Update November 14: Video available
Update November 10: It would seem that the VP6R QSOs are now LoTW as of November 8th, and you can request a QSL via ClubLog's OQRS. Also, the total QSO count on ClubLog has been changed. ClubLog now shows that the VP6R team has made 82208 QSOs with 20624 Unique Callsigns.
Breakdown of modes are: 34820/CW, 23055/SSB, 24273/FT8 and 60/JT65. Break- down by Continents (%): .4/AF, 21.9/AS, 20.8/EU, 52.2/NA, 2.1/OC, and 2.5/SA.
Again, QSL via K9CT.
Update November 3: The VP6R DXpedition is now history with 82,700 Q’s in the log. We had excellent weather for dismantling our stations & antennas. We have just finished packing everything for the return trip home. The Braveheart is transporting us to Mangareva tomorrow. It will then go on to Punta Arenas, Chile, transporting some equipment we used for the South Orkney DXpedition.
The oldest Pitcairn resident passed away yesterday. We attended the funeral this morning. He was laid to rest right next to Tom Christian, VP6TC. It was a very moving experience.
We have helped two local hams get back on the air. Meralda Warren, VP6MW, has a new 40/30/15M vertical and is set up now to operate FT8. Mike Warren, VP6AZ, has a repaired vertical and new beam. They are both on the air again! VP6MW called CQ just once using FT8 on 15M. She had an instant pileup. I guess there is still a need for VP6 Pitcairn even after VP6R went QRT!
We still miss Ralph, K0IR, who did almost all of the organization and preparation for the VP6R DXpedition, but was unable to go at the last minute. I stepped in literally 5 days before leaving home. The success of VP6R is almost solely due to the details Ralph planned for. If there was ever a DXpedition on autopilot, VP6R was it. THANKS, Ralph!!!!
Thanks to everyone who worked us to make the VP6R DXpedition such a success at the bottom of the sunspot cycle.
Visit www.pitcairndx.com for QSLing details. It will be at least 7-10 days before most of the team gets home. OQRS will be activated then and is the best way to receive a QSL card. Eventually our entire log will be uploaded to LoTW. QSL via K9CT.
Update November 1: VP6R QRT at 18Z. Thanks to everyone who worked us and made this DXpedition so much fun.
Update October 31: This morning we passed 80,000 contacts. Both the upper bands and the lower bands have had good propagation. The team spirits have been high as the pileups continue. Many all-time new ones are in the logs.
We were QRT for two hours this morning to completely dismantle and pack up the stations and antennas at the old Radio Site. The view from there is breath-taking, with a 360 degree view of the ocean from 900 feet above sea level! The propagation was also breath-taking from there!
The DX Engineering team did an incredible job fabricating our 90-foot 160M antenna. It went up and came down easily. The DX Engineering falling derricks for the yagi masts made raising and lowering (and repairing) the yagis very easy.
Update October 30: We have now confirmed that VP6R has been “pirated” on FT8 causing confusion with missing QSOs in Club Log. Please know if your FT8 QSO does NOT now show up in Club Log, you have worked a pirate…and we do NOT have “Slim’s” logs
Update October 29: VP6R Press Release 29 October 2019
We had a very successful night on 160M with over 500 contacts using FT8 last night.
We have two more nights of operation on 160 & 80 meters before we must take down our antennas. We will have 24 more hours of operation on 40-10M from our base location on Pitcairn.
Tonight (starting 0100Z 30 Oct) we will be on 160 & 80M CW.
The last night (starting 0100Z 31 Oct) we will be using FT8 on 160 & 80M. We will be on 1.836 MHz (or 1.832 if busy) until 0800Z. At 0800Z we will be on 1.908 MHz until sunrise.
73, Glenn W0GJ
Update October 28: Press Release 28 October 2019
We just finished working in the CQWW SSB Contest and made about 8500 SSB contacts on 160-10M. We had a lot of fun giving out a rare multiplier!
Several worked us on all six bands. The VP6R team wants to thank everyone for working us during the contest. We hope you had as much fun as we did despite the challenging propagation conditions. We will now resume our regular DXpedition operations.
