TX8CI/MM ARRIVES IN THE CHESTERFIELD ISLANDS
In only a few short hours, the curtain will rise on yet another memorable new DX performance. The actors have arrived at the performance hall. The stage is being prepared for opening night!
Everything remains on track for TXØDX to hit the stage at 0000Z, signaling the start of what should be a new DXCC entity. Results of the IARU vote on ARANC's membership request are expected to be released shortly before that hour.
The TX8CI/TXØDX team has chosen to operate from one of the small islands in the southern part of the Chesterfields. Although not quite as big as some of the other islands, landing appears to be safer, and there is still sufficient room to allow for plenty of separation between the CW and SSB sites. The CW site is near the North end of the island, with the SSB site some 1000 ft to the South. Using Yaesu FT-1000MP transceivers, the team expects to be able to operate CW and SSB simultaneously on the same band.
The ship is anchored roughly 300 ft from the island. Because of the numerous coral heads in the surrounding waters, equipment can only be transported to the island during high tide. The team has been busy all day erecting antennas and pitching the tents. They report that the temperature has been very hot, making the job a bit more difficult, but much of the hard work has already been completed.
As of 0300Z, the generators had not yet been put in place, but they are hoping to have them operational before local sundown. If this can be done, the TX8CI "warm up act" should be ready to hit the air, handing out IOTA OC-176 credit. Although operations might be limited during this first night, activity should increase after local sunrise. QSLs for TX8CI and TX8CI/MM should be sent via OH2BN.
While they experienced some light rain earlier today, it has now stopped. The weather forecast continues to look good, at least for the next couple of days. The region is enjoying a calming trend with seas less than 8 feet for 1200 miles in all directions from the Chesterfields.
The team has announced a new operating plan for the coming CQ WPX SSB contest weekend (25 - 26 March). Rather than the previously announced plan to operate on 15 SSB, TXØDX will concentrate on a special 10-meter SSB frequency of 28.745 MHz over the weekend. Additional SSB activity will take place on 12 and 17 meters, while normal CW activity will continue on the other bands.
The pilots would like to thank the many DXers who stood by patiently for several minutes while Martti, OH2BH, passed along this information from TX8CI/MM.
Good luck to everyone in the pileups!