Conditions were excellent to Europe this morning. Strong signals and no thunder crashes. I worked two stations in the UK, a very difficult path from here. Once I realized how special the conditions were, I recorded about 12 minutes of my run. The following MP3 will give you an idea of what it sounds from my end.
I am listening on a 900ft long Beverage pointed at Europe. There are no noise sources in this direction, so the only QRN is DX, not local.
My “Beverage farm” is complete with the addition of a fourth RX antenna. This final wire is 500ft long and pointed toward 260 degrees, which covers most of Africa and Southeast Asia. The antenna is shorted than my other three, however it hears well into these directions, and definitely will earn its keep. I still need most of the African zones on 160m, and while the primary difficulty is breaking the European pileups from here, hearing them better while somewhat nulling the EU “frequency police” and jammers is helpful.
I how have four receive antennas:
110 degrees, 700ft for zones 10, 11, 12, 13, 31, and 32.
045 degrees, 1080ft for zones 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9.
330 degrees, 900ft for zones 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 23, 24, 25, 33, 34, and 40
260 degrees, 500ft for zones 22, 26, 28, 29, 35, 36, 37, 38, and 39
I have had an opportunity to poke around some more in the site where I previously found WW2 era bottles. My NA Beverage passes directly over this area, and I never would have found it otherwise.
After spending some time at the location, I’ve located some shallow depressions from what probably were foxholes. I was not able to find any more bottles with marks, however several matched the Japanese style of manufacturing (very thick glass, not precision made).
With a metal detector, I located a large number of live .30 rifle rounds. All were stamped “43″ (1943) which were used with the M1 Carbine, a rifle used extensively during the liberation of Guam. Even more interesting was a fully loaded carbine magazine I found.
I also dug up a number of artillery fuses, likely still live. The purpose of this site is clear. Due to the thick overgrowth and limited number of people living on the northern end of the island, it became almost impossible to maintain a solid front line as the Americans pushed northward. Units quickly became separated in the jungle. Since Japanese resistance was focused along the few roads, this is where the GIs focused their efforts. This was either the stopping point along the front lines during the liberation, or a post-liberation base camps where patrols would be sent out to search for Japanese stragglers hiding in the jungle.
When installing my new NA Beverage, I found a couple bottles along the way. The area where my RX antennas are located has been mostly untouched since the 2nd World War. A 1953 topographic map shows no roads or residences in the area. When I first enter the jungle, the stuff I find first is recent: trash cans, roofing materials, outdoor light fixture pieces. These are all remnants from Typhoon Pongsona which in 2002 heavily damaged my housing area with 140+ MPH winds. Deeper in the woods, however, I seem to find lots of bottles lying around. Most are nondescript American beer bottles from the war time era. These bottles can be dated to 1943-1945 from the markings on the bottom.
Today, I walked my NA Beverage and poked around further in the area where I found some bottles when installing the antenna. Everywhere I looked, I found more and more. I placed my finds in an old concrete sink I found in the area which was apparently used as a dumping ground.
Also found were fragments of a ceramic bowl, which quite possibly could have been left behind by the occupying Japanese forces. I would hesitate to say this, however some of the bottles I found were quite interesting as I should explain further. Yes – at the top right of the photo is a live round. It is a .30 caliber bullet for a M1 Carbine, one of the rifles used by American troops during the liberation of Guam. I found it while digging around under the leaves and moss.
I am still attempting to identify the large bottle in the photo above. As far as I can tell, it has no markings aside from a manufacturers mark on the bottom which consists of a triangle with a dot in the middle. [December 2020 update: I later learned that these large, green glass unmarked bottles once held Japanese sake.]
I brought several bottles home for cleaning. It was only when I cleaned them up did I realize what I had found.
The two smaller Coca Cola bottles are “Wartime Cokes”. These are clear bottles, without a city mark on the bottom, but with an Owens-Corning mark dating them to 1944. These were manufactured for the American troops during the 2nd World War. The bottles aren’t green because of a shortage of copper used in the manufacturing process.
More interesting was the green bottle located in the bottom right of the top photo. Once I cleaned it up, I discovered Japanese script. It turns out that this is a Dai Nippon beer bottle, and was most certainly brought here by the Japanese occupying forces during WW2. This is the very first Japanese war relic I have found on Guam. Everything else I have found in the past was American. Additionally, I was able to piece together some bottle fragments to determine it too was a Japanese beer bottle.
How did these Japanese bottles come to be found sitting next to American coke bottles? I suspect that American troops found a Japanese cache of beer during the liberation and enjoyed a brew or two. These bottles were found in a slight rise in the terrain, which was likely used as an American encampment during and immediately following the liberation when patrols were sent out to locate the thousands of hiding Japanese scattered throughout the island.
