Two weeks have passed since the end of our DXpedition, we are still catching up on sleep. In the meantime, we have been very busy finalizing the TO2SP log. We received all your log corrections sent to the DXpedition e-mail address and to our QSL manager. The TO2SP log has now been uploaded to the Club Log web page and contains all corrections to the log which we felt were appropriate based on your input. We ask that you use the OQRS option on the Club Log Web page (https://secure.clublog.org/charts/?c=TO2SP) for all your direct and bureau confirmations as this makes our job much easier. When cards are sent to us directly, the QSL manager must check each QSL individually in the log which is very time consuming when you make over 63,000 QSO’s.
Our graphic artist is working on a design for our QSL cards and we should be receiving them from the print shop before the end of the year. In the meantime we’ll be preparing the labels, such that the QSL cards can be sent out in the first few days of January to everyone in the world.
In our last post we informed you of our eight pieces of baggage which were lost upon our return. Following our lost baggage claim, our luggage has been slowly arriving over the course of the week after our return to Poland via Paris, Berlin and Wroclaw. We still haven’t got one piece of luggage which is out there somewhere in this world. We hope it arrives before our next DXpedition!
Thank you for all your kind words of appreciation which we have that received from you in various ways. It rewards our efforts in organizing the DXpedition and our hard work during the two week period of the operation.
Despite the 4-day delay in the arrival of our baggage on St.Barts and our initial operation with temporary antennas and low power, we have achieved first place in the world among all of this year’s DXpeditions according the the German DX Foundation portal (http://gdxf.de/megadxpeditions/year.php).
We wish you all Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year full of success in your personal life and on the ham bands.
We look forward to working you from our next DXpedition in 2018.
We are happy to report that all members of our TO2SP team arrived safely back home on Friday late evening. Unfortunately the same was not true of our 8 main pieces of baggage with our amplifiers, antennas, computers and other equipment. This happened despite the fact that all our baggage was loaded on a cargo flight from St. Barts (SBH) immediately after our flight to Guadeloupe, but somehow never made it to the transalantic flight. We filed a lost baggage claim in Berlin and we were promised delivery of our baggage to the home address of SP6EQZ. Today one piece of luggage was discovered in Tuluza France for some unknown reason.
From our experience with baggage delays going to St. Barts, we anticipated this would happen and took the time to upload all of our logs into Club Log and saved them on a backup USB drive. After merging all of our logs (including FT8 QSO’s) it turns out we have 67,261 QSO’s in the log, which is a new record for all 2017 DXpeditions.
We are receiving requests for corrections to our log and will be processing all of them in the next two weeks. These will all be adjudicated and a corrected log will uploaded to Club Log at that time. We suggest that if you do not see all of your QSO’s in Club Log to please send your OQRS request after that two week period. E-mail requests for these additional QSO’s will be not taken into consideration, please use OQRS only.
All TO2SP DXpedition sponsors visible on the right side-bar will have priority in receiving their QSL and LOTW upload without the need for an OQRS reques
TO2SP DXpedition team L-R: K1CC, SP6EQZ, SP6IXF, SP3CYY, SP3GEM,SP6JIU
Our DXpedition is rapidly coming to a close. Today is our last full day on St. Barts. Late in the afternoon we are taking down most of our antennas, leaving just one or two for the night. We are flying out tomorrow morning — K1CC to the US via St. Martin, the rest of us back to Poland via Guadeloupe, at least we think so. The flight situation to Europe is very shaky, we are hearing that the commuter air flight to Guadeloupe from St. Martin is no longer flying as of last Friday. Who knows, we may end up in St. Barts longer than expected!
We have logged 63,000 QSO’s with 8200 of those in CQWW CW. It has been a successful trip. We were lucky to at least get some excellent low band and 10m openings early on, but we are still working some good DX on the low bands at sunrise and sunset. And all day long we are running US and Europe on CW, SSB and RTTY.
It has been our pleasure to provide a new entity for you and to fill your band maps with FJ. See you next year from another interesting country!
Conditions for the contest deteriorated significantly following a week of good propagation the week before. We started setting up for the contest too late and ended up with a late start. Our two SSB ops spent the weekend on the WARC bands on RTTY and SSB all weekend with their own network. Our second network for the contest had issues so we were suffered with no Cluster connections most of time. About 12 hours into the contest, SP6JIU got sick and spent the rest of the weekend in bed.
Here is our score:
Operator(s): SP6EQZ SP6JIU SP3CYY K1CC
Class: M/2 HP
QTH: St. Barts (FJ)
Operating Time (hrs): 46
Band QSOs Zones Countries
160: 503 18 57
80: 866 23 85
40: 2384 32 105
20: 2179 31 108
15: 2259 24 99
10: 49 12 14
Total: 8240 140 468 Total Score = 12,097,984
TO2SP contesting team
L-R: SP6JIU, SP6EQZ, SP3CYY, K1CC
K1CC in action. We thank Elecraft for their sponsorship, the KPA500 performed flawlessly
The bands are slowly getting better. The CQWW CW contest is coming up shortly in a few hours. We’d really appreciate a QSO with everyone on as many bands as possible, whether you’ve worked us before or not.
