In my blog of March 4th I already wrote about how I'm continued to be surprised by the DX I'm able to work on the 40m band with low power (100 watts or less) and a simple loaded EFHW sloper wire antenna; the US East Coast, the Caribbean, South America, Middle America, Africa, Australia, and even Antarctica, they're all in the log. Don't be discouraged when you have only modest equipment and antennas to your disposal. Combined with some luck and perseverance it will work for you! I know, because it does for me!
Especially the Caribbean is an easy target, and the past year or so the 40m band has been a good provider to me of quite some ATNOs from Africa as well. Now that the higher bands are in bad shape, 40m has become my primary DX band!
Looking at the success I had last winter / spring on 40m QSOing several Russian Antarctic bases in CW and various stations in the southern part of the African continent in both CW and digital modes, I guess for extreme DX, roughly taken, the path from my QTH going down south across the African continent to Antarctica is a very good one for me.
This again was proved the last couple of months when I managed to contact again several stations in the Antarctic region. Last September on 40m in JT65 I managed to work the Polish Antarctic Station Arctowski HF0ARC on King George Island, South Shetland Islands, IOTA AN-010 (more about this QSO in my Sept. 14 blog). Then early October on 40m CW I managed to work FT5XT/MM on a fishing trawler off the Kerguelen Islands (see separate "QSL card in the Spotlight" section below). And very recently on 40m CW I finally also succeeded in making a QSO with the Russian Antarctic Station Bellingshausen RI1ANO, also on King George Island. After a long time and many attempts in JT65, FT8, and CW on both 40m and several other bands I finally managed to put this station in the log.
|Russian Antarctic Station Bellingshausen, South Shetland Islands (from the RI1ANO qrz.com page)|
|Operator Alexandr (UA1OJL) at RI1ANO (from the RI1ANO qrz.com page)|
|PA7MDJ spotted by 8J1RL on 40m. Screenshot from PSKREPORTER.|
|Syowa Station, Antarctica under the rays of the Aurora australis (from the 8J1RL qrz.com page)|
|Syowa Station, Antarctica (from the 8J1RL qrz.com page)|
One would expect a greyline contact here, but strictly seen it wasn't; K6AR had just come out of the grey line zone though, and I was about to go into it. The screenshot below from DX Atlas shows the great circle path completely in daylight. It might also have been a long path contact but I don't believe so.
|Short path between PA7MDJ and K6AR on 26 Nov 2017 14:53 UTC|
I've been deeply fascinated by the elusive "Bouvetøya", as the uninhabited, subantarctic Norwegian dependency is officially called, for a long time. In the 1990s I read about the mysterious Bouvet Island in the book "Het ijspaleis" (The Ice Palace) by Boudewijn Büch (1948-2002). Büch is one of my favourite Dutch writers, not for his fictional novels, but for his non-fiction series of island books. As far as I know the books were never translated, but for every island enthusiast that's able to read Dutch, the series of books is a must-read. I can without doubt say that the origin of many of my fascinations with certain islands and places on this earth derives from reading one of Büch's books. "Het ijspaleis" is largely dedicated to Bouvet. Although he never visited the island, Büch was an authority on Bouvet and therefore unique in the Netherlands and maybe even the World. Reading "Het ijspaleis" makes you realize how remote and elusive the island really is, not only on the ham bands, but also in many other ways.
|The island series books by Boudewijn Büch, from the PA7MDJ library. On the right "Het ijspaleis: eilanden, derde deel" from 1993.|
You can read more of my 40m contemplations in the March 4 blog entry linked to at the top of this page. More on FT5XT/MM in a separate section below