News #7 of 24 February 2012, 1200 utc
All 9 members of the team ZK2C have got back home to Germany safely on February 23th.
The Elecraft equipment with four K3-transceivers and two KPA500-amps did an excellent job: everybody of the team was happy with the superior performance of this station configuration. Also the one HL-550FX from Tokyo HP and the MKII’s did a fine job. It was our first time to use a heavy 26 m-pole for 160 m together with 14x 40-m-radials on a bad coral ground and it provided excellent results. 40 m was often extremely distorted by a wide horizons radar. Conds on higher bands were generally very poor and did not allow Central European stations into the log as we had hoped.
We say a big THANK YOU to all who contributed to the success of this expedition. The QTH Namukulu Cottages & Spa about 50 m over the sea level and 500 m away from the ocean gave us plenty of room for antennas and was perfect. 48211 QSOs (including dupes) were logged in nearly 14 days. Our QSL-Manager DL7JAN started to work at OQRS first. A color QSL will be printed in a few weeks.
News #6 of 14 February 2012, 06utc
Nine sedulous operators have kept all three main stations running 24/7 and logged well over 38,000 QSOs until now.
After the cyclone all antennas were soon restored to their original positions and heights prior to the cyclone. Also, we erected a 26m vertical for 160m and a 18m vertical for 80m, with over 1,000m of radials. They proved better for reception than our separate beverage which is rarely used. There are however, repeated crashers (static discarges) whose intensity change from day to day. Therefore it is necessary for callers to give their callsign at least twice and to repeat it if there is no response from us. There are openings to Europe on the lowbands, but on 160m of moderate quality yet. We continue to be on 160m and 80m during the greyline between EU and ZK2.
We appreciate the number of callers who completed a large number of bandspots - particulary those who keep track of the band slots they have achieved already. Others, regrettably, call repeatedly for the same bandspots and cause dupe contacts that consume the time left for others to accomplish their first contact in a band slot needed. We would encourage everybody to restraint from producing dupes. Please check if you still need the band slot before you work us.
We will have to start dismantling the antennas on the afternoon of 16 February 2012 (UTC= 17 Feb 2012 early morning). From this point of time, there will only be radio operation of a limited scale. It will cease on the morning of 17 February 2012 (UTC= 17 Feb 2012 evening).
News #5 of 07 February 2012, 01:00z
A cyclone warning has been issued for Niue. Since noon yesterday there are increasingly strong winds on the island and it has constantly been raining heavily with litte intervals. The 160m and 80m antennas are all prepared but cannot be erected before the storms have calmed down. We lowered the Spiderbeams and fixed them to protect them to the best of our aibilites. The vertical loops for 30m and 40m have been put down and secured.
Two trees on the compound have already broken down in the wind. The next level of cyclone warning would require all windows and doors of the cottages to be covered and secured. The precise path of the cyclone cannot yet be predicted. It is hoped that its main impact will not hit the island fully. The peak of the cyclone's storm is expected for 07 February 2012, 18 utc.
We keep our fingers crossed.
We regret to being forced to interrupt radio operation due to the prevailing weather situation. We use the spiderbeams at their current height of only 3m but this will limit us to no more than two stations at a time and signal strengths will certainly be weak.
So far, today morning, 10,000 QSOs have been completed.
Cyclone on Niue - predicted direction!!!
Our QTH - Niue - see red arrow !!!!
News #4 as of Sunday 05 Feb 2012 04utc
The team has arrived safely at Namukulu on Friday 03 Feb 2012 afternoon local time.
It came as a shock, when we realized at our arrival that one suitcase full of station equipment was missing. Luckily it had only been confounded with by another passenger at the baggage claim and airport staff were able to locate our suitcase within a couple of hours.
Though gruelled from the 37-hour trip and over 26 hours net flight time, everybody was eager to set up the first antennas before sunset. To start with, we completed one vertical loop for 40m and the SteppIR (6m-40m). Works were interrupted by rainfall at late afternoon. Rolf DL7VEE, the team leader, started ZK2C's activities on the bands at 0509z on 40m CW. There had been unusually heavy rainfalls during the past weeks on the island and more but recessive rainfalls are predicted for the next two days. It is probably as a consequence of the humidity that we struggle with an elevated noise level on the bands.
We appreciate the strong response on the bands. Despite the sleep we all took in the first night, the first 1,000 qsos have now been completed with the first two stations running. It is surprising to see 40m closing two hours before sunrise after busy traffic and opening up little less than an hour later.
WLAN signal strength is too weak in our shack for establishing a workable link to the internet. We will work on this later.
Log uploads to clublog are delayed at the moment.
Next issue to tackle after sunset today is to build more antennas. We hope to complete one of the two spiderbeams today morning. Afterwards will we deal with our vertical for 160m and 80m (26m spiderbeam mast of glasfiber tubes). It may take some experimentation to find the best position for it as Chris (ZK2V=GM3WOJ) reported strong QRN from the local 11kV transformer at the entrance of the compound. We have equipment for beverages, but must see how we can route it/them through the dense thicket surrounding the compound.
Bulletin #3 (January 30th, 2012)
Only a few days till our departure from Germany to Niue. Everything is in a good shape. We want to realize a serious low cost expedition with a good preparing, solid technical equipment and high motivated operators. Our thank goes to the European foundations, especially the GDXF and people. Without their help the preparation of this Dxpedition would not be so good. Let us give a special thanks to Elecraft for their great support. Also the help of WIMO and Microham was very welcome. We will put our targets on the lowbands, on RTTY and to Europe, where ZK2 is much needed. Hopefully the conditions will be on our side….
We are very grateful to Karl-Heinz DL2FAG/ZK2DL, Andrea IK1PMR/ZK2A and Chris GM3WOJ/ZK2V for their very helpful information about the QTH.
All important things are fixed. We hope that there will be no trouble during the more than 30-hours-flight. All our equipment is with us during the flight.
We like to say a big thank you to our many helpers and sponsors. Without them this expedition wouldn’t be possible in this serious, well organized and well equipped way. The equipment includes three stations with solid-state Elecraft K3-transceivers, amplifiers and several antennas, like two spiderbeams, loops and verticals and a backup-transceiver and power supply. All is tested and packed. Our plan is to have all antennas and stations QRV by February 5th or 6th and we will run 24/7 with three 500-watts-stations.
Concentrating on shortwave in all three main modes, we will have no beacon on 6 m, but we are QRV for eventually openings
We welcome fair emails or comments via our guest book. There will be an email: ZK2C@gmx.de , too. Please note that we don’t have the time to answer mails and please send no requests about the log during the expedition. If you don’t see your QSO in the log, please work us again.
An online log can be found on our homepage http://zk2c.hkmann.de/ or/and clublog on a daily basis. Please have a look to the news on our homepage, if we are QRV from the island. We don’t want to make sked-schedules but we are interested in comments about good or bad propagations times especially from EU.
73 Rolf DL7VEE
Bulletin #2 (September 09th, 2011)
We got our call!!! ZK2C
Bulletin #1 (August 12th, 2011)
Looking for a good team!