Send DX Hints or Kinks to any of the Blog Authors shown below.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

WVDXA Straight Key/Glowbug Night

December 31st is the 3rd Annual running of the WVDXA Straight Key/Glowbug Night operating event. The event only lasts 1-1/2 hours so it does not interfere with much of your New Year's Eve activities. The "rules" are posted below.

Some folks have mentioned that they no longer use a Straight Key to send CW. Most have bugs, external keyers or keyers built into their rigs. Some just have their computers generate their CW. If you are in that category and no longer have a Straight Key handy for this event, don't let that keep you from operating. I have recorded a short video that will show you a suitable alternative - to view it, CLICK HERE. WARNING! Always check the voltages on your key-line before using this method as some older tube-type rigs may have HIGH Voltage present on the key-line. This could be LETHAL!

The rules are quite simple:

Begin on 80-M then move to 40-M for DX!

0030 GMT (Jan. 1st) = 7:30 p.m. EST (Dec. 31)
3.565 MHz + / - QRM

0100 GMT (Jan. 1st) = 8:00 p.m. EST (Dec. 31)
7.030 MHz + / - QRM

Call "CQ AH" (for W8AH - the club call)

Use your Glowbug rigs (hollow state) if you have
them and can get on the above frequencies.

Use your Straight Key (or bare wires) -
thus the speed will be SLOW CW.

Minimum exchange is a signal report.
More "exchange" if you want.

Use the WVDXA Chat Page
for coordination.

BOTH 80-M and 40-M can be used if the number
of WVDXA members warrants that.

Event positively ENDS at 0200 GMT (9:00 p.m. EST)
So, dust off that "hollow-state" rig, clean up that straight key, and join the WVDXA on New Year's Eve. We'll have fun!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

WVDXA is major sponsor of KP5 DXpedition

The WVDXA logo now appears on the "club sponsor's" page of the KP5 DXpedition web site and will appear on the QSL card for the coming operation on Desecheo Island. Thanks to at least twenty members of WVDXA well more than $1,000 was raised and was forwarded to the DXpedition by WA8WV. $500 was the sponsorship level required to be shown in logo form on the QSL and our club contributed more than double that.

As a member of the DXpedition team, and a loyal member of WVDXA, I especially appreciate the club's support. Lots of larger DX clubs around the country made much smaller donations than we did and that makes me really proud. It is an expensive proposition and the members of the team will put up more than half of the money required (far more than half if we include airline travel to the staging areas in Puerto Rico and hotel bills on the way there and back). So donations are critically needed, and big ones like WVDXA's are a wonderful help.

I am personally indebted to the following WVDXA members who chipped in to make this sponsorship a reality:


It is my hope that I work every one of you guys from KP5. I'll be listening for you!

Monday, November 24, 2008

KP5, Desecheo Is. Update

KP5, DESECHEO ISLAND (Press Release #2, November 23rd - DXpedition Dates Announced)"The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service has notified the team that February 12-26, 2009, will be the dates allocated for the radio operation. These dates are coordinated with other USFWS research activities scheduled on other parts of Desecheo Island as well as scheduling USFWS security personnel for the camp.
Fifteen operators will be allowed on the island at any given time. A total of 6-8 stations will be operational, including 160-6 meters.
A reconnaissance trip to Desecheo is scheduled for Friday, December 19th. Three team members, USFWS personnel and an UXO (unexploded ordnance) expert will sweep and clear the assigned area of UXO and other hazards. There will be no radio operations.
The 15-man team will assemble in Puerto Rico on February 8, 2009, for mandatory UXO training. The next three days will include team operations training, and last minute preparation and staging of the several tons of equipment for transport. On February 12th, landing will commence and two stations will be immediately activated. Likewise, stations will continue to operate until the final moments before departure on February 26th.
Halfway through the operation, on February 19th, approximately half of the operating team will be replaced with fresh operators for the final week.
The team has been diligently planning antennas and propagation paths to take advantage of every possible band opening to Asia, where Desecheo is #2 on the Most Wanted List and to Europe, where it is #3 on the Most Wanted List.
Contributions are being solicited. To assist us and for the latest news, please go to the team's website:
73,Glenn Johnson, W0GJBob Allphin, K4UEEDesecheo 2009 co-leaders"

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

DX Bulletin Reader 1.0 Software

WOW, here is ANOTHER neat program from Alex, VE3NEA. Alex has produced CW Skimmer, DX Atlas, MorseRunner, and loads of other ham software. DX Bulletin Reader is a tool for viewing, archiving and searching the DX news bulletins. It works on Windows 95/98/ME/NT4/2000/XP. What this program does is that it "reads" the DX Bulletins and HIGHLIGHTS information on countries you designate as your NEEDED ones. Also, it highlights prefixes, callsigns, IOTA references and grid squares in different colors! Thus, you don't get bogged down in reading through the bulletins looking for particular information - it just jumps out at you!

Every highlighted item has a pop-up tooltip with more information like the IOTA Group Name and Prefix, the name of the country, latitude and longitude of grid squares, etc. AND, it has a text search that will search through all archived bulletins for that particular piece of information you remember reading but just can't find! Amazing!

You can see a screen shot of DX Bulletin Reader HERE and download it from the same page. Oh, and it's FREE!

