RAC Ontario South Director, Phil McBride, VA3QR/VA3KPJ, is on a DXpedition to St. Paul Island (IOTA NA-094) as part of a team of 11 operators led by Randy Rowe, N0TG and Murray Adams, WA4DAN.
Phil will be providing regular updates here on the RAC website and on social media via our Twitter and Facebook accounts. All images are used with his permission. You can find out more about Phil and follow his journey via his blog and Twitter account and also on the St Paul Island DXpedition website.
Phil provided the following reports:
August 19: Good morning from Dingwall, Nova Scotia. I arrived at The Markland Resort at 6:30 pm on Wednesday, August 17 after having stopped in Ingonish, Nova Scotia (30 kilometres south of Dingwall) to fill 50 gas cans with 1250L of 91 octane gas. The locals looked at the 50 gas cans on the ground and then gave me slightly slanted looks. The station owner, however, was quite pleased 🙂
We had our DXpedition dinner where a few changes were announced. The boat captain we had originally contracted with had mysteriously disappeared, and after speaking with one of the more well known locals, we were referred to another boat operator named Paul. Paul has been an amazing resource on this trip. However, due to the wind direction yesterday, the boat wasn’t able to get out there.
That left Pat, N2IEN, who happened to bring his own helicopter and aviation mechanic (Barry), to ferry as many people and as much gear to the two sites as was possible while we had daylight. So, at the last minute, we staged everything as best as we could and got people, survival gear, a couple of generators, a little bit of gas, and limited radio gear to both sites. I was the first to land at Atlantic Cove in order to start building the network bridge. Things didn’t go as planned.
The cellular repeater site I was planning on getting coverage from in Neil’s Harbour went down in bad weather about a week ago and Bell Canada hasn’t been able to get it back up yet. Even with a 70dB cellular booster, I couldn’t get cellular coverage in Atlantic Cove. As well, the network gear hadn’t made it over to the North East Point yet, so we couldn’t test the UHF bridge. The GOOD news is that the North East point HAS cellular coverage, and without even the need of any cellular boosters, so I opted to come back on the chopper to the mainland for the night with the access points for Atlantic Cove in my duffel bag and swap them with the access points going to the North East Point. Paul, the boat operator, was nice enough to put me up for the night in his guest room.
When I woke up this morning, the ground was wet and I was told that a big thunderstorm had rolled through town and it was currently out over St. Paul Island. As I write this, it still looks pretty nasty out there, and Lee, WW2DX, reports that it’s pretty miserable on the North East Point and they’re waiting out the storm. However, Paul decided to head over to the island despite the weather and is hoping he’ll be able to unload everything within the next few hours. The chopper is on stand down until the weather clears, but we’ve got the next few loads staged and we’re hoping the weather clears by the afternoon and we’re able to ferry the rest of the gear over.
CY9C has been on the air since yesterday. As soon as the network is built, the current logs will be uploaded, and if all goes according to plan, further QSOs will be logged live to Clublog. For now, Wayne and I are at the Markland staying dry and waiting out the storm.
More to come. Phil, VA3QR/VE1.
August 15: U-Haul trailer is hitched, packed and locked, truck is full of gas, and I’m ready to go. Most of the team is already en route to Dingwall, Nova Scotia.
I expect to arrive in Fredericton, New Brunswick by 10:45 pm ADT, and then will drive to Dingwall, NS the next day.
You can track my journey via APRS.
The CY9C DXpedition gang has talked about setting up a station at The Markland (where we’re staying the nights before we leave for the island), so keep an ear for them. Stay tuned to my Twitter Feed for updates and media from the Atlantic Cove operating site, and to WW2DX’s Twitter Feed for the same from the North East Point operating site.
I look forward to the pileups. vy 73 de VA3QR/VA3KPJ.
August 5: We’ll be operating from two different sites separated by approximately 3 kilometres, and are hoping to have a station operating on 20m CW and SSB simultaneously, 24/7 throughout the duration of the expedition.
I am going as an operator, I.T./Network Manager and am the call sign licensee. The logo we are using for the DXpedition is shown on the left.
We’re planning on having stable, broadband access to the Internet, both sites will be linked via a 70 cm Wi-Fi solution, and we’ll be posting QSOs to ClubLog in realtime.”
Watch for an article about the DXpedition in a future issue of The Canadian Amateur magazine.