Welcome home from our H4ØFN DX-Expedition to TEMOTU
IOTA: OC 065 (REEF), Locator: RH39DQ, DXCC: H4Ø
by Siegfried Hari, H4ØFN, DK9FN, HA2EOW
Hi, I’m Siegfried Hari, DK9FN from Seligenstadt/Germany, member of DARC and as well as HA2EOW from Balatonfüred/Hungary and also member of MRASZ. There was no much time left for HAM operation during the last years and my job working as a Technical Manager with SILIKAL GmbH, a very famous chemical company for reactive Methylmethacrylate resins, was quite tight. Getting older now with the age of 58 I went back again to TEMOTU H4Ø after 10 years (1999) and hopefully I will be enjoying the world’s CW-family with my QSL card. Here is now my promised report and fotos from Temotu.
Landing at LATA airport with a 18 seated airplane of Solomon Airlines on March 2nd
Many hams do know my DX-Expeditions in the '80s and '90s. I have activated call signs such as 8Q7CQ, FR/DK9FN, VR2/DK9FN, VK9FN, H44FN, H4ØFN, PJ4/DK9FN, CEØY/DK9FN, JY8FN, YJØAFN, XX9TFN. Some of these trips have been made in connections with professional business trips through Far East countries, some have been holidays with my family or friends like DL2GAC, DF5FJ or DF2FQ.
I took Singapore Airlines from Frankfurt to Singapore. After 12 hours and 3 hours stop over I continued again with SIA to Brisbane/Australia (8 hours).
Again after of 2 hours stop over I jumped into Solomon Airlines Boing 737 to Honiara where I arrived after 3 hours. I already was expected from my friends
Bernhard H44MS (H4ØMS, DL2GAC), Herrmann H44HP (H4ØHP, DL2NUD) and Margret H44MK. I had to stay over night at SSEC Transit Guesthouse (US $ 15,- per night)
at the Wawaya Rich Hill with a wonderful overview scenery of Honiara. Next day early morning we 3 guys flew with 100 kg of excess luggage to LATA / Temotu
Province, which is about 700 km off the main Island Guadalcanal and city Honiara. We landed on a rough jungle meadow as seen on the foto.
We were expected by the Pigeon Island owner Ben Hepworth who brought us to the "One-Boat Harbour" where our small 6 m long boat was waiting for the 70 km ride (3 hours, 20 minutes) over the Pacific sea to the Reef Island group, passing on the half way the smoky volcano Tinakula. One of these Reef Islands was our “Pigeon Island” or with the local language “Ngarando” which is just as big as a football playground. The size is appr. 150 m long and 40 m wide. Nicely surrounded with high trees and in the middle there is some open space with grass where we could put up our antennas.
Our ferry boat from LATA to the Reef Islands Group
Arriving at Pigeon Island. Volcano Tinakula just to be seen behind the Island
We stayed in a very simple banana leaf cottage just placed in the middle of the island where we had a good access to the wide open space of the island meadow.
During the first 2 days we erected our antennas there which were as following:
CW: ICOM IC 7000 (100W) and 300 W PA (80-10m) as used with SSB
SSB: YAESU FT 857 (100W) and Ameritron PA ALS 500 and MEAN WELL PS 14V/100A.
EME: YAESU FT 857 (100 W) and BEKO PA 2 m 1 KW.
POWER SUPPLY: HONDA Generator 230 V, 3 KW, consuming 250 L of Gasoline during 2 weeks
Our cottage and the antenna farm
Shack of Siegfried H4ØFN for CW operation
Since the Provincial Guesthouse on the mainland in LATA was unfortunately occupied we stayed on the Reef Islands like in 1999. The owner Ben Hepworth did
his best to organise all what we needed, such like fuel and generator, bamboo posts, tools, and of coarse food 3 times a day. The food there was just what
the island could afford and nobody should expect big steaks, lobster or salads. We had self baked bread, butter, honey, jam and papaya for breakfast and the
same for lunch sometimes with some canned tuna fish. At night the cooked meal was rice and cabbage, sometimes spaghetti or bread fruit and each second day
grilled fish. The fruit salad was made of papaya and banana, sometimes peaches from tin cans. The good story is that we have had plenty of Solomon Brew
beer which is the best beer in my life which I’ve got in cans and a bottle of Whisky from the Duty Free Shop in Brisbane to let heal our moskito bites
sooner. The SolBrew Beer was founded many years ago by the Kulmbacher Brewery of Germany in Honiara and the local brew masters were trained from the
Germans. So we have got what we needed so called our “Daily Liquid Bread” like at home in Germany. The drinks as mentioned were beer, fresh squeezed
lime juice and soda water, coffe and tea. The water was collected from the roofs after rain and then filtered.
The costs per persons were US $ 15,- for the cottage, US $ 15 for 3 x food per day, US 200,- for the boat transfer for 3 of us, US $ 20,- per day for generator rental, US $ 1,20 per liter of gasoline and some natural tips like tobacco, cigarettes, chewing gum or lighters to the locals helping us erecting the antennas or climbing up the palm trees.
Unfortunately we did not have internet access or mobile telephone. Instead we could use PACTOR Email Link via winlink.org for registered users.
We suffered very much because of the heat without fan or air condition. Additionally the insects brought us up to excitement because my skin was all over bitten by moskitos, ants or sand fleas. Unlike in LATA the good thing was that the Pigeon Island was free of rats.
Bernhard H4ØMS (left) and Herrmann H4ØHP (right) having lunch
H4Ø time shift to UT is 11 hours ahead. The propagation conditions during the day time are very poor. From morning 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the afternoon only
some dots appeared in the receiver caused by the QRN. Very rare QSO have been made with some local neighbours from VK or ZL during the day.
