High Arctic weather is very damaging to antennas. Cold temperatures, strong winds and icing disrupt the operations multiple times a year. For that reason, antennas are deployed for each activation and then removed at the end. The VY0ERC team is continuously re-building and improving the antennas to make every deployment quicker and easier, extend the airtime of the station, enhance the quality of QSOs, and push the limits of the hobby. Far and away, the most consistent band for VY0ERC operations is 20 m. However, considering the geographical location of the club, lower bands become more attractive for DX contacts, especially from October to February during which time the Sun does not rise in Eureka. As Cycle 25 progresses, the higher bands will also be much more accessible.
Since spring 2018, with the help from amateur radio satellite community, VY0ERC has been getting on the air via linear and FM satellites and activating rare grids for the HAMs in North America, Europe, and Asia.
In fall 2018 VY0ERC started a GoFundMe fund raising campaign to help the club to establish antennas which could reliably result in contacts on the lower HF bands. With the help from HAM community and supporters, the club was able to raise funds and build a phased vertical array (4-square array) for 40 m band. The array was first deployed in February 2020 (http://t.ly/9m2eE) and tested during ARRL DX SSB contest and further operations in 2021. The array allowed the team to enhance VY0ERC activity from CQ Zone 2 on 40 m during regular operations and in the contests. Since the first deployment of the array, the team conducted more than 2500 CW, SSB and RTTY QSOs on HF bands, where ~855 (34%) of the contacts were made on 40 m. Many HAM fellows from all over the world shared their positive comments with VY0ERC about the performance of the array.
To date, VY0ERC equipment consists of Yaesu FT-847 transceiver and Arrow VHF/UHF beam for satellite communications, Vectronix VCI HF-600 linear amplifier and tuner, Kenwood TS-480HX transceiver, National NCL-2000 linear amplifier, RBN and WSPR autonomous beacons, Cushcraft R5 and AV5 verticals, 20 m band home-brewed Moxon rectangle on Ham IV rotator, 40 m 4-square vertical array with a phasing box from LowBandSystems, and various wire antennas.
So far, there are only about two hundred lower band (160 and 80 m) QSOs in our log total. The QSOs were conducted using a long wire and AV5 vertical. Also, according to recent predictions and observations, 25-th Solar Cycle is going to be above average in its strength. Hence, at its peak we expect to have propagation on higher HF bands in the Arctic during the summer time. Since the establishment of the club in 2016, VY0ERC has conducted only 3 FT8 contacts total on 12 and 10 m. Taking these facts into account, the goal of current campaign is to raise funds to support building/acquiring of an antenna for 160 m, a phased vertical array for 80 m, and directional antennas for 15, 12 and 10 m bands. This will allow VY0ERC to have complete coverage of HF bands.
Do you need Zone 2 in your log? Do you need rare multiplier in the contest? Do you need rare grid for your award? VY0ERC would like to help you get it! Please donate and help VY0ERC to establish antennas that can reliably result in contacts!
The donations can be made here or directly to the club's e-mail via Paypal.