TX7EME 1296 MHz Blog

October 11th.

QSL Cards have finally arrived from the print shop.

QSL cards!

I already started to write down some of them, so tomorrow the first batch will be out in the mail box.

Keep an eye on the Log page to see when yours have been sent, allow some days for the snailmail to reach out for your mail box, and if there is QSB and no QSL arrives pse let me know, I will be happy to send another one.

Workload for the mailman.

September 12th.

I’ve returned home since a few days now so, between unpacking and returning to day to day activities I had not much time to update the blog here.

Some QSL cards were already in the mailbox at my arrival, and they keep coming in.

I’ve taken some spare time to design the QSL card, and today I sent the draft to the print shop for review.

Here is a blurred preview of one of the schetch, but I will keep the final one a surprise.

QSL work in progress.

I would like to take some time here to thank all the people that helped to make this dxpedition a success: the sponsors and donors, with a particular mention to FO5MD Denis, that, although not an EMEr, did a huge donation to this campaign in true ham spirit fashion. Kudos.

A special thanks goes to dad, Aldo IK3COJ, for all the work on the dish construction and the many hours spent rechecking everything.

The most important thank you goes to my wife, Irene. Without her professional expertise none of this would have happened, and guys: where do you find a wife that allows you to take 80% of luggage allowance for your toys and let you steal a week from a family trip to Tahiti? I feel very lucky there.

Anyway… the question stays. Where to go next?

Best 73. Giulio IW3HVB

September 4th.

Game Over.

This morning I had my last short run to the moon before final QRT. That brought in anoither 4 Initials and one more CW QSO.

These brings the total numbers of this DXped. to 82 unique Initials. 10 stations were also worked on CW, and 3 in CW only. 25 countries for the DXCC, but no WAC because the only african active stations (ZS) had no common moon window with Rangiroa.

All in all it has been a great fun, and I must thank all of you for it.

Now, when I will be back in Italy, I’ll deal with the QSL card design and printout. There are many to send.

Best 73. Maururuu. Giulio IW3HVB/TX7EME

Last dawn @ TX7EME. What a sight!

September 3rd.

This was my last full moonpass.

Stations from EU are definetely tapering off, not many are left to work I suppose. There has been time for some new initials on CW and a funny SSB QSO with Dan HB9Q (So I didn’t bring the Mic for nothing btw…).

HB9Q impressive signal

Numbers have exceeded my expectations, so I am happy to return home with a bunch of QSL cards to write. So far 78 unique initials have been worked, 12 of them in CW, from 23 different countries, 5 continents.

Some of you have asked about the mysterious content of the bag behind the dish, used as counterweight. Nothing fancy, just a few coral rocks found in the garden. Inexpensive but effective.

Cheap Counterweight.

Other questions arrived about the location, so I took a couple of pictures with the drone to give some perspective. Moonrise is always straight over the ocean, so QSOs are possible right from the start.


The oceanic pass of Tiputa, just 200 mtrs away:

Tiputa Pass

Tomorrow morning I will make my last calls at moonrise, giving another chance to the remaining stations, but I will have to go for final QRT not later than 17:00 UTC. After that it will be game over. I’ll have to dismantle all the gear, repacking everything in order to ship the stuff to Tahiti via Air Freight.

CU tonight for last Hurrah. 73. Giulio

Yet another dawn at the radio.

September 2nd.

Want to see how the dish has been assembled?

This moonpass has shown a definite tapering off of the remaining workable stations. Just 5 new inits on digital, but 4 others in CW. That brings me very close to the target I had in mind for this activation, and all in all, this is, in my opinion, a very good result… given the circumstances. LAst QSO of the moonpass was with BD4SY, with the antenna obstructed by almost half by the house. Never give up!


Next moonpass will be the last full pass I will be able to follow. The day after I should still be able to be QRV at moonrise to give a couple of hours to the late guys, but after that I will have to hastily dismantle and repack everything to have the stuff shipped via air freight to Tahiti. Flight leaves at 14:50 local time on september 4 th, so I expect to be QRV until 06:00 (16 UTC).

2 mt lightweight dish

Funbox: Only looking at pictures I realized I installed the elevation angle meter, to be used in case of tracking failure, completely backwards, so the pendulum falls off the scale.

The secret weapon at TX7EME.

No PA is big enough. No antenna has too much gain. No LNA has a Noise Figure low as we would like, but this kind of operation simply coudn’t be possible without lots and lots of italian coffee doses.

Best 73 and CU @ next moonrise

September 1st.

This moonpass has been quite something: lots of stations, a couple of good CW QSOs (and a couple more to retry…), a new continent (SA), and a ton of fun.

PileUp at TX7EME as seen from SM6CKU.

A good bunch of NA stations completed this run, ended with CW QSO with Al W5LUA.

In the end I was quite tired, moonrise at 2 a.m., so not much sleep before that, and QRT at dawn.

QRT for tonight.

Log is updated, so check it out. So far 65 Digital initials and 5 cw initials. Not bad at all.

CU at moonrise! GL. Giulio IW3HVB

August 31st.

Last moonpass has gone without major issues. And that’s a good thing.

So far I did work 48 initials, that is a lot, given the troubles on second moonpass and the very short windows with Europe.

Took some time off today to have a dive at the Superb dive spot of Tiputa Pass, one of the two channels that connect the ocean with the lagoon, well renown for the marine life. I spent several minutes down at -20 mt playing with some local dolphins, always eager to interact with scuba divers. They let people come very close, at the point to be able to embrace them, caress them and give some displays of fun. Definetely one of the highlights of this trip.

