This page designed and maintained by N1DG ( ) redesigned by PA0ABM News Bulletin, 8 January 1999 What a blast! The ZL9CI hit the air in style with 10,724 QSOs in the first 23 hours, operating six stations on most bands to give everyone a good chance of working us. The CW operators were hot and accounted for more than half of the QSOs. We were given a taste of how bad the weather can become in an hour or so when a storm dropped the temperature and hit the antenna system with 60 knot gusts of wind. The only damage was that one of the 20M Yagis rotated a reflector to the vertical position. The bad weather resulted in dangerous conditions to transfer the team off the island to the Braveheart and we were forced to stay ashore for the night much to the joy of 160M and 80M amateurs around the world. Trey N5KO, Declan EI6FR and Andrew GI0NWG were very popular on CW with the low band crowd. The pileups have been mind boggling, with a solid wall of signals from EU, NA or JA depending on where the antennas are pointed. Additionally, the pileups have been extremely well behaved, with plenty of patience and good will flowing both ways. The QSO rate of around 500 per hour produced plenty of tired grins and high fives when the logs were merged this morning. Each day, the logs will be compressed, sent by a PACTOR 2 link, (equipment for which is provided by SCS of Germany ) for access on the QSL log server. The team is making every effort to make the contacts, calls and logs highly accurate. Mistakes can happen however. Please don’t shoot the messenger. Work us again. Allow 48 hours for your logs to appear on the log server. The Sea Lions are still terrorizing the team members outside the operations site. They lurk in the bushes and tussock and let out a roar that puts up the hairs on the back of your neck.. It is now a rule that two team members must travel together when changing antenna directions outside. We haven’t decided which is worse - the Sea Lions or a pack of hungry amateurs looking for us on the low end of 20 meters. Campbell Island, is cold, wet, windswept, wild and strikingly beautiful. DXpeditioning from one of the best locations in the world is a tough job, but hey - somebody’s got to do it! 73 the ZL9CI team Lee ZL2AL - Logistics and Planning News Bulletin, 9 January 1999 New 30 meter tx qrg: 10106 New 160 mtr tx qrg: 1826.5 Even though the solar flux is around 120, the team is astonished by the massive pileups. The CW members of the team are working over 200 per hour on a regular basis. Hundreds of stations are in the log on all the bands. We put up a second 80M vertical today so that we can run 40M, 80M and 160M at the same time. We have a few technical problems with co-station interference with our SSB setup and are trying to correct that. The CW setup hums! Walking into the shack and looking at the CT screens hour by hour is amazing as the totals grow alarmingly. At this time, after 2 ½ days operations we have over 20,000 QSOs in the log. One objective of this DXpedition was to give everyone, in every country that elusive “new one” The 100W trap vertical stations seem to be able to work us as easily as the big guns. We try to work everyone on an equal basis and are enjoying the great feedback from our pilots. We must pay tribute to our pilots and web master and our New Zealand based pilot who works with one of our team members, Wilbert - ZL2BSJ so that we can get E-Mails from our families on a regular basis. Being out in the middle of nowhere means that we have lost touch with what’s going on in the rest of the world. No TV or Newspapers here! The twenty meter Cushcraft Yagi was lowered for minor adjustments today and the 10M 5el Cushcraft was resited a little further away from the other antennas. The Yaesu FT1000MPs, FT920s and IOTA FT900s are great to operate and handle the pileups well. Our 6M beacon was heard in VK today and the first 6M QSO took place with VK2DN operates continually every day listening for answers on 50.110 mHz. As the solar flux picks up next week, we hope to make the first QSO to the USA or JA. The team was informed this morning by the ARRL that we are the recipients of the Colvin Award grant for 1999. We are understandably extremely pleased at receiving this award, as we are trying to carry on DXpeditioning at it’s best in the tradition of Lloyd and Iris Colvin who gave so much to the amateur community in the many years they travelled the world and gave out “new ones” Our thanks to the ARRL and the members of the amateur community for supporting this DXpedition. 73 from the Team Lee ZL2AL - Logistics and Planning News from James, 11 January 1999 Just about 30K QSO's after 4 days. Here's the plan for the next few days: 1. 40M CW: We have a healthy number of EU in the log now, so we will be listening non-exclusively - which means we will now also answer US and JA. We are always QRV on 40 CW from 0630 to 0945 UTC daily. BTW - this is an amazing time for this band as JA, EU and NA are ALL equally loud. 2. 