We now almost 60,000 contacts in Club Log with 4-5 full days of operation left.
We have had reports of several FT8 contacts not being uploaded to Club Log. We carefully documented a long session of FT8 and noted the stations that did not show up in ?Fox.log? window, the log that FT8 creates in the Fox/Hound mode. We found about 1-2 ?missing? contacts per hour. There is another text file that FT8 creates while running AND WE FOUND THE MISSING CONTACTS. One of our team members has written a program to extract them and add them to log database. The FT8 development team is now aware of this issue and this will be addressed in future releases. Summary: IF you have seen us send ?YOURCALL RR73?, you can rest assured you ARE in the log and your contact WILL be uploaded to Club Log. Give us some time after we go QRT to extract and add the missing contacts to our logs.
We will have one more night on 60M this date (Oct 28) starting at about 0400Z. We will be on 5.357 MHz with FT8 F/H mode.
We will NOT have any RTTY operation on this DXpedition. We will continue to operate FT8 until we go QRT.
We have had several days of torrential rain with high winds. Some wind gusts were recorded over 100 mph. We have had damaged antennas, which, fortunately, have all been relatively easy to fix. The weather is starting to improve, but we are also near the beginning of the rainy season. Today we have had sunshine, then downpours, then sunshine. Repeat every 5 minutes.
We can attest to the fact that Pitcairn boasts of ?the world?s friendliest mud.?
We have two operation sites. The remote old Radio Site where all of the low band operation has taken place, will be dismantled after local sunrise on October 31. The next morning, November 1, we will be totally QRT and dismantle everything at our base location. Everything must be packed and stored. Some of the equipment we have used needs to be loaded onto the Braveheart for the South Orkney DXpedition. We depart Sunday, November 3, on the Braveheart.
Update October 25: It was a lovely morning for antenna work on Pitcairn Island, 30 mph winds and rain. We got the 20M beam back up and tweaked the others.
Update October 25, regarding 6m EME: Our shorter window between moonrise and the island power turning on only allowed us to make two QSOs this morning. Once again a generator burp took us off the air, but only for about 5 minutes.
This morning was our last time on the moon. We will all be doing the CQWW contest over the weekend, and next week the moon is only up when the island power is on.
Worked: SP4MPB US0LW
Heard: HA7TM ZS4TX LZ2CC K7CW I4EAT S51ZO OH3SR
Once again, W8HC braved the elements to keep the antenna pointed at the moon. This storm has been blowing for two days now. Winds are 30 to 50 mph and rain is very heavy at times.
We made 36 QSOs in 17.5 hours over 5 nights of operation. We lost a few hours each of the first two nights to equipment failures and some cockpit errors, but everything went well after that. Our only regret is that we could not put more of you in our log.
73 from Pitcairn Island, Mike W0VTT & Hal W8HC
Update October 25: As of 0000Z this date, we have approximately 47,000 contacts in the log.
Late yesterday we were hit with a tropical storm with torrential rain and gale force plus winds. We had several antennas come down, but they are repairable and will be back up when it is safe to go outside, probably not until tomorrow morning.
We have had great band conditions from 160 to 10 meters. We had a very successful night on 60M 5.357 MHz two days ago and will be on again. We are using FT8 in Fox/Hound mode.
We have been working a lot of FT8 on all the bands (except 160M) and find that this “weak” signal mode is putting a lot of new and unique callsigns into the log, proving that this mode is valuable for a great many! Most DXpeditions, including VP6R, are using FOX/HOUND MODE. If you are not in F/H mode when you call us, it will be impossible to make contact. MAKE SURE THE RADIO TAB HAS SPLIT SELECTED and you have selected HOUND MODE ON THE ADVANCED TAB !!!!!
If the Hound is using the wrong software version, it does not respond properly to the Fox. The message formats are not compatible. The Fox will call the Hound three times and then they are dropped without making a successful contact.
Summary for a successful FT8 contact:
MUST use WSJT-X version 2.1.0 Any other version is INCOMPATIBLE!
