OCTOBER 31, 2018

In order to achieve a safe departure from Ducie Island – at 15:37z the skipper directed us to shut down today. We are beginning that process as I type this note.

It’s been raining all night, with 20+ knot winds. The ship is about 300 meters offshore, the forecast indicates continuing 20+ knot winds, 2 – 3 meter seas.

We are collecting all the logs and will send to the EU QSL management team (hopefully before we leave), they will remove FT8 dupes and refresh the server before turning on OQRS.

We want to thank everyone for their support and hope we met your expectations.

Team Ducie

OCTOBER 30, 2018

The weather is cooperating, with only a few rain showers over the past 24 hours.

We’re planning our departure and station take down process. We are on schedule to meet the departure plan providing the weather continues to cooperate, however, if the forecast suggests unfavorable weather or sea conditions on Thursday and Friday, we may move up the departure date.

On Weds 31 Oct we remove the EME and 160 antennas and any equipment not essential for the remaining operation.

On our Thursday 1 Nov we will take down the CW camp and all non-essential camp structures, pack all VP6D equipment, and load the CW camp onto the Braveheart.

On Friday we’ll finish deconstructing the SSB / base camps, continue loading the boat and depart Ducie Island at 18:00 (local).

We will unload the entire log before we leave the island, most of the FT8 dupes will be removed during that upload.

OQRS will be activated after the upload.

The team appreciates the cooperation we’ve received from the DX community. The pilots forwarded your comments and suggestions. It’s impossible to respond individually, be assured we read the summary of your comments and have acted on several of these where feasible.

Thank you for the kind words; while the team is tired, reading these notes
encourages them to work harder.

Jacky, ZL3CW
Steve, W1RSD
Arnie, N6HC

OCTOBER 29, 2018

OCTOBER 28

We continue to operate on all bands that are are open.

– Earlier today we took the N1MM log, merged all the FT8 logs, and uploaded to our log server at VP6D.com ~81,000 QSOs. We will do a complete log analysis and audit after we leave Ducie.

– 6m EME – last night we made 3 more contacts. We will continue operating 6 m EME on moonrise for another few nights.

– We created an island exit plan with the skipper of the Braveheart. In order to make the once-a-week flight from Mangareva to Tahiti we will begin the tear down process as follows:

Weds 31 Oct: Remove 6 m EME antenna and 160 antenna

Thursday 1 Nov: Begin tear down of CW and SSB camps, antennas, etc

Remove all non essential equipment from the island.

Friday 2 Nov: Remove sleeping tents and move all DX-pedition equipment to the Braveheart

Leave the island approx 15:00 (local)

Depart Ducie 18:00 (local) after
stowing all equipment on Braveheart

Above plan dependent on the weather remaining calm.

Team Ducie 2018

OCTOBER 27, 2018

Few pictures from Ducie Island now online

OCTOBER 26, 2018

We know Ducie is an ATNO for many DXers.
However, we are seeing far too many dupes. People are working us and a few minutes later working us again, the ops are getting a bit fustrated.

DXA availability depends on 2 Ducie Island networks that are subject to intermittent outage. If either network drops out DXA does not do a refresh to pick up missing calls.

Please check the VP6D log before duping us on the same band / mode. We really need your help with this request. We have at least 7 more days on the island.

VP6D will be operating the contest during CQWW SSB, good luck in the contest.

All stations are operational, all antennas are in good condition.

Thanks for your help.

OCTOBER 24, 2018

OCTOBER 23, 2018

– It’s been raining, we’re waterlogged. In 24 hours we expect a significant storm to pass through, with heavy rainfall and up to 25 knot winds with potential for stronger gusts.

– We had some problems with the BGANs dropping off the satellite which is why DXA has occasionally not been updating in real time. We presume this is due to the WX and wet foliage. We moved both BGANs into the HQ tent, they seem to be performing better.

– We worked on the log this morning, over 27,000 Qs, 9,900 unique calls, 4,000 FT8 Qs, 141 DXCC entities.

– We know some FT8 Qs are not in the log yet, working that problem.

– FT8 odd/even resolved (we think), Control Key conflict between programs.

– Pileups continue to be energetic and reasonably well behaved. One request on SSB, please do not call over the station we’re working.

– The team is doing their best to get you in the log.

– Trying to get the EME antenna assembled before the WX moves in.

– Keep the pilot reports coming in.

OCTOBER 22, 2018 @ 16:00z

– Rain last night, expecting occasional rough WX over the next few days.

– No EME today, expect to be up in 48 hours.

– Antenna work coming along nicely.

– Pileups have been deep, energetic and generally well behaved THANK YOU

– Full set of VDAs for high bands, 4-sq for 40 m and a SteppIR installed
at SSB camp. Low bands antennas installed at the CW camp.

– A few people are calling with the incorrect version of FT8. Please use
WSJT-X 1.9.1 in DX mode. You are configured as a Hound. Please see
VP6D.com for FT8 Guidance.

– Last night we observed a serious backlog with the BGAN systems, the
queue was cleared early this morning, but the network is slow. We have 2
BGANs running, both showing the same delay. We have 2 spare BGANs, but
we don’t believe it’s a hardware issue.

