eHam Forums => Elmers => Topic started by: N6AJR on February 25, 2008, 05:21:17 PM

Title: Ducie I update
Post by: N6AJR on February 25, 2008, 05:21:17 PM
-----Original Message-----
From: Christian Janssen []
Sent: Monday, February 25, 2008 12:42 AM
Subject: [] VP6DX News #21- 2008 Feb 25

.... Fireworks at Ducie Island ...
.... VP6DX breaks record for largest number of contacts on an expedition ...
.... Other band and mode contact records also broken ...
.... Pileups remain large ...
.... Long path contacts made on 160m band with Ducie Island ...
.... Description of stations ...
.... New Pictures online ...

On 2008 February 25 Monday at 0437z, after 13 days 7 hours and 37 minutes of

continuous operation, RA0ALM contacted the Ducie Island expedition on the 10
band for the expedition's 168,723rd contact.

According to documents maintained by Jari Jussila OH2BU, this contact breaks
record for the largest number of contacts made by any radio expedition. The
record was previously held by the Five Star DX Association's expedition to
Comoros Island (D68C) during 2001 Feb 8-28.

A few moments later, the pre-moonrise starry skies above Ducie Island
with a barrage of flares launched from the deck of the M/V Braveheart in
celebration. The thirteen operators and six Braveheart crew congratulated
other with handshakes, hugs, and some strong coffee. But deep pileups of
European and North American stations were still calling. Soon the seven
operators were back in front of the radios, while the others crept off to
cots to catch up on sleep in the cool of the evening.

The Ducie Island expedition has broken other expedition records in recent

     * largest number of RTTY contacts, previously held by the Swains Island
expedition of 2007 April.
     * largest number of SSB (voice) contacts, previously held by the
Island D68C expedition.
     * largest number of contacts on the 40m band, previously held by the
5A7A expedition of 2006 November.
     * largest number of contacts on the 30m band, previously held by the St

Brandon Island 3B7C expedition of 2007 September.
     * largest number of contacts on the 17m band, previously held by the
Island N8S expedition.
     * largest number of contacts with North America, previously held by the

Comoros Island D68C expedition.
     * largest number of contacts with South America, previously held by the

Peter the First Island 3Y0X expedition of 2006 February.
     * largest number of contacts with Africa, previously held by the
Island 3B9C expedition of 2004 March-April.

As this message was transmitted by Iridium satellite from Ducie Island, the
expedition contact total crossed 170,000 contacts... and continues to
at about 415 contacts per hour. Most contacts now entering the logs are with

European stations during their morning twilight period. In an hour or so the

focus will shift to North and South America, east Asia and the Pacific,
where it
will remain until dawn at Ducie Island.

Long path contacts on 160m with Ducie Island
Earlier, we reported that a contact on the 160m band had been made with
A45XR in
Oman, at the opposite side of the planet from Ducie Island. This contact
occurred on Feb 18 near Ducie Island sunrise. All of the stations contacted
Europe were in their late afternoon, with the sunset terminator approaching.

On Feb 21 a series of long path 160m contacts were made between Ducie Island
stations in Ukraine and southern European Russia. Eleven stations were
during 1345-1430z. Signals were best on the 225 (Ukraine) or 195 degree
beverages and inaudible in other directions, confirming a long path route
very little or no skew.

Contacts with southern European Russia used a path from Ducie Island
south-southwest over Antarctica, then north across the southern Indian Ocean

(Heard Island, Mauritius), across the Persian Gulf and Iran into Russia.
paths are 23000 to 24000 km long.

For the Ukraine, signals followed a south Pacific Ocean path into the
Ocean below New Zealand and Australia, then near the Maldives, the Persian
and finally towards the Ukraine.

During the same time period, a station in the Moscow City oblast was also
contacted. This signal clearly arrived on the short path, crossing over
Scandinavia.... Signals were loud on 015 degree beverage antenna and was
audible on the 195 antenna.

Scandinavia and northwest Russia stations looking for a 160m contact with
Island should check this time for a short path opening. Stations in Ukraine
southwest Russia should look for the long path.

During the hours leading up to and including this long/short path opening to

Europe, Oman, Mongolia, and Tajik stations were also contacted on their
path directions.

Of course, we looked for the same opening the following morning, but without

success. The 160m operator team will keep checking through the final day of
operations. Departure from Ducie Island, now scheduled for February 28
at 2000z, has been delayed by 1-2 hours so that a final attempt can be made
work more eastern and northern European stations during this unique opening.

Description of stations
We have received inquiries about the equipment and antennas used on Ducie

Each operating position uses:

     * Elecraft K3 radio. The outstanding receiver and transmitter
characteristics allow us to run two positions simultaneously on any band --
the very narrow 30m band -- with absolutely no interference. Good design
the complex appear simple: the ins and outs of this sophisticated radio were

quickly mastered by the operator team, none of whom had seen a K3 before the

     * Microham microKeyer II computer interfaces: plug in, turn on, call CQ
get to work.
     * Acom 2000, 1000 or 1010 amplifiers: quietly getting the job done
trouble. The position used on 160m includes an OM 2500 HF amplifier.
     * 200 W W3NQN bandpass filters from Array Solutions and 2 kW bandpass
filters from 4O3A.
     * WinTest logging software runs on Durabook ruggedized laptops.
     * Honda EM65is and EM30is inverter supply, gasoline generators -- 100%
reliability to date. The inverter system has been very tolerant of the
varying loads presented to the generators as multiple operating positions
between transmit (high power consumption) and receive (low power
consumption), a
vast improvement over previous gasoline generator designs.