I was not highly motivated to participate in the ARRL DX SSB contest, however I did get on and make a few QSOs. Most notable was my QSO with K3LR on 160m. This was the last of the four big DX contests this season, and I was able to work K3LR on 160 in all four. Here is a recording of our QSO; it took a while for N2NC (the 160m op at LR) to hear me.
The new NA Beverage really sings. This is a 6,700 mile+ polar path bearing 030 degrees from Guam. I also worked W3LPL on 160. While I am very good friends with the K3LR and the operators at Tim’s station, I always make sure to give Frank’s team an equal shot at a QSO.
I was able to get the remainder of the new Southeast Beverage strung yesterday afternoon. Since I was only able to go a couple hundred feed from my planned feed point, I took a reciprocal heading and pushed northwest at 290 degrees until I intersected the feed line for my new North American Beverage. There, I inserted my remote coax switch into the feed line and fed the new wire from that point.
The new Beverage is pointed at 110 degrees; ideal for South America and the east central Pacific (HC8/FO/T30). There isn’t all that much activity in this direction from here, however I know it will be useful during contests when I find myself relying on my Beverages to cut down on QRM on 40-160.
Fortunately – no wasps today! I was prepared with a heavy pair of coveralls and a can of wasp killer, however It turned out that I didn’t need them.
I still want to install a fourth RX Beverage in the direction of ZS/VK6/YB as these areas can be difficult for me to hear for some reason. It only looks like I can get about 400ft unless I drag a lot more coax into the jungle, however this length should be enough for this non-polar path.
I spent most of this afternoon in the jungle working on Beverage antennas. First, I took down my original northeast (NA) Beverage. This antenna worked well for me. Without it, I would not have completed Worked All States on 160m (a first from Guam). Still, it was a noisy antenna when compared to my European RX wire. My new NA Beverage provides the same DX signal strength, but has a noise floor 12dB lower when compared to the original one. This allows me to hear much better overall.
Once I removed the NA Beverage, I started cutting a path to relocate the wire in an easterly direction. this would be my new South American Beverage, pointed at 110 degrees which generally covers CQ zones 32, 31, 10, 11, 12, and 13. It was very slow going, and the growth in this direction is the heaviest I have encountered.
As I was cutting some brush, I stumbled into an unseen wasp nest. WHAM! They got me good as I dropped everything and retreated. I could not find where the nest was located – so I decided to flank it. As I walked around the suspect area – WHAM! I got nailed again by a second nest! At this point, I hopped back on my bike and rode the 1.5 miles around the fence, through the front gate, and back to my house to retrieve a can of wasp killer. I will win!
After riding the 1.5 miles back to the jungle, I finally located the two nests. These things are almost invisible, and generally it takes getting stung to realize you are disturbing a nest. The following series of photos shows what I mean.
Can’t see the wasp nest yet? Lets look closer.
I bet you still can’t see the nest so I drew an arrow to show you.
Here is a zoomed in photo showing the first wasp nest (in the center of the photo). These are paper wasps, more commonly called “boonie wasps” here on Guam. They are *very* common to Guam, and I generally have to spray a nest at my house every month or so. Their scientific name is Polistes Stigma, and they are found throughout Australia/Indonesia/SW Pacific area.
Anyway, I sprayed both nests and grabbed the machete to continue work on my path. My second whack into the brush and *WHAM* I got stung on the face and ran backwards as I saw many more flying straight toward me. Really? A third nest? This just isn’t my day.
Lets play “find the nest” again.
This nest is only about 3 feet from one of the others I already sprayed. Still, it was invisible to me until too late.
You can really see the barbs on the foliage I’m trying to cut a path through. Once I took care of this third nest, I moved forward very warily! I kept hoping I would break through into a clearing, but it never happened.
I was hoping to cut a path at least 600ft long in this direction. It was not to be: 300ft into the path, I ran into a wall of plant life that would be impossible to pass without a bulldozer. This is as far as I can go in this direction!
At this point I sunk a ground rod, ran out two radials, and terminated the 300ft of Beverage antenna I ran out so far.
For a termination, I use a home made insulator from PVC and an Ohmite 470 Ohm, 2W carbon composition resistor. I prefer to use #18 copper clad steel wire for the Beverage runs. It’s strong, light weight, and cheap should someone steal it.
So, as of right now, I have a 300ft long Southeast Beverage. It shows promise; T30RH (bearing 110 degrees from me) is louder on this new RX antenna than both my vertical and other Beverages (as expected). Fortunately, I can run the wire about 400ft in the other direction, relocating the feed point to where it intersects my new NA Beverage feed line. At that point, I will insert my remote antenna switch into the feed line. This will give me a 700ft+ long Beverage toward the Southeast, which should perform very well. I know the jungle is thick in the direction I still need to traverse, however it is not impenetrable like the area I ran into today. I found four wasp nests in total. The fourth I dispatched without incident. The final score on the day however, was 3 to 1, wasps won.