Chasing DX

Rotuma Island

First real test of the new antenna system did not turn out as good as I would have wished.  The DX station I was chasing is 3D2R on Rotuma Island in the South Pacific. It is just about on the International Dateline and 10 degrees south of the equator.  It and Conway reef to the south are both administered by Fiji.

Rotuma has not been on the air for a long time.  A lot of hams, including me, have never worked into that part of the Pacific.  So when the word got out that a DX expedition was going to Rotuma from 27 Sept to 7 October I raced to get the station ready.

Got the TELREX beam antenna working fine on 20 meters.  The vertical works fine on 40 meters and on 15 meters (on it’s third harmonic).  Put up a garbage cluster of dipoles for 17 meters thru 10 meters which tested fine.  Worked Corsica and Sardinia on that antenna.  And the only band that I could not cover was 75 meters.  I took that antenna down about 5 years ago  —  because every time I pressed the mike button all the telephones in the house began to ring!!!

3D2R on Rotuma Island

So, on Friday I start looking for Rotuma.  They are on four bands that I can use.  Guess what! they are all using Morse Code, which I can no longer do at the high speed (30 words per minute) they are using.  There is always Saturday.  Guess What #2 —  there is a world wide contest going on.  The pile-ups are a hundred hams deep.  Well, it seems that way.  But Saturday I do hear them clearly on, Guess What #3 !!!  75 meters!!  I call them for half a day on 75 meters using the 40 meter vertical antenna, grossly mismatched, putting a thousand watts into the antenna and getting 800 back as reflected power. BOOOhh!!!

This morning I hear them on 75 and 20 meters, using Phone, not CW (Morse). Loud and clear!  Well, no antenna on 75 meters!  But I have my Elephant Gun (The TELREX beam) on 20 meters.  I aim it at 269 degrees.  I switch the Power Amp coils over to 20 meters. I load it up into the TELREX.  I set the split between my Receive and Transmit frequencies to the 5 Khz he has been using.  I tune him in.  WOW, does this guy have a strong accent! What is he saying —  “Now I will work European stations ONLY!  No North Americans please!”

Like I said — the new antenna system did not quite meet my hopes.  But there always is tomorrow!

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