No change in operating news to report...they are over 65,500 QSOs.
By popular request more profiles from Lee.
Press release #13 - Sunday January 17
This time out we profile the Antenna guys, Declan EI6FR and Andrew GI0NWG, close mates from the two Irelands. Declan is in charge of the antenna system for ZL9CI. When asked what his plan was to install eight yagis in the two days after we landed, he replied "don't worry, it'll happen, it'll happen" and it did. Typical Declan, laconic and soft spoken, but the job does get done. "I'm just here to work" is his favourite reply. We caught him asleep in the op chair today and have the photo to prove it. Declan is a cool hand with the CW but occasionally forces himself to hold a mike.
Andrew is the perfect antenna monkey. No problem perched on a wobbly stepladder looking at a balun. Rumour has it that he can sniff the end of a piece of coax and be able to tell what direction the yagi is pointed! Give him a pole and he will climb it. He dropped a 15 M monobander the other day, repaired a poor connection and got it back up and working in about 15 minutes. No problem. Give him a keyboard with CT on it and watch the totals grow. He talks as fast as handles CW. Wouldn't be caught dead with a mike in his hand. CW IS with Andrew. Both Declan and Andrew are heavily involved with Dxpeditions to activate rare IOTA Islands in Europe from time to time. Both are into contesting with their third mate Rob, GI0KOW our European pilot. He keeps telling us "You should hear the pileups in Europe" We do Andrew. All the way down here.
Campbell Island is a nature reserve. The flora and fauna is protected, and for good reason. Back in the middle 1800s, Campbell, McQuarrie, Auckland, Heard and other islands in the Southern ocean had huge populations of sea lions, elephant seals and whales. Most of these species were decimated by the whalers and sealers of the past. It's a fact, that in one year alone, one whaling company based in Australasia took 165,000 skins and 56 tons of seal and whale oil. It is hard to imagine how Perseverence Harbour, named after the ship that discovered it, looked a long time ago.
We leave the Braveheart each morning to go ashore and marvel at the sea lions that play around and follow our Zodiac ashore. Yesterday we went to look for one of the few remaining sea elephants. We found one in the bay about 1 km from the ZL9CI site and now know why it is called an elephant seal. This particular animal was very near the shore and we were able to get within 5 metres, as it was in shallow water. The animal was about five metres long and we estimated it would weigh about 1000 kg It was huge to say the least. Very impressive. It looked at us curiously and went about it's business of resting it's bulk on the rocks at the shore. At one time there was probably thousands of them around the harbour.
Often, during the afternoon, most of our radio bands go dead. 10M, 12M and 15M are usuall active from 2100 UTC until 0100 UTC. 20M doesn't happen until later in the afternoon here, around 0600 UTC. Team members will often will go for walks to look for wildlife, as we did a few days ago and went to see the Royal Albatross colony up in the hills. This required a three hour return walk of about 6 km, Albatross are incredible flyers and soar around the ridges for hours. They skim the ocean just a few cm above the surface. They resemble a huge seagull about the size of a Christmas goose which has a very large hooked beak and a wingspan over 2 metres in length. We saw many pairs nesting and watched as one bird would turn over the job of sitting on the nest while the other went out to sea to look for food.
The sea lions are always wandering around our antennas and it was inevitable that one would connect with and antenna. We looked in disbelief two days ago at our beautiful 40M four square vertical array that became a three square overnight. The culprit was a sea lion that snagged a guy rope on a flipper and the aluminium vertical pole bent and snapped about 2 metres off the ground.. The antenna team repaired the vertical and got it back up easily in a few hours. We lost a second generator a few days ago. The ship's engineer took it apart and it is one sick puppy, for sure. The team has had to conserve power and some of the stations will operate with 100 watts instead of 400 watts as we usually do.
The pileups still are very very large, but very well behaved. We activated 40M SSB today and James ran huge totals in just a few hours. 40M and 80M CW and SSB will feature more in our schedule as we move closer to our shut down on January 24
Lee ZL2AL - Logistics and Planning
ZL9CI East Coast Pilot and Webmaster
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Last updated 17 January 1999