Cushcraft MA5B

Cushcraft MA5B, great antenna for restricted area.

XR0Y – Easter Island

XR0Y_WFF1

 

“While 3 operators will be running all 3 stations almost 24h a day, the rest of 3 operators will have sufficient time to relax after high pileups and to visit the island entirely. No wonder everyone of us want to meet the island as much as possible. There’s no other place like Rapa Nui in the world!”180px-Orthographic_projection_centred_over_Easter_Island1

“Since Easter Island is a VERY popular tourist destination, our DXpedition requires special planning – regarding logistics and security. Our QTH will be situated out of the only town at the island – Hanga Roa. Our remote location is a perfect as there will be a total lack of any potential TVI/BCI and our little antenna farm will be fully secured from unexpected visitors exposed to RF fields. Moreover – we will be far away from potential low-band noise of industrial origin. In addition, our location will provide a bit better spot with a take off towards Europe than a typical location at Hanga Roa.”

Easter Island (small dot on the Globe Photo – right) is a volcanic high island, consisting mainly of three extinct coalesced volcanoes: Terevaka (altitude 507 metres) forms the bulk of the island. Two other volcanoes, Poike and Rano Kau, form the eastern and southern headlands and give the island its roughly triangular shape. There are numerous lesser cones and other volcanic features, including the crater Rano Raraku, the cinder cone Puna Pau and many volcanic caves including lava tubes. SinglemanPoike used to be an island until volcanic material from Terevaka united it to Easter Island. The island is dominated by hawaiite and basalt flows which are rich in iron and shows affinity with igneous rocks found in Galapagos Islands. The large stone statues, or moai (Photo’s – left & above) for which Easter Island is world-famous, were carved during a relatively short and intense burst of creative and productive megalithic activity. A total of 887 monolithic stone statues have been inventoried on the island and in museum collections. Although often identified as “Easter Island heads“, the statues are actually complete torsos, the figures kneeling on bent knees with their hands over their stomach. Some upright moai have become buried up to their necks by shifting soils.

The period when the statues were produced remains disputed, with estimates ranging from 400 CE to 1500–1700 CE. Almost all (95%) moai were carved out of distinctive, compressed, easily worked volcanic ash or tuff found at a single site inside the extinct volcano Rano Raraku. The native islanders who carved them used only stone hand chisels, mainly basalt toki, which still lie in place all over the quarry. The stone chisels were re-sharpened by chipping off a new edge when dulled. The volcanic stone the moai were carved from was first wet to soften it before sculpting began, then again periodically during the process. While many teams worked on different statues at the same time, a single moai would take a team of five or six men approximately one year to complete. Each statue represents a deceased long-ear chief or important person. Only a quarter of the statues were installed, while nearly half still remain in the quarry at Rano Raraku and the rest elsewhere on the island, Anakenaprobably on their way to final locations. The largest moai is known as “Paro” weighing 82 tons. There are several others close to this size.

Moving the huge statues required a miro manga erua, a Y-shaped sledge with cross pieces, pulled with ropes made from the tough bark of the hau-hau tree, and tied fast around the statue’s neck. Anywhere from 180 to 250 men were required for pulling, depending on the size of the moai. Some 50 of the now standing statues have been re-erected in modern times. The first moai was re-erected on the beach of Anakena in 1958 using traditional methods during an expedition to the island by Thor Heyerdahl. (Photo right– Aeriel view of Easter Island from Space ‘ISS’)

Logs plan to be uploaded once a day around local midnight or morning hours (so approx. 6.00 or 12 UTC hours). Detailed Qsl information can also be found on the website at http://rapanui2009.org/ .

High on my ”IOTA Wanted” list, I wish all the team a safe journey and look forward to hearing them from Easter Island!

EasterPanor

73 de Charles…

P29 team good to go!

Woodlarkbeach

 

PNG is ranked 91st most wanted in CDXC Clublog! … which puts it up with Willis and Palestine!! The three Islands however are claimed by less that 10% of IOTA chasers. Whatever the case, big pile ups are anticipated fPacific_beachor sure so let’s hope propagation favours the UK (particularly the North for a change!). Operating times are expected to be around 18 hours per day (1600 – 0800 PNG time) on 160 through 15 metres with the possibility of additional activity on 12 and 10 metres, again dependent on conditions. Should anything untoward occur (bearing in mind the Earthquakes and Tsunami of recent weeks), then the operation will take place from Papua New Guinea mainland only, (IOTA OC-034).

