A21EME, KG25wk, Mmopane, Botswana

2019 DXpedition

 

Team Members

ZS6JON, John (144 MHz/QO100)

ZS4TX, Bernie (50 MHz)

ZS6AVH, Andrew (logistics)

ZS6NK, Paul (50 MHz)

PA2CHR, Chris (432 MHz/QO100)

PA2CMC, Lins (144 MHz/QO100)

HB9CRQ, Dan (Microwaves)

Sue, Dan’s YL (Microwaves)

 

Equipment

1.5m dish 1x2mm mesh, homemade automatic az/el control

1296: 100W at feed, circular, preamp at horn

23xx: 90W at feed, circular, preamp at horn

3400: 80W at feed, circular, preamp at horn

5760: 80W at feed, circular, preamp at horn

10xxx: 50W at feed, v-pol, preamp at horn

Results

We worked a total of 211 QSOs and 172 initials on 5 bands in 6 moon-paths, 2 paths on 23cm and on all other bands 1 path per band! It was nice to work a total of 39 CW QSOs on 5 bands.

23cm:
107 QSOs (10 CW, 97 JT65C)
95 initials
28 DXCC
6 continents
Smallest station worked: LZ4OC 2.35m mesh dish 150W at feed (-18/R-25) and G4FUF 2x49el yagi 400W (-30/R-28)!

13cm:
24 QSOs (5 CW, 19 JT65c)
20 initials
13 DXCC
4 continents
Smallest station worked: UA3TCF 2.2m solid dish 100 W at feed (R-25/-25)

9cm:
19 QSOs (8 CW, 11 JT65c)
12 initials
8 DXCC
3 continents
Smallest station worked: OK1DFC 2.4m offset dish 45W at feed (-23/R-19)

6cm:
29 QSOs (11 CW,18 QRA64D/JT4F)
18 initials
14 DXCC
4 continents
Smallest station worked: UR5LX 2.4m offset dish 45W (-18/R-13)

3cm:
32 QSOs (5 CW, 27 QRA64D/JT4F)
27 initials
17 DXCC with 1. Africa to Africa EME QSO
6 continents for 1. African WAC
Smallest station worked: VK7ZBX 0.75m solid dish 60W at feed (R-21/-21)

Complete log

1296 MHz, JT65C
OK2DL (1.A21-OK), OK1KIR (+CW), G4CCH (1.G-A21, +CW), ON4AOI (1.A21-ON), UA3PTW (1.A21-UA), OK1CA , RA3EC, RA3EME, PA3FXB (1.A21-PA), OK1DFC, ES6RQ (1.A21-ES), ES3RF, YL2GD (1.A21-YL), DF3RU (1.A21-DL), RA4HL, JA6AHB (1.A21-JA), ON4QQ, RD4D, LZ1DX (1.A21-LZ), DF2VJ, DJ9YW, SP5GDM (1.A21-SP), PE1CHQ, PE1LWT, DL4DTU, DL7YC, DK3WG, FR5DN (1.A21-FR), DL1RPL, KA1GT (1.A21-W), PY2BS (1.A21-PY), PA3CSG, HB9Q (1.A21-HB9, +CW), DJ2DY, OZ4MM (1.A21-OZ), W2HRO, ZS1LS (1.A21-ZS), OH2DG (1.A21-OH, +CW), DL6SH, F1RJ (1.A21-F), VE3KRP (1.A21-VE), G4FQI, SM4IVE (1.A21-SM, CW), IK3COJ (1.A21-I), LZ4OC, PAØBAT, NC1I, WX4F, SM6CKU, DL8FBD, VA6EME, DK5YA, OK1IL, K5DN, OK1YK, EA8DBM (1.A21-EA8), ES1RF, PA2DW, SM4GGC, LA3EQ (1.A21-LA), PI9CM, W1PV, W5LUA, VK4CDI (1.A21-VK), DJ5AR, RN6MA, ZS6JON, ZS4TX, JA8SZW, DL3EBJ, ON5GS, I1NDP, OE5JFL (1.A21-OE, +CW), RA3AUB, G4RGK, F2CT (CW), DC7YS (+CW),  ES6FX, I5YDI, G4YTL, DL7UDA, SP6ITF, G4DML, LX1DB (1.A21-LX, CW), IØNAA, DGØFE, G3LTF (CW), IK1FJI, PAØPLY, G4FUF, I7FNW, K2UYH, K5DOG, GMØPJD (1.A21-GM), N5BF.

