Today is the last full day of the TX5K team’s operations from Clipperton Island and they have already dismantled site B. Site B was mostly CW which meant I had to abandon my hopes of getting them on 40 and 30 in order to achieve a clean sweep on QRP CW for all bands 80 – 10M. However, getting a single DXpedition on 6 bands is a first for me, and I’m pretty happy with it.
Clipperton Island is an interesting place. In modern times, 4 nations have fought for ownership, partially for it’s strategic positioning, and partially for it’s surface layer of guano (translation – the island is covered in bird-droppings.)
The last attempt to permanently colonize Clipperton ended in tragedy in 1917. I’ll leave you to read about it but as Joel KB6QVI said to me, a film could be made from the drama that occurred on this small island in the North Pacific. Indeed it could, and not much in the way of dramatic license would need to be taken in order to make the story compelling for a modern movie-going audience. The Wikipedia entry about Clipperton Island is here (opens in a new window), but you’ll find a more lively read in this article.
Two things struck me almost immediately about TX5K -
1) It was a well-run DX-pedition. Good operators with good ears. I’m referring to the CW side of the DXPedition as I almost never use SSB when DX’ing,
2) The ability to see the QSO you have just made on a map on their website, as well as see your QSO in their online log is fantastic. No waiting for a log to be uploaded – the website updates every 60 seconds and with each of the 6 QSO’s I made, I saw myself in the log no more than 2 minutes after making contact. No more wondering whether to make an insurance QSO. This kind of technology can only have a positive effect on the QSO rate, although I did hear the op on 40M last night firmly talking to a station that had already made 5 QSO’s with him. Obviously that station wasn’t familiar with the near real-time online log. The software was written by expedition leader Robert Schmieder KK6EK, and sets a new standard for DX-peditions of this size, IMO.
Here’s how I managed. Got ‘em on 6 bands with 5W of CW to a 66 foot inverted vee with the apex at 47 feet (partially obscured and partially in the clear). As Justin VE3XTI commented, I sure suck at SSB
John AE5X got a clean sweep on CW from 160 – 10 which, knowing John’s experience, came as no surprise at all. I pretty much expect that kind of excellence from him!
Aerial photos of the DX-pedition site can be seen here. Teams who mount these events go to great lengths so that we can have our DX QSO’s, so no whining on the cluster because the entity you want is not currently taking QSO’s in your preferred mode from your part of the world. In fact, don’t treat the cluster as a message board, period.