Monday, September 1, 2008

A Month Without Sunspots

The sun has reached a milestone not seen for nearly 100 years: an entire month has passed without a single visible sunspot being noted.

The event is significant as many climatologists now believe solar magnetic activity – which determines the number of sunspots -- is an influencing factor for climate on earth.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Sunspot Numbers

Sunspot numbers for August 14-20 were 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0 and 0 with a mean of 0.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

P29 - Papua New Guinea in October

Five operators: AD6E, G3KHZ, K6HFA, CT1AGF, and W5GAI will operate from three islands in Papua New Guinea during October. They have room for one more operator if you want to make the trip. See their web site HERE for more information. They may do 160-M on the trip but since it will cost $1,500 to transport the 160-M amplifier and antennas to that location and back, they are asking for donations via a PayPal link on the above web site to help fund that band. If you don't use PayPal you can send your donation to W5GAI. They plan to operate from these IOTA locations: OC-008, OC-181 (P29VLR), OC-041 (P29NI), and OC-025.

DXCC with 1/2-watt at the Bottom of the Sunspot Cycle

Have you given up trying to work any DX at the bottom of the Sunspot Cycle (except on the low bands?) Do you ever turn the rig to 15-M or 10-M at all? Well, JQ2UOZ set a challenge for himself. The challenge was to try to work DXCC at the bottom of the sunspot cycle running just 500 milliwatts to a dipole antenna on the 17-M band or higher frequencies. He began this quest on November 25, 2006, and as of August 4, 2008, he has reached 100 countries! Nothing short of WOW! Check out his web page HERE and his Challenge stats HERE. Read through some of the stations he worked - it even includes BS7H!

Friday, August 1, 2008

W8QHG's Hint for Pointing Your Antenna

Bob Hall, W8QHG, mentioned to me today that for many years he has used a printed list of "Beam Headings" in order to point his antenna toward the DX. The list he has used for a long time was made in 1980 and called "Beam Buddy." However, it is now drastically outdated in that many country names and prefixes have changed in the last 28 years.

But, Bob recently found a web page that would allow him to print out a current "Beam Heading List" which was customized for his particular location. That web page is one of the "DX Tools" of the North Jersey DX Association. Here is a screen shot of what Bob's list looks like:

All you need to do is to visit THIS Web Site and enter your information (Name, Callsign, ZIP Code or Latitude/Longitude) and click on the "Generate" button. Shortly the list will be created on your screen and you can use File | Print to print a hard copy for your station.

Thanks to Bob, W8QHG, for sharing this Hint with the WVDXA. If you have a Hint or Kink that you would like to share, contact one of the "Blog Authors" listed on the bottom right-column of this Blog.

Friday, July 25, 2008

KH3, Johnston Island - News

Susan Meckley, Skipper of the USSV Dharma, and amateur radio operator, W7KFI, has been authorized to operate from Johnston Island, KH3, (see photo at Left.) This may very well be the LAST operation from there. Susan has been told that the Air Force and the Fish and Wildlife Service are declaring Johnston Island a "closed" island. It took her 7 months to acquire permission to make a stop there. Note, Susan is a 73-year old Grandmother!

Susan has had many troubles in her effort to reach Johnston Island - the engine on her boat quit, she had to return to Hawaii for emergency oral surgery, and, always at the mercy of the weather, had to lay over in Hawaii for the Hurricane season. But, just last week, Alan, W8OP, received an email from Susan stating that she hopes to head out before the end of the summer. Here is Susan's email:


I rec'd your nice letter, thank you. Yes, according to the powers that be, I am the last "officially approved" landing on KH3. The island is a nature preserve and is now "closed", much like Howland, Baker, Kure, Swan, etc. The only priviso from the Govt was that I take everything with me, leave nothing, and stay out of the water, the army galley used to dump their garbage in the water, thus th shark population is horrendous. I have a rule, I don't east raw fish, they (Hopefully) dont eat raw me.

I now have $5,000 saved for the engine change out....another thousand and the work begins, so I hope to be out of Honolulu before the summer is over. When I do leave, I will notify everyone...the trip there should take me a week, and then a day or so to set up. I have purchased an additional 27.5 gal water tank, so I should be able to remain at least a week, that is , if there is no rain. With rain, I stay longer.

Again, thank you very much.

Susan, W7KFI-mm
USSV Dharma

If you don't change direction you will arrive exactly where you're headed!!
Susan Meckley, Skipper - USSV Dharma
Let's hope she is able to make a safe voyage and work all WVDXA Members who need KH3.

