Revised QSL Card Design & QSO Rundown

As previously mentioned, the original QSL Card Design wasn’t compliant for the IOTA awards, so here is the new one.

Basically, if you get a QSL card with ‘Koh Rong AS-133’ ticked, it counts for IOTA.  If ‘Sihanoukville’ is ticked, it doesn’t.  All QSOs made with me between the 19/06/2015 & 21/06/2015 UTC were made from Koh Rong Island, IOTA AS-133.

In total, there were 92 IOTA QSOs. Although I would have liked more, it is wet season here and the weather was absolutely terrible.  Japanese stations collected the majority of QSOs, although even these pile-ups were frequently ended by the WX.

Honorable Mentions go out to: W6CCP, W6ZR, KH6HM, W4DJL, S52LD, UA0FDQ, SP5FCZ, YO8BGE, and Wim (XU7TZG), who managed a QSO on every band (except 160m which neither of us could tune) 😉

If you have any questions regarding whether your QSL counts for IOTA, please email me via my QRZ listed email address.

XU7AGA Back Small XU7AGA Front Small

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Planned Activation of IOTA AS-133 (Koh Rong)

Koh Rong (IOTA AS-133) Activation

This weekend I plan to activate IOTA AS-133. IOTA AS-133 is actually a group of Cambodian Islands, but I will be located on Koh Rong, which is a popular backpacker hot spot where my brother owns a few Hostels.

The Plan

On Friday the 19th (Cambodian UTC+7 time), I will begin my trip over on the ferry and start setting up the station. I am taking the following equipment:

  • Icom IC-7200 Transceiver (100 Watts Barefoot)
  • Icom AH-4 Remote Antenna Tuner (Mounted at the base of my Vertical)
  • Spiderbeam 12m Telescopic Fiberglass Pole
  • Sennheiser HD-25 Mark II Headphones
  • Turnigy Accucell-6 Microprocessor Controlled Battery Charger

By virtue of the fact my brother has a fishing boat, I have a few decent 100ah batteries available for use. However, Cambodian power often fluctuates between 180-220 Volts, meaning that most of the local chargers (which are linear devices involving little more than a tapped transformer and some diodes), never fully charge a 12v Lead Acid Battery. My little Turnigy charger, although only rated at 4 amps at 12v, easily charges big Lead Acid batteries to full capacity overnight. As such, it is unlikely I will be on the air on Friday, as I will need to charge the batteries up to full capacity in order to get the most out of my radio.

The Antenna

Using a 12M Long Spiderbeam pole, I plan to setup a ‘multiband’ vertical.  The Vertical is ‘multiband’ by virtue of the Icom AH-4 Antenna Tuner / Matching Network that will be placed at the feed point.  The antenna will roughly be constructed as follows:

  • The first meter or so of the spiderbeam pole will be buried in the sand, preferably with some additional hardware to use as an anchor point.
  • Approximately 1 Meter above sand level, the Icom AH-4 tuner will be mounted.
  • The driven element will be approximately 8 meters long, but adjustments will be made to ensure it tunes up nicely on 15M.  8 Meters is pretty close to a half wave, but the tuner should handle this fine.
  • The counterpoise will consist of 4 sloping elevated wires, two behind me, and two going out into the ocean.  Each will be attached to bamboo supports, and the ocean wires will be kept at water height via flotation devices otherwise known as empty plastic bottles.  The counterpoise wires will be roughly 1/4 wavelength on 20M.

Computer modelling and the experience of other DXers suggests this antenna should have a gain between 5dBi and 8dBi, with the highest gain on the higher bands.  These figures are quoted for low angle radiation, between 5 and 10 degrees take off from the horizon. I suspect the pattern will be skewed towards the salt water, however this is not shown by my modelling software.  It is worth noting however that my modelling experience is limited, and I am using a trial version of EZNEC.

The Operation

Beginning Saturday Cambodia time, WX Permitting, I will begin operation as soon as I wake up (this is an unknown variable).  A little bit of time will be spent setting up the equipment, but as I am planning to use a vertical antenna located right next to / in the salt water, I expect this will take less than 30 minutes.

Depending on band conditions, I will be using a mixture of PSK-31 and SSB Phone.  My preference is SSB Phone, so hopefully propagation will be nice.

I plan to operate on the 15M, 17M & 20M Bands, with preference going to the 15M band as it seems to shine in this part of the world.