- Friday 11 August Amsterdam – London 12.15
Friday 11 August London – Antigua 15.35
- Thursday 24 August Antigua – Barbados 18.20
- Monday 4 September Barbados – London 21.00
Tuesday 5 September London – Amsterdam 14.45
11 August – 24 August 2000 : Antigua
24 August – 4 September 2000: Barbados
- 2 x Yaesu FT1000Mp
- 1 x Yaesu FL7000 Lineair
- 1 x Alpha Lineair
- 1 x Yaesu FT100 for 6 meter
- RTTY/PSK31 decoders:
- HAL DXP38
- 3 x notebooks
- WF1B RTTY Software
- CT Software
- Logger for PSK31
- 1 x Quad for 12/17 meter
- Several wire antenna’s
- Several 10 meter fiber towers by DK9SQ
- Focus on all HF bands for Europe and Japan.
- Activate 2 HF stations almost all day on the modes CW,SSB, RTTY and PSK31
- Participate with 1 station in the WAE CW Contest
- Participate with 1 station in the SARTG and SCC RTTY Contest
- Activate 6 meter on a low profile
- Have this web-page updated frequently with up-to-date logs and digital pictures of the DX-pedition
|Experience||HB0/PA3ERC, VP5/PA3EWP, VP5C, FG/PA3EWP, TO5C, J77C, J79WP, FM/PA3EWP, J6/PA3EWP, 9Y4/PA3EWP, 6Y5/PA3EWP, ZF2WP/ZF9, PJ7/PA3EWP, FS/PA3EWP, V47WP, VP2EWP, 8Q7WP
Extensive contest experience at PI4COM, PA6WPX, PA6HQ
|Mode||SSB, some CW & RTTY, Satellite|
|Profession||Networking & System Specialist|
|Comment||So back home and after a 15 hour sleep I took a little time to write my epilog. I want to thank everybody to make our trip unforgettable especial the stations that we worked in the pile-ups but we can’t forget all the positive compliments we received by email or via the guestbook entries from HAM en non-HAM’s. This was my best DX-pedition I ever made in the last 6 years. The pileups were big from the beginning till the last day. My favorite mode is still SSB but I start loving CW more and more. The secrets are: big antenna’s and enough power to give the opposite station a good signal. In that case you don’t have to go to a TOP 100 country. It is still a pity that a lot of amateurs don’t listing at all, it is the most important rule for radio-amateurs. The biggest problem I had with stations in SSB when they were calling with 2 letters. It is the most stupid thing you ever can do, it slows down the pile-up with approx. 25%. When it was possible I didn’t work split at all, sometimes it was necessary to do it. But then I tried to reduce the bandwidth to 5 Khz, when all signals have the same signal strength I had to do it, otherwise I couldn’t copy nobody. Thanks again for making this tour to a big success and I hope to work you next time from an other location. Maybe a more interesting spot on earth …|
|Call||PA4EA (ex. PA3BBP)
|Name||Peter van Veenendaal|
|Experience||HB0/PA3ERC, VP5/PA3BBP, VP5C, FG/PA3BBP, TO5C, J77C, J79BP, FM/PA3BBP, J6/PA3BBP, 9Y4/PA3BBP, PJ7/PA4EA, FS/PA4EA, V47EA, VP2EEA
Extensive contest experience at PI4COM, PA6WPX, PA6HQ, PI4KML
|Mode||CW, RTTY some SSB & Satellite|
|Profession||Aircraft Maintenance Engineer|
|Comment||My first thoughts go to Marlène, who had a difficult time without me. The pile-ups were huge this year. Big antennas with some power really make a difference compared to the verticals and 100 watt we used to have. I’ll always remember the trip to Montserrat with the Hurricane, the volcano eruption and the helicopter flight. Also the activity as VP2MPA was a nice experience.|
|Call||PA7FM (ex. PE1PZS)
|Experience||M / PE1PZS, 6 meter DX, PJ7/PA7FM, FS/PA7FM, V47FM, VP2EFM
Extensive contest experience VHF/HF contesting at PI4COM, PA6WPX, PA6HQ, PI4EUR
|Mode||Satellite and SSB|
