W6HGF/KH0  pix1
September 21 -30 2011 Dxpedition SAIPAN  pix2   QSL

Northern Mariana Islands          pix3

CQ Zone: 27    ITU Zone:  64
IOTA:  OC-086  Grid QK25uf                                                 21 September  -  30 September 2011

NOW QRT  -  1743 - 29 Sept 2011

I departed Virginia on 19 September 2011, and arrived on Saipan at 0300 on 21 September 2011.  I plan to focus my operation on RTTY.  The CQ WW RTTY contest is held the next weekend, and if all is going well, I will participate.  If RTTY is finished, I may try to go to other modes like PSK63, SSB, or CW.   As with my DXPedition to FP in March, this will be steady operating as much as possible for a single operator, I want to work as many stations as possible, but I do have to sleep at some point.  If you hear me please spot me on the cluster. 

  My strategy is to work on the WARC bands during the week when possible, and then operate in the CQ WW RTTY contest over the weekend as much as I can. I will try to work on the highest band that is open, and follow them down in frequency as the day fades.  I will try to work the longer range stations when prop allows, especially the US east coast for the short periods it will be possible, and will try to work all during the rest of the time.  I plan to be watching the cluster,   I use FLDIGI software for RTTY, and have a 3KHz wide browser window kind of like the cw skimmer where I can see all the stations decode within the passband at once.  So you do not need to call me right on the last station worked, better to find a clear frequency within the range I am working, and call there.  As soon as I get a good call sign decoded, I can call you.  I will always operate split, and will indicate up or down.  This means at least 1KHz or more offset from my transmit frequency is needed to call me, but listen to where I am working stations, and find a nearby clear frequency to call me on.   Once you hear me call you with a report, please wait to make sure I have sent a qsl on your report and move on to the next station.  If I call you again and again, it is because I do not hear you sending a report.  The log is automated, and you do not get logged until I hear your report and send my qsl back, before I go on to the next qrz.  If after calling you many times, without hearing your report, I will have to move on and you will not be in the log.  This is often caused by stations that keep calling even when I am clearly calling you.  It makes for slower qso's, and unhappy hams.  I will try to call, but I need all to listen to me and if I am not calling you, please do not call me.  There will be plenty of opportunity, but for those that disregard this simple courtesy, there is a special list for you, and most likely will be found NIL (not in log).

To find me:
I will be spotting Fldigi on PSK reporter so you should be able to see my activity, and current frequency from there.
Watch for me on the DX cluster
RTTY frequencies planned are   3.590  7.040  10.139  14.090  18.103  21.075  24.910  28.090   plus or minus any other activity

When you call me on RTTY, send your callsign more tha two times.  I have to first find you, then select you for decoding, then read the decoded callsign.  Most of the time, you are finished with two callsigns before I get to that point, so either I stay there and wait for you to send again, or move on to someone else who might stay longer.  If I was just sitting on your frequency two times would be fine, but since I have to search through the pileup for you, it takes a little longer, 3 to 5 callsign repeats at least during a pileup.  Also please do not move fruquency after calling me, it sometimes takes a few seconds for me to type in your call, and when I do, and you have moved it makes all the effort wasted.  If you need to move do it when I am in a qso with someone elso, not while you are still calling, Thanks.

My computer runs Ubuntu the free open source software, and FLDIGI for all my data modes.
Thanks to Dave, W1HKJ and the FLDIGI team for making this great cross platform program possible.


29 Sep 2011  NOW QRT.  I finished with a good run to Europe on 20 meters.  It was great at times, and frustrating at times, but overall a fantastic trip, and a great location.   Many thanks to the Saipan Rental Shack for a great setup, with very reasonable prices.  I have some pictures that I will post here once I get home and can get them off the camera.   Also many thanks to ClubLog, they have been a great asset with the statistics and propagation page,  check it out if you have not looked, it is at the bottom of my page,  Final QSO count is around 3300, with most being RTTY, but some SSB, PSK31, and one CW with my friend up in Kobe. Interesting to note that over 1033 of those have already confirmed Saipan via LOTW or 30 percent so far, and will probably go higher as time goes on, and folk get around to uploading their logs.  Paper QSL's will be designed and printed in the next couple weeks, so it should not be to long for them to arrive back to you.   Now for the long flight home.  Because of the Intl Date Line, I actually arrive home before I leave here.  I look forward to the next trip to Ascension Island in November if all goes well.  QSL information is below, and all the LOTW and Clublog have been uploaded just nowwith the final versions.  If you do not find your call listed, please write me a note and I will look into it,  I have made many mistakes over the last two weeks.  Thanks to all who made QSO's with me, you made this trip very enjoyable.  DX IS

28 Sep 2011 
Great opening to Europe last night that lasted for hours on all bands.  Many new contacts made, and the geo-magnetic storm has finally subsided and let prop work again.  Only one day left, and I return home in 24 hours, so I am still hoping for some good prop this morning into NA.  All the equipment is holding up well and although I am exhausted from the long hours and the big pile-ups, I am smiling all the way through it.  If you need Saipan today is the day to make the contact with me.

27 Sep 2011
Well the timing was perfect for 10 meters over the contest weekend, I only wish I could have operated split to give everyone more chances for contacts during this rare opening.  The big CME hit yesterday and the bands were all dead here.  I made a couple PSK31 contacts, but basically a radio blackout all day from this location.  I worked a few Pacific stations that are short distances from me, but almost no Europe or NA was heard.  Very unusual, and since I leave in two days, took a lot of qso out of the log for this trip.  The Kenpro rotator controller here in the shack broke the indicator belt, and I replaced it with a new one, to keep busy during the dead periods.  The prop should improve today as the storm passes, so please look for me.  If you see me sending CQ, please spot me so others can find me for these last days here.  A little indication of the storm - it is normally just green and the size of the last one on the right.  There were several bars the size of the first red one on the left, indicating a very big magnetic storm, with radio blackouts, and very poor HF conditions.