30M CW: Same as above. We will answer everyone. This band has been a pipeline into Europe! Almost 2000 so far. 3. 15M: We will dedicate one SSB and one CW station for to listen exclusively for Europe from 0630 - 0945 UTC. 4. 160M: TX freq is now 1826.5 We will alternate listening between 1831.5 and 1905 (JA). 5. 80M CW: Our TX freq is now 3524. 6. Due to restricted hours of darkness here, we ae holding back on 80 SSB and 40 SSB until things cool down on CW. The rates are much better on CW, and more people have a chance to make it in the log on this mode. 7. The 6m station is having a big day today into VK. When not in use - the station os always on beacon mode from 1530z to 1000z. There is always someone in earshot in-case someone calls. General: If we happen to clash with any existing DXpeditions (i.e. the T2 guys) we will try to QSY 1 or 2 below their TX freq, and QSX above their pileup. We are pushing the twilight hours as much as we can usually with 4 CW stations and 2 SSB. We've all been having a great time - especially on CW. I've been holding up the 40CW end of things for the past few days, and its been fantastic. 17CW was also outstanding today - I had about 4 solid hours into the USA with decent signals. For topbanders, keep watch around 0945Z - 0955Z on 7007 - if the pileup keeps going *after* this time, it means that the weather turned bad, and we are staying the night on the island. It also means we will have 80m running all night too. Aside of some annoying inter-station interference, everything seems to be working just fine. We are slowly learning to co-exist with the Sea-Lions, and basically they are keeping their distance. We still keep a close eye when we go outside to turn antennas - just in-case they are lurking behind a bush or something. ------------------- Now a personal side of the operation...... As part of our effort to give you a more interesting picture of our DXpedition, every so often well bring you a little rundown of some of the more colorful characters we have encountered on our adventure down south. The Captain The proud owner of the vessel that made this all possible is a man by the name of Nigel Jolly. Known affectionately amongst the team and his crew as Captain Ahab, this rough and tough Kiwi seaman could best be described as the ocean going version of Crocodile Dundee. With a raspy foghorn voice that sounds like sandpaper and a face that matches, this large, hefty man seems to have no sense of temperature, and is comfortable in shorts and a t-shirt even in our subantarctic climate. His language is enough to make even the toughest of our team members blush -- even our fearless leader ZL2HU -- and evening meals are an experience even for seasoned sailors. As Nigel says every day as we return to the ship, "!@##@$#@% the @Q#$!@%!@^ing pileups - get on board you lazy !@!@#ers." The DoC Guy Our official chaperone from the New Zealand Department of Conwservation is one Jason Christensen, ZL2URN. Though a licensed ham, Jason is more at home above 50 mhz than below (but we hope to change that soon enough). Friend to seals and the nemesis of topbanders, Jason is the guy who makes sure we adhere to our permit and get our butts off the island by 1000 UTC every day. But official duties aside, this softspoken and likeable fellow is more keen on nature walks than pileups, and still views us all with a perplexed eye when we come cheering home to the ship with another 10,000 QSOs in the log. Keep your ears out, and give him a break the next time you hear him on the band, because Jason is one guy who we need on our side. Stay tuned - more personalities next time! de 9V1YC News Bulletin, 13 January 1999 AND NOW.....A Day in the Life of..... 4.00 AM Any day. "Get up you teddy bears" the captain yells at us. My head hurts from last night's pileups. Breakfast is corn flakes, toast and coffee on the fly. The Zodiac is a bit tricky, bashing against the ship with the waves. Five bodies in black rain gear time the rise and fall of the Zodiac and jump in safely. The black angry sea is not an option. The outboard motor sings and Campbell Island looms out of the blackness. The ladder on the wharf is much steadier to hold on to. We trudge up the hill to get to the radio shack No light yet except our flashlights. The big rock in the pathway suddenly comes alive and lets out a roar that sends us all scattering. 400 kg Sea Lions are very territorial and the ZL9CI site has been theirs for the past 30,000 years. Ken starts the generators. The noise of 23 KW keeps the sea lions away. 5 AM The CW shack is humming. Trey N5KO is casually reading a copy of NCJ as he passes 200 QSOs with the EUs on 30M. James 9V1YC is draped over the keyboard at an awkward angle. He is an ergonomically incorrect new age guy. As usual. I never noticed it before but he bangs the keys with a vengeance. Andrew, GI0NWG blocks the computer with his frame as he stands at the keyboard. He makes CW look easy as he runs 40M CW early in the morning. Doesn't say much but speaks with his CW expertise. 