23-31 May 2010 VK9LL operation is now finished.
This was a spare time holiday operation and as it is usual it was hard to keep a balance between the sleepless nights at the radio and scouting round the island during the day time with my family. At this time of the year the WX may be quite terrible there, with some wind gusts to 80km/hr so daily (and nightly) power outages helped to improve my sleep balance… The propagation was not extremely good at this time of the year, and obviously the ‘no longer wanted’ status after the last megaDXpedition has left the island, significantly reduced the pileups. 160m – the band I love - long calling hours returned many QSOs however I felt that most of the 160m band folk already had their stations & antennas packed for the Northern Hemisphere summer season and only a few actually bothered to make any effort. The first evening on 160m resulted in circa 60 JAs and a few dozens of other Australasia stations, but very few US and European stations. Interestingly enough most of the stations heard had good signals, indicating that the propagation (although somewhat miserable) was there but there were not enough people to work.
Just like in the previous YJ0CCC and other operations, I was running barefoot, at full 100w. My belief is that under normal propagation condx 100w and good TX antennas is more than enough to score hundreds and thousands of 160m/ 80m QSOs. This is based on the practical experience from my previous expeditions. VK9L is a different story as horizon to EU, SA is blocked by mountains and operation site is not on a salty beach. Surprisingly, the noise levels on the island were perhaps the worst that I have experienced in any other expedition. My backyard in Sydney city is much quieter in that respect. Playing with different RX antennas at different locations, using external narrow band pass filters did not help much.
160m TX – Inverted L with 51 ground radial, 80m TX – ¼ vertical with 51 ground radial, other bands – ¼ verticals.
RX – K9AY, also a vertical 50m perimeter loop, also a beverage to EU.
You are welcomed to visit VK9LL photo gallery:
Unlike the rest of Pacific, this island has got a nature reserve status and portable operation from good salt water locations is not allowed. Perhaps that explains why most of the past VK9L expeditions did not have impressive low band signal.
The only airline that flies to VK9L has a 14 kg maximum baggage restriction. Usually no any overweight is tolerated, therefore the setup you can deploy depends a lot on how much you are prepared to invest on sending the gear via sea prior to the operation. And it is always a compromise as you want to save a few bucks for the next trip.
QSL via VK2CCC. All conventional methods are OK.
73 and CU on the air!