December 25, 2016

Worked All States Award

Last edited: 26.12.2016

This arrived a few days ago, just in time for Christmas, my Worked All States certificate! Mighty proud! Earned for working all 50 states of the USA, including Alaska and Hawaii. Working them is one thing, getting them all confirmed in LotW is another. In the spring of 2015 I worked Hawaii, and with that already unofficially completed my WAS. Oregon was a tough nut to crack though QSL-wise. But a couple of weeks ago a long-awaited LotW QSL came in for Oregon, and I finally had all 50 states confirmed, eventually resulting in the certificate shown here!
All states are confirmed in SSB and/or CW, except for North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wyoming, which are confirmed only in digital modes JT65 or JT9.


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December 11, 2016

Mont Blanc SOTA F/AB-001 - Part 2

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In addition to my blog entry of November 12th, Mont Blanc SOTA F/AB-001, here's some more information from Gérald F6HBI. The photos below are taken with his kind permission from Gérald's Flickr pages. More photos can be found on the Flickr pages listed at the end of this blog entry.

Gérald wrote to me that indeed the F8UFT team for August 16th had planned to climb and activate Mont Blanc du Tacul SOTA F/AB-003 and Aguille du Midi F/AB-015 on returning, but the glacier of Mont Blanc du Tacul had dropped down and in its disastrous path killed three people, which made the F8UFT team decide it was better to cancel the climb and do a training session somewhere else.
For the SOTA chaser following the expedition from his "arm chair" and the comfort of his home, with the scenic picture postcards of the area in mind, it's easy to forget how hostile and dangerous the mountains can be. In the time the F8UFT team was there, in the area no less than 10 people have lost their lives in the mountains. Another OM that also wanted to climb and activate the Mont Blanc got stuck in a cable car at 3640 metres height and had to spend the night in there. The ordeal of OM F5OUX even got coverage on the TV news.

The breathtaking video of the F8UFT team descending the Aguille du Midi can now be found here, and definitely is a MUST-WATCH:

An expedition video and QSL cards are still in the making. I'll keep you posted.

Articles on the F8UFT Mont Blanc expedition also appeared in La Pioche (the news bulletin of the UFT - Union Française des Télégraphistes) issue nr. 121 4/2016, and Radio-REF (the news bulletin of the REF - Réseau des Émetteurs Français) issue nr. 903 November 2016.

Many thanks to Gérald, F6HBI for the information. Merci beaucoup, Gérald!

André, F6IGY with his VHF looking at the Mont Blanc summit.
The UFT flag and the two CW stations on the summit of the Mont Blanc. Frédéric, F8DQY on 40m in the back. Gérald,  F6HBI on 30m in the front.

Gérald, F6HBI at the key at 4,810 m height on the summit of the Mont Blanc.
The F8UFT team arriving on the summit of Mont Buet. The Mont Blanc can be seen in the background at the right.
Cover of Radio-REF issue nr. 903

See also: (activation Mont Buet F/AB-126) (activation Le Brévent F/AB-258) (activation Mont Blanc F/AB-001)

December 10, 2016

QSL card in the Spotlight: CY9C - St. Paul Island, IOTA NA-094

Last edited: 25.07.2017

Here's a beautiful folded QSL card received recently for my 40m CW contact with the CY9C DXpedition on St. Paul Island, IOTA NA-094.

St. Paul Island lies about 25 kilometres off the northern tip of Nova Scotia, Canada on the border of the North Atlantic and the Gulf of St. Lawrence. St. Paul is a rugged island of approximately 5 kilometres long and 2 kilometres wide. The island is surrounded by rockface cliffs and is uninhabited. Due to fog and the often extreme and unpredictable weather conditions in the area, the rocky cliffs of the island in the past centuries have seen numerous catastrophic ship wrecks, and therefore the island sometimes is also nicknamed The Graveyard of the Gulf.

You can find a huge amount of information about this fascinating island on On this site there's also a separate section with a "QSL Museum" with historical QSL cards of amateur radio stations having been active from St. Paul Island in the past and as recent as 2012, as well as a section with links and other information about various other CY9 DXpeditions.

The CY9C DXpedition was active from two operational sites: Atlantic Cove and Northeast Point. Actually, the Northeast Point is a separate small island of just a few acres in size and separated from the main island by a small strip of water.
According to Phil McBride, VA3QR, one of the operators of the DXpedition, my 40m CW contact was with operator K4ZLE at the Atlantic Cove site. During the DXpedition, VA3QR kept a very nice daily blog which can be found here. You can read about mysteriously disappearing chartered boat captains, logistical problems, nasty storms, blown down tents, fog systems, and the other daily events that made this DXpedition quite the challenge and adventure.

Atlantic Cove, St. Paul Island (source)
Beside a chartered boat, the CY9C team also had the luxury of having to their disposal a helicopter to transport equipment and team members to and from the island. The helicopter is owned by team member N2IEN and can be seen on the QSL card. There's no way that a boat can get equipment to the Northeast Point, so all gear for this site had to be ferried by the chopper. Also, along with gear, generator fuel, and supplies, frequently USB sticks with the log of the operators at Atlantic Cove were flown from the Atlantic Cove site to the Northeast Point where VA3QR could then upload it to Clublog via a cellular internet connection with either the Newfoundland or Nova Scotia mainland, that's not clear to me. There was no cellular coverage at the Atlantic Cove site.

Northeast Point, St. Paul Island (source)
St. Paul Island is a separate DXCC entity. It's number 72 on the DXCC Most Wanted List of Clublog (no surprise, North Korea is number 1). Do not misunderstand me, I'm glad St. Paul is a DXCC entity, and I don't want to have it changed, but I'm really curious as to why it is. The island is part of Nova Scotia, Canada, and it's relatively close to the coast of Nova Scotia and Newfoundland, so from my point of view there's not really a clear political or geographical distinctiveness. Maybe one of my blog readers can shed some light on the underlying reasons for St. Paul being on the DXCC list. Again, do not misunderstand me, I'm not promoting here to have it removed from the list, because as far as I'm concerned, the more DXCC entities the better!

Addendum 25.07.2017
The complete story, written by the expedition members themselves, can now be found here.

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