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by Jeff K1ZM/VY2ZM

1.

Gm Gang

I am going to post a series of notes about our recently completed V84SAA DX'pedition as some have asked me to do so. IF YOU DO NOT WANT TO READ THESE STORIES PLS HIT THE DELETE KEY!! Thanks!

How it all began?

You may recall that our team activated 9M0W last March and soon thereafter K1LZ and I were talking about - "Okay...What do we want to do next?"

We thought about V85 (Brunei) because our 9M0W team mates from Sabah told us it was only a 5 our drive from Kota Kinabalu down to the V8 border and these guys could assist with some logistics to include a site visit and bringing down some things we would need.

In addition I had received some emails from K9UWA and DU7ET asking about activating V8 and we knew it was super rare on 160m from most of mainland USA.

A Dialogue Begins

Krassy K1LZ and I initially envisioned a smallish team of JT1CO/K1LZ/K1ZM/9M6KOM/S55M and perhaps one or two more - but as we all now know this became a rather large team of 26 operators - spread out over two camps - one for SSB and one for CW - separated by some 20km or so.

The Search for a CW Site Begins

Initially I became the point-man and my task was to locate a site with a salt water takeoff to Eu and Na - where we might have low noise, room for antennas, commercial power and a place from which to operate.

I spent about a month looking at google maps of Brunei and suggestions were made about Serasa Beach, Muara and Istana Pantai.

Serasa beach was okay for NA but it beamed through the capital city to acquire Eu - so that was quickly eliminated. Muara had some issues also and Istana Pantai was recently taken over as a British garrison - so the search continued.

I did a lot of reading about prior DX'peditions and two caught my attention - one by a SCOT and two other EU guys looked interesting and I wrote to them and learned eventually that the rental villa they had used was now under renovation and was not available to us.

I also read about the two Italian DX'peditions - by the same Italian team I think - in 2007 and 2012 I think. I wrote to the team leader who was very helpful in telling me much about Sera Kenangan Beach - which is where they operated from. Also Adrian was on a DXpedition in Novermber/December with the Italian team and had learned much about Kenangan beach while in Africa as a part of the Italian team All of these points of contact led us to learn more about V8 and what it would be like down in TUTONG ad Kenangan beach.

I also looked at the Italian website from 2012 and their photos and how they had arrayed their antennas - and it looked quite promising to me.

At the same time - my assignment was to look into acquiring a V8 license and this is where I had the good fortune to meet Tamat Lampoh V85T/V85TL who is the 2nd oldest licensed amateur in V8 - having secured his license just after independence from the UK.

In August of 2018 Tamat and I started a dialogue via email. With his help and guidance I managed to apply for and secure an individual license for myself as V85/K1ZM and one for Miriam as V85/KK1ZM - who is my XYL.

This was useful but these callsigns never went on the air. The next task was to apply to the AITI authority in Brunei for a GROUP DX'pedition callsign. Here I learned that this required a local SPONSOR - and Tamat who is a principal in the Brunei Darussalem Amateur Radio Assn agreed to help me with the sponsorship required. He explained that it would likely be a V84 callsign and it would likely be a three letter suffix. It would need to be a special event callsign and BDARA would need to sponsor it for us to AITI which is the local FCC equivalent.

I later applied to the ARRL LOTW manager and secured out P12 key for what will be our eventual updates to LOTW which are planned - not sure when.

