Niue Island EM6
6-meter EME Expedition

By Lance W7GJ from his trip to Niue Island in grid AH51 in September 2012.

Slide 1 Slide 2 Slide 3

Slide 3: Kaliki Lodge in Namukulu Village as viewed from the ocean to the west.

Slide 4 Slide 5

Slide 5: Apparently the only spot with enough clearance to put up the antenna. No good shot at moonrise, but antenna is 100’ above the ocean to the west.

Slide 6

Slide 6: Mauri carvings greet you as you deplane and enter the terminal at Auckland, New Zealand at dawn on Sunday morning

Slide 7

Slide 7: At baggage claim in Auckland, sniffing dog “Yuri” finds our airplane food smells interesting.

Slide 8

Slide 8: All our gear intact in Auckland, awaiting transfer to the car rental on Sunday morning.

Slide 9

Slide 9: First exploratory driving in the big city of Auckland the Sunday we arrived there. Fortunately, traffic in downtown was not too bad on Sunday ;-)

Slide 10

Slide 10: Downtown Auckland – a big city for us!

Slide 11

Slide 11: Kelly Tarltons Sea Life Display and aquarium by the bay in Auckland

Slide 12

Slide 12: Departing the wharf in downtown Auckland on a ferry

Slide 13

Slide 13: Closeup of endangered Takahe

Slide 14

Slide 14: Kayaking on the Puhoi River through Wenderholm Regional Park

Slide 15

Slide 15: Ominous display at Auckland’s Museum of Transport and Technology (MOTAT) announces it is time for us to depart on the weekly flight to Niue Saturday morning September 8!

Slide 16

Slide 16: Arrival in Niue on the weekly flight from Auckland – the only commercial air traffic to Niue, after lunch on Friday September 7.

Slide 17

Slide 17: First stop in Niue is Alofi, the capital village

Slide 18

Slide 18: We picked up driver licenses at the Police station in Alofi

Slide 19

Slide 19: The shopping mall in downtown Alofi also housed the only post office, as well as the Telecom Office.

Slide 20

Slide 20: ZL1RS going into the Telecom office in Alofi to pick up his E51RS license.

Slide 21

Slide 21: W7GJ’s special license reflects the primary objective of the trip – to operate 6M!
E6M was the first E6 license issued by Niue Telecom - previously Niue was ZK2.

Slide 22

Slide 22: A quick stop at the country’s only supermarket for supplies before leaving Alofi. Unfortunately, the monthly supply ship was already late so stocks were low.

Slide 23

Slide 23: Siting the antenna on Friday afternoon before dark.

Slide 24

Slide 24: The station was assembled Friday night, in order to be ready as soon as the antenna is raised in the daylight Saturday.

Slide 25

Slide 25: Assembling the antenna Saturday morning September 8.

Slide 26

Slide 26: Mast propped up and ready to accept the antenna, although there appear to be a number of obstacles to avoid.

Slide 27

Slide 27: Antenna successfully raised in the elevated position to avoid the house, trees and shrubs. A few pesky palm fronds (right) had to be pulled down prior to raising.

Slide 28

Slide 28: Antenna azimuth indicator with the paper clip pointer.

Slide 29

Slide 29: Antenna standing proudly at the edge of the ledge at noon on Saturday. View is looking north. Missed European moonset Saturday, but worked a number of New Zealand stations on Es.

Slide 30

Slide 30: 950w output and SWR looks great! Only one moonrise was lost due to a high SWR caused by heavy rain on the antenna.

Slide 31

Slide 31: Operating position at E6M.

Slide 32

Slide 32: Karen snorkeling in Limu Pools, Namukulu Village, Niue

Slide 33

Slide 33: The antenna barely looks over the house roof to the east, so there is no clear shot at the terrain for ground gain on moonrise. I have to elevate to about 9 degrees elevation before copying European stations during their moonset.

Slide 34 Slide 35 Slide 36 Slide 37

Slide 37: Santa’s helpers in a pool at a large cavern.