MUST be in F/H mode
MUST be in SPLIT mode (in WSJT-X program, NOT your radio)
MUST set your transmit frequency ABOVE 1000 Hz
When conditions are good and everyone has FT8 set up properly, we have seen peak rates over 1000 contacts/hour and often sustained rates of 400 contacts/hour from a single station! And, yes, it is possible for one person to operate two stations at once. We do it often.
We will be on 160M with FT8 starting 0000Z, Tuesday, October 29. Frequency – 1.836 MHz. Mode: FT8 FOX/HOUND. Depending upon success, we might spend additional time in that mode on 160M.
We have had two successful schedules with the Dorothy Grant Elementary School (K6DGE) in Fontana, California. It has been fun to chat with the kids and answer questions. We love their enthusiasm!
We will be temporarily shutting down about 2200Z on Friday to prepare for the CQWW SSB Contest. We will be in the Multi/Multi category on all bands. If you need VP6 Pitcairn Island on SSB, look for us in the contest this weekend.
After the contest we will be back in “DXpedition mode” until October 31. That is when we must start dismantling to get ready to meet the Braveheart which will take us to Mangareva for the weekly flight back to Papeete, French Polynesia, and then to our homes.
Our next news will come after the CQWW SSB Contest.
Update October 24, regarding 6m EME: It was a nice surprise to see UW7LL calling us when we came back in after pointing the antenna and feuling the generators last night. We had one power glitch, but it only took us off for about 5 minutes. We were in the middle of a QSO with OH3SR when the power came on and we lost all traces. The noise level is lower than when we began, but still too high to make QSOs.
Stations worked: UW7LL UB7K S59Z K4PI DL8YHR NN7J
Heard but not worked: HA7TM LZ2CC VE1JF SP4MPB S50A K5NA OH3SR
Don't worry if your QSO doesn't appear in Clublog right away. Uploads are not automatic and are dependent on our very flaky internet connection.
Everyone who made a QSO last night owes W8HC a beer or three. Hal went out in the pouring rain and gale force winds to point the antenna while I sat here staring at the screen and clicking on traces.
We will be on again tomorrow for our moon rise. This is our last chance. Next week the moon is only up when island power is on.
73,Mike Cizek WØVTT
Update October 23, regarding 6m EME: We had much better success last night. There were no equipment failures or software glitches and the only problems were with me clicking on the wrong message a few times.
The noise source we found yesterday cured some but not all of our noise. We completed 2 QSOs after the power went on, but were unable to decode anyone after 1600z. The station is now being used on HF but we hope to get on again around 2100z for our moon set. We will be on again tonight and tomorrow night, then busy with CQWW over the weekend.
Stations worked: KG7H HA0DU UR0MC S59A UT7QF OB2BC N8RR N7IP W6UC K7KX N7NW S51DI OH6MIK EA8DBM
Heard but not worked: SP9MPB SP3RHZ K4PI K2ZD G4FUF G4BWP FK8CP
73,Mike Cizek WØVTT
Update October 23: VP6R Pitcairn Island DXpedition Press Release (22nd October)
Things are going well with the remaining team and the propagation has been wonderful to just about everywhere. We have had a lot of activity on 12M and some on 10M, including more EME contacts. We now have about
35,000 contacts in the log after 4 ½ days of operation.
There are more FT8 contacts that have not been updated into our N1MM logging program. Some of the computers will not as yet add FT8 contacts to the N1MM log, but hopefully we can find a work-around to get this done.
IF you see your FT8 contact confirmed with “RR73,” you can be assured that you are IN the log, even though it won’t show now on ClubLog. They will be merged from the WSJT log at some point.
If you operate FT8, PLEASE READ THE MANUAL FOR WORKING US IN FOX & HOUND MODE!!! We see MANY calling us using a frequency below 1000 Hz. We can see you but the FT8 software does NOT see you. You MUST use a frequency above 1000 Hz to work us. We are transmitting usually somewhere below
500 Hz. The software will move your transmit frequency down automatically when your turn comes up in the que…..IF you have F/H mode set up properly.
When conditions are good, we can work 300-400 stations/hour. Our peak rate with one station today was an incredible almost 900/hour!
