• 29 Maggio 2024 0:07


An Italian Radioamateur Station

This year me and my wife we choose ad destination for our vacation a very far far away place, right in the middle of nowhere…. a small small Island called Menjakawan: If you search it on Google Map, at first you will not see the Island, but just the red sign… then if you magnifize the screen you will find it !

We booked this Resort in May, and I started immediately the procedure to request, if possible, the license to transmit from there… I had no idea if from Indonesia there was the possibiity to get the permit… asking around, everybody told me that was for sure not possible… and in fact since few years ago, nobody got the possibility to trasmit from there.

Anyway I wrote an email to ORARI, the Ham Indonesian Association; after just 1 day I got an email asking me to fill some paperworks… honestly they asked really a lot….in few hours everything was ready, but they also requesting me the VISA, and that one was possible to be issue later, ans the permit is normally valid 3 months only… the trip was scheduled for October, so I was forced to wait until August at least… I sent anyway all other paperworks, and then I waited; nobody never aknoledge the email.

Finally in August I was able to get my Turistic Visa, and Immediately I sent them… no reply … after 1 week I started to get nerovus… I sent a second email … nothing.. after 10 more days I sent a third email, askinf an aknoledge, as the trip was incoming, and still I was not idea if I could have some ham operation overthere. Finally after few days came the final reply, with a nice attachment: I got the license !!!! Very curiously, the CALLSIGN they gave me was YB2/IK1TTD.

I was so happy, and immediately start to spread the news…. Lot of people wrote me,if I was really sure about the callsign, as normally is not allowed to have operation outside CEPT with a dash call….

Anyway, I was super happy to have the possibility to have opertion from a place NEVER ACTIVATED; I informed G3KMA Bob and VE2 Cezar, as Menjakawan Island was not listed, and they immediately reply me with some congratulations, and with the promise that after the operations, the activation could be accepted in the IOTA program as OC-186.

After 4 planes and 1 short boat transfer, we finally land to Menjakawan Island … a small round sand Island right in the middle of Jawa Sea…. palm, beachs, coral reef, fish and relax…. And ham operation of course ! The resort is something small and esclusive, and can host just 70 guests, but during our stay, the days we was more I count just 16 people….. amazing… me and my wife we was like in the Paradise, no noise, no queue, no phone ringing, no tv, nobody screaming or talking loud…. Just the blow of the wind  in the palm leaves and the seashore ….

After to have informed the Resort about my intention to hang an antenna, I started build up… I have really a lot of opportunities, as the space available was no limit … I had with me my Vertical Rybacov all Band, and also my Endfed 10+10 meter. The first test I did it with the Rybacov…. But despite the area was quite silent, and not much noise in the band, this antenna did not gave me the result espected…. In general all signals was very very low from Europe … nothing from USA (too far away) …. The only strong signal was of course from around Indonesia… but also my signal was reported very very low …. My operation was 100 watt only, so I start looking for alternatives path.

I built up then the Endfed in configuration 20 meters, hanged to an hig palm in front of my cottage; now I could much better receive, signal got at least 2 points…. So I start calling on 20 meters, but really not much happened… here and here came some replies… but not as espected… I tried to move on 15 and on 10 meter…. I was able now to make some qso’s better then with Vertical Antenna, but nothing astonishing. I decided then to make just CW, trying to optimize the result.

Looking on internet for a new options, I was notify that the Endfed in configuration 20 meters generates several loops, and the irradiation of the signal is split in severals loop; instead, in cofiguration of 10 meters the loop generated is just one; as the EFED has some directivity, now the idea was to maximize the irradiations… so I change it from 20 to 10 meters lenght…. With big surprise I noted that the signal was about the same as before, also I was using the half of wire…. After I double check the direction of the antenna, and beeing sure that I was porperly oriented toward Europe, I star calling again.  After few empty call, I started getting replies…. Some of them was extremely low, forcing me to ask 2/3 time to complete the call.

At the end I realize that, beside the very very long distance from allo the Countries, another crucial fact was the strong attenuation of that area; I talked with several hams around there, on 40 meter there was plenty of activity, but curiously I was not able to have a lot contact…. A local Ham, YB3??? Explained me that almost nobody talk a decent English, so also if they was hearing me calling, they did not replied; Herman helped me also to make some test, and also explained me that overthere, the very few ham station reachable in Europe use bit yagi antenna on at least 20 meter high, and not with 100 watt only.

I was then convinced that I was already doing all the best I could, in that conditions. In the following days, I explored all the 4 main band, having some activity on 10 and 15 meters, also if the big number of contact was made on 20 meters.

What I learn: as concept, all my dx activity are during vacations, so to avoid hurting also my wife wish, I have never big espectation in numbers….also the power of 100watt it is really limitating, but having more power it is submitted to some conditions: the local permit (in some place the give you just 100W), and also the semplicity; 100 watt operations do not require, in most cases, tuner , big antenna, big supply … on the other hand, having more power probably grant a better result. But I have to say, after the last two operation, when you are in the middle of nowhere, what is an abitude in Europe became here completely inappropriate ….

The next: as soon I came back in Italy, I have bought a new Switching Power Supply with 55 amp, and a Mosfet Power Amplifier 500watt pep; ouch… I just said with 100 watt was much simple… then ?? Well, I love trying to have a complicated life ! Next time I will have for sure more power available, and also I still get weak signal, may be I will be able to be listen in a better way.

Ops, I just realize I did not mention anything about the island… well, this destination was exaclty what me and my wife was looking for… after a very stressful working year, staying in quite in a far far away beach, snorkeling in cristal clear Jawa sea, having lunch and dinner under the palm at 3 meters from seashore…. these are our lifestyle we love for vacation; it was so exciting being just very few people, really a luxury …

We meet few but very good people, and at the arrival, we had the new comers presentation and  we was asked if we was on honeymoon…. we replied that we did it  26 years ago…. And still going forward and in good shape! After that, we became the Pilot Couple, as most of the other guest was on first honeymoon….

I cannot forget to mention the every  evenings, painted with amazing colors, before and after the sunset …. The temperature was never under 33-35 degrees, and a calm breeze was already blowing …

The next: we have a couple of destinations in the future schedule … May be Madagascar, Zanzibar, Tanzania …. Who knows… we will decide in the next few months…. Following my Blog and you will be the first to know !