DXPeditions: VK0EK and FT4JA

I am not an ardent DXer, but when an entity is only on the air every couple of decades, I’m willing to give it a try. Due to it’s remote location, Heard Island fits that description. Likewise, operation from Juan de Nova is not all that common, particularly as the Scattered Islands are the subject of a territorial dispute between Madagascar and France (and perhaps the Comoros would like a piece too).

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Immediate feedback from real time logging on the VK0EK website was very appreciated. I saw a CW contact recorded as HR8SV and was able to correct it on a subsequent attempt.

I had expected to work FT4JA since they are literally in my back yard, but between being in their skip zone and their use of directional antennas on the far side of the island, I had difficulty even hearing them. I did manage to work them on 40m and called it a day.

On the other hand, I seemed to have a direct line to Heard Island. Their signals were often booming in here, and on more than one occasion I worked them on the first or second call. Not infrequently, I could hear them calling over and over with no responses because propagation did not favor areas with active hams. I was particularly pleased to work them on 30m since I do not have an antenna for 30m. I cut my power to 25w and used the K3’s tuner to match up the line to the hex beam.

Their operation did provide some motivation for me to fire up the Kenwood B2000 to work them on RTTY, which is an infrequent mode for me. After I put up my 40m loop, I was also able to work them on 40m. I had a lot of local noise, but presume it was clearer on their end.

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