|Comment||Just the second tour for me….but a good one. A great experience with some massive pile-ups and it seamed like they wouldn’t stop till the moment we went qrt. In-between the pile-up I had a very enjoyable time on the islands itself,especially on Barbados and Montserrat (despite being stuck because of hurricane Debby). Thanks to all for patience on the other side off the pile-up which wasn’t too hard too handle most of the times. For sure I will try to be one of the tour-members next year whether it will be a Caribbean tour…….or……|
|Call||PA5ET (ex. PA3ERC)
|Experience||HB0/PA3ERC, VP5/PA3ERC, VP5C, FG/PA3ERC, TO5C, J77C, J79RC, FM/PA3ERC, J6/PA3ERC, 9Y4/PA3ERC, 6Y5/PA3ERC, ZF2RC/ZF9, PJ7/PA5ET, FS/PA5ET, V47ET, VP2EET, 8Q7ET
Extensive contest experience at PI4COM, PA6WPX, PA6HQ
|Mode||CW,some RTTY & SSB|
|Profession||Network & System Specialist|
|Comment||This was my 6th Caribbean Tour and again bigger then last years. Like in 1995 we have chosen for fixed contest stations with the finest antenna systems we could find in the Caribbean. Added to that we used amplifiers for the first time. This combination is magic. Big pile-ups from day 1 until the last day 24 hours a day, I think everybody wishes that if they go on an expedition. Again we proved that if you are active on all bands you don’t have to go to a top 50 country, you will get the pileups anyway. Again we had Internet on each location so we could update the web-site several times a day. Also the Packet Clusters made overtime which really helped. The web-site has been visited 5000 time during the tour which is 1000 hits more then last year. We tried Real-Audio files to give you an idea how the pileups sounds on our side. Again our audience behaved correctly and I really enjoyed working everybody in the pile-ups. All team members worked very hard to exceed the 60.000 QSO’s. Again all equipment performed outstanding without any problems. See you next year from . . .|
Tuesday 4 September 2000
- The team returned home in the afternoon, everybody had a long sleep and sweet dreams.
Monday 4 September 2000
- The last is started, Dennis tried to work Europeans on 160 SSB but didn’t hear a single one, bad luck. In the course of the morning we will starting to dismantle the stations, the intention is to stop at 16z which is 12 o`clock local time. We have reached our goal which was to make 60.000 QSO’s during tour which we find quit an achievement. At 16.00z we ended this years Caribbean Tour. We hope you have all enjoyed the tour as we have. The stations we used were perfect and we had the feeling we have used them as optimal as possible to get the maximum result. If you are going to send direct QSL’s please use recent stamps because we collect them.
Sunday 3 September 2000
- Rob tried to work some Europeans on topband but couln’t hear any stations due to inteference of the 40 meter station on the beverage preamplifier . . . this was soon aborted and then 80 meters was tried although this was already to late to have the peek. The 30 meter had a high swr and is unusable. Today will be the last full day on the island. In the due of tomorrow morning arround 16z we will end this years Caribbean Tour. The 30 meter antenna is repaired again.We are working very hard to reach the 60.000 QSO barrier.
Saturday 2 September 2000
- During the European gray-line Dennis worked several Europeans on Topband SSB, we didn’t planned to do this but since the beverage is working fine we thought to give it a try. It looks like that we have a winning score in the PSK contest.
