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Amsterdam Island FT5ZM DXpedition Making a Big Splash:

from The ARRL Letter on January 30, 2014
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Amsterdam Island FT5ZM DXpedition Making a Big Splash:

After a January 26 start, the 14-member Amsterdam Island FT5ZM DXpedition team is on the air from two camps on the small South Indian Ocean island outpost. The FT5ZM operators have been attacking gigantic pileups that sometimes spread across 10 or 15 kHz or more of spectrum. Despite the imprecations of the self-appointed "DX police," many stations continue to call FT5ZM on its transmitting frequency instead of up the band where the operator is listening. FT5ZM operators use split-frequency operation. Considerable intentional interference has slowed progress too.

The kickoff to this approximately $450,000 venture to provide a rare DXCC entity to eager DXers around the globe came in the wake of a difficult sea voyage and dozens of trips from the M/V Braveheart via Zodiac to the island to get the gear ashore. Team member Jerry Rosalius, WB9Z, called it "one of the (if not the) roughest DXpeditions [I've] ever been on."

Team Leader Ralph Fedor, K0IR, said the island's logistics make activities time and energy consuming. "For example, at the Antonelli site the grasses are chest high and conceal holes and rocks," he said, adding that the terrain varies wildly. "All this makes antenna installation, placing radials, and running feed lines very difficult." The hike between the two sites is rough and can take nearly 2 hours.

Amsterdam and St Paul Islands is the seventh most-wanted DXCC entity, according to Clublog The ARRL has made a Colvin Award grant to help support the Amsterdam Island DXpedition.

The FT5ZM DXpedition appears to put putting in good signals to all areas of the world, as it follows propagation from band to band, handing out the new one at a rapid rate. "We are struggling with noise on 12 and 30 meters and occasionally on 15," Fedor said January 30. "While we work to resolve this, we ask your patience, if we have difficulty hearing you on these bands. After installing our 160 meter antenna, taking it down, and replacing it, [the] first full night on 160 meters netted 500 QSOs We are very happy about that."

Difficulties aside, the team is reported to be in good spirits. As of January 29, the team already had more than 36,000 contacts in the log

Frank Donovan, W3LPL, has advised US stations to turn their beams to peak the FT5ZM signal. Given the DXpedition's location relative to the US, he explained, it may arrive at different headings on different bands and times of day.

The team will not have e-mail service during the DXpedition and pilot stations do not have log or QSO information.

"The only channel to pass your remarks and suggestions to the team is to contact one of our pilot operators assigned to your area," a January 27 website post advised. "Please do not contact the Pilot Station about a busted call or if your call is missing from the online log Keep a record of your QSO details and contact the QSL manager after the DXpedition. Alternately, work FT5ZM again." The DXpedition is not accepting sked requests.

The FT5ZM DXpedition has a Facebook page. DXers also can follow its activities via Twitter or RSS feed. The DXpedition has allocated 18 days "to set up, conduct the DXpedition, and tear down for departure."

Discovered by the Spanish in 1522, Amsterdam Island is under the administration of Terres Australes et Antarctiques Francaises (TAAF, which controls access to the islands in the French Antarctic Territories. The UN Global Atmosphere Watch (GAW maintains a presence on the island. -- Thanks to The Daily DX for some information


The ARRL Letter

Member Comments:
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Amsterdam Island FT5ZM DXpedition Making a Big Splash:  
by QRPNEW on January 31, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
They only concentrate on 3 areas of the world.
Europe, North America and JA. Everybody else they ignore.

I wonder how Europeans, North Americans and JA's would feel if a dx'pedition worked their areas on the side or back of the beam. Its pretty frustrating if you not in these 3 prime areas because the operators are so focused on the pileup into 1 or 2 areas that they fail to realize there is a whole world of propagation. On bands like 10, 12 meters the window of opportunity is very small. But to prime areas like Europe the band is open for almost the whole day. The propagation planning on this DX;pedition is pretty poor and selfish.

But I can understand why the work the ares that fund them. I worked them but its a huge struggle trying to break in from the side or backside of the beam. But like I say poor operators who obviously do not look at a great circle map of where they operating from.

Nothing heard  
by W2EJG on January 31, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
Nil to subliminal in Central Florida. Guess the JAs are getting all the action.
RE: Nothing heard  
by QRPNEW on January 31, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
Subliminal because they dont turn their beams. They operate their beams as if they are using verticals.

On 12 meters SSB the operator spent just about the whole day beaming towards Europe. Not once did they turn the beam, or change or ask for other areas of the world. If you in the beam path you lucky, otherwise you have to fight the pileup with a 20 to 30 db penalty because the operators are too lazy to turn the beam or simply dont give a crap. Just look at the leader board statistics and its a damning indictment of their selfish operating style.

They seem to want to make as many QSO's as possible and they dont seem to care where they come from. They get get gripped by the excitement of the huge pileup and forget the rest of the world.

I must say something positive at least the 12 meter SSB operator started to work the pileup by numbers. Maybe they will start calling for other areas of the world and start using their rotators. Its ridiculous that they expect the rest of the world to call through 5/9plus European pileup on 10,12 or 15 meters with the side or back of the beam onto you. I just cant believe what tunnel vision this dx'pedition has of the DX world.

Sure it might sound like whining but at the end of the day this is worst expedition that I have encountered for poor operating practices that does not consider propagation and seems to be self centered on Europe.

There have many other Dxpeditions larger than this over the last few years. These past operators seem to be more skilled at how they deal with ham population as a whole. Thinking that the whole world is in Europe is an indication of the stupidity poor planning of this dx.pedition. God, you only have to look at the great circle map to understand the problem, you dont have to be Einstein.

If this expedition was run by a more worldly and considerate team I could have worked them on all bands and model in a 1/10 of the time. They wonder why the manners are so bad, its because of their poor operating practices. Although there are always the usual idiots.

I listen to them on the low bands and its the same style. Geez do they know that gray line only last so long into some areas. Why get stuck on a pileup into Europe when they could work them continuously in their darkness. This again demonstrates the poor understanding of propagation by these operators.

Anyway this dx'pedition will go down in history as the worst one for fairness and poor management in terms of its fairness to the wider ham population of the world. One word sums this dx'pedition up TOTALLY BLOODY SELFISH

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