Chris PA2CHR has released a video of the A21EME eight band Moonbounce and QO-100 satellite DXpedition to Botswana in October 2019.
Watch A21EME EME DXpedition to Botswana, October 2019
The A21EME Story
It all started in 2018. After the very nice and sucessful 3DA0MB DXpedition the team-members decided to do the next 8 band EME DXpedition to Botswana. So John, ZS6JON and his XYL Louisa started the QTH-search and the licensing process. To get the license and find a suitable place for the operation, they had to drive to Botswana several times and many many e-mails were necessary to get everything ready. Without their expertise, endurance and huge effort it would not have been possible to do this DXpedition! MANY THANKS LOUISA AND JOHN!
Unfortunately Sam, HB9COG our Chief Engineer had to cancel his participation due to a „too heavy workload“ at his business. We all were very sorry for him. We really missed him… not only as engineer! But luckily my YL Sue was willing to join the team and support me on microwaves. In May 2019 she joined our SV9 DXpedition for a week. She saw what we are doing and „somehow“ she liked it! So she was ready to become a team member of the A21EME DXpedition.
We, Sue and Dan, left HB9 in the late evening of 17th October with 220 kg luggage in 7 transport-boxes and 1 suitcase. All went well and we had a smooth flight to Johannesburg. At 10 AM of the 18th John came to pick us up at the airport. Chris, PA2CHR and Lins, PA3CMC arrived in Johannesburg the day before and were also part of our „welcome-team“ at the airport. All luggage arrived well, although several boxes were opened and not locked/secured again. Luckily nothing was missing and all equipment looked well. But for one box we had to go the airport police office. At the bulky items belt they told us, that the „long box“ was confiscated because they suspected there was a gun in it. Hmmmm… this was our tripod-box, which of course looks like a box for a huge fire-weapon… Luckily the police officers were friendly and relaxed. They asked me about the weapon inside and I told them there is only a aluminum tripod inside. I had to open the box for them, they had a look and they immediately told me to close it again and take it with me. So we didn’t lose much time and went all together to the car rental desk to pick-up our VW T6 Van. Our luggage had just about enough room to beall fitted in. In the evening we had a great African Dinner with all team members and some of the XYL’s at John’s and Louisa’s home!
On 19th October at John’s home all the tech-equipment was prepared, packed and loaded to the 4 vehicles of our convoy. For Lunch we all went to a very nice place close to John’s home for the traditional spareribs-feast. It was delicious!
On the 20th October at 5.30 AM the team gathered at John’s home and after a coffee or two, our convoy of 4 vehicles left direction Gaborone, Botswana. It was a very nice drive and we were very well in schedule. Even immigration and customs went smooth and in less time than hoped. So we arrived at about 1 PM in Gaborone where we stopped lunch. After buying airtime and some other supplies we drove an other 30 minutes direction north to get to our QTH in Mmopane at the Camel’s Inn Lodge (KG25wk). We arrived at 2.30 PM and immediately started to build our stations (6m, 2m, 70cm and microwave). We had great sunshine, gusty winds (including Willy Willy’s) and the thermometer was showing 40°c (in the shade)! It was tough but we made it… drinking one liter water after the other… by 6 PM (sunset) all was ready for moon-rise. The ladies of the lodge prepared a nice dinner for us… unfortunately they were running late… so we only finished dinner after 10 PM… and moon-rise was at 2 AM (22z)… a very short night with outside temperatures of almost 30°c.
21st October we were QRV 1296 for our moon-rise at 4°. The temperature was 27°c, no wind and no clouds. As usual we started with a pile-up which kept us busy for about 2 hours. Then we had only occasional callers. From about 6 AM we were again nicely busy until moon-set. The temperature went up to 38°c at moon-set. Since we knew that it will be hot, we built a sun-protection-cover for the TRX-equipment. We are very happy that it worked perfectly, we could run full power all the time! Today we have worked a total of 66 QSOs, 3 CW and 62 JT65C, for a total of 63 initials in 24 DXCC on 5 continents.
22nd October was again a very hot day, peaking 40°c in the afternoon. 13cm had no problems with the heat, full power all the time. After the small pile-up at moon-rise, we called CQ for hours with only very few callers. The signals were great, we could have worked many more stations if they were QRV! So at the end of the window we had a total of 24 QSOs, 5 CW and 19 JT65C, for a total of 20 initials in 13 DXCC on 4 continents.
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