HERE is a link where you can see a photo of Susan and listen to a conversation she had with radio host, Art Bell, while she was 200 miles off the coast of Hawaii.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Christmas in July

With temperatures in the 90's some days the phrase "Christmas in July" sure sounds good to me. In this case, I'm referring to the upcoming DX'pedition to Christmas Island.
According to their WEB SITE, the operation will now take place from July 14 to 21 because of a change in air transportation. Equipment consists of a Kenwood TS-480SAT, Yaesu FT-857, Alinco DX-70T, and an Acom 1010 amplifier. Antennas are a Spiderbeam and a Force 12 XK40 vertical. Modes planned are CW, SSB, RTTY, SSTV, PSK31 and FM on all bands from 80 thru 6 meters (possibly they will operate on 160-M but that is not considered too likely.) But, they plan to run THREE stations (1 high power and 2 at 100-watts.) Their goal is to give as many folks as possible a chance for a QSO for a New One. Christmas Island ranks No. 66 on the Worldwide Needed List.
Check out their web site. It is very extensive. GL to all.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

4W6R, East Timor, June 10 to 24

Several members of the Union de Radioaficionados Españoles, URE, (The Spanish Amateur Radio League) will operate from Timor-Leste as 4W6R from June 10th through 24th. Activity will be on 160-6 meters, using CW, SSB and RTTYwith two stations on the air. Suggested frequencies are: CW - 1824/1832, 3508, 7008, 10118, 14018, 18078, 21018, 24898 and 28018. SSB - 1824/1845, 3785, 7065, 14185, 18135, 21295, 24945 and 28485. RTTY - 3615, 7038, 10145, 18105, 21085, 24925 and 28085. 6m - CW/50098, RTTY/50300 and SSB/50155 kHz

QSLs will be via EA4URE, by the Bureau or direct to: P.O. Box 220, 28080, Madrid, SPAIN. See their web site HERE for more info. (TNX Ohio/Penn DX Bulletin for this info.)

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

WVDXA Invades the Dayton Hamvention

The 2008 Dayton Hamvention saw a HUGE number of WVDXA Members attend. It seemed like you could hardly turn a corner on the flea market or pass a vendor's booth that you didn't run into a club member. Many were congregated around Rick, W8ZT's, flea market space as it appeared to be the "home base" for those in the flea market. The DX Dinner had no less than TWELVE WVDXA members in attendance! Here are a couple of shots of the two tables it took to hold all of us. BTW, Hal, W8HC, was not in his seat for this photo and, of course, I was behind the camera.

Hal previously posted a list of all WVDXA members he spotted at this year's Hamvention and it included: W8TN, WA8WV, WA8VPN , WA8ZDL, K4OM, W8FG, K8OQL, WB8JPJ, KØCS, KC8UHE, W8OP, K8TW, W8GG, W8OI, W8HC, AB8RL, W8ZT, W8HYX, K4KL, KC8FVE, W8UI, K8MN, and N8NN, for a Grand Total of TWENTY-THREE WVDXA Members. Obviously, the group made its mark this year in force!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

DX Summit has a New URL

For those of you who use DX Summit to either look for current DX spots or to look back in their archives for past DX spotting information, they have moved to a NEW location on the Internet and a NEW look to the page. If you have gone to their site recently you will find you have been "re-directed" to the new location. In any event, you should CHANGE your Bookmark or your Favorite to reflect the new URL as the old one will no longer work shortly. HERE is the new URL for the homepage and HERE is the URL for the DX Spots page.

DX Summit was first launched in 1998 and has provided the DX world with a huge tool for finding that elusive DX. Now with the help of YASME they have upgraded their hardware to the latest technology and with the servers located in California, provide much faster service so your DX spots will appear on your computer much quicker. More info is available at their web site.

Don't forget to also change any other Bookmarks or Favorites you may have for "Spot Database Search" or for specific band searches.

Friday, May 9, 2008

We're losing our best 6 meter beacon

Do you 6 meter buffs realize that come February 17, 2009 we will no longer be able to tune our TV sets to an unused low channel (say channels 2, 4, 5 or 6 here in Charleston-Huntionton, WV) and wait to see a picture from far away to tell us that a sporadic E opening has made 6 meters come alive? Alas it is true.

For so many years a TV picture on an unused local channel was often our first indication of a sporadic E opening into places far, far away. But in Feburary 2009, when analog television has to shut down in favor of digital TV on new frequencies, those pictures from hundreds of miles away will fade into memories from the past like white bucks, leisure suits, Johnson Rangers and Monica Lewinsky.

Enjoy this tool again in 2008. Next year it will be gone.

We don't know what services will replace brodacast TV on those low channels, but they probably won't be anything comparable to 100,000 watt television stations. And I still need 46 entities for DXCC on 6 meters. Help?

Monday, April 28, 2008

Announced DX Operations Web Page Addition

The Announced DX Operations (ADXO) web page of Bill, NG3K, has added a new feature. On any "current" DX'pedition, there is now a link (underneath the DX'pedition Callsign) that will show PacketCluster spots for that operation. This gives you a quick and easy way to see if the operation has come on the air along with who is hearing it and on what bands. So as to not lose your place on the ADXO web page, right-click on the spot and choose "Open Link in New Tab" if you are using Mozilla Firefox or choose "Open in New Window" if you are using Internet Explorer. TNX to the Ohio/Penn DX Bulletin for this info.

Friday, April 25, 2008

A few good CW ops needed May 3

A highlight of this season in the Huntington area is the annual Spring Festival at Heritage Farm Museum. If you've been there before, you know what I mean. If you haven't, why haven't you? This is one of the premier farm museums in the nation and it comes more alive during Spring Festival than at any other time of the year as scores of volunteers show up to demonstrate how the old relics were used. And there are thousands of those historic inventions on display at this great museum. Most people don't realize that West Virginia has such a huge, unique working display.

It's a one day event, the first Saturday in May. May 3 this year.

