Max & Lilly: How to work DXpedition FT8WW #3 Most Wanted DXCC, #HamRadio
Max & Lilly show how to work DXpedition FT8WW on their Grandpa's Ham Radio
[For your entertainment]
As you may now know, Max and Lilly are avid ham radio operators and had always dreamed of making contact with the rarest and most elusive stations in the world. There are awards for those who do so and they want one. They are getting the hang of things...
Through the various DX newsletters they had heard about the upcoming and now active DXpedition to FT8WW from a small island in the far reaches of the Indian Ocean. They knew that this was their chance to make history, as the entire planet jockeyed for position to snag the contact before they were, gone!
The entire world was buzzing with excitement about the DXpedition, and the radio bands were filled with thousands of callers, eager operators from all over the planet trying to make contact 24-hours a day on the radio bands. Max and Lilly knew that it would be nearly impossible to break through the wall of QRM to reach the station, but they were determined to try with their wire in the tree and 100 Watt ham radio.
They tuned up their EFHW wire antenna and the SWR was perfect and began scanning the bands, listening for any sign of the DXpedition. They spent hours trying to make contact, but no matter how hard they tried, they couldn't seem to break through the pile-ups. Was this guy deaf or is the 1000's of callers drowning out their QRP signal?
Just when they were about to give up hope, they had an idea. They remembered their grandfather's stories of how his old Flagpole Antenna had come through in the clutch on many occasions during the early days of his ham radio adventures and the many stories of cycles past. They had always thought it was a little strange that a 24' Flagpole Antenna would beat their long wire antenna strung from the upstair bedroom window to the tree, but they figured it was worth a shot.
To their surprise, the FT8WW signal was much louder on the Flagpole Vertical Antenna. "It must be the low angle Grandpa talked about" said Max.
Max & Lilly played with the split strategy, listened to the FT8WW operator to try and get his rhythm down. He seemed to be sweeping up just a little after every QSO. Also, it seemed he was attracted to the higher pitch signal that was just 300 Hz up from the last QSO. Grandpa always said 300 Hz up or 300 Hz down from the last signal was enough of a tone shift that the DXpedition operator likely can separate your signal from the others.
Looking at the various DX Club reflectors, such as PVRC, one their grandpa is a member, one of the operators there said, "He seems to be lingering on a frequency for a few minutes, then tuning up the band a bit, and repeating this process."
After several tries using this technique, the FT8WW signal sent the last 3 letters of Max & Lilly's callsign, "ML?"
"Lilly, that's us!" Max blurts out.
"Max, hurry, send our call 2 more times, quick before he moves to the next guy," says Lilly.
Max taps out in CW their callsign two more times nice and slow getting every dB out of their 100W radio. Like the long southern drawl with his straight key, accenting the number and last letter as if the ions will charge just a bit more with the extra hold on the letter...
In the silence which seemed to drag on forever, the DXpedition operators signal finally returns with: "R, TU de FT8WW up." tapped the tropical outpost operator as the world caved in as his last letter was completed on the frequency once again.
"Wow, Lilly, we did it. That Flagpole really does have the low angle magic grandpa talked about! We just experienced it." They were ecstatic, and couldn't believe their luck as they looked out the window at the snow fell on the light at the base of the antenna.
"There was 1000 signals in there from Europe, Japan, South America, Canada and the USA too, what a zoo, and we did it. Let's go tell Dad." Lilly proudly chuckled.
"Before we go, let's spot him so we can look back someday." The kids spotted the signal on the spotting networks "FT8WW 28020 Max n Lily got him!"
It wasn't long until the ARRL, the national association for amateur radio, took notice of their obvious lucky streak, after all the only signals getting through were those with very large antenna arrays and even higher power. The ARRL asked them to be interviewed on their podcast and in their upcoming magazine. The kids agreed, and their digital story quickly spread around the world.
When asked about their success, Max and Lilly simply attributed it to their grandfather's stories and of how low angle of radiation helped him many times. They knew that without the Flagpole they might never have made contact with the rare and elusive DXpedition station. Sounding like a pro already Max added, "You have to switch between 1-2 different antenna designs when trying to reach the Real DX stations. It's all in the angle!"
From that day on, Max and Lilly were known as two of the luckiest amateur radio kids of the time and who knows, they just may be the most skilled ham radio operators in the world some day. Their adventures had just begun.
Good luck getting that FT8WW into your log. Maybe a Flagpole is in your future, or maybe you are already on the air with one. Pass it on, as this hobby is always best with our family and friends.
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We hope you enjoyed this story and were entertained by it. Maybe you remember a similar story in your youth. GL finding your rare ones. Ham Radio is fun again! Pass it on...
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