3DA0MB, KG53mn, Mhlambanyasi, Swaziland
3DA0VV, Vincent (best host you can imagine!)
ZS6JON, John (144 MHz)
ZS6AVH, Andrew (logistics)
ZS4TX, Bernie (50 MHz)
ZS6EME / HB9DRI, Alex (troubleshooter)
PA2CHR, Chris (432 MHz)
PA2CMC, Lins (144 MHz)
HB9COG, Sam (Microwaves)
HB9CRQ, Dan (Microwaves)
2m: 4x9el yagi horizontal, 4x6el yagi vertical, 800W
70cm: 2x28el yagi, rotable polarization, 400W
1.5m dish 1x2mm mesh, homemade automatic az and el control
23cm: 100W at feed, circular, preamp at horn
13cm: 90W at feed, circular, preamp at horn
9cm 80W at feed, circular, preamp at horn
6cm: 80W at feed, circular, preamp at horn
3cm: 50W at feed, v-pol, preamp at horn
6m: 54 QSOs
2m: 291 QSOs
70cm: 47 QSOs
66 QSOs (4 CW, 62 JT65c)
22 DXCC (first ever 3DA are: DL6SH, G4CCH, HB9Q, I0NAA, JA6AHB, W5LUA, LZ1DX, OF2DG, OK1KIR, ON4AOI, OZ4MM, PA3FXB, SP3XBO, TI2AEB, UA3PTW, UA9YLU, UN6PD, VA6EME, VK4CDI, YL2GD, YO3DDZ, ZS1LS)
Smallest station worked: LZ4OC 2.35m mesh dish 150W at feed (-28/R-28)
29 QSOs (4 CW, 25 JT65c)
14 DXCC (first ever 3DA are: DL7YC, ES5PC, G3WDG, HB9Q, IK5QLO, JA6AHB, W5LUA, OF2DG, OK1KIR, ON4AOI, OZ4MM, PA0BAT, SP3XBO, UA3PTW)
Smallest station worked: PA7JB 2.4m solid offset dish 150W at feed (-23/R-23)
16 QSOs (2 CW, 11 JT65c, 3 JT4F)
9 DXCC (first ever 3DA are: DL7YC, G3WDG, HB9Q, W5LUA, LX1DB, OF2DG, OK1KIR, PA3DZL, VK3NX)
Smallest station worked: PA7JB 2.4m solid offset dish 50W at feed (-18/R-14)
27 QSOs (6 CW, 3 JT4F, 18 QRA64D)
16 DXCC (first ever 3DA are: ES5PC, G3WDG, HB9Q, JA1WQF, W5LUA, LX1DB, OF2DG, OK1KIR, OZ1LPR, PA3DZL, PY2BS, SM6CKU, UA3PTW, UR7DWW, VK3NX, YO2BCT)
Smallest station worked: PA7JB 2.4m solid offset dish 30W (-18/R-20)
23 QSOs (4 CW, 4 JT4F, 15 QRA64D)
13 DXCC (first ever 3DA are: DF1OI, G3WDG, HB9Q, JA1WQF, W5LUA, LX1DB, OF2DG, OK1KIR, OZ1LPR, PA0BAT, S57RA, VK7MO, YO2BCT)
Smallest station worked: OK2AQ 1.2m solid offset dish 40W at feed (-20/R-19)
The 3DA0MB Story
In early 2017 John, ZS6JON invited us to join the 3-band (2m, 70cm, 23cm) EME DXpedition to Swaziland which he, Lins, PA3CMC and Chris, PA2CHR were preparing. At that time our microwave DXpedition station was not „halfway“ built. We told him, that we would make final decision in May, hoping that by then, we would know if we can finish building and testing our station in time. In the meantime John applied for the needed licenses for all of us. And Bernie, ZS4TX joined the team adding 6m to the DXpedition. Of course May arrived „way to early“ and we were still working on the station with first tests planned for July. Never the less we made a courageous decision and booked our flight tickets to Johannesburg. Now Lins announced the 1st ever 8-band EME DXpedition. First days of October, one week before departing, our station was tested and ready to run/fly. We just made it.
All equipment made it to Johannesburg and through South Africa customs. Alex, ZS6EME and John picked us (Sam & Dan) up and drove us to Alex’s home (many thanks Alex for having us at your home and sorry we „abused“ your hospitality and did drink so much of your great white-wine), where we were staying for 2 nights. There we checked all our transport cases. Everything was undamaged and all equipment inside looked good. John had all very well organized and prepared. And thanks to Vincent, 3DA0VV we had a great place to stay and operate from (many thanks Vincent and family, you are great hosts!). All team members met next day at John’s home. For lunch we went to a local restaurant and had great food (1kg of spare-rips per person!!!). After a very early morning departure everything went smooth (including Swaziland customs… thanks to Andrews experience) and we arrived by noon at Vincent’s QTH. All was perfect but the weather: dense fog, all wet and only 10°c! Never the less the team set-up all the stations in only 4h! By than the weather cleared-up and we got to see more of the landscape. By early evening all was set and ready for the early morning (2 o’clock local) moon-rise.
When moon came across the pine-trees 4 stations were running at „full-speed“. And, how could it be different, Mr. Murphy showed up… there was just too much HF in the air and too many cables to close to each other. This generated here and there a few problems. But with everyone’s help and expertise the problems could be sorted out and the damage fixed. Special thanks to Alex and Vincent for the „home-made replacement fuse“ for the IF 144 MHz TRV! And finally Mr. Murphy left again and did luckily not come back!
We had great fun operating all the moon-windows. It was a very nice experience to join forces with old and new friends!
We were visited by two officials from the Swaziland Communication Commission and by a journalist of the „Times of Swaziland“. All visitors were very much impressed by our equipment and the way we did use the moon to communicate.
After 5 days of operation the 6m to 70cm team dismantled their stations and drove back to South Africa, we (Sam & Dan) continued for an other 3 days before driving back to Pretoria to Alex’s home.
This was the first DXpedition with our brand new “portable” station. We could test it during very wet (very heavy drizzle, all was soaked) weather, strong wind (up to 40 km/h gusts) and hot temperatures (30c) in full sunshine and even in “heavy” RF environment. The only tech problem was at the very beginning when a fuse in the TRV input was burned due to high RF levels close-by. Overall we are very happy with the performance of our new station.
We used WSJT10 for 23, 13 and 9cm (JT65c) and WSJT-X for 6 and 3cm (JT4F and QRA64D) including Dopplercontrol (CFOM and Full Doppler to DX grid). It is a great help to use CFOM. Hopefully more people start to take advantage of automated Doppler control. Especially on 6 and 3cm it is a must for successful QRP operations. Although it was not easy, we worked on all bands some CW QSOs with the big-guns.
Looking at the smaller stations worked per band, it is obvious, that we could have worked many more, if they were QRV. It is great to see that on 23cm we can work stations using less than 3m dish with less than 200W. And on 13 and 9cm we can even work stations of about our size. On 6 and 3cm stations even smaller then ours. This is very promising for the future and we hope this generates more interest in DXpeditions. We are looking forward to work even more stations during our next DXpeditions!