Friday 1 September 2000
- It looks like the propagation isn’t what it could be this morning. Signals are mainly weaker than before so it’s getting harder to get in the log. But with the weekend comming up we do expect to make it to 60000 qso’s for the whole tour this year. We will concentrate on 15m CW now and 17m. Especially 17m needs some more attention as you can see in the tour statistics for 8P so far. In between we will do some 80 and 40m and we are thinking about a beverage pointing towards the USA but we haven’t figured out yet how to arrange this. To make a combination of 12 and 17m we tried to use the 5el monoband yagi for 10m on12m which worked out ok. The SWR is not too bad so we can still make some power and work 17m on the quad at the same time. ( We’re using a 2 band quad for 12 and 17 ). That’s it so far……Ron and Rob will be off to the beach this morning while Peter and Dennis will be operating. This will change this afternoon. From 00 z tonight we will be active in the PSK contest. When the activity is good we will continue the contest, otherwise we will change mode and we’ll be active in several periods on different bands.
Thursday 31 August 2000
- The new beverage has performed outstanding, about 60 Europeans are logged. As of tomorrow we will concentrate more on 80 meter, unfortunately 80 & 160 meter can’t be combined due to interference. So the combination of 40 & 80 will be more likely.
Wednesday 30 August 2000
- During the European grey-line we were mainly active on 160 and 40 meter. On 160 meter we hadn’t to much QRM but lack of a beverage. We saw some critical remarks on the cluster which we ignored. We do our best, that’s all we can do, and yes, also we can run 2Kw so we are not surprised you here us 599. We called several stations which didn’t answer either, so more stations need receiving antennas… end of the discussion. During our morning we have hang up a 200 meter long beverage pointing to Europe, this must improve our reception on the low bands. Propagation on the high bands is improving again. We did some PSK31 in the afternoon and about 50 made the log. Problem with PSK is that everybody calls ones and than wait, if many stations call we like see somebody at the tail which we can pick out, if everybody calls ones we have to CQ again and everything starts again. Also the exchange is unbelievable, name of the dog, serial number of their walkman etc, it should be kept short like in contest style.
Tuesday 29 August 2000
- This morning started very nice with a good run on 80 meters. About 150 stations are logged during the European grey-line. During our night for the first time almost all bands where dead, only 20 meter was workable. The A-Index was 16 which is bad news. Lets hope the propagations will improve fast otherwise we will have splenty of time to sleep hi. In the afternoon we all went to the capital Bridgetown to act as tourists.
Monday 28 August 2000
- This morning we passed the 10.000 QSO mark. Pile-ups are very big but we get used to them. The main problem we have to deal with is the fact when we call up 10 to 15 everybody stays either on 10 or on 15 and nobody on 11,12 and 13. We are trying different “tricks”which seems to work, one QSO up 10 next up 11 next up 12 next up 13 next up 14 next up 15 etc. People can’t change that fast and intend to stay where they are, and that’s what we like them to be, spreaded out. Tonight we will be very active on 80 meter to make up the losts days. If you watch the statistics you can predict what band and modes we will be active. All high bands have been activated this morning and afternoon, on 20 meter CW we had to stop because nobody would listen.
Sunday 27 August 2000
- It seems to be that we can’t combine several bands without interference on the other station. 12/15 en 40 with all other bands gives problems. We will try to solve this asap. The SCC RTTY contest has finished at 8 o`clock local time so the second rig is available again for the normal work. 10 and 12 meter is working great. This morning we have put up a 30 meter antenna which will be used this afternoon. During the evening mostly 40 & 30 meter are activated. The 30 meter dipole works good. When trying to use the 80 meter antenna we found out we forgot to extend the lenghth of the dipole because it was dipped for ssb and unusable for cw. Everybody thought everybody had changed this, but the fact was that the antenna was hanging in the tower without the proposed extention. This will be sorted out during the day.
Saturday 26 August 2000
- This morning we started the SCC RTTY contest at 12z. One station will run the whole contest as 8P9JR. The Quad antenna for 12 & 17 meter seems to work great, thanks George PA8GB. Today we toured around the island for the first time. Barbados is indead a beautiful island, lots of nice beaches and little villages.
