|Report on an trip to the Caribbean made by the DL0XM / OV Schkeuditz|
|Crew DL3XM, DL4LQM, DL5LYM, DL8WAA in August 1997|
|At the start of this year thinking
started on where to go for DX-holidays in 1997. Here the
idea was born to participate in the WAE/cw from fare away
this time but from where? Just at this moment we
found the offer of Carl/AI6V in the journal cq-DL. There
we could read, that his contest station in Aruba
known as P49V was let for rent. After getting in
contact to Carl it became clear, that we could go there
between August 6 to 13. Team leader Tom (DL5LYM) started
the organisation and checked for the flight schedules.
Unfortunately it turned out, that even for this quite
early time (as we thought) no direct flights to Aruba
were available anymore. So booking was made for KLM via
Curacao for a date a bit different, making necessary an
additional stop-over in Curacao. However, we already were
planning not just to go to P4 but also to check for other
suitable locations fitting into the overall planning. For
the return flight we booked August 26 starting in Sint
Maarten. The only problem for PJ is the fact, that the
licences have to be applied for about 3 months in
advance. This had been done, but even 1 day before
take-off this document had not arrived in DL despite of
several phone calls to the lady responsible. At the very
end and an additional phone call, however, a fax was
received with the provisional approval for Curacao, but
not with the applied call PJ2XM but PJ9/DL5LYM. The same
was the situation for P4, but here we got assured by
phone, that P40XM will be issued for us. For P40 there
still was some time for pursuing this problem, but time
schedule for PJ2 was tough, since we were to arrive
Friday evening and wanted to get QRV over the weekend. We
have explained this here a bit more in detail, since
there are every time some known-all OM in DL speaking
about insufficient information policy etc. only
because of us not publishing an exact time-table for
So far for the introduction. We started on August 01 and claimed our extensive baggage in Curacao without any major problem. It consisted of 16 pieces, where 5 were checked baggage with about 92 Kg the remaining where shared between 4 OM as hand luggage.
At the hotel in Willemstad we had some slight problem. Mounting the antennae had been allowed by the reception, but at the end the manager had an opposite mind and felt ignored. The result was a quite expensive bill on the energy consumed.
We built up a GP for 40 m (glass fibre rod) and a WARC multi band dipole (like G5RV). We had been QRV between August 2-6 (UTC) and made 954 QSO in cw and 1 in RTTY!
The real start of our DXpedition was in Aruba. At the station of P49V DXing was quite a fun, hi...! Here a short description of the station. On the estate located in the south-east of the Island with about 900 sqm there is a small farm house with 3 steel masts. Right and left of the building are two of them, correspondingly, with about 20m height TH7 DXX and 4 el Monobander for 15 and 10 m. At the back end of the property there was on mast of 25 m height supporting a 4 el Monobander for 20 m and a 2 el 40 m beam. There we also mounted inverted-V for 30, 80 and 160 m.
In the shack there is the FT1000, one PC and antennae rotor controls.
The house itself is completely equipped, also in the kitchen nothing is missing: from the grill to the washing machine all is available.
Taking into account the conditions at that time the WAE lead to an acceptable result of 1900 QSO and almost 1,5 Mill. points. For the conditions the WAE could not be won from that location with only 4 QSO on 10 m there was no chance against stations located in a way just facing EU, which certainly had more QSO on 10 m in their logs.
With using the K1EA software also the QTC traffic is very pleasant and makes real fun, hi...! 80 m was difficult for an almost continuously strong QRN. The beverage installed provisionally the day before also gave no significant improvement. On both days 15 m was open, yet on Sunday only very week signals could be heard. 40 and 20 m of course had been the bands with the highest QSO rates and multis.
An unpleasant break also had been given to us by the Telecommunicatie making an inspection of the equipment brought in and arguing about the permission to operate the station of Carl just before the contest even though the license for P40XM was there. After long discussion they were satisfied by the presentation of the individual licenses.
Altogether there are now 3461 QSO in the log, the most part in cw. In RTTY 231 stations could be worked. The operation was run with TR7, the TH7DXX and PK-232MBX and WF1B-software.
