JN32 - IOTA EU-070The objective
27th October - 4th November 2006
DXpedition to the island of Porquerolles
The members of the expedition were (left to right)
Tour St Agathe - the DXpedition QTH
I visited the island of Porquerolles many times in the last 15 years whilst on holiday in the south of France, and often thought of trying to operate from there on VHF. I occasionally took an IC-202 with a whip antenna, and was able to work a few stations in Italy.
It is not an easy place to operate from, since the line of latitude 43N runs through the only village on the island, which is also named Porquerolles. There are very few places to rent on the island, all of which are expensive, and to the south of the line there are very few indeed, most (or all) of which are unsuitable.
The island is part of the Parc National de Port Cros and is subject to very heavy restrictions, e.g. no camping, no smoking outside the village, no tents or sleeping bags, no vehicles other than a few for residents and businesses etc.
Some expeditions have activated the island using equipment that can be transported in backpacks and handcarts, and run from batteries, but most of these are short operations, with limited RF output, limited antennas, and no MS or EME capability.
We had planned the DXpedition since November 2005, with a view to running MS on 2 metres using WSJT, and possibly a limited EME capability. We made sure that every aspect was planned and checked, and until we were 100% sure that we could be successful we did not publicise the trip. The first publicity was in September 2006, when the expedition was mentioned to various people in the KST chat pages. Towards the end of September, announcements were made openly and various newsletters informed.
Graham, Robin and Philippe met in Hyeres on the evening of 26th October (Thursday) for a few beers and a meal, and travelled to the island next morning (Friday 27th October). We started setting up the mast, VHF antenna, and the VHF station in the afternoon before Keith and Ian arrived a few hours later. We erected the HF Windom antenna the following morning, and this worked well on all of the HF bands.
We were QRV on 144MHz from the evening of Friday 27th October 2006 until the early morning of Saturday 4th November 2006 and the callsigns for the DXpedition were F1VJQ/p and F5VHX/p. On 144Mhz, we used WSJT (FSK441a) for Meteor Scatter and WSJT (JT65b) for EME. I think many will be surprised at the speed and number of QSOs we had on MS, considering it was outside a major shower. Many MS contacts went through in just a few minutes. It was noted that the majority of people who had claimed they needed JN32 on the Most Wanted Squares list did not actually contact us. Several hundred of you did make a 144MHz QSO though.
We also had some excellent tropo contacts on both SSB and CW on 144MHz, and on HF the pile-ups were a regular feature. There were many IOTA followers who were very keen to get EU-070 in the bag. Our HF wire antenna was the equivalent of a 160M dipole in length, with the T piece suspended from the top of the flagpole!
The transceiver was an ICOM IC-275e driving a BNOS solid state amplifier which drove a pair of 8874s in a Henry 2002 PA with an additional external blower, and the feeder was 20M of Andrew FHJ4-50. At the masthead, we had a preamp from SSB Electronics.
On 144MHz we used a 12 element I0JXX antenna and a Spid rotator on a tripod telescopic mast (our thanks to RFHam of Bordeaux).
We also wish to thank the following for their support:-
OZ2M for the Telnet Shouts software
EA6VQ for the Telnet KST software
HB9BZA for the Telnet RXClus DXcluster software
DL8EBW for the publicity in the MMM newsletters
I have made up a Photos album page, with larger images if you click the photos. The quality has been reduced to save download time!
We alternated the callsigns daily for both VHF and HF, and the log data for VHF is shown in date order. The log is marked to show where the callsign changes. Click this link to look at the F1VJQ/p and F5VHX/p VHF log.
For the purposes of looking at the numbers, both logs have been treated as one log. Some stations worked us more than once. Sometimes one QSO with each of our callsigns on the same mode, or sometimes once on EME and once on MS with the same callsign for example. I have analysed the log to obtain the following statistics:-
Total Attempted QSOs = 287 (286 on 144Mhz and 1 on 432MHz)
Of which there were:-
Total Incomplete QSOs =29 (the majority of these succeeded after another attempt)
Total Complete QSOs = 258 (all modes, and including some stations worked more than once)
Analysed by mode:-
Total MS QSOs = 166
Total EME QSOs = 23
Total Tropo QSOs = 69 (68 on 144Mhz, 1 on 432Mhz)
Analysed by stations:-
Total number of different callsigns = 212
The QSL cards for this DXpedition were printed and ready by the end of December 2006. All QSL cards for F1VJQ/p or F5VHX/p which are received DIRECT will be replied to direct. QSLs sent via the bureau will take some time to arrive, so it may take some time for you to receive a card via this route.
QSLs for F1VJQ/p may be sent via REF Bureau or direct via G8APZ
QSLs for F5VHX/p for dates between 27th October 2006 and 4th November 2006 may be sent via REF Bureau or direct via G8APZ