Would you like to follow via amateur radio the VK0EK expedition from Cape Town to Heard Island to Perth?
It will now be possible via WSPRnet.org, the Weak Signal Propagation Reporter Network! WSPRnet is compromised of a constellation of lower power HF stations around the globe transmitting and receiving digital signals using the WPSR protocol originally developed by Joe Taylor K1JT and sustained by a community of WSPR enthusiasts. Many of these stations around the world send automated WSPR reception reports over the Internet to the WSPRnet.org web site where they are recorded in a searchable database and on a world map.
The VK0EK 2016 Heard Island Expedition will carry operate a 250-milliwatt battery-powered propagation beacon kit developed by www.qrp-labs.com and assembled by expedition supporter Richard AB4ZT. The beacon is capable of transmitting on 40-30-20-17-15-10 meters. During the first day of testing by expedition member Adam K2ARB (using a dipole in NJ), signal reports were received by amateurs from as far California and Italy!
The beacon will be deployed in Cape Town as ZS/K2ARB, on the RV Braveheart during the voyage as K2ARB/MM, and on Heard Island as VK0EK. We will be cycling the beacon through the bands during the expedition. Given that we will be thousands of miles from the nearest amateur stations, it will hard to miss us on the map!
If you would like to follow along on the expedition, and gain insights into the state of propagation to the southern Indian Ocean, (1) visit http://www.wsprnet.org; (2) click “Map” in the upper right hand corner; 3) set the search parameters for “all” bands and “24 hours”, and (4) look for our callsigns, or search for them in the permanent database of real-time WSPR reception reports.
But do not rely on WSPR alone! WSPR is only one of many propagation tools available to hams chasing VK0EK and we recommend that you take advantage of all of them. Do not be dismayed if you do not see us indicated on the WSPR map on a particular day. It may simply be that we have chosen to transmit WSPR signals on a closed band in search of a possible opening.
So while we may not appear on the WSPR web site on a particular day, we will be banging out thousands of QSO’s on the other bands!
WSPR is a fun and interesting corner of the amateur world. Feel free to follow along!
Adam Brown K2ARB