Update October 25: Lance has finished his activity from Austral islands withn 120 stations in log. A really good result for a single Yagi station. Remember that in a few days he will be QRV as TX7MB from Marquesas islands.
Update October 23: Lance has managed to isolate the problem in the 50 MHz output filter board and after removing it he is QRV again.
Update October 22: Amplifier blew up, so he is QRT from Austral islands. He is trying to get a replacement amplifier shipped from USA in order to be able to keep the next activity as TX7MB from Maquesas Isl. Before the Amplifier gave up Lance managed to log about 90 stations.
Update October 20: 43 stations in the log of Lance. Notice that he could be using just W7GJ as call, in order to check possible issues due to using a compound call.
Update October 17: Lance is already QRV and so far 20 stations are in the log. He also copied many more stations.
Update October 15 at 0445z: Latests news from Lance: "After 35 hours of traveling, I arrived here at the site in Rimatara yesterday at sunset. I spent today assembling the antenna and mast and was hoping to be QRV with the antenna by sunset. HOWEVER, when raising the antenna, one guyline stake came out of the ground, and the antenna came all the way over and crashed, bending multiple elements and breaking one off. So, I am QRT until I can get the antenna repaired and back up in the air again. The only injuries were hornet stings on my hand when I reached underneath a table I was trying to move.
The ground is very loose, and it is difficult to rely on ground stakes. After I repair the antenna as best I can, I will try to guy the mast to at least one tree. I will post an email here when I am able to get on the air. TNX for your patience! I hope to be able to give better news when I come down here to the internet spot tmrw.
No cell service in my bungalow, so I will have only occasional access to the internet. Will take computer to the dining all before each EME session to set the computer clock."
Update October 14: Latests news from Lance at 0045z: "Just a short progress report. All the equipment has been checked to be sent to Rimatara with me and I am waiting to board the flight. Obviously, I was able to obtain an internet SIM card to make a WiFi hotspot and finally managed to get it going Now I hope to be available on a limited basis and at least set my clock automatically from the internet. I don't expect to be able to spend time downloading or answering emails, though...
Thanks to VE3LYC, I also initiated contact with a prospect for an overnight stay here in Tahiti on the night of October 25 before we head to the Marquesas. More information when I am settled in Rimatara and have all four 23 kg pieces of luggage with the equipment transported to the site where I will be setting up as FO/W7GJ from the Austral Islands I hope to be able to start unpacking tonight but I expect it will be too late to make any progress with any antenna construction today."
Update October 4: It is hard to believe, but in less than 2 weeks I hope to be QRV from the Austral Islands! I have gotten my booster Covid shot, so I am ready to head down there even though they currently are having quite a difficult time with the Covid Delta Variant. All the special paperwork has been done, and all that remains is that I pass a Covid test before boarding the plane here in Montana, and I pass another Covid test when I arrive in French Polynesia. I am trying to stay as isolated as I can until I get on the plane!
As I already explained on my web site, I am planning to use Q65-60A for the 6m EME operations. Getting callers to spread out with Q65 could result in some confusion, so I have attached an explanation of how to spread out effectively using Q65-60A. I hope that you will take the time to review this information and find it helpful.
The planned operating schedules are shown on the DXpedition web pages. The only possible change I see at this point is that I MAY have to dismantle the station a day early at each DXCC, depending on the deadline for getting my excess baggage delivered to that airport for air freight...but I will know more about that after I arrive on each island. I have already paid for and booked all my excess baggage as air freight on the flights TO Rimatara and Hiva Oa, and there will be adequate time to meet the deadlines for those trips. It is just the flights FROM Rimatara and Hiva Oa that may require the air freight to be delivered the day before the flight to ensure it gets on the plane.
I will provide further updates as things proceed. In the meantime, thanks for all of your support and effort, and I am looking forward to putting a record number of stations in the log from both DXCC!
GL and VY 73, Lance
Update August 22: Information from Lance: "Due to the Delta Variant, Covid travel restrictions and requirements are changing weekly :-( However, I have reconfirmed all the flights and lodging, arranged for special excess baggage, and am aiming for everything to take place according to the details on my website:
Certainly, the situation can change if I get Covid and fail any of the 4 Covid tests currently required and/or USA falls out of "favored country status" and I would be required to quarantine upon arrival, and/or Air Tahiti decides to reduce the number of flights (as it did last year). However, as you know from my past DXpeditions, I am doing everything I possibly can to make this increasingly expensive operation happen!
Please spread the word that I am planning on using Q65-60A mode from the most recent version of WSJT-X for all my 6m EME activity. I will probably use FT8 for terrestrial/ionospheric propagation unless the TEP doppler spread requires Q65. Note that I have extended my stays in both DXCC to provide ample opportunity to try for terrestrial contacts as well as being QRV during moon passes."