(I need to stop here and comment now on what is really important here. It is possible that I became the most visible face on 160m during our stay out there - but this would never have happened were it not for V85TL and BDARA. It would also never have happened without Adi S55M and Roman RN5M who were the master builders in charge of our antennas at each of our two operating sites. (If RN5M is not a familiar callsign to you, two HUGE stations which you **will surely recognize** are the Russian contest stations RU1A and RL3A which he has largely been the antenna installation guy for. He also installed most of the antennas at JT5CO two years ago in Mongolia in May when Krassy and I were out there for CQWPX CW. Roman and Adi were ***everywhere*** working on things, trying things on Rx at our request - basically they were the "go to" guys on installation and takedown - and their contributions were ENORMOUS. We all owe them a ***huge*** vote of thanks!) It would have never have happened also without Adrian Ciupa KO8SCA who handled our website, many of the logistics and were it not for Krassy K1LZ who coordinated several large shipments of gear and antennas to Brunei from EU and from the USA via Singapore to Tamat V85TL - who was a one man army working for us for 6 months - despite his day job at the airport - Tamat was a hero in all of this and we owe him a huge debt of gratitude for being our LOCAL guy on the scene who took care of EVERYTHING local!)

In late December we were assigned V84SAA and we became known as" The Team Sabah and Friends Royal DX'pedition!" Our license was a group license and each team member was covered under it as long as we brought a copy of our current home licenses to Brunei to show to AITI on demand if asked (we never were asked!) Tamat also worked via email to learn all the serial numbers of our transceivers and amplifiers - in order to ease the process at the airport for the importation of our equipment. When I got there to the airport - they all knew about V84SAA - their list of equipment and serial numbers had been previously provided to them by Tamat - and it only took about 5 minutes for me to clear my own equipment - no one had any issues with this importation process as I recall.

In conversations with Krassy, I told him I was already committed to JW5E in late January - to about Feb 1st of 2019 - so I could not personally depart from Boston to Brunei until 05 February 2019. We were issued our license from 0001 local time on 07 Feb to 2359 local time on 18 February 2019 - so I actually did not arrive in V8 until the afternoon of 07 Feb and by that time the 05 Feb team meeting had been already held and setup was largely completed by the time I arrived at the CW site around 4PM on 07 Feb. I literally got off the plane, checked in to the EMPIRE HOTEL in Jerudong and then drove my rental car 27 minutes down to Sera Kanangan beach in time for the SUNSET opening to NA on 07 Feb.

When I got there to the CW site S55M told me he had just installed our 1000 ft beverage for the SP to North america and that the 160m XMIT antenna had been partially installed using a DRONE by one of the local 9M6 guys - wow - I wish I had been able to see that happen! We had a DHDL antenna on the beach to EU - and at 1500z each night we had to go out to the beach with a flashlight to switch the feedline coax line that was connected to these two RX antennas from the Beverage to NA over to the DHDL aimed at EU. At SR we would move the feedline back to the NA beverage so as to be ready for the NA SUNSET opening again. (I will comment more on our RX antennas - as this became a hot topic for us later in the week - we started out hearing NA at our local SR on the long path very well for the first 3-4 days - but we did not hear well to NA at our SR the last 5-6 days and I will try to explain what MAY have been our issue on LP Rx - we were clearly outXMITting our ability to RX NA on the long path late in the DX'pedition.)

I sat down on 07 Feb and started to listen for NA at sunset. From my operating table I could look out a tent window and actually see the sun going down to the horizon and when it hit the ocean out the window - NA would start coming through almost immediately!

So we had started and were on our way on 160m - which I became the primary operator for. K1LZ sat next to me and was largely the face of 80m CW. Please note also that I was ably assisted on 160m for many hours from 15z-2000z each night by VE7NY, by JT1CO once he arrived later in the week, and sometimes by K1LZ who also did some 160m operating. I usually focused on the 160m SS and SR grayline periods - and sometimes operated all night into EU where the pileups were HUGE! PY5EG did some 160m FT8 for one morning at SR looking for PY and SA stations - which it was tough to manage. I did work Jorge CX6VM one morning on CW at my SR but I think that was all we managed to do into SA on 160m. It was far easier on 80m and a number of PY's were worked easily AFTER our SR with very loud 579 signals - much louder than NA was BTW! PY came in 10 mins after our local SR - after Na had faded out to the East coast - it was a surprise to us to see this occur!)

