Thursday, May 16, 2019

Looking back at GJFF

Loads of antenna, coax and guy wires, batteries, charging gear, 4 radio's, an amp, 4 masts, mast supports, beams, tables, chairs and three guys managed to fit in one car (just) and undertake a day of driving + 1.5h of boating to get to GJ last Friday.
Au revoir douce France!

We went there with good memories of WWFF expeditions to LX and HB0 in the two preceding years. We were hoping to beat HB0 and reach LX levels in terms of QSOs (1700 in HB0, 2150 in LX) and include as many DX chasers in the fun as possible.
It was raining when we arrived and the forecast for the rest of the night was not good. We did however manage to put up the hexbeam in the first nature reserve for 1.5h. We were awarded a nice opening to NA.


PD7YY inside the car because of the weather Friday evening

Saturday - strong start, unhappy end

The next day the weather was brilliant. Sunshine and 14C. We were visited by Nigel GJ7LJJ and Keith G8IXN on our first activity. Keith showed up at our second spot as well by coincidence (small island). Both activities were busy with regular pileups. 40m was not very good but 20m made up for that easily thanks to Sporadic E conditions. As we had been using N1MM in different configurations we were not sure about our progress but we estimated we were past 1000 QSOs already by the end of the afternoon - a good sign.



Hexbeam in the wild on Saturday

We were looking forward to a nice long night activity from a high point on the NW corner of the island. When we had built up two stations and had just started making QSOs we were visited by local police that acted very unprofessionally cutting our activity short. Afterwards we learned this was "honorary police"... 

We lost at least 200 potential QSOs this way and a time window to work NA and SA chasers.


Sunday - making up lost time in great weather

Sunday started out with a little worry - how would the authorities react? Nigel was our support on FB messenger trying to reassure us that ham radio was not in fact outlawed on GJ. And he was right. After a call to the right person we were "free to go". Trying to catch up we revised our plan and went for four activities, revisiting the two parks that had had only marginal attention (both the evening sessions on Friday and Saturday). Skipping everything but a quick dinner we were on the air almost the whole day. Conditions on 20m were brilliant with a lot of Es. We even went up to 10 and 6 when Es allowed it. 40m was OK but just like on Saturday did not really fly. We ended our trip at the edge of the beach looking out over the sea.


We arrived at our final destination at sunset


Overall impressions

We greeted almost 1800 different radio amateurs on the air in 2700+ QSOs. In that enormous group we recognised a lot of familiar chasers but also a lot of new calls. We were happy to make a lot of DX contacts (65 DXCC in total). The skip to NA was especially good with 144 QSOs from 30 different states and 5 different VE provinces in the log. Odx was 11.5k km into CE.




Our experience with the honorary police of GJ was depressing but the reactions from the local radio community were very supportive (Nigel GJ7LJJ and the local RSGB representative he called upon).
We were blessed with great /P weather - sunshine and moderate temperatures and enjoyed beautiful nature reserves with ocean views in many cases. We stayed in a nice hotel that has a stunning view over the Atlantic.


View from our hotel

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

GJFF awards

We are pleased to offer awards to the chasers of our GJFF expedition. We did eight /P activities from six different nature reserves. Out of 1782 different chasers, 384 reached an award level (bronze, silver or gold). 

Conditions were especially good for EU and NA. Skip to AS was poor and we sadly did not manage to log any OC stations. 

Gold level was reached:
  • in EU by: PE1GNP, SP2SV, SP1MVG, S58AL, OM1AX, IW2NXI, EA2DT, DL8NDG, DD0VE
  • in NA by: KD1CT, W1OW, VE3ZN, VE3NEP, KG8P
  • in SA by: PY1SX, PT7ZT
  • in AF by: EA8XNX, CT3KN
  • in AS by: 4Z4DX, RX9CCJ

DD0VU, OH6RP & PC5Z deserve an honorary mention. Even though they did not reach the gold level, they did manage to work us in each of the six parks.


You can claim your awards by typing your call (without any "/") in the box below. If you managed to reach an award level, the award will download automatically.


QSLs

QSL cards have been ordered. It may take a few weeks before we can send them out. 
  • If you want to request a direct card you can do this on ClubLog: MJ/PG8M/P or MJ/PH0NO/P
  • Note that we will send a bureau card by default to all contacts.
  • There is no need to request a bureau card through ClubLog. 
  • We do not need your QSL card for this activity.

Sunday, March 17, 2019

WWFF expedition to GJ

After very enjoyable WWFF expeditions to LX (2017) and HB0 (2018) - logging almost 4k QSOs from around the globe - we are going to activate a number of nature reserves on Jersey Island (GJ) on May 11 and 12 of this year.   



