Agalega - 3B6RF Bulletin

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    The preparations for this DXpedition will soon come to a close. Everything is running according to plan. On April 21, three members of the team head for Mauritius in order to make final preparations on the spot. The rest of the crew departs on 28 April, flight MK071 from Zurich.

    <H3>Satellite-Operating 3B6RF</H3>

    Our satellite activity from Agalega will be the first ever from this remote place. We will concentrate on using the satellite AO-10. Do not forget! This satellite has got a problem with the batteries. Apart from our activity via AO-10 we will also use RS-12/13 sporadically, which does not allow worldwide operation. We are also looking for the daily progress with the new satellite AO-40 and hope it may be possible to use it during our operation from Agalega. Keep your fingers crossed!

    Please check the sat frequencies, the status and the recommendations on the web site of AMSAT. We will publish all the necessary news and data of our satellite activity on our homepage in time to make sure that interested hams can successfully make QSOs with 3B6RF.

    Our downlink frequency will be 145.895 MHz, +/- QRM. During heavy pile-ups we will operate split. Please listen to the operator’s instructions.

    Please send any information, hints and suggestions before our departure to Agalega to Matthias, DL3KUD DL3KUD@QSL.NET and during our operation contact our pilot stations.

    <H3>6m operating</H3>

    The 50MHz band really is a &quot;Magic Band&quot;. Can you believe that on a dead VHF-Band you can suddenly hear a DX station about 10000km away from you? That‘s the &quot;Magic Band&quot;. Now, we are at the solar maximum of cycle 23 and worldwide contacts may be possible frequently via F2-Reflections and TEP (Trans-Equatorial Propagation). We have a good opportunity to use F2 when the solar flux index is &gt;185 and the earth magnetic A=20 .. 30.

    Six-meter F2 contacts are generally possible only over paths entirely in daylight. Limited experience with TEP indicates that it peaks between 1700 and 2200 local time. TEP signals have a rough aurora-like note. So it is better to work slow CW than SSB. High power and large antennas are not required to work TEP. Large pile-ups will be inevitable from European areas. For TEP from 3B6 the antenna will be directed to the north (360' +/- 45'). We will operate 3 different modes on 6m: Memory Scan Mode, Beacon Mode and QSO-Mode. Always remember, nobody can tell the duration of an opening. It can be a few minutes or several hours.

    <H3>PSK 31</H3>
    PSK31 is becoming more and more popular. 3B6RF will also be QRV on this new mode on 20m, 15m and 10m. PKS31 will be used alternately with RTTY.

    Frequencies to be used are: 14068.15 kHz +/- 1.2 kHz;
    21078.15 kHz +/- 1.2 kHz;
    and 28078.15 kHz +/- 1.2 kHz. We will call CQ on the above mentioned frequencies. However, in order to handle the pile up we will listen +/- 1.2 kHz. That will mean that you have to shift the RX frequency on your sound card slightly. For instance; TX is on 1500 Hz and RX 1350 Hz or vice versa. Contrary to the usual operating 3B6RF will use the TX frequency as master in PSK31. This operating method will also give a chance to the little pistols.


    We have decided to operate SSTV for 3 days. All involved stations have to maintain discipline and good operating practice to guarantee success. Guess what will happen if all stations start to send a picture at the same time! The following rules will allow each station to copy a picture from 3B6RF and to get the chance to send his personal picture with call sign etc. Split operation is a must in SSTV too.

    Example 1: Agalega calls in phone CQ SSTV from 3B6RF. The answering stations reply with the 2 last letters of their suffix. 3B6RF copies
    AX and answers &quot;AX&quot; go ahead and send your picture. The length of the transmission should not exceed 40 seconds, containing call sign and report. Please don’t send a full picture because this will take too much time.

    Example 2: 3B6RF transmits a picture of 40 seconds length with incorporated call sign HB9EAX answers with his suffix AX. More details
    can be found on our home page


    Extensive propagation studies have been carried out which will allow us to become aware of all possible openings. The outcome of these studies can be found on our homepage They show the times of band openings. Gray line charts are also contained and show the small windows of band openings on 40m, 80m and 160m. A special link connects to an excellent propagation tool OM André HB9BIG is the author of these propagation maps.

