Trip to the island of Flores, Azores from 18.11 - 01.12.2018

My travel started in Basle where I took a Lufthansa flight to Frankfurt. Upon arrival a bad surprise waited for me: The SATA flight to Ponta Delgada, Sao Miguel was cancelled and I had an overnight stop. 24h later, the SATA flight started to PDL. The connection flight next day brought me to Flores, finally. 2 ½ day to reach Flores.

Antonio waited on my arrival at the airport. Immediately after arrival I installed my K3 station and got QRV. Bad conditions reduced my rate in FT8 mode. No single QSO with Japan was possible and only few QSOs with VK. No ZL! Anyway after 9 days of activity 592 QSOs in FT8 mode was the result.

On Friday we installed our stations for the CQWW DX CW contest. Antonio as CU8AS operated 160m single band high power and I operated 20m single band high power, as CU8FN. Stations were K3 plus OM power 2500 and Voyager vertical antenna at CU8AS and K3 with SB220 pa and LZA 10-5 beam at CU8FN. Surprisingly, no band pas filters were necessary!

The results were: 70 QSOs at CU8AS, only s&p. My result was:

BAND   QSO CQ DXC DUP POINTS   AVG

--------------------------------------

   20 1006 25 107   1   1870 1.86

--------------------------------------

TOTAL 1006 25 107   1   1870 1.86

======================================

       TOTAL SCORE : 246 840

I am very happy with the result. Operating time was 15h 17’.

During the whole contest I suffered from problems with one ear: hearing on the right ear was strongly reduced and sometimes nil. I had to run the contest in the category “one ear only”. Back home the ear doctor easily found the reason: Liquid behind the eardrum. This happens when one travel by aircraft while having an ear cold. Cortisone rapidly cured this illness and hearing is back to normal now.

Antonio heard of a German restaurant in Lajes which one can reach by car in 40 minutes. During our dinner we learnt that the innkeeper’s wife came from the former GDR where she had an amateur license! What a small world indeed.

On Wednesday morning a terrible hurricane waked us up. Diana hurricane wind speed was 136 km/h at the East Coast of Flores and 250 km/h up in the mountains. This hurricane damaged our antennas: The Voyager vertical was heavily bended. And at the beam the 20M element 12mm tip climbed on top of the 17M element tip. The 12mm section tip broke while trying to straightening such element. Using a thriller as insert we could repair the broken element and in the afternoon I was again on the air in FT8 mode. Only the 40m wire delta loop survived the hurricane without damage.

At our former contest QTH behind the lighthouse Albarnaz the damages were a catastrophe. The very large RX antenna of the Portuguese marine collapsed. Antonio informed me about this antenna:

As an assumed responsibility of the Portuguese State, it is a 2.182 MHz, RX only antenna, part of the Search and Rescue, designated as "Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS). The "Zero cost Leasing" Protocol was signed in 29 of September 2014, for twenty and five years, renewed every five years, thereafter.  The antenna construction, amazingly, started soon after at the beginning of 2015, a superfast period of time, considering the usual official sluggish. Never expected to see it in less than three years’ time!

The following pictures show the antenna before and after the hurricane. As this hurricane came from West and hit the island coast with approx. 200 km/h such a very large antenna couldn’t survive.

K1600_IMG_4677_1.JPG

DSCF4130 1

Before the hurricane                                                                 After the hurricane

We hope that the re erection of this monster will take some time as the cost is very high and the money has to be included in the annual government budget. In the meantime we plan to run some operations from our former contest QTH which is situated beside this 2.182 MHz, RX only antenna system. Next activity will be the IARU region 1 field day.

WX kept us busy furthermore and 2 days later another storm reached us with a wind speed of 46 knots. The airport was closed and it was uncertain that the airport would be open on Saturday when I should start my travel back to Switzerland. My flight from Flores started with 1h delay and with wind tips of 76 km/h blowing lateral to the runway. It was extremely shaky but after crossing the zone of turbulence everything went fine. The rest of the travel was normal and I reached Basle Sunday evening.
Next travel to Flores is planned at May 21, 2019 and we plan to participate into the CQWW WPX CW contest, IARU region I field day and the Portugal day contest.

CU8FN/HB9CRV

CU8FN will be active in FT8 mode between November 19 and December 1, 2018.