23xx MHz, JT65C
OK1KIR (1.A21-OK, +CW), UA3PTW (1.A21-UA), OK1DFC, DL7YC (1.A21-DL), ON4AOI (1.A21-ON), JA6AHB (1.A21-JA), HB9Q (A21-HB9, +CW), UA3TCF, OH2DG (1.A21-OH, +CW), PY2BS (1.A21-PY),  OK1CA (+CW), PAØBAT (1.A21-PA), PE1LWT, PI9CM, G3LTF (1.A21-G, CW), W5LUA (1.A21-W), K2UYH, IK3COJ (1.A21-I), VE6TA (1.A21-VE), DF3RU.

3400 MHz, JT65C
OK1CA (1.A21-OK, +CW), OK1KIR (+CW), DF3RU (1.A21-DL, +CW), DL7YC (+CW), PAØBAT (1.A21-PA, +CW), OH2DG (1.A21-OH, +CW), PY2BS (1.A21-PY), HB9Q (1.A21-HB9, +CW), G3LTF (1.A21-G, CW), OK1DFC, W5LUA (1.A21-W), K2UYH.

5760 MHz, QRA64D/JT4F
OK1KIR (1.A21-OK, +CW), UA3PTW (1.A21-UA), JA1WQF (1.A21-JA), UR5LX (1.A21-UR), DL7YC (1.A21-DL, +CW), HB9Q (1.A21-HB9, +CW), DF3RU (+CW), OZ1LPR (1.A21-OZ), OH2DG (1.A21-OH, +CW),  PAØBAT (1.A21-PA, +CW), OK1CA (+CW), LX1DB (1.A21-LX, CW), G3LTF (1.A21-G, CW), SM6CKU (1.A21-SM, +CW),  PY2BS (1.A21-PY), W5LUA (1.A21-W), OK1DFC (+CW), K2UYH (+CW).

10xxx MHz, QRA64D/JT4F
OK1KIR (1.A21-OK, +CW), JA1WQF (1.A21-JA), OK1CA, VK7ZBX (75cm solid dish 60W, 1.A21-VK), OK2AQ, OK1DFC, VK7MO, OZ1LPR (1.A21-OZ), UA3TCF (1.A21-UA), OH2DG (1.A21-OH, +CW), DF1OI (1.A21-DL), PAØBAT ( 1.A21-PA), DL7YC (+CW), SM6CKU (1.A21-SM), OZ1FF, HB9Q (1.A21-HB9, +CW), LX1DB (1.A21-LX, CW), ZS1LS (1.A21-ZS), DC7KY, W3SZ (1.A21-W), F5VKQ (1.A21-F), MØEYT (1.A21-G), PY2BS (1.A21-PY), UR5LX (1.A21-UR), W5LUA, F4VTA, K2UYH.

The A21EME Story

It all started in 2018. After the very nice and sucessful 3DA0MB DXpedition the team-members decided to do the next 8 band EME DXpedition to Botswana. So John, ZS6JON and his XYL Louisa started the QTH-search and the licensing process. To get the license and find a suitable place for the operation, they had to drive to Botswana several times and many many e-mails were necessary to get everything ready. Without their expertise, endurance and huge effort it would not have been possible to do this DXpedition! MANY THANKS LOUISA AND JOHN!

Unfortunately Sam, HB9COG our Chief Engineer had to cancel his participation due to a „too heavy workload“ at his business. We all were very sorry for him. We really missed him… not only as engineer! But luckily my YL Sue was willing to join the team and support me on microwaves. In May 2019 she joined our SV9 DXpedition for a week. She saw what we are doing and „somehow“ she liked it! So she was ready to become a team member of the A21EME DXpedition.

