Bouvet Island DXpedition team works with DX Engineering to engineer new equipment

18Jan17

Below is a guest post written by Hal Turley, W8HC, of the 3Y0Z DXpedition team.

Turley and other members of the Bouvet DXpedition team visited DX Engineering’s headquarters last week to review some of the challenges the remote Bouvet island might present.

One of the many challenges facing the 3YØZ team will be in erecting and securing their antennas within the harsh conditions offered by Bouvet Island.

Current plans call for 10 HF yagi beam antennas, 7 low band verticals and 2 EME antennas, one each for 6m and 2m.

Raising, supporting and guying antennas on a snow packed glacier each present their own set of unique challenges such as, “How do you securely anchor a guy rope in snow pack?”  Enter into the equation sustained winds in the 30-40mph category with possible wind gusts of up to 100mph and things can become even more complicated.

Obviously the best case scenario would result in the installation and setup of the antennas only one time — without having to do any maintenance and repair during the operation!

Ask any seasoned DXpeditioner, “What would you rather do, operate a pileup or, go out into the cold, wet, windy weather to fix the 20m beam that has unexpectedly crashed down into the snow?”

The last thing they want to do is antenna and/or mast repair on-the-fly especially when the weather can hand out some pretty nasty conditions in this, the sub-Antarctic region of the south Atlantic.

In an effort to proactively eliminate these visits from “Murphy” before they happen, our team decided to look at the options available for designing, fabricating and installing what might be considered the “best” structural antenna support systems working within the parameters of:

  • Transport logistic requirements (truck, cargo vessel and helicopter)
  • Ease of assembly
  • Ease of installation
  • Structural integrity of materials
  • Interchangeability of components
  • System reliability and security
  • Weather and substrate conditions
  • The “POM Factor” = Peace of Mind

3YØZ team member Glenn Johnson WØGJ had been tasked with spearheading antenna and mast support procurement for the DXpedition and had developed some ideas for producing a functional system designed specifically for our Bouvet operation.

Glenn readily admits he is not an engineer and so the question was, “Who do we turn to to ensure we have what we need for our antenna support systems within this framework and, in accordance to engineering specs and standards?” After all, we are not talking about rocket science here but rather “DX” and “Engineering!”

So there was really only one place to turn for this solution– the “Big Guns” at DX Engineering, who also happen to be a major sponsor of the 3YØZ DXpedition.

This past Wednesday, January 11th, five members (that’s 25%) of 3YØZ team converged on DX Engineering’s amazing Tallmadge, OH location. DXE Chief Operating Officer Tim Duffy, K3LR, and DXE Projects, Promotions and DXpedition Coordinator Teri Grizer, K8MNJ, rolled out the red carpet for team members Glenn, WØGJ, Ralph, KØIR, Jim, N9TK, Jerry, WB9Z, and Hal, W8HC.

Valerie, NV9L, who will be serving as chief pilot for the DXpedition, was also on hand and did a special on-location broadcast segment that evening providing a first look at the 3ØYZ Bouvet DXpedition for Ham Nation (episode 282). If you haven’t seen it, it’s well worth the watch.

But the primary purpose for the meeting was to have an opportunity to sit down with Tim, K3LR, and members of his outstanding engineering group to discuss the project and arrive at an agreed-upon conceptual model for the 3YØZ antenna support systems.

Glenn had indicated he wanted to utilize the “falling derrick” model and after a couple hours of brainstorming and discussion, it didn’t take long for the visiting members of the 3YØZ team along with Tim, K3LR, and his able DXE engineers Chris Cummings, KD8JKO, Ed Merical and DXE Engineering Manager KC8YSU to arrive at working models for the masts, the falling derrick and the guy anchors for the snow. Prototypes will be available for approval in February and there is a good chance you will be able to see this Bouvet mounting system at the DX Engineering booth in May if you intend to visit the 2017 Dayton Hamvention.

Earlier in the morning at the meeting kickoff, Tim Duffy told the 3YØZ visitors, “DX Engineering wants to be a big part of this incredible DXpedition. We’re all in with you guys.”

By the end of the evening, there was no mistaking that DX Engineering not only supports the 2018 3YØZ Bouvet DXpedition as a “Major Corporate Sponsor,” but they are, in fact, 100% committed to making this DXpedition a success.

Ralph, KØIR, concluded, “We are extremely grateful to Tim and his outstanding team at DX Engineering for this incredible level of support and commitment to the 3YØZ project. We look forward to continuing this partnership with them over the course of the next several months leading up to our trip and successful 2018 DXpedition to Bouvet.”

– Hal Turley W8HC of the 3YØZ Team

Follow the 2018 3YØZ Bouvet Island DXpedition to the “Most Remote Place on Earth” on the web at www.bouvetdx.org and join our Facebook Group: “3YØZ – Bouvet Island 2018.”

See pictures from the 3YØZ DX Engineering visit here:

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