YJ0AG QSL Card Preview

Firstly thank you to everyone again for all of the contacts and well wishes while I was operating as YJ0AG. Your feedback to my activation of YJ was greatly appreciated.

Now after a couple of days rest, I can advise that everyone and everything made it home safely on Tuesday from Vanuatu via Brisbane. Work on the next phase has already begun with the design of the QSL card. This is the front cover artwork and was a photo taken from the back deck of the house we rented for the operation. As with Niue, it will be a bi-fold card for those who make a direct OQRS request via M0OXO. Bureau requests via M0OXO are also available however they will use a 2 sided simplified card.

Requesting QSL Cards

If you wish to receive a direct paper QSL, please request these for YJ0AG via the M0OXO OQRS Service. www.m0oxo.com/oqrs/logsearch.php

You can also Request Bureau cards via M0OXO using OQRS but DO NOT send your own bureau card to YJ0AG via M0OXO as that will not be delivered by RSGB (as I am not a member of RSGB)

If you wish to send me a QSL card via the Bureau system, please send those to YJ0AG via VK5GR so that incoming bureau cards are routed to the Australian QSL Bureau system. Note however that following a policy change at the WIA I won’t reply via the Australian Bureau for international expeditions any more, and will direct those replies instead via M0OXO. While I like receiving your cards, it may be easier to simply request a bureau card via M0OXO (which is free anyway).

Logs available via ClubLog

All of the YJ0AG logs have also been loaded into Clublog. You can check if you are in the log here:

Logbook of the World

I will also be loading the complete log into ARRL’s Logbook of the World on the 12th of May!

Till next time – 73 de Grant YJ0AG / VK5GR


YJ0AG QSO Statistics

A good friend once told me, everything is enhanced with statistics! So here are some tallies for my operation here at YJ0AG Vanuatu

The workhorse band as always was 20m although a sizeable contribution came from 17 and 40m. The low bands fared well with the same number of contacts on 80m as 15m. 61% of the contacts came from bands above 14MHz while 39% came from bands below 14MHz.

Mode wise it was a relatively even spread with SSB and FT8 roughly equally split, followed by CW then RTTY. This showed the greatly increased focus on SSB and CW modes this trip compared with Niue last year.

Finally, the chart everyone always comments on. As always when operating in the pacific it is hard to not work the Asian stations and they feature heavily in the log. I am however pleased to see that both NA and EU were well represented as was OC (as it should being my home region). Unfortunately SA and AF were insignificant, despite several times when SA stations were being seen on FT8 calling CQ SA. There are clearly a lot of stations that need a geography lesson. It seems whenever I called for a region on FT8 that was exactly the region I didnt work. Not sure what to do about that. I spent a lot of time manually selecting who to call next to try and control the balance.

In the last 2 days I also tried to prioritise first time entries into the log as opposed to slot hunters. Again hard to do on FT8 and often saw me madly checking callsigns in N1MM before selecting them to answer.

The grand totals for the trip are:

Total QSOs : 3357
Total Uniques: 2234 (66.55%)


Not a bad effort for a one man show on holidays. This was carried out over 85Hrs of operating at an average QSO rate of 40/hr across the 2 weeks.

Where did we work?

Thanks to everyone for all the QSOs – without you on the other end trips like these would be very lonely!

YJ0AG now QRT – Teardown has begun

Thank you everyone for all of the contacts! Time to tear the station down and pack it away for transport home tomorrow. Its been loads of fun. I worked 96DXCCs over 3200 contacts in 12 days covering CW, SSB, FT8 and RTTY modes from 160-10m.

The following map gives an idea of the reach we achieved this year from Vanuatu.

A full write up and tourist report will follow! Vanuatu is an amazing if not crazy place – a must see destination for any intrepid traveller!

73 de Grant YJ0AG / VK5GR / E6AG


Station Build Complete – Now on air 80-6m

The Rise of the HexBeam

It has taken about 6 hours of hot sweaty work but I am pleased to announce that the 20-6m HexBeam is now in the air and working fabulously. Currently as I type this I have a pileup on 20m FT8 more than 20 stations deep. A big thanks again to Ant MW0JZE who special ordered one of his Light weight portable HexBeams for me.

The Operating Position

Meanwhile, the operating position is also established. Apart from some TVI issues forcing restricted power on some bands during viewing hours everything is working 100%. I only forgot one cable – but fortunately ComputerWorld here in Port Vila had the missing USB link for the SDR receiver.

Now to settle in, enjoy the DX and slip into island life yet again….. 73 de Grant YJ0AG / VK5GR / E6AG


We have arrived! After a long day on Monday when we made it to our accommodation at around 5pm after leaving home at 3am, Tuesday was spent first making a trip into Port Vila to visit a super market for supplies, and then we headed back home and started building the station. It was hot humid work but by about 4pm we had the 40m station ready to go, Last night after dinner we started up in earnest with our first run on 40m SSB before rigging the antenna for 80m and giving that a try. The noise floor on 40 and 30m is pretty good, but on 80m I can hear some powerline noise (there is what looks to be a 22kV overhead line across the street). All being considered it is pretty acceptable compared to the suburban racket I have back home.

Plans for today

Today is the first day of sight seeing. We are off to the museum and to explore Port Vila some more. So far I have been taken aback by the amount of traffic – and trying to remember how to drive on the “wrong side of the road” again is a challenge. Meanwhile back at the house things are taking shape and this promises to be a very relaxing stay!

