Tuesday, March 27, 2018

YNOMY goes HB0 (WWFF expedition)

After a pleasant experience in LX last year - as LX44FF logging 2100+ QSOs - we have decided to do another weekend dxpedition. This time we have chosen Liechtenstein HB0 as our destination and May 12 & 13 as the expedition weekend.

We will be primarily visiting WWFF nature reserves that have not been activated before. Depending on local conditions and propagations we expect to at least activate 6 and max. 8 different HBFF nature reserves over the weekend.

We will be travelling on Friday May 11 and back on Monday May 14. Depending on travel time we might start our first activity on Friday evening. We will definitely be active on Saturday May 12 and Sunday May 13 until late in the evening UTC using at least two radios simultaneously on all usable bands from 80m up (including 60m and VHF - 2m & 6m - if there is any propagation) in SSB and CW.

During this expedition we will be using both the calls HB0/PG8M and HB0/PH0NO. We will alternate between these calls when we move from park to park. 

Our gear this expedition:
  • 3x mobile radio's (FT-857 / IC-910)
  • 1x Ameritron ALS-500m
  • Folding Hexbeam
  • End fed wire antenna's
  • Inverted V wire antenna's
  • Triband yagi 2-4-6m

Location planning
We have made an activation plan for our two days. We will start on Saturday activating southern Liechtenstein (purple markers) and move to northern Liechtenstein on Sunday.
How many parks we will in the end manage to activate will depend on the conditions: propagation, weather, accessibility of the areas.

The references on Saturday:
[1] HBFF-0134 - Balzner Rheinau
[2] HBFF-0127 - Alta Bach
[3] HBFF-0123Schlosswald
[4] HBFF-0120 - Saeliwald
  The references on Sunday:
  [5] HBFF-0060 - Schwabbruennen/Aescher
  [6] HBFF-0121 - Gantenstein
  [7] HBFF-0122 - Stachler Wald

Chaser awards
As we did during our last expedition, we will make available a special award for chasers of our expedition. There will be three levels for chasers: bronze, silver & gold - depending on how many times you worked our expedition with multipliers for different parks.
We are counting on a minimum of 7 different locations we will activate. Based on that plan the awards will be available as follows:

  • Bronze: 2 parks confirmed
  • Silver: 4 parks confirmed
  • Gold: top 5 score per continent (min. 2 contacts)

The top score per continent will be calculated as follows: 4 points for every park confirmed and 2 additional points for different mode and/or band per park. The awards will be made available for download in the week after the expedition.

PG55G experiences PACC 2018

Our 5th PACC went reasonably smoothly. We had a bit of a rough start when our main CW operator - PG8M - had to leave us for the first hours of the contest to attend the funeral of an OM that died unexpectedly that week (some things are more important than contesting).

We were lucky to find Albert PA3GWC able and willing to help us out these first hours of the mixed mode contest (see previous post). The first hour however was a struggle as Albert was not used to the setup and software we use in the contest. This meant our rates were a lot lower than last year. We slowly approached last year's #QSO as we got going during the following hours however.

PG8M working CW while PD7YY is taking a power potion for the next shift 

The setup was the same as the previous years. We set up our station on a campground using only wire antennas for 160-80-40m and a wire beam (hex) for 20-15-10m. The weather was fine - no snow or heavy rains this time. We did get some storm which meant we had to lower the hexbeam during the night. Luckily by the time we needed it again in the morning the wind had died down.

Weather improved Sunday morning - hex was up again
As always we had made an operating plan based on the results of last year and QSO data we collected of the weeks preceding the contest. During the contest we used this as a guideline, checking the band conditions and band activity against it.

"Control room" - using data to guide us

The high bands were a disaster. We did not expect a lot but hoped for some opening on 15m. In the end we only worked 2 stations on 15m - like we did on 10m last year. We did not even try 10m this time.

In the end we are pleased with the results though. One band less means less multipliers but the QSO rate was good. We managed to log even a few more QSOs than in 2017 - a volume we were very pleased with then. This is even more remarkable considering our slow start.

Let's see what our error rate is and how the competitors fared. Results will be published in June...