K9PET Casual DXpedition To Antarctica

By | February 24, 2007

Casual DXpedition to Antarctica

View the correspondence and photos from K9PET on his Antarctica Casual DX operation…

This is a journal of messages sent by Marc Weinberg K9PET to the WWDXC Email alias

>>Tue, 13 Feb 2007 16:59:04 -0800

Greetings to all.  Today was first day on the ground from a few hours,  AITCHO ISLAND (S. SHETLANDS).  We set up SteppIR and could hear almost no one.  We worked one LU2 and that was all.  Tomorrow we will try 20M and 40M on the low end of CW and 14.200SSB from NEKO  Harbor.  We will be landing there approx. 1700GMT so look for us abt 18:00-20:00 GMT.  Band condx here are poor.  Can't hear much from MM vertical or dipole.  SteppIR was mostly quiet today too.  We worked Russians and some EU last night 24:00GMT.

A walking penguin

Hpe to CU.


>> Wed, 14 Feb 2007 18:47:07 -0800

Seal Basking

 >> Thu, 15 Feb 2007 12:48:24 -0800

Subject: Poor Fishing in Antarctica de K9PET

Fishing for radio contacts is very poor.  I bet it will be said that Feb '07 is the bottom of the solar cycle.  So the "rules of engagement" have been changed while we are here on the Peninsula.  If we experience no/poor reception and hear virtually nothing from our two ship board antennas(dipole and vertical), we will not set up on shore as we did today on Booth Island on LeMaire Channel.  Our hope to operate from Petermann Is. got scrubbed due to fog and wx.  Sven, we tried you today at the sked time, but nothing.

Wx is is very good and at times one needs only a sweater, but when the sun stays behind the clouds it gets cold quickly.

Our best radio success is late afternoon (our time) and into the evening.  After dinner abt 9:30 or 10PM 30 and 40 meters seems to work on CW only.   Can't hear any SSB except for some SA locals.  We will keep in touch with more details and cheers to all
Nice way to spend Valentine Day.  

Valentine's day in Antarctica

>> Fri, 16 Feb 2007 13:10:22 -0800

Subject: from Antarctica

Friday AM 2/16.  Beautiful sights in Paradise Bay.  Mount Frances the highest in Antarctica at 9,000ft.  We are cruising through the bay to reach Port Lockroy this afternoon.

Thanks to one of you we now have a better understanding why Ham Radio contacts are so hard to get.  Yesterday's sun spot index we were told was "0"   We have had growing success in "our" evening hours after dinner 9-midnight when we can't keep our eyes open any longer.   For the first time Dave w3wkp/kc4/mm had considerable luck with you in the US on cw which is mostly what we can hear.  So thanks for being there we are trying.  Tonight on 30 and 40 meters we will use Dave's little FT 817 to listen on one antenna, the quiet dipole and transmit (Icom 706) on the Shakespeare vertical where we have been getting 5/7/9—5/9/ 9 reports.

My new daily record for photos is now 231 which is up from other trips at about 100.  There is soooo much to see.  It is just great!

Large Ice Bergs in Antarctica
The biggest Ice Berg we will likely see!


>> Fri, 23 Feb 2007 03:37:49 -0800

Subject: de K9PET

Hello to all.  Condx still favor our afternoon hours and /MM all evening (2100-0200Z) sorry that the late hours are /MM.

Jose, YES YES, of course I remember you from our visit to Barcelona.  Thank you for your emails.  As you can imagine many people are looking for us.  We move to different anchorages and stop on shore 2 times each day.  Today I heard stations at 0700z, and now 1100z nothing on any band.  I was taking pictures on shore at 0730 today for sunrise.  It was beautiful.  We cannot be on shore much past 1900 or 2000Z because of the ships schedule.  So after that conditions get better and we work MM.  Last night, 2/22 we had a large pile up on 30M 10.106 so if you can look for us as follows.

Afternoon for us, local time 1400 (1600Z) to 1800 (2000Z) on shore as VP8DJU (Marc) or VP8DJG (Dave)  We will try 7.022, 10.120, 14.020 and 14.220SSB and we will work down in frequency from those starting places.  Hope to hear you. 

Seals and Penguins

My one day photo record is now 435 pics, far better than radio contacts.
Now, this AM we are anchored in St. Andrews Bay and afternoon we will be in Ocean Harbour.

Seals Singing


>> Fri, 23 Feb 2007 16:32:37 -0800

Subject: CasualDX S. Georgia

Well two years ago when we committed to this trip, we knew conditions would be poor.  However, in terms of propagation it is worse than expected.   Patience is a virtue and timing is everything when conditions are so changeable.  Last boat (zodiac) from shore back to the ship is some days 1800 local or 2000z.  It was raining very had today so I came back early since there was no propagation anyway.   I worked 5 stations from Finland to the Med and UK in half an hour between 2000-2030Z today from the ship, then dinner when two more were worked 2300-2330Z and then bands went dead.  All contacts today were 30M.  Never, all day long in check found any SSB on 20M.

So we walked in the rain and took more pictures.  Tomorrow is our landing in Grytviken after lunch so check about 1630 for about 3 hours.  7.020,  10.120, 14.020, and SSB 14.220.
This is a young fir seal sleeping in the Tussic grass.

Seal in Tussic Grass

>> Sun, 25 Feb 2007 05:29:21 -0800

Sorry, but email system not working yesterday.  Today2/25 7am and landing on several islands at "Bay of Islands" on NW coast.  Try agn after lunch and thru about 2000Z.  Yesterday afternoon was very good 30M and 40SSB.  CU  255photos this AM

 Sea Bird

>> Thu,  01 Mar 2007 16:59:49 -0800

K9PET now in the Falklands 

Our 2 1/2 day passage from S. Georgia was often rough with 3 and 4 meter swells, a contrary westerly wind of up to 50 kits.  So for many including me we got caught
up on sleep.  I developed a upper respiratory thing and with codeine cough meds and the heavy seas, my head went wild.  So today the Dr. gave me other stuff and I'm making a recovery.

Today was all day in Stanley where we had previously contacted Bob VP8LP from S. Georgia.  I arranged for Bob to come aboard the ship and in the afternoon we spend two hours at his qth on his FT1000MP, 200W into his 3 el SteppIR yagi.  It was wonderful.  The pileup was amazing on 15M and 12M SSB and CW.  We worked many stations throughout EU, SA and NA including Stan SQ8AQD in Poland who had been trying so hard to set up a sked.  Also worked some old friends in EA.  It was just the best day on the air since we've been travel and our great thanks to Bob for his hospitality.

Tomorrow it will be West Point Island 1100Z -1500Z& New Island 1800Z-2100Z.  Since the AM has never been good for us I suspect we won't even give it a try until the afternoon.

Thanks to all who played with us today.  It sure was nice to have a beam to get good signals from the states.  CU.  We can't believe this outstanding trip is coming to a close.  Our memories and nearly 4000 photos will have to bring us back.

Regards, Marc  K9PET