We will be using MJ/PG8M/P and MJ/PH0NO/P on the island - alternating between these calls as we move from park to park. If you hear us (or see us digitally) without "/P", we will be active from the hotel (which is sadly not located in a park).

Plan
We will be travelling on Friday May 10 and back on Monday May 13. Depending on travel time we might start our first activity on Friday evening. We will definitely be active on Saturday May 11 and Sunday May 12 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.

We plan to operate from 6 to 8 different nature reserves. The exact number will depend on local conditions and propagation. In LX and HB0 we activated 7 parks.

QSL
Bureau cards will be sent after the expedition - automatically (no need to request them).
Direct cards can be requested here (allow a couple of weeks for printing): 



Setup
Our gear this expedition:

  • 4x mobile radio's (FT-857 / IC-910 / KX3)
  • 70Mhz transverter
  • 1x Ameritron ALS-500m
  • Folding Hexbeam
  • Center- and end-fed wire antennas (vertical / sloper / inverted v)
  • Triband VHF yagi 2-4-6m

Award
Stations working us will of course get credits for the GFF and WWFF program. Apart from that we will make an award available as we did with our two previous expeditions. 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 within two weeks after the expedition on this website.

Examples of the awards:





Friday, December 14, 2018

YNOMY plans for 2019 - new expedition but no PACC

We have some nice highlights to look back on in 2018 - a year that was not especially spectacular from a HF propagation point of view. Apart from some individual activities we had two major activities as a team: PACC and HB0 WWFF expedition.

The one and only contest we participate in to win, we won for a third time in a row - beating all single TX participants. This was a nice success, a confirmation of our strategy and a reward of the effort we put in again - setting up a proper contest station for a weekend.

The biggest highlight however was our trip to HB0. It was a real pleasure to be out for a whole weekend and work many chasers out portable with two stations on the air most of the time from gorgeous locations.

Planning for 2019 we were keen to do another WWFF expedition and hopefully replicate the fun of HB0 (2018) and LX (2017). We are in the planning stages and will update our blog once we have finalised our plans. 

After some deliberation we have decided that we will not participate in PACC this year and probably for some years to come. The reason is that we do not really perceive the challenge we need to put in the effort. We have not changed our setup, so there is nothing to test and tweak and going for a fourth win in a row just is not motivating enough.
The good news is that the first place in the MOST category of PACC is now available for one of the other teams :)

We are considering entering one of the worldwide contests in a for us competitive category, for example focusing on a specific band. This is still an idea that we need to develop further (what contest, what category, etc.)

Ending with nice memories of HB0:


Saturday, May 19, 2018

Looking back at a successful expedition to HB0

Last weekend we were active from seven different nature reserves in HB0 on five bands - SSB and CW. Propagation was poor on the higher bands but the weather was much better than the forecasts. We logged almost 1700 QSOs and 55 DXCC (67 DX contacts, ODX = 10,000 km into PY5).

Our award program resulted in 15 gold, 53 silver and 140 bronze awards for the almost 1100 different callsigns in our log.

A video of our experience this weekend can be found here: YNOMY on Youtube

Friday May 11 - arrival, QRM and first radio contacts
We arrived on Friday after a day driving through PA, DL and OE. Our first surprise was a couple of HB0 QSL cards in the reception area of the hotel. It turned out they were familiar with radio amateurs and had no problems whatsoever with us putting up antennas. As we planned to do some digital activity from the hotel we were pleased with this attitude towards ham radio.
However once we set up our radio station we found that there was a source of QRM in the hotel that caused signals up to 9+10dB on all bands. We were unable to locate the source, so we only made a handful of FT8 contacts. We later learned a lot of people had heard us, but we were just unable to copy them.

Our guest operator Augusto HB9TZA/I2JJR arrived later in the evening and together we went up the hill behind the hotel to do a first activity. We used HB0/PH0NO and HB0/HB9TA on 40m logging quite a few JA's with good signals.


Augusto HB9TZA working 40m near our hotel

Saturday May 12 - 4 parks with poor propagation on 20m+
We had breakfast as early as we could get it and headed off to the first park we selected during our planning. On the map it looked like we could enter the park by car but a sign told us not to do so. We decided to take a small risk by bringing all our gear into the park and then return the car. There was no path inside the reserve, so we had to build up our station in the bushes. We even managed to get the hexbeam up but it took far too much time and with the poor propagation on 20m and up, we only got a handful of contacts with it.


HBFF-0134 - operating from the jungle with an end fed wire and hexbeam
We moved on to the next park (HBFF-0127) grabbing some sandwiches on the way. The next location featured a picknick area with two picknick tables. This was an ideal location for running two stations. We set up a station on 20m and on 40m (CW and SSB) using end fed wires and band filters. Again 20m was very slow. We did not have the sporadic E conditions that really helped us the previous year during our expedition to LX.


