Contributed by RRI board member Jeff Miller WB8WQK
Originally published at TFC-OPS
As you may be aware of, RRI has been diligently working with the Oceania Group (Australia, New Zealand and South Pacific Islands) to establish a quality traffic communications circuit. Although initial thinking was that digital would be ideal, to date, we actually have had more success with the CW circuit. Working on both of these modes in parallel, RRI (North America) has established a weekly CW schedule with the members of Oceania’s CWB (Communicators Without Borders) group. Working CW at the top of the 20 meter band (14.349 Mhz) during the USA’s late night, has proven to be highly reliable, with signals reports commonly passed each way of 599.
In an effort to challenge ourselves, we decided to explore the possibility of a Transatlantic/Transpacific traffic relay within hours. On 14.115, I picked up one piece of traffic directly on CW from Peter DF0NTS (DL4FN) at about 20:30z July 31 headed to Lou, VK5EEE. It was relayed within 8 hours at 0345z on August 1 to ZL1NZ, via CW. This was our first 12,000 + mile Transatlantic/Transpacific relay, and very possibly the first of its kind. Just to prove this was no “fluke”, this same scenario was played out last night on August 14th USA local time.
In addition, during this same sked time with the Oceania group, K6TOP, Kevin, has been passing and receiving traffic into and out of VK/ZL land. It appears we currently have two USA stations and quite a few Oceania operators that are maintaining a very reliable CW circuit. Neil, ZL1NS, even made a You Tube video of this latest sked from his perspective “down under”.
This fine group has certainly put the “I” into RRI. As one of the lucky ones to have the privilege to participate, I must say, it’s probably been the most exciting traffic handling experience I’ve ever had. The purpose of this post is to provide an opportunity you FB ops to get in on this fun.
The current single schedule between the North American and Oceania groups is at 0345z Wednesday at 14.349 CW. This, of course, is late Tuesday night, USA time. With both Kevin and I easily contacting ZL1NZ, we are now consider splitting our skeds into two days a week. In fact, ideally, we think three days a week would be the perfect coverage for our current operations. This, of course, means we are now looking for at least one more operator, and possibly more for backups. Even though this is currently a CW circuit, we would welcome phone operators to also participate. Digital work is still on going, with a recent success out of California.
As I’ve alluded to, this is as fun as it comes in terms of traffic handling. But, it can also be of incredible importance in the time of a disaster. I keep remembering what happened last year in Puerto Rico with Hurricane Maria, and wishing we were as prepared with the KP4 stations, as we are now becoming with our VK/ZL and Pacific counterparts. Won’t you please take a listen and see if you want to participate in one incredibly rewarding traffic handling opportunity, that doesn’t come around often?