End of Prologue - When I have time I will try to relate what the first few days were like on 160m - because it was exciting to experience!

73 for now

JEFF K1ZM/VY2ZM

----------

2.

V84SAA - Part II - The 160m station and antennas - Early Results

K1LZ and I discussed the plans for the 160m XMIT antenna at V85 and we decided in the end NOT to attempt some directivity - in part because of our experiences at 9M0W the prior year. At 9M0W we erected two beautiful phased verticals spaced 5/8 wave apart which in theory provided 5+db of broadside gain on the long path SE from Spratly.

This was a great plan EXCEPT for the fact that the propagation to NA never materialized on the LP to the SE at our sunset! Instead it was all short path to 035 degrees or so - and we discovered that no one was hearing us on the east coast as a result. The second night there we were able to switch the system to end-fire - but this too was not optimal - and we abandoned the two vertical concept on night 3 at Spratly as a result. For the last two nights there at 9M0W we used the single vertical at the edge of the lagoon - with good results as an omnidirectional radiator.

So rather than be FOOLED AGAIN - we elected to go with a single vertical radiator at the edge of the ocean - which meant that we would lose some possible XMIT gain - but we would always be aimed at the path that was open to NA. It was admittedly a gamble but it paid off we thought judging by the reports we were receiving about our XMIT signal at V8!

The XMIT antenna was basically a textbook L using a 74 ft spider pole that Krassy shipped to Brunei. But instead of sloping the tail down to the ground - it ran UP a bit and over some nearby trees - because it was installed using a DRONE to lift the wire into the desired location over the tops of the nearby trees. From there, the wire went horizontal for about 60 feet and the support rope was tied to the base of some trees down at ground level on the beach If you looked at this thing from the ground - it looked wonderful and played well.

The radials ran out over the beach with some of them terminating in the ocean.

160M RX antennas

Originally, we had planned to go with two long beverages - one to NA and one to EU but when we got there - only one of the them (the one to NA at 035 degrees) had sufficient real estate to run it out to an optimal length. So we had a 1000 footer aimed at NA on the short path and a DHDL designed by Adi S55M on the beach near the salt water aimed at EU. These two antennas shared a single 400 foot feedline and at sunset we hooked it to the NA beverage - & at 1500z after VE7 SR had occurred - we went out with a flashlight and moved the feedline over to the DHDL aimed at EU.

For the first several nights - we thought we were hearing very well. USA signals were much the same as at 9M0W which means they were about RST 219 - but the EU signals were literally blowing our doors in! It was so easy to hear and work EU and so tough to hear and work NA (except for W5/W6 and W7 that it was maddening!)A signal would rise out of the hiss and you would hear one or two letters and then it would fade down again - and only sometimes did it rise again so a callsign could be pieced together.

At Sunset on 07 Feb K5XI was the first NA to go into the log on Topband followed by WA7NS and then W5ZN. Basically, as soon as the sun hit the ocean and disappeared (which I could see plainly from outside the window in our tent)- the band would open each night to NA - and for about 30 minutes time there would be a window that allowed us to reach as far as the Southerly part of W4 land. It almost never went further North of that during this short optimal window EXCEPT for one night when I worked Eric NO3M - who has a superb 160m XMIT signal and excellent RX antennas. One night we also managed a qso with Pete N0FW in Ohio - but these two spots were as far as we reached to the East coast on the short path.

I would watch the grayline cross W1 and W2 at their SR times each day and listened as hard as I could for guys from the Northeast - but they just were not there. One time at 1206z I swore I copied AA1K at his local SR - and sent Jon a report - but it was not there on his side I later found out.

So SUNSET was a very short window into NA but once it got fully dark - the band quickly went soft until local SR in Texas and points further West. Even W0 was a tough haul - as it took several days to work Dave W0FLS in Iowa.

