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Sunset on St Paul Island at the end of Day 4 of the CY9C II DXpedition
Sunset on St Paul Island at the end of Day 5 of the CY9C II DXpedition

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.

CY9C II – Day 5 (August 4):

Good evening from the Graveyard of the Gulf.

All four HF stations are humming happily. Lee, WW2DX, is working 2m and 6m EME simultaneously, and today (finally) finished building the Satellite station, complete with auto-tracking radio and rotator. We’ve done four satellite QSOs so far, but that was just to get the rest of the bugs worked out, so expect to hear Pat, N2IEN, calling CY9C FN97 tomorrow (August 5). I worked a couple of passes myself, and seem to have caught the bug – might need to go shopping when I get home.

Last count has us past 16,500 QSOs – quite respectable considering the deteriorating HF conditions we have to contend with. Yes, we’re doing a lot of FT8 – we’re doing FT8 because conditions suck, and we want to get as many people in the log as we can while we’re here. I know it’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but based on the massive pileups we’re working, there is a great deal of interest. That said, we’re also doing a lot of SSB and CW when the conditions are right.

I’ve been watching the arguments on the DX Clusters, so I’ll just say this: we’ll give you the chance to work us on SSB, CW and FT8 – not to mention 6m, 2m and 6m EME, and now AMSAT – keep an eye for us and work us any way you want. You don’t like FT8? No problem 🙂 Just realize that we’re here to get as many people in the log as we can, and FT8 is getting us as many as 100 QSOs/hr when conditions are too poor for SSB.

Dan, W4DKS and Will, AA4NC, operating from St Paul Island

Important Operating Note:

Randy, N0TG, would like me to remind people trying to connect to us using FT8 that we are in Fox & Hound Mode (with the exception of 60m)! If you try to connect to us using your regular FT8 setup, our rig won’t respond to you. For more information on this and how to set yourself up, go to the User Guide and make the necessary changes to your software, then go to the CY9C Website for the required calling frequencies.

Our logging issues seem to have been resolved. We’re still live-logging, and anything missed by ClubPi due to high-rate is being dumped twice a day. Lee is giving me his EME/6m logs at night after moonset and I’m putting them into the morning dumps, and I’ll do the same for AMSAT logs once we get going full steam ahead. We’ve got two more days of full capacity operating before we need to think about tearing down. We were two days getting to the island, so we’ll have to start disassembling on Wednesday – but we’ll worry about that when we have to. We still have QSOs to make 🙂

I didn’t have too much of a chance to take pictures today between getting the satellite going and operating – will try to do more of that tomorrow. For now, time for dinner!