Friday 25 August 2000
- Today first thing we will go to the Ministry to get our licenses. Since we already had our equipment with us we already started to setup the station. Again we are having problems with the 220v power plugs. They are not standard and we couldn’t find any spare in the house so we have to buy one first, this will save us a lot of time modifying all rigs and amplifiers to 120v. We now received the 8P callsigns, 8P8JR (PA4EA), 8P9RS (PA5ET), 8P9JT (PA7FM) and 8P9RU (PA3EWP). We first have setup the WARC Quad and started the expedition at 20.00z.
Thursday 24 August 2000
- Today we started the last day of operation on Antigua. The station will be shutdown at 13.00Z. We are all tired but satisfied. We look forward to the next destination Barbados. We won’t be active from 8P before tomorrow since we have to get our licenses first. At 15.00 local time we left the V2 station heading to the airport. At 17.30 we left Antigua and arrived on time in Barbados. Again we had no problem with our equipment and went to the 8P location. We decided to unpack equipment next day since it was dark and we were tired and need a night sleep. At least here everyone has his own bed …
Wednesday 23 August 2000
- Live is back to normal, Tropical Storm Debby passed, sun is shining, shops are opening again and everybody is happy no damage is caused by the storm. At this moment we passed the 28.500 QSO’s and we will try to reach the 30.000 before be leave tomorrow afternoon. During the European grey line we focused on 80 meter CW. Sorry guys but we can’t be on all bands at the same time. We will not spend any more time on topband but on 80 CW, also 30 CW will get attention because these bands are gaps in our statistics. During the day we will mainly run CW on all bands.
Tuesday 22 August 2000
- When is became light the storm was passed by and the sky became clearer again with except in the direction of the vulcano. Joe rushed in shouting the vulcano had an erruption. Lots of ash and other undefined stuff came out. The combination of rain and ash caused a mud stream fleeding into the Caribean Sea and changed the color of the water into grey/brown. A bit later the Ship Owners said the ship would sail again at 1700 but later in the morning we were informed that is wouldn’t sail today. When checking the helicopter service they informed us they would fly again somewhere today and would inform us. Some 15 minutes before departure we got a telephone call the helicopter was waiting for us. At that time we where still operating VP2MPA ! We never took down a station that quick, including antenna. About 20 minutes we arrived at the helicopter airport, the engines where running and people where shouting to us we had to hurry. When checking in they only had 3 seats left and we needed 5 of them. After some pressure they promised to do an extra flight so everybody could go back to Antigua.
Monday 21 August 2000
- Last night we haven’t been active. Instead of the originally planned Tuesday we decided to visit Montserrat for a tour around the island today because of the expected Tropical Storm Debby. Joe VP2MBP, taxi driver, is awaiting us on Montserrat this morning to show us arround. Even after checking with ship owners they guaranteed they would sail back to Antigua in the afternoon, we soon found out this was not the case. The vessel went to Guadeloupe for safe harbour so we were stuck on the island. We tried to arrange a helicopter flight instead to get us back to Antigua but we ran out of luck, the last flight left 15 minutes before checking. Joe VP2MBP helped us out and arranged a rental villa for the night where we used his FT1000Mp and G5RV wire antenna. Joe even arranged a generator in case the power would fail during the night. Tropical Storm Debby was expected to pass at 5 o`clock in the morning. With the authorities Joe arranged our own choosen callsign VP2MPA, so we were in business. As we didn’t have any computers we had to log by hand. We couldn’t make any CW QSO’s because Joe didn’t had a keyer. We made some shifts and started the operation.
Sunday 20 August 2000
- Early this morning we started the last 8 hour section of the SARTG RTTY contest, we passed the 1000 QSO’s with a very high multiplier, probably this is a winning score. Rob activated several bands in CW and SSB, he switched a lot of bands so everybody who only has the weekend for the hobby could work us at least on 4 bands and modes. We completed the contest with 1134 QSO’s. Today we heard that Tropical Storm Debby is heading Antigua and will arrive Monday night. it might become a hurrycane in the coming up days.