I can only describe it this way - EU signals were like a freight train and the NA signals were about 219 with rare exceptions and sounded like "fireflies in the fog and mist". Hearing you guys was a frustrating and humiliating experience. We just could not hear you despite trying all kinds of preamplification, attenuation, listening on the XMIT antenna with attenuation, etc etc etc. It did not matter what we tried - the signals were just too damned weak to do much east of W5 - except on one or two days when we worked into NC/GA/FLA etc.

From 1500Z to about 2100z we would run EU with ease and the pileups were ENORMOUS. It was easy to work 300 Eu stations in a single night all the way from G and OH down to Spain and Greece. Of course the Asian stations were there all night long and there are a TON of BY stations that we never hear on the NA east coast. Also quite a few DU and HL stations that we never know exist in W1 land.

Guys like RA0FF and UK9AA are the local qrm so to speak and were loud all the time - as well as our friends in JA - who were very polite for the most part and allowed us to listen for NA at the times when we had propagation.

160M long path

Our LP window started at about 2130-2145z peaking after 2200z with our SR at about 2237z each day. From 2200z - 2237z signals would peak and quickly fade down as SR occurred.

On Feb 7th and Feb 8th we did not hear any NA on the long path but on 8 Feb at 2224z FR4NT called in for an exciting qso. He had a good signal too - Congrats to Cedric.

Generally speaking VK signals were weak at V84SAA - I struggled to work some of them and I know they were hearing me better than I was hearing them because initially we did not have an RX antenna aimed their way. We got emails from numerous frustrated VK's who had called us for hours while we struggled to piece together their callsigns. On day 4 we erected a second DHDL on the beach aimed South and that changed their fortunes and ours materially - HI! I do not think we ever worked a ZL - I think I did not but maybe one of the other 160m ops may have.....

Finally on 09 Feb at 2239z we managed to work W1NA via the long path. It was on a pass from the 80m station to 160m. Pier Luigi I think lives in Texas but operates a fine station in Mashpee, MA on Cape Cod - and he had a 549 signal - well out of the noise. This was our first and only LP into W1 at that SR time for us that morning. I hoped for more - but there were none to be heard.

On the morning of 10 Feb before our SR time, we had our best day into W1 on the long path. I had exchanged emails with Don N1DG and I knew he was going to be there looking for me at his SS - he even repaired his RX antenna in order to be ready - so I was primed and so was he!

I did not expect him to call in so early - but at 2158z he rose right over the Eu callers with a 569 signal - well out of the noise. After that qso I knew NA was in well and looked for other callers. In short order AA1V, K1WHS, K1FZ, K1RL and W1KM were next. Jim at W1LU was in there also right at my SR and I gave him a report but he did not hear it. I also think I heard N1RJ that morning and sent a report but Roger did not hear it.

Around 2145z that day I copied VO1HP with a great signal and sent a report to him - but he did not hear it - which was really too bad - because Frank was a solid 569 when he called me.

Following that success on 10 Feb - we were really psyched because we had a week yet to go at V84SAA and I eagerly as looking forward to more LP into the East coast - but that was the end of it - except for a tough, water-weak qso on a sked with K1UO the last morning- I never heard another New England station on the LP at our SR time for the rest of our time there. We did work into W1/W2/W3 on 80m at our SR peak - but 80m is a totally different world than 160m from that part of the world.

We will talk about why this dearth of LP into W1 may have happened in the next part of this report from V84SAA. It is all conjecture to be sure - but I think it is probably a fair analysis of what PROBABLY happened to us.

73 JEFF K1ZM/VY2ZM

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

3.

The Role of the BDARA and V85T in particular

Any DX'pedition requires comprehensive planning and while this can be done from afar (not easily!) having "boots on the ground' in country facilitates the process dramatically.

In our case, V85T and the role of the Brunei Darussalem Amateur Radio Assn was critical. Our local friends in Brunei did many things to make our lives easier - among them were these:

  1. Securing approval for us to hold our DX'pedition at Pantai Sera Kanangan Beach

  2. Arranging for two tents from which to operate

  3. Having the local power authority install 7 power lines from a pole across the street into our operating tent - which included an air conditioner!