And if you are a CW operator, the Heritage Farm Museum needs YOU! All day long, from 10 to 4, there will be a demonstration of telegraphy. If you're willing to help in that demonstration, you get into the festival for free. Contact Judy Taylor, WD8EOP, at least a couple days in advance so she can put your name on the list for free admission as a volunteer. Email her at or call her at 304-523-0486. Contact her or me if you need more details.

I plan to be there from 10 until about 1. Judy especially needs CW ops in the afternoon from 1 to 4. I can tell you that this will be a bunch of fun.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

How a DXer spent $350 for nothing

My old SB-220 wasn’t putting out as much power as it once did. It had to mean that the original Eimac 3-500Z tubes in it were getting weak, right? I was sure of it.

I told Dave Ellis, WA8WV, that I was going to have to buy a matched pair of new tubes for a total of more than $350 including shipping. Dave advised me to try a good set of borrowed tubes first; just to be sure I needed new tubes. He told me that an old Drake linear, which he had recently donated to the Museum of Radio and Technology in Huntington WV, contained two perfectly good 3-500Z tubes. He said “why don’t you borrow those tubes and see if they fix the problem before spending a lot of money.” Great idea, I thought.

So I got Dave’s old tubes and installed them into my linear expecting a big improvement in power output. I was surprised to discover that the output was about the same. Both sets of tubes resulted in only about 500 watts output on 10 and 15 meters and only about 700 on 20. I was flabbergasted as I returned Dave’s old 3-500Z’s to the Drake in the radio museum, figuring that those relics weren’t really as good as Dave had remembered.

I told this story to lots of people including one of the smartest RF engineers I know, Earl Walton, W8LBN. Earl said, “What’s the difference, that’s all the power you need to run anyway?” Earl is obviously not a DXer.

Yeah, most of the time that is enough power, but not when you’re in a pile up trying to work a BS7 or a P5 competing with WA8WV, WA8VPN, W8GG, W8QHG, W8HC, W8UV and W8WEJ (the WVDXA Top of Honor Rollers) and thousands of other DXers around the globe. At that point I want every legal watt I can stuff into my antenna.

Earl agreed that there wasn’t much else in the circuit that could affect power output so I decided to act. I spent the money and got those new 3-500Z’s. I even paid for two day shipping from California. Actually they are 3-500ZG’s, with the “G” meaning graphite for added durability in these new Thompson tubes (made in China). I was going to be a powerhouse again on the air.

I installed the new tubes. I followed the instructions completely, applying filament power only at first, letting the tubes “cook” as they glowed for twelve solid hours before turning on the drive. Then I slowly sneaked the exciter’s power up gradually and read the SB-220’s output as it climbed to 200 watts, then 300, 400, 500, 510. I cranked up the exciter more. There was no further increase in output. The maximum I could get was 510 watts on 15 meters. I tried 10 meters and got 500 watts. I switched to 20 meters and got 700 watts. Yes, I had the same results that my old tubes had produced, and the same as the tubes I had borrowed from the museum. Nothing more.

Several more days passed before I finally figured it out. I was driving the linear with my Yaesu FT-1000MP Mark-V, and I found the answer in the Yaesu’s operating manual. I learned that most very old linears were designed with a different kind of ALC feedback than is required by most modern transceivers. So I unhooked the ALC line, and voila! Eureka! The big power was back! I had pretty close to legal limit power on all bands again.

Earl and Dave assumed that I knew not to use an ALC line between two pieces of equipment designed half a century apart in time. It’s their fault. They thought I was smarter than I am.

My problem dated back to last fall when I changed my connecting ALC line because I found a loose plug on the old line that I had been using ever since I got the Yaesu rig. Looking back now I believe the old line’s faulty plug wasn’t making proper connection, so it was not carrying any ALC feedback and thus was not cutting back my exciter’s power. When I installed the new ALC line, which worked, it caused the exciter to cut back because of the incompatibility of the SB-220’s ALC to my modern transceiver. Some time passed after installing the new ALC line before I tried to crank up the power so I didn’t see the relationship.

Oh well. I now have a perfectly good set of backup 3-500Z’s in case one of these should ever fail when I finally hear that VK0 that I still need.

Addendum by W8TN: Bob, W8QHG, after hearing about Garry's troubles told me, "Well, if Garry had just told ME about his problem, I would have told him to check the ALC!" You see, back when Bob built his SB-220, he ran into the same problem of low output. A call to Heathkit quickly set him on the right path and disconnecting the ALC yielded full power output. So, in retrospect, Garry probably should have posted his trouble to the WVDXA Reflector to utilize ALL (not just some) of the accumulated brain power in the club. Sorry for your trouble Garry but this Post should help others in the future. Thanks for telling your story!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Another Great WVDXA Meeting!

