My thoughts on EP6T…

Posted: January 26, 2015 in Uncategorized

EP6T_Team

The global DX Community has become spoiled. We are all accustomed to nearly flawless DXpeditions done with finesse, style and a lot of “spit & polish”

EP6T was another kind of DXpedition. It was done with loads of grit and determination. It wasn’t anything close to flawless and no one should expect that. The Rockall group is an emerging DXpedition group, one that we should welcome and embrace, not scorn and ridicule. Let’s not throw stones at them and make it be their last DXpedition.

At times during the DXpedition, I listened in on remote internet receivers. I could hear the stress and strain in their voices. At times they sounded exhausted and overwhelmed. I wanted to tell them to take a rest, enjoy an afternoon at the beach or a night on the town. Instead, they carried on with grit and determination. They took abuse on the bands, ham forums, social media and in the inbox. In my view, this was a learning mission and I am sure they learned a lot!  I am sure that there are things they would do differently if they were to start again tomorrow.

Their reports that they were in a high noise environment are completely credible. I could sense on 30 meters that they were nearly deaf. It is not their fault. We encounter this on almost every DXpedition. Environmental and man made noise is a big problem.

The EP6T team made effective use of their Pilots. Initially they were calling for regions at the wrong time and wrong band. They got it dialed in and they turned things around nicely.  From a “West Coast” perspective I think they made the effort and satisfied the need. At times, they were quite loud on 20, 30 and 40 meters. The openings were very brief. January was not the ideal time of year from a West Coast perspective and propagation suffered. Still, they pressed on and they tried hard.

At the end of the day, they made 68,064 contacts which is an extraordinary effort and they really tried to work everyone who was workable. Let’s put away our elevated expectations and thank them for the job that they did. They deserve nothing less!

What do you think?

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Comments
  1. w9rpm says:

    I agree with what you said.

  2. Warren says:

    Overall, Paul, I agree with your comments. They obviously had to deal with extraordinary noise levels which masked all but the loudest of signals. I know DQRM and poor conditions combined to make my two contacts a real slog. But the ops there hung with me and I’m in the log with an ATNO.
    However, I am disappointed with the comment on the PA4BES blog (http://pe4bas.blogspot.com/2015/01/ep6t-at-end-of-dxpedition.html) that ON and PA stations were directed on-air by a Rockhall DXped operator to go a special frequency in order to make their contacts. If true this is only going to encourage the “payback-is hell” crowd when K1N becomes QRV…

    • n6pse says:

      Warren, there was one time where I heard the Op speaking in a foreign language but I could not discern what he was saying. He might have been saying hello to an old friend. It was when they were EU only and it didn’t impact me or anyone in the US at the time. I can’t be upset with them for what I heard.

  3. Robert H. Pusch WD8NVN says:

    Thanks Paul for the insight ! For my station, EP6T made Iran an ATNO on phone, CW and RTTY… I knew in advance propagation from Central Ohio to Iran as a difficult path; my expectations have been exceeded… In my view, anyone who does not respect what these guys accomplished, need to find a another hobby.

  4. Roger AC6BW says:

    Could not even hear them on 20m and 40m (no 30m antenna). Same antenna that I worked FT4TA with, so they should have been audible. So, from my perspective, the need was not satisfied.
    I’m also having a hard time understanding how noise levels in the desert can be higher than, say, an urban environment like San Jose?

  5. RoyInNC says:

    I got them on 20 meter cw for an ATNO. As of this evening they had made around 6700 NA qso’s. I’m certain they could have worked many more NA stations, if they didn’t have to try to pull out calls from the roar of hundreds and thousands that simply don’t know when to call and when to stop calling.

  6. Well said. I’m amazed folks put dxpeditions on at all. Talk about subjecting yourself to abuse from the entitled. 🙂

  7. Roger says:

    The Iran DXpedition was very difficult for me. It is the first time in ten years that a DXpedition came on which would have given me an ATNO that I just could not work.

    I only heard him very faintly about four times: several times on 17m SSB and once on 20 m CW.

    I called him at 1511UTC on 21Jan on 20m CW [14.056 Mhz] and he came back to me with a partial version of my call but he just couldn’t get my entire call. It was like this:

    RK ?? [then I’d send my call slowly several times]
    K5 ?? [I’d send my call again}

    this went on for maybe 90 seconds and then he sent “QRM QRM” and then QRZ and started working other NA stations.

    There really was not that much QRM so I didn’t know what to make of this. Later in a status update on the internet he said “we have horrible QRM due to manmade noise here from battery charges and air conditioning equipment”. So his local noise was so bad he couldn’t copy my feeble signal. What he was calling QRM most of us would call QRN.

    Here in Oklahoma some people with better antenna systems did work him. Many of us did not. The best openings to Oklahoma — at least the only ones I could just barely hear — were all long path. We here in Central USA were an extension of the long path to the West Coast.

    The EP6T guys did an incredible job to try to dig out very weak stations and work them — even while dealing with a very high ambient noise level and very weak signals.

    73 Roger K5RKS Oklahoma City

    • Roger says:

      Here is an interesting comparison of long path between EP6T and CA or OK

      Long path to Sacramento CA —> 16874 miles with path making landfall on NA somewhere near Monterrey CA.

      Long path to Oklahoma City —> 17017 miles with path making landfall on NA at about Acapulco MX. There is over a thousand miles of land in the way on the path between landfall in Acapulco and Oklahoma City.

      All of these calculations are taken from VOACAP runs using the DX location as United Arab Emirates [A6]– which is closer to the KIsh Island in the Persian golf than the point VOACAP uses to “Iran” which is Tehran.

      73 Roger K5RKS

  8. Floyd N5FG says:

    WELL said Paul and as the US Pilot I appreciate YOUR thoughts and comments
    GL from VP8S.. I will be looking for you
    73,
    Floyd, N5FG
    US Pilot for EP6T

  9. Bert says:

    Completely agrre with your thoughts, it’s wonderfull that a group of guys spend tehir time and money to give us the chance to have an ATNO. I’m located on West central coast of Mexico and was very dificult to got him, As far as I see on club log onli 25 XE stations worked EP6T, and form this zone of my country i think I was the only one.
    The sigs were very faintly here, but the intentional interference heared was amazing. Sadly, this fenomena become in something recurrent. We need to find better ways to pull out our disagree, frustration and traumas in other ways than make impossible for others to make the contacts with the dxpedition.
    73
    Bert, XE1HG

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