– We had a report that some FT8 contacts are not in DXA, we will
investigate.

– We had a report of an audio problem with 40m SSB, we will investigate.

– The log was uploaded this morning. DXA is a copy of the log. If your
contacts are in DXA they are in the log.

OCTOBER 22, 2018

OCTOBER 21, 2018 @ 16:00z

Good morning from Ducie Island. We are progressing well.

The main camp and kitchen are fully established and supplied with food / water.

The generator sites are built and supplied with fuel.

The SSB camp, located at the main camp, is setup with 4 stations. It is this camp which has been making all the SSB /CW QSOs using VDAs. SteppIR beams go up today.

Today the CW Camp and antennas are the priority. This camp is about 3/4 mile from the main camp. Equipment for this camp was landed at a different location. About a 30 minute walk through the bush between camps. There is very little beach at high tide.

Over the next 2-3 days we’ll complete the antenna work, including 30, 80 and 160. Because of the undergrowth stringing radials is a challenge. SSB 40m 4 Square is complete, CW 40m 4 Square almost completed.

It’s been very hot and humid. We’ve been told to expect some rain possibly later today, heavy at times.

Large 8 person sleeping tents house 3 men per tent, plenty of room.

Signals on this end are loud. The team is in good spirits and eager to get into a routine.

We will upload the log this morning. When we put the/MM log online there may be some errors with the times, we’ll correct them, no need to send e-mails.

We know DXA dropped out a few times, this was due to power at the network switch. The plan is to install a UPS on the network switch.

2 Braveheart crew members will remain on the island to support the operation and generators.

OCTOBER 20, 2018 – UPDATE II

OCTOBER 20, 2018 @ 04:20z 

At 04:18z, VP6D started activity on 40CW followed by 20SSB. K4SC & K4HC first in log.

OCTOBER 19, 2018 @ 13:45z

Team VP6D arriving offshore Ducie Island soon.

OCTOBER 18, 2018

OCTOBER 17, 2018

OCTOBER 10, 2018

The team is as ready as we can be. We begin our travel this weekend, first meeting in Tahiti.

Nigel Jolly will not be with us on the boat, his son Matt will be the skipper.  Nigel will meet us in Tahiti on Oct 15th, he will then fly to Tonga. He was awarded a last minute contract to bring supplies to Tonga, his other ship Claymore II has the job. Nigel must be in Tonga to arrange the Customs and Immigration formalities.

We have 3 BGAN terminals and a spare, getting updates to you shouldn’t be a problem 😉

Thanks for all your help with the bulletins and getting the word out.

UPDATE I

After 18 months of intensive planning we will soon begin our long journey to Ducie Island. This is a team effort and you are part of the team. Please help us to work you by reviewing this important information.

1. You can follow our progress as we sail to and from Ducie Island.
https://share.garmin.com/VP6D Tracking will be available on Oct. 16th as we depart Mangareva.

2. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook – updated from the ship and island.

3. As time permits, we’ll send Press Releases to the DX-bulletins and upload photos to VP6D.com from the island.

4. Your only email route to VP6D is through the pilot team.

5. The pilots do not have the logs. Please don’t ask them about NiL, busted calls, skeds, etc.
Do send them helpful suggestions.

6. There is no access to personal email while on the ship or on the island.

7. The log will be uploaded daily, OQRS will be available at VP6D.com shortly after we leave the island.

8. The process for reporting busted / missing QSOs will be available when OQRS opens.

9. We are uploading the log only to VP6D.com – there is no Leaderboard.

10. We plan to use WSJT-X Version 1.9.1 as a Fox on all bands except 160 where we will not use DX-pedition mode. VP6D FT8 operating guidelines posted at VP6D.com

11. DXA at DXA3.org/VP6D will update about 3 minutes after your contact. Check here to see if you are in our log.

12. The log may show FT8 dupes even if you didn’t dupe us, we will resolve dupes after the DX-pedition.

13. Thanks to Lance W7GJ our plan to activate 6m EME is a first for Ducie Island.

There will be at least 3 DXpeditions operating from the Pacific during Oct/Nov. Ensure you are in the correct pileup for the DX you are trying to work. If you see your contact on VP6D’s DXA that contact is in our log.

Please consider a donation at VP6D.com to help offset the team’s significant investment to put Ducie Island on the air. Those who process a donation on VP6D.com before we sail on 16 October will receive their LoTW confirmation while we’re on the island.

We wish everyone the best of luck in getting in the log, we’ll do our best to get you the Qs you want.

73, Team Ducie – 2018

Website:  vp6d.com, Twitter and Facebook
Please direct questions to:  info@vp6d.com

30 COMMENTS

  1. It will be a true ATNO for me… I missed out on the last expedition because of health problems, and at my age this will likely be my last opportunity to work Ducie.