Last night's WVDXA Meeting at the Museum of Radio and Technology was another stellar affair! Garry, W8OI, gave a presentation about the last radio transmission from the Titanic which included an actual recording of the spark signal as received at a Marconi shore-based station in New Jersey in 1912! That gave a lot of us cold chills! Also, Hal, W8HC, had a pair of special guests, Joe, 4X6KJ, and his wife, Ruth, 4X4CM, who are visiting West Virginia for the first time. Here are a pair of shots showing W8OI sending "SOS" with a spark transmitter and 4X6KJ answering many questions about Amateur Radio in Israel.
Hal, W8HC, had earlier in the day picked up a Proclamation from West Virginia Governor, Joe Manchin, making 4X6KJ an Honorary Mountaineer!
Attendance was a whopping 22 including a couple of new faces - Bob, W8GU, from Charleston and Matt, AA8P, from Ashland, KY. Also, Jerry, K8OQL, drove all the way from Romney in the Eastern Panhandle to attend! With the sheet cake Hal brought and Evelyn's famous mint Brownies, no one left hungry!

I've posted the actual SOS (CQD) of the Titanic at the following location as an MP3 file.

Here is what is being transmitted:


This is just awesome! CW from 96 years ago! BTW, "MGY" is the radio callsign for Titanic.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

FR/G, Glorioso Is., DX'pedition Delayed

Team Leader, Didier, F5OGL, announced that the DX'pedition to Glorioso Islands, FR/G, which had been scheduled for May has now been delayed until sometime this fall - possibly the end of September or beginning of October. Currently some anti-cyclonic shelters are being built on the island and it has been decided to not attempt the DX'pedition until that construction is finished. You can view the 2008 FR/G web site HERE and watch for future updates.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Solar Cycle 24 Spot Recorded

"We saw a string of zero-sunspot days over the past couple of weeks, but this week saw a brief but significant sunspot that lasted only a couple of days. Sunspot 990 emerged as a tiny speck over April 14-15, but it was definitely a Solar Cycle 24 spot. Not only was the polarity of this region correct for the new Cycle, but it was far north above the Sun's equator, which is what we expect for a sunspot from an emerging solar cycle. The only previous Cycle 24 activity was close to the solar equator."

Thursday, April 10, 2008

VU4 and/or VU7 Possible October 24 - November 3

Jeff, KZ8E, reports that the National Institute of Amateur Radio in India has announced on their WEB PAGE the Silver Jubilee Celebration of NIAR for October 24 through November 3, 2008. They mention on that page that they will assist guests in regard to reciprocal licenses or operation permits for VU4 or VU7. So, mark you calendars as many need these countries and we could even have some propagation by then. Thanks, Jeff.

Friday, March 28, 2008

CW DX-pedition to SYRIA : 9-15 April 2008

Bernie, W3UR, reported in The Daily DX that next month will see a serious CW-only DX'pedition to Syria by a team of 5 British operators. They will have two stations plus amps and antennas for 9 bands. They will operate under the call YK9G and will transmit on frequencies ending in "3" and listen split, up 1-2 plus kHz. They have a minimal web site HERE.

Although they will be equipped for all bands, they expect that 40-M through 17-M will provide the bulk of their operation. QSL via G3TXF.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

It Must be Spring!

People are always watching for the first robin to herald the return of Spring. However, you can also mark that event by the return of the Snow Birds!

Bob, W8QHG, who always has his ear out for rare DX, reports that the WVDXA Vice-President and his mate have returned to their roost in Barboursville after their winter sojourn to various rookeries in the Sunshine State.

It is not common knowledge but I have been given to understand that this southerly migration is actually a training exercise. In order for this DX bird to sharpen his RF feeding skills, he makes this annual voyage in order to work the elusive DX using minimum tools - QRP power levels, single-receiver radios, and Hamstick vertical antennas. Thus, fighting his way through the pile-ups as a "Little Pistol" sharpens his DX skills to the point where he can peck through the pile-ups in record speed and store up stacks of band/slots in the DX feeding frenzies to come.

So, be warned! The "easy pickin's" we have enjoyed the past few months are now over. I just hope no one helps him put up a "Monster-L" for Top Band or my only refuge from his RF will disappear! LISTEN! Can you hear him? "Oscar Italy" is BAAAACK!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Spratly Is., March 22-30

N1UR is planning a DX'pedition to Spratly Island for 8 days later this month. He will focus on the needed bands in NA and EU. This will be a small crew with light equipment (verticals on the beach) so hope for some good propagation. However, this is one very difficult country to work. Visit his web site HERE to vote for the bands and modes where you need Spratly Island. This DX tip is courtesy of The Daily DX by permission.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Glorioso Islands, FR/G, Coming in May