  4. Making arrangements for us to import our equipment expeditiously

  5. Providing tables and chairs from which we would operate

  6. Hosting an official OPENING CEREMONY on 07 Feb at 3PM local time

  7. Inviting the Deputy Chief of AITI (the local FCC equivalent) to "open" the expedition officially and welcome us to Brunei

  8. Arranging for extensive local press coverage of the opening ceremony to include having an item on the local television news that day, holding interviews with V85T, arranging for an article in the local Brunei Bulletin newspaper

  9. Providing a sumptuous feast of local delicacies after the ceremony for the invited guests to enjoy complimented with soft drinks for all.

On the last evening of our operation (which was on 17 Feb) the BDARA again hosted a closing celebration this time at 7PM at our beach site - again with local food and drinks provided by the ladies of BDARA - as a goodbye ceremony to officially close the DX'pedition.

Long after we were gone there of course remained all of the UNWIND and additional takedown of our operating site - meaning returning the tents and chairs, removal of the temporary installation of power for our operation and final cleanup of the beach site.

The bottom line here is that none of this would ever happened were it not for the local BDARA support out team received and for that we are EXTREMELY GRATEFUL.

So WE ALL WISH BDARA AND V85T A HEARTELT VOTE OF THANKS FOR ALL AND PLEASE KNOW WE WILL NEVER FORGET YOUR KINDNESS AND SUPPORT OF THE V84SAA OPERATION! 73 Jeff VY2ZM/K1ZM

-----------

4.

Hi Gang

This will probably be the last from me because there is not too much more to add to the mix - but I would like to comment on the progression of our RX antennas - and some theories why we could not hear well at our SR into the NA east coast via LP after 10 February.

In order to do this, I will explain what we started with, then what we migrated to and finally what we ended up with for RX antennas while there.

Days 1/2/3

  1. We had two Rx antennas and the XMIT vertical at the shoreline. All of these antennas were on the beach about 500 feet from our operating tent. For EU we had a 1000 ft beverage installed by S55M - and it was aimed at about 035 degrees - and it ran parallel over the sand about 100 feet off the ocean and parallel to it.

Before going to V84 I was told by quite a few "experts" that a beverage does not work when run over sand and next to salt water.Let me say here and now that this "wive's tale" is utter NONSENSE - so pls do not believe it for a second. I personally have used such an antenna at 7O6T in 2012 and also here on Cape Cod in 1998 when K1HTV and W4ZV were here for a CQ 160m CW contest.

Bill and Rich both were ecstatic about how well the BEACH BEVERAGE could hear Eu - even though it was only 600 ft long.

So - my take on our NA Rx capability on the short path was that it worked and worked well.

Later in the week Adi extended it by another 1000 feet - so we had a 2000 footer aimed NE for the last 3 nights at SUNSET our time.

  1. For the first three days we had a second RX antenna which was a DHDL which was pointed at about 330 degrees to EU on the short path that way. Eu signals were LOUD and we worked TONS of them each night from 1500z-2145z or so. About 2200z each night we started looking for VO/VE1/VE9 and W1-W3 callers - our SR was at 2237z or so - which means we had a decent darkness overlap into this region.

As I noted before, we had a single feedline for these two Rx antennas that was SHARED. We started on the beverage from 1000z - 1500z (which is about VE7 SR time) and then went out with a flashlight and swapped the feedline over to the DHDL aimed at EU for the EU run from 1500z-2145z or so each night.