CQWW DX CW Contest 2018

The contest will take place at November 24 and 25, 2018. CU8AS will work the low bands 80 and 160m and CU8FN will concentrate on the bands 40m to 10m. QTH is the shack and antenna farm of CU8AS in Sta Cruz das Flores, HM49kk, EU-089.
QSL for both calls go via HB9CRV. LoTW is OK.

Between January 22, 2018 and February 16, 2018 I will be QRV in FT8 mode from Flores Island, EU-089. Activity will be from 10m-160m. QTH is the station of Antonio, CU8AS in Santa Cruz das Flores Island.

Expedition in digital modes to Flores Island, EU-089

From January 22 until February 16, 2018 I was QRV in FT8 mode as CU8FN. During this time Antonio, CU8AS and I participated as CR2W into the CQ WW 160m CW contest and I entered the CQ WW WPX RTTY Contest.

FT8 operation:

The aim of this activity was to work the DXCC in FT8 mode and to give as much as possible amateurs worldwide the chance to work the most western island of the Azores, Flores, EU-089. QTH was the station of Antonio, CU8AS in Santa Cruz das Flores. The antenna farm consisted of a LZA 10-5 beam for 10, 12, 15, 17 and 20m, a GAP voyager for 40, 80 and 160m and a 30m Delta Loop. As station I used my K3 with 30 watts and WSJTX program.

 CU8FN Shack

 

Totally, I realized 1610 QSOs and 104 DXCC entities.

Band

DXCC

Calls

QSOs

160m

20

35

35

80m

30

93

95

40m

65

522

545

30m

30

98

98

20m

69

495

523

17m

40

236

240

15m

22

72

74

Total

 

1551

1610

 

These 1610 QSOs distribute to the continents as follows:

AF 0.9%, AS 2.50%, EU 67.85%, NA 22.3%, SA 4.9%, OC 1.7%

Amazing what one could work with 30 watts and a shortened vertical dipole: On 40m I called VK and ZL and could work between 09.30 and 10.00 UT 14 VK stations and 2 ZL stations. Another VK window on 40m opened in the evening grey line. Between 19.19 UT and 20.06 UT 5 VK stations called me.

Generally, I called CQ and worked in split mode. This way it was possible to handle the pile ups, especially on 40m where often called 3 stations and more at the same time. A problem was the QSB and sometimes I couldn’t finish the QSO before the other station disappeared. Unfortunately, what is known from the pile ups in CW showed up also in FT8 mode: Bad operating practice. Break in into running QSOs calling CQ or even running QSOs on my TX frequency.

CQ WW 160m CW contest

We started into the contest with a very simple antenna setup: A storm in front of the contest destroyed the magnetic RX loop. Therefore, the whole operation had to be done with the 13m tall Voyager vertical dipole. Station was a K3 with OM2500 PA. As call sign we used CR2W. The result after 18h 53 of operating time was:

BAND   QSO   DUP    DXC    S/P    POINTS

-----------------------------------------------

160       387     7       48      37      2679

-----------------------------------------------

TOTAL    387     7      48      37      2679

==========================

       TOTAL SCORE : 227 715

  

CQ WW WPX RTTY Contest

I entered the WPX RTTY contest as single operator high power all band. Station was my K3 with a Heathkit SB220 PA running with approx. 400 watts. Call sign used was CU8FN.

After the great success of the new mode FT8 I didn’t expect much traffic in RTTY mode. The contrary was true and it looked as if more stations entered this contest, compared with the previous years. And I could achieve in the contest my best result so far.

No 10m QSO was possible and 15m opened shortly only. The majority of the QSOs have been obtained on 20m. 40m was difficult as the band was overfilled with a lot of QRM.

After 19h49 the following result was achieved:

BAND      QSO     DUP    PFX     POINTS  AVG

--------------------------------------------------

   80           2        0        1           8      4.00

   40       174        0       82       790      4.54

   20       627        1     364      1455     2.32

   15          7        0         2         14      2.00

--------------------------------------------------

TOTAL   810          1     449     2267      2.80

===================================

     TOTAL SCORE : 1 017 883

These 4 weeks on Flores were only possible thanks to the great hospitality of Antonio, CU8AS and his wife Ruth. Thank you very much!

 

CU8FN Shack

BAND QSO DUP DXC S/P POINTS
160 387 7 48 37 2679
TOTAL 387 7 48 37 2679
           
      TOTAL SCORE:        227 715

CU8AS and CU8FN will enter the CQWW 160m CW contest, in the m/s category high power. Call sign will be CR2W.

QSL of both activities via HB9CRV, LOTW and bureau is also OK.