Saint Vincent and the
Loc: FK93jd IOTA:
NA-109 CQ Zone: 08
WLOTA-Ref: 0492 ITU Zone: 11
IARU Region: 2 Time Zone: UTC -4
Location: 13.136218 Deg N, -61.201862 Deg W
Now QRT as of 0713 on 25 Jan 2013
with PZ1DV the last station in the log. Hope you made a contact
with me during this trip!
Check to see if you are in the
https://secure.clublog.org/logsearch/J8/W6HGF OQRS is active now that the expedition has finished.
Below is a view from the shack.
QSL Info: Direct or LOTW or ClubLog OQRS Direct.
include SASE, or a self addressed envelope and $2. Please watch for
used stamps, your card will not go through the PO if the stamps are
used already. For that reason I ask no stamps be sent from DX
cards. No IRC's will
be accepted now the US has decided to stop using IRC as of
2013. US send SASE with forever stamps only.
Direct QSL Address *** NO IRC
J8/W6HGF----(you can leave callsign off if you wish)
Bureau: I will accept bureau cards but they are very, very slow
for me to get to, expect at least a year or more delay.
This operation was
conducted from January 9 to Jan 24 near Kingston on the Island of
Saint Vincent. I operated on all bands with a granite states
dipole, the Cobra Ultralite Sr (Note, the current antenna in HRO with
this name is not the same, I guess the supplier of lighweight wire went
out of business, and the new wire is much heavier, and I do not think
it will work the same, but it has the same product name?), and a
Superantenna travel beam, which while very lightweight, is one band at
a time only, so it has to come down for each band change which I got
tired of very quickly, and it will probably not go with me on the next
dxpedition again. I concentrated on
RTTY, but was forced to improve my CW skills by the lack of RTTY ops to
QSO with. I called CQ way more than normal from this location
without much interest.
J88 Club Meeting with visitors to my shack. J88NFU and J88CU
visited on Saturday and J88AO with J88NFV visited on Sunday for a
continuation of the meeting thaat was rich with discussions of the RTTY
operation overview and Technical Antenna discussion, as it applies to
an island with hurricanes almost every year. We had a good chat
that went through the Saturday power outage, which made the time fly
by. I was late getting back to the pile-up after the two engaging
meeting with four of the island hams. On Wednesday the local
repeater masters came to visit, and we held an impromptu class on Beam
antenna traps design and maintenance, and discussed many technical
subjects from solar power to repeater linking to the digital modes I
use in DX'ing, and their application of digital data over repeaters
using common voice channels. The new chinese vhf/uhf radios I
found at Dayton last year, seem to be very popular here also. All
of the club members seem to have them. I did not see any D-Star,
but as in most cases they have probably not learned about them because
so few visitors come to the island with up to date news and technical
information. I am leaving a copy of my CQ and QST magazines here
for the club members to use, but they really need some potential elmers
to visit and teach them so they can teach the other club members.
The members here are very technicaly inclined, and learn very fast the
new concepts and ideas, but just need more interaction with potential
DXpedition members. They are very interested in having
DXpeditions visit Saint Vincent and we talked at length about how to
attract other DXers that may be interested in coming to J8, but have no
contacts to learn what is here from. I also offered them to pass
any inquires to me and I can help any interested DXer on how to visit
Saint Vincent, now that I have been through it. Saint Vincent has
signed a recripicol license agreement with the FCC for US amateurs to
operate here, and even the local hams obtain US licenses for
recognition here. Drop me a note at the qrz address or email and
I had many questions about 160 meter operation. And yes, I did
give it a try, however, only as a secondary mode. The Ultralite
Sr is advertized to work on 160, but I found it very, very inefficient
there. Since this was a one man operation, and
to sleep sometime, I usually elected to sleep late in the evening,
and wake up when the sun come up. During the day, I try to work
as many as I can on what ever the highest band that is open, and then
as the afternoon progresses into evening, I follow the prop down
following the bands down. 40 meters can be a very active band
until late in the night, and 80 meters has not been that active for me
late at night, but once I get past that, I usually listen to 160 just
before going to bed, and if I hear activity, I will give it a
try. The bottom line is that I did not work very many on 160, I
could not hear them, partly because of the poor antenna, and partly
because of the power lines crossing nearby.
