Start: 24-11-2006 End: 26-11-2006, IOTA: AS074, Island: Pulau Ketam
First step in my attempt to activate some Malaysian islands
After moving to Malaysia and having settled at an apartment, I tried to get in touch with the local hams in order to get support for my license application. Accidentally I heard from a colleague that some of the local hams were meeting daily at restaurant Ali Baba, not far from my apartment. On my first meeting I received a very friendly welcome and quickly became part of the local ham gathering. I got two local HF hams to sign my license application so I could provide it with the rest of the required documentation to MCMC. A month later I collected my license from MCMC in Cyberjaya, the technology city south of Kuala Lumpur. The apartment I’m living does not provide me with the support for amateur radio activities so alternatively I will concentrate on activating some of the Malaysian islands.
Preparation The island that is most easy for me to activate is Pulau Ketam AS074, as it is just 45 minutes drive from Kuala Lumpur and 45 minutes by ferry. From previous operations by Richard, G4ZFE and others I gathered already some information and learned that the Hotel Sea Lion was actually the place to be.
I decided to undertake a fact finding mission on a Sunday in order to know what I could expect from the ‘operating site’. The owner of the hotel, Mr. Andy Cha was very friendly and when I told him that I was inspecting for an amateur radio operation, he understood what I was looking for. He directly informed me that his Deluxe room 201 was best situated for this. He showed me first the room and next we went up the roof. He pointed out where I could place the antenna and that was just on top of my room. Only a short piece of coax was needed.
The next trip for real On November 24 I left in the afternoon and headed for Port Klang from where I could take the ferry to Pulau Ketam. Due to the heavy traffic I arrived rather late at the ferry terminal. You can park your car just in front of this terminal building for a price of about 10 Euro for three days. After rushing with all my luggage to the quay, I could see the boat had just left. I had to wait another 45 minutes to catch the last boat to the island. I arrived at around 18:30 hrs on the island and it would not take long before it would become dark which would be a bit unfortunate for assembling an antenna on top of the roof.
After getting into my room and unpacking the equipment, I started first to assemble the ECO R7+ vertical antenna into parts that still could be carried through the corridor to the roof.
The base of the R7+ vertical was paced over one of the four reinforcing bars that came out of the roof, just next to a glass fiber watertank. This was an excellent and easy assembly for me.
Due to my previous fact finding mission, I could find these bars back again when I was installing the antenna in the dark. Next I fixed the radials and inserted the rest of the antenna on top of the base element. I secured the vertical with a few guy wires to avoid that the antenna could tumble down due to wind. I needed only 5m of coax to connect it to the radio.
Once the antenna was up, I checked the bands and found that there was a very high noise/QRM level which made it a lot more difficult to copy the signals. Fortunately the direction to Europe, US and Japan was not blocked by buildings but sure my signal would be week at the other end.
The operation The only problem I had was that RFI caused my air conditioner to switch off when going on 20 meters. At the operating desk I had the FT-897 with the MFJ 945E antenna tuner. I had to use the tuner for all G5RV operations but with the R7+ I could bypass the tuner on some bands. For logging I used a DELL laptop running CT under Windows. A Bencher paddle was used to key the CT internal SUPERCMOS keyer.
I operated just for a short while before the CQ WW CW contest which resulted in 40 QSO’s. During the contest I worked 360 station.