    <H3>Frequency plan</H3>
    As far as possible we will stick to
    our frequency plan. That will be maintained, as long as our TX frequency is as free from
    QRM as possible. Modifications of our band plan will be published on our home page Stations who don’t have an
    Internet link please see our attached frequency plan.</dt>
    <dt>Police men:</dt>
    <dt>We didn’t elect so called
    BAPO’s (band police man). Anyway they will become active with their own justification
    and they will interfere with efficient operating. In the worst case they will make
    operating impossible. In this case 3B6RF will shift it’s TX frequency. If, suddenly
    3B6RF cannot be copied any more please look 1 kHz (CW) or 2 kHz (SSB) up or down!!<font
    <dt>The following pilot stations are
    active for 3B6RF:</dt>
    <dt>HB9DLE, Sigi, Europe and pilot
    <dt>K6GNX, Bill, USA</dt>
    <dt>JA3LDH, Yasu, Japan:</dt>
    <dt>PT7BI, Daniel, South America:</dt>
    <dt>These stations will handle all public
    relations and the feed back from the HAM community world wide.</dt>
    <dt>They will report to us, on how our
    expedition is being judged and suggest what improvements we may be able to make. This
    input is very important to us, because this will be our only feed back about signal
    strength, possible band openings and other suggestions. Communications to and from our
    pilots will be via Inmarsat satellite. The crew will read these inputs on our notice

    <dt>QSLs can be sent via the bureau or
    directly to:</dt>
    <dt>Ambrosi Flütsch, HB9AGH<font
    <dt>Lerchenweg 29</dt>
    <dt>CH 8046 Zurich</dt>
    <dt>Or to HB9AGH via the QSL bureau<font
    <dt>USA only via N3SL<font
    <dt>Steve &amp; Kimberly Larson<font
    <dt>22 N. Hidden Acres Drive<font
    <dt>Sioux City, Iowa 51108<font
    <dt>Please include a self-addressed
    envelope in order to keep QSL’ing fees to a minimum. Don’t use airmail envelopes
    and don’t mark your return envelope via airmail. Surface mail to USA / Canada, Europe
    and Japan goes by air anyway !</dt>
    <dt>QSL requests with insufficient or
    without IRC/$ will be answered via the bureau. For instance SAE airmail with 1 IRC or 1$
    will be sent via the bureau. Please be aware of the fact that postal fees from Switzerland
    to outside Europe for a 20 g letter (2 QSLs) requires 2 IRCs or 2$</dt>
    <dt>Log search:</dt>
    <dt>During and after our expedition one
    can check whether and on which band your call is contained in the 3B6RF log. Whenever
    possible the log will be updated every 24 hours. Our logs will be forwarded via INMARSAT
    to our head pilot Sigi HB9DLE. Afterwards, Markus, HB9ZFL transfers the log data to our
    home page. It is our sincere hope that the DX community benefits from this service and
    that it helps to prevent dupes. Please note that one minute via INMARSAT costs us
    <dt>Saturday April 28th 2001 departure
    from Zurich to Mauritius </dt>
    <dt>Tuesday May 1st 2001 departure by
    ship from Port Luis to Agalega </dt>
    <dt>Thursday May 3rd 2001 arrival at
    Agalega </dt>
    <dt>Saturday May 5th 2001 QRV for 12 days
    <dt>Wednesday May 16th 2001 disassembly
    of the stations and the camp </dt>
    <dt>Thursday May 17th 2001 departure by
    ship from Agalega to Port Luis</dt>
    <dt>Friday May 18th 2001 arrival at
    <dt>Sunday May 20th 2001 09:00, flight
    back to Zurich</dt>
    <dt>There is the possibility of
    chartering an aircraft for our trip from Mauritius to Agalega and we are still working on
    it. Using an aircraft will allow us 2 - 3 additional operating days. Please check our home
    page for further
    <dt>See you in the pile ups. Best

    <dt>Hans-Peter, HB9BXE</dt>
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