Tiputa Dolphins

Log is up to date so, if you don’t find your QSO, let me know.

Here is a view of the dish from the Oceanside road:

Strange palm tree there….

Best 73 and CU @ next moonpass, and remember, I can take CW skeds as well, for those who still like it (as me…)!

August 30th.

This moonpass has begun in the worst of manners.

At moonrise something was way off on RX: nothing on waterfall, nada.

The moon was not visible so I had no way to check for aim, and that was of course the most probable cause in my view. On top of that, the ocean wind was blowing hard, gusting at 30+ knots, moving and shaking the dish in a frightening manner. Anyway I was wrong. Once the moon came over the clouds I had confirmation that aim, altough shaky, was good.

In the end it was the LNA. Changing it was the only way to go and, despite the wind, I did manage to do it. Once the new one was in place, everything was back to normality, and I’ve been able to work some EUs and later some US stations, plus a couple of CW QSOs.

Spent the rest of the night napping on and off, and restarted in the morning with a few checks.

5dB of Sun noise with spare LNA
LNA 1st stage gone south

Having confirmed that LNA is dead, all hopes are now on the spare one, I have no certain idea how the first went down. Everything is carefully sequenced, so it should be almost impossible, so it’s either static, caused by the wind, or a whiff of RF during a changeover using Q65C-30, which seems rather short on switching. I think I will stick with JT65 for now.

After the tests were completed I managed to work Toshio JA6AHB, with the antenna covered at 40% by the house, and some time later Dmitrij UA3PTW, with only half dish.

Half antenna is enough for UA3PTW

That’s it for now, CU at next moonrise. I really hope that wind will be dropping a little…. 73. Giulio

August 29th.

Ok, the first moon pass has gone now, and given the circumstances, just this is a very big success. The drama and obstacoles overcome to be here, in this period, has been absolutely out of the ordinary.

Finally in Rangiroa.

The day has been quite tiresome. Building the dish, preparing the mount, rotator and assemble all the gear has taken large part of the day, 8 hours straight, had to do the final checks well after sunset.

First sunset at TX7EME, cables, LNA and Relay to be installed.

Mr Murphy paid a visit during final check, while testing the PA the Current meter was showing no draw at all. Luckily it was only one of the winner wire desoldered from the screw head (crappy chinese stuff of course). Once re-soldered finally everything was ok.

At moonrise I had to verify the aim for the antenna, which was no off by much (didn’t make it in time to check with the sun, but there is a visible telco tower 1 km away), and I started a few tests off the announced frequency, making first QSO with Aldo IK3COJ followed immediately by Jan PA3FXB. Then all hell got loose as usual with the pileup swarming with signals everywhere, so many decodes failed by over imposition.

Minimal setup, all externally sequenced.

Having run out of European stations I gave my attention to the few NA present, closing operations at 3 a.m. local time (after uploading the log on the webpage) to take a nap, truly a zombie by then. So far 17 QSOs, not bad for a start. Hope there will be many others in the next few days. 73

Tied down for the night, Wind here is not joking at all.

August 20th.

Things are quite troubled here in Tahiti due to the Covid19 Delta variant outbreak. Hospitals are full, and the local authorities have put on a curfew and partial lockdown, limited to the weekends for now, in most of the islands. As a consequence, our trip is suffering from minor inconveniences and a few rearrangements. Anyway I have been able to ship all the ham gear to Rangiroa by cargo ship last week, the only way to have all the stuff brought there without massive air transport fees.

The Dory3 cargo ship

All the bags and cases has been stowed in a small container, along with other things, like groiceries and equipment, destined to the remote atoll. No amazon deliveries in a day out here yet….

No address needed, just a name and a phone number is enough….

The owner of the Pension has gone to retrieve the luggage at the local harbour in Rangiroa, and everything is accounted for, so we are still in business.

3 hrs queue at the harbour…

In the meantime we have been to Teahupo’o, the ultra-famous surfing spot, then in Moorea and in Raiatea/Taha’a Islands. Great places, a true paradise.

Teahupo’o surf
Sunset in Raiatea
Maupiti island today.

Stay tuned, the clock is ticking and we are close to this activation. Best 73. Giulio

August 13th.

Finally in Tahiti….

It has been quite a trip.

The amount of luggage is outstanding…

Leaving from Venice airport to Paris brought a nasty surprise. At the arrival in Paris the big case with the dish was missing. After some research with the Lost & Found office we got notice that the case was still in Venice and was going to be sent the day after with the same morning flight, and to be delivered at the hotel, at random hours in the morning.

Problem was that the connection time with the intercontinental flight was uncomfortably short. At the flight arrival time the next morning I had to sneak into the baggage claim area at Paris airport, after pleading with the police there explaining my situation, just to find it at the oversize area.

What a relief…

I had to literally make a dash to the other terminal, just in time to check in on the flight to Tahiti sweaty as hell but, as you probably know, Italians can run quite fast these days.

Boarding time! Radio always at hand.
Lots of stern looks at the military style case….
Stop for refuelling in Vancouver, Canada
Finally in Tahiti!
Ukulele Welcome, Covid19 style.
Self testing for Covid. Better safe than sorry!
Morning coffee in Tahiti.

The luggage has arrived safe and sound, so far. We are on the go! CU soon of the moon. Giulio IW3HVB