Our last antenna went up today for 60M and we will be QRV tonight and in the future on 5.357 FT8 F/H mode. We are limited to 100 watts and must be in satellite phone contact with New Zealand and to QRT if there is any interference to primary users of the frequency.
We will continuously have at least one station active on 20M throughout our stay to hopefully provide a chance for everyone to make an all time new country contact.
We will be entering the CQWW SSB Contest this weekend on all bands.
There will be some operation on the CW bands and WARC bands during the contest.
Our pilots are your contact points. We are aware of many “complaints”
about this or that issue with the logs. These will all be corrected with time. If you have any doubts, please work us again if you did not show up in the log. Please use our pilots for reporting band opening times and long path openings to help us be there so we can get you in the log. This is the purpose of the pilot program.
Our evacuated team member has made it to the hospital in Papeete, French Polynesia. Thanks for your prayers and concerns. All family members are aware, but for privacy, we will not release a name here.
The weather is fine without rain…..yet. Today we watched the spring arrival of the whales for the season from our operating chairs. Spec- tacular!!!
See you in the pileups!
73, Glenn W0GJ
Update October 22, regarding 6m EME: Last night was again very frustrating, but we made a small improvement over our first night. We had generator and amplifier problems and it took us almost an hour to fix everything. The worst part was that we took out the other stations when we overloaded the generator.
Stations worked: G8BCG ON4IQ S57RR N3XX OZ4VV NJ6P GM3POI
Heard but not worked: UR0MC SP4MPB HA0DU EA8DBM
It was a real pleasure to work S57RR who was my first EME contact from home.
We hope that we have all the bugs out now and will be more productive the next 2 nights. No problems with elevation; island power noise in the morning is our biggest problem now. Thanks to NA for standing by for EU last night. I know how frustrating that was. I'll try to be on ON4KST again tonight.
73, Mike Cizek W0VTT
Update October 21, regarding 6m EME: Due to several reasons, they cannot be QRV tonight. They plan to be QRV again for 3 moon passes, starting on October 22. They also cannot be QRV next Friday and Saturday because of the HF contest. They MAY be able to get back on after that, but will have to see if time is available before they tear down.
GL and VY 73, Lance, W7GJ
Update October 21: The Braveheart anchored just off Pitcairn Island at dawn, Thursday, October 17. After customs & immigration, the team was transported to the home of Andy Christian where all of the equipment was waiting for us. This equipment arrived about 6 weeks prior to our arrival.
The steep dirt roads were very muddy from lots of recent rain and had our equipment not been pre-positioned, we would have been delayed by several days getting all stations on the air.
By the end of the first day we had antennas up and four stations QRV at Andy’s house. The next morning (Friday) everyone moved to the old Radio Site to set up more antennas and stations. This is our primary low band site. The DX Engineering 160M falling derrick vertical is almost full-size and generated huge pileups that night, with 700 stations in the 160M log!
Saturday morning left just a couple more antenna projects to finish and by late morning everything was set up and we settled into our operating routine.
Pitcairn has power from 8 am until 10 pm. After 10 pm we switch to generators until morning. The Radio Site is 100% generator powered.
As of about 2400Z Sunday, we have over 16,000 Q’s in the logs, including several 6M EME contacts. We are down to 12 operators today.
One of the team members fell, suffering several fractures. A supply ship was leaving today and he is being evacuated to Mangareva and on to Papeete. Naturally we are all disappointed with this situation, but medically it is in everyone’s best interest. DXpeditions to remote places are not without risk and medical care is quite limited at best.
The weather has been very cooperative with pleasant temperatures. When it rains, which is often, the dirt roads become “the world’s friendliest mud,” as the residents call it, making travel between the two sites somewhat treacherous.
We will have a station on 20M continuously, often with more than one mode, with the goal of giving Pitcairn Island a new one to everyone.
The Flex Radios are working extremely well. With good conditions, at times we have been able to sustain nearly 400 Q’s/hr with FT8 Fox & Hound mode, working five stations simultaneously! Logs are periodically uploaded to Club Log during the times we have “commercial” power on the island.
