In three months, FT4JA will be on the air. The exact dates of the operation were confirmed both by the authorities and by our skipper. We will be there from March 29 to April 11, 2016. These dates include the unloading and loading phases.
For nearly a year, we have been working in detail on every aspect of the operation. While it is unrealistic to think that we have everything under control in such an adventure, we make sure to have alternative solutions to overcome any deficiencies while controlling our expenses.
In early January, the 4 crates of equipment will be shipped to Mayotte, which will again be our starting point. Part of the team will be on site a few days before loading and a few days after our return to manage, if necessary, last minute details. For now, we are in the process of finishing testing the hardware and are packing it for transport to optimize the time of loading / unloading. Each well-anticipated subject will be extra time at our disposal there.
Our luck with FT4JA is that we are able to rely on a more robust team than last year with Tromelin and over a period of operation extended by a few days. We will benefit from these two “bonuses” by being able to make more contacts and allow more of you to contact us. Furthermore, we officially welcome EA3NT, Christian, who has joined the team. His many experiences on islands around the world, many with members of the group, will be an asset.
Judging by the support already received, the popularity of our operation is palpable and shows tremendous expectations. Many clubs and associations have confirmed their support and we thank them. Other solicited clubs are still studying our request.
Our pilot for Asia, Joe, JJ3PRT, has surrounded himself with a team to mobilize the JA community that is fully invested in the project. Arigatoo! The other countries are not far behind. We record a great generosity on the part of hams around the world and cannot but be touched by this needed mobilization. Remember that anyone with a donation of €/$ 25 or more can automatically receive confirmation of contacts directly to their mailbox.
If the pace of donations continues, and in the absence of unforeseen expenses, we are confident to complete the budget of our operation by April.
Following the change of dates of the expedition to Heard, most wanted DXCC countries # 4 and # 5 will be on the air at the same time! To minimize problems on the bands, we suggested to the VK0EK team to adopt a common band plan to share the segments on the different bands, taking into account the specificities of each region. Each of us will benefit in terms of clarity and efficiency. It is available on our website. Again, all comments are welcome now through our pilot stations.
The period during which FT4JA expedition will take place is conducive to 6m. We will be in effect during a period of trans-equatorial propagation (TEP), which suggests many QSO on the magic band.
We have planned some 50 MHz high-performance equipment including a dedicated station consisting of a DXBeam 6 element Yagi, an Elecraft K3, and an SPE Expert 1.3 KFA amplifier. The team will also include several operators that usually practice DX on this band and therefore know its subtleties. The 6-meter station will operate mostly in a CW beacon mode (“CQ FT4JA”) whose frequency will be published in our plan. As our satellite internet access will be very limited, we cannot monitor the cluster. We will switch to a transmitting position (CW or SSB only) as soon as we hear someone respond. It is a method that has already proven its worth, particularly on Tromelin.
In an attempt to satisfy everyone, and because the technical challenge is very motivating, we also plan to try EME (JT65). Despite limited resources to work stations via the moon, it will be a first from Juan de Nova.
It is important for us to satisfy the greatest number, and having real ambitions on 6m is part of the adventure. However, to be consistent with our key objectives, our 6-meter QSOs will be in addition to the rest of the contacts and not to the detriment of our presence on the HF bands.
In conclusion, we wish good luck and good contacts to our friends at VP8STI/SGI and K5P who will open in early January the “party” of the Top 10 DXCC DXpeditions planned for 2016