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QRV Jamaica Cay NA-113

So, a quick update. Firstly, the skull issue. It seems, according to the local police that the skull and other bones are from a grave. It was/is the custom hereabouts to have graveyards on islands separate from the main island and this may be the case here. Also, the prevailing wind is from the east and it it the eastern shore of the Cay that has eroded, revealing the skeleton. So, no CSI – happily.

So, having put that matter to bed, so to speak, it was time for a little radio. 10m and 350 QSOs in just over 2 hours including VK, JA, H44, VP8 and quite a few others…

Working conditions were K3, barefoot from a 35Ah battery into a vertical dipole with its feet in the water. Apparently I was 5/9 in Japan but propagation (or my antenna) was such that there were only a few very brief opportunities to work JA. That said, VOACAP said I had no chance for working JA but a good chance of working VK which is what I was hoping for since there are a few stations there that really wanted a QSO. Strange the way that works!

Here’s a few pictures of the station as I was setting up – well, I did a video of it too but it seems the iPad app doesn’t allow me to upload it 😭

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Here’s a link to the location on Google Maps. Dropped pin – http://goo.gl/maps/0s8qz
I really enjoyed this session with some interesting stations and a really well-behaved pileup. Thank you everyone – I got really sunburned and dehydrated since I forgot my hat! Nevertheless, I hope to be back on 10m in the morning to work Europe from about 1300 UTC.

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Today should be the last day on South Bimini island. The weather has finally changed and will allow a departure late tonight or tomorrow morning. Unfortunately the SFI is falling but I am still hopeful for a few hours on 10m this morning preceded by a few skeds.

The conditions over the last few days have been excellent with good openings to Europe and even deep into Eastern Europe after their sunset. Of course, the ‘euro-wall’ effect has been there but working a wide split has allowed more productivity and kept the DQRMers at bay! It also allowed me to deal with the Dutch station that managed to get his rig stuck on transmit repeating his callsign at infinitum and the U.S. Station that managed to use the listening frequency to call CQ! 😱

A wide split does not allow the operator to quickly recover from the shock of a gecko biting his big toe mid-pileup! Happily no blood but it definitely caused a pregnant pause!

I have a simple set up here. K3, a 10m vertical dipole and and lead-acid battery in a Tesco bag!

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Listen! Don’t Copy…

I was looking up the activity from 9H during the IOTA contest and decided to take a trip to my page on DXHeat.com. An interesting and very useful tool that they provide is that they automatically provide a listing of ‘Related Callsigns’.  To be honest, I was a bit taken aback when I saw all the different callsigns that I had been ‘spotted’ with during my trip to C6 last winter.

My callsign (assigned by the Bahamian Authorities) was 9H5G/C6A and believe me, many stations tried to tell me I was doing it wrong – however, its their country and they grant the license so I do what they ask!

Looking at my related callsigns on DXHeat, it seems that there are several folks that copied the call incorrectly since it seems I was spotted with all the following

The astonishing thing about this is the comments on the mistakes – including 5/9 ‘easy’! Whoops – no QSL – at least not by electronic means.  Its a shame, these are only the spots, goodness knows how many people copied these spots into their logs from the cluster.

I take my hat off to Gary, WB6PSY who tried to help everyone by spotting me with the comment “STOP the wrong spots – listen”.  Good Man, Good Op, Great Message.

73 till the next time!

9H5G/C6A videos

A couple of people were kind enough to make videos (unbeknown to me) of some of the pileups when I was in the Bahamas this year so I thought I should share them here.

This is partially for your entertainment and partially as a record of some of what went on. Most importantly for me, it’s a record of how difficult it was to operate sometimes and hopefully a benchmark from which to measure any improvement in operator skills in time to come…

Working 2E0IJK.


Feb 15, 2014 – Uploaded by 2e0ijk

Having a bit of a meltdown since there was a continual wall of noise from Europe.

Hopefully I’ll be forgiven… please?

A heavy QSB day.

There are a few others that were posted to Facebook and I can’t show them here but thanks to everyone who took the time to record and to share!

73

DX Karma – The Partial Call

I made a lot of mistakes during my time in C6 land. A few CQs would almost always result in a pileup which were almost always good-natured and fun.

They were not always easy to run – in fact, sometimes they were extremely challenging!

