TEMOTU H4ØFN DX-Expedition in December 2010

It took only 9 months to go back to TEMOTU for another DX-Expedition. This time only Peter H4ØFK and Sigi H4ØFN came along since Bernhard H44MS / H4ØMS was able to fly to the Solomons only after New Year to stay for 3 months in Honiara and working as H44MS again for SSB. My wife Maria asked me not to go back again to Pigeon / Reef Island (OC-065) because the boat transfer for 80 km ocean across the heavy waves would be dangerous. So we stayed in Lata on the main island Nendo (OC-100) at the LATA MOTEL near by the sea coast.

Singapore Airlines again brought us through the deep european winter and during snow falls the plane could leave Frankfurt airport just before the airport was beeing closed because of heavy snow falls . Connecting in Singapore to Brisbane we arrived on time but the Solomon Airline flight was delayed by 2 hours because of instrument problems in the cockpit. Finally we arrived Honiara where our best girl friend Maggy H44MK already was expecting us with nice flower garlands at the airport. Customs was well organised and friendly and the staff was understandful that we bring out again our radio equipment on our departure. So no paperwork had to be done.

We stayed the first night at the Mendana Hotel and enjoyed the aircon room to have a stretched legged sleep after sitting 3 days in aeroplanes. Unfortunately the connecting flight to Lata / Temotu next day was cancelled due to rain floods on the runway which had to be repaired during the next 2 days. So we lost 2 days for our radio operation. However also these 2 days passed and we arrived Lata where our hotel manager Lionel was waiting with his pick-up taxi.

Temotu DX-Expedition December 2010
Lionel’s luxury airport taxi

On our flight we met another passenger who told us that he is a mechanic engineer and he has got spare parts for the local 100 KW Diesel generator in Lata in his luggage. He told us that Lata is off power now for 2 weeks and no electricity at all. He would be the right man to get electricity back may be next day. What news for our ears !

We went to bed very disappointed and as usual in my life there is always a star rising at the horizon who brought us at midnight the „Glory Light“ back and the Lord said: „It should be Light and it was Light“, indeed the electricity came back and all lights were on because the switches already were in position „ON“ for 2 weeks before the power collapsed. But we continued our sleep and next morning we started freshly to built up our 2 antennas. Thanks to the mechanical engineer for his brave work.

Temotu DX-Expedition December 2010
Peter after 9 months again in Temotu

For 160-30m we used this time a vertical made of 12m bamboo extended with 12 m fishing fibre glass rod. Both parts were tightened by ropes at both ends and so the mast was 23m high. Along this length we fixed a wire of 19m so it was a perfect ¼ wavelength for 80m, for 40m it was a ½ wavelength and for 30m it was a 5/8 wavelength radiator. For 160m it worked as a 50% shortened vertical with reasonable result. The radial was a resonant radial of the same length of 19m and was fixed 3m above the ground in 90° angle to the vertical. As for feeding we used 450 Ohms ladder line and tuned by a Transmatch-Tuner with a Ferrite 240-61 Balun 1:4.

Temotu DX-Expedition December 2010
Our antenna farm: W8JK and Vertical

The 20-6m beam was put on a 12 m bamboo next to the vertical and was fixed to a small tree in the backyard and was made of 4 pcs fishing rods of 4m length each with a fixed wire along, the boom was made of telescopic fibreglass rod of 2,60m length. Phasing line 450 Ohms ladder line and also the feeding line made of 450 Ohms. The Antenna was turned around mainly into 2 directions to W/VE (60°) and JA/EU (300°) by a thin 2mm cord. The turning radius only had to be 90-120° since the W8JK was radiating in 2 directions, forward and backwards with 3-5 dB gain. The advantage of that was that we had a lot of long path QSO coming from the back side. The 2 cords were controlled from our balcony manually.

We were the only guests during Christmas / New Year so we did not have to take care about noise reduction during the night. We started the operation as usual. Sigi H4ØFN for CW and Peter H4ØFK for PSK. Peter used his ICOM-7000 and a MFJ portable tuner which burned out after 1 week. The switch was removed and the coil was tapped by crokodile clamps and worked perfectly. Sigi for CW had a second ICOM-7000 and 2 different PAs. One Ameritron ALS 500 and one homemade low cost FET PA, both of 500 Watts output. The homemade FET PA exploded at the third day with a loud bang and smoke like coming out of an old steam lokomotive and the Ameritron passed away 3 days before the end. The last 3 days were spent with 100 Watts only. During all these days we had several power cut offs of 1-2 hours and we used a small car battery of 12 Volts and 18 Ah. With 8 Watts Sigi could do a lot of QSO even with EU, mainly on 18 MHz. The reason to bring 2 pcs ICOM-7000 transceiver was to have a second one available for the same connectors and cables which Peter needed for his computer and modem in case his ICOM-7000 was broken.

