Annoucements and Blog

Regular announcements and news will be blogged here.

Last day from Namibia

posted Jan 15, 2009, 8:55 PM by Dave Pedersen

We have reached the last day of operation. Tropo results across the Atlantic have been zero. Equipment failure and high winds have been big challenges.

Yesterday afternoon and night were very windy again. We lowered the EME array to the ground yesterday at noon. The winds were so strong we could not raise it again until local dawn today. I  did raise the rope ladder yagi yesterday afternoon for tropo tests with ZD8I. No definite signals were heard, but there were hints of SSB signals twice. One note of interest is that I heard static crashes from thunderstorms the entire time of the ttest at 1730-1800 UTC.  The antenna has a very narrow lobe, and with clear weather for 2000km or more in front of the antenna, we were very possibly hearing very distant storms.

The rope ladder yagi is a 51 element version of the VE7BQH yagi. It is 41m long, and 20.5 dBd before ground gain.

We plan on trying again later today with the EME array with ZD8I, and will also be active for tropo to PY with the EME array on WSJT.

Very strong winds keep V5 team off the air

posted Jan 14, 2009, 6:36 AM by Dave Pedersen

We are experiencing very high winds, probably gusting over 60 mph. The 2m EME antenna is tied down but still bouncing around a lot. The antenna trailer was actually starting to lift off the ground a little. There is sand and dust everywhere, and its hard to stand up. The wind is howling and shrieking around the house.

It looks very unlikely we will be on the air this evening unless the wind dies down a lot.  I expect it will  drop overnight, and hope to be ready to go tomorrow about 10 am. I will alert everyone of there is a change and we can be on today

Latest update on 2m tropo

posted Jan 13, 2009, 11:08 AM by Dave Pedersen

The weather conditions here are still challenging. It is quite cool, maybe 16 degrees C, and very windy, about 35-46 km/h.

We are currently operational using the 2m EME array when it is not being used on the moon. The owner of the tropo tower chose not to raise the tower until repairs were made. The antenna system now is four 9-element yagis. We can operate from 1900 UTC until moonrise, and from moonset to 1000 UTC. Then we shut down the generator.

Nothing has been heard yet. We are also monitoring FM radio for signals from St. Helena and Brazil.


2m tropo update

posted Jan 10, 2009, 7:20 AM by Dave Pedersen

The two 11 yagis are complete. However, the tower has not been repaired, so a single yagi is in use now. 

There is limited power on site. As a result, V5/N7BHC will be listening extensively on schedules, relying on other stations to transmit. When a signal is heard, a reply will either be made on the single yagi, or the larger EME array will be swung onto the tropo DX station. The EME antenna will be used when the moon is below our horizon.

Please call anytime on 144.299.2 JT65B, 2nd sequence. We will be transmitting on the first sequence.


2m tropo station on the air

posted Jan 9, 2009, 11:41 PM by Dave Pedersen

The 2m tropo station is currently on the air. The big M2 2m-19XXX was deemed not repairable in the field. The 2m EME array (4 x M2 2M9) is currently being used with 280 watts on JT-65B. This array is useable only after local moonset.

The 2 11-element yagis should be finished today, and will be used with 150 watts output.

Now that we have Interntet connection from the site, we can make skeds. The Internet is unreliable though, but we will do the best we can do
The best times for skeds will be from 2300 - 0800 UTC.

We are currently on 144.250 MHz, but tonight will switch to 144.245 to avoid a birdie.

Tropo operation problems

posted Jan 9, 2009, 2:33 AM by Dave Pedersen

The tropo operation from V5 has run into a few problems. We are hoping to have the station  operational Friday evening, January 9.

A major setback occurred yesterday evening when the tower to support the 2m tropo antennas broke while being raised. The winch cable snapped, dropping to tower onto its trailer, and the 2m and 6m into the ground. Fortunatley the tower was only 1m up when thecable snapped, and nobody was injured.

We are working to repair the antenna today, and the winch cable should be replaced by Saturday. We hope to either repair the big M2 19XXX today or build up two 11-element yagis. The rope ladder yagi whould be up tonight as well. We can aslo use the EME antenna after moonset in the mornings.

Wind is going to be an issue over the weekend. with 40 knowt winds expected. The site is very exposed, jutting out into the Atlantic Ocean.

Internet access from the site has been difficult, but is still being worked on.

Power was also an issue initially. We had been told that full AC poweer was available, but in fact they only have solar power. The site owners arranbged a 6.5 kW generator for us.

Please monitor 144.250o MHz for V5/N7BHC.  We will be operational on JT65B, transmitting in the first period. Without Internet access, most operations will be without skeds.

Please watch this site for more infromation as we are able to link in.

2m EME operation begins

posted Jan 9, 2009, 2:30 AM by Dave Pedersen

V5/KT6Q began 2m EME operations on Thursday evening, January 8 2009. 90 stations were worked the first evening The 70cm antenna is being assembled, but may be hampered by forecast 40 knot winds over teh weekend.

Team arrived in Luderitz

posted Jan 7, 2009, 1:05 PM by Dave Pedersen

Good evening. This is a quick post just to let  everyone know we have arrived in Luderitz Bay. We are solving a few logitical issues and hope to strat building the antennas and be up very soon. Stay tuned for more information.

Planned tropo frequencies

posted Dec 31, 2008, 9:44 AM by Dave Pedersen   [ updated Jul 12, 2009, 5:22 PM ]

Frequencies for tropo calling and monitoring will be confirmed to the web after arrival in Luderitz Bay.

Planned frequencies and modes are:
  • 144,200: CW/SSB: CQ V5 and all DX, Horizontal
  • PRIMARY : 144,250: JT65-B/SSB/CW: CQ V5, Horizontal
  • 144,350, 145.500 FM and repeaters: CQ V5,  Vertical
  • 432,100: CW/SSB: CQ V5 and all DX,  Horizontal
  • PRIMARY : 432,150: JT65-B/SSB/CW: CQ V,  Horizontal
The station will operate mainly in automatic CQ mode, transmitting in the first minute, listening the second minute. The primary mode will be JT65B.

Update from Hal ZS6WB

posted Dec 31, 2008, 7:33 AM by Dave Pedersen

With less than a week remaining before the long trek to Luderitz, things are still progressing well and remain pretty much on track.

Dave, N7BHC will be leaving North Carolina in the U.S. and is expected to arrive in Johannesburg late in the morning on Friday, the 2nd. After a brief business meeting near the airport he plans to drive to Pretoria for an initial planning meeting with ZS6OB, ZS6WB and hopefully ZS6JR to discuss several logistics issues that still need to be decided.

On the afternoon of the 3rd Dan, HB9CRQ will return to Johannesburg from his game park holiday, will stay overnight near the Johannesburg airport and join the rest of the group in Pretoria the following morning.

The loss of several team members has made it necessary to modify some of the original trip planning. We will plan to disassemble, pack and load the antenna arrays on the 4th. As neither Dan or Dave have yet seen the antenna systems in the assembled state, having their help in both disassembly and reassembly will make things go a lot faster after we arrive in Luderitz.

There are still a few loose ends that need to be taken care of before we leave that had to wait for shops to reopen on the 5th after the holidays, so the present planning is now for an early morning departure on Tuesday morning, the 6th of January. This will put us one day behind schedule for the start but should have little overall impact on the DXpedition.

Based on a two day drive and one full day to assemble at least part of the equipment, we should be pumping out some RF on the 9th of January.

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