Tuesday, November 19, 2019

DXpedition Trip of Biawak Island OC-237 IDO-074 OI44eb

DXpedition Trip of Biawak Island 

OC-237 IDO-074 OI44eb
November 7-14, 2019

Biawak Island is an island located in the middle of the Java Sea and is in the area of ​​the Indramayu sea area which offers the natural beauty of an island and is a native habitat of Biawak (Varanus Slavator) scattered throughout the island with a population of hundreds of individuals. There are also historical relics in the form of a lighthouse that was built during the ZN Willem III in 1872 and the tomb of one of the religious leaders of Wali Songo Sunan Gunung Jati, followers named Syeh Syarif Khasan in the 16th century.

This travel plan has been planned since 2015 but can only be implemented in 2019, Biawak Island is the only large island in the ORARI area of ​​West Java and one of the islands that has not been activated by DXPedition Amateur Radio activities.

This trip can be carried out with the participation of local radio amateurs from local Indramayu namely YC1KK, some challenges to be able to carry out this DXpedition include the lack of regular transportation to Biawak Island so we also have to rent a boat that can transport the equipment and logistics needed at almost cost 50% of the total cost of the trip, there is no cellular network and public electricity is a challenge so we bring two units of generators to work alternately 24 hours a week that consumes 200 liters of gasoline.

Preparation of equipment and logistics was done a month before the departure day, on 5 November, YC1BIQ departed from Jakarta, 6 November YE1AR from Bandung and on 6 November night YB1MAE from Cirebon brought 1 unit of generators to the YC1KK residence in Indramayu.

On the morning of November 7, it was checked again and completed the logistics and was scheduled to leave for the port where the boat that would take us to the island was at 10:00. Upon arrival at the port of the boat that would take us not ready to depart due to an error in the departure information and the receding waters at the port causing the boat to not be able to pass the river channel to the open sea the departure was delayed until 19:00. The trip takes 4-5 hours with the distance of 40 Nautical Mile. Sea conditions during a calm trip, arrived on the island of Biawak island around 23:30, due to the condition of the pier that has been damaged, and the receding water around the pier caused the boat could not approach the beach so it was decided to wait for the tide the next morning.

On 8 November, we unloaded equipment and logistics from the boat by using a small raft and walking through waist-high waters to the mainland assisted by the boat crew.

Upon arrival at YE1AR along with YC1KK, the lighthouse attendant turned out to be absent and the Tower door was locked. As per the boat crew's instructions, the first time we made a pilgrimage to the tomb of Syeh Syarif Khasan as a sign of greeting for our activities on the island as well as just before leaving the island we said goodbye by returning to the tomb of Syeh Syarif Khasan.

After all the equipment was taken down we shared our tasks, YE1AR and YC1BIQ prepared an antenna device but because the tower door was locked we failed to install the 160M Band antenna with 5/8 ʎ Long Wire to the top of the lighthouse. YC1KK and YB1MAE prepared 2 tents, on the shoreline near the entrance gate and another one in the middle of the dock that has been abandoned and abandoned, also prepared 2 generators with a supply of 200 liters of fuel.

Because 160MB 5/8 ʎ longwire cannot be used, we installed 80MB 5/8 ʎ inverted L along 50 meters, 40MB 5/8 ʎ inverted L along 25 meters, 20MB 5/8 ʎ Vertical along 12.5 meters and Vertical antenna 10 meters MFJ -1910.

Until noon, 2 tents, 2 generators, 4 antennas and radio setup have been installed. Our dock tent contains three stations namely YE1AR with Yaesu FT450, YC1BIQ with Kenwood TS-570 and YB1MAE with Icom IC-M700pro. Antenna 80MB 5/8 ʎ with Icom AT-130, Antenna 40MB 5/8 ʎ with Icom AH-4, Antenna 20MB 5/8 ʎ with Icom AT-130. Main Tent with Icom IC-718 and Vertical Antenna with Daiwa CNW-419.

After all the equipment was unloaded from the boat, the boat crew left the island to come back to pick us up a few days later, leaving us only 4 on the island.

Antenna and radio set up have been completed and we did a test before transmitting things happened unexpectedly and we almost did not believe that some of the devices we were using could not work even though the day before leaving had already been tested with good results and functioning normally, these obstacles were not stop there, some irregularities beyond human reasoning begin to occur, among others, the smell of several jasmine flowers stinging in the pier tent, our devices that work almost entirely and other strange things that are difficult to say because it can only be felt when on the island.

Icom AT-130 at 80MB didn't work, nor did Icom AT-130 at 20MB also worked, so the first night we aired only with together YE1AR and YC1KK stations at 40MB and 15MB.

On the 9th, we tried to fix both ATU Icom AT-130 remotes, but the results were zero, we tried to move Icom AH4-4 from 40MB to 80MB antenna in the hope of better performance but could not work perfectly. Almost only one YC1KK station works 24H with very poor propagation conditions. Occasionally YC1BIQ airs on a 40MB SSB for YB-land QSO.

On the 10th we tried to add a spare antenna namely Vertical Hustler 5BTV and TET MV-5BVR and the results could not be tuned even though assisted with Daiwa CNW-419 which we placed in the main tent position, this added to our clumsiness.

On the 11th, inadvertently Icom AH-4 was able to work normally on the 40MB 5/8 ʎ inverted L and Daiwa CNW-419 antennas could work normally on the TET MV-5BVR, as well as the Antenna MFJ-1910 after we moved it to the middle of the coastal waters working with normal.

We work a maximum of 24H on air with 3 stations, YE1AR and YC1BIQ on the dock station and YC1KK with YB1MAE alternately because all of a sudden the equipment to be used by YB1MAE does not work. At night, the weather is unfriendly, light rain, strong winds blowing clouds and poor propagation conditions.

On the 12th we continue to survive the conditions that occur while at the same time making plans for tomorrow's repairs, when the night returns the weather is not friendly, drizzling rain, strong winds, cloudy clouds and bad propagation conditions befall us.

On the 13th, we continued the condition while setting up the antenna to successfully radiate until the evening there was heavy rain accompanied by strong winds so that the QRT beach gate station at 3 AM due to unfavorable conditions, but the dock station persisted to radiate.

On the 14th morning again the weather conditions were not friendly there was a heavy rain storm accompanied by strong winds that fell and ravaged the tent on the pier, finally the dock station decided QRT, after the storm passed we decided to finish the activity starting with lowering the antenna, rolling up the cable and inserting all the radios and equipment into the box that has been prepared while waiting for the boat to pick us up again.

The journey home was heavier than the journey departing because our boat was confronted with rain, wind and sea waves as high as 2-4 meters plus our body condition which was getting weak due to fatigue made this trip feel very heavy.

Finally, in this DXPedition Team, we have tried very hard to get the maximum and succeed in making contact with as many stations as possible with various modes and bands, but obstacles that occur in the field we cannot avoid, in the future we will make various improvements to be able to work. back on "Mystery Island, Biawak Island", the thing that we are thankful for is that all the team members are back in good health and not lacking in anything despite the various hardships we experienced while on the island.

This activity is the first time in Indonesia, FT-8 DXpedition mode is carried out, although many stations try to answer calls from our beams but fail to be logged because they use standard mode and not DXPedition mode.

We thank all those who have supported and prayed for the team for the safety and smooth running of this activity, FT8DMC www.ft8dmc.eu and Cliiperton DX Club www.wp.cdxc.org for sponsors, and N2OO Bob as QSL Manager,


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