On Air

Later today I hope to setup the 20-10m beam to compliment the vertical. I will then hopefully get more chances to work Europe. Meanwhile I will also give some more chances on 80m of an evening and in the morning as well. I left the station on receive last night and copied a few EU signals on that band so will see if I can wake up early enough to give that a try tomorrow morning as well around 1600-1700 utc.


I have also uploaded the first log into Clublog. Uploads will usually be daily.

YJ0AG 10 Days to Go!

DXPedition Chart courtesy DX-World and MM0NDX/IK8LOV

Departure Looms: 16th April

Only 11 days to go before we depart for Vanuatu and our next DX Holiday adventure! Everything is falling into place. The gear is all tested, accommodation has been reconfirmed, flights are confirmed and we have finally solved the customs conundrum (called how to export and then reimport something over $2000 in your luggage). We are now closely watching the weather (hoping that no more cyclones form out in the Pacific – they have been late this year) and watching the ionosphere hoping for good conditions. Final software shakedown will be this weekend with both the main and backup laptops being put through their paces before we lock out Windows and other software upgrades/changes (something I learned last time that I didnt want happening on “thin internet”.

If you would like a personalised propagation chart for when to try and work us, enter your grid locator here.

(Thanks to Jari OH6BG and the www.voacap.com team)

Vanuatu Propagation Planning

Updated Operating Plans

Bands that I will be operating on will include FT8 and CW by request on 160m (including 1840/1908 split operation), FT8, CW and SSB on 80m and then most modes on 40m-10m. I will try and pay attention to and be on air for the openings to Europe in particular (as YJ to there is in the top 60 most wanted) as well as providing time on 80m where YJ also is wanted. I am planning more SSB operation this time compared to Niue as well and will self spot when I can come up on air (noting that family does come first and principally this is a holiday for them and me above all else). Principal times I am likely to be on air are from 0600-0800, 1000-1500 UTC and 1900-2300UTC most days. I will also try and operate at various times during the day as well – however that will not be daily.

NOTE: VK/ZL/OC/SA/AF stations can call at any time!

If you are on one of these call areas your calls will be welcome at any time regardless of which region I may be calling. On a volume basis there are comparatively few hams in those areas so the disturbance to any pileup will be minimal. I will also try to identify the best times for regions like South America and try to particularly target there on the appropriate band time.

I am prepared to take requests for Skeds as well, however can make no promises that I can fulfill them all. If you want a sked tried, email me at vk5gr.radio@gmail.com

Looking forward to working you all on the bands! 73 de Grant VK5GR / YJ0AG!

YJ0AG Preparations Continue – 20-10m Beam Testing Complete

The final end to end testing of the G3TXQ Portable HexBeam by Ant MW0JZE was completed today! Im very pleased to report that it came in at better than 1.2:1 on all bands. A very impressive product in the way Ant has packaged it and the proof it was working came with a 20m Long Path contact to Adam MU0WLV located on Guernsey Island using FT8 and the beam this afternoon!

This coupled with the SpiderBeam 10m aluminium mast obtained from the helpful folk at TTS Systems should make a great pairing for targeting regions like Europe from Vanuatu on the higher bands. The hope is to be able to catch both Long Path and Short Path EU openings with the beam as well as putting a substantial signal into North America on the higher bands and providing opportunities for South America with targeted calling of that region as well.

The assembly and erection of the beam and tower from scratch (now that I have had some practice) took about 2 hours. I have worked out a system to push it up with only 2 people (I could potentially do it with one but it would get a bit dicey above about 5 metres.). Fortunately my good wife has agreed to help me get it in the air once we arrive in Vanuatu.

A huge thanks to Ant who went out of his way to support this expedition with a special construction run of the beam for me. Talk about service above and beyond! (Note this is not a sponsorship plug – just one impressed DXer who thinks this is worth a mention…)

New Expedition Announced: YJ0AG Vanuatu – April 16-30 2018

After the success and fun of the expedition to Niue in 2017, I came home and started dreaming of my next destination. 2018 marked a year of change however with my daughter now starting school, which curtailed to an extent when we could go. That and considering other events around home, it was decided in 2018 to advance the next trip to the April School holidays rather than wait until September again. This also meant that the available time for logistics was reduced, so it had to be somewhere relatively simple!

Vanuatu Selected for 2018 – YJ0AG

After casting around the Pacific weighing up accommodation and travel options, we have settled on a visit to the island nation of Vanuatu. We will be based on the island of Efate, about 20-30 minutes from Port Vila (the capital).

Our travel plans see us arriving on Efate Island, Vanuatu on April 16th, with the hope that we will be on air sometime on the 17th for about 12 days. The callsign will be YJ0AG. Licensing is nearly complete with the telecommunications regulator in Vanuatu and the callsign is now confirmed.

I will be trying to target Europe and digital modes in particular but will provide plenty of opportunities to all regions of the globe. I am also planning an SSTV activity day and possible participation in the Polish RTTY DX Contest.

NOTE: If I am calling a particular region, I will still accept calls from OC, AF and SA stations at any time.

The station will consist of:

  • Elecraft K3/KPA500
  • MW0JZE G3TXQ Ultralight weight HexBeam 20-10m
  • 1/4 wave vertical 30-40m
  • 1/4 wave folded vertical 80m
  • Inverted L – 160m (tentative)

QSL Management, OQRS etc will again be via Charles M0OXO. QSL details will be released shortly.

A new Website – vk5gr-iota.net is being commissioned which will contain more information about the project over the coming weeks.

More news to follow!