[SEPTEMBER 21 by ZL7IO] –
Yesterday was a very calm day here and we managed to erect the 80m vertical. We had to deviate from the original plan. The inner tube joiners we planned to use did not work as expected. They bend with the top weight. We used a lighter fishing road on the top now and managed to reach 15m total height (11m aluminium tube). The top guy ropes got three meters of wire attached as a capacitive head. The bad news is the noise level on 80m – sticks out from all other bands with an S7 noise level (otherwise it is whisper quiet here).
I really struggle to dig out the stations from the noise. Most CW QSO’s on 80 were with AS/NA/OC. But, in FT8 I managed 50 EU’s during their grey line. Our friends in HL/JA asked to call around 3547 kHz as they have limited access areas on 80m. I’m happy to accomodate this and will be tonight on 3547 kHz FT8 FH mode. Again call above 1000 Hz in FT8 or I can’t pick you!
I’ve reached 5.3 kQ’s now with my small set up. Here is the continent breakdown.
The amplifier is repaired. We’ll retune it today. Let’s hope it agrees to being repaired. Then we’ll see what power we can run/manage on the solar/battery system. The weather forecast for the weekend and next week is not good with rain for most of the time. That limits our power generation and recharging capability. As long as I can attract callers I will operate low power.
Expect me in the CQ WWDX RTTY as Single OP All Band entry.
[SEPTEMBER 19 by ZL7IO] –
This is the first time I’ve ever used F/H mode as a Fox and I’d like to share some useful hints to understand the other end of your contact. I’m only running about 60 W and won’t be loud especially when using 3-4 streams that split the power. Depending on the situation I will reduce the number of streams.
There are a few settings you have to be aware of as a hound. That was interesting learning to me as well.
1. As a hound you must call above the Fox’s 1000 Hz mark. There is tolerance on each site. You better not call below 1050 Hz. If your tx frequency reads below 1000 Hz on my end I can’t put you into the pipeline. There are plenty of stations calling below 1000 Hz for ages who will never make a QSO. Nothing I can do.
2. I fill/run a pipeline of callers (max 10) which will likely be in front of you when you start. Keep calling when there is a pile up! Even if I add you right away we need to work down the pipeline.
3. The Fox calls a station a maximum of three times. When the station does not reply or I didn’t decode the reply, it gets kicked out of the pipeline. You have to go back to start.
4. I know I’m not strong with low power and you may have missed my RR73 reply. As a Fox I reply maximum three times to your R-db. Consequently, it makes no sense to send more than three replies with “R-db”. Since the Fox doesn’t expect a 73 from you, you have a good chance to be in the log if I was very weak at your end. I may have internet connectivity issues from time to time but mostly I’m online and upload live to Club Log. It may pay off to watch the Club Log livestream when calling me. If your call shows up there you are logged!
[SEPTEMBER 18 by ZL7IO] –
I arrived well and the expected windy weather of the Chathams welcomed me. We managed to erect a hexbeam and a DX Commander vertical (40-10m version). We had to compromise with the height for the hexbeam as safety/handling of the installation in the wind did not allow us to go higher with a tube mast. The wind bends the DX commander and we will need to add additional guy wires as the elements flipping around impacts the SWR. As a result our signal looks distorted at times.
The next job is the 80m vertical and we may have to reduce the height of it as well. It must be safe for one person to manage the antennas. We will try to get up an 11m vertical part plus top load. It must happen soon as the forecast promises gale force winds and lots of rain for the end of this and next week.
Here are a few pictures showing the location. We are elevated with downsloping terrain to the main direction. The hexbeam pic shows the view towards NA. The vertical view is towards JA/EU short path. In the first 12 hrs of operation I made about 1500 QSO’s. The station is a K3 barefoot as seen. QSO’s get uploaded to Club Log and you can check livestream if interested.
[PREVIOUSLY] – During September 15-28, 2023 Holger ZL3IO will be active from Waitangi, Chatham Islands as ZL7IO. QRV on 160-10m; CW, SSB, RTTY & FT8. Participation in the CQWW RTTY contest. QSL via DK7AO, LoTW.
Return trips at the end of October and November are also planned by Holger, again signing ZL7IO. Note: The QTH is off grid and powered by a solar system with batteries therefore it’s very limited for high power possibilities.