FR/G, GLORIOSO ISLANDS. Jean-Michel, F6AJA, editor of Les Nouvelles DX,informed OPDX on Monday last week that after many years of effort, the permission has finally been received and an operation to Glorioso (Glorieuses) Islands will take place, probably early May (possibly between May 5-9th) for some weeks. At the moment, operators mentioned are Pascal/F5PTM, Freddy/F5IRO, Stephane/F6KIN, David/F8CRS, Yves-Michel/F5PRU and possibly 3 others. The team plans to have 3 or 4 stations on the air. They are currently looking for sponsors, and if you would like to help, please contact Didier, F5OGL. Presently, Glorioso is ranked 4th in "DX Magazine's 2007 Most Wanted Countries World-Wide" in the mixed modes (EU 7th, Asia 9th and NA 4th). There is no Web page currently available for this operation, but details from the 2005/2006 planned operation Web page (which did not take place) states: "The Glorioso Archipelago consists of two coral islands: Grande Glorieuse (3 km in its larger diameter) where the human installations are, and Ile du Lys (circular island, 600 metres in diameter) which is desert. The archipelago also includes two rock islets - Roches Vertes and l'Ile aux Crabes - as well as a sand bank more or less above water at high tide. At the east and northeast of Grande Glorieuse are a series of dunes reaching a maximum elevation of 12 m. The islands and rocks are surrounded by a reef and a lagoon which is drained dry at low tide. The Glorioso islands are situated 220km northwest of Diego Suarez (Madagascar). The island became French territory in 1930. Around 1912, a French came from the Comoros and planted a fine coconut palm plantation there. Exploited until 1958 by people from the Seychelles, it is currently abandoned. There are also filaos. Fauna consists exclusively of a rather large colony of terns. The meteorological service of the French colony in Madagascar installed on the island a rather primitive weather station in 1955 which was opened only during the hurricane season from October to April. Since 1960 the the station is open all year round. The importance of this station is clear. It predicts cyclones for the North Madagascar and Comoros area. It ensures safe navigation on the Madagascar-Djibouti- Madagascar and Kenya-Mauritius-Kenya air and maritime routes. (From minister for the French overseas Web site)" ADDED NOTE: Jean-Michel, F6AJA, provides DXers with an interesting Webpage that (probably) has the most complete QSL collection (28 different QSLs) from Glorioso. Take a look at: THIS PAGE. He still needs some cards for his collection: FR5ES/G, FR5HG/G and FR5KH/G.

4W6 expedition scheduled

Announcing DXpedition to East Timor

The Union de Radioaficionados Españoles, URE, the Spanish Amateur Radio League, is proud to announce a project in East Timor to take place in June 2008.

URE's Radiosolidarity Department will organize an Amateur Radio DXpedition, combined with activities to promote Amateur Radio including the donation and setting up of a complete amateur radio station at the University of Dili. It is hoped that by operating alongside students and teachers of the Electrical Engineering and other departments it will be possible to sow the seeds of future amateur radio activity of a permanent nature in East Timor.

During the last few years URE's Radiosolidarity has been involved in projects in the following countries:

1998-TJ2RSF-Cameroun [ in collaboration with RSF] 1998/1999-Cuba [campaign of donation of material] 1999-HU4U-El Salvador 2000-HQ0R-Honduras 2001-TG0R-Guatemala 2003-ZA1A-Albania [an IARU project] 2004-7W0AD-Algeria 2004-T42R-Cuba 2005-TZ6DEL-Mali 2007-T42R-Cuba 2007-HQ2R-Honduras

This new project will take place in cooperation with the University of Dili, located in the capital of East Timor. We don't yet know the callsign that will be used; whether it will be a special one for the occasion, hopefully 4W6R, the callsign of the University (4W6UTL) or the callsign of one of the operators (4W6ERC).

The group that will take part in the activity is made up of the following experienced operators:

EA1QF Angel (team leader)
EA4DB (ex-EA4BPJ) Jose
EA4KA Eugene
EA5BWR Txema

QSLs will be via EA4URE.

A complete station (Kenwood TS690 + Mosley TA63M + G5RV + rotor) will be donated to and installed at the University of Dili for use of the students and teachers of the Electrical Engineering Department or anyone else who might be interested in Amateur Radio. Another station will be set up, temporarily, at the team´s lodgings in order to have two stations (CW and SSB) operating permanently during the 15 days of operation. Time will be spent on other modes (RTTY, etc) and special attention will be paid to operation on six meters.

The majority of this project's funding is provided by the Alicante Provincial Government and by URE. The rest of the budget, at this time, will be down to the operators although we have already received news of some small but useful donations. We would be very grateful if individuals and organisations could consider making contributions to this project at any time, including after the operation. Please bear in mind the following two considerations.

The objective of this project is to contribute to the development of a very young country and to promote amateur radio activity by East Timor nationals.

The DXpedition is part of the activity is intended to achieve 30,000 plus QSOs in spite of the limitations imposed on us. We feel able to achieve this due to the very considerable experience of our six-man team of proven DXpedition operators

Sea Level To Fall, New Entities On Horizon

Reuters News Service

By Alister Doyle, Environment Correspondent

OSLO (Reuters) - Sea levels are set to fall over millions of years, making the current rise blamed on climate change a brief interruption of an ancient geological trend, scientists said on Thursday.

They said oceans were getting deeper and sea levels had fallen by about 170 meters (560 ft) since the Cretaceous period 80 million years ago when dinosaurs lived. Previously, the little-understood fall had been estimated at 40 to 250 meters.

"The ocean floor has got on average older and gone down and so the sea level has also fallen," said Bernhard Steinberger at the Geological Survey of Norway, one of five authors of a report in the journal Science.

"The trend will continue," he told Reuters.

A computer model based on improved understanding of shifts of continent-sized tectonic plates in the earth's crust projects more deepening of the ocean floor and a further sea level decline of 120 meters in 80 million years' time.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

TX5C, Clipperton Is., Just Days Away!

Make sure those antennas are tuned, the amps aligned and the computer clock set to WWV as the next big DX'pedition is about to fire up. 20 operators will activate TX5C for 10-12 days on all bands to fill in any holes you may still have from previous operations. One of the operators is Jay, K4ZLE, manager of the 8th Region QSL Buro and another is Arnie, N6HC, a good friend of mine who has operated my station in a multi-single effort in the 10-M contest back in 2002.

