July 6-8th, 2018, NJ4Y, N4ESS, and KE4AL will venture to Fort Jefferson on Garden Key, in the Dry Tortugas island chain. Our main purpose for the trip is to activate EL84, one of the maidenhead grids with the least land area of any in the CONUS, on satellites and 6m.
We are scheduled to arrive around 11am (1500z) on July 6th, and stay through 3pm (1900z) on the 8th.
We will have two complete satellite stations, with capabilities on all current amateur satellites. Emphasis will be especially on the larger footprints of AO-7 and FO-29, but we will work as many passes as possible during our time on the island. We've got two experienced sat ops on this trip - this isn't yet another "let's learn how to work satellites while we're on a tiny island in the middle of nowhere!!" operations... we want to get anyone within ~7500km who needs the grid into our log. If you are in the outer reaches of the footprint between EL84np and your location, let us know ahead of the trip so we can plan some possible low elevation pass skeds! A list of passes visible from the island can be viewed here. While we won't be able to cover EVERY pass, we will do our best to work as many as possible, especially those with good coverage of north and south america, as well as low elevation passes towards Europe.
The 6m station will consist of a 2 element 6m beam at ~20 feet, an FT-857 100w transmitter, and capabilities on SSB, CW, and digi modes, emphasizing FT8 as band conditions dictate. We will be there in peak E skip season, so keep your fingers crossed for some great band openings! We are on battery power, so we'll operate as long as they hold up. The plan is to leave the station monitoring FT8 on 50.313 if the band doesn't appear to be open. That way we can conserve battery power as much as possible while still keeping on the lookout for possible openings. Also, if the band will support it - try some SSB! If I'm seeing tons of +1-9dB ft8 activity, then I will QSY to around ~50.185 and call on sideband. That way we can make more QSOs and also conserve some battery power.
We will also operate on HF as time, band conditions, and battery power allow. This is secondary to the 6m and satellite ops, with no hard planned schedule, so keep your eye on the dx cluster for K4R if you need EL84 for the ARRL international grid chase. As on 6m, we will have capabilities on CW, SSB, and digi.
We will be communicating largely via twitter.com/K4R_EL84 while on the island, using a Garmin InReach messenger to post information about frequencies, modes, and pass schedules. This is an open, public twitter page, so you can view it even if you don't have a twitter account. If you do have an account, be sure and follow us before the trip so you can stay up to date! Our pilot station will be Paul, N8HM twitter.com/prstoetzer, he will be able to relay information to us via text and email over our inReach.
All logs will be uploaded to LOTW as soon as possible after the trip. Cards will also be available upon request