9G5X - Final Day

Created on Tuesday, 21 March 2017

9G5X antennas2The Crew here at 9G5X are starting to wrap up for our last day here in Ghana. The 5 Band Spiderbeam and 12m mast in the garden area was taken down this afternoon, leaving the HF beams on the roof and our LF aerials.

Tonight (Monday) evening we had the most enormous thunderstorm with torrential rain and the heavy QRN to go with it. Bob, 5B4AGN is doing his best on LF, but sadly 160 and 80m are almost unusable because of QRN. Unfortunately, there's nothing we can do about conditions.

The low band aerials are coming down early Tuesday at first light, but we will be on tomorrow (Tuesday) until about 13z, using the remaining two beams on the roof. At about 14z we all start to take down the rest our HF aerials and pack up for the red-eye flight leaving Accra for London Heathrow at 23:00z.

It has been great fun working all you guys from down here at Aburi, north of Accra. This place is an outstanding radio QTH and we've had the run of the garden and the hotel roof for aerials. The only downside has been the regular power outages, which have plagued us from time-to-time.

Sweet Mother Eco Lodge isn't Five Star, but our hosts have been very accommodating and, of course, we've had a great time running the pile-ups and working all you guys. For future 9G operations, this is a good place for a radio DXpedition with ham friendly owners. The food and the accommodation are only just adequate, but for two weeks, we've managed very well. The locals Ghanaians are lovely folks, who are convinced that we are all certified, but still treat us as valued guests.

Sure, there are things we could have done better, but this was a holiday DXpedition and we took no donations or requested donations. It was all pretty laid back and a lot of fun. What you see is what you get, and we hope you managed at least one 9G5X QSO. Charles M0OXO has done a great job getting logs into Clublog and on to LoTW. If you have logging queries, we'll do our best to help, if you drop Charles an email.

Can I say that in our experience, some of the very loud Italians using code readers on CW made working them slow and difficult. There are, without doubt, some top-line Italian ops, but only a few. Working the guys with code readers is a nightmare, requiring us to repeat the exchange and their call multiple times.

The best way to work us, is to call once, then listen, if no response then call once again, then listen. One call only is best, then listen. Don't all call up 1, but spread out up to say +1 to +3 on CW and. Up to 15 kHz on SSB. Again, call just once then listen and don't leave a huge time gap with no repeat of your call. We hear summat like "SVD" as we tune over the pile up. It could be Andy or an IK6, but then often we hear nothing for ages. Drop your in call regularly, maybe every 2 seconds, but only once, but time it right!

We really don't care if you are in MI or FL or Aberystwyth, and we don't need your name or QTH or inside leg measurement. Once we have your call, we don't need it repeating four times plus 73 and best DX. Just "599 TU" is good, if you are sure that we have your callsign logged correctly.

The number of casual dupes has shocked us and sometimes yesterday when I was on 17m CW in the late afternoon maybe three out of ten QSOs were duplicates. None of us get this. Clublog tells you which band and mode you've worked us, so why keep calling us?

Enough of our thoughts. We just hope we've given some of you a new bandslot or mode from Ghana. The pile ups here have been insane, but great fun to run. RTTY was a blast on 18 MHz yesterday with many Gs worked whilst the RDX contest was ongoing. We decided to stick to just one band for RTTY to avoid working the same big hitters over and over again. Quite a few people managed a new one on RTTY with our single band strategy. Of course, others bugged us constantly for other bands.

We have about 29K QSOs in the log up to now. We are not trying to beat other scores since this is a group of only six guys working the radios part-time. Some of the guys have been sight-seeing and enjoying the radio only when they can or when they feel like it. We didn't have strict shift rotas here, it is was all very free and easy.

We've had a fabulous time with a lot of laughs at some of our (bad) habits and frailties, which is about what you would expect from a group of known reprobates. Thank you for the great QSOs and the fine operating skills exhibited by G and EI operators, who to us were among the best. You are all a credit to the hobby.

73 until next time.

Steve Wilson, G3VMW for the 9G5X crew.

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