Chasing DX: Christmas Joy! (Maybe)

Rotuma Island 3D2AG/P Station is entirely run on renewable energy solar panels and batteries

Late Breaking News!

You may remember my previous post where I tried to work Rotuma Island to no avail. Well, I think, maybe, I have finally worked the station!!!

A few days ago I was idly tuning the bands when I came upon a huge pileup in the CW portion of the17 meter band. From spots on the cluster I learned that they were all calling 3D2AG/P on Rotuma.

Now, dear reader, let me outline the state of my station here.  First, and most important, I no longer have any skills in Morse code.  The Rotuma station is sending at 30 to 35 words per minute.  My best code speed is 5 to 10 WPM!!!  Even if he does answer my call he cannot slow down to my speed because to do so would completely mix up all the internal settings of his transmitter and keyer.  Then, there is the problem that I have no antenna for the 17 meter band.  And, on top of that, my power amp only reaches down to 20 meters, so I will have to run the TenTec Omni-6 radio barefoot! That limits my maximum power to 100 watts, instead of the 1200 watts of my power amp.

Rotuma Island

But, I desperately need Rotuma!!! Each time he transmits I try a different antenna.  He seems to come in the loudest on the 40 meter vertical.  I set up the Omni-6 and with 100 watts out the wattmeter shows about 40 watts in reverse power coming back from the grossly mismatched antenna.  In other words, about 60 watts is actually going out into the air.  Then I listen to the pileup.  They are all exactly on his frequency plus 1 khz, as he is requesting.  If I call on that frequency the pileup of 1000 watt stations will clobber me.  I set the Omni-6 to his frequency plus 2 khz., hoping that he will tune a little past the pileup and that his receiver will have a bandwidth of a half khz or so. I start calling him 2 khz up, at about 10 words per minute.

The correct procedure is that you, in the pileup, listen to the DX station until he finishes sending to another station with a TU, meaning Thank You, or his own call.  Then you send your call one time and listen.  If he has you he will send your call and your signal report.  If he has your call correctly you then send him R, meaning received ok, and his signal report. Most signal reports are  a set of three numbers, 589 for example 5 means perfect readability, 8 means 8 on the receiver  signal strength meter, and 9 means a clean, undistorted signal quality.

3D2AG/P will be issuing a commemorative version of this!

I call “K3EE” 2 kHz up at 10 wpm. I listen, nothing.  He comes on the air (at 30 WPM) I catch the 599 report, which he shortens to 5nn. I catch the final TU and I call him again “K3EE”  This goes on for about a half hour or so at 4 or 5 calls per minute. Then, suddenly I hear “dit dit” which is Morse for EE.  I immediately send his signal report and my call.   I listen.  There is a blast of interference from some ham that is not using split. But I catch the EE again, and TU, and now he is off working the pileup.

So, I may have been heard and worked into Rotuma, and I may be in his log, or I may not.


3D2Ag/P will be on the air until Jan 10, 2012. For more information see: The Rotuma Island Green Station Project (2012) (pdf) and info at DX World.

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