From Aruba the flight via KP4/San Juan to Sint Maarten had been booked. At first we resided in the French part on Orient Bay in the east of the island, very nice estate in Esmeralda Resort. Adjacent to the bungalow we could mount the R7000, 40m-GP and the mast with the 80 m-dipole. There were no problems at all with the management and also no interference in TV could be observed. Between August 15-18 2017 QSO could be run in cw. Worth to mention is the opening on 17 m on August 17 till after 22.00 UTC, that however was the only significant opening above 20 m. In the SARTG-Contest in RTTY about 120 QSO could be made but the missing of a beam see P40XM had to be noticed. But also on 40 m a good couple of EU and DL stations could be worked.
It should also be mentioned here, that the new R7000 broke down during the operation on 30 m with about 500 W (FL2100Z). In the 30m-trap there occurred short circuits so it could not be used anymore. Because of poor manufacturing on the front part of the plastic coil corpse aluminium chips were melted in thus forming a bridge and causing the stroke.
On August 18 we changed for the Dutch part and had been QRV as PJ8/DL5LYM until August 21. There we operated with the same antenna equipment with mounting the 160m-dipol additionally on the stick pole.
In spite of the strong QRM 16 stations from EU could be worked. Altogether 1939 QSO were run -100% cw. 17 m was somewhat open on August 18 only, the other days only noise could be heard from the direction EU above 20 m. Also in the Millenium Resort, located only a few meters near the beginning of the runway of the international Airport of St. Maarten, the management had no problem with us mounting antennae.
During the first days of our stay in St. Maarten after discussion with Dorothy VP2EE we decided to stay the last days in Anguilla. Dorothy arranged a suitable accommodation and gave an information on our intended call VP2EXM to the officials for Telecommunication.
Starting in Marigot on August 21 we went by ship to Anguilla.
First there had been no problems at Milly´s Inn (located at the North): mounting of the antennae as usual and starting on the 21st. Also the licence we claimed without any problem. Here we not only operated pure cw but also did a few QSO on 80m in SSB, after we found Will/DL7AA with quite a good signal near 3799. He could receive us also very well with 100 W.
In RTTY 165 Stations could be logged. Sometimes at the week-end there was also pile-up, but operating split was quite difficult, since almost no free frequencies could be found in the narrow band region, which was occupied by W´s.
Operation on the low bands again was handicapped by strong QRN, so only strong EU-stations could be reached. On 160 m there are 44 EU in the log with a total of 78 QSO. Operation was possible on August 23 and 24 only.
Altogether 2575 QSO could be made. On 17 m only 36 and only some of them being EU.
Anguilla still suffers from the last heavy Hurricane in October 1995, that with a wind speed of about 350 km/h brought serious devastation to the Island. Dorothy too had strong damages on her solid house. They are still repairing the estate also the 60 m mast is to be re-erected.
At the end a nasty surprise had been the bill of Mrs. Mildred Hodge showing a fairly high extra fee for energy and doing us amateur radio besides the already quite high normal rent.
Now at the end a short résumé of the trip. It was not only intended to be sitting 24 hours in front of the station but should also give some recovery. The countries visited are not the most wanted DXCCs and so not completely exotic. Yet it was surprising to meet some heavy pile-ups also on bands where this had not been expected so on 20m from VP2E. The very special of this trip had been the situation of operation 5 different DXCC-countries and every time having the mounting, dismounting and packing of all the transported equipment which gave quite some stress. QSL manager for the activity is DL3XM; those, who have already sent their QSL card to DL5LYM or DL8WAA need not to get nervous all will be answered.
There is not much new about the discipline of EU on the bands better not to talk about that.
Our special thanks go to Carl/AI6V, Lance/P43WLP and XYL Maggie, VP2EE as well as to DL2HWA (KCT Weißenfels), DL8WBB, DL8YRM, DF6BL and DF3CB for their support during the preparation, realisation and the work after the operation. Also we want to thank the management of the Hotel Esmeralda Resort and the Millenium Resort in Saint Martin and Sint Maarten, respectively.
Red card to the manager of Trupial Inn in Willemstad (PJ9) and Deeply red card to Mrs. Hodge owning Milly´s Inn in Anguilla. Radio amateurs should strictly stay fare away of these estates.
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