News #6 (March 28th, 2019)
Four weeks after the end of our DXP the QSL design is finished and cards will be printed at the beginning of April.
Our QSL manager made another correction of the log which is to find on Club Log now.
A first LoTW upload for our sponsors was done. The LoTW for all will follow in August.
The QSL traffic for direct requests will start in the middle of April.
News #5 (March 2nd, 2019)
The 2019 XX9D adventure has come to an end. A good end for all members of the crew after arriving safely and in a good shape at home. No damaged equipment, no problems with the customs and the airlines, no health-problems....
So far so good....We didn't meet the targets we set ourselves and we are very sorry about that. We and probably the DX-world has expected more despite the actual sun-spot conditions. With the experiences of the 2017-expedition in our background we expected to do much better with a bigger team and upgraded antennas. We knew about the limited space situation in our hotel, but we didn't know about the 'improved' illumination- and machinery situation with a dramatically increase of man-made noise there.
There was no way for us to run out of the given situation, we had to cope with a noise-level of 9+ during the night time and 10 dB less through daylight time on 160 m to 30 m. We knew that we had solid signals on those bands and it made us more than sad to be able picking up only a small percentage of the stations calling us.
The team was fighting until the last minute, it was often more a puzzle than solid call-sign-picking.
As promised, North America was our main target, we worked hard but with 8,5% we were far behind that what we expected. But better than 2017!
Conditions on the higher bands were poor as forecasted. Although we tried SSB, but with only a little fortune. 5 to 10 minutes without any respond led us often to go back to CW or FT8.
We appreciated all comments, hints and criticism via e-mail. Most of the comments expressed their understanding of our situation, many others encouraged us and gave us a positive feedback. A few others, a minority, gave us unqualified comments, often with fake call-signs. We would like to ask them: Come here, spend your money for a trip to Macau and make it better.
Our equipment with K3s-transceivers, microHam MKIIs and SPE-Experts, our pentaplexer and the filter-cascades for multi-band-operation worked fine without any distortions ore failure. The same with the UCXLog in network operation and the WSJT-X-software. Our new lightweight 5-Band- 2 Element-wire-beam from LZ Antennas is a good option for DXpeditions, we were very satisfied with that.
Finally we had around 36000 QSOs in our logbook on all bands and possible modes included more than 1000 on top band and nearly 5000 on 80 m. There is still some work to be done to integrate all FT8-QSOs from F/H-mode in our main log. Thanks Joe K1JT and Bill G4WJS for helping us with a new WSJT-X 2.0.1 version.
Please be patient and wait until we have completed the logs on ClubLog. QSL-requests please only to our QSL-manager DL4SVA!
On behalf of the whole team we would like to express a big Thankyou to all our supporters. We are preparing a photo-collage for You.
Last but not least we should mention the 6 XYLs we had with us. They have had a lot of fun using the sport- and recreation facilities of the hotel, practicing Yoga, walking around in Macau and spending money in Macau’s gorgeous shopping-malls. They helped us in moments of frustration and were good guides and companions on our tours to Hong Kong and more. Therefore also a big Thankyou to our XYLs.
News #4 (February, 18th 2019)
After 6 full days of operation this is the first summary.
All team members are a little bit disappointed about the high noise level here on all bands, especially on the low bands from 160 m to 30 m. Levels are mostly around S7-9. We are sure the situation is much more worse than two years ago. It seems that this is man-made noise which is about 10 dB stronger between 5 pm and 7 am. It must be something like a machine or light-facilities in the hotel or the nearby golf-range. You might imagine what problems we have to identify call-signs under these lousy circumstances, which we are not able to solve. So with that we have to lower our expectations what means grey-line QSOs and our targets on the low-bands. To activate Macau on the lower bands will a more and more great challenge in the future.
We also have no good luck with the conditions – they were often unexpected bad. Generally we seem to be in or near the absolute minimum of the sunspot cycle. All our antennas are okay for the limited ground and under the given and possible circumstances. We got fair reports from all parts of the world. But it must be hard for the callers to break through the noise-wall on our side. Many callers wonder that they don’t through even with a kW. But when 90 % of all callers transmit exactly 1 kHz up in CW it is impossible for us to read anything. It`s not the “JA-wall” which is causing a problem. Bad comments don’t help. It’s more a question of bad practice. With the knowledge of the situation here many comments would have been unnecessary. By the: It’s a good practice to wait for the final confirmation before start to call us. You may trust us: We are working hard to get as many as possible callers in the log.
Because of the lousy conditions we work much more in FT8. Here we have a problem with correct logging from F/H mode when more than one station will be confirmed with RR73 in the same time slot. So many good QSOs are still missing and cannot be imported to our DXP log. The log will be corrected when we are back in Germany.
18000 QSOs from 160 to 6 m are in the log. The old valid band plan from Macau allows us only to transmit from 1800 to 1825 kHz. So we tried FT8 on 1815 kHz with QSX to 1840/1908 kHz. From time to time we have our CQ beacon on 50105 in CW or 50313 kHz in FT8 active. Please inform us shortly if we were heard anywhere.
