9M2/PG5M Sibu

Great location, great experience and therefore also a second visit

It took a 5-hour drive from Kuala Lumpur to arrive at Tanjung Leman jetty. It turned out that I was the only visitor to go to the island at that time. After a while I was picked up by Buton, for this occasion the captain of a small boat. Although most indications say that the monsoon is over in March, I could witness rather high waves, especially when compared with the small boat we were in.

The ride to the island was very bumpy and I had to keep my self firmly attached to the structure of the boat in order not to fall of my seat. Every wave that smashed against the boat created a shower of seawater in the open boat, so was completely wet. Also my suitcase and antenna box were washed with sea water. This time I had a rather good water tight suitcase but the antenna was in a carton box covered with a protection cloth (but not against water).

After 20 minutes I arrived at the island, but not in front of the Rimba resort as is normally the case, but at the Coconut Village Resort, which is on the other side of the island. This was due to the very low tide. Buton fist brought me to the jetty and then anchored the boat at the beach and had to wade through the water to the jetty. From there it would take us some 30 minutes walk across the jungle to the Rimba resort. Buton took my very heavy suitcase and I carried my own backpack and the antenna box. At the Coconut Village resort, Buton collected a wheelbarrow to carry my case through the jungle but half way the path was too steep, so he took the case on his back and went on. It was very hot and I had difficulty to catch up with him.

I had difficulty to catch up with him. During our walk we past almost all resorts on the island and finally reach Rimba resort where I was welcomed by Malcolm, the owner of the resort. Later I met Beth, Wendy, Wally and the dog, the latter being the head of the complaint department I was told.I got a chalet at a good location as they told me they had always good reception from this part of the resort. I had a few tall palm trees in front of the chalet and that was ideal for the G5RV. I asked Wally if they had a local guy who could climb such trees, and indeed they had one. It was Buton who seems to be the person that always does the ‘dangerous’ jobs. We gave him the center part of the dipole and quickly he climbed in top of the palm tree at a height of about 15 meters. The only problem was to get the legs of the dipole stretched horizontal to both sides. With the help of Malcolm and Buton, we managed to get one leg elevated enough by fixing it to another tall palm tree. The other leg was more difficult and resulted in a too narrow angle with the feeder but I did not want to ask Buton again to go in all these trees once more.

Malcolm brought me a very convenient table and comfortable chair as in the chalet they have only arm chairs and small tables. I placed the table in front a window and next to the power outlet which was a fantastic position, as with the open windows, I had wind going through the room. Later it turned out that with the rain, it was less pleasant as the wind blew the rain straight through the room.
I assembled the radio and hooked it up to the dipole and it seemed to work well and a few contacts were made. But the idea that perhaps the vertical could work better so close to the sea, I started to fix the vertical. Wally helped me to get it placed at the beach for which he used a tall crow bar.

The vertical worked fine and I operated for about an hour. However, I discovered that the SWR was fluctuating all the time and suspected that the metal crow bar could be making some kind of short circuit inside the base part of the vertical. I decided to find another suitable support. A bamboo stick on the beach was what I needed; tall enough and with the right diameter to fit into the base of the antenna. I buried the bamboo stick just at the shore line and slid the vertical over it and it looked just fantastic. The SWR was good and I could use it without the tuner.When I started operating again, I had a fantastic pileup and I guess the signal into Europe must have been good. During the pileup I had some trouble with the logging program (most likely too unfamiliar with it) as it wiped out call signs half way the QSO (later found the problem). This was causing undesirable slow down of the QSO rate. Signals were great and this time it was so much different from my previous two island operations. First QSO’s were already made at 3 PM local time, which was not possible when at Pulau Ketam or Pulau Pangkor.

On Sunday morning 17 meters was great. The band was very quiet and signals were loud. I worked the only US station (W1YY) at 01:14Z on 17 meters and later also KG6B and KL7QB. The rest of the morning only on 17 meters working JA. The whole operation resulted in a total of 1382 QSO’s.
One observation is that my location at the resort has prevented me from working more US stations as that direction was walled off by a mountain on the northern part of the island. I’m sure that from chalet no 20, also there will be a clear path to the US.

It was not only great fun on the radio but I enjoyed my stay at this fantastic resort as well. The staff was great and where very supportive which made my stay so pleasant and the radio part so successful. Because of the fantastic location and experience, I decided to visit the island once again and operate from chalet No.20 or also known as the honeymoon suite. The “extra’s” are a fridge and a hot water shower. The staff must be surprised that this might become a favorite place for radio operators and not only for married couples.

Because this chalet lies at the most western part of the resort, it gives a better path the the US and this is also recognized in the log as this time I worked quite some US stations contrary to the single W during the first trip.
During the first trip I actually used only the vertical and during the second trip a brought only a G5RV dipole which was hung between two palm trees.
More information about the resort can be found on www.resortmalaysia.com. The food was nice, served at my convenience. Beth gave me even a water cooker with coffee so I could make my own drinks during the late operating hours.
It is really relaxing being at this remote place and enjoying the fantastic environment, nice pleasant cool wind and most of all, working the world from this remote beach location.

If you want to go there for operating radio, let Malcolm or Beth know so they can prepare your room with a table and chair for convenient operation. For the high elevated antenna works, you can ask Buton to help if he is around. It is amazing how quickly he is at the top of the tree to fix the wires of your dipole. Make sure he is also available just before departure to get it down again.

On your way to the island, you have to call the resort half an hour before you reach the Tanjung Leman jetty, so they can send the boat to collect you. At the island, there are seven resorts and just one small village with local people, one police man, a small clinic and a few small shops. However, you can buy your drinks and snacks at the resort. Before leaving the island again, I inspected the other chalets of the resort and found that no 8, 13, 16 and 17 are also a good locations if you want to use wire antenna’s.

Thanks Malcolm, Beth, Buton, Wendy and Kylie for making the trips so enjoyable and successful for the radio part.