This will be the last update for this year. We apologise for not bringing out more news over the last weeks. This only had one reason. We were just too busy with organising the shipments and simply run out of time. From now on until our departure, we are planning to give you a short overview on a weekly basis.
We will follow up on some items written below in the next news too, this is intended to give you a bit more general insight ...
This is really quite a major serious expedition with a huge amount of hardware intended to make working "everyone" possible. We have undertaken a truly incredible amount of work for 13 people to assemble, operate and then take down. The "system" plan is really one that would make full use of 20 to 25 people if we could have that many, and we are doing all this to make a standout presence on the lowbands in particular, and all the bands in general. We are going to a major amount of effort to make simultaneous operation in the same band not only functional, but darn near perfect. This is really two expeditions in one because we are setting up two widely separated camps - camps that will be so far apart that they have to operate fully independently from a logistics standpoint as well as on the air.
Even connecting the logging computers requires a separate point to point digital microwave link between the camps.
We will be installing some 6000m of coax and another 6000m of control lines just to make 160, 80, and 75 all work perfectly at the same time while sharing the same high performance receive antennas. This is just to RECEIVE!
We are building two camps, so that means TWO antennas and feedlines for each band (with the exception of 160m and 6m). This requires approximately 2000m of coax cable just to feed the antennas to the stations.
ALL of the antennas were prebuild and tested in DL, than again put into pieces for shipment. We recorded the feedpoint parameters of each and every element of the 4-Squares with 4/16/32/48 radials under each element. We are not sure what kind of ground we can expect on Ducie (coral soil is not a good conductor! It is only good if you have saltwater in the coral soil). We sure hope that we don’t have to put 48 radials under EACH element but we are prepared to do so. Did you make the math? For our lowband TX antennas we have 17.2 km of pre-cut radial wire with us ...
We decided to add and ship even more equipment. Array Solutions was kind enough to loan us more filters for receive and transmit, this should help especially where we plan to use two stations at the same time. DX Engineering helped us very much when we had to shop for prefabricated coax jumper and equipment for our receive antenna farm. Than we added more ACOM amplifiers and a OM Power 2500HF. We probably will use the 2500HF on 160m. Meanwhile also the microHAM micro Keyer II for all stations arrived and they will be air freighted to New Zealand together with 8 new laptops next week. Elecraft is still very busy to build our K3s, but as we received one K3 some weeks ago for evaluation and integration testing, we are very confident that we did choose the right radio.
This expedition will not get the record for travelling light. Robin, WA6CDR shipped about 2000kg of equipment from the West Coast of the US. Eric, K3NA some 700kg from Boston, I (DL6LAU) about 1000kg from Germany. This does not include any generator, food, gasoline or the like. These were only items needed to hear well and produce a good signal from Ducie.
Talking about generators... We added some new generators to the Bravehart inventory list and we will have 28kW of generator power plus spares with us. 8000 litre of gasoline will be carried.
We would like to emphasise on this again and we sincerely hope we do not bore you. Donations prior to our departure are very important for us.
On January 10th, the last payment to Braveheart has to be done. This will be NZ$ 100.000,- (or US$ 77.000,- or EUR 52.500,-). After this payment we will be at about MINUS US$ 120.000,- cash flow.
Please remember, each team members already put in US$ 6.200,- and paid his own transportation by air to Mangareva (FO).
We are deeply thankful to the clubs, organisations and individuals who contributed over the last months. These contributions prior our departure are maybe more important than the ones we hope to receive after the hopefully successful completion of the expedition.
We again would kindly ask you to check, if you could help too. Details on how you can help can be found in the ‘How To Help’ section.
We will switch to a new design in a few days. Than you will also see more details about QSLing, our operating strategy and the like.
The VP6DX team would now like to wish you a great start into the year 2008.73sss
Carsten, DL6LAU - Teamleader