Arliss, W7XU/9G5XU, Ed,
W0SD/9G5KW and I arrived in Accra, Ghana, on Thursday, 25th October after a long
trip - 14 hours in the air. Our objective was to activate 9G on six metres, to
participate in the HF DX contest, and provide a number of contacts on HF RTTY.
Our first task was to pick up
our licenses and we did this first thing Friday morning (with help from Ralph,
9G1RQ and Philip, 9G1PB) before heading for Elmina, about 100 miles southwest of
Accra and midway to the Ivory Coast.
It was mid-afternoon on Friday
when we arrived at the Oyster Bay Hotel, which was to be our QTH. We began by
erecting the antennas in a temperature of about 90F with humidity to match! Our
first contact of the trip was at 19.42z that evening, with 9H1GB.
Our six metre antenna was a
seven-element K5AND design on a 27í boom with a hairpin match and 50-ohm current
balun. This was supported by a 25í rotating mast turned by a Yaesu G-250
rotator and was about 50í up over water. The 28.885MHz antenna was an inverted-vee
dipole, also at 50í.
the 9G5AN antenna, a 7-element K5AND design on
a 27' boom, above the Oyster Bay Hotel roof.
Our equipment for six metres
was a Yaesu FT-100D, 3CX800 amp designed and built by K5AND, Heil headsets, a
Paddlette key and an Idiom memory keyer. Both the antenna/mast package and the
amp weighed in at less than 30lbs each and were therefore able to be taken as
carry-on baggage; this helps avoid customs issues and lost baggage!
Arliss and I concentrated on
six metres, generally with one operating and the other computer logging with
WriteLog. This resulted in a little over 3,200 contacts in 84 countries in 8
days of operating: 2300 EU, 200 NA, 300 Asia, 200 S. America, 30 Africa and 5
Oceania. Our routine was to operate every day/night from 5:30 am until 2.00 or
3.00 am. We took off part of one morning to investigate the Castle in Elmina
and a near-by rainforest; this also helped relieve fanny fatigue and cabin
fever, known but seldom-fatal DXpedition hazards (not to be confused with Yellow
fever, for which we had to be immunized).
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Ed, W0SD operated during the
CQWW contest weekend and logged over 4,500 contacts on RTTY and SSB during the
contest and the remainder of the next week. He used an ICOM 746 with an Acom
1000 amp connected to a G5RV antenna.
If you have never visited
Ghana, you should know that the people there are very friendly. The people at
the hotel were anxious to help; Ralph Quist, 9G1RQ and George Hakim, 9G1RL were
invaluable with all the licensing issues. Getting through Ghana customs was
hassle-free, and none of us got sick, hurt or lost weight! I should add that we
had help before getting to Ghana and would to thank Mike, KC7V, Roger, G3SXW and
Fred, G4BWP for their help on logistics, hotel choice, transportation and the
Our operating highlights
included long and short path contacts to JA, V73 and VR2, which were all very
exciting, and may indicate some kind of record. Working 8Q7 on side-scatter to
ZS was fun, as was working ZK1 by the direct path. There were incredibly strong
signals from Europe and the TV blanking pulses were so strong as to QRM some of
our contacts. Our best days work was 600 Qs, with the eight-day average at
about 333 per day. We were able to sustain a Q rate of 140 per hour on a number
Arliss (left) and Dick operating 9G5AN.
The 9G5AN operation was fairly
successful for the following reasons: excellent radio, high power and a good
antenna; and having two people on the radio, one to do the computer logging and
the other to operate. I honestly canít imagine sustaining the Q rates we had
and trying to log manually. It also helped to have two sets of ears trying to
decipher all the calls!
One big surprise to us was the
number of folk that did not grasp why we did not need or want grid squares in
the exchange. You canít believe how much time this wastes on a DXpedition. Our
repeated requests not to give locators were completely unsuccessful. The next
trip we make we will attempt to do a better job publicising this. Another
surprise for us was that the line voltage exceeded 300 volts several times. The
average was probably 250-260, which of course made the amp happy!
I guess that our only
disappointments were not working any VK or ZL, and not working more US
stations. With a bit of luck we will be on our travels again in 2002; the
question is, where to go? Please send suggestions via e-mail.
the RF section of the K5AND high-power
the power supply section of the amplifier.
UKSMG Six News issue