The operators are all on board the Shogun, headed toward Clipperton and operating as FO5A/MM while traveling toward the island. They have already made over 1,000 QSO's. HERE are some photos as the ship leaves San Diego. Arnie is the guy in the blue shirt with the stuffed reindeer (?) in his pocket.

You can check the "Hot News" section of the TX5C web site and follow links from there to the "Photos" section and the "Operators" section where some of the operators are posting a diary during their trip.

And, be the first to identify the WVDXA member shown HERE on Clipperton in 1985. Boy, the years have NOT been kind to this guy!

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Excitement as Kosovo independence confirmed for Sunday

Kosovo will declare independence on Sunday amid growing excitement among its ethnic Albanians, anger from its Serbs, and the launch of an EU mission to ease the birth of the world's newest state.

"Tomorrow will be a day of calm, of understanding and of state engagements for the implementation of the will of the citizens of Kosovo," Prime Minister Hashim Thaci said Saturday in reference to the breakaway ethnic Albanian majority.

Expectations of a Sunday declaration of independence have been running high for several days -- but Thaci's comments marked the first top-level confirmation that the long-awaited break with Serbia would come this weekend.

By nightfall Saturday, tens of thousands of cheering Kosovars poured into downtown Pristina, filled with anticipation, as convoys of vehicles zipped through the streets, cheerfully honking their horns and waving Albanian, British, German, NATO and US flags.

Talking to reporters after a meeting with religious leaders, Thaci appealed for celebrations to unfold with "dignity ... on the day of the declaration of independence, on the big day, on the historic day ... a day of thanksgiving for a sovereign and independent Kosovo."

Serbia, which sees Kosovo as the cradle of Serb culture and religion, and Russia, Belgrade's main ally on the world stage, has vowed never to recognize an independent Kosovo.

In a television interview later Saturday, Thaci said details of the declaration of independence -- "in coordination with our international partners" -- would be finalized first thing Sunday morning.

"The constitution is ready and national symbols are ready," he said, indicating as well that the newborn state would move quickly to apply to join the United Nations and other international institutions.

Independence is expected to be declared at around 3:00 pm (1400 GMT) on Sunday to the strains of "Ode to Joy," the anthem of the European Union, according to local news media. Street parties and fireworks would follow.

The European Union launched earlier Saturday a 2,000-member police and judicial mission to help facilitate Kosovo's transition to independence -- even as the bloc's 27 members remain split on how to recognize the new state.

In the divided northern city of Kosovoska Mitrovica, a potential flashpoint for violence on Sunday, Kosovo Serb leader Milan Ivanovic rejected the EU mission, vowing it would be boycotted by his people.

"The EU mission is not welcome. We will boycott it and use all methods of civic resistance," Ivanovic said. Serbs make up 120,000 of Kosovo's 1.8 million people and they want to stay part of Serbia.

In the wintery streets of Pristina, many shopkeepers Saturday festooned their windows with the Albanian flag -- a black eagle on a red background -- sometimes alongside banners boasting 50-percent-off sales.

Colourful posters expressed thanks to the United States, Britain and the European Union for supporting independence. Street stalls added "Proud to be Kosovar" T-shirts to their usual inventory of cigarettes and mobile phones.

Thaci's government has reportedly ordered 80 tonnes of fireworks from Bulgaria for the occasion, while a trendy bakery called Fellini's is baking a jumbo Kosovo-shaped independence cake.

EU foreign ministers will meet in Brussels on Monday to try to draw up a "common platform" in response to Kosovo's expected independence, one which does not include the notion of the bloc as a whole recognising the new state.

EU leaders committed in December to help with a settlement on Kosovo's final status, including economic and political assistance and by offering Kosovo the prospect of EU membership some time in the distant future.

"We are working with our international partners in the European Union and the United Nations to bring the Kosovo status process rapidly to completion," a British foreign ministry spokesman in London said.

But some countries will refuse, at least in the short term, to recognise the new state, including Bulgaria, Cyprus, Greece, Romania, Slovakia and Spain.

Opponents of independence fear it could serve as a precedent for other separatist groups in Europe, as well as undermine Balkan security which remains fragile after the violent breakup of Yugoslavia in the early 1990s.

In Belgrade on Saturday, more than 1,000 Serb nationalists -- chanting "Kosovo is the heart of Serbia" and waving the Serbian tricolour flag -- protested against Western support for Kosovo's independence.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Staying On Top of the DX Ladder

Gregg, W8GG, and Clark, W8TN, have been posting to the WVDXA Reflector about their successes in working the VP6DX - Ducie Island DX'pedition. However, without any fanfare, the elder statesman of the WVDXA, Bob, W8QHG, is keeping pace and probably staying ahead of a lot of the club. Bob got up at 5 a.m. this morning and snagged VP6DX on 20-M, 40-M and 75-M SSB! Then, just for good measure, he made a contact with TI9KK - Cocos Island on 20-M SSB on his FIRST CALL!Always dapper, here is Bob at his station in 1937. For those without access to a calculator, that's SEVENTY YEARS AGO! And, he's STILL workin' the DX with as much enjoyment as he had then. When I talked to him this afternoon, he was pursuing VP6DX on 17-M CW. GO, Bob, GO!

