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.