Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Dropped In My Log and Then Dropped To My Roof

TX5K Confirmation of our QSO!
I was hoping for a chance to work the Clipperton Island DXpedition before they shut down. I've not had any success as propagation just seemed as if it were not in my favor. I had read emails from other Alaska stations that they were successful in logging the DXpedition but I was still unsuccessful. That changed today. 

I've been following the weather discussion here in Alaska and watching a Chinook working its way up from the Gulf of Alaska. We are forecasted to receive 70 mph wind gusts beginning late tonight and through tomorrow. I knew I would be cranking my beam down to roof level for the remainder of the week. Today was my last real day to take advantage of my antenna at its normal operating height of 43 feet. When I settled in after work, I tuned the bands and tweaked the antenna and I was excited to hear TX5K with a strong signal on 20 meters. It was time to settle in and join the rather large crowed who were attempting to do the very same.

The first order of business was to set my Icom 756PRO up for split operating and using my Dual Watch (The dual watch* function allows you to receive 2 signals on the same band simultaneously), attempt to find the operators "pattern" as he was working split (work stations above his calling frequency). I finally found the operators pattern after listening for several minutes. I lined up my secondary VFO and sent my callsign a few times with pauses in between. It was not long before I heard the operator sending my callsign and a report. I returned the report and after hearing TX5K send "TU" (Thank you), I sat back in just enjoyed the sound of the pile-up of others attempting to log Clipperton Island. 

Fellow blogger / contester  KA3DRR mentioned the website that the DXpedition crew were using for uploading logged contacts in one of his previous posts. I ventured on to their website and holy crap, there it was, our QSO, in real time (about 45-60 seconds later as the website refreshed)! I happened to see that the same team was also active on 20 meter SSB (Single Side Band). I ventured up to their SSB frequency, set up my radio and on the second call, I had TX5K logged yet again! 

I decided that since I was on a lucky streak, I would try to find them on another band. Their website showed them active on 15 meter CW. I found them with a very strong signal. I tried a few times but the operator then was calling for "RA" (Russia) stations only. He worked a few VK stations (Australia)  and I attempted a few more times but the operator again called for "RA" stations only. By the time his run was over, my chances of logging TX5K on 15 slipped away. 

After confirming that I made it into the TX5K logbook on two modes, I headed out and lowered my beam to just above our roof level. The winds can blow and I don't expect much of a reprieve in the weather until after the DXpedition has left the island. But thankfully, the planets lined up and taking a few extra minutes to listen and form a strategy payed off. I'm a small station so it's a great feeling when I can log a new entity especially when I made it through the masses calling the operator on the other end. The operator I worked (unknown) was doing a great job on CW! There was not as many calling when I worked them on SSB. Thanks to the group and all those who made this DXpedition possible. 

1 comment:

  1. Congrats on getting through to TX5K I have yet to get far yet with the QRP signal here at VE3WDM. Their website is amazing and give you the ability to see who and where the propagation is open to.