The DHDL was aimed to the NW and one end of it was close to the ocean. We were able to hear EU with no issues - the pileups were HUGE and never stopped . In fact Eu was calling all the time even while we were attempting to work NA from 2200z-2237z - despite the fact that we chose to look for NA stations on 1805.5 qsx 1808.5. The occasional JA also drifted down below 1810 khz - but, for the most part, we were able to focus on what we were trying to work - which was NA. Now and then we would hear "JA UP" or "Up 5" and this meant it was either a JA looking for us or an EU who had not yet cracked the pile. Pls note that 2200z is still PRIME time into EU and JA signals are still loud on 160m even after their local SR. One time I was called a LID and sent QFU by an impatient caller. We knew this was going to happen but honestly - after 6 hours into EU and JA each night - we felt it was only right to focus on the NA SS and SR windows when it was our ONLY chance to hear and work NA during very short windows and having a mostly clear Rx freq devoid of S9 callers allowed us to perhaps hear NA - at SS and at SR.

I SHOULD NOTE THAT WHEN WE HEARD AND WORKED IN NEW ENGLAND (W1NA and N1DG et al) we were listening on our EU DHDL - which was all we had except for our XMIT antenna. In retrospect we should have stayed with this combination. What we were doing was to use an S55M splitter on the DHDL - (and on the NA BEV when the coax was hooked to that antenna) - and the splitter routed the signals both to 80 and 160m. So each of us had our own XMIT antenna when Krassy was on 80m and I had my own 160M XMIT antenna sitting next to him for 160M operations. Thus for the first few days were sharing the BEV and EU DHDL using a single splitter. Again, this worked and worked well.

THE VK situation:

On night 3, Adrian KO8SCA came by and told me that the VK contingent was most unhappy with us because we were BOOMING down there yet I could barely hear them.

I copied partial calls for at least an hour - logging only perhaps 2-3 of them. So what we did was add a SECOND DHDL on the beach aimed initially at 240 degrees. This antenna was fed using a second RX feedline - and Adi modified the single splitter by adding a second one. So starting on day 4 we had three RX antennas on two feedlines. Each splitter had two outputs - one for 80m Rx and one for 160M Rx - and these were routed to two DAIWA 2 way coax switches. Krassy and I could individually select which of the two RX antennas were available to listen on - and the wiring of these systems was checked and double checked - it looked fine to me.

So now each op could do this:

  1. Listen on the XMIT antenna - by selecting it from the menu on the ICOM 7610 radio

  2. Listen at 1015z on either the NA beverage - or switch to the 240 degree SECOND DHDL.

And at 1500z when we swapped the first feedline we would have this from 1500z - 2237z at our SR.

  1. XMIT antenna

  2. EU DHDL

  3. 240 degree SECOND DHDL

In theory this meant that at our SR time for LP NA - we would now have two choices:

  1. The original DHDL aimed at EU

  2. the SECOND DHDL aimed at 240 degrees

  3. the XMIT antenna (usually not a good choice!)

Having made this change - we now could hear our VK friends and worked quite a few of them using the SECOND DHDL aimed at 240 degrees. We also had what we thought was a better chance to hear NA LP because we could now listen over EU to W1 or to the SW at 240 degrees on the LP route over Africa to W1 LP.

Some observations:

Here is where I think we made a mistake because my recollection is that from night 5 to the end of our DXpedition, EU was never as loud as it had been previous to these RX changes. We thought it was changed condx - but now I am not so sure.

Also in that we never heard NA as loud as previously leads me to suspect some issue perhaps in the modified splitter arrangement (but I had Adi check it for me repeatedly) - so who knows? Adi is a superb technical engineer and I have to assume he installed this in textbook fashion - but we will never know - HI

On the last several nights - we rerouted the 2ND DHDL to the SE at about 150 degrees - in the hopes of some long path into NA at our sunset opening of 1015z to 1100z (approximately) At these times we had choices between the 2000 ft beverage aimed at the short path 035 degrees AND the Rerouted DHDL aimed at 150 degrees for NA long path.

