Digital DX news from VK
- This edition of Digital DX News reports on a DXpedition by Rex VK7MO to the Rare Grid Square QE46 at Cape Hauy on the East Coast of Tasmania. The DXpedition involved backpacking the station over some 4 km of very rough terrain. To quote Richard Rogers, VK7RO, "The whole thing is so ridiculous it has got to be worth doing".
To get an idea of the situation click on the pictures and map URLs below:A view of Cape Hauy looking West. The site for the DXpedition is in
the centre and about 35% from the top of the picture and right on the cliff edge
A view of Cape Hauy looking South East.
The grid line would be depicted as a vertical line on this map that goes
roughly between the N and the O in the words North West Bay.EQUIPMENTIC910 H running 80 wattsDell Laptop WSJT programGPS time referenceHonda EU10i gensetCosel 52 Amp switch modeHome brew7 element 2 meter beam15 element 70 cm beamInterface boxSurge & Polarity Protector
The following is a list of notable contacts completed in addition to 40 VK7s
we worked on SSB or FM. First report is sent and second received
VK7TS SSB, JT44 both two meters and 70 cms 59+ both ways
VK3AFW JT44 2 M -17 -23
VK3FMD JT44 2 M -21 -19
VK2KU FSK441 2 M 27 26
VK2AWD FSK441 2 M 26 26
VK2 FZ FSK441 2 M 26 26
VK1WJ FSK441 2M 16 38
VK2JKK FSK441 2M 38 26
VK2EI FSK441 2M 28 26
VK2FLR FSK441 2M 37 16
VK3AXH FSK441 2M 16 26
The first concern was when I picked up Eric, who was to overnight with me.
Eric had just heard the forecast for the evening - "A bushwalkers alert with
20 to 30 knot winds and rain with snow on the mountains". However, with so
many people organised we decided to still go ahead.
When we got to the site I had previously selected my GPS said we were in the
QE46 but VK7IR's GPS said we were not. It turned out that the difference
was due to us using different datums. We decided to walk on to make sure. The next problem was to find a suitable spot to camp with a good take-off to the
North and to ZL. We kept walking until all GPSs showed we were well inside
the square. However, the only spot we could camp was on the track and there
was insufficient room to put the tent up properly. The generator was set up
around 30 meters down the track where it produced minimal RF noise unless we
beamed at it. It was interesting to have perhaps 50 bushwalkers climb
around our tent and antennas with Eric giving them a detailed explanation
of grid squares and meteor scatter. A few jokingly suggested they should be
ringing the 1800 number to report suspicious terrorist activity.
Once we were set up we completed contacts to VK7TS in my home grid square on SSB and JT44 on 2m and 70 cm - so at least I had the square.
We were a few minutes late in turning the beam North for the VK3 JT44 time
slot but as soon as we did I was surprised to see a good -17 dB signal from
Ron, VK3AFW given the Hepburn forecast of Nil tropo enhancement. We completed with Ron and then with Charlie, VK3FMD on JT44 and continued to call CQ until around 8.00 pm and then when nothing further was heard we worked some more locals and went to bed.
Around midnight Eric woke me to say we have a leak. Once we found a torch
the "leak" proved to be half an inch of water over half of the floor area of
the tent. I picked up the switch mode power supply and water dripped from
it. The way we had set up the tent combined with the strong winds had
funnelled water through the tent door. Eric modified the tent to improve
things and then set about using a cotton scarf to mop up the water and
squeeze it into a saucepan. By about 2.00 am the tent was clear of water and
with partially wet sleeping bags we settled back for a good nights sleep.
Around 3.00 am Eric asked me if the generator would work in the heavy rain -
I said I think the generator will be OK but I was concerned about having 240
volts to a wet switch mode power supply in a wet tent.
We did further work on drying things out and it seemed that no
water had gone inside the switch mode. A little before 6.00 am we started
the Genset and to our relief nothing produced smoke or funny smells and RF
was gong up the stick. We then had a good session on FSK441 and after 10.00
am another local session on FM. The recovery team arrived a little after
midday. With heavy packs we struggled back and then drove home.
73 Rex, VK7MO