One of the major factors in hearing the stations calling was the ‘persistent partial caller’. You know the one! “Charleeee Eeendeeeaaahh, Charleeee Eeendeeeaaahh”. Often with a strong signal they had no need to call with a partial – in fact, it probably harmed their case. As you know, when the ‘wall’ of sound hits, you can often discern a call from the tail end, something the partial call, because of its brevity, cannot deliver.

Then there was my determination to stick to the DX Code of Conduct by not answering the partial caller, or at least making him wait – usually for as log as I could stand 😉

Sometimes the signal strength of the partial caller made it impossible to ignore him and he was blocking the people who were patient enough to wait and call in turn. But often this is where the partial caller would fall down! In his impatience to log the QSO and move on, they would often fail to give their full call – or they were stepped on by someone equally impatient and would have left the frequency with me wasting more time (and battery power) trying to get a loggable call. So he might have my call in his log – but he isn’t in mine.

There were more of these events than you might imagine – I think they fall into the category of ‘DX Karma’.

DQRM and Other Unethical Behaviours

In a recent tweet, @DXCoffee asked “Is QRM and unethical behaviour murdering our hobby?”.

They also asked for responses and so here is mine. The deliberate QRMer will only succeed if you let him. Too often we make it too easy for them – I discovered this recently on my trip in C6.

Typically, I would have a busy pileup going on and the DQRM would start. Sometimes it was whistling, sometimes, tuning for minutes on end, sometimes even CW. I found 2 techniques worked very well against these tactics.

The DQRMer is vain and wants to know he has succeeded in disrupting your op so it’s important to stand your ground. His vanity requires him to listen to see if he is being successful so if you wait until he stops transmitting, give yourself a break, send him a signal report along the lines of “the deliberate QRMer – you’ll have to do a lot better than that if you’re going to affect us”. I used this technique 3 times in the last month and the QRM stopped immediately.

The other technique that is very effective is to widen your split so you’re listening, for example, 5-15 up. The DQRMers laziness is what works for you here. He’s way too lazy to try to follow you around and so he stops and looks around for an easier target.

Let’s face it, the school bully has been around for centuries but it’s only when we allow him to ‘rule’ that he gets any satisfaction. When you take him on, he usually backs down – so let’s not let them bully us around the bands – take them on. After all, we are way smarter than they are….

Deaf DX

Our visitors have left and this afternoon was ideal for getting out and on the bands again. I had spied a better QTH on Stocking Island (NA-001) at an abandoned beach bar that offered a good mounting for my vertical with its foot almost in the water.

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It also offered the opportunity to work in the shade which I find much more pleasant than trying to squint at the computer in the dappled shade of the trees.

A look at my watch said that 17m would probably be good for some stateside, Europe and maybe some South American QSOs so I took eh antenna and the rest of my gear ashore and set up.

As usual, I scanned the band and found W1AW/5 running a steady pileup. I called and was answered first call (gotta love salt water). It turned out to be Buzz, NI5DX who was operating. It’s always good to work Buzz – in particular since he also manages all my QSLs. When we were done, Buzz called QRZ and no one replied so he decided to go QRT and handed me the frequency. What a gent!

He also spotted me and so I was in at the deep end of a no-notice pileup and it began to go wrong almost immediately. I couldn’t hear very well. I could work the strong stations but it was a hard job to work the weaker ones especially since it was windy and the noise seemed to reverberate in my earphones. Then I became aware of a station starting up below me and bleeding over. Despite filtering as much as I could, he just got stronger and stronger so I crept my little pileup up the band in increments to try and sneak away.

In the end, I had to give up. I took a break and found he was operating on 18.123 but was bleeding over as far as 18.1265 with such strength that I couldn’t filter him out. So I went to listen a bit more. As it turned out, the ‘bleeder’ was giving instruction to another station on how to set up his audio so he could get maximum drive from his linear! I was dumbfounded!

Everyone reading this will understand that it’s better to have a clean signal than just be the loudest but apparently that message was lost in translation somewhere along the line. But I have to ask why you have to choose a Sunday afternoon on the narrowest band to try to ‘optimise’ your setup? Isn’t there a quiet corner that you can use rather than just trying to stamp on the 200W DX station? And I don’t believe he couldn’t hear me either – I was 59 to almost every station between the west coast and Greece.

OK – rant over! 🙂

I politely informed him he was bleeding over badly and he went QRT which was unnecessary but at least I could now hear a lot more stations and it became a pleasure rather than a chore.

I finished off the afternoon with some new DXCC, VP9 and J88, as well as working some good European stations. 50 QSOs with some familiar calls and acquaintances renewed!