Once again, we are offering a souvenir from St. Barthelemy for all those who work us on 5 out of 6 bands. This should be possible from Europe (including 160) and easy from the US. It’ll be mailed to you after we return home.
See you in the contest!
No turkey dinner here, we’re all taking turns at the radio or sleeping. The pool is delightful during operating breaks and the weather is always the same – beautiful!! We had no running water for 1 ˝ days, it turns out we depleted the water storage tanks under the house which collect rainwater for domestic water. The property manager finally switched us to city water. The construction work next door is wearing on us, there are two backhoes breaking up ledge and the sifting it into various grades of aggregate. There’s no topsoil on this island, so you have to make your own. The noise is annoying, to say the least. Fortunately they don’t work weekends, so it’ll be quiet for the CQWW weekend. With the work involved in site preparation, it’s no wonder why properties around here start at $2M and up!
The bands have deteriorated significantly. The daytime high bands have not produced any surprise openings. Today even working the US has been tough on 12m and 10m. The “money band” without a doubt is 20m, except for a noontime pause due to absorption. We enjoy sunset the most. Aside from the spectacular view to the west, as soon as the sun drops over the western part of the island, the bands come alive with JA’s coming in like gangbusters on 40m and 20m. We’ve been generating huge JA pileups. We’ve also worked JA’s on 80m at both sunrise and sunset, but not too many on 15m. For K1CC, running JA’s without polar flutter is a new experience.
We spent the 2nd night on 80m on CW and logged over 1100 QSO’s that night. But 160m has been poor, ever since that unforgettable opening to Russia our first night on 160m. The aurora has been obvious to us yesterday and today when we hear US stations with a flutter. Florida stations always come here S9. And there’s a lot of pipeline propagation to Texas and the midwest here on the high bands.
Tonight we plan to hit 40m SSB hard. We need to reorient our phased verticals for a better shot into Europe in preparation for CQWW this weekend. Also on the “to do” list is to configure Win-Test for the contest tomorrow and set up our Telnet filters. Most importantly, we need to get some rest. Tonight, as usual, we’ll be on 160m as much as conditions permit.
This weekend in CQWW CW we’ll be M/2 with 2 stations and 4 ops. The two phone-only ops will operate the WARC bands on SSB and provide us with moral support and make coffee for us. They’ll be our technical crew for all the little problems that arise. One of them is fixing the very thin wires on the VDA’s which occasionally burn out or short out, even though we’re only running 500-600W. Turning antennas will be the job of our support team, as they require running outside and twisting the mast to the proper direction (and making sure it stays that way in the breeze!). Our spirits are good and we’re enjoying this operating marathon.
We know that many of you have worked us on several bands by now. Although our CQWW operation will not win us any plaques, we would like to make a good showing. Please work us in the contest on every band possible, even if you worked us this past week. As an incentive, we offer a souvenir from St. Barts for everyone that works us on 5 bands. It will be mailed out to all the CQWW CW 5-banders after we return back home.
Happy Thanksgiving to all and see you on the bands today!
Another day on St. Barts – the weather is always the same, it’s sunny with a daytime temperature of 84F (29C) and 78F (26C) at night, with very little day-to-day variation. There’s a mild breeze and of course it’s quite humid. We have our stations set up in the living room with no air conditioning and no screens. Our biggest enemy are the mosquitoes, especially at sunset, but we’re getting friendly with them. Our escape from reality are the bedrooms which are air-conditioned, but sleep is always in short 2-3 hour segments at random times of the day (contest style). Needless to say, we’re not getting much sleep. Today we have no running water but we have a pool to cool off.
Our antenna project today was to move the 160 inverted-L as our guy wires were intefering with construction on the lot next to us. It’s not as good a spot, but there’s nothing we can do. We had to fix one of the VDA’s as the 22 gauge wire shorted on one of the elements. Otherwise things are working well. We have no coax switches to save on weight, so there’s a lot of running around when changing bands.
160m inverted Lantenna at the new operating position
We put our top-gun 80m op on SSB and he cleaned up with 1000 QSO’s in the log. Tonight we’ll go to CW on 80. Unfortunately 160m was disappointing, with very poor openings to Europe and very noisy conditions. We had a lot of noise just after sunset and couldn’t copy the pileup. It was not a good night for 160, though we did go to SSB and worked a number of US stations and a few Europeans.
Sunrise brought a nice Asian long-path opening on 17m. We went to 10m just before local noon, worked the midwest and West Coast and a few EA’s. The band then opened further into Europe and we had spotlight propagation to southern Poland and OK/OM. We logged dozens of SP’s, all weak but very copiable. Otherwise it was all G’s, F’s, EA’s, CT1’s and EA8’s, as you might expect. As they faded, the band shifted to the East Coast and we’re sitting here at 19Z still running the US on 10m. The other two stations are on 20m SSB which is just a bottomless pit of Europeans all day long and 17m CW and SSB with non-stop Europe and the US.
