The NR3X team for the 2009 Cape Lookout Expedition won the 1st place plague in the RSGB IOTA contest as part of the island activation. Congratulations to the individual 2009 team members(W0UCE, N3ND, N4YDU,W4KAZ) and many thanks to the RSGB contest sponsors and ICOM UK for sponsoring the plaque. It is BEAUTIFUL….
The NC Contesters group, NR3X, again operated from near the Cape Lookout lighthouse over the weekend coinciding with the RSGB IOTA contest. This year’s group of castaways included N4YDU, N3ND, K2AV, and W4KAZ. W0UCE was unable to join the group and was missed.
Going into the weekend the sunspot situation seemed to be improving slightly, and propagation conditions did appear to be better than the pas couple of years. Everyone arrived at the docks within a few minutes of the ETA, and the group soon had N3ND’s vehicle loaded out and ready for the ferry trip across the sound to the South Core banks and Cape Lookout National Seashore.
YouTube clip of N4YDU running on 20m SSB
The first task upon arriving was to begin hoisting antennas. The wx was hot, the normal condition for CALO at the end of July, but there was a steady southwest breeze. The sea breeze and ocean temps of 82F combined with a bit lower than normal humidity made the set up a bit less onerous than it has been on previous trips, but everyone was glad to get into the shade once the outdoor work was completed.
The antenna mast work went along relatively quickly, and more or less according to plan. One minor setback was encountered when the tensile strength of fiberglass mast was proven experimentally to be significantly less than that of aluminum, but the end result was a nice 40 foot mast for the run station antennas suplemented with a slightly shorter 30 foot mast for the mult station.
The run station mast was used to support two perpendicular dipoles/doublets, both fed with independent runs of 450 ohm ladder line. Extensive modeling by K2AV led us to use doublets of 56′ total length, 28′ per side. The models indicated this provided the best trade off of antenna pattern and feedpoint impedance for 40m/20m/15m. On the smaller mult station mast, we used a similar antenna, with the addition of legs that could be connected to lengthen the antenna for use on 80m.
Inside the shack, the station set up was a pair of Elecraft K3′s, courtesy of K2AV and N3ND. The antennas were run into the shack to 4:1 baluns, and tuned via the Elecraft K3 internal tuners. The radio set up was top notch. The K3′s did a remarkable job, despite the close proximity of the antennas. Everyone was very happy with the high level of performance from the K3. While not free from interference, we expect that improving the antenna separation or changing antenna polarization would probably mitigate the bulk of the interference. Logging computers were running N1MM, a continued and deepening disappointment for the half of the team.
Friday evening operations again resulted in a big goose egg on 6m and 10m. It has long been an objective to put Cape Lookout on the air on those bands, but we did not catch any openings for either through the entire operation. Moving down to 15m, 20m, and 40m was more productive, and we were able to easily log QSOs there. A cooling breeze out of the southeast also drew a crowd on the porch, the best place we found to enjoy an 807.
On Saturday morning, we began operations in the RSGB IOTA contest. Propagation conditions allowed N4YDU to begin a run on 20m, and the day was spent swapping bands and CQ’ing for QSOs. The mult station was kept busy looking for band openings both for the IOTA contest and for the ever elusive 6m and 10m. IOTA mults were found, but the 6m/10m QSO’s were not to be had again for 2010. European stations began to really pound in late in the afternoon, and K2AV had the best runs of the weekend when he opened 40m CW around local sundown. Rates were good until just after local midnight. The midwatch produced few QSOs, but a handful of interesting mults appeared from the Southern Pacific in the early am of Sunday.
Visiting Cape Lookout in late July is always full of WX surprises. From the time of our arrival through the Sunday departure, the wind blew steadily, and with slowly increasing intensity. This was a blessing, as Saturday afternoon and evening was very comfortable, with low humidity and moderate temperatures. No rain encountered for the duration.
Improved propagation and a pair of complementary antennas made the operation a great success. For the IOTA portion of the operation we broke through the 1000 QSO goal, ending with an contest score of just over 1.4million points – The best we have managed over the low end of the sunspot cycle. The log shows that we worked stations in 72 different DXCC entities. It was a lot of fun for everyone.
For the past three years, the NC Contesters Club, NR3X, has activated the Cape Lookout Island, IOTA #NA-067 at the end of July.
The activation for 2010 will occur over the weekend of July 23rd through 25th. The cast of characters is expected to once again be W0UCE, N3ND, N4YDU and W4KAZ. We hope to be QRV by 20:00z on July 23rd, and expect to attempt activity on 10m and 6m should those bands open. We will also expect be on the air during the RSGB IOTA contest.
January 22nd, 2010 | Category: Uncategorized | Comments are closed
The 2009 expedition was a high spirited affair, with lots of fun at everyone’s expense. For an expedition, we were well prepared with creature comforts to combat the hot and humid conditions. We were also the best fed expedition ever – catering and five-start dining provided by “Chef Archie” - a.k.a. W0UCE.
Cold beverages were passed around, equipment was set up, radios and computers were coaxed into cooperation(sometimes), and many QSO’s were worked in the high noise levels of a summertime expedition.
The WX was at one point threatening, but the bad parts mostly seemed to slip around our island inhabitation. There were a few light showers, but no heavy weather. During the first early afternoon fueling of the generator we were treated to a beautiful double rainbow out over the Atlantic Ocean.
The NR3X group will once again activate the South Core Banks at the end of July 2009. This year the group will be augmented by the addition of N3ND and W0UCE. We expect our station set up to be very similar to the last two outings, and we expect to have access to and attempt some limited operations on 6 meters once again.