We, Sue and Dan, left HB9 in the late evening of 17th October with 220 kg luggage in 7 transport-boxes and 1 suitcase. All went well and we had a smooth flight to Johannesburg. At 10 AM of the 18th John came to pick us up at the airport. Chris, PA2CHR and Lins, PA3CMC arrived in Johannesburg the day before and were also part of our „welcome-team“ at the airport. All luggage arrived well, although several boxes were opened and not locked/secured again. Luckily nothing was missing and all equipment looked well. But for one box we had to go the airport police office. At the bulky items belt they told us, that the „long box“ was confiscated because they suspected there was a gun in it. Hmmmm… this was our tripod-box, which of course looks like a box for a huge fire-weapon… Luckily the police officers were friendly and relaxed. They asked me about the weapon inside and I told them there is only a aluminum tripod inside. I had to open the box for them, they had a look and they immediately told me to close it again and take it with me. So we didn’t lose much time and went all together to the car rental desk to pick-up our VW T6 Van. Our luggage had just about enough room to beall  fitted in. In the evening we had a great African Dinner with all team members and some of the XYL’s at John’s and Louisa’s home!

On 19th October at John’s home all the tech-equipment was prepared, packed and loaded to the 4 vehicles of our convoy. For Lunch we all went to a very nice place close to John’s home for the traditional spareribs-feast. It was delicious!

On the 20th October at 5.30 AM the team gathered at John’s home and after a coffee or two, our convoy of 4 vehicles left direction Gaborone, Botswana. It was a very nice drive and we were very well in schedule. Even immigration and customs went smooth and in less time than hoped. So we arrived at about 1 PM in Gaborone where we stopped lunch. After buying airtime and some other supplies we drove an other 30 minutes direction north to get to our QTH in Mmopane at the Camel’s Inn Lodge (KG25wk). We arrived at 2.30 PM and immediately started to build our stations (6m, 2m, 70cm and microwave). We had great sunshine, gusty winds (including Willy Willy’s)  and the thermometer was showing 40°c (in the shade)! It was tough but we made it… drinking one liter water after the other… by 6 PM (sunset) all was ready for moon-rise. The ladies of the lodge prepared a nice dinner for us… unfortunately they were running late… so we only finished dinner after 10 PM… and moon-rise was at 2 AM (22z)… a very short night with outside temperatures of almost 30°c.

21st October we were QRV 1296 for our moon-rise at 4°. The temperature was 27°c, no wind and no clouds. As usual we started with a pile-up which kept us busy for about 2 hours. Then we had only occasional callers. From about 6 AM we were again nicely  busy until moon-set. The temperature went up to 38°c at moon-set. Since we knew that it will be hot, we built a sun-protection-cover for the TRX-equipment. We are very happy that it worked perfectly, we could run full power all the time! Today we have worked a total of 66 QSOs, 3 CW and 62 JT65C, for a total of 63 initials in 24 DXCC on 5 continents.

22nd October was again a very hot day, peaking 40°c in the afternoon. 13cm had no problems with the heat, full power all the time. After the small pile-up at moon-rise, we called CQ for hours with only very few callers. The signals were great, we could have worked many more stations if they were QRV! So at the end of the window we had a total of 24 QSOs, 5 CW and 19 JT65C, for a total of 20 initials in 13 DXCC on 4 continents.

23rd October is the next hot day… only very few clouds and gusty winds… 40°c again! This moon-path we were QRV 3400. Same situation as the day before… pile-up at moon-rise then hours of CQing with almost no takers… too bad, we could have worked many more! We were TXing again at full power with no heat problems at all. We have worked a total of 19 QSOs, 8 CW and 11 JT65C, for a total of 12 initials in 8 DXCC on 3 continents. After moon-set we checked our azimuth system because we experienced a few glitches (during daylight operation) following the moon. We found, that the friction clutch was not tied enough anymore, the heat must have enlarged the rings enough that the clutch released at much less torque. Once found we could fix it and re-calibrate the system.