The most important thing is that the team is in a good shape. We all like dxpeditionairing. Thanks again to all our supporters.
News #3 (February, 13th 2019)
XX9D is QRV!
This DXpedition was possible by the great help of the management and staff of Grand Coloane Resort, the CTT authorities and Bom, XX9LT.
All team members including the baggage arrived well in Macau at Sunday-afternoon, February 10th. The team has fixed the complete station setup and all antennas within 24 hours. The successful inspection of CTT was on February 11th. So we were able to be on the air around 10 UTC the same day. After 48 hours of operation we have around 6500 QSOs in the log. So, this is a good starting point. A first log update to club log was made today. Still a few FT8-QSOs from F/H-mode are missing in the log. Sorry about the confusion with the pile-ups of V84SAA sometimes.
Remember it is difficult to find a good place for ham radio in Macau. We had to follow the restrictions of the hotel and the nearby golf-rang. That means limited space for antennas. All antennas were installed above the 8th store of the hotel-building. We are able to use only 30 m length of the railing there. (see picture on our homepage)
For 160 and 80 m we are using wire verticals on 18 m high Spiderbeam poles with elevated radials. On 40 m we have a vertical as well, on 30 m we are using a delta-loop. Unfortunately there are no receiving antennas possible. Noise level is high on all low bands. Our new wire beam from LZ-Antennas works fine on all five higher bands 20 – 10 m.
We have made a detailed propagation tool for the difficult parts of the world via SP and LP from here. On FT8 we are also using the F/H-mode. Please check our new actual frequencies. (7070, 14079, 18105, 21079, 24920 …)
In CW we recommend for outside US stations 1-3 kHz up and for US stations 2-3 kHz up splitting. Please don’t call only 1 up. North America has by the way our highest priority. On 160m the highest allowed transmit- frequency for us is 1825 kHz.
Macau has an interesting Portuguese history and also the status as an world culture heritage. As You know we have 6 wives of operators with us. They take the opportunity to visit the places of interest of this with tourist crowded city. Next days they plan to visit HongKong and probably China-mainland.
News #2 (December 17, 2018)
So far so good: We are collecting and distributing the equipment we want to use in Macau, always having in mind that we have to minimize the freight-costs. By the way, most of the equipment is private property of the team-members. Thanks to our generous sponsors, foundations and individuals, we were able to complete our equipment with a new 2-element full-size wire beam for 10 to 20 meters. This antenna has been modified by LZ Antenna for our special expedition-purposes. That means low weight and easy to handle. We are looking forward using this antenna and are sure that it will perform well together with our new Pentaplexer from LBS. We also were able to add a VA5 antenna analyzer from FUNKAMATEUR to our equipment list. Tuning and pruning our antennas will be much easier with that.
As announced earlier we will show up more frequently on all low-bands. We will have therefore separate antennas for every single band this time. So we can work 160-80-40 m the same time.
Please have a look on our homepage news from time to time to be informed about the newest developments. As in 2017 we will have a daily update of our ClubLog online log. To avoid dupes we ask you to have a look on ClubLog before you give us a call. It's just a question of fairness.
Sorry that we have to inform you, we got the official information, that 60 m-activities are not allowed in Macau.
FT8 seems to be a more and more popular mode for DXpeditions. We will use this mode on the usual frequencies as well as the dxpedition mode on the announced frequencies. Please consider, that we will use the newest version WSJT-X 2.0, which is the regular one from January 1st, 2019. Don't call us on our audio frequency and make sure that you follow the hints given on the WSJT-homepage.
Hopefully the conditions will be fair or better. All 4 to 5 stations will be manned around the clock. Having the antennas relative close together, we can only have one active station per band the same time.
We will have no pilot-stations worldwide, but reports about band openings are welcome via internet. Please accept that we will not arrange skeds.
LoTW uploads will made for our supporters first, all others 6 months after the last day of our expedition.
For now we wish you and your families a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. See you in 2019 on all bands and modes.
News #1 (August 2018)
Why shouldn't we do it again ? We performed very well in 2017 from Macau and have had good experiences with the Grand Coloane Resort, with the local authorities and the assistance of Bom XX9LT. On the other hand we have got quite a number of requests regarding activities from Macau on the low-bands. So we decided again for Macau. The old call-sign XX9D is confirmed, the flights and the hotel are booked. We will operate with 15 experienced operators 24 hours daily with at least 4 stations. The 5th station will be monitoring 6 meters or will be active on short-waves as well. Our special focus will be on North America and the low-bands 40-80-160 m. We will have separate antennas for each of the low-bands. For 20 to 10 meters we will have a 2-element beam combined with a pentaplexer, which allows us to operate with 3 stations simultaneously on the higher bands. Beside RTTY we will also use FT8 as another digital-mode.