TE8DX DXpedition to Chira Island IOTA NA-116 TE8DX was conceived and supported by the members of the TI DX Club which is a small group of ham operators, based in Costa Rica, which enjoys contesting, DXing, special call activations and experimenting with antennas. This was our first dxpedition as a team and we really enjoyed it! The team consisted of Charlie TI2CDA, Carlos TI2CC, Jeff TI2JCC, Kam N3KS/TI5W and Jim KM4HI from Florida. All members contributed SSB QSOs while Kam and Jim operated mostly CW. The last time Chira Island was officially licensed and activated was in 2000 by TE8CH. Charlie, TI2CDA, was one of the team operators then, before a hotel was available on the island. The operation was housed in a rented boat repair garage. TE8DX operating site was located at the Hotel Isla de Chira, in Puerto Palito, on the west side of the island. We decided to activate our first IOTA on Chira Island because now there is one hotel that can supply us with electricity, meals and accommodations for antennas. We set up both stations on a balcony of one of the larger rooms. Working Conditions: We operated with two Elecraft K3 radios and two ACOM 1010 amplifiers. A six band hex beam was erected at 9 meters above the ground. Additionally, a Cushcraft R7 multi-band vertical, 30 and 40M slopers and a 5 element yagi for 6m were also erected. Propagation: We found the bands to generally be fair, with occasional good surprises. 20m was the ‘workhorse’ band and was sometimes open to JA, NA and EU simultaneously. Of note were loud early morning 20m openings to JA which seemed a bit atypical for this time of the sunspot cycle. As is typical from Zone 7, mid mornings local were the slowest time and then the high bands would pick up as the morning turned into afternoon and signals would start pounding in on 20m and 17m by mid-afternoon. Our best JA (of many good openings) came on 20m early Monday morning local time, just two hours before we were due to take down the last antennas. Due to typically debilitating QRN at this time of year in Costa Rica we did not attempt operation on 80m. 40m was open to EU in the early evenings local time, peaking at EU sunrise around 0400Zish. The band was relatively noisy when we initially operated on our R7 vertical, but we later put up a sloper which played better – at least from an Rx standpoint. 30m was the workhorse CW band in the evenings and mornings local time, and sometimes supported simultaneous propagation to EU, NA and JA. Signals were surprisingly good on 30m with our ‘low’ sloper slung in the trees. Activity seemed a bit down, but there were many JA’s who made it into the log on 30m, but often we would CQ into what seemed like a dead 30m band and with no responses, but when a reply came – it would be loud. 15m did not produce much for some reason, but on Sunday we had a very good opening on 12m and 10m during which EU, NA and even a couple of JA’s made it into the log. We erected a 5 element yagi, hoping for some 6m QSO's during the ARRL VHF Contest. Unfortunately, we only made 5 QSO's to Florida and one to TI7. Although there were occasional nearby thunderstorms, with one exception we were not particularly affected by them. In summary, the bands were probably marginally better than we would have expected for this time of the cycle in Zone 7. ￼￼ The TI DX Club team enjoyed the dx-pedition to NA-116. It was a great learning experience and we look forward to another adventure in the future. 73 -TE8DX TeamSR/SS: 11:55Z / 23:50Z Last QSO in database: 2017-06-12 13:56:04
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