6AM Standing in the howling wind and driving rain 100M from the shack, changing antenna directions sure dispels the romantic ideas of a DXpedition. No sea lions around... quick... get the antennas turned to JA for the morning and get back at the radios. 7.30AM The second shift team arrives. "What's the total?" "Who's on 40?" "Have you turned the 20M mono?" "How are the generators?" "Look out for 15SSB ... it's getting interference from 15CW" The shift changes smoothly. 12.30AM Lunch. Captain Ahab (Nigel) has sent over the lunch in the Zodiac. Nice chicken and salad. We get individual lunch boxes with little drawings on top which denote chicken or steak or pork. Funny, but the pork drawings looks like a demented cat. "Listen up guys" "This is the operating schedule for tomorrow" Captain Video (James 9V1YC) holds fourth on the joys of sitting at a radio desk fighting off hordes of EUs and how to handle them. We try daily! 2.30PM "Any totals Wilbert?" Wilbert ZL2BSJ has been working on the logs for the past hour. We collect them at 0000 UTC daily and Wilbert and Trey check them for errors, compress them and Pactor them to NZ for the Web site. I get dirty looks. Things are not going well. Some op has logged 150 QSOs on the wrong band on CT and they all have to be changed manually. Why don't ops use the check list? 4.00 PM Turn 20M beams to USA/EU for the night. "Hey ... some guy wants to know why he isn't in the log on 160M" shouts Murray ZL1CN from a run of USAs on 15M. We all laugh. Just another problem that will surface 3 months after we are back home. 6.30PM "See you later guys" Half the team goes off to the ship for dinner. Nice too! Captain Ahab makes a great plate of spaghetti. Is the weather too rough to transfer back tonight? No such luck! Dinner is unwind time. "What did you do on 12M" "10M was hot" "Are you going to work 20SSB tonight?" Radio conversation is mixed with "Pass the salt" "OK guys, get the life jackets on" We face the wind, rain, rough seas and the Zodiac yet again. Nobody likes it. 8.00PM "Europe only, Europe only - ZL9CI" Lee, ZL2AL tries to keep the rate up on 20SSB It's impossible as 5000 EUs try to fit into 15 kHz. His S-Meter suffers terminal overload. Lee takes five and has a cuppa coffee. 10.00 PM Brian, VE3XA observes dryly "How can they hear us if they don't stop shouting at us' Good point! 11.00 PM It's over. Time to leave the Campbell Island for the day. The trip back in the Zodiac in uneventful. I can't wait for a shower and bed. Wilbert is in the office working on the Pactor. "Hey guys... you should see the E-Mails and comments from the pilots" We grab the printouts eagerly. "Look at this.... Best DXpedition ever" It's all worth it. 4 days operation and over 30,000 QSOs in the log! Time to bask in the glory tomorrow. It's only 5 ours till Captain Ahab kicks us out of bed again at 4 AM. Gotta get some sleep! 73 from the ZL9CI Team Lee ZL2AL News Bulletin, 14 January 1999 Here's today's posting from the island from James, 9V1YC to Don, N1DG: We had a rough ride into the island this morning with gusts up to 60knots, but alas when we arrived to relieve the 4:30am shift, the bands were dead. That is why we deviated from the plans I sent you point operating on dead we went to 80 ssb. We had an awful day, but around 8pm local time they began to come back to life again. Hopefully, if everything picks up we should hit the 50K mark sometime around 0600Z Jan 15. We are now at 45k, and averaging about 6500 QSO's per day. We were rather annoyed that this wx storm did not hit 8 hours earlier, because it would have been a goldmine! Oh well.... We expect this massive auroral event which shut us down today to clear up in the next few hours. 20 and 40 are already picking up nicely. Myself and Trey are taking turns at "The Monster" - that is the European pile on 20m from 0330-1000Z, and we are having a great time (I set a personal record last night with 700Qs' in 3 hours 30 min!). The conditions from this place are astounding - and we are amazed at the bands - especially the low ones. 80m sounds like 10m here - just like on Heard. We will spend tons of time on 80 next week...see below. Here are some operational notes for the public: 1. The main pileups to Europe on 40, 20 & 15 CW are still huge, and we are continuting our push on these bands. Both myself and Trey will not back down from our 20 CW runs until things cool off. We have read Rob's comments (and others), and we realize that this main mode and band still needs work. 2. I understand that many stateside guys are desperate for us to get on 40 & 80 SSB - mostly because that would give them a "clean sweep", or they because are not CW ops. For the record, we WILL get on these modes, and we WILL have our best ops on for this, but not for next few days. I expect at least 4 more days before we hit SSB on the low bands. We will also resume 80 CW in a big way too. 160 also. There should be a good chance to nab us on these bands, and I will announce at least one day in advance of any full-blown scheduled 80m & 160m operation (but no advance warning if we get a "bad weather" overnight). 