Barbados 2000 Click here to go back to the home page

Mario Karcich K2ZD/8P9JM and Jim Holt K4BI/8P9BI

The last time Jim and I did a 50 MHz DXpedition was in July of 1988 when we activated PJ0M on Saba Island and made three solid QSOs into the UK and a score of QSOs into the US. Late in 1999 we decided that it was time for us to get together again and plan another trip.

Left to right: Jim 8P9BI (K4BI), Michael David, 8P9JM Mario (K2ZD)Left to right: Jim 8P9BI (K4BI), Michael David, 8P9JM Mario (K2ZD)

I had been to Barbados on business in 1999 and had acquired the call sign 8P9JM. Since I had two business trips planned there again in 2000 and 8P6 was high on the list of most wanted in the UK, Europe and the US, Jim and I decided on Barbados. My job was to find us a suitable operating location with a clear path into UK, Europe and the US. My business associate, Michael David of Communications Advantage in Bridgetown had prime real estate where his paging towers were located. Unfortunately the house I has planned to use on the mountain top would not be renovated in time for our trip in July.

I remembered reading about N0JK trip to Barbados last year and sent him an e-mail about where he operated from. Jon informed me that he had rented the contest station 8P9Z in St. Peters Parish. A subsequent call to Michael David in Bridgetown confirmed that is was an ideal location for our needs. A further e-mail secured our reservation for July 1st to July 9th.

We arrived on the island late on July 1st and began setting up our station, which consisted of two Yaesu FT-100s, one to be used for the beacon on 50.095 on the other to monitor 28.885 and act as a back-up rig, if needed (more on this later). Our plan was to replace the existing three-element beam on the 60-foot tower with a five-element M2 beam. Early Sunday morning, Mike David arrived with his tower climber Neil and the five-element M2 beam was set in place at 60 feet.

On July 2nd the beacon was activated on 50.095 beaming north east and Jim made announcements on 28.885 and on the Internet to the UKSMG web site. What an invaluable tool this was for us in following the 50 MHz propagation world-wide!

The following is a log of our operation and observations:

2nd July

1400z 8P9JM, Mario (K2ZD) operator

1610z Observed weak video carrier (48.248) beaming East (3X?)
1636z Video gone
1800z Station breaks the beacon, very weak signal, partial call T8??
1822z W4UDH breaks the beacon and is the 1st 50 MHz QSO for 8P9JM
1828z KGU breaks the beacon triple hop E
1828z K4LQ QSO
2111z Via the UKSMG web site VP2V/W6JKV is posted as working into Europe
2111z 8P9JM beams Europe and SP6GZZ breaks the beacon for our 1st European QSO, opening lasts 91 minutes until 2201 with 66 QSOs in 14 countries logged by 8P9JM. All signals very weak with deep QSB. Many partial call signs heard, too much time wasted with grid locators.

3rd July

1000z 8P9BI Jim (K4BI) operator

Beacon running 50.095 all morning and afternoon, no stations heard

1954z 48.260,48.250,48.239 video observed with signal strengths increasing.
2004Z SP6GZZ breaks the beacon again and 8P9BI logs 86 QSOs in 11 countries. The opening lasts 139 minutes with the last QSO logged at 2143z. All signals were very weak with deep QSB. Many partial call signs copied, again valuable time wasted with emphasis on grid locators!

4th July

1000z 8P9JM Operator

1242z K4AR QSO
1333z WA4NJP QSO
1340z N4JJ QSO
1745z FT-100 & keyer hit by a voltage spike, we lose the beacon!
Thank God for the spare FT-100. The station is reconfigured and we continue to operate on 50.095 manually.
1849z Major opening to the US commences and 8P9JM switches to SSB. 182 QSOs in all call areas except W6 & W7. Valuable time wasted with grid locators and QSL info!
2130z Band closes to US
2140z 8P9BI operator works G4IGO, G3KOX and G4HBA than the band opening shifts to the US and 101 US stations logged in all call areas except W6 & W7.
2242z Band closes and we go out for dinner & 807s!

5th July

1000z 8P9JM operator

1612z 48.242 video appears weakly
1634z CU3URA/B heard, no QSOs
1728z 48.242 video very strong, no QSOs
1731z VO1 beacon heard
1735z OX3VHF Beacon heard, attempt telephone call to Greenland but there is no long distance service from Barbados to Greenland!
1740z VO1PJN QSO only amateur on the band
1951z 48.256, 48.250 & 48.247 video heard
2000z 8P9JM & 8P9BI QSO EH, CT, J8, VY, G3 and hear GI0OTC for the second time but no QSO with him.
2204z 8P9BI operator commences working NA on SSB with 53 QSOs
2236z Band closes

6th July No usable propagation

7th July No usable propagation

8th July No usable propagation


506 QSOs in 22 countries

Countries Worked:   











G 2   


















































Comments and Observations

The antenna!The antenna!

When calling in a pile-up it is very important to follow the instructions of the DX station. We tried operating split on the first opening on July 2nd but stations did not call up 5 kHz as requested. Not to waste valuable time, we switched back to simplex.

In all the openings to the UK and Europe we experienced very weak signals coupled with local QRN. Stations were requested numerous times not to give grid locators, we only asked for call signs (very important) and a signal report. We copied many, many partial call signs but those stations unfortunately did not make it into the log. Grid locators were not logged by us or written down, they just deprived many stations from obtaining a new country. The grid locator can be found on the QSL card!

Stations continuing to call after one particular station is acknowledged, needless QRM and a reduction in the QSO rate.

Our goal from the onset of this six metre DXpedition was to give as many stations as possible, in the limited time the openings allowed, a new country on six metres. By the number of QSL cards that we have received, Jim and I are very happy that we put some stations over the 100 mark and gave many more a new DXCC country.

A special thank you to the gang at the 8P9Z contest station for allowing us the use of your magnificent station. Mr. Michael David of Communications Advantage for his hospitality and technical assistance and to all of you who patiently waited your turn in pile-ups, thank you for an exciting experience.

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