New DX on the air today. Amsterdam Island, FT5ZM showed up on the air this morning.
I had stayed up late last night trying to work some new ones during the CQ WW 160 meter contest. I only have a short vertical for 160 so it’s tough and I have to maximize the contests. Overall I did ok, three new ones, Jamaica, Cayman Islands and Korea.
Anyway, I got up a little late but did work Korea on 160 and I could see the FT5ZM guys had finally gotten on the air. I guess it was pretty tough setting up, 50 trips from the boat and then a tough hike to one of the camps. I saw they were working the US west coast on 40 meters and saying NA so I felt I might have a chance. This was at 1514 UTC which is a good time for 40 meters here. The sun is up a little but it is much higher to the east and the west coast is about the only area that has propagation. That really lightens up the pileups.
I fired up the amp and started calling with my Flex 5000 into my Steppir vertical. After about 15 minutes of calling I managed to break through and got in the log. Next I moved to 30 meters but they were pretty weak and there were both the US and EU in the pileup. It can be pretty tough on 30 meters plus you can only run 200 watts here. The signal had a lot of QSB so I went and took a shower. When I returned they had a great signal and apparently the EU thought so too. It is often that way on 30 meters, we will hear a station strong but so will the EU and you get huge pileups. Since there were very few Americans getting through I gave up on 30 for now.
I moved around to the other bands the clusters showed them on but none had strong enough signals to work them on. I guess I’ll just keep checking back and I’ll update this when I have a little more progress to talk about.
Tue. January 28: Still trying to get FT5ZM on another band. I spent about an hour or so trying on 20 meters yesterday on phone and cw, pretty much until they lost propagation here. I also tried on 17 and 15 meters but really couldn’t hear them well enough. This morning I spent quite a bit of time on 20 meters cw again with no luck.
Wed. January 29: They came up on 160 meters today but I only heard them for about a minute and really week. Hopefully propagation will be better tomorrow. I did manage to work them on 30 meters this morning after about an hour of calling, though. In theory, we should all be equal on 30 meters since you are limited to 200 watts PEP. However, the guys with the multi element yagis have a lot more ERP. I couldn’t really hear them on any other bands today.
Sunday. February 02: I haven’t been able to make any more QSOs with FT5ZM. I try each evening on 20 meters but can’t break through the pileups. In the mornings I haven’t been able to hear them at all on 160 meters and while I keep trying I can’t seem to break through on 80 meters other. I may have gotten them on 80 this morning but just as he would be coming back with a confirmation some idiot jammer started on his calling frequency. I just don’t know what is wrong with these people, are they frustrated they can’t get through so hey don’t want anyone else too or are they just a**^&#@%^#. Of course, if expeditions would use DXA for real time updates I would have known if I was in the log. I’ll try again tonight on 20 meters and in the morning on 80 meters again. The only problem is I see they have started RTTY already. My feelings are the expeditions start RTTY too soon. Just as the pileups thin out so us little guys can start getting through the pileups they start RTTY and create the big pileups again.
Tuesday. February 04: I did work FT5ZM on 80 meters on Sunday, I show up in Club Log. Today I managed to work them on 20 Meters. After trying so hard on CW I finally work them on SSB. And in the General Class part of the band. A little tougher then as there are more people in the pileup than when they are in the Extra Class section. Nice of them to make the effort to give everyone a chance at a QSO, not just the Extras. DXing was the primary reason I upgraded, a lot of DX stations don’t leave the Extra Class portion of the bands.
I was able to hear FT5ZM on 160 meters this morning but wasn’t able to work them.
Thursday. February 13: Final update. I managed to work FT5ZM on four bands, 20, 30, 40 and 80 meters. I rarely heard them on 17 or 15 meters and didn’t hear them at all on higher frequencies and barely on 160 meters. A little disappointed I couldn’t get them on 160 but certainly happy I was able to work them on some bands at least.