3. 10, 12, 15 and 17M are good to Europe when conditions pick up, and we will maintain our evening presence (0630-1000z) there daily on both modes until things cool off. LP has been best. 4. RTTY operation has commenced on an almost daily basis on or about 0330-0530UTC daily on 20m. As the other bands thin out, and we have more time to dedicate an operator to this mode, these short hours will increase. I expect a big RTTY push this coming weekend so we can move on to other things during this time period. This time period was chosen first as it gives a good overall opening while not crippling us of one op and one station during the peak period (after 0630z and before 2100z). 5. On suggestion from the public, our SSB ops will be listening above 14225 for US General class ops from now on, and more frequently as the pileups thin out. Keep watch and listen out over the next 2 weeks, as it should be no problem. 6. As 0630-1000 is our evening twilight, and our best HF openings occur here, 6m usually has nobody to listen out for callers. We are sorry about this, but we have such limited time that something must give for a while until we've worked out the regular stuff. Once things cool off, we will try to have 6m within earshot for all 18 hours. All in all, we are really putting the "pedal-to-the-metal" in our attempt to please everyone and work as many as possible. So far, I think the formula I have chosen is working, and people seem to be happy. We have detailed statistics every day at our disposal, and we are well aware of whats needed, and where the holes are, so people should not worry. We have about 2 weeks left - plenty of time. 73 James 9V1YC p.s Tell George, K5TR that was me that worked him on CW with his not-so-weak signal! Well I think that sums it up. Let's hope for bad wx and good propagation. Don, N1DG ZL9CI East Coast Pilot, Webmaster News Bulletin, 15 January 1999 Suppose somebody offered you a job which required you to work 14 hour days, with a lunch break of 20 minutes, to work in a building that is old, cold and drafty and has an outside climate which changes every 15 minutes. Suppose you had to arrive at work in the middle of the night over rough seas and then risked attack from a sea lion with the temperment of an average junk yard dog. And suppose the job required listening to noises all day the most people would buy Grade 4 ear muffs to protect themselves from. And to top it off there is no union to protect your rights. Dirty job but somebody has to do it! Thanks James (9V1YC)... we accept! DXing is not about working conditions. It's about putting QSOs in the log. We passed 50,000 today, after a poor day yesterday when we got hit with Aurora Australis (or sunspots). It doesn't really matter what it was. The bands were dead for about 12 hours. Nothing. Not even the broadcast stations were heard. Total wipeout. And a much needed rest for the ops. Conditions came back with a vengeance today and our runs continued. We all thought that after this time the pil eups would diminish. They show no sign of shrinking. Tests operations are being run on 80M SSB on 3790 kHz around 0800 UTC and 14 mHz RTTY around 0300 UTC. 73 from the ZL9CI Team Lee ZL2AL - Planning and Logistics AND NOW.....THIS OPERATING NEWS (from James): Bands have been very slow in our mornings (1530z-2300z), but extremely big in the evenings (0500z- 1000z). We have put pretty much the whole gang on operational duties now every evening to handle the load, and a much smaller crowd in the mornings. Its a madhouse here after 0630Z! 6 stations running full blast with huge pileups. We are on either 160 or 80 *every* day at our sunrise and sunset, but we are not capable of doing both bands concurrently. We have about 350 EU, 350 USA, and 350 Asia on 80 CW so far. A few issues: 1. We know Europe is hungry for 10 amd 12m. Not only through e-mail, but also becuase they are hounding us on the other bands. We keep getting comments like "its open to ZL right now - great signals!" and " its open etc..." But we check and check, and its not. Or very weakly. So we go back to 17, 20, 40 etc.. They must understand that we are quite a ways from ZL in terms of propagation. Just becuase they can hear a ZL1 (which is 1500 miles from us!) may not be an accurate indication of propagation to Europe. Therefore, we are going to put a beacon on 10m tonight. 28.024. CW. This will be 100 Watts to a 5 element monobander pointed Short path to Europe. If they hear us, they can call us there, or on any other band and let us know. Or, they can send e-mail to you with the exact times and the peak, so we can attack it the next day or two later at the same time. We will leave it within earshot of at least one person. Sound good? It the best idea I can come up with. 2. 6m. BIG opening to Japan yesterday. WOW! Almost 70 guys! We will keep at this at the same times throughout the weekend. 3. 75m SSB has commenced! We are on 3790 nightly from 0800Z. We will do our best to get everyone in the log. This may alternate with CW once that starts (see below). 