In the last months I have been reading with much interest many activation reports of colleagues who have succesfully achieved long DX and EU-VK contacts.
Triggered by the fact the propagation will tend to get down soon and in order to take advantage of the good weather we were having so far, I planned to do an early morning activation with the challenge of achieving some VK in my log; something I never did before.
This morning I woke up at about 6:40 and after a quick breakfast I prepared everything. I then drove to a nearest mountain close to my home qth: San Cristobal.
This is a 2 pointer with an easy walk to get to 900 m a.s.l. The summit is plagged with TV and broadcast aerials. Nevertheless in my previous activation qrm level wasn’t bad at all.
I reached the top with the first sight of the sun breaking the barrier of some dark and dense clouds. Temp about 11 C. Weather was not as good but at least there wasn’t rain yet.
I installed a 6 meter fishpole and deployed a 20 meter homebrew monoband dipole made out of a cheap ethernet cable salvaged. I checked with my compass and opened the dipole in inverted vee configuration trying to focus its maximum radiation towards Australia beaming West (Long path), at 260 degrees azimut.
According to previous reports in the reflector and also to my own SWL when chasing SOTA, most succesful DX to Oceania to date were in the window 7:00 - 7:30 utc.
I connected my FT-817 and tried to find a clear frequency. That wasn’t as easy as expected, but after some checking I started calling CQ on SSB at 6:39 utc and got shocked when after a while I heard VK3EK calling me loudly!
We completed exchange and there it was the first VK of my listing. I looked briefly my mobile phone and saw a spot from VK1NAM in sotawatch saying there was a heavy qrm in my freq. I was also suffering from some splatter coming from a nearby freq and moved down a bit.
I kept on working some EU chasers when VK2YK called me and I could exchange. Directly after him I logged VK3DET and VK3CAT. Wow, I was so amazed!!
Again the noise and a big splatter soon made me change once again the frequency. It was rather difficult to find a clear freq in the 14.185-14-340 portion of the band due to many ragchewing all along…
To end my VK list, I could work VK3WE with ease. After some more EU I changed to 20 meter CW.
There I just logged a number of EU chasers.
When I got no replies to my calls I tried to have a qso with Angel M0HDF/P who was also calling CQ up 3 KHz CW. His signals were not easy to copy but I could hear him working a VK3 station. I called after him for several times but Angel didn’t hear me, what a pity!
I stayed a bit more but it seemed the window towards VK was closed and a light rain started to fall. My hands were cold since some minutes and I decided to go QSY to 145 MHz FM while putting the HF aerial down. I could work S2S with my friend Guru, EA2IF/P who was in a mountain near to me. Between us all I could see was a big dark cloud tied to his summit in the distance. He was about to start in HF and after another couple of calls I finally went QRT.
All in all, 33 qso, being 5 of them VK. Best DX according to Gridsquare calculation was VK3CAT, some 22800 kilometer Long Path. Wow, it’s so incredible to do that with 5 watt and such a simple wire dipole antenna.
I’m very happy that I decided to run the test today and got such good results. Thanks to all chasers and look forward to activate soon again.
VY 73 Ignacio EA2BD
End leg of the dipole and the rainy cloud approaching…