23 January, Packing for Departure, and will try to operate to the last
possible minute tomorrow, before taking the rig down and getting it
packed up. My plane departs very early Friday morning, so no time
to pack then. I will pass the 3K QSO mark, but just barely, band
conditions have been horrible the last couple days, and I call CQ for
hours without a response. I am hoping that 80 meters will be good
tonight. I found that I do not have a proper antenna for 160, and
it has been a bust. Maybe on my next trip, I can spend more
effort and time on this much needed mode. I will try to
get all QSO's uploaded to ClubLog and LOTW before I leave, but I am
sure there will be many log repairs from my multipath garbles as time
goes on. This will probably be my last update until I arrive
back home, so I want to thank all that made qso's with me, and made
this trip so worthwile. I have had a great deal of fun, and
satisfaction working with the local ham club in between pile-ups.
I truely appriciate the effort of those that spotted me on the cluster,
with out those spots, I might still be calling cq. It made all
the difference, and while not a hard task to do, it was surpising how
many were happy for the qso, but then did not spot me for others, so
they could find me and make a qso also. It was either Feast of
Famine with the cluster spots. Thank You all for making this a
good Dxpedition, I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did.
22 January, Yesterday was Great! and exhausting. The bands
opened up in the morning, and did not stop until midnight, at which
time I was actually falling asleep at the radio. Some know
what I am talking about. It was so much fun, that tired did not
enter into it, DX is kind of like the candy store, you want to get all
you can before the store closes, or in this case the band closes.
I finished last night on 80 CW and gave out a bunch of ATNO (All Time
New One) for the deserving. My cw skills are coming back even
though I have not used them in years. I was able to distinguish
the different stations by tone and fist in my brain something I did not
think would be possible again. I am only sorry this expedition
will end in a couple days, but then I am looking forward to the qsl
chores when I get home. We are working on the QSL card design
now, and should be ready to print by the time I get home, so the direct
cards will get send out in the next few weeks around in the order they
came in. I enjoy the qsling as it keeps the dxpedition alive in
my memory for years to come.
Last night in the middle of the pile-ups I also taught some of the
local hams that are put off by the voice pile-ups they encounter every
time they go on the air, with how simple it is to use PSK31 on the
existing radios. No one here has had any exposure to this before,
so I felt good to see them make the first psk31 contacts yesterday.
And the couple who made the first psk31 qso's last night are
local radio club instructors, so we may be seeing more digital stations
come on the air. The local emergency net uses Fldigi for
messaging, so it was easy to show them that it also had psk31
uses. Many thanks to all who have made this so much fun.
Especially my spoting buddies, without which I would never be
found. 73 All
20 January, We had our first power failure for a couple hours
yesterday, right at the peak of a good pile-up. I apologize to
those that watched me disappear with out knowing why. After the
power came back on the noise level also came up, and conditions have
continued to go down with the SSN this morning at 46, a low point for
this trip. I will wait for 12meters to open this morning and then
go to 10meters and see if I can get more contacts with EU on 10 than
has been possible in the last week. I have the feeling that there
will be more contesters following me to Saint Vincent, and they will
use only the non-WARC bands, and so my concentration more on 12 has
been in that context. Later Update: Band conditions very poor this
Granite States Ultralite Senior Dipole Antenna.
I have now used this antenna on many trips and have found it to work
exceptionally well on all bands, and in most cases equal or better than
the G5RV antenna many times already on site for comparison. It is
not a beam, but I also do not have to point it. I do not have to
go out side to change bands, the inside tuner is required, but the LDG
AT600 I use does the job perfectly down to 80 meters, and I use the LDG
AT-1000 for 160. In summary, I can not say enough good about this
antenna, and for the size/weight, not to mention low cost it will
always travel with me on dx trips.