The plans are to have four stations qrv, mainly CW and SSB although I understand that maybe RTTY will also be used. TX’s include an Elecraft K3, Yaesu FT-450 (CDXC loaned Rig), ICOM IC-706 Mk ll and a Kenwood TS-2000. They plan to have 3 amplifiers, one each for CW and SSB and another with mode allocation to be decided on site. Antennas will comprise of single band vertical dipoles for 15, 17, 20 and 30 metres, a loaded ground plane for 40M, an inverted L for 160 and 80 metres and a Butternut HF6V with 17m and 12m extensions.

Finally – the cost. Overall Budget is around $40,000 USD with team members contributing all of their personal costs. That includes their airfares, accommodation and the boat charter. They will also contribute towards the overall fuel and logistics. The DXpedition has a website with a Paypal donation facility through which donations would be gratefully received.

Good luck to all the team, I hope to hear and work you if possible from all locations. Thanks also to the group for the use of the photos on this page and for putting these intended Islands on the Air. Anyone wishing further information, or to make a donation towards the cost of the trip, please see their website at http://www.425dxn.org/dxped/p29_2009/

73 de Charles….

International Reply Coupons – a reminder!

IRC_new

 

The current International Reply Coupons expire at the end of 2009. This isn’t new news but a reminder is always helpful. Postage can be costly and despite expecting ‘ham spirit’ in the hobby, you can guarantee some of the unscrupulous ‘colleagues’ will try and offload any expired coupons they have, on the unsuspecting Manager to whom they send them. For those of you who have not been involved with using these ‘IRC’s’ in the past, let me try and describe a little more about them.

The IRC is a postal product which is exchangeable for one or more postage stamps. The stamps would be to the value of the minimum postage for an ordinary priority letter for most post-mail items or, for an ordinary air-mail letter sent abroad. IRC’s were first issued in 1907 and 2.2 million coupons are used each year for various aspects.beijing2 The main users seem to be of course us, the  Radio Amateurs who exchange Qsl cards and also Students. Students use them for exchanging correspondence with regards to their academic studies between the Universities and other teaching/learning institutions.

The current issue (called the ‘Beijing 2’ – Photo: Right) can be exchanged up to the 31st December 2009 but will cease to be sold from the 31st August 2009. The new IRC (called the ‘Nairobi’ model – Photo top left) went on sale on the 1st July 2009 and is valid for exchange until 31ST December 2013.

So, to summarise – take steps and try to get rid of all your ‘Beijing 2’ International Reply Coupons asap and in any event certainly before the end of the year. If you don’t, then you could end up seriously out of pocket!

73 de Charles

Good views of International Space Station…

Discovery_take_off

 

STS-128 Commander Rick Sturckow was joined on the mission by Pilot Kevin Ford, Mission Specialists Pat Forrester, Jose Hernandez, Danny Olivas and European Space Agency astronaut Christer Fuglesang. NASA astronaut Nicole Stott flew to the complex aboard Discovery to begin a nearly three-month mission as a station resident, replacing Tim Kopra, who returned home on Discovery.

Shuttle_JumboWeather concerns prevented the crew from returning to NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, the primary end-of-mission landing site. In 7-10 days, Discovery will be transported approximately 2,500 miles from California to Florida on the back of a modified 747 jumbo jet. Once at Kennedy, Discovery will be separated from the aircraft to begin processing for its next flight, targeted for March 2010.

A welcome ceremony for the crew’s return to Houston was held yesterday at Ellington Field’s NASA Hangar.

In addition to carrying a new station crew member, Discovery and the crew also delivered a new sleeping compartment, an air purification system and a treadmill named after comedian Stephen Colbert. The mission included three spacewalks that replaced experiments outside the European Space Agency’s Columbus laboratory and an empty ammonia storage tank. Ammonia is needed to move excess heat from inside the station to the radiators located outside.

Disney’s toy astronaut Buzz Lightyear also returned from the space station aboard Discovery. He flew to the station in May 2008 on shuttle Discovery’s STS-124 mission Buzz_Lightyearand served as the longest tenured “crew member” in space. While on the station, Buzz supported NASA’s education outreach by creating a series of online educational outreach programs.

Advances in the fight against food poisoning, new methods for delivering medicine to cancer cells, and better materials for future spacecraft are among the results just published in a NASA report detailing scientific research accomplishments made aboard the International Space Station during its first eight years. The results include more than 100 science experiments, ranging from bone studies to materials research

NASA’s research activities on the space station span several scientific areas, including exploration technology development; microgravity research in the physical and biological sciences; human physiology research; Earth science; and education. The report details 22 different technology demonstrations; 33 physical science experiments; 27 biological experiments; 32 experiments focused on the human body; Earth observations and educational activities. In addition to science important to long-duration human spaceflights, most findings also offer new understanding of methods or applications relevant to life on Earth.

