Story by By Gerhard Richter, DJ5IW (found on old EUDXF site) reprinted by PA0ABM In mid-1997 Karl, DL1VU, and I decided to go on DXpedition together again. Initially we had prepared everything for Lebanon but had to cancel this abruptly despite the fact that licences had already been issued. As a replacement, we decided to go to the South Seas. Due to my limited time off we decided to start on Christmas Island (T32). From there we could catch a boat to Fanning, Washington, Kanton and Tarawa. It was planned that I should stay on Christmas Island, while Karl would use the earliest opportunity to proceed to the next stop. The licences were applied for or reactivated and we received our favourite call signs T32VU and T32IW. Karl reactivated his former call signs T30CT and T31AF as well. The YAESU company supported us with a FT-900ATC including 500 Hz CW-Filter and switching power supply FP-1024. An additional FT-890 with switching power supply accompanied us. The antenna matching devices were one made by Annecke plus a home brew device by Volker, DJ8CP. As antennas we used a rhombus with a side lengths of 40 m and we took plenty of parts such as wires, baluns, etc., for wire antennas. For logging I used my laptop with CT-log with an interface to the transceiver. We took along two solar panels to use as a power source. Batteries were to be bought at destination. We contacted Phil, T32O, who took care of our accomodations. In return we had to promise to help him with the erection of his VEE-beam. Gratefully we accepted his offer and brought appropriate parts as baluns, plugs, etc. with us. On October 29, 1998 we flew to Honolulu and were active from our hotel as KH6/DL1VU and KH6/DJ5IW. As antenna we used a vertical wire hung from the 10th floor of the hotel down to a small tree. This was, of course, not good enough for DXing. But it enabled us to get in contact with Phil beforehand to buy essentials for him. In fact, we bought 25 kg rice, 12 kg flour, vinegar, oil, onions etc. for him. Our excess luggage was an increasing one. On Tuesday, November 3rd, we left on a 6 am flight, headed for Christmas Island. We had actually arrived at the Honolulu airport at 4 am to negotiate an affordable rate for our excess luggage. We carried as much as possible in our handluggage: both transceivers, the laptop, and a bag with vinegar, oil, and onions. But only 12 passengers checked in for the Boeing 737 flight, so we were extremely lucky and didn’t have to pay anything at all for the excess luggage. After three hours flight and crossing the date line we arrived on November 4th at Christmas Island. I had asked the pilot for our flight route and knew at which side of the aircraft I had to sit to have a window overlooking the island when approaching. To the great delight of all passengers the pilot made an extra turn around the island before landing. At the airport we were welcomed by Phil, T32O. But first we had to pass the customs control which was no real obstacle, for we were able to present our licences and a letter from the ministry of telecommunication. Our luggage was loaded onto a pickup. I took a seat on the truck bed, and we left for our QTH. Phil had promised us a "mosquitoproof" room and we both were very surprised when we entered a very nice room with two beds. Of course, the first thing we discussed was how to get QRV as soon as possible. Phil put his equipment at our disposal and we were able to start our activity on the same evening, which was morning in Europe. I completed my first QSO as T32IW on November 4th at 04:47 UTC (18:47 local) on 14 MHz SSB with KH6HKL. Immediately the big pileup from JA and USA commenced, followed by Europe. The first DL-station was DJ7MI, at 07:03 UTC (21:03 local). We used a 3 element monobander, mounted on a 10 m high water tower and a FT 757 with PA (about 300 watts). As Phil doesn’t operate CW any more, the station was only set up for phone. By changing some wires I was able to put the radio on CW, and I started our CW operation on the next day. Karl made his first QSO as T32VU on November 5th with UA0FI, at 05:38 UTC. But the monobander wasn't the complete solution because we wanted to get QRV on all bands. Phil had already welded two masts, each 6 meters in length, to use for his VEE-beam. On the morning of November 6th he brought us a 12 meter mast, along with several helpers. The 12 meter section was the middle piece for the mast to be used for his prospective VEE beam. But we didn't have enough appropriate rope, so we had to drive about 18km to London to buy some. We started to erect the mast on the same afternoon and were successful on our second try. We hung up a 60 m wire as an antenna. The feeder was pulled into our shack and we were finally able to be QRV on all bands. We operated both stations simultaneously. Due to mutual interferences we tried to keep the bands used as widely separated as possible. The next two days we spent constructing the Vee beam. Phil had lost the wire that was initially planned for this purpose; so we searched through all possible scrap yards for copper wire. We found several different pieces which we soldered together with the help of a paraffin stove. As a result we had about 160 m of wire. We divided the wire into two equal parts, which gave us the two sides for our VEE beam. The wires were fastened to a 1 : 12 Fritzel–balun near the middle part of the mast. One of the loose ends was secured at a 6 m mast, the other one at a palm tree. The angle of the wires was 55° which was ideal for all bands, except 160 m. The coaxial cable was carried from the balun via a coax switch to our shack. We used the switch to connect the antenna with T32O’s equipment. Therefore Phil also had the opportunity to work with the Vee beam on all bands. We were able to work with the FT 900 and the modified Annecke antenna coupler. 