Saturday 19 August 2000
- Last night we have entered the SARTG RTTY contest which consists of 3 x 8 hours. We started on the low bands but find it very hard to work European, they didn’t hear us or we couldn’t decode them, 15 meter was working fine mainly to USA and Japan. Today we will concentrate more on the gaps in the statistics. This means more activity on 10 meter CW, 17 SSB & CW and 30 meter CW. We have setup a vertical for 30 meter so 17 & 30 meter can be combined. The SARTG RTTY contest is running fine on the high bands, especially 10 was very good, probably we made many hapy with a new one on 10 RTTY
Friday 18 August 2000
- During the European grey-line again several made the log on 80 CW with a lot of QSB. 160 meters was a little bit better. The high bands are again in good shape. We passed the 20.000 QSO’s barrier. Today we had our first power cut on the 220 volt lines which took down one station for a while. Coming night we will be active in the SARTG RTTY contest using the callsign V26ET, the other station will be active on all other bands/modes. We found out that several 30 meter QSO’s in the V26ET log have been logged on 10 meter. This has been corrected now.
Thursday 17 August 2000
- Today the bands the signals are not that good like the days before, despite that we logged again a lot of new stations or are we now working the stations with the inside antenna’s and 20 watts??? We have mainly concentrated on working Europe what is slightly changing now. Also North America gets attention now and Japan whenever the bands are open into that direction. The team will remain active on topband and 80 meter during the European grey-line in either CW or SSB. The 40 meter station is working that good there is no need to wait until the grey-line to work Europe. There is no interference between the 2 stations with exception of 10 & 12 meter, they can’t be combined. Currently we are logging about 3000 QSO’s a day. You might have noticed the new operating schedule of the team, so have an idea how they operate, one day they have 4 hours sleep, the second day they can stay in bed a “bit” longer. For your interest here is the schedule:
- During the afternoon we tried to fill some gaps in the statistics,which isn’t easy. We only have one WARC antenna…and we need to do some more on 12 and 17 meters. But as the higher bands are not too good, we focusses on 17. During the EU evening we had a good run on 30m. Especially on the higher bands we did work more USA than before. It’s still difficult to work JA on 10m….but we will keep on trying.Tonight again topband.
Wednesday 16 August 2000
- During the EU grey-line, Ronald, V26WP operated on 160 meters to Europe. He worked 10 stations from Europe and also some state side stations. In the early morning hours, 5 o’clock local, Dennis worked Europe on 10 meters. Rob worked 15 meters SSB, he had a real pile-up from Japan. He had to work by the number. Dennis made the 6 meter yagi rotatable for just in case the band opens. At 17z we changed the crew and had 14159 QSO’s in the log.
Tuesday 15 August 2000
- After dinner last night we changed operator, so Rob and Dennis were active during the EU grey-line.The first attempt on activating top band succeeded.The beverage does realy work ok, just the local static of some heavy rainshowers during then night caused severe qrn.But qso’s were made, both on 160 and 80m. 12 and 17 meter were open for some hours last night towards EU and the USA at the same time, we choose to work mainly USA this time. In the morning (local time) Peter V26EA worked 150 stations on 15 meters RTTY. A lot of japanese stations made it to the log. Around 16:00UTC Ronald made an attemp to work some PSK31. It is clear that PSK users are not used to work DX-stations.The score up till now, 12Z about 9250 qso’s in the log.
Monday 14 August 2000
- What a great day today.The sun is shining,cold beers and all bands wide open in all directions. The only thing…the pile-ups are boring us a bit.Is it realy fun to be on the wrong side of the pile-up ?? Last night especially 20m was very good,and the greyline propagation on 40 in the morning was very nice again towards JA,VK,pacific.The first real opening on 10m started around 7 o’clock in the morning with a massive pile of stations calling.At this moment just before dinner the estimated number of qso’s in the log is reaching abt. 7500, not too bad for just 2 and a half day we think ?? The group is split up in two today.Two of us are staying in while the other two are going out to discover the islands hidden treasures and the tranquility of the Caribbean sea. Also in the coming up weeks the group will be devided in two, and everyday two others will stay behind in the shack to pleasure you…on the other side of the pile-up.