Keep your eye out for the ISS now we approach Winter. Early darkness means we will see more of the Station than through the summer although since the ISS nears completion, reports are common of it being visible during daylight (approaching dusk) in recent months. This final photo shows a view of Heathrow Airport, London, taken by the ISS Crew in a recent pass over the Capital.

Heathrow

73 de Charles

First GFF Awards issued…

IMAG1457

 

I am please to announce that the first GFF Awards have now been dispatched. Along with several thousand Qsl Cards, the Awards arrived from the Printer yesterday. Late last night the first 8 of the certificates were completed, (2 x level III Bronze, 2 x level II Silver and 4 x level I  Gold Awards). The first applicant for all 3 levels was Gino – ON3SSB, (Photo left) well done!!

News • WFF Award Committee announced this week that it’s 600th award in WFF series had been issued. More than 50% of these awards were a direct result of being applied for via the EW4DX LogSearch system. More than 20 DXCC Countries had also applied for the various WFF 100 HR Plaques and 100% of these had applied via the LogSearch system.

WFF LogSearch service (http://ew4dx.org/WFFsearch.html) started on April 1st 2009 by Igor EW4DX. Now, through the LogSearch system it is possible to create an Award Certificate request (GCR list & email) within 1-2 minutes without difficulty. As well as being able to apply for the WFF awards or WFF HR Plaques, you can now also claim ‘domestic’ FF Awards this way including CTFF, IFF, RFF and of course us in GFF! (more to be added with available time).

What the system does is to continually upload logs from WFF Dxpedition areas and teststores them. All you have to do is to enter your (or any) callsign into the system and within seconds it will tell you how many areas you have worked (and/or are verified). It produces them in the form of an excel sheet which is seen in the example here to the right. GCR2The smaller table (to the right of them both) actually informs you of which Award you have currently achieved and is displayed in ‘red’. If you wish to claim the Award then all you have to do is to click on the ‘red’ coloured text and it will produce the standard ‘GCR List’ leaving you nothing to do. If that wasn’t good enough, at the same time it sends a copy of the GCR list to the appropriate Award Manager which informs him of the pending application. All you have to do is to make the appropriate payment. ‘Where do I find out how much they cost?’ you are asking! Well, at the same time as the Award Manager GFF_Logois sent a GCR List, you yourself will receive the same GCR list in your email box and in the message, all the details of cost and who/how you need to make your payment to – ‘simples’ as the ‘Meerkats’ say!

At present time the EW4DX service has more than 500 WFF eLogs from all continents of the world, and the total number of contacts are in excess of 800.000 QSO’s. Well done Igor, keep up the FB work!

Try your callsign in the LogSearch just click here, you may be surprised! For further information on WFF, see the side bar Menu for ‘World Flora Fauna’ and if its the UK you’re after (GFF) then again, see the sidebar Menu. Any questions contact me using the above information.


73 de Charles…..

My Damage

i177793582_58811_2

 

 

The Storm – January 2007

 

Winds in excess of 90mph swept across England and Wales, wreaking havoc on roads and railways over this weekend in January 2007.At the time my antennas were pretty basic and most of the mast i had ‘installed’ was home brew. It consisted of 2 lengths (6M & 4M) of steel scaffold poles, a rotator and a modified 2 element Moseley beam on the stub mast above the rotator. The mast was held secure with 8 steel guy wires and several positions up the body and secured to concrete posts at the opposite ends. It had been secure in very strong winds before and i had no reason to think that it would be any different when the forecast was made of 60MPH winds – how wrong could i be?

 

It was a strange old morning and having regularly checked on the antenna during the night and early morning, all was good. The mast was solid although the antenna was being tossed about a little in the increasing strength of the wind. Around lunch time i went to the rear garden to check on the antenna and i was concerned.  The worry was that the centre part of the mast had started ‘juddering’ a little. I had never seen this before. The antenna was always being thrown about but never had i seen the mast move atall. For sure, from the howling sound the wind was making, it was definitely far stronger than the forecast had stated. There was nothing i could do anyway, it wasn’t safe to lower it in the garden as the wind would have taken it sidewards and i would have had no control of it whatsoever. I popped back to the shack to collect my camera and when i returned the sky was bare – no mast, no antenna!

 

I couldn’t believe it. In the space of less then 90 seconds it had gone. i177777589_78924_2There she lay, right across the (new) garage roof belonging to my neighbour. On examination, the steel wires had all snapped and  although the mast had held secure in its wall bracket, it had bent like a piece of plastic at a 90 degree angle, amazing! The antenna was itself not too badly damaged although a couple of the elements were like bananas, other than that all in reasonable order and not damaged beyond repair at all. In fact the antenna went back in to service soon afterwards and worked very well given the condition.

