Home :: News :: News #19 - 2008 Feb 19
Highlights:
... 160m contact made with opposite side of the planet ...
... 104,900 contacts and climbing ...
... QSO Statistics ...
... 17m RTTY operations started ...
... 30m RTTY frequency adjustment ...
... 6m beacon now on the air ...
... long path contacts made with Finland, European Russia on the 80m band...
... possibilities for 160m? ...
... North American 160m schedule ...

160m contact made with opposite side of the planet

At Feb 18 Mon 1252z, the Ducie Island 160m operator was called by, and completed a contact with, A45XR in Oman. A45XR is located less than 300 km from the antipode (exact opposite location on the planet) of Ducie Island -- essentially the most distant location from Ducie Island.

This contact took place during the late afternoon, Oman time, 1 hour 10 minutes before sunset. At the time of the contact, the terminator was 2000 km from Oman, approaching from the east-northeast.

All directions between antipodes are of equal distance. Over what path was this contact made?

At Ducie Island, A45XR's signals were heard best on the 305 beverage antenna. This suggests the signal path traveled over Japan, northern China, and Pakistan... exiting perpendicular from the twilight zone. It is possible a single E-skip hop between Oman and northeast Pakistan completed the path through the 2000 km daylight sector.

Congratulations to both operators!

Now that we have shown Ducie Island's topband operating team can contact even the farthest points on the planet, what's stopping you from trying a top band contact with VP6DX? If you think your antenna is inferior, or you are running limited transmitter power, don't give up! Look at the comments in the guestbook section of the VP6DX.com website: lots of stations are now in the VP6DX logbook with very simple antennas and low heights -- event on top band.

So give every band and mode a try. We are waiting for your call!

We are stuck on an uninhabited island with nothing to do but work any station who calls us. Well, perhaps that's not entirely true. It's almost time for breakfast... and a nap for the nighttime operators.

104,900 contacts so far

Current dupe rate is below 7%, which is typical for this volume of QSOs. During the next days we plan a greater focus on Asia openings, which are presently underrepresented on most bands. Openings on 12 and 10m to Europe can be weak and difficult, but we will try to capture all of them in the remaining days on the air.

30m has received somewhat less attention to date due to competition from other band openings into difficult-to-reach areas. On Feb 19 Tue we added a second 30m antenna and started running CW and RTTY simultaneously.

17m RTTY operations started

RTTY totals to date also are below plan. To help correct this, and to exploit a more convenient propagation time for North American operators, on Feb 19 Mon we began RTTY operations on 17m during mid-day (local Ducie time). Our RTTY transmit frequency on this band will be about 18101 kHz (below the packet stations), listening down.

30m RTTY frequency adjustment

We have received reports that our 30m RTTY transmit frequency of 10149 is sometimes covered by commercial stations in Europe. We may move this frequency back to 10139... but listen up in the JA RTTY window of 10140-10150.

Note that some form of radar or other broadband signal from northern Asia occasionally covers most of the 30m band. During these times we redeploy the operating position to another band. This interference may cause us to miss some openings.

6m beacon now on the air

At about 2008 Feb 19 Tue 0000z the VP6DX 6m beacon began operations. The beacon frequency is 50105.5 kHz. Beacon power is 70 watts to a Yagi. We will try beaming east-northeast for two hours around our sunrise... north-northeast to USA/Canada/Central America for the remainder of the day.

The beacon speaker is on our picnic table, used for meals and relaxing, and next to the east operating tent. In addition we have a spectrum display monitoring a portion of the 6m beacon band.

Please submit any reception reports via the VP6DX.COM website (they will be forwarded to the operator team). You may call us on the beacon frequency, or contact any of our HF operators to alert us for an opening.

80m longpath to OH and European Russia

During a window around Ducie Island local sunrise (1345-1445Z), long path contacts have been made on both 75m SSB and 80m CW with stations in Finland and European Russia.

The furthest contact was to northern Finland, about 25,000 km from Ducie Island and 5,000 km beyond the antipodes.

The best reception at Ducie Island for most contacts is on the 195 beverage. Some stations were heard equally well on the 225 beverage. The stations were inaudible on any other direction. This suggests the path has very little skew off the great circle long path route.

This long path route parallels the terminator (bearing 187 from Ducie), with signals from Ducie traveling over Antarctica... Heard Island... Rodrigues Island... the Persian Gulf... Iran... and western Russia.

We encourage stations in Scandinavia and western Russia to listen during these times, and to call VP6DX if they hear our signal.

We will also be listening on 160m for contacts on this path (or some variant). It would be a thrill to put long path contacts on top band in the log. Let's see how far we can push propagation!

Please submit any reception reports for unusual openings, including openings on other bands, via the VP6DX website.

North American 160m schedule

Most 160m operators in North America recognize that, when sun sets at Ducie Island (0300z), it is dark in North America and most of Europe.

Between this time and European sunrise is the only propagation window for contacts between Ducie Island and Europe. Many years will pass before another expedition arrives at Ducie Island at the bottom of the sunspot cycle. As a result, one of our expedition goals is to give as many stations in Europe and Asia a 160m contact with Ducie Island.

To accomplish this goal, North American stations (with much shorter path to Ducie) will need to wait.

Our top band operating team proposes that, on every evening, we will begin making contacts with North America no later than 08z. There is no need for North America top band operators to wait until their local sunrise to contact Ducie Island. 160m is staffed with an operator throughout the night.

As described elsewhere, the team has invested considerable work in an effective receiving antenna system to help us pull weak signals out from the static. Please give 160m a try! We are waiting for your call.