24th October… again hot… 40°c with less wind and a lot of clouds, No visual moon today. The moon-window starts later and later, so our operating time in the full sun is growing daily. Fortunately still no thermal problems at all, full power all the time on 5760 as well! As usual, pile-up at moon-rise followed by hours of CQ with only few takers… we had a lot of time to work many more! We have worked a total of 29 QSOs, 11 CW and 18 digital, for a total of 18 initials in 14 DXCC on 4 continents.

25th October… and again very hot… 42°c… ufffff… overcast… moon not visible at all. Imagine, in the shack we had PA’a for 50, 144 and 432, with a total dissipation of a few KW, running all the time, some 8 screens/monitors and a fridge… thanks to the traditional roof cover and 2 huge fans we never got over 40°c inside… Today was our 10 GHz activity. Again all equipment working with no problem… full power…. and following the moon with no glitches! Again pile-up to begin with and then only few takers spread over the full moon-window. We don’t want to complain, but it is really a pity not to have worked more stations. Never the less we had again great fun giving away a new DXCC and for several „customers“ a new continent. And today we did write some 10 GHz history! Working ZS1LS marked the first Africa to Africa 10 GHz EME QSO ever! Congrats Allan! But not enough, with the QSO with PY2BS, Bruce we completed the 1st ever WAC on 10 GHz from the continent of Africa! Many thanks Bruce (great to have worked you on 23-3cm) VK7ZBX, Richard and JA1WQF, Mitsuo! We finished this moon-window with a total of 32 QSOs, 6 CW and 26 digital, for a total of 27 initials in 17 DXCC on 6 continents! Today was the final day for the 50, 144 and 432 team. They ended operation before noon and left early afternoon. Now we are on our own… missing our friends but enjoying less heat in the shack!

26th October our final day „on the moon“. Once more we are QRV 1296. 40°c and overcast until late afternoon with a very nice sunset. Again no tech-problems at all. Smooth operation with a lot of time for more QSOs. At the end of our last moon-path, we have worked 32 more initials on 1296. This gives us a total of 107 QSOs, 8 CW and 99 JT65C, with a total of 95 initials in 28 DXCC on 6 continents. After moon-set Sue and I dismantled and packed the station, ready to drive back tomorrow.

27th October we drive back to John and Lisa in Krugerstorp (close to Johannesburg). To celebrate the successful end of the A21EME DXpedition we go together for a very nice dinner at a famous Sushiplace. Back home we are invited to stay over night at Lisa’s and John’s home. Many thanks dear Louisa and John, what you did for us and all the A21EME team is second to none! Very happy and tired we go to bed!

28th October, my daughter Emily arrives at the airport and the three of us go to Madikwe for 5 fabulous days of safari. On 5th November we arrive at Zurich airport and 2 hours later we are back home. Unfortunately two of our 7 transport boxes were damaged, They must have „dropped out“ of the plane. We suffered some damage at the 10 GHz station and the control-station. All will be fixed… so no problem!

It was again a great experience to join our friends for the second 8 band EME DXpedition! Although the 4 antennas were very close to each other (see pics), we had no problems. Wonderful teamwork and friend-ship made it a pleasure to work together. Many thanks John, Andrew, Bernie, Paul, Chris and Lins! And of course many thanks to all who worked us or tried to work us and last but not least many thanks to all supporters, we very much appreciate your help!

QSL information for microwave (23-3cm): please direct QSL with SAE to HB9Q, P.O.Box 133, CH-5737 Menziken, Sitzerland

QSL information for 50, 144 and 432 MHz and QO100: PA3CMC, Lins Berben, Simonshoek 2, 5768 CS Meijel, Netherlands

 

And don’t forget… „after a DXpedition is before a DXpedition!“

 

A21EME – The Move by PA2CHR

Photo Gallery