Marcel PG8M and Marcel PD7YY @HBFF-0127
We moved on to a location on the side of a mountain, next to a high radio tower (HBFF-0123). We were curious whether this tower would cause any interference but luckily it did not. We were active on 20, 30, 40 and 60m in CW and SSB. Again 40m was the best band with most activity although 20m did pick up thanks to Es (100+ QSO on 20m).


Nice tower if would have only brought our climbing gear
It was time to get something to eat but we were eager to activate one more park. So we settled for a quick pizza and moved higher up into the mountains. We found a nice place in HBFF-0120 with a wide view and set up our stuff before it got dark. We stayed until midnight working on 40m and 80m. JA was probably behind the mountain this time as we did not hear a single JA station but we did log N2 and PY5 (odx with 10,000 km) on 40m in SSB.

Sunday May 13 - 3 more parks, raindrops and crazy pileup
Sunday morning we got up early again but lost a lot of time finding a decent operating spot. Two of the planned locations were not accessible by a large distance - too far for us to carry all our stuff. We ended up in HBFF-0060 - a small walk from a car park. By the time we started it was 9 UTC - one hour later than on Saturday.
Conditions on 20m were clearly better than the previous day. We logged 262 calls on 20m and 40m almost equally divided over these two bands. Two JA stations and one K3 made the trip.


Augusto HB9TZA on 20m @HBFF-0060

We had a quick snack and then it was time to say goodbye to our new friend and guest operator Augusto HB9TZA.

Team picture at Augusto's departure (PG8M, PD7YY, HB9TZA, PH0NO)
We moved on aiming at one more park as rain was moving in. We had to drive around to find an access route but managed to get into HBFF-0121 on a hill but in the woods. Conditions on 20m deteriorated. We logged 255 calls in total but only 75 on 20m. There were some raindrops but using a tarp we stayed dry and by the end of the activity the weather had improved.


PG8M working 20m CW @HBFF-0121
With the weather looking okay we decided we could do one more activity after dinner. We did not have any candidates left in our initial planning but looking at the map we found two candidates near our hotel. That would allow us to have dinner there and to stay out late. We checked both parks to find only one accessible - be it by a very steep climb. We decided to go for it and after a couple of climbs up and down the mountain we had all our stuff ready for operation.


PH0NO working 20m SSB @HBFF-0122
Looking back it was a great decision to go for this last park. Conditions on 20m were poor but 40m was incredible. We have all worked many pile-ups before but this one was the busiest and longest one of them all. Actually, by the time we had to go (fog had come in and we slowly got cold and wet even wearing our rain jackets) there were still people calling. Staying on 20m on the second radio all the time allowed some of the NA chasers to get us in the log as well. We got as far out as west coast US (CA).

When we left the next morning it was foggy, cold and very different from when we arrived.


View on the day of arrival
View on the departure day
In the mean time our logs are online at WWFF Logsearch (thanks to HBFF), Clublog, LotW and eQSL. Our paper cards are in print and will be sent out as soon as we have them. [UPDATE: all cards have been sent direct or via bureau]. Special awards have been generated and can be downloaded here.

It has been a great adventure with a great team. Usually stuff breaks but we got home with almost no incidents (apart from various car related issues of HB9TZA but that is a different story altogether).

Thanks all for giving us a shout!
We hope to meet you all next year for another episode of "YNOMY on expedition".

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Award and QSL from HB0 expedition

There are special HB0-FF Awards for the activity by YNOMY on May 12 & 13, 2018 for active chasers.

The award can be claimed by entering your callsign in the box below. If you gained enough points your personal award will be downloaded.




Info about the awards: click here


QSL
Special HB0-FF QSLs have been printed and sent out, direct (if requested direct) or via bureau. To check if you are in the log, enter your call here:


Locations
In the end we visited the following WWFF nature reserves:

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

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Hat-trick: third time first place in PACC contest

Today the results of the PACC contest were published. It was a tighter match than last year but we again made it to the first spot in our category: multi operator / single TX using the call PG55G. 



After scoring a close second in 2015 we have now won the PACC contest three years in a row. We scored the most #QSOs and #multipliers for all single TX participants and we did this with the lowest error margin in our category.

Our score was lower than last year. We scored almost the same amount of of QSOs (-1%) but almost 9% less multipliers than last year. This was due to the high bands being far worse. In 2017 we logged  only two QSOs on 10m but quite a few on 15m. This time we logged two QSOs on 15m and none on 10m - so we lost a whole band.