Going to plan: The Spratlys DXpedition 6 January to 1 Feb 2011

    A recent meeting chaired by the DX0DX DXpedition Team Leader, Chris Dimitrijevic VK3FY & DU8/VK3FY reviewed progress achieved so far with only 60 days to go until special DX entity The Spratlys (IOTA AS-051) hits the amateur bands.

    The meeting was attended by the DX0DX Co-Leader and Webmaster Peter Dernikos VK3FGRC, Public Affairs Officer Jim Linton VK3PC, and team members Keith Proctor VK3FT, Lee Moyle VK3GK and Nik Dimitrijevic VK3FNIK.

    It heard that the pre-assembly, erection and tuning of eight HF yagi antennas in Fontana California went extremely well with the antennas tuned as per instructions to their allotted bands.

    The antennas are three TW-33-XL 30-17-12m band 3-element tri-banders, three TA-33-M 20-15-10m 3-element tri-banders, and two 4-element mono-banders for 20m.

    Each was then partly disassembled breaking down into four parts for allow for quick installation once they reach the island. Masts, rotators, masts and cabling have all been finalised.

    Other main equipment includes ten ICOM IC7600 transceivers (four each for CW and SSB, plus two on digital modes), an IC9100 (6m, 2m, 70cm & 23cm), eight generators with associated electromagnetic interference (EMI) filters, 11 laptop computers, four SteppIR Verticals, 1x 2 element SteppIR Yagi, 2x 80m 4sq’s, 2x 40m 4sq’s, 6x OM Power OM3500HF amplifeirs, 3x ACOM1000 amplifies, 1x OM Power OM2006 6m amplifier, 1x ACOM 1010 Amplifier, 2x Thamway amplifiers, 1x Commander 144MHz Amplifier, headsets, foot switches and interfaces.

    Chris VK3FY & DU8/VK3FY said, “Well done to the Station & Planning Co-ordinator David Collingham K3LP for organising and attending the Pre-Assembly Gathering and also DXpedition logistics coordinator Charles Spetnagel W6KK for his understanding in having all the equipment dispatched to his QTH and also being part of the Pre-Assembly Gathering.”

    Special thanks for their hands-on contribution in this important phase of the exercise goes to DX0DX Team Leader Chris Dimitrijevic VK3FY, Nik Dimitrijevic VK3FNIK, Arnie Shatz N6HC, Bob Grimmick N6OX, West Coast Pilot Milt Garb W6QE, Dennis Juniper N7DDU, Byron Hunsaker NF6T and Richard Briano, who all attended the Pre-Assembly and Container loading gathering in Fontana, California over the weekend of 30-31 October.

    The Philippine Amateur Radio Association (PARA) has appointed DX0DX team member, Dindo Garcia DV1UD, as the PARA liaison person to handle all in coming equipment shipments, and liaise with the Bureau of Customs in respect of all equipment for the DXpedition.

    Chris VK3FY & DU8/VK3FY said, “A new high tide photographic survey commissioned by the DXpedition has confirmed that the island’s coastline and available beach has dramatically changed from what was previously known, due to rising sea levels and sea erosion.

    “This has meant a change in some aspects of the location of antennas and operating camps, but being fully aware in advance has enabled David Collingham K3LP the Station Layout Coordinator and other DX0DX Team members to ensure it does not have a significant impact of the DXpedition plans.”

    The four operating camps will use hand-held VHF/UHF transceivers, kindly provided by ICOM Amateur, for intercommunication.

    The meeting also had its lighter moments in discussing the island’s resident goats and whether they could take a liking to coax cable, and if a diet high in vitamin B12-rich Marmite might ward off mosquitoes.

    In recent hours Chris VK3FY & DU8/VK3FY has been informed that the boat hired to transport the team and its supplies to Thitu Island is now in need of extensive repair following damage sustained in very rough weather.

    “The official advice received is that it is doubtful repairs can be made before the team is due on the island. While this is a disappointment, with it occurring two months out from the DXpedition sufficient time remains to source a replacement vessel,” he said.

    The excitement continues about this major DXpedition that will see more than 37 radio amateurs from 15 Nations, who have made their individual substantial financial commitment to be part of the DX0DX operating team over the four weeks. As part of a humanitarian contribution, two doctors, Josette Docherty VK2FXGR and Edward Soriano 4F1OZ are also to provide medical checks to the island’s residents.

    In another development, Chris VK3FY & DU8/VK3FY said that the DXpedition is to be extended to accommodate the CQ World Wide 160m CW Contest. The Municipality of Kalayaan has agreed to the time extension.

    He said, while DX0DX was to go QRT on 24 January, a couple of individual and keen members have asked if they could stay on air for that contest when ends at 2200 UTC Sunday 30 January. This will now extend DX0DX activation to 1 Feb 2011.

    “This limited extension was carefully considered and agreed in light of strong interest from Top Band contesters and the 160m band being the highest sought after in the DX0DX website online survey.”

    The generous corporate sponsorship that makes the DXpedition possible by providing equipment and other needs, plus funding support from DX groups, clubs, and individual radio amateurs which is still being received. All are gratefully acknowledged on the DX0DX website.

    – Jim Linton VK3PC, Public Affairs DX0DX www.dx0dx.net

    4 November 2010

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