2m EME Operation in Bamako, Mali  November 2006

Updated 7 November 2006

The VooDoo Contest Group is returning to Bamako, Mali (IK62) this November to participate in the CQWW DX CW Contest as TZ5A. This group consists of US and UK amateurs that have been visiting various West African nations and assembling competitive contest stations for over a dozen years. This year, a new capability is to be added that will permit 2m EME operation before and after the CQWW DX CW contest event. Ned Stearns (AA7A), Mike Fulcher (KC7V), and other soon-to-be-converted EME operators will integrate a moderate 2m EME station into the VooDoo Contest Groupís equipment ensemble. Most of the EME hardware will remain in Africa after this visit and will be available for use in other African excursions by this team for the years to come.

The 2m EME station consists of kW-level power; a single, 28 element cross-polarized yagi with full AZ/EL; and a boom-mounted, low noise preamp. The current VHF hardware will consist of a Down East Microwave high-power transverter using one of the CQWW DX CW Contest stationís Elecraft K2 ís as the IF. The station is planned to support both WSJT and CW operating modes with plans to operate both modes during this yearís visit. Accurate computer time will obtained using a Garmin eTrex Legend GPS receiver and GPS Time software. (Updated from before...too many system crashes using GPS Utility S/W)

The team of eight operators is scheduled to start arriving in Bamako, Mali on 16 November 2006. Since this is primarily an HF contesting event, the initial activities will focus on setting up and adjusting the HF stations. The team will begin assembling the EME station several days before the contest and will devote as much time as possible on EME both before and after the contest as is humanly possible. The primary EME operators have adjusted their stay in Mali to maximize their time on EME during the times of best conditions. They will depart Bamako late on 1 December 2006.

Here is the planned schedule of events related to EME. Deviations from this planned will be posted on the Moon-Net reflector or on the MMF web site as possible. (M/R = moonrise; M/S = moonset) 

M/R Date

Operating Time/Mode Primary activity Frequency, TZ TX 1st
20 Nov 0615 - 1730 Z / WSJT & CW VK/ZL Window at TZ M/R & M/S 144149 TX; RX up 1 to 2
21 Nov 0715 - 1815 Z / WSJT & CW VK/ZL Window at TZ M/R & M/S 144149 TX; RX up 1 to 2
22 Nov 0800 - 1915 Z / WSJT & CW VK/ZL Window at TZ M/R & M/S 144149 TX; RX up 1 to 2
23 Nov 0900 - 2015 Z / WSJT & CW VK/ZL Window at TZ M/R & M/S 144149 TX; RX up 1 to 2
24 Nov 1000 - 2115 Z / WSJT & CW VK/ZL Window at TZ M/R & M/S 144149 TX; RX up 1 to 2
25 Nov   NO EME; Operation in CQWW, only  
26 Nov   NO EME; Operation in CQWW, only  
27 Nov 1230 - 1315 Z / WSJT JA Window  144084 TX/RX
27 Nov 1315 - 2400 Z / WSJT & CW USA Start at 1730Z 144149 TX; RX up 1 to 2
28 Nov 1315 - 1445 Z / WSJT JA Window 144084 TX/RX
28 Nov 1445 - 0100 Z / WSJT & CW USA Start at 1745Z 144149 TX; RX up 1 to 2
29 Nov 1345 - 1545 Z / WSJT JA Window 144084 TX/RX
29 Nov 1545 - 0145 Z / WSJT & CW USA Start at 1800Z 144149 TX; RX up 1 to 2
30 Nov 1430 - 1645 Z / WSJT JA Window 144084 TX/RX
30 Nov 1645 - 0245 Z / WSJT & CW USA Start at 1830Z 144149 TX; RX up 1 to 2
1 Dec 1515 - 1800 Z / WSJT JA Window; Possible early shut down on 30 Nov 144084 TX/RX
1 Dec 1800 - 0345Z / WSJT & CW USA Start at 1900Z; Possible early shut down on 30 Nov 144149 TX; RX up 1 to 2

Some operating tips for those chasing us:

1. The operators will focus on working stations in operating windows as listed in the table above. If we decode more than one station, we will respond to the station in our focus window if we need to make a choice.

2. We will listen for CW callers and may change mode at any time to respond to a CW call. If you operate CW, please listen for our sync tone during our TX time (TZ always transmitting on the 1st period, or in even minutes). We will likely be wearing headphones while operating or will put them on when we see a non-WSJT signal on the display. We wish to work all EME operators.

3. We will not make repeat contacts if we can help it. We will attempt to put a list of stations worked on this page or on a mail reflector daily, if possible. A second QSO on another mode is always accepted. However, please let us try to work as many of the needy as possible, especially those who have limited common lunar window time with TZ.

4. We will operate when we can. Before 25 Nov, we may only operate after dark since we will be spending most daylight hours building our CQWW station. Starting 27 Nov, we will be on EME from moonrise to moonset. 

5. Operation on 1 Dec is not 100% certain. The EME operators are scheduled to depart at 2350Z on 1 Dec. We will have dismantled most of the station by 1 Dec and will try to keep the EME station running right up to the last possible moment.

6. Please have fun. We hope to work everyone. Those we don't work this year, we'll try to work next year from the next spot in West Africa. All of the EME equipment will remain in West Africa to support future operations.

Some photos on the preparation for this trip are included below.

73 and GL!

Ned Stearns, AA7A / TZ6NS

Mike Fulcher, KC7V / TZ6MF

The rest of the TZ5A team

Go to Results of TZ6NS Operation

Return to AA7A Home Page


28 element cross-polarized EME antenna on test stand prior to trip


Preamplifier mounted on the antenna boom


Antenna elevation mechanism


Testing the EME equipment in the lab