4. 160m will not get serious again for another few days at least - or until we have our next overnight storm (which statistically is inevitable, so no need to worry). There is still too much need everywhere else, and we will only start hitting 160 hard next week - midweek or late week. When we get an overnight, 160 WILL get priority. I think everyone understands the limited time at our sunset, when just about every band is open everywhere. This clash from 0730-1000z is a time when everyone wants us on somehwere - so we have to make choices. Eventually, we will get around to all of them. We are only halfway through yet. Plenty of time. 5. "The Monster" (20m CW) is being tamed, so is "The Dragon" (40m CW). As Euorpeans in our log outnumber both USA and JA on both of these bands by two or three times, we will be putting more focus to North America and especially Japan over the next few days on these bands. But it doesn't mean we won't answer Europeans, just that we will keep more ears out for the other guys. Everyone still gets answered. Thinner pilups here also means we can have more time now for 80 (both modes) and 40 SSB. 6. 80 SSB will take priority over 80 CW for a little while until the pileups get a little smaller. Since its a little hard to do both 80 CW and SSB at the same time, we may stop one or the other periodically, depending on who has a better run. Again, don't worry - we will still make sure both modes get equal attention before we depart. 7. RTTY is active daily 0330-0630z on 20m. This will increase as other pileups decrease - so they don't need to keep hounding us on the bands about RTTY. We will eventually be there at all the right times for everyone. Basically, the policy remains to work down the main needs first, and then tackle the fringe stuff (RTTY, 160, 80, etc..) with more focus after that. That seems to be working so far, and with half our time ahead of us, I think we will be able to make everyone happy. James News Bulletin, 17 January 1999 No change in operating news to report...they are over 65,500 QSOs. By popular request more profiles from Lee. Team Profile. This time out we profile the Antenna guys, Declan EI6FR and Andrew GI0NWG, close mates from the two Irelands. Declan is in charge of the antenna system for ZL9CI. When asked what his plan was to install eight yagis in the two days after we landed, he replied "don't worry, it'll happen, it'll happen" and it did. Typical Declan, laconic and soft spoken, but the job does get done. "I'm just here to work" is his favourite reply. We caught him asleep in the op chair today and have the photo to prove it. Declan is a cool hand with the CW but occasionally forces himself to hold a mike. Andrew is the perfect antenna monkey. No problem perched on a wobbly stepladder looking at a balun. Rumour has it that he can sniff the end of a piece of coax and be able to tell what direction the yagi is pointed! Give him a pole and he will climb it. He dropped a 15 M monobander the other day, repaired a poor connection and got it back up and working in about 15 minutes. No problem. Give him a keyboard with CT on it and watch the totals grow. He talks as fast as handles CW. Wouldn't be caught dead with a mike in his hand. CW IS with Andrew. Both Declan and Andrew are heavily involved with DXpeditions to activate rare IOTA Islands in Europe from time to time. Both are into contesting with their third mate Rob, GI0KOW our European pilot. He keeps telling us "You should hear the pileups in Europe" We do Andrew. All the way down here. Island Profile: Campbell Island is a nature reserve. The flora and fauna is protected, and for good reason. Back in the middle 1800s, Campbell, McQuarrie, Auckland, Heard and other islands in the Southern ocean had huge populations of sea lions, elephant seals and whales. Most of these species were decimated by the whalers and sealers of the past. It's a fact, that in one year alone, one whaling company based in Australasia took 165,000 skins and 56 tons of seal and whale oil. It is hard to imagine how Perseverence Harbour, named after the ship that discovered it, looked a long time ago. We leave the Braveheart each morning to go ashore and marvel at the sea lions that play around and follow our Zodiac ashore. Yesterday we went to look for one of the few remaining sea elephants. We found one in the bay about 1 km from the ZL9CI site and now know why it is called an elephant seal. This particular animal was very near the shore and we were able to get within 5 metres, as it was in shallow water. The animal was about five metres long and we estimated it would weigh about 1000 kg It was huge to say the least. Very impressive. It looked at us curiously and went about it's business of resting it's bulk on the rocks at the shore. At one time there was probably thousands of them around the harbour. Often, during the afternoon, most of our radio bands go dead. 10M, 12M and 15M are usuall active from 2100 UTC until 0100 UTC. 20M doesn't happen until later in the