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FP DXpedition summary



Hello everone. I'm back from St.Pierre and Miquelon. I had a great time and
the pile-ups on HF were huge. Satellite operation was a blast and I'm really
glad that I took it along with  me. I was using my IC-910 with a pair of
homebrew K5OE TPMII antennas along with Icom preamps.

Sunday night, the first night of the expedition, was spent at the Hotel
Robert on St. Pierre. The local terrain was not favorable for satellite work
as I could only hear the overhead passes. The first bird I managed to get
into was VO-52 and I called cq for close to 10 minutes without making any
contact as nobody was listening to the bird at that time. After a couple
more fruitless tries on FO-29 and AO-51 I took the gear down and repacked it
for the ferry trip to Miquelon in the morning.

Monday greeted us  (K8DD, AC8W and myself) with sunny skies and calm seas
making the hour long boat ride a pleasant experience. We arrived at the dock
and unloaded all of our gear and waited for Christina from the Maxhotel to
pick us up. At the hotel K8AQM, K8GL and W8IQ, who flew to
Miquelon the night before, already had an HF vertical set up and they were
on the air. That morning we set up our HF antennas and began testing
them to prepare for the CQWW CW contest. The antennas worked very well and
we ran the pile-ups for many hours after that.

Tuesday morning was spent setting up the fiberglass mast for the 80 and 160
antennas and finished just in time as our nice WX had run out. Tuesday night
met us with 100kph winds and rain making work outside impossible so we
stayed inside for the next 24 hours and handed out qso's on CW and RTTY with
a little bit of SSB too.

Wednesday morning we awoke to the same gale force winds and rain and we
hunkered down for another day of being stuck indoors and playing
radio....some guys have all the luck ;-)

That evening came and I had my fill of  HF pile-ups for a while. I dug out
the satellite antennas, put on my rain gear and braved the elements. You
have not lived until you're tried putting up antennas in 70mph winds! I did
manage to get them installed but they were only 4' off the ground and the
wind was giving them quite a beating. I went back inside brought up satPC32
and the next bird to come up was AO-51. The bird wasn't due up for 35
more minutes so I got back on 40M cw and ran the pile-up until the bird was
ready to come over the horizon. I had to wait until AO-51 was about 20
degrees in elevation before it wasn't blocked by the hotel or the mountain
and I could hear it clearly. There weren't any qso's in progress so I gave a
short CQ with my call and the bird quickly sprang to life with KB2YCC
calling me. We exchanged info and he was the first satellite qso in the log
for the dxpedition. More guys that were quickly worked on that pass were
VO1ONE, W8EH, AJ9K and N8BBQ in that order. A look at the computer showed
that FO-29 would be giving me an EU pass later on so it was back to working
down the pile-up on 40M cw.

When the time was close for FO-29 to come up I put my rain gear on and went
back
outside to point the antennas toward the East. It would be a rather low pass
but most of it would be unblocked by the large hills that hampered the
passes to the west and it was directly over the sea for the portion of time
EU and FP were in it's footprint. Once the bird came up being a cw man I
went down below the SSB guys and sent out a couple CQ's. I knew I had
someones attetention as the usual string of dits commenced while they zeroed
in on my frequency. When my cq stopped F6BBJ came back and was quickly
worked and in the log followed by ON5NY. A couple more cw cq's rendered
nothing so I went up to the phone portion and found a hole. I gave out
another short CQ and waited....then all hell broke loose! Lot's of stations
coming back made it sound like a pile-up on 20M! I managed to dig PH7PCF out
of the din and completed a qso with him quickly followed by 2E1EUB and
PH7AT. I could have worked many more stations that pass but there was an ill
mannered Italian station that kept calling no matter who I went back too and
he ruined it for many other guys. I made a mental note of who it was and
made sure not to work him at all during the DXpedition.

I worked as many passes as I could and stayed up late and got up early to
catch the
EU passes as often as I could before the contest started. There are many
more stations
in the log than are mentioned in this email.