19 January, Well we have been here for a week, and over 2000
Qso's so far, one more week to go. Bands have not been all that
good, or stable. I spend a lot of time calling CQ, with no
response, or response so weak I can not decode them. I have found
a number of reliable friend that are consistently spotting me when they
find me. Without a spot, I am left calling cq for long periods,
and once someone finally spots me, it is an instant pileup. The
spots seem to roll off the screens after about half an hour, so I need
someone to spot me at least every half hour. Ediquete says I
should not self spot or ask on the air others to spot me, so I think I
am obligated to wait for the good samariatins to spot me. And
this really limits my QSO count. As I am writing this, we are
experiencing our first power failure on the island. It has only
been 15 minutes so far, and I have no idea how long it will last, but
is a good time to catch up on some nap time. Here is a picture of
the shack, located in the dining room next to the kitchen of the rental
shack. If anyone is interested in operating from Saint Vincent,
drop me a note, and I can get you some of the contact details, and
accomidation information. This is a great place, and I am told
especially in the low season of summer time, and around the big contest
I went into town yesterday just to look around, and I met the
chairman of the local FCC equivelent the NTFU who has been a ham for a
long time. His name is Al, and he told me stories about when
Danny Weil was operating here, and about when he left here on his
disasterous voyage when he crashed Yasme a short distance from Saint
Vincent. He also said that in the salvage of Danny's boat's
equipment, all the radio gear was stored at his house for a long
time. The story of Danny Weil and also of the Colvins is in a
great book published by the ARRL, with a history of the beginnings,
problems and all of the first dxpeditioners like Danny and the
Colvin team. To have met and talked with a ham that had first
hand knowledge of Danny Weil was the highlight of this whole
trip. Such is Saint Vincent, many surprises.
11 January, Lost Baggage came in last night, and I had the
antenna up by midnight, but then went to sleep exhausted. Started
again in the morning and improved the dipole antenna setup, so it
should work now even with the high winds and rain that seem to go over
here once or twice a day. I had a pretty good run today, and
uploaded the logs to ClubLog and LOTW. Tomorrow should be
better. Food is a problem, in that the local grocercey store is a
pretty long walk for me, and will take away from radio time.
There are a number of tourist resorts nearby that have restrants, but
while great food, it is fairly expensive for every meal. This
island is beautiful, with friendly people, lush vegatation, and great
dx possibilities. If anyone is interested I can point them to a
great rental shack here on Saint Vincent. Just drop me an email.
9 January, Woke up early and put out the travel vertical.
Not impressed with it at this point. Band may be part of the
problem, but did work one station on 15, and called hundreds of others,
but no onc could hear me I guess. Will start to put up the travel
beam this morning, and see how it works. First opportunity for
dipole and amp not until tonight/tomorrow.
8 January, WE ARRIVED ON SAINT VINCENT Today. This was Travel
day, we left Virginia this morning, and went through San Juan Puerto
Rico, and then through Antigua (which was an unexpected stop) and
arrived on Saint Vincent at about 1900 Local. We were met by
J88NFU, who escorted us around for dinner and helped setup. Now
the bad part. One of my bags, of course the one with the PA and
antenna tuners was delayed by TSA in Dulles Airport, and so did not
make it on to our plane to San Juan. The baggage folks already
knew we would be looking for it, but it had been sent to another
airline for transport down, and would not arrive until tomorrow.
They promised to put it on the once daily flight down to Saint Vincent,
and so if we are very lucky, it will be here later tomorrow evening, if
we are really really lucky, it will still have all the gear in
it. We will wait and see. I still have a single IC-7000 and
some other antennas which will be put to use tomorrow, but the big
antenna was in the lost baggage along with the amp and tuners.
Tomorrow will be an interesting day.
4 January, Ready to go, flights leave Tuesday morning. No
problems from the plans, so all is go for a good expedition.
25 December, Packing all the equipment and checking it as I go.
Tokyo Hy-Power HL-1.1Kfx
Granite State Cobra Ultralite Sr.
The one I used is no longer available, and the one with the same name, is not the same product!
We support the DX code of
conduct, Please read it, and use the principals so we all can have lots
of fun DXing.
Many thanks to QSL.NET for hosting
this webpage, and also to Michael
G7VJR and his team for the great work with ClubLog.
Please make sure you are in the log before sending
QSL's. If you find any log problems, just write me an email to
the qrz email address and let me know an accurate date/time with
callsign, and I will review and correct if possible.