Standing L-R: Steve W1SRD, Laci HA0NAR, Rob N7QT, Walt N6XG, Gene K5GS, Les W2LK, Vadym UT6UD, Ricardo PY2PT, Arnie N6HC, Mike WA6O, Dave K3EL Kneeling L-R: Heye DJ9RR, Jacky ZL3CW, Chris N6WM

JANUARY 12, 2019

VP6D QSL card designs were completed, proofs were submitted and approved for printing.

Gennady UX5UO printed the cards during the week of Jan 7th, they will be shipped to Tim M0URX in the UK during the week of Jan 14th. A separate /MM card was also designed.

Tim has already prepared the mailing labels, the envelopes are waiting to receive your cards. All confirmation requests received up to the mailing date will be included in the mailing. Confirmation requests after the first mailing will be processed on a regular basis.

We expect to place the cards in the mail system by early February. The cards will be mailed from the United Kingdom, so please allow for mail system delays before asking for the status of your card(s). Buro cards will be mailed to the world buros quarterly, expect 6 – 12 months, or more, to receive buro cards.

If you already requested confirmation via OQRS or by direct mail, our system will not allow duplicate requests. For example requesting a buro card more than once, or requesting a buro card if a card was sent via Direct Mail.

We will send another update when the cards are placed into the mail system.

73, VP6D QSL Team

DECEMBER 20, 2018

Having returned home in time for the US Thanksgiving holiday, and now with Christmas already here, we are busily working on the year end project close activities.

The Braveheart returned to New Zealand on Dec 18th, our equipment was moved to the warehouse on Dec. 19th. The customs broker will collect the shipment after the holidays for return to San Francisco.

We are designing the QSL card and expect to have it to the printer in the next few weeks. The cards will be printed in, and mailed from, Europe. You can expect to see them sometime in February. Of course, buro cards will take longer to arrive. We will notify the DX bulletins when the Direct Mail cards are posted.

Happy Holidays from the VP6D team.

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.

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