afternoon here, around 0600 UTC. Team members will often will go for walks to look for wildlife, as we did a few days ago and went to see the Royal Albatross colony up in the hills. This required a three hour return walk of about 6 km, Albatross are incredible flyers and soar around the ridges for hours. They skim the ocean just a few cm above the surface. They resemble a huge seagull about the size of a Christmas goose which has a very large hooked beak and a wingspan over 2 metres in length. We saw many pairs nesting and watched as one bird would turn over the job of sitting on the nest while the other went out to sea to look for food. The sea lions are always wandering around our antennas and it was inevitable that one would connect with and antenna. We looked in disbelief two days ago at our beautiful 40M four square vertical array that became a three square overnight. The culprit was a sea lion that snagged a guy rope on a flipper and the aluminium vertical pole bent and snapped about 2 metres off the ground.. The antenna team repaired the vertical and got it back up easily in a few hours. We lost a second generator a few days ago. The ship's engineer took it apart and it is one sick puppy, for sure. The team has had to conserve power and some of the stations will operate with 100 watts instead of 400 watts as we usually do. The pileups still are very very large, but very well behaved. We activated 40M SSB today and James ran huge totals in just a few hours. 40M and 80M CW and SSB will feature more in our schedule as we move closer to our shut down on January 24 Lee ZL2AL - Logistics and Planning News Bulletin, 18 January 1999 Here are the plans for the next 12 hours. RTTY...the RTTY push is on..they've been on 15 meters all afternoon USA time...even this scribe worked them (first dx rtty qso on my FT1000MP purchased last year). If I can get them, anyone should. Anyway, they will move to 20 mtrs rtty when 15 plays out and will stay on 20 rtty UNTIL they qrt for the night at 11:00 UTC allowing EU a good shot. 80 tonight beginning 08:00...3503 +/- 40 meters...ssb beginning 08:00 EU/NA then for JA at 09:00. James wishes to thank the cooperation of the EU 40 meter ops last night. Some of the best ssb rates into Europe since the beginning of the operation occured last night...and on 40 no less. 160 none tonight...they need the antennas and stations for the 40/80 meter ops..and those pileups continue to be very deep. They've been saying 160 after 40/80 mtr dies down since they arrived on the island. They are sticking with that statement. This is consistent with the plans since they started. They continue to work stations on all bands that are still unique calls, as such they feel the need to work the bands where the qso rates are the highest and give the most opportunity to hand out a new one. Total qso count an amazing 70,000 qsos. 6 days to go. No storm in sight, today temps reached 60 degrees and sunny. Where is that bad wx when they need it! Good luck to all EU tonight on RTTY. News Bulletin, 19 January 1999 Here are the plans for tonight: 20 RTTY...starting at 05:00 until shutdown at 11:00. 40 ssb for EU starting at 07:00 40 ssb for NA starting at 09:00 40 ssb for NA and JA starting at 10:00 80 cw 09:00 for about 30 min... 160 starting AROUND 09:30. When they disappear from 80 check 160..he might be going back es forth in the beginning until 160 opens, then staying on 160. 160 again when they return to the island at 16:30 until the band dies. 160 activity to continue per the above every night from now on until they qrt on the 24th. The 10 meter beacon continues....if EU hears it please let them know. Don't ask for 10 mtrs if you can't hear the beacon! They get hundreds of requests daily ....why ask if you can't hear the beacon? 76,300 qsos so far. Now a personal note from Don, N1DG: Thanks to those who have thanked me and the other pilots publicly for our work here. We look good because the team has consistently followed our feedback with changes in operating plans, etc. Tonight I listened to pileups on 10, 12, 15, and 17 meters and they continue to be courteous, happy and cool operators. They left Wellington on the 1st of January and I've yet to see any cracks in the happy attitudes. Another thing I've noted is the response from you guys. Pileups are also well behaved. I've heard the EU pileups on 40 and 20 and they also very well behaved. Every day I've passed traffic without interruption. Last night my station took a lightning hit and my rotor and 40 mtr beam are fried. Despite my ant. off by 90 deg. (it was on Campbell before the storm) and a longer than normal interruption in the pileup due to my weak sigs, there were no breakers or complaints about the delay. The last two weeks are what dx-ing should be...lots of excitement, qsos, fun, band and mode fills and tons of new ones. They are about to set a new record for qsos during a major dxpediton, but that is not the whole story...they brought fun back to the hobby at a level I haven't seen since VK0IR. I am sure