Update October 20: Regarding the 6m EME operation: The 6M8GJ installed and looks great! They do have powerline noise during the day when the island power is on, but that goes off between 2230 and 0630 local time (0630-1430Z), and things are MUCH quieter then. I have always found that the best time to operate from those locations in the TEP Zone is during local night time, and that is where they are right now for their moonrises and EU windows ;-) We couldn't ask for a better situation!
They plan to start at their next moonrise at 0820Z. the will be transmitting on 50.200 MHz, using an offset of 1270 Hz (to be compatible with DF=0 on WSJT-10). They will always TX FIRST sequence JT65A.
Currently, their antenna is only 15' above the ground, which will severely limit their ability to elevate. Hopefully they will be able to raise it higher in the coming days, after all their other HF antenna duties have been completed.
GL everyone! VY 73, Lance, W7GJ
Update October 19: 160m antenna up and running.
Update October 18: Regarding the 6m EME operation: The VP6R crew is continuing to build antennas and set up the station. They are still planning on being QRV for their first moonrise at 0820 Sunday October 20 GMT (their local Saturday night). They HOPE to set up the 6m yagi this afternoon and the station tonight, but they also are heavily involved in helping set up HF antennas. If they are able to be QRV sooner than Sunday GMT moonrise, I will send out another update. GL and VY 73, Lance, W7GJ
Update October 18: 0145Z – VP6R is QRV
Update October 16: They are approaching Pitcairn Island
Update October 14: VP6R team at Papeete airport. Next stop Mangerva island.
Update October 14: Team now arrived Tahiti, French Polynesia. Track them
Update October 10: I EXPERIENCED A SUDDEN AND RELATIVELY SEVERE, ACUTE ILLNESS AND WAS HOSPITALIZED FOR A NUMBER OF DAYS. I AM RECOVERING AT HOME, BUT THE RISK OF COMPROMISING THE DXPEDITION TO PITCAIRN ISLAND IS TOO GREAT FOR ME TO MAKE THE TRIP WITH THE TEAM. MY FRIEND GLENN, W0GJ, WILL TAKE ON MY RESPONSIBILITIES AND THE DXPEDITION WILL PROCEED AS OTHERWISE PLANNED.
MOST TEAM MEMBERS WILL HAVE BEGUN THEIR TRAVELS WITHIN THE NEXT 24-48 HOURS. THE OCTOBER 15TH FLIGHT TO MANGAREVA AND BOARDING OF THE BRAVEHEART REMAIN ON SCHEDULE.
THIS IS A GREAT DISAPPOINTMENT FOR ME, BUT THE SHOW WILL GO ON. I THANK ALL OF YOU FOR YOUR PAST ENCOURAGEMENT AND SUPPORT. I HAVE GREAT CONFIDENCE IN ALL OF OUR TEAM MEMBERS; THEY WILL GIVE THIS DXPEDITION THEIR ALL.
RALPH – K0IR
The team members are very disappointed that Ralph K0IR is unable to go with us. Ralph has invested countless hours organizing and preparing for a successful DXpedition! In fact, it has been so well organized that it is almost on autopilot! We have been unable to find a replacement for Ralph on such short notice. Many potential substitutes were unable to clear their schedules to be gone for a month with just a few hours notice.
We are READY to go! All of our personal bags are packed, as we had to have weight & volumes for Air Tahiti, our Papeete to Mangareva flight next Tuesday. That connection is only once per week. The Braveheart will be waiting for us and we’ll set sail almost immediately for Pitcairn. We will be arriving Thursday morning at Pitcairn. All of our cargo is ALREADY at our operating site. We will work hard that first day to get as many antennas up as possible to get on the air by the end of the day, Thursday, October 17. We must QRT by November 2 to make it back to Mangareva to catch the weekly flight again.
We are going to work extra hard as a team to make Ralph proud of us, as he has all but invested the last two years of his life into this project.
Visit our website often for updates. There you will find contact information for our pilots who will help us optimize our band/modes and propagation paths. Any information on long or short path openings would be welcome to our pilots. Financial contributions are most welcome, too! See our website for more details.
73 and see you in the pileups!