The seven operating positions are divided into two sites: east (four
and west (three positions). The operating sites stand about 1km apart, a 15
minute walk over a coral shelf bordering the island's inner lagoon. Each
has its own WiFi network, and a microwave link ties the two sites together.
Sleeping tents and meals are located at the east camp.

The antennas include:

     * 160m: Titanex vertical. (west)
     * 80m/30m CW: Titanex vertical. (west)
     * 75m SSB: SpiderBeam 4-square. (east)
     * 40m: two SpiderBeam 4-squares. (one at each site)
     * 30m: Spiderbeam 4-square. (east)
     * 20 thru 10m: two Spiderbeam 2-element vertical Yagi arrays on each
one located at each site.
     * 6m: 5-element Yagi

An array of beverage receiving antennas sits mid-way between the two sites.
beverage is constructed using DX Engineering two-wire beverage kits,
two directions for each installed antenna. At present four beverages (eight
directions) are in available to the 160m, 80m CW and 75m operator. Each
has independent choice of his receiving antenna. The receive antenna
distribution system includes DX Engineering pre-amps, packaged with custom
filter, switching, and protection hardware designed and built by K3NA and
On-site construction was done under the hot sun by Robin WA6CDR and Milt
(who sacrificed most of their operating time to date to make this happen!)

Receive antenna directions available to the operators are:

     * 015 - western USA, eastern Europe short path. (about 200m in length)
     * 045 - eastern USA, western Europe (two parallel 200m beverages,
     * 085 - Caribbean, northern South America, Africa. (about 350m length)
     * 125 - southern South America (about 200m in length)
     * 195 - long path eastern Europe & Scandinavia (reverse direction of
     * 225 - long path eastern Europe & Scandinavia, Australia, New Zealand.

(reverse of 045)
     * 265 - southeast Asia, western Pacific, northern Australia (reverse of
     * 305 - Japan, China, northern Asia. (reverse of 125)

This beverage system came on-line on Feb 16 and has been an outstanding
in reducing tropical thunderstorm static, improving our ability to copy weak

signals and look for unusual propagation paths.

All this hardware is here on Ducie Island to help make it easy for you to
contact us. No matter how simple your antenna, or distant your location,
check our transmit frequencies. If you can hear us, we can probably hear you
so give us a call! Even a make-shift temporary antenna should yield some
surprising results. But hurry! On-air operations will shut down soon as we
prepare to return home.

New pictures online
Have a look at

We would be delighted if DX editors would publish this information as widely
possible and DXers bring it to the attention of their clubs and fellow

Title: Ducie I update
Post by: W9XAN on February 25, 2008, 05:55:23 PM
Just wanted to drop you a quick note of thanks for posting these updates ... read the one yesterday and was inspired to get on the air and work them ... got 3 bands so far, and a few days left to get more !
With everything else going on, its easy to forget the important things in life !

Title: Ducie I update
Post by: WB2WIK on February 25, 2008, 06:19:03 PM
These guys can hear a pin drop in a thunderstorm.

Excellent operation, it will take quite an effort to top theirs.

Title: Ducie I update
Post by: N3OX on February 25, 2008, 07:09:55 PM
"These guys can hear a pin drop in a thunderstorm. "

That's a good way to put it.  I was almost surprised tonight when it seemed they had a hard time hearing my 100W on 40m SSB from 5300 miles away ;-)

Great ops, great antennas...


Title: Ducie I update
Post by: N2RRA on February 25, 2008, 09:00:48 PM

I've worked them 80m-12m SSB/CW, and would do 160 if I had an antenna for that band. 10 meters hasn't been open, but one time here in the north east and was very very weak.

All done with a IC-756 pro III, 100 watts and a homebrew dipole at 35ft. You know they can hear a pin drop in a sea storm, but the props go to the ops.

Their doing a hell of job, and don't think their expidition will be beat for many many years to come.

Good show! Get back safe boys!

Title: Ducie I update
Post by: N3JBH on February 26, 2008, 05:19:28 AM
Thank you Big Brother Tom for sharing this information. it is truley remarkable the Job they done.
I know i sent a donation to them hope others will aswell. jeff n3jbh

Title: Ducie I update
Post by: W5GA on February 26, 2008, 07:04:46 AM
I worked them on 160, using an 80m inverted vee at 45' and no tuner.  400w or so was all I could manage with that setup.  I have to agree, great effort and congratulations to all.

Title: Ducie I update
Post by: W5ESE on February 26, 2008, 08:35:43 AM
> These guys can hear a pin drop in a thunderstorm.

An apt way of putting it. I worked them on 160m
running 4-5 w to a horizontal loop fed as a top
loaded vertical. Have about 15-16 66' temporary
radials stretched out on the ground.

Give them a try on top band.


Title: Ducie I update
Post by: N1LO on February 26, 2008, 02:21:55 PM
Truly excellent operation.
I worked 'em qrp on 20m phone last week, then again last night on 15m phone. Last night, I had NO signal showing on the S meter, but still got 'em with 100W. Boy can they hear!


Title: Ducie I update
Post by: NU0R on February 26, 2008, 07:49:05 PM
Tom, thanks for the updates. I got time on Sunday to work them on 17 and 15 meters, RTTY and SSB. They had a great signal here in Mo. I think Steve is right, they could hear a pin drop. Their records will not soon fall. Wow is all that can be said. I am so happy that 10 has been so good for them too! Go 10 meters.!!!!   bruce

Title: Ducie I update
Post by: WD6S on February 28, 2008, 11:19:44 AM
Though I am a relative newbie to HF, and I have been extremely impressed by the operators' efficiency, and the signals on all the bands I have contacted have been extraordinarily strong and clear. From my point of view, the Ducie Island operation should be recognized as one of the best examples of organization and execution of a DXpedition ever accomplished.  

Good job guys, and thanks for the opportunity.