Saturday, February 9, 2008

TI9KK, Cocos Is., Now On-the-Air

The TI9KK DX'pedition to Cocos Island is now On-the-Air. Scheduled departure date is February 14th so you better jump on this one fast if you need it. Planned operation is 160-M through 6-M. With 7 rigs and 4 amps, they should be on multiple bands. This country ranks 72nd on the Top 100 Needed List and it is really close to us so you should fill up your bands list with this one.

Papa November will surely be exchanging Opossum recipes with Yamini, VU2YAM, who is one of the operators. HERE is the DX'pedition's web site.

Saturday's WVDXA Meeting

The first meeting of the year was held at W8TN qth. There was a good turn out. It was great to see all the DXERS and share some trade secrets with each other. The DVD of BS7H was shown and it was interesting to see what they went through to give us a contact and also seeing W8TN in the Log on the video.
Clark, showed some new software that was very exciting to see and the thoughts of how it could be used gave me chills.
We missed everyone who couldn't make it. Hope to catch you all at the next WVDXA Club meeting.

Papa November

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

VP6DX - Ducie Island - On the Way!

The operators for the upcoming Ducie Island operation are in Papeete, French Polynesia, and will leave today for Mangreva Atoll where they will board their ship, the M/V Braveheart and depart for Ducie Island later today. The trip is expected to take 72 hours with a stop at Pitcairn Island during the night to offload some supplies for the people there. The Braveheart will begin offloading the operators and equipment on Ducie at first light on Saturday, February 9. They will then begin to set up all SEVEN stations before beginning operations simultaneously at approximately 0400 GMT on February 12th.

On the low bands (especially 160-M) they will try to work Europe during the early night hours asking NA stations to "check back later." About 0730 they expect to begin working NA in full force so you can plan on some late nights to work this operation. They WILL operate in the 160-M SSB contest on February 23/24.

The NEW transmit frequency for 75-M SSB is 3781 kHz and the NEW 160-M CW transmit frequency is 1826.3 kHz. Please read News Item #9 HERE for tips on the techniques they plan to use.

Be sure to check out their web page HERE for the latest news and the online log which should be updated twice a day.

Friday, January 18, 2008

100 Most Needed Countries - Worldwide

The latest edition of DX Magazine's Most Needed Countries list is now available HERE (scroll down a bit to see the list.) The current DX'pedition to J5, Guinea Bissau, is listed as No. 100 so it will definitely not make the list next year. And, my nemesis, P5, North Korea, has climbed to No. 1 at the Top of the List. It is also interesting to note that BS7, Scarborough Reef, fell from No. 1 to only No. 8. There must still be a lot of DX'ers that need it. Check over the list and see where those countries you need stack up with all the DX'ers around the world.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

SWODXA Dayton DX Dinner Announcement

The South West Ohio DX Association has announced the 2008 DX Dinner to be held on Friday evening, May 16th, at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in downtown Dayton. Tickets are $37 each. You can read the Press Release HERE. The SWODXA web site HERE has reviews of last year's dinner and the extensive prizes given away each year. Amazing! If you would like to attend as part of the WVDXA contingent, please contact W8TN.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Rwanda, 9XØR, March 2008

A team of 10 operators from Spain, Italy and the Ukraine plan to be active from 10 to 160 meters (include WARC bands) on CW, SSB and RTTY with 3 stations at the same time. They now have the license in hand. Further details can be found HERE and an online log will be available during the operation.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Marquesas Is. - FO/m - Jan. 9 to 22

OH1RX, OH2PM, OH6KN and OH8NC will open up from the Marquesas on January 9th for a 2-week DX'pedition. They plan to focus on the low-bands and the East Coast of the U.S. Equipment is 3 stations, each with 500-watt amps, from 2 separate operating locations. Antennas are phased verticals on 80-M and 40-M, a 23-M top-loaded vert. with elevated radials for 160-M plus Beverages and K9YC receive antennas and yagi's for the higher bands. Looks like a good chance to pick up some FO/m band-countries. Also, an online log search should be available HERE. Also, don't forget the J5C operation from Guinea-Bissau Jan. 11 to 21. These two major operations should keep the bands hopping.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Official! New Sunspot Cycle Starts.

WASHINGTON (AP) - A new solar cycle is under way.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said Friday that the first sunspot of a new 11-year cycle has appeared in the sun's northern hemisphere.

The frequency of sunspots rises and falls during these cycles, and the start of a new cycle indicates they are likely to begin increasing.

Sunspots, areas of intense magnetic activity on the sun, can affect Earth by disrupting electrical grids, airline and military communications, GPS signals and even cell phones, the agency said. During periods of intense sunspot activity, known as solar storms, highly charged radiation from the sun may head toward Earth.

"Our growing dependence on highly sophisticated, space-based technologies means we are far more vulnerable to space weather today than in the past," said NOAA Administrator Conrad C. Lautenbacher, Jr.

Last April an international panel of solar experts forecast that Solar Cycle 24 would start in March 2008, plus or minus six months. The panel was split between those predicting a strong or weak cycle.