Glenn – W0GJ
Update October 6: We are pleased to announce our pilot station network for the Pitcairn Island DXpedition.
Our pilot station system is in place to relay your reports, concerns, and advise to us through our pilot stations. Initially, the information most important to us will be when we are being heard in your area. This is especially true if there are openings to more than one geographical area at the same time and one of those areas has strong signals that obscure stations calling from the other areas. We need to attend to those weaker signals and your reports will help us do that.
With time your band and mode needs will be relayed to us through our system. Constructive criticism is welcome as well.
Our system is somewhat "Eurocentric," with north, south, east, and western Europe each having a representative in our system. We do this because needs for a VP6 contact are greater in Europe and European signals may be "under" stronger signals from other geographical areas.
Our chief and North American pilot is Jerry, WB9Z. He will be supported by JJ3PRT, OG2M, R7LV, G3XTT, EA3AKP, IK0FVC, NP4G, ZS1C, and ZL3IO.
Please go to our Pilots and Off-Island Team Members page for more details.
We want you in our log and we want you to have fun working us.
We have added Lance, W7GJ, to our off island team. He will be our EME pilot, helping to maximize our effectiveness on 6 meter EME.
We have also formalized our FT8 protocol. You can find the details on the "How to Work VP6R" page. Read and study them carefully. We also suggest you use the link on this page to read "The FT8 DXpedition User Guide" by Joe Taylor, K1JT.
Update September 24: The CQWW SSB Contest will have a first ever entry from Pitcairn Island on the weekend of Oct. 26th and 27th. A contest contact with VP6R will reward you with a zone 32 multiplier AND a VP6 multiplier. This will be an all band multi-multi effort, 160 through 10 meters. That’s 12 possible multipliers.
If you are not in the contest and need a QSO with us, just give us a call with a signal report and your CQ zone in the exchange. We want everyone in our log! Then have some fun and work a few other stations.
Update September 18: After a complicated paperwork VP6R has been granted permission and it is looking forward to operate on the 60m band. [Tnx 60m newsletter]
Update September 10: by Ralph K0IR: The Braveheart called on Pitcairn on schedule on Sept. 6. All our DXpedition gear was unloaded and taken ashore by the Pitcairn Island longboats. Generators, fuel, antennas and masts, Flex radios, ACOM amps, the DX Engineering 160 vertical, Yagis — everything. It’s all there, stored safe and dry in the engineering building. When the roads dry out, all our gear will be moved to our operating sites and be ready for us when we arrive in October. This process will save us 150 to 200 man hours of installation time and get us on the air much faster.
Update August 14: From VP6R site. Today the RV Braveheart completed the loading of its cargo, including all our Pitcairn Island Dxpedition equipment. Our Flex radios, ACOM amplifiers, Yagi and vertical antennas, masts, feedlines, computers, network gear, tools, and our personal luggage, is all aboard and securred. The vessel will depart Tauranga, New Zealand early next week.
We’ve had a slight change in plans which benefits everyone. The Braveheart will make a preliminary stop at Pitcairn on September 6th. Our gear will come off the vessel and be stored on the island until we arrive on about October 17. This should get us on the air faster and circumvent any potential weather delays.
Things are moving quickly now and our team is anxious to get underway. If you’ve supported us, we thank you. If not, please consider doing so. Cash is flowing out very rapidly now. No matter what, let’s do this thing and have some fun!
Update August 5: I had to cancel my participation in the upcoming VP6 DXpedition. I would have been the only 2m EME operator (and was bringing my own equipment). The VP6 6m operation is still scheduled in this DXpedition but not 2m EME.
I will get back to operating portable EME and EME DXpeditions at a later time.
73 and regards, Ned / AA7A
Update July 18: It happened once again. Unexpected business and time demands pop-up in all our lives.
Jim, N9TK has had to withdraw from our team. Jim has contributed a great deal to make this DXpedition happen and we will miss him.
Hawk, SM5ADQ will be taking Jim’s place on the team. Hawk has traveled with us before, is a well-known DXer and DXpeditioner, and excellent operator. He will be one more voice and set of ears for Europe. Welcome to the team, Hawk!