TI5N Wrapup

What a great contest! The ARRL CW Contest offered it all of us in Costa Rica…a little Murphy lurking at the beginning of the contest, some issues with keyers and software, great runs on all of the bands and the normal sleep deprivation.

And a bonus, for this time of the sunspot cycle: a two hour ten meter opening Sunday afternoon resulting in 120 QSO’s and 28 multipliers. Hopefully, we made those 120 hams on the other end a little bit happy. We were pretty jazzed over it all.

For our two operating positions, we hit 300 QSO’s an hour a couple of times and had great good runs on all of the bands, including 160 meters.

Our preliminary score is 6,000 QSO’s and about 5.5 million points.

And a really nice time — thanks to our hosts, Keko and Sophie.

Post CQWW RTTY Prefix Contest

We had a good contest as TI5N here in Costa Rica. Raw score a bit of 6.0 million before submission. We’re going to submit the score from here.

QSL’ing for the contest and TI5N is through the manager.

The TI5/xxxx call signs we are using outside of the contest should be QSL’d to the home call.

Monday and today we took a side trip to the Pacific Ocean and a resort called Punta Leona. Stayed overnight, sat on the beach, had a good glass of wine and generally hung out not doing much. Exactly what I need from a vacation.

Of course, we had to try a little radio stuff. N7OU brought along a K1 and we strung up a 50-foot wire on the beach. The K1 puts out 1.5 watts and with a AA-battery amplifier puts out 3.0 watts into the antenna. From the beach, he worked one stateside station and got a 449 report. Pretty wild.

Here’s a picture of the beach at Punta Leona:

TI Punta Leona

It’s a tough life of a DXpeditioner, but someone has to do it. I volunteered.Scot, K9JY

TI Update — Thursday Night

Cable and lightSo…off to bed to get a good nights sleep before the contest tomorrow night.

Here’s what we did today:

  • Set up the laptops
  • Set up the radios and interface devices
  • Set up the amplifiers
  • Modified the 80-meter dipole for CW off from SSB
  • Tested the set up on 15, 17, 20, 30, 40, and 80 meters. Working fine.

Most frustrating thing for the day:

Calling CQ on 80 meters for a half hour on both RTTY and CW and only working 4 stations on CW (EU and NA).

A good day. We’re ready to go. We’ll be on the air in the morning as well. The rest of our group arrived today and they are a little tired. Sleep is a good thing.

73 until tomorrow…

Scot, K9JY

TI Antenna Setup

Here are some pictures of the antennas we’ll be using in the CQ WW RTTY prefix contest plus the ARRL CW contest next weekend.

TI5 Antenna

The most interesting thing about this picture is the very short bar, the third line down from the top of the picture.

That bar is a placeholder for the top of a 40-meter quad. You can barely see the insulators on each end of the bar. The quad is then brought out by guys to get the diamond shape configuration. So, 40-meters pointed at EU.

Can’t wait!

TI TH6

This pic is just for fun. Every ham loves tall towers and to take a picture from the base of a really tall tower that has a few antennas on it is really a great thing.

Warm here, too, with that nice bright sun.

Scot, K9JY

TI Radio Active

Well, an uneventful trip to Costa Rica yesterday. After getting to TI5N’s place, I slept for a good eight hours.

This morning, Ron, WJ7R, and I did most of the setup with the radios and PC’s, ensuring everything is working. I still need to get an amplifier set up with the Kenwood TS-570, but that will be this afternoon. But, transmit, receive, RTTY, PSK-31, CW is all working.

As I am writing this, the power just went out here (a car hit a power pole and lost).

I have a few more blog things to upload and then I’ll get on the air. I know it’s a little reversed from the normal DXpedition, but I wrote a bunch of posts for my blogs on the plane yesterday. I can get those loaded up and set for the rest of this week and next, then can pay attention to radio.

In the meantime…here’s a picture of the quad we’re using:

TI Quad

Hope it makes you totally jealous…more pics later.

Scot, K9JY

Phoenix

Bullseye-TargetIt was an uneventful ride from Seattle to Phoenix. US Airways had a nice flight. With all the time changes, I never really know the actual flight time until I get on the plane and they announce it. The flight time to Phoenix was about two hours and thirty minutes.

That’s a little different from Phoenix to San Jose, Costa Rica. Flight time: five hours. So, for the day, getting here from the airport in Seattle to landing time in Costa Rica will have been about 13-hours elapsed time, including layovers. Looks like two vacation days to me just getting there and back.

Five hours is a long time to be seated on a plane, especially a window seat. Fortunately, the plane from Phoenix to San Jose wasn’t completely full. I scored a first class upgrade for $150. For that price, I was on it like white on rice.

A couple ahead of me vacillated on the decision and at the moment decided not to take the upgrade. Good thing — there were only two first class seats open. So now I have one of them…and the seat next to me is empty. Room, space, ability to write blog posts…very nice.

Score!!

Scot, K9JY

Seattle Airport

cncglogo I’m sitting at the gate, waiting for the US Airways plane to go from here to Phoenix. Once in Phoenix, I change planes and continue on to San Jose, Costa Rica. The flight leaves Seattle at 8:20 AM and I don’t get into San Jose until about 10:00 PM Costa Rican time tonight. Costa Rica is in the Central Time Zone, it looks like a two hour difference.

Up this morning at 4:15 AM to get ready, load the car, and get to the airport. The airport, at 5:45 AM, is pretty quiet — except for Starbucks, of course.

Checking in was uneventful. I went through the security lines and that was uneventful. That was surprising.

I am carrying on two bags chock full of everything needed for the radio and computer set up for the time in TI. That includes a Lenovo T-60 laptop and power supply, two mice, a Kenwood 570D, Kenwood power supply, a microHAM USB interface, all associated connecting cables, a Bencher paddle, Bose headphones, Heil headphones, my Treo, and iPod.

I went right through security and the x-ray machines and no one blinked an eye.

Now, in Bermuda, in my checked bag which they run through x-ray right there, they stopped me and had me open up the bag because they saw the Bencher paddle. Just the paddle. It’s very bright on the x-ray machine because of the nice, solid base.

In the trip to Bermuda, I never made it through any security checkpoint without opening up the bags (a reason I have a copy of my FCC license with me…). But, not this time. Zoom zoom.

Interesting.

Scot, K9JY

TI DXpedition Announcement — Update I

SetupToday was spent getting organized for the trip; tomorrow (Super Bowl Sunday) will be mostly spent packing and making sure all the essentials are in place.

It is amazing how much lists can help out on a trip like this. When I went to Bermuda with the boys, I came back and immediately made a list of what things I wanted to take – or not take – the next time based upon my experiences at VP9. A year and a little bit later, that list has really paid for itself along with dividends.

This trip I don’t have to bring along the amplifier — and that is no small thing. The amp itself would take a complete suitcase (a Pelican, to be precise) and weighs in at a good 40 or so pounds on the airplane scale. Weight, for those who travel overseas, is critical.

I’ve also purchased a different bag for the radio, which I get to try out the first time tomorrow when I pack. We’ll see how it works out.

But the theme of the packing this time is to pare back, pare back, pare back. Essentials and everything radio. The rest will work itself out.

Scot, K9JY

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