100 watts weren't too much, and the power was very low for the lower bands. Phil offered us a transistorized Ameriton PA with 500 watts. All we had to do was supply 12 V at 50A. For a small fee Karl was able to borrow a nearly new 12 V/150 Ah truck battery. Phil brought 2 cables with a lengths of about 8 m and a cross-section of 80 qmm. We were able to connect the battery with these cables. I also found, buried among Phil’s stuff, an old 30 A battery charger, which we used many times to recharge the battery. With the combination of the battery and amplifier we were able to deliver 250 to 300 watts to the antenna, with the level depending on the status of the battery. The disadvantage was that the battery charger caused interference on the on 18 MHz, so we had to turn the charger off when operating on that band. But it was now possible to work Europe with acceptable signals on SSB. Even 80 m was improved. On 160 m we were still limited to 100 w output due to problems with the antenna matching device. Starting on November 11th we were on the air around the clock alternating as T32VU and T32IW. Only from 17 to 20 hours local time we had to go QRT because at this time Phil had his daily sked with friends in KH6 and W6. Karl waited from day to day for a message that the boat, the NEI MATABUTRO, would come to London to take him to Tarawa. We booked one cabin as a precautionary measure during our first trip to London. As Karl intended to take the FT-900 and the Anneke coupler with him, we had to build up the second station to allow me to be active on Christmas until early December. We modified the FT 890 and DJ8QP–matching device, but when the mods were completed, the matching device was only capable of 100 watts. So I couldn’t use the PA. Phil brought an old, beat-up, variable capacitor, with about 1,000 pf capacity and a plate separation of about 3 mm. I managed to rebuild it and make it rotable again. I then wound a coil using tinned copper wire and tried to match the Vee beam with my haywire antenna tuner, but it didn't work well. But we happened to have seen an old cannibalized transmitter next door. Everything had been removed but the PA‘s variable capacitor was still there, so we removed it. We had to clean and to repair it, for children had apparently painted it with grease. Now we had a second variable capacitor, enough to to build a PI tuner. Connections to the coil were made in the classic way by using crocodile clips. Now I had a tuning device that could even handle one kilowatt. And I could operate on 160 m with 300 watts. Meanwhile, we learned that the ship would leave for Tarawa on November 21st via Fanning and Washington Islands. Therefore, we packed Karl’s station and were to London on the 21st, expecting that Karl would be able to board. After an hour of waiting were learned that the ship wouldn't leave until two days later. So we returned to the shack and continued to make contacts with the single rig still there. On November 23rd Karl left for Fanning and Washington. On the way he was active as T32VU/mm and at Fanning he operated T32NCC’s station at the beach. Meanwhile, I continued to be as active as possible as single-OP. Mainly I tried to be QRV when the bands were open to Europe. The bands were open to USA and Japan all the time. Unfortunately, I didn’t have a QSO with EU on 80 m and 160 m. On the 10 m-band there weren’t openings from T32 to EU either, despite the fact that KH6-stations worked Europe. I joined the CW part of the CQWWDX Contest as well. Due to an extensive power failure I was able to log only 742 QSO’s. Slowly my time on Christmas Island ran out. My flight to Honolulu departed on December 1st. I Honolulu I had a two day stopover before my plane to Munich departed. On arrival we had more than a one hour delay because the snow had to be removed from the landing strip. Altogether we made nearby 12,000 QSOs, 4,500 by T32VU and 7,500 by T32IW, half of the total on SSB. We had a lot of fun with our DXpedition and I promised Phil to come back as soon as possible. Phil was a big help for the success of the DXpedition and we owe him a big thank you. Without his help we would never have been able to be QRV so quickly. Furthermore, we would like to say thank you to the above mentioned companies for providing the equipment and to GDXF and EUDXF for their support.

T32IW und T32VU at Christmas Island

Gerhard, DJ5IW(T32IW), Phil, T32O and Karl, DL1VU(T32VU) Erecting the main tower for wire antennas After hard work, the HAMs and the local assistens T32IW rig with homemade antenna-coupler Last day of Cristmas, Phil, T32O and Gerhard, DJ5IW(t32IW) No soldering iron?
DXpeditions 02