AL3/AA7CH IOTA NA-042 Hinchinbrook Island
August 9 - 15, 2017 Alaska, Grid BP60sl
1. Expedition plan
We will go from Vancouver, BC to Whittier, AK by car, hope to make it in 5 or 6 days. Google Maps have estimated driving distance as 3,627 km or 2254 miles. On Sunday, August 6 we shall take Alaska Marine Highway ferry, MV AURORA, which departs Whittier at 01.30 pm local time and goes to Cordova. Around 9.00 pm we shall go to bed in Orca Adventure Lodge. The day of August 7 will be devoted to shopping, mostly food and gas for generators.
On August 8, around noon, we plan to load the high speed 37 ft (11 m) charter boat and should be arriving in Double Bay within an hour or so. The distance from Cordova to our landing area on Hinchinbrook Island is 35 miles (56 km). There is a cabin in Double Bay managed by US Forest Service which can be rented for up to 7 days. The cabin is accessible at high tide only, which occurs at 3 pm local time on August 8. There should be enough daylight to set up the station.
Our entire operation will be off-grid and will be self-sufficient with approximately 400+ kg (850+ lbs) of cargo. If everything goes well I should be on the air around 04.00 UTC on August 9 (late evening August 8 in Alaska). Main directions to Europe and Far East Asia and everything in between are right over the salt water; North and South America are well opened too. On the air until 05.00 UTC on August 15. Knock down antennas early in the morning, load the boat around 16.00 UTC and return to Cordova.
Team: Mike VE7ACN/RW0CN/AA7CH and his wife SAINT (suggested by VE7TK) Natasha.
Main: K3, amplifier SPE Expert 1,3K-FA, remote tuner MFJ-998RT
Spare: КХ3, amplifier KPA500, remote tuner MFJ-994RT
Power generators Honda 2 kW and Honda 1 kW (spare).
160 м - Inverted L, 21 м (69 ft) vertical aluminum plus 22 m (72 ft) 1 mm (#18) sloping copper wire (not guaranteed);
80 м - full size vertical (not guaranteed) ;
40 м - full size vertical;
30 м - 2 х 2; 2 cells driven element - passive reflector fed in-phase; the cells are 0.7 wave lenghts apart. Direction to Europe, if space allows. In the worst case scenario - single vertical with autotuner for 30 and 40 m;
20 - 10 м - Spiderbeam on 10 m (33 ft) mast.
Internet and cell phone coverage:
NO. We will have satellite phone for emergency communication. IOTApedition log should be uploaded to ClubLog on August 16, if we have Internet in Cordova, which is not guaranteed. LoTW will be done likely in September.
Support on mainland (pilot station): Rick VE7TK, Victoria, BC, Vancouver Island, IOTA NA-036
Financial support of IOTApedition is highly appreciated
2. Getting ready
July 26, 2017. RI0C expedition to Iony Island, AS-069 haven't been heard on the Pacific Northwest until the very last day they were on the air. Even skimmers from West Coast kept silence. Most of the reports to DX-claster were from 339 to "none", "not a whisper" etc. Finally, seeing some NA stations spotting RI0C and RBN reports around 10 db I have installed Spiderbeam. QSO on 20 m has been looked with 449 QSB just a few hours before they QRT. Everything works and ready to go! Except power generator.
July 29, 2017. Almost new Honda EU2000i, like the one on the picture below, refused to mate with SPE Expert 1.3K-FA amplifier. Frankly, the thing looked nervous and not happy even with KPA500 amplifier on NA-051 in March 2016. The old model I had did not allow to run two generators in parallel. 3 kW Honda could help, but 140 lbs (63 kg) didn't look friendly. 500 W from KPA500 seems to be not enough with current solar spot numbers. So, 2 new Hondas run in parallel have been tested. Fabulous! Full one kilowatt output to antenna caused almost no noticeable changes in generators performance! 4 kW available power and still backup for some 500 W to antenna in the case one power unit fails. Easy to handle 2 x 46 lbs (2 x 20 kg).
July 29, 2017. 21 m/67 ft vertical used on NA-041 in March 2017 worked great on 160 - 15 m with the help of MFJ998RT autotuner. Additional sloping 21 m/67 ft wire from the top allowed to have 160 m (orange), kevlar guy ropes in 4 levels and 32 radials 24 m/78 ft long (green 0,51 mm/#22 gauge wire).