 

The photographs give a good idea of the damage sustained and in the weeks following the storm, the mast and antenna were replaced with more substantial gear and thats what remains today as the main station at my QTH. Lessons learned? Of course. It was the first time we had manufactured a mast and to be fair, it had done a good job for many years, maybe a little complacent? I had no reason to think it would fail as it had stood in the winds of that speed before, (the forecasted speed!). It was no surprise to find in the days that followed that the winds were well in front of their predicted speeds.

 

We all suffered that day, I wasn’t the only amateur in trouble. Reports that other stations in the UK had been hit sustaining far more expensive damage. To put it into prospective though, no one was injured here, that couldn’t be said for other areas of the country where several people lost their lives and destruction and devastation was widespread. Here is a summary of just some of the incidents that happened over that terrible 24hours in January 2007.Up to nine people were killed Four adults and three children as the severe storms battered the UK. There was i177813615_91494_2transport chaos and damage which would run to millions of pounds. Locally to me  The M1 and M18 motorways in South Yorkshire were closed after dozens of lorries were blown over.  Most of the fatalities that day  were caused by falling trees, collapsing walls or vehicles crashing in high winds. Two other people died in Cheshire, two in Greater Manchester, one in North Yorkshire, one in Berkshire, one in Shropshire and one in Humberside.

 

Gusts of up to 99mph have seen flights cancelled, rail speed restrictions enforced and sections of other motorways also shut. Among the deaths thought to be linked to the weather was that of a two-year-old boy who was killed in Belsize Park, north London, when a 2 metre-high wall collapsed on him as he walked down a road. One man was killed after being blown into metal shutters in an industrial area of Strangeways, Manchester.

 

An elderly man in the Wirral, Merseyside, died of a suspected heart attack while working outside on a fence in the stormy weather. i177799616_13226_2Two schoolboys in Merseyside were badly injured after being crushed under trees. There were heavy downpours too and winds there reached 90mph across many parts of the country brought  heavy snowfall in northern areas. Roads, rail services, airports and ferry crossings were all affected, A major rescue operation was launched after the crew of a sinking British cargo ship abandoned the vessel around 50 miles off the Lizard, in Cornwall. All 26 crew left the listing MS Napoli, which had a hole in one side and a flooded engine, in a lifeboat. They were later winched aboard a rescue helicopter. A woman was crushed to death in Marple, near Stockport, Greater Manchester, when a wall collapsed on top of her. There were two deaths in neighbouring Cheshire, where it was thought that a man who was declared dead at Leighton hospital had been hit by a falling tree, police said. A male lorry driver was also killed when another vehicle was blown into the lorry’s path on the A55, near the Forte Posthouse hotel in Chester. i177757872_25588_2Another lorry driver was killed in North Yorkshire when his vehicle left the road and overturned in high winds on the A629 Skipton western bypass. In the Midlands, the managing director of Birmingham airport, Richard Heard, 54, was killed on his way to work when a large branch smashed into his car windscreen on the B4373 near Bridgnorth, Shropshire, at 5.45am. Further south, in Streatley, west Berkshire, a passenger in a Ford Fiesta died shortly after midday when a tree fell on to the car, police said. British Airways cancelled 130 flights on domestic and short-haul routes in and out of Heathrow and Manchester airports. At the main line station at London Bridge, part of the forecourt roof collapsed. There were no injuries but part of the main concourse was blocked, disrupting services. The Met Office warned that the severe conditions had disrupted travel across the UK for most the day, while the Environment Agency issued 36 flood warnings for England and Wales. Peak gusts of 99mph were recorded on the Isle of Wight. Forecasters said other gusts could hit 80mph on high ground and in coastal areas, and up to 70mph across the rest of the UK…..(too late now!) Channel crossings, the M25 Dartford bridge and the M2, M6 and M20 motorways were all hit by the stormy weather, police said. Scottish Power said around 30,000 homes were without electricity in Cheshire and mid and north Wales. The gales led to the port of Dover being closed to ships. P&O Ferries, which operates services between the Kent port and Calais, advised passengers due to sail not to travel at all. In Scotland, the A9 was shut after storms brought the first major snowfall of the year and two lorries jackknifed between Dalwhinnie and Blair Atholl in the Highlands. Snow also fell on the Pennines stretch of the M62 in Yorkshire.

tornadoDM3030b_800x533

73 de Charles….