Κυριακή, 12 Απριλίου 2009

VK9GMW LAST NEWS

Apr 12, 0200 UTC, Mellish Reef. Yet another storm: this one almost knocked down the tent last night. We had to cannibalize parts of the beverage to shore up the tent again. Strangely, this 95 meters long mini-beverage, which is now mostly on the ground, with its far end grounding gone, and parts of its counter-poise missing (birds), continues to function well. It is a decent RX antenna on 160, and a very good RX antenna to NA on the higher bands, especially on 30 and 20 meters. The pennant is long gone: mostly blown away by the winds, just some shreaded bamboo fragments and wires remaining on the ground. 

This is our last day operating from Mellish Reef. We are trying to remove non-essential equipment from the island today, but frequent heavy rains are hampering us. We have also cleaned the bottom of the boat for the trip home. After three weeks in these warm tropical waters, the growth on the boat's bottom was impressive and would have slowed us down substantially. We intend to operate all day today and all night, until sunrise at around 2000 UTC (Apr 12). We will spend the day tomorrow tearing down the station, disassembling (more like cutting up) the tent and removing all equipment, materials and trash from the island. We intend to have all gear on board by the evening; ready to sail at first light. 

Low Band Report: Conditions on 160 continue to be poor. Additionally, last night's storm also brought a lot of lightning that added to the noise. While 160 meters has been poor, 80 meters continues to perform well. As mentioned earlier, the now severely reduced mini-beverage continues to be our main RX antenna on 160 and 80 meters, as the noise and lightning crashes make the TX antenna almost useless for receiving. This must be compared to our second night here - the first night we were not on 160 - only two weeks ago, when we only had the TX antenna to listen on and still made 400 QSO-s in one night on 160. Conditions, and the demand, have certainly deteriorated. Still, we have almost 2000 QSO-s on TB and we are happy!


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