Our QSO total is now 26,700 at 19Z. Tonight we go to 80m CW for the first time! We’ll be on 160 again, which is a needed band for many of you.
See you on the bands and keep filling those band maps on Club Log!
After a very shaky start since Tuesday, all good news to report today. Our last suitcase arrived yesterday at 5 PM so we are now operating in full force. We reconfigured our station with the last amplifier and the missing computers and now have 3 fully operational stations on the air.
At this moment we are putting up our last antenna (#10), which are 2 phased verticals for 80m. Sunrise is the best time to put up antennas, before it gets too hot in the sun. We have not been on 80m yet, instead we’ve focused on 160m at night. We put up the inverted-L the day before yesterday just before sunset. It is on the edge of our property and with permission, extended the radials into the adjacent property, as well as the horizontal leg on a fiberglass pole. It’s just over the crest of a bluff into the Caribbean and looks very impressive. We also put up a 100m beverage to Europe which works well. The first night we made over 700 QSO’s on 160m (mostly Europe) with fantastic propagation into Russia. It was really exciting!! As the terminator moved into central Europe, the band closed early, with not many western Europeans. There was essentially no propagation to the US either, just a few stations. Last night it was the opposite, with a good European sunrise opening but no Russians. And of course, at 08-09Z, all the bands are virtually dead as we anxiously await local sunrise. This morning 20m opened to Europe at 1000Z and within 2 minutes we went from a dead band to a huge pileup.
We’ve made some QSO’s on RTTY and tried FT8 on 6m with no success yet, using a 3el VDA. All the antennas seem to be working very well. We were careful in how we located the antennas and there is no interstation inteference, a pleasant surprise. We also put up a short beverage to the US/JA since the EU beverage is quite directive. The pileups have been very big at times. The most exciting ones are the JA pileups on 20 and 40 at local sunset, with a wall of JA’s to pick out calls. We operate mostly split, since our antennas are quite modest and we’re only running 500-800W (depending on the amplifier).
We’ll be hitting 80m very hard tonight (CW and SSB). We have no QSO’s yet on that band. We will also try 12m and 10m around local noon and later, but our focus now is to bring up our QSO total from a slow start.
Do you want to see the picture of which operator you worked? Please check Club Log which we update a few times daily. Unfortunately QSO Director does not work as it should, we’ll try to fix it. Please do not request corrections to the log via e-mail. We don’t have enough time to deal with this now. It might be easier to just work us again 😉
Our Elecraft-sponsored KPA500 has been working well and is a perfect DXpedition amplifier with it’s small size and weight. We would like to thank Elecraft for their support of our DXpedition, as well as all the other other sponsors.
As usual, good news and bad news (but mostly good!). Our daily trip to the airport yesterday resulted in 3 out of 5 remaining pieces of baggage arriving. There are still 2 pieces somewhere in the Caribbean with our 3rd and 4th radios… The good news is that the bags that arrived had all of our antennas. Last night in the dark we put up the multiband vertical lashed to the front gate of the property and finally got on 40m. We were surprised at the massive pileup for hours and hours on such a simple antenna and 500W. At our local sunrise we ran JA’s until they faded into the ionosphere.
In the meantime, the rest of the crew started preassembling the other antennas last night. At 5:30 AM we started putting up our “real” antennas. We found a good spot for the Spiderbeam and put up several VDA’s for the other high bands. We also retuned our vertical back to 30m which was temporarily modified for 20m. It is now 9 AM and we have all the high band antennas up. We’ll be putting the 40m and 80m phased verticals today and will hopefully be on the low bands tonight, at last. We’ve also staked out a beverage location for Europe and another one to the US/JA. If not today, it’ll go up tomorrow. We’re looking forward to giving out the 160m “new one” to all those needing it. Our location has turned out to be very quiet and with the beverage antennas, we look forward to working everyone on 160!
All our daytime antennas are ready, during the day we put up our night antennas as well as beverages
So here we are on St. Barts on day 2 and still no luggage… We drove to the airport to check the status and were told that our luggage is now on St. Martin. We can see St. Martin from our QTH, it’s only a 10-minute flight. However, we were told there was no guarantee that they’ll be here tomorrow. The St. Barts airport was full of angry and upset tourists like us who paid a lot of money to spend a vacation on this island, only to be left without any luggage. Not a happy crowd…
Today we cobbled up another antenna and managed to get on a second band (18 MHz). We found a small spool of wire and put up a dipole at about 10 ft (3m). With a big downslope to the north and west, it was enough to work Europe and the US and a few Pacific stations. However, the band is now dead so we’re left once again with just 10 Mhz for the night.
Our home made 17m dipole
We are uploading our logs to Club Log but unfortunately the QSO Director software is on one of the computers in our delayed baggage, along with antennas and radios for the other bands. We’re happy to at least be putting out some kind of signal from TO2SP.
With any luck, we’ll get our luggage tomorrow and have enough daylight left to put up more antennas. If not, we’ll continue to work 10 MHz.