Sunday 13 August 2000
- Today the propagation is much better than yesterday. During our greyline we worked our first pile-up to JA on 40m despite the sometimes s9 qrm from the bbc radio station on Antigua(only 500kW about 1 km from here). After the bad propagation yesterday, today all bands were in good shape,resulting in some huge pile-ups like those on 10 and 12m ( listen to them on the real audio files). The WAE contest is still running on schedule and we expect to make some 2000 qso’s in the contest alone. In total for the first 2 day’s it looks like we will make about 4000 qso’s on all bands. We expect to be able to make more qso’s a day after the contest, off course when propagation allows. Off course we need to relax sometimes…..so after the contest tonight….out for dinner with Roy,V21N, out host on Antigua. We finished the WAE contest with 1789 QSO’s and 1436 QTC’s, bruto score unchecked 1.409.484 points.
Saturday 12 August 2000
- The first hours of the WAE contest we were active on 40 meters. Later on we went to 80 meters. The first impression on the low bands was that our signal must be loud into Europe, it was very hard on 80 meter to pick out callsigns due to heavy QRN. In the coming days we will use the beverages and EWE for receiving on the low bands. During the second part of the night it was impossible to work Europe on any band. During our morning the first Europeans were workable on 20 and 15 meters. As of this afternoon we have an Internet connection so we are able to upload files and photo’s.
Friday 11 August 2000
- At 07.00 we left Hoofddorp, the meeting place for this tour, and headed to Schiphol Internatiol Airport. At 08.30 we flew to London where we had to wait until 12.00 for our connecting flight to Antigua. All equipment was accepted without problems. At 17.00 local time we arrived at the radio station. We first concentrated on setting up one station for the WAE contest. Of course the 220 Volt connectors didn’t fit so we had to do some Electrical work to make it work. Finally we had one station ready for the contest.
Sunday 6 August 2000
- Today we have had our final meeting, all equipment is now ready for transport and the open issues are solved. We still plan to participate in the WAE contest for the full 48 hours although we only have 5 hours time to prepare as from the moment we land on Antigua. During this contest the second station will be activated on the WARC bands. During the final test with the FT1000MP and the FL7000 we noticed a problem in phone operation. When the FT1000MP switched from RX to TX the amplifier went sometimes in an overload. We had this problem before but during the PACC contest in February with an other FT1000MP and FL7000. We thought that this was a problem with the rig. But is seems to be the combination FT1000MP and FL7000. After running a few test we got a workaround. Use the reducer switch on the back of the FL7000, give a little bit more power input and all works fine in all modes. All equipment and operators are now ready for this DX-pedition.
Saturday 5 August 2000
- During the psk test last week we noticed a problem with the audio of one of the Compaq portable computers. When pressing a key or when the harddisk CD-ROM is spinning the audio output is interfered by a strange noise during PSK transmission. Maybe it is a ground problem, but we have only a few days of testing. It seems that we can work only PSK from 1 portable PC.
Thursday 3 August 2000
- Today we received the flight tickets, unfortunately we have to wait one more week . . .
Sunday 30 July 2000
- Dennis PA7FM & Rob PA5ET participated in the IOTA contest from EU-146 as a multi-single entry to warm up. When can we go?
Saturday 22 July 2000
- The 2 elements Quad for 12+17 meter is now ready. The team had a meeting to discuss outstanding issues.
Thursday 20 July 2000
- The Flight Cases are delivered, they will be used to transport the equipment.
Wednesday 19 July 2000
- The 2 elements Quad for 12+17 meter is almost tuned and tested on a 6 meter tower.
Thursday 3 February 2000
- The Caribbean Tour 2000 to Antigua & Barbados is booked, the DX-pedition is a go.