Red Island at sunset

Red Island at sunset

Monday, October 14, 2013

Currently in Cairns, north Queensland

Hey all you funky island chasers out there.

Today I flew from Adelaide (VK5) to Sydney (VK2) and then Sydney (VK2) to Cairns (VK4) in north Queensland. Tomorrow I fly from Cairns to Bamaga in far far far far north Queensland.

Cairns airport involved a little drama this afternoon as the airline misplaced the box with the 2 x 12m Spiderbeam fibreglass poles. No poles = NO antennas. Fortunately they eventually turned up.

So this evening I'm in beautiful tropical north Queensland. Around 5pm I walked along the esplanade in Cairns and the weather is a real shock to the system as it's hot and really humid in the tropics and Red Island is further north so it'll be even more humid. But hey what's a wild tropical adventure without some adversity.

I'm staying at the same hotel tonight that Michelle my wife and I stayed at the night before doing the Fitzroy Island OC-172 VK4LDX/P DXpedition in October 2010. So it's nice to be here again exactly three years later to get ready for this IOTA DXpedition. I'm trying to enjoy the luxuries of life right now to prepare myself for 5 nights on an uninhabited island in the tropics by myself with no resources. So it's been an enjoyable night of beer, beer, beef, beer and beer at the Steak on the Lake anti-vegetarian establishment, it's so hot and humid dining outside that you need to drink quickly before your beer gets warm :)

OK now to business. On Wednesday I'll be on the island and I think it'll take all day to go there and set up camp. I need to take my time so that the tent and antennas can survive rain and wind and thunderstorms that are likely to visit me, nothing worse than tent repairs at 200am in the morning during a storm. So don't expect me on the air early on Wednesday October 15, the goal is to be operational by sunset which is 0800 UTC. To give people the best chance of working me, I'm only going to operate on 2 bands and I'll focus on 20m as much as I can. I'll only go to 15m when 20m is not productive.

Antennas will again be a 15m and 20m vertical dipole at the high tide mark - the 20m vertical dipole was incredible for North America at the VK5CE/P OC-261 DXpedition in August and Red Island will be a MUCH better location. Frequencies will be 14260 and 21260 +/- interference and listening up 5.

After having done DXpeditions to other northern Australian IOTAs of OC-171, OC-172, OC-138 and OC-185 I know what the band conditions will be like. I would say that my operating will be as follows:

0000-0200 on 15m (10:00am-12:00pm)
0200-0400 maintaining antenna/generator/campsite/mealtime and doing club log (12:00pm-2:00pm)
0400-0800 on 20m (2:00pm-6:00pm)
0800-0900 meal break and generator re-fill (6:00pm-7:00pm)
0900-1600 on 20m (7:00pm-2:00am)
16:00-2100 sleep (2:00am-7:00am)
21:00-0000 on 15m (7:00am-10:00)

this is my preferred scheduled to give east coast north America and Europe on 20m and JA and west coast North America on 15m the best chance to get in the log. In the 0400-1400 UTC period I will only go on 15m if 20m is dead.


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