Bouvet and the Race to the Bottom (again . . . )

2018, 19 and 20 look like 2008, 2009 and 2010

Looking at the coming of 2+ years at the bottom of Cycle 24 going into 25, and thoughts of Bouvet pop in my mind. Its a mini cliff hanger: “Who will activate Bouvet before (even) 20M closes down?”

FT5GA activated Glorioso in Sept / October 2009, when even 20M was dead. Their team completely missed West Coast openings on 40 and 30M – unlike T04E and other French teams who gave everyone an ATNO on 40 and 30M from that part of the world, FT5GA just didn’t seem to get it. TO4E won the DXpedition of the Year award, and FT5GA did not. I do remember being one of a handful on the West Coast to implore the TO4E guys to try 40 and 30M Long Path, and when they did, their signal pounded in and you could easily work them with a single vertical. FT5GA NEVER bothered. Both made about the same number of QSO’s – about 35,000, which isn’t that great, but is enough to give anyone who needed it for an ATNO at least one band mode ATNO. And that’s all that matters.

I will have the UrbanBeam, DV-40-P and DV-80-P up when Bouvet activates (rumor has it this coming December). I will “only” have 500 watts, but I only had 200 watts when I worked TO4E on 30M and 20M way back in 2003.

Between 2008 and 2010 there were “easy” ATNO’s (Ducie, Desecheo, Wallis, Willis, Clipperton), but these as far as distance go were small potatoes. ZS8M in September 2010 was the “gate” where we went from dead bands and short DX to long DX. HOWEVER, the only band that I did not work ANY DX on during those years was 10 Meters. I even have a few 12M band fills for mega DXpeditions in those years. But the lions share of the DX was 160 – 17M, and 40 – 20M being where all the best action was at.

I fully expect that 40 – 20M will be what keeps up going at this bottom of the cycle, but distance could be an issue. In 2009 I worked a C9 – Mozambique on 80M SSB on the evening Grey Line – Short Path – which is really pretty excellent, actually. I worked a ZS on 30M in 2010 on the morning Long Path – on the Grey Line, and worked Marion on the 40M Short Path – on the same path that I work ZS6CCY every night.

What all this means is that Bouvet and Glorioso ARE do-able even at the bottom of the Cycle – but it will take any team activating to really pay attention to propagation for the West Coast. And the evening and mornings on 40, 30 and 20M are the obvious bands, but 80M could be a band I’ve totally neglected as a distance band, and for no real good reason. C91 and ZS8 are the two real standouts, and they happen to be 80 and 40M. Now I am especially excited about trading 160M for phased verticals on 80M. 80M has a much higher probability at the bottom of the cycle being a serious ATNO band than 160M does. Once I get that 9BDXCC endorsement, I will hang up my 160M hat and get on with 80M.

Glorioso is now way down to #14 in the Most Wanted, so I doubt there will be any big push to activate it. As always, I tweak my antenna farm to jive with band conditions and the probability of working that next ATNO.

There hasn’t been any news from 3Y0Z or 3Y0I since 3Y0I invited 3Y0Z to join forces and K4UEE saying that “3Y0Z has other plans”.

The Bouvet plot thickens!


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