Saturday, August 27, 2016

Hi everyone

The first attempt to operate on Granite Island is now complete with 845 QSO's over 9 hours of operation on 0500-0800 UTC August 26 and 0115-0730 UTC on August 27.

It was encouraging to see a short opening to various parts of North America on 20m at 0400-0500 UTC. Long path to Europe was open from 0400-0730 UTC on 20m and it was very good in the 0600-0700 UTC period. I know its tough for everyone chasing in Europe with such a short and ferocious feeding frenzy.

I spent 0115 to 0400 UTC on 15m to give JA the chance to work me. Just a few North Americans were around on 15m which isn't really a surprise considering current band conditions. It was good to do this 15m session though as I'm pretty sure all the JA's that are serious island chasers that needed OC-228 are now in the log. So I won't worry about going on 15m again anymore and I'll just focus on 20m for future visits. If there are JA's that still need this one, they have a good chance on 20m at 0700 UTC.

Remember that as per island visitor rules, I can't be there at dusk or later and so 40m/30m is not viable. If you struggled to hear me this time, just remember band conditions may be better at different times of the year for future visits.

With the next activation, I'll be operating on 20m SSB in the period of 0330 to 0730 UTC on a non-major contest Saturday or Sunday or possibly on a weekday to avoid contests.

The breakdown of QSOs were:

58%     Europe
31%     Asia
  7%     North America
  3%     Oceania
<1%     Africa and South America

There was no time for photos. QSL cards are about to be ordered. Thanks so much for those sending in sponsorship to help fund future IOTA activations, OC-196 and another one I'm working on....

73s de Craig

August 27 log uploaded

Hi everyone

I was on OC-228 today from 0115 to 0730 UTC and added another 579 QSOs.

It's midnight local time and I've just finished transcribing logs from paper to my computer. See club log on right of this screen.

I haven't read any emails, etc yet. Full report to follow over coming couple of days

time for bed 73s de Craig VK5CE

Friday, August 26, 2016

3 hours spent on the island today

Hi Everyone

I was able to operate today from Granite Island OC-228 for a few hours on 20m from 0500 to 0800 UTC.

265 QSO’s in the log with 70% Europe, 20% Asia and 5% North America. I need to do a paper log out there and it is now ready on Club Log at under the call VK5CE/P_OC228. If you are not in the log but think you’ve made a QSO, email me at

Conditions were tough and I could hear the rumble of the pile up but signals were not strong. It was frustrating because NL7V called me and said there many Alaskans calling but I couldn’t hear any of them. I’m sure its frustrating for those calling.

There was always a pile up but the QSO rate wasn’t that fast because I was regularly asking for “North & South America only” or “United Kingdom, EI and Scandinavia only” to try and get these tough paths in the log. I ended up getting 9 UK/EI and 3 Scandinavians in the log. I’ll be doing the same tomorrow. It slows the rate a hell of a lot but I feel its worth it.

For Saturday August 27 I’m at operating on 15m some time around 0100 UTC and I’ll stay there until around 0500 UTC before switching to 20m until around 0700 UTC

73s Craig VK5CE

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Extra time on the island anounced

Hey everyone

I will continue to visit OC-228 Granite Island from Friday August 26 at 2300 UTC to Saturday August 27 at 0800 UTC. (Saturday local time). 

I am also looking to visit a day earlier on Friday August 26 at 0430 UTC to 0800 UTC. 

This is because weather on Friday afternoon local time looks good and I will be taking time off work to try and give out more QSOs on 20m. 

I am not permitted to build a tent or shelter on the island and so I'm exposed to the weather on a rock wall with no protection from rain. 

This is a great time on 20m for short path NA, short path SA, long path EU and short path AS.

For those who send in $5 or more sponsorship, you will automatically receive a QSL card without having to spend any $$$ on OQRS

73s de Craig VK5CE

Sunday, August 14, 2016

First activation day planned

Depending on the weather, I'm planning to make my first day trip activation on Saturday August 27th.

Look for me from 2300 UTC August 26 to 0800 UTC August 27.

I'll be on 15m in the period 2300 to around 0400 UTC. From around 0400 UTC I'll be on 20m until QRT at 0800 UTC.

QSLs free for sponsors

As a sponsor I will email you individually once I decide on my next activation day of OC-228. Remember I will be visiting the island many times over the next 6 months.

Those individuals that send in US$5 or more for sponsorship will automatically receive a free QSL after the QSO.

If your callsign is on the sponsor list then there is no need to do an OQRS or direct request as I will send your QSL to you first.

Another new VK IOTA DXpedition announced

While OC-228 is claimed by 27.1%, there has been no official IOTA DXpedition since VI5BR in 2004. It is for this reason that the 2016 IOTA Directory reports that only 5.8% of current IOTA chasers have claimed this IOTA over the past 8 years. So there are many IOTA chasers needing OC-228.

It is easy to visit and access Granite Island but the local council and state government will not allow overnight stays on the island. It is illegal to camp there, construct tents or operate generators on the island due to the conservation of the diminishing and fragile ecosystem of the fairy penguin population on the island.

It is possible for me to visit the island on many many many regular occasions as I live nearby to the island. The biggest issue is that I cannot stay overnight, I can only visit there from dawn to dusk. At this time of year it means I can operate there from 2200 UTC to 0800 UTC. This is not a tent and generator operation as both are not allowed, I would need to sit out in the open on a rock breakwater with a deep cycle gel battery.

I have gone to the expense of purchasing an expensive 125 AH 12V deep cycle gel battery. As this weighs 30 kg I have also purchased a 4 wheel trolley so that I can pull the trolley with the battery, IC7000 and basic gear whilst carrying aluminium tubing to build quarter wave vertical antennas with radials sitting in the ocean.

I went to Granite Island on Friday and found a suitable location on the granite rock breakwater which means the vertical can sit less than a metre from the salt water with a clear take off on the short and long path to Europe, short path to Asia/JA and short path to North and South America.

As I will only be able to operate 10 hours maximum, I intend to visit and operate from Granite Island until the demand diminishes. I’ll be operating on 15m, 17m and mainly 20m. I’ll start operating some time in August and will continue through the year.

It will be very east to work Asia/JA on 15m at 2200 to 0800 and Europe on 20m long path around 0400 to 0800 UTC. Working North America will be a bit more of a challenge on 15m at 2200 to 0200 and then 0600 to 0800 UTC on 20m, but don’t worry, if you are in North/South America, I’ll be visiting OC-228 at numerous times to give you a chance. For instance in August and February, conditions at 0500 to 0800 UTC to all parts of North America is possible.

So rest assured, there will be many chances to get in to the log.

More details on the first operation to be announced soon.