During the contest I operated 20 and 40M for the most part and we had a
phased 2 element 40M vertical array that was switchable between EU and the
US. The low band propagation from there is amazing! Lot's of cool DX was
worked and 8Q7DV just about blew me out of the chair when he answered one of
my cq's. Other cool dx that I worked on 40M was A6, A4, HZ, EY8, 9J2, and
ST0 to name a few. The band was always open to some part of the world and
many qso's were made in the early afternoon over the pole. After the contest
was over we spent the next day tearing down the antennas in beautiful clear
and sunny wx.

I set the satellite station back up and was really hoping to catch a couple
guys back home before I left Miquelon and returned to St. Pierre. I worked
one more EU pass on FO-29 and managed to work a couple of stateside guys
then I tuned around and found MM5AJW calling cq and answered him for my last
EU qso from FP.

The next bird due up was VO-52. I was starting to think I
wouldn't work my friends back home because I was going to pack up the
satellite gear in a coule hours and there wasn't any sign of them being on.
When VO-52 got high enough above the horizon I tuned around and found a
familiar voice. It was K8ZZU in conversation with another station. Jim was
saying he was looking for me. Well I was relieved to have finally caught up
with him and waited for him to turn it over to the other station. At the
break in the qso I dropped my call in and waited. I was met with a surprised
K8ZZU coming back to me and we exchanged our info and he made it in the log.
I thought to myself one down one more to go. Jim told me that the other guy
I was looking for, K8NWD, was going to brave the wind and rain at home and
look for me on the next pass of an FM bird. By this time VO-52 was getting
close to going  behind the mountain but I managed to put 4 more guys into
the log before that happened.

Next up were AO-51 and SO-50 at the same time! Which one would Tim be on I
thought. Looking at the computer showed me that AO-51 was a pretty low pass
for him and that SO-50 was a higher one for both of us so I took my chance
on SO-50. I had to run outside and pointed the antennas in the proper
direction. When I came in and sat down it was just in time to here a call
from K8NWD.
Tim and I completed our qso and K8DD AND AC8W sitting next to me got a
chance to work him as well getting him halfway towards qualifying for the
WAMO award. Worked All Miquelon Operators that is. This was to be the last
pass for me and I was putting the gear away. The last few guys to make it
into the log were. KO4MA, K1PL, WI2W and KC8ZFN. W0SAT was worked by FP/K8DD
during that pass as well and FP/AC8W worked a couple of stations a couple
days before that.

When the bird went behind the mountain I packed up the gear and we walked
into town to celebrate a succesful DXpedition at the town's only restaurant
and luckily for us it was still open at that hour. I don't remember much of
the French I took in jr. high so ordering off the menu was interesting to
say the least but all the meals I had on the trip were excellent. Sometimes
some of us didn't get what we thought we ordered for dinner and one of us
got two dinners instead of one. Even our defacto interpreter made the remark
that he didn't understand a darn thing the waitress said to him at one of
the places we ate :-) LOL. A good time was had by all.

Our return trip to St. Pierre went well and the WX was perfect again. At the
hotel Robert AC8W set up his buddy-pole and made a few more contacts but the
local terrain made for difficult propagation and we were spoiled by the
great
location we operated from on Miquelon. The next morning we we headed to the
airport with the gracious help of Jean-Pierre FP5CJ whom we met 9 days
earlier. Then it was off to Halifax then Newark, NJ and then back to
Detroit, MI where the group parted ways and headed home.

It was an excellent adventure for sure and I can't wait to go on another
one. Thanks
to everyone that worked me and  behaved themselves in the pile-ups. For
those of
you that were black listed and never made it in the log, I suggest you learn
some polite
operating skills.

If anyone is thinking of going to Miquelon there isn't a place that I can't
recommend more highly than the Maxhotel and I left my TPMII satellite
antennas there for anyone that wants to use them. Thehotel is ham firendly
and
Christina at the hotel went above and beyond the call of duty and was a
great
person to deal with. She speaks English wonderfully too.

For those of you wanting a QSL card please use my CBA on QRZ.com and send an
SASE.
It will be a little bit before I have cards in my hands to give out so
please be patient. I will also
be putting my logs on eqsl and lotw later on too.

If you find any spelling erros please forgive me as my spell checking isn't
working right now.

73,
K8MM
----
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