According to the newest propagation predictions (sun spot value 67) there were no big activities expected on the higher bands on 17-10m. We concentrated on 160/80/40/30m and were very surprised about the 80m possibilities to Europe and Japan. W was difficult and despite it was closer to us we could do only a few QSO. The LOBSTER Antenna was a miracle on the low bands and we did not expect such a good result. Our signals were recorded with MP3 in Europe and it was a tremendous signal strength of 7 to 9 and sometimes over with just 300 Watts. As usually the EUs were not that much listening and queuing up to my calls so the average number of QSO only were 60 per hour, while JA and W discipline generated QSO speed up to 100 per hour. I remember those hams in EU who had read my article in the '90s in german ham magazine CQ-DL when I came back from the Easter Island (CEØY/DK9FN) to the title if that report: "Why Europeans never become good DXers", I earned a lot of criticism to be arrogant, but still today I would write the same article again with the same content. I switched about 6 times my station off and made QRT because of a chaotic discipline of many EUs. Some guys were hammering their call sign 8 – 10 times without listening to my QRZ call while I was in QSO meanwhile with 1 or 2 other stations.
160m was disappointing. I could do only QSOs with a few W and UA, but some more with JA. Only 3 QSO with EU (HAØDU, UA6LV, RW4UU). The reason for is that we actually were one months too late out of winter period on the northern hemisphere and secondly our Ameritron ALS 500 Power Amplifier did not work on 160 m because the overload always switched through even the SWR of the antenna was 1:1 and no HF power was remaining on the chassis or PS. The success of the 160 m QSOs was based on 90 Watts only powerd by the ICOM IC 7000.
All in all H4ØFN made 3300 CW QSO and 3 PSK31 QSO. I learned a 30 minute course handling the software taught by DG1FK and DF5FF just a few minutes before I left to Temotu. But as usual newcomers make always mistakes like me and the software suddenly was up-side-down which I could not reinstall. I beg for your pardon specially for my French friends who have been waiting for PSK31. Hopefully next time I can do it better.
I have been using a manual log book as I did it always in the past. The logbook will be transferred at home by my QSL manager into a PC log book program. The log also will be online on an online web site.
Our daily SWL listeners looking for the pile up in the air
All QSO will be confirmed automatically by QSL card. Give some time to my QSL manager to prepare the log book program. The QSL card will be a foto version taken personally from the local children, coming every day from the neighbour island to visit us. All QSL cards will be sent out via MRASZ QSL buro free of charge during the following 12 months. For those who need urgently the QSL card are requested to send their QSL request via postal mail including a self addressed envelope and at least 2 US $ for stamps. Please do not use IRC since we can not get rid of it and some post offices even don’t know how to handle it. However any donation of an extra $ is most welcome to compensate the total costs of 7000 US $ for my trip.
Mihály Béla (HA8FW)
Csongrádi SGT. 122/A
H-6724 Szeged / Hungary
Béla is a very good friend of mine and enjoys very much to support me for my QSL duty. Please do not send your QSL to my personal call sign DK9FN or HA2EOW !
QSL cards for my other 2 friends Bernhard H4ØMS (DL2GAC) and Herrmann H4ØHP (DL2NUD) shall be sent via their home call !
After finishing our Temotu expedition we went back the same way as before. Bernhard and Herrmann will stay some weeks longer on the Solomons using their call sign H44MS for HF SSB and H44HP for 2 m EME JT65.
When I came back to Honiara the first action was to rush into the Medana Hotel to get a full meal with a big starter plate of sea food selection and for main course a very very very big lobster (It was a real lobster and not he remaining LOBSTER Antenna which we left behind …) oh ! The life again is coming back to my mind and stomach.
Further more Margret "Maggy" H44MK prepared us a big plate of fresh refreshing food at SSEC Guesthouse on our arrival. She was a sister, mother, friend and a good and hospital girl to all of us. Thank you Maggy and your lough we will never forget !
H44MK, Margret "Maggy" and H40FN, Siegfried Hari
1) First of all to my wife Maria who allows me to waste such a big sum of money. To finance my next expedition in 1 or 2 years time she promised me to
help saving money again by cooking more and more rice and cabbage instead of expensive meat and fish as learned on Temotu.
2) Bernhard DL2GAC / H44MS organising our trip and the licence so perfectly
3) To the General Manager of my company SILIKAL GmbH (www.silikal.de)
4) To my friend DF2SS, General Manager of WiMo Ham Shop (www.wimo.com)
5) To my friend ANDY, Manager of Andy Quarz Bremen (www.andyquarz.de)
6) To my friend Reinhard DATHE Radio Shop (www.funktechnik-dathe.de)
7) To my friend DF5FF, Hellmut Landolt Computer (www.landolt.de)
8) To Erwin DF2SKE for excellent free Antenna Design software (www.pisica.de)
9) To NDXA Nippon DX Association for nice flag, T-Shirts and a delicious meal
10) HARI-Antenna-Manufacturing, thanks to myself (www.hari-ham.com)
Sponsor 4-6 enabled me to finance my trip because they are long time customer of my antenna factory and buying products from me. Sponsor 6 Hellmut is looking after the design and service for my homepage almost for free. All items of my equipment are bought and paid or manufactured by myself.
I will forgive all those operators who did not follow the rules of ham spirit ! ....They have been quite a big number this time.
I thank you for all the nice and exciting contacts in 2009 from TEMOTU and I plan to go back again in 1 or 2 years time.
Good DX, cuagn and vy 73, Siegfried Hari, H4ØFN, DK9FN, HA2EOW