|The Royal Research Ship James Clark Ross at Vernadsky Base, Antarctica. (source)|
Mike regularly is active from the ship as GM0HCQ/MM, mainly in CW but sometimes also in digital modes. In the autumn of 2014, then still with my novice callsign, I managed to work Mike aboard the JCR on 20m in PSK31 when it was close to the Azores and heading south for the Antarctic. It resulted in the wonderful QSL card shown below.
|QSL card for PD7MDJ from the RRS James Clark Ross.|
Then a couple of weeks ago at the QRP Labs booth at HAM RADIO 2017 in Friedrichshafen I bought the U3S 30m LPF kit. I also recently got my hands on a HF-P1 portable vertical antenna (which I'm planning on using during SOTA or WWFF activations). The HF-P1 can be used on all HF bands from 80 to 10m by adjusting the antenna's sliding loading coil. So I recently started experimenting with the U3S sending WSPR beacons on 30m through the HF-P1. It worked nicely, I was being heard all over Europe and crossed the Atlantic to North America a couple of times, but there were still no spots from GM0HCQ/MM. The HF-P1 being light-weight, self-supporting, and quickly assembled, and therefore very suitable for a portable setup, with its short length, loading coil, and minimalistic radials however never will be more than a very compromised antenna.
I therefore took up the plan to make a 30m Inverted-V dipole. I took apart my homebrew 15m dipole, to use its centre and end isolators, and cut new lengths of wire for the 30m band. Minus 5%, as that's what they say the length should be for an Inverted-V with a 90º apex angle. I thought the antenna would fit in my garden, but I was wrong. The restricted space forced the Inverted-V to take a funny, and not so perfect V shape (see the illustration below).
|Crude sketch of the "Funny V" antenna as I like to call the newly installed Inverted-V for 30m. Would love to see its radiation pattern in for instance the EZNEC antenna software. If somebody could help me with that, please contact me.|
|GM0HCQ/MM hearing PA7MDJ|
|PFC QSL from the RRS James Clark Ross for SWL reception of the ship with official radio traffic on 9.106 MHz in 1995.|
The following BAS bases and ships were active on 9.106 MHz:
- Bird Island (callsign ZBH22)
- Signy Island (callsign ZHF33)
- Faraday (callsign ZHF44)
- Rothera (callsign ZHF45)
- Halley (callsign VSD)
- RRS Johny Biscoe (callsign ZDLB)
- RRS Bransfield (callsign ZDLG)
- RRS James Clark Ross (callsign ZDLP)
For more information and photos of the JCR, check out Mike Gloistein's excellent website at www.gm0hcq.com!
Mike Gloistein informed me in an e-mail exchange that during this year's Arctic cruise whilst the RRS James Clark Ross was north of about 77º latitude, the WSPR spots weren't uploaded to the WSPR database real-time due to lack of communications satellite. All reception details of this period were stored and were uploaded manually once communication was restored.
Mike tells me that the WSPR setup aboard the JCR is using one of the commercial receivers which isn't really designed for such weak signals, but nevertheless seems to work fairly well.
The WSPR receiver will be switched off soon when the JCR is back in England and Mike leaves the ship around August 15th.
Mike also informs me that all being well the WSPR receiver will be up and running again from late October for six weeks whilst Mike is back on board the JCR for the first section of the Antarctic season.
I'm looking forward to see if I can get my WSPR signals aboard the JCR coming autumn while it's cruising the seas of the southern hemisphere. In the mean time, whilst the JCR is getting more south on the way back from its Arctic voyage, the reception of my WSPR beacons aboard the ship is getting more common (see screenshot below).
Gavin Taylor GM0GAV informed me that it was him who replied with the QSL from Faraday. Gavin was at Faraday as a comms man from 1990 to 1993. Gavin nowadays is also very active in SOTA, and upon checking my log, I found out that not too long ago I've worked him on 40m CW on the summit of SOTA GM/ES-044.