  2. ATNO me too. Hope they understand the situation. The direction from here(OH) is quite difficult. OH4SS.

  3. ATNOfor me also !For cw 10-15-20-40-80 ! 2 qsos will be great !Gl oms , great team and all the best . VA2IG

  4. ATNO for me too.
    This time it should be easier for ZS. It is later in the year and out of the “black hole” for ZS.
    Looking forward to all mode QSO.
    73

  5. In last 2 years, big QRM always come up. Any time, at almost all freq…
    Make me stress and borring..

  6. Fantastic sigs here in NC/East coast NA on the early morning/morning grayline…great ops; apparently great antennas… MNI TNX !!!

  7. Regarding FT8: by default, hounds are calling on odd periods, fox is transmitting on even. VP6D does vice versa: transmits on odd. Many hams are unable to find a way to change WSJT-X setting to transmit on even because the checkbox is grayed out in F/H mode. But they still try hard using bad seq or using normal FT8 mode in hope for a miracle.
    The solution is not obvious: enter Settings – General, and set the checkbox “Double-click on call sets Tx enable”. Then double-click on received VP6D transmission, and your hound’s sequencing will be correct now. 73!

  8. The new V2.x is switching to the wrong cycle, thats why a lot of stations using the wrong timing. I changed from V2.3 back to 1.9 and its timing is OK.

  9. A simpler solution is to use keyboard shortcut Ctrl+E and Shift+E to toggle the grayed out checkbox for even/odd cycle. Of course using major release 1.9 obviates that all. V2.x release candidates as names say are for testing and (may) contain a number of bugs.
    Cheers,
    Paul sq5nry

  10. “However, we are seeing far too many dupes. People are working us and a few minutes later working us again, the ops are getting a bit fustrated.”
    Seems the above fact is all or partly related to DXA, and this tool is incredibly doing exactly the opposite of what it should be, instead of reducing dupes, it contribute to increase it. And this is the same story to any dxpedition that are using this DXA tool.
    So far, the only real online log system that works well over the years, is the one used by the Italian of IDT. It’s not fancy, thare is no color, graphic or whatever .. but it does the job very well and very reliable, not like DXA that is down half of the time and out of sync with the real log, leading to much more dupes.
    ps (and not to mention the effort of the dxpedition team on the island to try to fix this DXA and IT related things, distracting them to make more radio contacts instead. Good luck to the team, despite all of this they are doing good job..

  11. If a dupe is made within a few minutes it is more likely that the DX chaser has not heard clearly his callsign or report due to qsb, qrn, dqrm or the Police and as he has not in his mind a “good qso” and especially if a new one or new slot it should not raise a concern if he makes another solid qso. Log and move one, the rate does not drop and the DX chaser now sure of his qso leaves the pileup.

  12. In addition to standard duplicate QSOs that are the result of poor operating skills, bad attitude, and marginal propagation, there is a new factor driving them: in a rush to Cluster spot a DX station to let the whole world they worked it (even though the same dx on the same freq had been spotted dozens of times before), some people erroneously spot a different dx callsign from their log for the same frequency. A bunch of ops then flock to the frequency and start calling without so much as once hearing the callsign of the dx they’re calling. Then they end up working the dx they had worked before thinking they worked someone else. If you check the spotting history for VP6D in the last few days, you’ll find a number of other calls spotted at the same time on the same freq.
    Solution: stop the practice of clusterbragging and engage your ears.

  13. I was hoping for an ATNO here in Central Europe. Now I have cw QSOs on three different bands in the log and it was not that difficult. Many thanks, excellent job indeed.

  14. Zoran: The dxa3 real time log is the greatest tool done by KK6EK !No fakes and your qso is cfmd within 2 minutes !No need to call endlessly ! On the other end i am sick and tired of W3LPL skimmer spot !He destroy almost all major ones as little guns can’t work them in the early days ….Good dx and gl every1 4 T31 !

  15. Thank you very much for an ATNO and all the QSOs. You guys were fantastic – excellent OPs. Great DXpedition. For me it was the DXpedition of the year.
    Have a safe trip home.
    Best 73
    Lars, DL4JLM

  16. To the full team on and off the island and the boat crew you have far exceeded all expectations and I wish you a safe trip off the island and journey home.
    The work into Europe many times many bands surely they are happy as well. 25 plus % is surely a good number from the South Pacific in the current band conditions. Many times on DXA (Love that tool) could see three or four major areas all being worked same time.
    The rate difference on RTTY to FT8 will be interesting to see as well and expect that added to the ATNO for many.
    Thanks to the leaders, team members and all who made this possible. The planning, equipment, and camps surely were all well done.
    Thanks, make it home safe all!
    Russ K5OA

  17. Safe journey home folks. Thanks for being there.
    You were never ever strong in southern Africa and it was a struggle. I never heard you call for “only AF” and was disappointed when I did hear you on CW and was told EU EU EU. It was the same fist that was answering so I felt decidedly crest fallen and chastised!
    I didn’t make 20 or more band slots but I did get an ATNO in both analogue and digital. Thanks for that!
    Please bear us minnows in ZS next time.

  18. Congratulations for this FANTASTIC DXpedition! A model for the next ones to come!
    Please receive my best wishes!
    Ion YO3JF

  19. thanks for the good dx pedition, you haden a good sign on cw ft8 and ssb, qsl is on the way
    good trip home
    best regards rob pd1rk

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