Monday, November 10, 2014



Off the east coast of Africa next to Madagascar lays a 1 km square island called Tromelin

The entity became active as FT4TA on Oct 30 

The pileups were massive

On 30M which is 50 khz wide the pileup extended a full 20 khz or 60% of the band.  Amazing!  In fact the pileup was so wide it was out of range to be able to click tune the transmit VFO I usually use (VFO B) on skimmer.  To combat the problem I used a different strategy

I switched VFO A and  B sing the A<>B control and chose VFO A as the transmit VFO

I then turned off the audio from VFO A and switched on MultiRX and turned up the audio on VFO B

This put the DX on VFO B and allowed me to click tune on skimmer anywhere on the band tramsmitting on VFO A

This was absolutely invaluable.  Skimmer only allows about 11 khz of the band to be displayed but with this configuration I could place that 11 khz window anywhere.  Using this method and by studying the operators preference I was able to place signal into his receiver passband and my callsign into his conscientiousness in only 1 call.  I couldn't believe how effective this technique was.  I worked him on 30M about 30 min before his sunrise and then saw he was also on 80M.  I switched to 80 and turned on the amp.  He had a good signal and I figured out his pattern and in 15 minutes I had 80M and 30M in the log

I was hoping for a 40M contact but decided I would likely have to be satisfied with 80 and 30.  I listened to him work the pileup for a considerable time while doing other things and soon enough he was spotted on 40M but by now it was deep into his sunrise.  I flipped on 40M and sure enough I could just copy him so I fired things up and in a few minutes I had him on 40 also.

Amazing!  My 30M call was at 1:42 and by 2:53 I had him on 3 bands.  The total number of calls for all three contacts was probably a dozen with careful use of the panadapter, skimmer, and SpotCollector.  This radio rocks!  Today the DXpedition posted their log

I'm not sure how one could accomplish navigating a 20khz wide pileup without the advantage of SDR and skimmer and SpotCollector   None of those are fool proof but each gives a small piece of information allowing one to predict with fairly good accuracy where and when the DX will be listening.  

I also worked him on 80M using my Flex 6300 radio and signal strength and readability were comparable using the same antennas.  The 6300 with 2 panadapters active and 2 skimmers active is a much more efficient setup for this kind of huge pileup but both radios performed FB

73  W9OY