Just back home after 5 days in the sleepy riverside town of Kampot in Southern Cambodia. Not sure what Kampot is really famous for but it does have a resident crew of expats chilling out and getting on with their lives and lifestyles here. Kampot is 148km south of the capital Phnompen and please don’t ask me anything about the capital (including how to spell it because I don’t know!) Cambodia has suffered greatly during the pol pot regime and then when the vietnamese came in to boot him and his merry band of Kymers out. It seems that things are getting sorted, roads are going in and infrastructure is developing. The old ruins in Angkor wat are probably the biggest thing going for Cambodia tourist wise but certainly not the only things up for offer. It is hot. Hotter than here. Kampot province is famous for its Durians and I did have a couple and they were yummy. Fleshy and tasty. Ate the whole thing! Mangoes when in Season and I guess june/July looking at the trees. Kampot is located on a large river which is actually an estuary. many foreigners have built little guest houses and beer joints along and even up the river so a great place to chill out. And if you want to work a bit of DX then There is that too…I left the radio and antenna intact so just a matter of plugging in the coax and firing up. The DX was in from about 6AM thru 9Am and then from 3pm we would have Europe coming in till things went short around 10pm. Indonesia was in most of the time as was Thailand and philipines. Worked 320 odd stations and about 40 countries including 341, and 351 which both came in well. 14 div was most worked..If I can post the basic results with call sign and progressive number up here I will . For now just the pictures. Worked bits of most days as well as helping out around the place and drinking beer. (I said it was hot!)
I did hear that there had been some confusion over the legality (for DX purposes) of the activation since we commenced on April the first and it was seen to be a hoax! Remind me to pick a different day for any further activations!
|238AT/DX||Activation from Kampot Southern Cambodia||April 1-April 4 2013|
|Progressive||Callsign||Signal in/ out||Date|
There are mistakes in this log due to my typing errors…the true log is the written one on paper whic has been sent to AT HQ for all verifications. This one was /is just a service to DXers…I think 37 division is actually 11 and the seven and eleven was getting me confused…..Don’t take this as gospel please!!
Some observations on operating an activation.
I would have to say that the skip runs hard and heavy for only a small percentage of the time spent on the radio. Because of this it is extremely important that the operator can make as many contacts as possible within this time. Unfortunately the opposite is usually the case due to the steady calling of the dx stations drowning each other out. I would try to write down as many callsigns as possible that I heard so I could call them back when I had completed the call I was on, but if the station called repeatedly and in so doing blocked my ability to receive the station I had called or was working then we have a lot of wasted time. Even when I called a station the other stations would still keep calling. Because they keep calling they can’t hear me. because they keep calling I can’t hear the station I want to complete so I can move on. Too many times I was left with incomplete contacts due to this. Very frustrating. Remember gentlemen Dxers, if you are polite and only call once or twice I will write it down and call you back. If you persist in calling and calling the activation station may write down your callsign and not call you back! Because of the noise I could not always get the complete callsign and would then have to fight to get it….because the country code is first I frequently missed it and would just get the suffix numbers. The letters are important as AT, SD RC, IR etc do stick out as we recognize them. FAT is difficult as we are not looking for 3 letters. similarly TRC…similarly..AT, IT, RT, get confusing too….Anything unusually takes a little longer to verify and sort out….I don’t mind to hear a country at the end as it helps me sort out the call. Good to put the country at the end of the call but just call once, just once…Another good tip is to wait a while..count to 8 slowly then call…Some italian stations do not put the country code or the country…I like to hear the full call and the country. If I know your call and hear it for sure I will respond. I think I lost 50% of the calls due to stations calling over and over and causing QRM. Once I call a station the other stations need to stop calling. The more stations I work, the less the QRM and the more chance I will hear you….I won’t blame any countries or calls here…I knew I would just have to suck it up and just try to do the best I could with out getting up set and getting angry and then wasting more time telling people off on air…at home I just turn off…here I had a job to do. it would have been great if there was a second operator to take over and help out but it was not the case. Colin has recently lost his eyesight and with his hearing being his primary contact with the world around him he did not want to put up with the noise and general QRM of the radio. it was enough that he allowed me to stay in his house and activate 238AT/DX for the 4 days we were on air.
I brought 2 bags with me and spread the gear between both bags so if one went missing or got stopped the other may go through. Both came through with no hassles at all. The visa was obtained at the airport and I should have had a photo. because I did not have a photo an extra charge was levied. All up it cost me US$50 for the one month visa at the airport. I had 2 ea 30A Switch mode PSU’s..meanwell from china. No noise and voltage set for the radio at 14.2 and the mosfet amp at 14.5v. The radios were a Mk1 A optima which is pretty much identical to the MK3 Optima and a new Maxlog 8800 I use in Jakarta from time to time. both radios put out about 40w PEP and drive the amp to 140w or so. The optima heard a little better but because so many calling not sure if it was an advantage or a disadvantage. Neither radios could handle the heterodynes and mush very well, but the optima had the advantage of the extra filter and when I used the 2nd filter and the pre amp on the amplifier together it seemed to be a good match for the noise. I used headphones because my ears are bad and to keep the noise down. I brought a skypper and a screw together 1/2 wave vertical. The vertical went up in a flash and was working so well I never stopped to erect the skypper. I brought the skypper back home and left the vertical up. I think I could have worked more stations with the skypper but turning it would have been a problem. Both antennas fitted into my zip up kit bags (about 1m in length) and require no tuning. The skypper came from DA016 in Spain and was well made and specially made to fit into a back you can take on the aeroplane. The vertical was a little low in resonance and was 1.5 : 1 Swr on 27.5mhz. I did not let it worry me. I should have cut another 2 /’ off the top, and will do one day. The antenna would have been about 9m to the base. The antenna was bought from China and also is in about 6 sections and also packs up under a meter. All the sections screw together and then locked in by grub screws. Can’t get it wrong. has three little radios that get hooked up in everything as it is going up! I have just ordered another 10 of them so if anybody interested I will sell them at US$100ea plus shipping. I taped up all the joints with a few wraps of thick electrical tape to add some strength and prevent water ingress. The amplifier was a twin mosfet magnum T2000 using those 75w ERF devices. It performed with out a hitch. Cheap as, so worth every cent..the newer ones have one device driving 4 for a lot more power out (3-400w) but the 140 w from this amp did seem adequate for the activation and got nowhere near as warm as the bigger one. I think the 40w would have over driven the single driver anyway. I think two of these devices driving 8 for a good solid 500w would be a good match for the 40w radios. Internal fan ran when the amp was on and kept things cool. Coax run was RG8 and about 15m. Would have preferred RG8X but could not find any in time.
The Optima is easy to use with the memories and the ability of the memory to hold the side band and any split. A simple job to check out the frequencies of note without a lot of flicking about. I noted I used the clarifier a lot more on the Optima. never used it on the maxlog! Well actually I did when working split…went into the menu and set up the clarifier for tx only and set up the split…that’s why I was working RX 5khz down but I could have gone rx 2mhz away as well! The maxlog was simple and other than taking a few minutes before the ptt would kick in (sometimes) performed for the final 2 days. I think stations preferred the sharper sound. I don’t know..could have sounded like shit too and nobody would have complained….as long as they could hear me and get the numbers.!!!!
when we arrived in kampot the power was off so we bought a gen set, battery and battery charger. One should not run switch mode supplies on a generator. They never seem to last long so we would have had the battery and the charger on the genset if required. As it was it was not required but Col now has a genset to run the fridge, fans and water pump. He doesn’t really need the lights!!!
Will I go back again? You bet. That was a great relaxing week with as much Dx as I could handle.