the 76,300 qsos in the logs to date gave us all joy. 73, Don, N1DG, ZL9CI East Coast Pilot, Webmaster News Bulletin, 20 January 1999 The ZL9CI Site. We are located in Perseverence harbour which is on the eastern side of the island. The harbour is about 1 km wide and 3 or 4 km long. Mt. Honey across the harbour dominates the landscape. Beeman Hill about 500 Metres high overshadows the site. Beeman Hill is the "plug" of the volcano, as Campbell Island is actually a huge extinct volcano that died millions of years ago. In fact we turn the yagis to JA on the left side of the hill and NA on the right side of the hill. EU LP is straight down the harbour. The ZL9CI radio shack is the old meteorological office up the hill from the harbour and is about 30 metres above sea level on a ridge. The weather can change from 8C and a bit of sun to a howling gale with 60 knot winds and horizontal driving rain within an hour. The rapid changes are quite remarkable. The CW antenna site is south of the shack and the SSB antenna site is north. Each antenna field is separated by about 200 metres. It's a magnificent sight to look at the line of nine big yagis, 80M/160M Battlecreek special and 40M Four Square array on the ridge when we are on the ship. The second morning we were here, Jun and Lee saw a huge classic rainbow over the sight with the black clouds behind. It would have made a great photograph. Both of us had our cameras on the island. This DXpedition may go down in history as the most photographed and videoed in history. James, 9V1YC (alias Captain Video) is making the ZL9CI video which should be on sale at Dayton. We know the video will turn out well for three reasons. 1) He constantly is videoing us and our environment and appears to know what he is doing. 2) He won't let us see any of it. 3)The Sony camera is about the size of an FT1000MP but has more knobs and controls. The camera sits on a tripod, that if disassembled would have enough aluminium to make a third 20M yagi. Operational Notes We have been inundated with hundreds of requests such as "When are you going to be on......etc. etc. etc. Individual operators are unable to change operating schedules or QSY to other bands or modes at any time. Please realize that there are 11 operators and seven stations and it is an intricate job to obtain the maximum performance from the equipment and the operators. Operators are scheduled by the Operations Manager days in advance for the various shifts. If you have a request, please direct your request to any of the pilots around the world who will make recommendations. The individual operators are very, very tired, working long shifts. Try to think of it as working the CQWW for weeks on end! They try not to be upset with the jammers and the hecklers and the strange requests, but they are only human. Campbell island is over 2000 km south of ZL1 and over 4000 KM south of 3D2. It is also over 4000 km east of Australia. Radio propagation is a funny thing. You may be hearing ZL1 - ZL4 very well. That has little to do with ZL9. Don't expect radio communication. There are times we can't even hear the ZL mainland! Most of us have forgotten what TV, broadcast radio and music is! The six meter beacon on 50.110 MHz is on every day. We have worked ZL, VK and JA. We still are looking to work the USA on that band. Over 1400 RTTY QSOs have taken place and we are targeting RTTY over the next few days. There have been some excellent hour after hour 15M and 20M openings to EU the past few days which has helped us achieve one of our objectives of satisfying the EU crowd. The last QSO of ZL9CI will take place on January 25 at 2359 UTC. 73 from the ZL9CI Team Lee, ZL2AL - Logistics and Planning News Bulletin, 21 January 1999 Yes, but how does the gear work? With four days to go, it is time to see what's hot and what's not with the tonnes of equipment we brought to ZL9CI. Antennas We are using a new series of Cushcraft monobanders that will be released for sale later this year. The 5el 10M, 15M and 4 el 20M monos are very well constructed and have a dual driven element for flat SWR across the bands. They were easy to put up, work extremely well and have a great pattern. No structural failures in spite of some extremely high winds. The 40M 4 Square built by Bob Sutton ZL1RS uses the switching box donated by Comtek You can lay down a great signal anywhere in the world by simply switching a box. Brilliant! The Force 12 20M 3el Yagi performs very well also. The Battlecreek Special is fantastic on 80M and 160M. Unfortunately, they are not available commercially. The Gladiator 30M vertical is a joy to use, well constructed and has provided thousands of 30M QSOs with no problem. We have had a trap failure with the Create Vertical caused by our failure to position a connection properly which caused a massive arc from the trap coil to a 1/4" aluminium rod. The only damage was a plastic coil shroud which can easily be replaced. The Nagara WARC Band Antennas are really great for 12M and 17M. We have used them previously in