Sun-Up in the Middle East
As the sunrises in the middle east, its ham radio operators
have been on the air for many hours or are just going to bed
from the night before. Propagation on 20 meters to the
United States begins long path about one hour before sunset,
approximately 1400 GMT and continues using other bands around
0000 through 0400 GMT. From state side, it is always difficult
to work this region of the world due to different time zones and
limited propagation during poor sun spot cycle times.
A New Big Signal
United Arab Emirates, there is a new big signal that has
been handing out QSO's for those in need. The signal is from Ali
Al Futtaim, A61AJ. Ali has been active since December 1995 and
is a great enthusiast to the hobby of amateur radio.
Until November 1997, Ali operated from his home QTH in downtown Dubai.
The home station consisted of a 70' crank-up tower, TH-11 Beam,
wire antennas for 160 through 40 meters, ICOM 781 transceiver,
Alpha 87 amplifier and other numerous equipment.
In November 1996, Ali had the desire to build a new station at
his farm in Al-Kawaneej that could hear and work the weak
signals on the band. It gives great pleasure for Ali to confirm
a new country for ham operators in need. Ali responds to his QSL
request 100% via his QSL Manager, W3UR or direct.
During the November 1996 CQWW DX CW contest , Ali became
interested in contesting. The A61AJ station confirmed over 2,700
QSO's and 287 countries for 2,440,704 points on CW during it
first single operator appearance with 34 hours of operating
After the contest, Ali established a few new goals for the 1997
CQWW DX CW contest that resulted in installing four 100' towers,
six element KLM mono band beams for 10 , 15 and 20 meters, three
element KLM mono band beam for 40 meters, 1/4 vertical for 80
meters with four elevated radials at 13' above ground and a
Inverted L for 160 meters at the farm location.
Planning, Fabrication and Installation
Throughout 1997, there were many planned activities that
allowed the required antenna equipment, new ICOM 781's, Alpha
amplifiers, rotators, coax, power meters, etc. to be sent to
Dubai for installation. Three new Compaq computers, towers and
other miscellaneous mechanical items were acquired locally in
Dubai is a very resourceful community.
Since the CQWW DX CW Contest would start on November 29, 1997,
all equipment, towers, antennas, computers, software, ham shack,
station power requirements, etc. needed to be assembled and
installed, and tested to ensure it would work properly as soon
Well, soon as possible began on Sunday morning November 23, 1997.
Within a few days, all antennas were assembled and tested on the
ground. The four 100' towers were completed and installed on
Tuesday and Wednesday. The antenna installation work began on
Wednesday and was completed on Thursday.
During this week, a new ham shack, twenty-one feet square was
fabricated, wired, sheet rocked, painted, doors and windows
installed, and carpeted by four different crews. The air
conditioning was installed the morning after the contest began.
On Friday, the last day before the contest, the day was spent
setting up and installing station equipment, furniture,
preparing coax and rotator cables, and installing the wire
antennas for 80 and 160 meters, and trouble shooting rotator
problems. After exhausting all techniques like using 12 gauge
wires to feed the rotators, removing all connector connections
by hard wiring, and placing the rotator control box at the
bottom of the tower, only one rotator was functional (10 meter
beam). This created great frustration since there were many
goals to work the midwest and west coast stations on 40 meters.
In order to focus the antennas on multipliers and QSO volume,
all beams were pointed and fixed toward
Europe and east coast USA prior to the contest on Friday
The tower climbing and installation work was very exhausting
and involved numerous climbs per tower. Remember the six element
KLM 20 meter beam has a 58' boom and weighed about 190 pounds.
The scenario above in many ways simplifies what really happen
during the last week. The work schedule started at 8:30 AM
and ended around 1:00 AM the next day daily. Three days of ground
assembly work was done outside in the rain due to schedule
constraints. Temporary lighting was installed over a large grass
area where antennas were being assembled late into the evening.
Firing Up the Contest Station
To avoid the lack of sleep problem encountered before the 1996
contest, the goal was to have an early dinner and hit the sack
around 7:00 PM Friday night. The contest would start at
local time Saturday.
After about 5 hours of sleep, the A61AJ signal was being
prepared for its first real DX operation since installation.
There were less than 800 QSO's made (about 4-5 hours of
operating) from the contest station during the week prior to the
contest. The station was placed on the air with great results.
After operating two transmitters with one operator each for
forty-four hours, the A61AJ station completed 7,251 QSOs, 143
zones and 475 countries for 12,782,357 points. The station
entered the CQWW DX CW Contest as a Multi -Multi unassisted with
two operators since there was no Multi-Two category available.
The CW rate on the contest software showed 399 QSO's per hour
several points during the contest and maintained an average
around 200 to 225 QSO's per hour. The last two hours of the
contest were great since the propagation to Caribbean, Mexico
and US west, midwest and east coast stations were booming in and
being worked at 150 QSO's per hour on 40 meters (this was about
1:00 AM through 3:00 AM Dubai time).
It was nice to work AZ9L at 1033 GMT, AE4RO at 1241 GMT, N4BP
at 1252 GMT, KC1XX at 1441 GMT, and many South Americans and
Caribbean stations on ten meters the first day. There was no
propagation to the
US on the second day.
It was difficult trying to work the
Caribbean both days on forty meters. We could hear them very
loud, but they could not here the A61AJ signal. Finally, about
an hour before the end of the contest, VP5DX, V26KW and 6D2X
called A61AJ at 2228, 2249 and 2334 respectively. Many thanks to
these guys who looked for A61AJ.
Analysis data of QSO's and Band Worked By Hour can be used by
contesters trying to plan their activities for next years
Many thanks to the stations who continued to call and did not
get through. Your efforts are greatly appreciated.
The station performed extremely well and allowed many people to
work and confirm the
United Arab Emirates on a rare CW QSO.
To this point, the farm contest station assembly, radio room
building fabrication, tower fabrication, consultation, etc.
involved over 200 people lead by Ali, A61AJ. Ninety-five percent
of these people worked to get the four 100' towers and radio
room structure fabricated and installed, with ten days notice.
The remaining six people assisted directly with the antennas,
radios and station work.
Five days after the contest, all the rotators were replaced
with new Yeasu rotators which worked directly out of the box
using the original rotator cable feed lines.
The Plans for 1998
The A61AJ goals for 1998 include installing a 200' tower with a
two element KLM 80 meter mono band antenna, stacking three five
element 205CA Hygain mono band antennas for 20 meters, adding a
third transmitter and amplifier, and new beverages for 160 and
80 meters. The 160 meter Inverted L did not perform very well
due to the place of installation therefore will be moved to an
alternate location with four elevated radials.
Many of the 1998 goals are planned to occur prior to the ARRL
SSB and WPX contests in March 1998. The A61AJ station will be on
the air using SSB throughout the ARRL SSB contest. Ali looks
forward to working all those stations in need of a QSL from A6
United Arab Emirates.