The A35JT expedition team is grateful for the tremendous support it has received from the German DX Foundation! With the addition of Steve VK5SFA to the team (who is something of a 160m specialist) and support received from the DX associations, we will be placing some increased focus on our planned 160m operations too!
Monthly Archive: March 2019
The A35JT team is pleased to have Steve VK5SFA join our expedition. Steve will be with us for the first week of the trip during the busy build period and the very busy operating period when we will be running both EME + HF (EME wont be workable in the second week due to sky noise).
Steve brings a wealth of amateur radio experience to the team. As an avid DXer and contest participant as well as his experience as a broadcast engineer he will be an invaluable member of our team. Welcome Steve!
The DXpedition team is grateful for the support we have received from the CDXC UK Foundation. We will be trying our hardest to make contact with your members from Tonga in September!
Licence Received from Tonga
After several months of communications we have finally been issued with our licence to operate on Tonga!
We had a small surprise however when we looked at the issued callsign. It has now changed and our final assigned callsign is A35JT. Never mind!
We have also confirmed that we are not able to operate on 60m this trip. We have, however, been granted access to 6m to conduct our EME experiments!
So after a quick rebrand of the website, QRZ and Facebook pages our identity is corrected and away we go!
Work on antennas continues
We have also been busy behind the scenes with Oly VK5XDX designing and testing our home brew 40m 4-square array. Weighing in at only 12kg the early tests are promising. We are hoping to run the array for part of the CQ WPX SSB contest at the end of March as a test.
The A35JT DXpedition team is indebted to Carsten VK4OA at RF Solutions for his support of our DXpedition. We have obtained a number of items needed for the DXPedition station through RF Solutions including some of the HYBRIFLEX-13 and ULTRAFLEXXX-7 feedline and connectors for the 6m EME station and the 40m 4-Square array. Team members have in the past also purchased RadioSports Headsets and SPE Amplifiers via his company.
Dealing with a local re-selller has been fantastic for solving customs import hassles and we would heartily recommend them for any VK or Pacific based Amateur Radio operators seeking products from the many brands of equipment that Carsten provides.
Europe is Hard – we will be trying our best!
This map explains well the difficulties faced by stations in Europe working Tonga. Paths into Germany for example pass straight over either the North or South pole. That is why we are planning directional antennas and amplifiers for our activities targeting Europe. We are planning on establishing pilot stations in Europe to help us identify the best times for openings to that part of the world too. More on this soon.
Please respect our directed calls to specific regions!
We will always be working split frequencies and will use directed calling. We please ask stations in Asia and Japan to please stand by as we call for the much weaker European (EU) signals over the pole. We are hoping to arrange things so that only one of the two stations will be doing directed calling at a time so that if say 20m is open to Europe, we will provide a 30m signal at the same time to satisfy demand from Japan.
On FT8 we will also carry out directed calling – and will only answer stations from targeted areas when we have announced a particular call area. Note our FT8 operations will either be using the WSJT-X Fox and Hound mode or FT8 standard mode exclusively (not the other multi-thread variant that has recently appeared). We will announce our frequency plan closer to the expedition, as we need to coordinate with the ZK3 expedition on band usage.
Please note our QSO policy – we will accept calls from Oceania (VK/ZL/YB etc), Africa and South America at any time regardless of which region we are specifically calling, due to the relatively low numbers of stations active in those regions.
Stations in other regions, please understand – this is not to be taken as an opportunity to ignore the directed calling we are making for other regions at the same time.
Depending on the unique QSO counts, we may also call for ATNO (All Time New One) only. This is intended to give the small stations a chance to secure at least one contact with us.
The team wishes to thank the Radio Society of Great Britain (RSGB), the Clipperton DX Club of France and the Amateur Radio Experimenters Group for their generous support of our DXPedition!
We also wish to thank our corporate sponsors who are helping with some of the equipment costs!
Spiderbeam are helping with masts for our expedition. We are in particular using two of their 10m Aluminium masts for our beam antennas (HF and 6m). These are fantastic for their size and enable us to fly on commercial airlines with all of our antennas without exceeding our luggage weight limits.We will also use a Spiderbeam 12m fibreglass mast for some of the wire antennas on the expedition.
Messi & Paoloni are also helping our expedition with coaxial cable. One of the biggest unseen hurdles on a weight restricted expedition is how to take enough coax to connect everything together. Last used by VK5GR on his YJ0AG expedition, Messi & Paoloni ULTRAFLEXX-7 provides us with RG-213 performance at nearly half the weight per metre. We are also using their 75ohm cables for the phasing harness in the 40m and possible 30m 4-Square array.
Individual Sponsors – 6m EME
The expedition is running two separate activities, with HF the main focus, and the second activity being 6m EME (which is possible mostly during week 1 only based on moon predictions). 6m EME has been especially requested as we have been told A3 has never been activated on 6m EME before. Getting the 6m EME antennas out to the island has proved a serious logistical challenge. Through the generosity of individual donors the 6m EME project is now possible and arrangements to freight the antennas and masts are now underway (after some more testing back in VK).
So, a huge thank you to the following who are supporting our 6m EME activities:
SP3RNZ, NJ6P, K2ZD, N3XX, G8BCG, SP4MPB, W6UC, K7CW, G8VR, SP7VC, N8RR, OH2BC, F6BKI, ON4IQ, ON4GG, N1DG, DL8YHR, ZS4TX, OH7KM, N7IP
See you all from Tonga in September!