Transceivers & Digital Modes
The base station will consist of an Elecraft K3 coupled with an Elecraft KPA-500/KAT-500. An ICOM IC706 MK2G is also coming as a backup tranceiver. The digital modes interface is a MicroHam Keyer II, which will see heavy use as one of my favorite modes is RTTY (which Clublog calls rare for E6). (Note I am not a sponsored expedition – the equipment is all mine).
At this stage the plan is to be active on 40m-6m using a Folded Monopole designed and constructed by Steve VK5SFA. Full details of the antenna are available via Steve’s Website The following photos will give you an idea of what it looks like. This will give me a resonant relatively efficient vertical antenna, giving me low angle radiation without much dependence on the type of earth I am over (owing to the elevated feed). Tuning of the antenna is by adjusting the length of the radiator and ground radials (which are made from metal tape measures!). I am still assessing how much weight I have left in the luggage to see what backup antenna I can take. At the very least something to create a multiband windom may at least be packed and be slung through the coconut palms as a last resort.
I also will have a trapped 40/80/160 dipole with me and have confirmed I will have suitable trees to sling it from. Not ideal by a long way but it will give me something for digital modes at least and again fits within my suitcase on the plane and my one man resources. I dont expect a lot from the low bands, but then I remember my surprise at what my 80m dipole did from Kangaroo Island last year only 10m up int he air and suspect I may still reach NA and the Pacific Rim using JT65 using something similar from Niue.
I will admit I had far more elaborate plans originally, but that was when I was hoping to have a second operator come along for the trip. When that fell through, the station was scaled back. This is after all my first international DXpedition effort (and only my second IOTA) so I am working on the keeping it simple principle, take something proven and easy to use, and then later we can look at bigger and better things.