In August 2016, RAC Ontario South Director, Phil McBride, VA3QR/VA3KPJ, was part of a team of 11 operators who embarked on a DXpedition to St. Paul Island  (IOTA NA-094). Phil is currently a member of a team of eight operators for a return to St. Paul Island from July 31 to August 8. 

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 CY9C St Paul Island DXpedition website.

20m Mono-Bander
30m Dipole
Previous slide
Next slide

CY9C II – Day 3:

So what a busy day it’s been.

Murray, WA4DAN, got the monster of a mono-bander 20m beam built today, and it’s placed in such a way that it hits EU and OC perfectly so we’ve dedicated a station to it. Already worked plenty of VK, ZL and JA.

With the 20m beam, we didn’t need the 20m dipole so we replaced it with a 30m dipole, and have a dedicated 30m station now as well.

That leaves us with two other stations that share a multiband OCF, and the 160m monster wire vertical from the lighthouse.

Lee, WW2DX, was able to spend the day on 2m EME and 6m terrestrial. When he gave me his logs for integration, he’d made 76 contacts. He’ll be back at it tomorrow. If the winds die down a bit, he may be able to give 6 EME a go.

I worked with Pat, N2IEN, to get his AMSAT station going today. We deployed a portable Az/El rotor on a tripod and hooked up his Arrow 2m/70cm beam to his FT-847 and he’s good to go. He was QRV on XW-A2 earlier. Look for him to be riding passes as they come up. Our grid is FN97.

Pat made a supply run to the mainland earlier in the day and Connor went with him. When they got back, Connor was ecstatic because Pat gave him the stick and let him control the craft. And now I have to pay for flying lessons. Thanks Pat. Thanks 🙂 On the plus side, he did come back with beer.

Sunset on St Paul Island
Pat, N2IEN and Connor doing preflight checks
Previous slide
Next slide

Now onto the pain-in-the-ass that we’re dealing with. WSJT-X in Fox and Hound mode is dropping approximately 20% of the QSOs we send RR73 to. This is a function of the software that we have absolutely no control over. We’ve even taken to running in plain-jane FT8 mode, one contact at a time, which is what I’m doing on 60m as I type (because I’m able to write and do FT8 at the same time). Bill, K5DHY has posted to the WSJT-X FT8 group on asking for help.

Added to that some FT8 QSOs are getting dropped by ClubPi on their way to the log; it’s a bit frustrating. I will dump the main logs twice a day to the ClubLog DXPeditions site, and all updates pertaining to this situation will be posted there, with notifications going out on my Twitter feed and the CY9C Facebook Page. We apologize for the inconvenience and are working to resolve the problem ASAP.

I’m going to bed. Now that all the setup work is done, I wanna work some SSB tomorrow so I need my beauty sleep. Of course, I’ve always been told I have a great face for radio.

– 73, Phil McBride, VA3QR/CY9