8Q7QQ, MJ64se, Velidhu Island, North Ari Atoll, Maldives
HB9QQ / 8Q7QQ, Pierre (50 MHz) SK 2011
HB9CRQ / 8Q7RQ, Dan (DXpedition leader, 144 MHz)
HB9EHJ / DF8DX, Bodo (1296 and 144 MHz and QRP shortwave)
DL2NUD, Hermann (432 and 144 MHz)
50 MHz: 7el yagi, peamp, no elevation, 400W at dipole
144 MHz: 1x28cross-yagi, preamp, az/el rotator, 400W at dipole
432 MHz: 1x38el yagi, no preamp, armstrong az/el, 100W at dipole
1296 MHz:1x59el yagi, no preamp, armstrong az/el, 80W at dipole
6m: 7 QSOs (all JT65a), 7 initials, 3 DXCC, 3 continents
2m: 220 QSOs (all JT65b), 204 initials, 39 DXCC, 5 continents
70cm: 12 QSOs (11 JT65b, 1 CW), 12 initials, 9 DXCC, 1 continents
23cm: 14 QSOs (all JT65b), 14 initials, 9 DXCC, 2 continents
The 8Q7QQ Story
Pierre, HB9QQ was many times in 8Q7 and operated shortwave and 50 MHz terrestrial with his 8Q7QQ call. Dan HB9CRQ approached his good friend Pierre in early 2009 and asked him, if he would be interested to join forces for a 4-band EME DXpedition to 8Q7. Pierre was immediately „on fire“. Pierre and Dan prepared the 50 and 144 MHz stations and tested all equipment at Pierre’s radio QTH in Sternenberg (a nice VHF hilltop location). It was winter and there was a lot of snow on the ground and temperature well below 0°c. They were working on the white snow for hours, their fingers got stuck to the aluminum tubes and their feeds were freezing… and they dreamed of the white sand and 30°c… when rebuilding this antennas in 2 month! Hermann, DL2NUD did contribute his DXpedition proven 432 MHz station and Bodo, HB9EHJ his 1296 MHz equipment. Since Pierre was more then 10 times vacationing on Velidhu Island, he knew the hotel management and of course which bungalow is best for shack and antennas. All reservations and the individual license applications were done well in advance.
We arrived well at Male International Airport and had no problems with customs, since we had our 8Q7 licenses with us. Now we had to catch a seaplane to fly to Velidhu Island on North Ari Atoll. This was a 40 minutes flight to the west. All went well, but due to quantity and weight of our luggage they could not load all at once. So we had to wait for the next plane to bring the rest. Fortunately the plane arrived early next morning. Finally all equipment arrived save. We started building the 50 and 144 MHz antennas on the beach in front of our shack bungalow. It was great to stand in the warm white sand sweating in more than 30°c hot air! Imagine, we were assembling 10m long antennas and tube-towers almost the same size. Within few minutes there were many resort guests wondering what we are doing. Luckily we could convince them, that our hobby does no harm to them and will not interfere with their vacation. The 50 and 144 MHz antennas were up and running for 10 days. The 432 and 1296 MHz antennas and the beach-shack were only installed during night (luckily the moon-times did cooperate!). We were QRV 2 nights on each band.
Unfortunately we lost the Italian 144 MHz 1KW PA after 15 minutes of operation. Luckily Bodo could remove the damaged pallet and we were QRV again after 1 hour with 1 instead of 2 pallets and only 500W from the PA. No more PA problems! All other equipment worked well.
Conditions were very difficult, a lot of rotation and one-way propagation on 144 MHz. 50 MHz was limited to moon-rise and moon-set due to no elevation capabilities and of course our 400W at the dipole was not really QRO. We did decode many more stations than we could work. On 432 and 1296 we expected to work more stations, but conditions where difficult and it looks like the EME community didn’t really think they can work us. Anyway, we were very happy to have worked a total of 263 EME QSOs in 10 days. And at the same time we had a great time sun-bathing and snorkeling.
After 13 nights on the island we traveled the same way back home, where we and our luggage arrived with no problem at all.
Pierre, HB9QQ / 8Q7QQ enjoyed the DXpedition very much. After being back home he told me: „this is my biggest and last DXpedition, I’m very happy we did it together“. 14 month later Pierre passed away at the age of 80.
RIP my dear friend!
Dan for the HB9Q and 8Q7QQ Team