Update April 10: New dates and the following information by Lance:
"We have all been frustrated by the delays caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, and how it has disrupted travel worldwide. Now that Air Tahiti has published its flight schedule for next fall, I have changed my flight and lodging reservations to provide extended stays in both DXCC. Now the operations in both DXCC include very favorable days for 6m EME, as well as common moon windows with virtually all active 6m EME operators all over the world. I am looking forward to providing the first activations of both the Austral Islands and the Marquesas Islands on 6m EME. Given the large growth in the number of stations active on 6m EME, and the development of the new Q65 software, I am very excited to see how many stations I can work! Please just remember to spread out when you call
Of course, there is always the possibility that some of the flights and connections along the way will be changed and the operating schedule will not be able to proceed as planned. However, assuming that the flights will remain as booked, and that the current Covid-19 quarantine requirements will be lifted by October, the updated planned travel and operating schedules for both DXCC are on my web pages at: http://www.bigskyspaces.com/w7gj/Austral%20Islands%202020.htm and http://www.bigskyspaces.com/w7gj/Marquesas%202020.htm
I still have to negotiate some solution to the excess baggage problem, since they don't guarantee transportation of so much extra luggage along with me on my flights. However that is something to deal with as the time for departure gets closer...
As you can see on the above web pages, I will be planning on using Q65-60A for all my 6m EME operations. Please familiarize yourself with this new mode; links are on the above web pages. If you have never tried 6m EME before, you have 6 months to upgrade your station and become familiar with working 6m EME
If a station is unable to produce a stable enough signal for Q65-60A, we may be able to try JT65A or Q65-60B as required, but please do your best to make your transmitter stable enough for Q65 and insure that your computer clock is accurate to within a second. I hope to be able to have at least occasional access to the internet in both DXCC. Because both DXCC are located in the TEP Zone, I also am expecting to be able to work a number of stations using FT8 and/or Q65-30C mode via ionospheric propagation.
Rimatara is a solo 6m-only operation and the callsign will be FO/W7GJ. If you have any questions that are not covered in the above web pages, or you are anticipating a problem contacting me during the posted operating schedule, please let me know.
I will be joined by KB7Q for at least part of the Hiva Oa operation, and he will be activating the Marquesas for the first time on 2m EME. We will both be using the TX7MB callsign from that DXCC. If you have specific questions about KB7Q's operation, please contact him directly; I am sure he will be announcing details of his plans as we get closer to October.
As you can imagine, this month-long DXpedition has become even more expensive than originally planned. Any donations are very much appreciated My Pay Pal account is my email address and my mailing address is shown below (and on QRZ.COM). Thanks in advance for your support and for your contacts!
GL and VY 73, Lance"
Update January 4: Dates correction. So far plans are to be QRV from October 23 to 28.
Update January 3: Airline flight schedules have finally been posted for next year, so I have obtained revised airline tickets for the itinerary shown on the websites below. The operating and equipment import licenses has also been revised, and appropriate certificates have been received for LOTW log entries. Lodging has also been modified to reflect the posted operating schedules. Please note that the operating schedules for both DXCC are included in the same Excel workbook:
Update November 20: Just an update to let you know that this has not slipped through the cracks! Because of delays in the publishing of dates and times for flight schedules by Air Tahiti, I have not yet been able to book any new tickets or finalize the exact dates of operation. I hope they will be able to let me book the new tickets by the end of December.
HOWEVER, for planning purposes, I wanted to let you know that, at this time, a tentative operation schedule has been uploaded to my website
If flights coincide with these plans, I would hope to be active from the Austral Islands as FO/W7GJ from October 16 through October 23, and from the Marquesas Islands as TX7MB from October 27 to November 4. I hope to be able to provide a more definite schedule by the end of next month. The individual DXpedition webpages (on my website) will be updated when the final flights are booked.
I can't wait to activate both of these DXCC in French Polynesia for the first time on 6m EME I look forward to working many single yagi stations when the moon is near your horizon! Thanks for your continued patience and support!
GL and VY 73, Lance
Update June 30: Because of the ongoing COVID 19 pandemic, we regret that the W7GJ 6m EME DXpedition to FO/A and FO/M and the KB7Q 2m EME DXpedition to FO/M must be delayed until 2021.
Lodging reservations already have been changed, and we are in the process of revising the licensing and equipment importation authorizations.
The APPROXIMATE dates for the new DXpeditions are:
FO/A (6m only) - October 15-24, 2021
FO/M (TX7MB on 2m and 6m) - October 26-November 4, 2021
Exact dates and operating schedules will be posted on my website after September 2020, when airline reservation dates for 2021 become available:
We are looking forward to contacting you and hope that this unfortunate delay provides you with any extra time you may need to improve your station to get ready for the FO DXpedition!
GL and VY 73, Lance
Prior to his activity from Marquesas Is. as TX7MB, Lance will be QRV on 6m EME from Rimarta Island (Austral Islands) from October 10 to November 2.
Degradation during the solo FO/A operation is slightly higher than optimum, but previous trips have demonstrated that those days should still be productive. In addition, the negative horizon in FO/A should provide good common moon windows just about everywhere, and some very low ground gain lobes when the moon is at or just below the horizon. I hope to be able to be QRV for 8 full moon passes. If I can stay awake during the late afternoons, I hope to be QRV for TEP in the event there is any such propagation that early in the year. The QTH in the Austral Islands looks like it may be situated favorably for TEP.
More details at W7GJ's site