Jim, ND9M is again active from Diego Garcia, Chagos Archipelago, this time as VQ96JC. QRV on HF bands, CW. QSL via H/c.
Jim informed OPDX:
“I’ll be here for another month before returning to the U.S., and only a couple times each week. But I always look for NA stations; the Left Coast often comes through here with good sigs most reliably on 17m.” Jim, who has been going to VQ9 since 1998, lives/works on a U.S. merchant marine ship, states “there is no permanent station on the island; the ham club has been gone for years,” and “the physical commute between my ship and my operating location takes about 90 minutes overall. Set up and breakdown each time is another 30 minutes. Band changes require me to lower the antenna and add or remove segments to/from the antenna so there’s more time. So each and every time I operate, I’ve got a 6-hour overall window and 2 hours are eaten up without even being on the air.” Jim’s entire station is in a backpack and green environment shopping bags. He sets up in front of a recreational park where there’s A/C power and trees. The station that he carries includes a Yaesu FT-857D, external power supply, separate tuner, 75-feet of coax, a 15-40m dipole, support line, and tools; everything comes to about 25 pounds. Since this is a military base, Jim can’t leave his antenna up at all times, so he has to put up the antenna every time he operates and then take it back down when he is done for the evening. He uses 100-pound fishing line for support legs, but that stuff is very attractive to the locals who often take it, and he finds that he has to put up new line fairly regularly; it’s a bit of a pain to throw line up into the jungle trees and then find it again just to tie it off and make it accessible for a couple hours. Jim’s preferred operating mode is CW, although he does try to get on SSB occasionally and even the Digital modes (PSK31, PSK63, and RTTY) if time allows. The “6” in his callsign VQ96JC represents the year in 2016. Jim has been doing this since 2007 (e.i. VQ97JC, VQ98JC, VQ99JC…). He also operated as VQ975FOC in 2013 as part of the FOC’s 75th anniversary celebration. QSL info is posted on QRZ.com”