ZL7/K5WE Chatham Island DXpedition
Operator: Jeff Martin – K5WE
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Jeff, K5WE, will be active as ZL7/K5WE from Kaingaroa, Chatham Island beginning 9 September through 21 September, 2022. He will operate all bands 160 through 10 meters using the CW, FT8, FT4, SSB, and RTTY modes. The settlement of Kaingaroa is on the NE coast of the island. The Grid Square is AE16UG, IOTA # is OC-038, CQ Zone is 32, and the ITU Zone is 60. Depending upon a reliable internet connection, logs will be uploaded to Clublog daily and Clublog Livestream will be active. Logs will be uploaded to LoTW upon returning home. Periodic updates will occur on this webpage. At the time of this writing, the Chatham Islands entity was number 81 on the Clublog most needed list…
News & Updates
28Sep22 @ 1400Z – I have completed the design of the ZL7/K5WE QSL card and placed an order with UX5UO. Gennady estimates 4-5 weeks, maybe sooner, for delivery. I’ll begin getting them out as soon as they arrive.
25Sep22 @ 1800Z or 1PM Sunday afternoon Oklahoma time – DXpedition Update – Well, we made it back safe and sound, and tired, Scott to his home in Bozeman, Montana and Jeff to his QTH near Tulsa, Oklahoma… I arrived home late Thursday evening. Been hard at work since then unpacking, sorting through the mail, and responding to emails, especially inquiries about “Am I in the Log”. I think I am caught up on those, I have just done an upload to Clublog of a corrected ZL7/K5WE log. So, if you have any questions about a QSO, send me an email. I’ll be happy to check the log or the all.txt files.
The property owner where we stayed, Stuart, gave me a tour of “the farm” Wednesday morning. If you look on the map of the island on the DXpedition website and see where I’ve marked “QTH” up on the NE corner, that whole NE corner peninsula is owned by Stuart’s family. It’s a sheep farm. They have thousands of sheep. It’s impressive… After returning from the tour about 11:30 AM, I began tear down of the station and antennas. It was raining harder than it rained the whole time we were there. I was soaked, and of course the wind was blowing and it was cold. Finally got everything packed away at 10 PM in 7 pieces of luggage. At 8:30 AM Thursday the Air Chathams plane left for Auckland. That evening my Air New Zealand flight left Auckland for Houston, a couple hours after arrival in Houston, my United flight took me on home to Tulsa. It was about the same local time when I arrived on Thursday evening as it was when I left Auckland…
Current QSO count is 18,442 QSOs. I hope we put on a good show… We encountered more weather, hardware, and software problems than I anticipated, but we worked through them… I’ll put out a DXpedition story and go into a little more detail later. I’d like to thank all our sponsors, The Oklahoma DX Association, The International DX Association, The Clipperton DX Club, The Greater Milwaukee DX Association, The European DX Foundation, The Carolina DX Association, The GM DX Group, The Twin City DX Association, The German DX Foundation, The Southeastern DX Club, The Swiss DX Foundation, The Willamette Valley DX Club, The Chiltern DX Club, The Danish DX Group, and all the individuals who have financially supported the ZL7/K5WE Chatham Island DXpedition. We appreciate you!
Also thanks to all the Deserving DXers for all the QSOs… It was fun… CU on the bands…
73, Jeff – ZL7/K5WE
20Sept22 @ 1502Z or 21Sep22 @ 0347 AM local – Went outside this morning to fire up the generator. Oh yeah, did I mention the house runs on generator power? The wind was strong and cold out of the north with a drizzling rain. I shined my flashlight up at the antennas and guess what? The Crank-IR had fallen over. One of the guy ropes had broken. I spent the next hour repairing the guy rope and repairing the broken radial string and getting everything back up in the vertical position. I can better appreciate what the guys endure who go to the antarctic islands, and my wx is mild compared to down there… I will operate a few hours and then begin tearing down and packing. I leave early tomorrow morning…
20Sep22 @ 0130Z – I’ve just come inside from taking some videos of the water and the beach near the QTH. The wind is howling and cold… Just before I went out I was on 15 meters CW for a while. When I walked back up to the house I found the Hexbeam 15 meter element string broken in two places, with the element wire hanging down from the antenna. So that’s 5 breaks in 3 elements. It must have something to do with the RF. I’m not going to fix it, too close to quitting time…
19Sep22 @ 1920Z – I’ve added more photos to the “Pics” page.
19Sep22 @ 0400Z – I’ve added a few photos to the “Pics” page. They include Scott & Jeff in the wind with sheep in the background, the Hexbeam & Crank-IR after experiencing gale force winds, and Jeff & Scott at the operating position.
