BARTG sponsored DXpedition to St. Pierre & Miquelon (FP)

FP/VE7SV was active from Miquelon Island (IOTA NA-032) between October 23 to November 2, 2004 inclusive. The operation was on 160 thru 6 meters including the WARC bands – RTTY (80-10m only), PSK31, CW, SSB. In addition, LEO (low earth orbit) FM Satellite was also activated. The DXpedition included participation in the CQ WW SSB contest — in the M2 category for those still wedded to their microphones!

Why a DXpedition to St. Pierre & Miquelon? The team felt it was a good balance between its rarity for the worldwide ham community and the relative ease of transport and setup to deliver the operation from VE7. St. Pierre & Miquelon is the last remaining French possession in North America.

A 9-member team was selected with all participants members of the internationally well known BCDX Club. Team members included: Dale, VE7SV; Andy, VE7AHA; Jason, VE7AG, Lee, VE7CC, Steve, VE7CT; Dave, VE7VR; Paul, VA7NT; Dick, N7RO; Ramon, XE1KK and Paul, VE7AVV. One on the nice aspects of this DXpedition is that it provided a mix of experience from internationally known amateurs with newcomers who tasted what drives the engine of success from the action side of the DXpedition radio.

QSLs are available direct or via the bureau – in both cases N7RO is the QSL manager.

Further information about the FP DXpedition can be found at: http://www.bcdxc.org/st_pierre_miquelon.htm

Read the post-DXpedition report after the images below.

  • The FP/VE7SV Team

2004 FP/VE7SV DXpedition

It is well known that Dale, VE7SV has vast contesting and DXpedition experience. When he invited me to join the international DXpedition to FP I accepted immediately

Dale also asked me to be the donation coordinator. A difficult task when planning a DXpedition to an entity that was 144th place on the 2003 DXCC Most Wanted list. I guess most of the people thought that we were going to make a few thousand QSOs and spend most of our time doing tourism on the island.

The first personal donation that arrived was from Mark, N7MQ, who ask if we were going to be on RTTY. Since the rest of the team already had a long list of responsibility, I was afraid not to answer our first donor with an affirmative answer – so I volunteered to be in charge of digital modes. That is how I became the “digital mode expert” of this DXpedition.

In reality, RTTY was not on my “expert” résumé. I have to admit that I do like RTTY contesting a great deal. I am one of the four or five Mexican stations with DXCC on RTTY and even with that I only about 5,000 QSOs on RTTY, its only about 8% of my total QSO count. Therefore I am not a “digital mode expert” whatsoever.

But for previous experiences in big contest stations as HC8N, ES9C or XE1RCS I realized it was going to be comfortable to operate RTTY when my throat was already tired.

The first challenge was to get the appropriate equipment. My old laptop was too risky to take so I bought a new Sony laptop as well as a West Mountain Radio RIGblaster nomic for this operation. Dale had warned us the flight between St. John’s and Saint Pierre would be subject to luggage weight limit – so I had to travel light. The rest of the team was able to ship many things in advance, but being almost as far from Vancouver as I was from Miquelon, I had to carry all my kit.

One of the DXpedition sponsors was ICOM and they provided the ICOM 756 PROII. Only problem was, I don’t have that radio so I called my friend Masao, XE1MM, to help me to configure the Nomic to avoid doing so in Miquelon. He was a big help and sent me some notes on the cabling to the 756 PRO II. In the mean time I loaded the new computer with WriteLog, my RTTY contest program, and programmed the messages accordingly to the DXpedition needs.

The DXpedition, as I am sure you already know, was very active on phone and CW. Four kilowatt stations 24 hours a day handling interminable pileups. Following our participation in CQWW Phone 2003 as a multi-multi I tried RTTY on the following Monday.

I set up everything but it didn’t work. While the configuration had worked at home on my YAESU at home, it was not working here. Was Murphy lurking here on the Atlantic shores? After a few minutes of cold sweats, Dale asked me if everything was okay? I said yes… but it wasn’t! Then I remembered I had brought Masao’s notes about connections for the 756 PRO II. I followed his instructions and 1 minute later I was calling CQ.

While I used many different antennas during this operation, I started out on the 3 element SteppIR yagi. It is a fantastic antenna! Using the Alpha 86 while working RTTY was a very help as well.

At 13:45 GMT on October 27th 2004, N9OE was the first station in the log on 20 meters. Two minutes later 2E0AOZ and then LZ2MP and then the big pileup. I quickly went split listening 5 up, and very quickly went “5 and up” or just “up up up”. In the peak of the pileup it was 40 kHz wide. That was very impressive.

Signals from Japan and the Far East (UA0) were not very strong and had severe arctic flutter, but almost without question, every signal heard was worked.

As usual the best part was to work old friends. It was a very exiting moment when I worked EY8MM on 20m RTTY. I had exchanged some emails with Nodir before the expedition and he said that he was going to be happy to contact us in any mode – even on at least one band!. He ended up working us on all bands, including 160m and on the 3 modes.

Also exciting to work friends I know personally as ON4WW, OK2ZU, DK3GI, SP7PS, JA1WPX, N2TN, N2BJ, VE7IO, VE7CF, XE1YJS, VE3XN, S50A, ON4CD, W5WP, LU3CQ and many more. Of course I can’t forget the QSO with N7MQ… the one who got me into this! TNX Mark!

In total we logged 1008 RTTY QSO’s giving a ‘new one’ to many of the Deserving. Now when I get on the air I am still receiving “thanks for the RTTY contact” comments… it seems the #144 entity on the Most Wanted list was more in need than expected.

I would like to thank BARTG for the small donation you made to the DXpedition. Sometimes the amount is not important… but it’s nice to know that someone cares about your expedition. In addition, I would like to thank my good friend Paul, VE7AVV, a very important member of our DXpedition, for his help with the correction of these notes.

73 de Ramon, XE1KK