Slide 38

Slide 38: Nearby Limu Pools in Namukulu, within walking distance from Kaliki Lodge

Slide 39 Slide 40 Slide 41

Slide 41: Niue has numerous chasms, caves and pools along the steep cliffs around the island.

Slide 42

Slide 42: After a week of EME operation, the lunar Declination was far enough south that the antenna had to be up at its maximum elevation of 65 degrees to match moonsets for stations in central USA. The last few days of operation, the moon was just too high for the central USA stations although the Degradation was low and EME conditions were good.

Slide 43

Slide 43: Closeup of the W7GJ homebrew elevation mount pushed to its maximum elevation.

Slide 44

Slide 44: The local dog (nicknamed “Kalik” by us), lazing on a grave across the street.

Slide 45

Slide 45: The increasing elevation during the day, and loss of any moonrise window with Europe meant more time to explore the island. Bob and Barbara arrived to share the second week with us, and we did some exploring. Togo (pronounced TONGO) Chasm was one of the more famous and unusual features along the coast.

Slide 46

Slide 46: Leaving the forest as the Togo Chasm trail approached the sea.

Slide 47

Slide 47: The extraordinarily jagged terrain on the east side of the island by Togo Chasm.

Slide 48

Slide 48: Inside the secluded Togo Chasm, there is a small oasis with sand, palm trees and a pond.

Slide 49

Slide 49: Karen descending into Togo Chasm.

Slide 50

Slide 50: The unusual terrain hidden inside Togo Chasm.

Slide 51

Slide 51: The pounding surf on the outside of Togo Chasm.

Slide 52

Slide 52: Looking down from the steep cliffs by the Coral Gardens Motel on the west side of the island.

Slide 53 Slide 54

Slide 54: Locals store their outriggers high on the rocks and in the caves to protect them from being washed away by the pounding surf.

Slide 55

Slide 55: Local old timer watching his chickens on the road up to Namukulu Village, where we stayed.

Slide 56

Slide 56: The Reef Express finally arrives and unloads containers of supplies onto a barge a safe distance from the shore.

Slide 57

Slide 57: Containers are unloaded by crane onto the wharf at Alofi.

Slide 58

Slide 58: The little gazebo at Kaliki lodge with Karen and her new found friend 'Kalik'.

Slide 59

Slide 59: The view of the ocean to the west from the gazebo at Kaliki Lodge.

Slide 60

Slide 60: As the sun sets, the antenna is aimed out over the ocean to take advantage of the ground gain when the moon approaches the horizon.

Slide 61

Slide 61: We are trying to spot the small sliver of moon as moonset approaches.

Slide 62

Slide 62: As it becomes darker, the setting moon becomes more visible

Slide 63

Slide 63: When the moon was around zero degrees elevation, eastern European stations popped up out of the noise! Signals were still good down to -1.5 degrees. Shown here is a contact with PA3HP (-18 dB), and decodes from callers OK1RD (-22 dB), LZ2WO (-21 dB) and S59A (-24 dB). E6M moon elevation was 0.04 degrees when this shot was taken. I am calling OK1RD and sending him reports, but I never did complete with Jarda.

Slide 64

Slide 64: We very carefully distributed the weight in our very full suitcases. We are permitted up to 23 kg per checked bag – here is one of our bags being checked at the airport ;-)

Slide 65

Slide 65: (L to R): Lance W7GJ/E6M with XYL Karen and XYL Barb and Bob (ZL1RS/E6RS) from New Zealand at airport before departing Niue for New Zealand on Friday afternoon September 21, 2012.

Slide 66

Slide 66: 33 Ionospheric contacts were mostly made during two rare late Es openings early in the trip. The KH6 stations were often in on TEP in the evenings.

Slide 67 Slide 68 Slide 69 Slide 70

Slide 70: 6M7JHV temporarily hung up on a pole and elevated by W1JJ, who was running 700w into it aimed up 15 degrees during high winds.

Slide 71

Slide 71: QSL card printed by Barrie, W7ALW.