VK9XGM          Operating plans .....     Updated 11th August 2023

VK9XGM will be running two separate stations. How we divide our activity between CW, SSB and FT4/8 will depend on a number of factors including conditions, QSO balances and operator fatigue! We both enjoy working SSB and CW pile ups. We are certainly hoping we get plenty of those. Neither of us are especially keen on Digital modes but we recognise the desire of a proportion of the Ham community for QSOs on FT4/8. We also understand the power of these modes in weak signal situations.

Looking at the predicted propagation in November 2023, and having experience of operating from this part of the world, we know that Europe and Asia are relatively easy from VK9X. We also anticipate (hope!) that HF conditions will be very good, judging by how SC25 is progressing.

The real challenge from VK9X are QSOs with the Americas. We will pay attention to predictions for both short and long path openings to these regions and hope that more than a few ATNOs are provided. We anticipate a good take off short path to North America. Long path might be a little harder. For South America, it looks like short path which for some guys like LU and especially CE will be challenging – our take off will not, we believe, be blocked but is poorer as signals have to cross the island, over higher ground. We hope good propagation will offset some of the path loss.

When there is an opening to NA/SA, we will prioritize those areas over AS and EU. We will ask callers to QRX and make selective CQ to NA/SA etc. We urge those not in the Americas to respect their fellow hams struggling to get through and not call when we are looking for NA/SA. The potential openings look relatively short lived. When appropriate we might make selective calls for EU, depending on which band is in use – there should be plenty of time for Europe, Asia and Africa.

We will also do our best to spend time on the low bands. These may or may not be productive, given the state and stage of SC25. Of course, there will be great need especially on 160m. We will have to take things as they come – nothing we can do if there is no propagation. It is likely we will target SR and/or SS times in particular parts of the world. We also hope we can have a reasonable internet access so that we can keep folks informed in real time.

As our thinking and plans on this develop, we will post more info here. It is likely that during the expedition we will have a better idea of what is best. We will try to communicate our plans as best we can. We will develop some thoughts about FT8 in the coming weeks.

Finally, Chris and Keith have done this type of DXpedition before. This will be #9. We know what is involved. We know it is impossible to keep everyone happy, and some of you won’t be happy because we are on the wrong mode or the wrong band, as you see it. Please be patient and keep trying. We want to work as many folks on as many bands as possible. We will be QRV as much as we can. But please also remember, there are only two of us, we both need to sleep some and we need to eat from time to time, and sometimes the latter is at a time NOT in our control. And we don’t know the precise situation until we get there, especially regarding local QRM – there are lots of solar panels on the buildings nearby (Google Earth). Our last info from previous DXpedition dates from 2018.