18Sep22 @ 1430Z – Good Morning… It’s 3:15 AM on Monday in the Chatham Islands. Here’s a brief update… Yesterday, repaired the broken string on the other side of the Hexbeam 20 meter element. About 30 minutes later one of the strings broke on the 17 meter element. It looked burned, perhaps RF and this wet salty environment is contributing to this problem. I repaired the 17 meter element. Hope the rest of them hold together. Had some trouble with N1MM yesterday. It was giving msgs about .wav files when I was on CW and hanging. Hope I have that resolved. Made a few QSOs at my sunset yesterday on 80 meters FT8, mostly Europe with some W’s. So I have a few QSOs on 80 and a fair number on 60 now… 160 is a bust. I don’t hear or xmit well, so I’m not wasting any more time with it, sorry. Just did a Clublog upload, over 14K QSOs so far, even with all the hardware and software problems. Winding down here, couple days to go… 73, Jeff – ZL7/K5WE
15Sept22 @ 1515Z – Hi folks… Just in case you thought that DXpeditioning is all fun and games… It’s about 4AM local time on September 16th, I think… I just came inside from adjusting the Crank-IR vertical for 30 meters. That involves turning the spool for the vertical element wire and the other spool for the radial wire until you get to the mark for 30 meters. In this case, it also involves standing outside in the rain in steady 25 mph winds while you do it… Temp is probably in the forties F. This place is at 44 degrees S latitude. They don’t call them the roaring forties for nothing, it blows all the time, I mean all the time, with occasional showers every day. Oh yeah, it is still winter time, it becomes spring on the 21st or 22nd of September, somewhere around that…
By the way, the 20 meter element is broken again on the Hexbeam. This time it’s the string between the wire element on the other side. I guess Hexbeams were not made for this kind of wx.
So, CU in a few minutes on 30 meters CW. As soon as I get a cup of coffee… 73, Jeff – ZL7/K5WE
13Sept22 @ 0710Z – The Hexbeam 20 meter element had a broken string between the wires. Also, the support string that holds up one of the spreaders blew away, couldn’t find it. Repaired the 20 meter element and built a new spreader support string. Also repaired a couple of things on the Crank-IR. So, the antenna farm is back at full strength. WX better today, sun came out this afternoon, still windy.
12Sept22 @16:35 – Gale force winds overnight. Hexbeam is damaged, 20 meter wire is hanging down. Will investigate and attempt to repair after the sun comes up… Will continue to do a daily log update to clublog… 73, Jeff – ZL7/K5WE…
10Sept22 @ 22:50Z – Consolidated the logs and uploaded to Clublog. All QSOs made prior to 22:50Z should be in Clublog. Working on a different method for real time upload so that we can have livestream. If unsuccessful we will do a periodic manual upload, maybe daily…
10Sept22 – Good Morning from Chatham Island… It’s 4AM local time. It’s been a busy last few days. First, I am aware of the logging issues from the FT8 programs. The FT8 program is the front end. It exports the log data to DXKeeper, then DXKeeper sends it to Clublog. It is not working correctly some of the time. For example, when I send RR73 to two stations at the same time, only one gets exported. The data is there in the front end FT8 program, so in time it will be merged into the primary log. Another issue is in exporting from DXKeeper to Clublog I often get error messages saying the export failed. I have to click OK on that message for DXKeeper to continue and that popup message is often hidden behind other stuff on the desktop. DXKeeper pauses until the message is cleared. There are other software issues we are looking at, but our priority is making QSOs. So, if you need assurance that you are in the log, work us again.
Got the Crank-IR and the 160 dipole installed yesterday. Like I said before, we have been very busy… Hopefully things will settle down now… CU on the bands… 73, Jeff – ZL7/K5WE
6Sep22 – The Journey Begins… Today I depart via United Airlines from Tulsa for Denver, then to Los Angeles. From LA I fly overnight to Auckland, arriving early morning local time. Scott is flying from Bozeman, Montana to San Francisco to Auckland. We lose a day, arriving early on Thursday morning local time. Our planes arrive in Auckland about 25 minutes apart. Then in the afternoon we take the weekly Air Chathams flight from Auckland to Chatham Island. It’s about a two and a half hour flight. So, it will be late afternoon, early evening when we finally arrive. I anticipate putting up antennas and getting on the air as ZL7/K5WE sometime on Friday. CU then… 73… Jeff
17Aug22 – Good Morning… I’m aware that ZL7 is needed much more in Europe than in NA/SA or Asia. So, I would like to hear from anyone in Europe regarding which bands/modes you need. Also, what is your experience with propagation to the ZL area, and on what bands, long path or short path? What time of day UTC? Send any info you would care to share to: DXpedition@k5we.com . I hope to put a lot of Europeans in the ZL7/K5WE log… 73… Jeff
1Aug2022 – Good Morning… I’ve been doing some logistics planning. When you take radios, antennas, laptops, amplifiers, coax, other cables, accessories, clothes, etc., etc. on a DXpedition you can accumulate a lot of “stuff”. That “stuff”, at 50 pounds per bag can quickly fill up several bags of luggage. I did a quick calculation today, my excess baggage charges alone will be over $1500 US dollars for this trip!
29Jul22 – Equipment Update: Built a 720′ long Beverage RX antenna. I may use the Beverage instead of the Shared Apex Loop Array. It would save me some space and weight in the airline luggage. Purchased bandpass filters for 160, 80, & 60 meters from Hamation to go along with the Dunestar filters I already had for the other bands.
28Jul22 – ZL7/K5WE Chatham Island Press Release #2 – Preparations are proceeding on schedule for a September 9 on-the-air date. I’m pleased to announce my son Scott – KD5GEY will be joining me as an assisting operator. We hope to make our presence known with an all band, all mode effort, probably emphasizing CW and FT8. A 60 meter sub-license has been granted. Any help with DXpedition expenses would be appreciated. ZL7 – Chatham Island is #82 on the just released Clublog Most Wanted List. For more info see: https://k5we.com/zl7-k5we/ .
27May22 – Website online. DXpedition announced.