After our expedition to T9 in 1999, we were really addicted to expedition work. Due to my contribution as a navigator in THE 2000 MILES TRIAL in 2000, I hadn't freetime enough for going on expedition, so the year2001 was our choice for another biggy like our T9 one. Several countries were on our list and in the meantime Chris was doing inquiry for the most wanted dxcc countries. For a longtime ZA was number one on our list, but when our contact left Albania this option was gone for us. Finaly we had 2 countries left, Rhodes,SV5 and Andorra,C31.It was not easy to get in touch withthe C31 authority ( the EA group was already in consultation with officials of C31). In the meantime Mike,SV5BYR was spotted several times on the dxcluster and after sending a few emails to him we found out that he was a real vhf enthousiast and would be a good help for us. He offered us the shack of the local radioclub, SV5RDS. While Mike was arranging a cheap hotel and a tower for our antenna system , Chris was checking the antennesystem and rebuilding the 3CX800 PA for a better efficiency and I was arranging the tickets and a box for all the equipment we had to sent by a transport company. Having done a few expeditions before was a great advantage for us. Checking lists for the equipment are very helpful and makes the preparation a lot easier, and the expedition more succesful. The only thing we couldn't control was the tower. And as always ,things you can't control are always worrying you.......
John PE1OGF helped us with a spare PA, and
Lionell was doing his schedule job. The box loaded with 2
amps,antennas,frame,rotators and cables was about 150Kg. The
luggage we had with us by plane was far overweight, and fortunate
we hadn't to pay for it. (at least 100KG for 2 persons with us in
At arrival we met MIKE,SV5BYR who brought us to the hotel. This first day we were loaded with bad news. Our luggage was left in Holland and the box wasn't arrived yet in Rhodes. Also now sign of a tower at the local radio club. Just one thing left to do... Join the people in the pub and wait......(tnx to the martinibar Rhodes town).
Next day we went to the airport and traced our stuff, and Mike went after the transport company to trace our box with antennas,cables and PA's.By the end of the day 2 we got all the stuff together and were happy like childs with a new toy. At day 3 we assembled the antennas and prepared everything for putting up the tower we were still waiting for.
The SV5RDS clubstation was complete modified to a
real vhf/eme shack and was very impressive to the local hams.
next day we got the tower, but were still waiting for the
horizontal pipe for our stacking frame. Chris found an old
antenne pole and mounted this one in the tower. Bad luck, this
pipe was not strong enough to hold the frame.....waiting
again.....finally Mike came with a good one supplied by the local
welding store. A few hours later the system was working and we
could do the first tests. The receiving part was working as usual
, GOOD. The tx part (3cx800 amp) failed and we had to use the
spare one(thanks John).
On the rx side we found out that our sked frequency was loaded with signal produced by local fm radio stations, so we had to move to new frequency and inform all the sked station on time (thanks to the Internet). We had contact with the internet via mobile phone and a Psion palmtop (is someone having tracking software for it?). While Chris was making qso's I was rebuilding the input circuit of the broken PA.
The first contact was made with Wolgang DL5MAE, he showed up afer our announcement on the WWC channel 14345. The Packetlink was also on 144Mhz and sometime not cooperating with our bouncing against the moon. Also the overloading of our preamp was bothering us now and than, for sure we need a cavityone with a mgf 1801 (as we both use at home) or the new design Chris and John had with them during the 4U1ITU expedition, for the next expedition. Its amazing how you can improve your station after each expedition. In between the moonwindows we were thinking and talking about how to improve the cookiemonster portable equipment. Maybe 4x a FET amp coupled with a hybrid coupler with a switched powersupply? If one of the modules brakes down there is still power left,and the expedition can goes on.( someone with a good design with a mrf151/blf278 powerfet? 50v/20A switched power supply?).Working with modules makes failures not critical anymore, and we dont have to carry 2 heavy amplifiers with us. Also a full polarisation control on the rx side will improve the cookiemonsterstation. So Leiffs,SM5BSZ software is here in the picture.
During the moonwindows we were making a lot of contacts and we realized that we could beat our succesful score during our T9 expedition. Lionell was pushing us over the 100 stations (119 initials/128qsos/88 random)
It was very nice to work the small stations on EME like: F/G8MBI (single yagi),
F9HS (single 3wl.yagi, no elevation), SM5BSZ (single yagi), DDoVF (4x7el, 400W) etc, etc thanks to all!
We even caught up with some stations who were still on our old frequency (061). Too bad we missed some station at he end of the expedition. We tried several times with Conrad,G0RUZ but couldn't complete due some reason? Anyway the overall results were very satisfying for both of us, and I think we proved how succesfull a modest EME station can be. (4x 3wl BVO and 800W),but for 2 persons it is a lot of work and the costs are high. During the 2 days off we still moved around the SV5RDS shack waiting for the BIG Es opening, but too bad untill our last day in Rhodes we had only a small Es opening on 2 meter into Italy,france and Slovenie. During our last week in Rhodes we did put our emphasis on MS, but after the first test on MS we figured out that it was very hard to go over the 1700KM from this qth. The antennes were too low for a good take off into direction NW, Central Europe. The best results on MS were into direction South Germany (DL5MAE).
Overview of our station: 4x 3wlBVO xpol, faseline,25mfeedline ½,power divider,H/V relay,preamp,(3 spare one),stackingframe,rotator,elevation rotator, low pass filter, dci bandpass filter,3cx800 amp,gs31 amp, ft847,ft100,ic706,2 laptops,2 dsp59+ filter,sequencer, 150w solid state amp, and a first aid kit with repairing stuff.(next time we will bring our own telescopic tower again)
During our stay in Rhodes we made Mike, SV5BYR enthousiatic for weak signal work, he is having 2 x 13B2 yagis with elevation, during our last days Chris modified his FT-847 for separate feedline and left a low noise preamp. Mike got in touch with Gordon, G0RUZ who offered him to help with a PA.
Our plan for the future? no plans yet ..