Temotu DX-Expedition December 2010
Shack H40FK Peter

Temotu DX-Expedition December 2010
Shack H40FN Sigi

Sigi suffered a lot because we were told that we can buy our food in Lata locally. That is true only for eaters who enjoy themselves with rice and cabbage every day. Sigi is a lucullus and spent a lot of time to search for hours to find onions or noodles, eggs, cheese or fresh meat. But it remained only a dream for him for 2 weeks. We catered us very simply at the Motel‘s kitchen and Peter teached a few people from the neighbourhood who were also using the same kitchen how to clean the dishes and how to leave the kitchen cleaned up. There were several discussions with a so called „Minister“ who believed he could leave the kitchen behind like a cattle farm. Peter was finally successful and German accuracy was established. However the hotel staff was very helpful and the room was made up every day, getting fresh bed laundry several times throughout the 2 weeks. Lionel took us around with his „luxury“ pick up to help us shopping (rice and cabbage). It is strange to find on such a nice spot no seafood selection. The fisher men sold 2-3 times a week always the same fish: Tuna and Bonito, but laying several hours in the hot sun and no ice on it. I was missing other type of seafood but perhaps I get it easier at the north pole. A nice gesture was an invitation from the owners of the hotel for a very nice New Year’s meal with all the fine food we’ve been dreaming of for 2 weeks.

Temotu DX-Expedition December 2010
Kitchen Chef Peter: „Again rice and cabbage“

During december and january it is the rainy season on these islands. We have had heavy storms and terrible rain falls and one time the wind whiped the W8JK beam down but we could errect it again next day. The rain also was blown into the corridors where we had placed our shack table. A plastic sheet improved the situation.

Temotu DX-Expedition December 2010
2-el W8JK just prior the storm whiped it down

It was Christmas Eve and Peter brought 10 Santa Claus caps with built-in LEDs for the children and at night they jumped around like angels in the dark and enjoying sweets and chewing gum. The result we could see next morning. The yard was full of paper wraps pulled off the sweets and nobody put it into the litter box. The adults had to clean it up next day. Outside on the street drunken men were walking around they were not just an example for children since at the same time they were littering hundreds of beer cans around the streets.

Temotu DX-Expedition December 2010
Morning sunrise seen from our balcony

On the band it was again a big pain to hear this bluddy European QRM. Guys hammering 10 times their call sign during a QSO with others into the pile up and did not follow my advice in „QRZ.COM“. There I described the rules how to obtain a QSL card. This time my QSL manager was advised not to issue a QSL card for QSOs which have been red marked due to QRM or bad behaviour of several operators. It happened several times that I reminded ops not to do QRM and only to answer when I call UP or QRZ. They did not listen and as a result of that I made QRT and switched my radio off.

My favoured bands were 80m and 17m. 80m was great to all continents. 160m was bad. On 40m and 20m there was really no flowable pile up and I gave it up to call CQ there. 80m during the night and 17m in the morning was the right time to operate North America and late afternoon JA/EU made us and the other ops happy. One strange thing I noticed that I always meet the same guys on the band and their call sign slowly becomes wellknown to me. During my sleeps all these call signs were running through my brain and I was wondering how many times they already have been catching me on Temotu.

After 10 days of operation and also relaxing due to power cut offs and QRM on the band we left LATA back to Honiara where we had to stay over night for our flight back taking the same route where we came along. Maggy again was waiting for us and we had dinner and a lot of loughs with Peter’s jokes, but we regret that Maggy still did not find a husband meanwhile. Maggy was not that much active in SSB with her callsign H44MK because her YAESU transceiver is out of order and nobody can repair it.

Temotu DX-Expedition December 2010
Peter and Maggy H44MK

On January 6th we came home back to Germany with a lot of good impressions and Sigi decided at the same day to go back to Temotu again on Easter holidays in 2012 (March/April). QSL cards for Sigi H4ØFN please via HA8FW and for Peter H4ØFK via his homecall DG1FK. Peter also shows fotos and a report on his website.

Thanks guys, 90% of you have been great operators. The 10% I will forgive for their ellbow behavior but no QSL !

Temotu DX-Expedition December 2010
Bye bye: See You again in 2012 !

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