Here I will update the story of this Dxpedition….
May 12th 2015.
After the initial email the licence papers have finally arrived trough post.
June 7th 2015.
All is coming up, almost ready to do the first tests. Today I have completed the sequencer, polarization switching and LNA box.
The array is mounted in my backyard, ready to make the first attempts to moonbounce.
August 1st 2015.
Things are working good now. Since we were not positively sure about X configuration we reverted the stacking configuration to the good old H/V.
In the picture you can see us with one antenna already modified, One to go.
Here Paolo I3DLI is working on the second one:
After some struggle with RX noise and some problems to the K3 internal transverter (still to be precisely addressed, but I have some clues), I decided to move the whole array to a different location, in the backyard of IK3RIP new house, more in the countryside.
Here the station did start to work as expected, with a good deal of QSOs, strong signals and good reports.
I used a Yaesu FT-857 as rig. Here is the very temporary shack.
During the tests I logged: RK3FG, EB5GP, UR3EE, F5AQX, ES3RF, IK7EZN, DF9UX, I2FAK, PA3FPQ, CT1HZE, OH4LA, CX2SC, HB9CAT.
I will have some other tests this week end, then it will be time to pack everything….. 73 to all. Giulio IW3HVB
August 3rd 2015
Had some more QSO’s immediately after moonrise yesterday:
ZL2ADU, RX1AS, PA7RP, EB5EEO, F8DO, DJ2TX, PA0JMV, SV6KRW, SM7FMX, OE6IWG
On the QSO with ZL2ADU the moon was still behind a tree, and I am very happy abt the QSO with DJ2TX and his remarkable signal (-21) for a single yagi.
It seems that everything runs smoothly, Now only the packing is to be dealt with and I have to stock some spares (hopefully for nothing….)
73 and CU off the moon.
August 4th 2015.
Dismantled the temporary shack. Array ready for shipping.
Organizing a neat array like this, is puzzling. Weight and dimensional contraints are crucial.
Here it is, soon to be taken 16.500 km from here….
GN everyone. Giulio IW3HVB
August 13th 2015.
Ready to take off. As I suspected, the amount of luggage, all considered, is huge.
73. Giulio IW3HVB
August 20th 20.00 local time.
Arrived in Tahiti. All the luggage have arrived safe and sound. The strage stuff packed in tshirts and swimsuits must have raised some questions in our fellow TSA officers, because all the trolleys and bags containing the gear have been opened for inspection. No harm done. Now some island hopping and relax before the beginning of operations. Stay tuned.
73 de Giulio TX7EME
September 2nd 20:00 local time
Tomorrow will be the big day. I’ll leave Bora Bora in the morning, go to Tahiti to retrieve all the radio stuff, and go to Moorea by ferry. Should be on site around 14:00 to assemblea everything for the first moon pass.
GL de Giulio TX7EME
September 5th 10:00 local time
The second moon pass is almost finished.
I could imagine it would have been tough, lot of contesting mileage on my back, but it is proving to be very tiring.
On september 3rd had an early wake up at 5:30 in the morning to catch the plane from Bora Bora to Papeete then, luggage collected, I took the Terevau Ferry for Moorea. Not a long ride, but with 4 to 6 mt waves can be somewhat distressing. I mounted the array starting at 13:00 local time, finished checks and all fine by 19:00 local time.
4 humpback wales came to say hi just 50 mt from the shore, a good sign!
At moonrise (almost, still 0,5 deg below horizon) at the very first call not surprisingly Franco got me and had 1st qso, after then… Boom, up to 26 clear traces in some passages.
Big pileup from EU, the window is so short that everyone has shown up 🙂
55 QSO in the first moon pass. Not bad in my opinion.
I managed to go through until 6 in the morning, when I went QRT on the beach after a full 24 hours. But I coudn’t sleep, adrenaline? joy? lot of thinking about mistakes and stations left behind. At sunset I went to the Tiki Village with my family, I had been there before, so I ate something and let them enjoy the dance show, and got in the car for a quick 2 hours nap.
Back at QTH it was already time for moonrise. Again a big pileup, and lots of interesting QSOs, like with DL8YHR, the quickest to catch my call, I3EVK, with a very short window because he lives in a valley, and some single yagi stations too.
After a nap between 4 am and 6 am i resumed the calling until moonset, with RW3AC as Initial #100. Way to go. Last 8 QSO have been made with one antenna obstructed by a tree. Not bad.
Last QSO with UA3PTW just with the moon barely visible over the house, always single yagi.
CU this evening for another exciting round at TX7EME. Now: off to the beach. ZZZZzzzzzz.
September 6th 17:00 local time
Another round started at moonrise, after the sostitution of the LNA. Rearranging the switching matrix for cw I made a mistake, a painful one and i fried the preamplifier. Having a couple of spares around doesn’t seems a waste of weight allowance on the airliners now. All set for moonrise, with the above problem just 1 hour before the moon rose over the ocean, ready for the pileup and….. Mr Faraday came to visit. I could copy tons of stations (30 decode and reviewed during the post analysis, EU window only), but only few answered. At least I am sure that the spare LNA works fine. On my side polarization rotated very fast, having to switch almost every period on rx (next time I will take the IQ receiver with me…), but on the other side it must have painful as well.
