To make an IOTA DXpedition successful it requires reliable equipment with simple, strong and well placed antenna to give everyone in the world a good chance to get in the log.
The radio being used is the ever reliable Icom IC7000 which has been used for 10 IOTA activations since 2013 and the back up radio will be the Icom IC706mkIIG used for 5 IOTA activations in 2010-2013.
I will have a solid state amplifier with me which is tough and reliable and has been used for all IOTA DXpeditions since 2012.
The big issue for 2017 is just how fast DX conditions have deteriorated on the high bands of 10m to 17m and even 20m. I remember in 2015 on St Peter Island OC-220 VK5CE/P running pile ups on 10m to North America in the morning and then Europe in the afternoon. But now in 2017 I don’t even bring antennas for 10m or 12m on DXpeditions!!!!
Fortunately OC-198 is located in the tropics and so the higher bands will be much better than the southerly locations I’ve been visiting earlier this year. The high bands are also much better for VK in October. Checkout the PROPAGATION page to see more details. So based on these propagation predictions and past experience I will be using 15m, 17m, 20m, 30m and 40m for this DXpedition.
I’ll have a beach side location and the vertical antennas will be placed at the high tide mark. As you can see from the map there is a direct saltwater path for Japan and Europe on the short path. For Europe long path and North America on both short and long path there is no direct water path but the land is flat and not blocked by hills.
I’ll be using a 1/4 wave vertical for 40m and 30m on the beach. Also at the high tide level I’ll have 1/2 wave vertical dipoles for 20m and 17m using Spiderbeam fibreglass poles. For Europe and Japan on 17m and 20m the verticals on the beach will be the best antenna but they won’t be great for North America because there is no direct saltwater path. So I’ll also have a Spiderbeam yagi to give North America a better chance to get in the log. Normally I would just use 40m to get North America in the log but with the challenging band conditions I’ve decided to spend extra time and money to have a wider range on antenna options.
With the low sunspot activity and terrible DX conditions on 10m and 12m, Spiderbeam have an excellent solution for DXers. They have a tribander yagi for 20m, 17m and 15m and better still it has 3 elements for each band. This will assist me to put out a good signal on all three bands and not just in the direction of direct water paths with the verticals. Yes a vertical on the waters edge is a miracle antenna in the direction of the saltwater but it is terrible over land. The new yagi kit has arrived from Germany and I look forward to using this.
At times of the day and night when 17m and 20m will be open to Europe short path, Asia short path and North America short path I will have the the Spiderbeam pointing in the direct of North America and then just switch between the vertical for Europe/Asia and the Spiderbeam for North America/Asia.
The ever reliable Honda generators will be used for this DXpedition