the Kermadecs and Chatham Island. The WARC bands have been extremely popular. We should have had a third Nagara in our antenna inventory so that we could work three band/modes simultaneously. Generators We have four 5Kw diesel generators. The second day of operation saw the field windings burn out on one unit. It was replaced by another 6 kw one loaned to us by the good guys on the Braveheart. It blew a head gasket and spewed oil within a few days. The third generator runs about 20 percent lower than normal voltage. The others sag under load and other problems arise with the electronic equipment. We are keeping our fingers crossed and offer daily prayers to the electrical gods. Amplifiers Command Technologies in Bryan Ohio loaned three Commander HF2500 Amplifiers to us. They are massively constructed and behave perfectly. Our line voltage often drops to ridiculously low levels and the amps were never designed to operate that way, but they continue effortlessly hour after hour, day after day. The YAESU VLX is a joy to use as it has all the latest band switching, overload protection, LCD readout bells, whistles and gadgets. We do not run high power at any time. We stay within the bounds of our NZ license, accept the 6db gain the amps give us and do not risk equipment or antenna failure. Radios We have used YAESU radios at ZL8RI and ZL7AA. They are simply superb to operate at ZL9CI. YAESU radios have enough buttons and gadgets on them to rival the bridge of the Starship Enterprise. They also are workhorses, performing flawlessly day after day. No failures in spite of some appalling line voltage problems. We have an FT1000, and FT990, two FT920s two FT900s (Thanks IOTA) and three FT1000MPs. The FT920s have had some technical magazine revues which looked at the "inside box" laboratory figures that mean little to the average guy that grabs the mike in the heat of the moment. The new FT920 works very well indeed. Digital Data gear. SCS of Germany donated two of their new DSP Multi mode Pactor 2 Data Controllers. We use these to upload the compressed logs on 7 and 10 Mhz to Chris ZL2DX in New Zealand each day for transfer to the log server. What a superb unit it is! It will pull signals out of the noise and transfer files perfectly in conditions you wouldn't consider using CW in. As far as we know, this is the first time Pactor 2 has been used to upload logs on a major DXpedition. It will also copy CW, Amtor and RTTY amateur signals. We put the SCS Data contoller on James 9V1YC a few nights ago and found that he actually does make a few errors at 45 WPM on the Bencher paddle in a pileup. Sorry about that James! We always knew you were human and not a machine. Computers The operations manual spelled out just about everything about how this DXpedition was going to happen. No mention was made of computer problems. We had procedures to deal with the log disks every day. And most of you are glad of that! We assumed that a computer virus would never happen. Assumption is the curse of mankind and as I write, Wilbert and Declan are trying to sort out how the 'Boot Junkie" virus infected our disks and eleven laptops. Wilbert and Norton Anti-Virus software to rescue and not so much as one QSO was lost! In retrospect, additional precautions should have been taken. But we assumed it would never happen to us. Summary With four days to go, anything can happen. The complexity of a modern DXpedition dictates that extremely complex equipment will be operated under very harsh conditions. We all talk about "Murphy's law" but luck has little to do with it. Luck favours the prepared. We can only marvel at the skill of the designers and manufacturers of this gear that it actually works at all. But then, I started out in this man's hobby with a Hallicrafters S40 receiver and a 6AG7 driving a 6L6 to a massive 30 watts into my 40M dipole. I am easily impressed. Dipoles never change! Lee Jennings ZL2AL - Logistics and Planning News Bulletin, 25 January 1999 Were going Home! The team closed down ZL9CI today after achieving all it's objectives. It took just 9 hours to dismantle the antenna system and the eight stations. Perhaps a measure of how much we want to get home. The barometer has been dropping for the past 30 hours and the weather for the trip home does not look all that promising. We sail in another few hours and the team is heavily into seasick pills at present. We expect to be back in New Zealand around February 1. The logs containing 96,004 QSOs have been uploaded to the log server and are now complete. The ZL9CI team - Ken ZL2HU, Lee ZL2AL, Declan EI6FR, Andrew GI0NWG, James 9V1YC, Jason ZL2URN, Brian VE3XA, Jun JH4RHF, Wilbert ZL2BSJ, Trey N5KO, and Murray ZL1CN would like to say thanks to the amateur radio community and our sponsors around the world for their fantastic support and great E-mails. It has inspired us to give as many amateurs as possible a chance to work Campbell Island. 73 de ZL9CI Team Lee Jennings ZL2AL Logistics and Planning


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