After a pause for breakfast I resumed the calling and did complete some other QSO until moonset.
Only 24 QSO (23 inits) in this 3rd moonpass, so disappointing! I hope tonight it will be better, but now the wind has started to blow again from the ocean, let’s hope it will not get stronger.
In the meanwhile if you still have not made QSO with TX7EME, you can still look at the photos and the short video taken today:
CU off the moon. Giulio TX7EME
September 7th 09:00 local time
Wake up at 01:40 in the morning, just in time to start the 4th moonpass. With still half of the moon buried into the ocean (metaphorically of course) DK3BU was the fastest to answer and then the waterfall got crowded again. Another good bunch of EU stations tonight, sorry for those I had not time to complete, Faraday gave less problem than yesterday, but still some of you disappeared just when I was sending OOOs. I try usually 2/3 times different pol, but with a window so short it would cost too much to do headbanging any further. As a personal rule I always try to respond firstto the stations seen the days before (and I’ve seen many), so don’t give up!
In the meanwhile I am learning a lot, even if you think you brought every possible spare part with you the one that will break down you will not have with you. Having spare LNAs is quite predictable, but a spare clamp for the antennas was not in my “to bring along” things. I did broke one while putting up the second antenna in a very unconfortable position. I did have to improvise, it seems impossible to find a threaded bar down here, so, after trying with cable ties and duct tape, I finally found a way to keep them aligned. Don’t laugh too much….
Log is updated, so have a look if you are into it. I found a couple of mismatches between WSJT log and the paper log I keep just to be sure nothing gets lost (it comes handy in these occasions…).
So far, after the 4th moonpass I have 151 Inits and counting.
73 de Giulio TX7EME
September 8th 14:00 local time
The fifth moonpass is gone.
Started with a thrill this early morning. After waking up I found that the strong winds during the night had rotated the mast, One of the antenna had two elements ripped off after it landed onto the house roof. Made an emergency reparation, likely the elements are solid aluminium and they can be re-bent in shape easily. I was ready by the way at moonrise and started calling. On the following screenshot you can see as the pile-up is still heavy.
Made a good number of EU stations before their moonset, then it has been painful for the rest of the moonpass. I had to abruptly switch off everything and bring down the array, in a secure position, during the morning, when suddenly heavy gusts of wind (up to 35/40 Knots) decided to put some stray on the array. No damages, I got only a little wet by the heavy tropical rain. Inits are now 173. One full moonpass and another EU window to go.
73 de Giulio TX7EME
September 9th 15:00 local time
Last full moonpass is gone, and it has been quite different from what I hoped for.
After the Initial QSO on CW with OZ1HNE the rain started heavily here, making a lot of noise the whole day, and rendering impossible for the first 3 hours to go tx in H polarization due to SWR. Not high, say 1.8, but the built in protection of the amplifier got tripping anyway.
Only 10 QSO this moonpass. Init count is now at 183.
Tomorrow I’ll have the last shots, Starting at moonrise (04:55 a.m. local, 14:55 utc) for a couple of hours only, having the pick up for the ferry at 11:35 local. I will have to dismantle and repack everything, along with the family usual luggage in a rush.
I surely hope to arrive at 200 inits, so don’t keep your amps cold tomorrow.
Since it is a slow day, and rain doesn’t hel at all, I’ve designed a first sketch of the QSL card.
73 de Giulio TX3EME
September 10th 07:15 local time
Last Dawn at TX7EME.
Another 15 inits this morning, bringing the count at 198, just short of 200, a result I am pretty satisfied with, considering the one man operation and the simple fact that being in the middle of the pacific makes everything more difficult, with short windows, unpredictable propagation, and a whole lot of hours calling alone.
The waterfall was packed this morning as usual, clear signe that many have been left out. I’m sorry abt that, I surely have done my best.
Time to repack everything now, and make my long way back home.
It has been a tough experience, but very rewarding all in all. Tnx to all for the patience, ad most importantly, tnx to my wife, that endured sleepless nights caused by the PA fans spinning loud 🙂
73 to all de Giulio TX7EME, soon back as IW3HVB. QRT.
September 13th 2015
After a VY long trip I’ve finally arrived at home. Unpacked all the stuff (all there…) and started opening the first QSL, already in the mailbox.
I hope to deal with the QSLs as soon as possible, I’ll keep the Log page updated with those that have arrived and those I will have sent.
Tnx to All agn for the wonderful experience, I’m pretty sure it won’t be the last one.
September 18th 2015
QSL card has been designed and ordered, I should have them ready to fill in about 10 days.
73 de Giulio IW3HVB
September 24th 2015
QSL cards ready.
First QSL cards out in the mail, answered to all that did send QSL to me first.
73 to all de Giulio IW3HVB
September 26th 2015
I have answered to all Direct QSL arrived at today, plus I sent direct QSL to all the sponsors.
October 6th 2015
Keeping up with QSLcards. Since 1st of october Italian mail have raised the tariffs, with the exclusion of mail to Oceania, which price has dropped a bit (?!?)
I’ve put on youtube another video of the QTH in Moorea taken with the drone, Enjoy!
73 de Giulio IW3HVB