchase of a new 6m DXpedition amp...

My tried and true 6M-1000 amp was really subjected to some horrible voltage spikes on 28 August when the 117 VAC line voltage sagged to 103 VAC and the Meanwell power supply just couldn't provide the DC current at that voltage (and questionable waveform). The amp kicked out when the DC voltage dropped down around 43 volts at full power output, and that must have caused a huge voltage spike when the current was interrupted. But it happened repeatedly, since the AC power would come back up as soon as the load was removed, and then it would get shut down immediately again. I don't know how many times this took place because I was out turning the antenna during a transmit period. There was a disturbing smell coming from somewhere, but with all the cooling fans blowing air around everywhere, I couldn't tell whether it was the amp or the power supply (I have learned the necessity to have good fans set up around the equipment in the tropics). After those events, I tried to start out each TX period on low power and slowly increase it up to around 800w so the amp would not kick out.

The 117 VAC line had been performing like this one time earlier, and but later it seemed very solid, so I had held off trying to find a source of 220 VAC. After the 8/28 incidents, though, I went in serious search of 220 VAC and found some at the main house power panel. I disconnected the water heater from one of the 220 circuit breakers and wired in my extra 3' extension cord that I had previously cut up trying to connect to the non-existent 220 in the kitchen. The little Meanwell RSP-2000-48 really loved the 220 and I thought I was out of the woods, since the amp was working great on a very steady 51 VDC during moonrise on August 29. However, the damage had already been done the day before, and when I saw flames shooting out the bottom of the amp, I knew I was in trouble. The disaster apparently also destroyed my power supply. So those are the details of the very sad end to the V6M operation right in the middle of the DXpedition. Only the 37 stations listed in these updates made it into the log, and I know that number could have been doubled.

Since there was no more reason to stay there, and I was anxious to get some real food and some running water again, I took down the antenna and packed up everything, hoping to get a seat on the biweekly PMA flight Monday. However, they decided Monday morning to cancel that flight, so it looked like I was stuck there until Friday.

However, Dominic (the only other ham on Falalop, although without any working gear) told me Sunday night that he was planning to take a ship to Yap on Tuesday. Apparently, the "Four Winds" ship out of Pohnpei was just starting to provide service to Yap, and was stopping off the coast of Falalop on Tuesday morning. So when I saw the ship on Tuesday morning, I rushed into the village and managed to get all my gear transported to the beach in time to catch the last small boat shuttle out to the ship. We then stopped off two other of the inhabited islands in the Ulithi Atoll, before heading out toward Yap. The second. Federai Island, is the longest island in the atoll, and I recognized the name. The only two HF hams in Ulithi Atoll - V63YAH, Albert and V63YWR, William - both are on Federai. So, since passengers (referred to as "PAX") were allowed to go ashore as others were picked up, I went ashore for about 30 minutes and met both of them! Actually, William does have a 100w HF rig with 6m on it, and I encouraged him to try loading it up into his multiband HF Hex Beam and look for some DX. I told him that I had recently worked BV2DQ off the back of my beam, so I know there is some prop about even this time of year. But I really encouraged him to keep an eye on 6m during the fall and spring, since he should be able to work lots on TEP. Currently, there is no internet on any of the islands in Ulithi Atoll, so mail (or HF) is the only way to get in touch with these guys.

So, I am feeling much better now that I have had a couple protein bars and another bottle of cold water. I still have a protein bar left for dinner and one for breakfast in the morning. As soon as I get my gear to safety in Colonia, and check with United Airlines about moving up my flight to their biweekly Wednesday night flight, I am looking forward to walking over to have breakfast somewhere, stinking and disheveled as I am ;-) Then finally a shower ;-)

73 for now from the Four Winds ship at 0715Z September 1 GMT time, or 4:15 pm Tuesday September 2, local time.

Lance W7GJ/V6M


3W3RR/JAIL QSO with Roman Vega. An American Jail Journey.

Today I got special QSL, for the QSO that probably is impossible to made.
Of course no CW or verbal contact has been made, but just "human" touch with ham radio greetings.
The Jail QSO.

As You probably aware I am not VHF born, so those of You interested in HF DX-ing must know the story or just heard about the person this post is about.
This is the guy, known as Roman Vega ( last call 3W3RR or formerly UB5JRR ) I have in my log with plenty of variuos callsigns.

If You are serious HF'er, and/or DX'er You know that he served more new ones for DX community than probably nobody else these days, to mention rare Spratly 1S0XV activation, or North Korea DXP signed as P5RS7 few Years later.

Romeo is in U.S jail now for more than 12 Years. He was arrested in 5B4 back in 2003 and transferred to US then.
Most interesting thing is, that in US, after 12 Years he is still not sentenced by the American court.
No proofs for him? Apparently...

Judge yourself. I am amazed after reading whole story, how it's possible in US. Is this really Country of Freedom?
Worth read and think.

You can find full info on Romeo's jail journey blog made and updated by his friends HERE