This combination really did not change our SUNSET results - it remained a 30 min window to NA from 1030z- 1100z each evening. We finally did manage a few W8's and W9's I think - but no additional W1-W3 folks. W4 was still in there - and the W5/6/7 - but no matter what we did, we could not hear the NE on the short path - except for NO3M.

So we again took another tack for the last 2 nights of our operation. We rerouted the 2nd DHDL again to a new heading of 200 degrees which more approximated the NA W1 region (better than 240 for sure!) This was intended to help perhaps on the W1 long path. In this configuration at our SR we could choose between these Rx antennas:

a) the EU DHDL aimed at 330 degrees

b) the 2nd DHDL aimed at 200 degrees

c) the XMIT antenna.

Krassy on 80m had the same choices on his ICOM 7610.

For what it is worth - none of these changes made any real difference for us the last week on the W1 LP opening at our SR peak - meaning 2145z - 2237z. I never again heard W1 on the LP as loud as I did when W1NA and N1DG were worked on Feb 9th & 10 I think.. However, on our 2nd to last night - due to some radio swapping during the day - Krassy and I operated together from the 160m position with split headphones on 80m CW - around 3505 I think - and we listened on ONE of these two DHDL's (I cannot recall which one) and had a good run into W1 from about 2215z - 2240z working VE9AA/W1FV/W1QS/W3BGN/WT3Q and quite a few others.

So the final attempt at LP RX at our SR did seem to work on 80M - but I do recall that signals were relatively weak. When the W1 NA path closed - we hung in there for another 15 mins and about 5 PY stations called in at RST579-599 which came somewhat as a surprise to us both. NA had closed yet SA was LOUD around 2245-2250z. Go figure.

SOME LESSONS learned: Pls note these are just my personal opinions - this is not HARD NEWS - it is COMMENTARY! And I have strong opinions about many things - HI!

  1. When on an expedition it is pretty chaotic all the time. Various operators use the radios during the day on OTHER BANDS. This means when I returned to 160m each evening - I had to change quite a few things (including menu settings and antenna selections on a radio that is not one I knew how to use very well - this made it a challenge to be SURE everything was optimally setup each time I came to get on 160m at SS again. Many years ago operating Multi-multi at W1ZM - my elmer Gerry Scarano advised me "Never make changes in the middle of a MM contest - it is a really bad idea". I have always remembered that advice..... But at the same time, I also must recognize that this was a TEAM OPERATION and you have to go with the flow!

  2. There are also dynamic changes that take -place on an expedition - almost every day. Some ops want to go to FT8 - others want to make special efforts at SR to work into South America - and these too must be allowed.

So what we end up with is a very DYNAMIC and SOMETIMES CHAOTIC environment - and this makes it quite a challenge to keep one's eye on the prize. (At VY2ZM over the years, I have hosted quite a few guest ops - and each time, I tell them (politely in advance) that I do not make operator preference changes in my station - either you use it as it exists - or not at all. Some requests have included running a different logging program installed the day of the contest (BAD IDEA!) - or moving monitors around and rewiring things on the day of the contest.

Also a really bad idea.

But on an expedition, you cannot control everything at a given position - even though you may wish to do so. All you can do is try to get back in the game each time you sit down in the chair - and do your best - which is what I personally tried to do each time I sat down at the 160m position at our SS and SR NA times.

Final notes:

Thanks to all of you for looking out for us on Topband - glad we logged many of you if not all - the pleasure was all ours - and I also want to thank all of those who have written saying we did a good job out there. It means alot to me and to Krassy who bankrolled much of the cost of this one for you guys. I also am sorry I could not hear W1-W3 on the long path at our SR for the final days we were out there. I do NOT believe in ONE-WAY LP propagation - if you guys could hear us 559-569 on some days - we COULD and SHOULD have heard YOU. At this point, we just do not know why that was - unless it was just condx - but I do not think so - we will have to do better next time - HI

Cu on the next one - Where do we go from here? HI HI - with apologies to OH2BH!

73 JEFF K1ZM/VY2ZM