                                                                        Big Magnetic Storm

25 Sep 2011 
The CQWW RTTY contest was this weekend, and I am exhausted.  It lasted two days, but seemed like a week.  The pile-ups were unbelievable, and since the bands were pretty crowed with the contesters, there was no room to spread out with split, so both myself and the dxers were all on the same frequency at the same time.  It is very challanging to pick out callsigns from so many stations on top of each other.  And then to top it off every once in a while someone would spot me, and just like a lightswitch was turned on, the pile tripled in size.  All the logs are uploaded to LOTW and ClubLog below, and I will work on the Cabrillo log for submission on the airplane ride home.  I am not sure how many qso's, but I think over 1000.  It was good to see some of my contest friends show up in the last hour to give me a few more points on 10 meters.  Many thanks to all that had the patience to work me.  Now to get some sleep.

23 Sept 2011 
The conditions have been pretty good, although I have not had much luck with the lower bands, 40 and 80 seem to have a lot of local noise, and since I am a long way from any populated area, there are less to talk with except during short intervals.  I found the RTTY WARC bands croweded over here with all the DXpeditions going on at once.  The 4W East Timour expediton was very active on 17M RTTY, and since if you take into account the first three KHz of the allocation is for PSK, thre was only 7KHz left, clearly not enough for the 4W folk, and impossible to fit another expedition in.  So I found Market reef expediton just below the PSK area, and directing his desired to go  up into the 4W crowd.  How anyone made sense of that is beyond me, but in anycase there was not room for me to operate on 17 RTTY after 12 meters closed for the night.  So rather than go to bed that early, I decided to go up to SSB and try my luck there.  That did not last very long.  I was immediately swamped with European callers.  I could sometimes pick up a letter of a callsign out of the cacaphony, but there must have been dozens with that same letter that responded, which was no help.  Trying to find a callsign to work was way to difficult for me on SSB, there was no dicipline, everyone seemed to want to call at the same time, no matter who I was asking for.  complete caios for as long as I stayed there.  If I had no other options, and was not concerned in qso rate or time, I could have suffered through it, but it is going to take some getting used to.  Working SSB from this side of the pile-up does not seem to be much fun to me.  I even lowered my output power down to 5 watts, and it did not slow the mess, as I had hoped only the big guns would be left.  For me SSB will always be a good backup, but I know CW is much faster and RTTY is much easier for me to operate a pileup with.  This morning at 10 AM local time, the CQ WorldWide RTTY contest, starts, and so I am getting ready for two days of intense contesting environment.  This should be fun.  See you there.

22 Sept 2011 
I had a good day setting up and getting familiar with the equipment, and antennas.  Many things to learn in a short time.  Fortunately I brought my IC-7000 as an exciter, so only the Amp and antenna arrangement was unknown and needed some experience with to learn what it can do.  Weather was rainy all day, so it was a good day for finding DX.  I had a good run on 12M and 17M, and then went up to 20M for a late pile-up with Europe.  Great to see all the signals in the waterfall, but Saipan is so far from anyone, or any large ham populations that the action is not continuous, but only when the bands open to a spot.  I am using the 4W6A activity to give me an idea of where the prop is.  It is not quite the same from here, but gets me into the ballpark.  It is a beautiful island here, many trees, and very green.

19 Sept 2011  
Everything is on schedule, and I am leaving for the airport in just a few minutes.  Flight is showing "on schedule", so I should be on the air  early 21 Sep UTC.

18 Sept 2011   
I am watching the 4W6A Dxpedition to Timor-Leste this morning, and they plan to be active during my trip, so I will try to stay away from their operations as much as possible, as I expect they will be very popular.  They have a pretty good propagation chart on the 4W6A website, that should be useful for hints on the path to Saipan as well, since we are not all that far apart. Do not think I will get to work them before I leave.  Ready to leave tomorrow for the long 24 plus hour flights to Saipan, and will plan to arrive very early in the morning of the 21st.

13 Sept 2011 
Packing is continuing, as I remember things to put in.  I plan to attend the TAPR DCC in Baltimore, this weekend just before departure.  Everything is still going as planned for the trip.   I plan to work all bands except 160 (no antennas), as the propagation allows, and will try to follow the most active bands as the day progresses.

5 Sept 2011
  Getting ready to travel, with a packing list.  Everything is still on track for an on time departure.  As depatrure gets closer, it seems time goes faster.  I am looking forward to this adventure to a new country for me.

Guestbook:  Click here to put an entry in my Guestbook.

DX Code of Conduct   I support the DX Code of Conduct.  Please click on the logo and read and please follow the good operating practices when in a pile-up. When a pile-up is in progress please follow my lead and if I am only sending signal reports, that is all I need from you.  If you are using macro's just make them small please.  If it is very slow and I send name and qth, then it is ok to send the same back to me.  This will allow a pleasurable experience for all of us following the conditions.

QSL:   LOTW is prefered, and will be uploaded daily during operations.  Also Clublog is down at the bottom of this page to check with before sending a QSL.  Paper QSL's will be printed and sent out once I return to Virginia, to those that provide SAE and $2 for postage, or SASE for US hams.  **NO IRC**

QSL Address:

Al Danis
Po Box 220164
Chantilly, VA 20153-0164

Many thanks to QSL.NET for hosting this webpage, and also to Michael G7VJR and his team for the great work with ClubLog.  I plan to upload to ClubLog at least daily during the trip, usually just before going to bed.  Please make sure you are in the log before sending QSL's. 

Page last updated 23 Sep 2011