Itinerant Ham

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Monthly Archives: October 2015

C6ATS

I had a very nice note today from the Bahamian licensing authorities.

Dear Mr. Macrae,

We are pleased to enclose herewith an electronic copy of your amateur radio licence. 

Please note that the original will be sent via post. 

Wishing you a most enjoyable time when you visit the Bahamas.
With kind regards, 

Linda S. Francis

(I’m going to recommend she goes on secondment to OFCOM to help them brush up their PR skills). 😉

Anyway that means we can go off and pollute the airwaves in C6 for a while. So don’t forget you can still take part in the Band Survey. I’m hoping to be there by mid-November probably bypassing NA-048 initially, but checking in at Gt Harbour Cay in the Berry Islands group (NA-054).

As usual, I’ll tweet (@itinerantham) when I’m going to be active with an indication of band. Charles (@charlesM0OXO) will be sending out QSLs via his excellent OQRS service. Logs shall be uploaded to LOTW as soon as possible (usually same day). This year, rather than using an expensive, metered, Internet connection, I’m going to be sending logs via Winlink which is a very effective and efficient way of sending email with attachments. 

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Stocking Island NA-001

I’m hoping to add a few more islands to the groups in the Bahamas this year. So stand-by for some names that may not be on the official IOTA list (yet). Hopefully I’ll be able to blog in a timely way and give you a flavour for the islands I’ve managed to activate. And, when Roger, G3KMA, approves each activation (he has to since we travel by boat) I’ll post the news here too.

Lastly, and I know that most of you will be super compliant with the DX Code of Conduct, but just in case you’re not aware of it – it’s a very good read and will likely get you your QSO faster. (Slightly) more importantly, it’ll help me run more effectively. 

Please bear in that:

  • I will probably need to listen over a reasonable bandwidth (where available).(hint)
  • I will QSY if I get too much QRM.
  • I will announce when I’m QRT.
  • I’m working on my own, on a battery – I need to eat, drink and answer the call of nature 😀
  • If you call persistently and out of cadence, I will not answer you and will QSY.
  • If you copy my call from the cluster – there were no less than 6 variants in 2014! GL!
  • This is a hobby and we’ll all enjoy it more if we behave like we’re in the same room together.

So with that out the way, I have to say, I’m looking forward to working a lot of stations, old and new. I’m hoping to be in the Bahamas from mid-November until the beginning of March so I won’t be QRV every day but I hope to be active as often as possible.

Lastly, take a look at Voacap. If you have a particularly difficult path or timing constraints, I’m happy to try a sked – just get in touch by email (QRZ.com).

The C6 Survey

The bands were pretty flat last night and it got me thinking about what I was going to do if the same was to happen in C6 this winter.

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NA-113 Acklins Island

For those reading this blog for the first time, I have the privilege of visiting the Bahamas each winter and I get to do quite a bit of radio when I’m there.  I’m aiming to activate as many of the IOTA groups as I can – NA-001, NA-054, NA-048, NA-113 and maybe NA-080.

We travel by boat so the weather has a big influence on where we go and how long we stay so there’s no certainty about anything.

This year brings even more uncertainty – for those of you that follow the weather, you’ll know that Hurricane Joaquin hit the ‘Family Islands’ of the Bahamas very hard this month (September 2015). You can read of the damage here.

Picture Courtesy KTBS

Crooked Islanders (just south of the eye) have been evacuated to Nassau.  Many islands are devastated.

So, in short, we might end up doing more ‘helping out’ than radio this year – we will have to see.

Either way, the QTH above – near Spring Point on Acklins Island, I can pretty much guarantee, will not be there.  Its a real shame since the islanders had invested thousands of dollars in putting in shelters, power, toilets and sun shades in the ‘Regatta’ park here. The work was almost complete when we visited in the spring of 2015.

So it occurred to me that I should really find out the bands and modes that people want (or need) to work C6 or the IOTA groups on. That way I can at least know what to aim at.  A one-man DXPedition is limited by what I can prepare, carry, and assemble on a beach with a 15-20 kt wind blowing. So I thought I’d put together a quick survey.

Its done with SurveyMonkey – a free tool – I’ll leave it running till the end of 2015 to give me an idea what the most popular bands and modes might be.  No guarantees – but something to aim for.

BTW – I know I could use some other analysis tools but I’d like to test a current audience to see what is required. For example, chatting with George (@M1GEO), I had no idea that he still needed some countries to get to 100 on LOTW – I was pleased to help him out with that from 9H. So there are probably a few more of you that have band or mode slots to fill – here’s you’re chance to vote.  BTW – I’ve divided it up by IOTA group – if you don’t ‘do’ IOTA and just need a QSO from anywhere in C6 – just fill in the first page.

C6 Band/Mode Survey – C6ATS

QSL via M0OXO OQRS

Thanks and 73!