Tuesday, January 30, 2007

News from VP2M

We are on the air with two or three stations. Much of the work we planned on doing on the island was portable work from beaches, hilltops, the volcano observatory, and other interesting places. The equipment we brought for that duty is excellent. Unfortunately, when we set that up at the villa, there isn't a lot of spacing between antennas, causing us to some inter-station interference. Given all these antennas are in each other's near-field, this isn't surprising. The problem solves itself once Chris, Budd, and a couple of other guys take off to do portable operations, leaving only a couple of operators here at the villa.
I'm calling CQ on 80m SSB as I type this. Conditions are not the best, but there have been some nice QSOs with Europe and the East Coast of the US. I came down here so Paul can be on 40m PSK-31, and Budd and Chris can work on 20m and 30m.
The band-pass filters are working very well. I've loaned my 17m and 30m filters to Budd so he can crank out CW contacts. Once he takes off for one of his bicycle mobile excursions I'll grab that filter and work on 17m phone.
The internet connection here at the villa is pretty good. There are occasional service interruptions (the packets stop flowing for no apparent reason), but all-in-all we're very pleased. In fact, the accommodations here at Gingerbread Hill are excellent. David, the owner of the property, spent the day with us showing every corner of this very interesting place. To say this is a ham friendly place would be a serious understatement. David and company have provided us with every courtesy and support you could think of to help us get going. This is a great place to do ham radio.
I took a number of pictures today (as did other team members) along with about an hour of video. When I close down this station tonight Ill update the DXpedition web site with some pictures of today's adventure. Breaking News: Online logs have been updated!
Here is a description of the operating conditions here.
  • Two "permanent" stations - Paul and I have twin stations with Icom 7000 transceivers, LDG tuners, ICE band-pass filters, and computerized logging. Paul is 100% digital modes. I am 100% SSB.
  • Two Yaesu FT-857 stations - Budd and Chris brought matching FT-897 transceivers. Budd is mostly CW (I think I heard him on phone for a short while). Chris will likely be on phone as well. Both stations have been operated as "portable" stations, even while here at the villa. Many of the QSOs generated from the really interesting places will be done by Budd and Chris.
  • QRP stations - Bob brought an Icom 703. I brought an Elecraft KX1 system. Budd used the Icom last night for a time and even 10 watts output produced prodigious pileups.
  • Backpack radio - A Vertex 1210 is tucked neatly into a backpack. Mike hopes to do some portable operations with that radio in the next few days.

  • Buddipoles - Of course... Paul has been on 20m and 40m on one Buddipole. Budd has been using his Buddipole on 40-15m. I now have a Buddipole set up well away from everybody else (fighting that too-many-antennas-in-a-small-space problem) on 20m. Chris was using that antenna this evening.
  • Wire verticals - I made two wire verticals hung with masts. One is an 80m vertical with the top suspended by a 33-foot mast. The second is a 40/15m antenna with the top suspended by a 20-foot fishing pole.

The team is still pretty tired from the long series of flights yesterday and from the long tour today. We expect to hit our stride tomorrow. Operations last night and this evening were just the warm up.
Thanks to all who have sent word directly (or indirectly) to the team. We're listening. See you on the bands.


Blogger W4TMN said...

OK, guys....Glad to see that you have made it safe and sound are are starting to operate. I will be listening for you and hope to work you a number of times. Watch out for the volcano, have fun and work lots of DX!!!! I will be looking forward to hearing of your exploits soon.


January 31, 2007 1:54 AM  

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