*DXPEDITION REPORT* 3DA/BRA-083, Porto de Pedras Lighthouse

April 17, 2012

Built in 1940 and referenced as BRA-083 by the Amateur Radio Lighthouse Society (ARLHS), the spectacular Porto de Pedras lighthouse in northern Brazil is about 10km from my home QTH on the Coral Coast of Alagoas.

I arrive in the afternoon and put the car on the beach about 500m from the light.

I also have perfect views of the calm and crystalline waters that are home to manatees, a sensuously drawn coast lined with coconut trees, and a town with centuries-old landmarks.

What a lovely Dxstination indeed for some Lighthouse On The Air (LOTA) DXpedition work with the DA-RC!

After my first CQ DX call on 27.555 MHz USB, the Yaesu FT857 D transceiver springs to life and 47DX101 John from the Kingdom of Denmark in Northern Europe is first in the log.

It’s a great beginning for 3DA/BRA-083.

After some other European stations are logged from Greece, France and the Netherlands, I have the big surprise to hear 153SD777 Jan calling from his home in the Kingdom of Thailand.

What an amazing 15300 km QSO!!!

Soon 11m propagation is gone however and after 1 hour behind the microphone I cease transmissions with just 10 stations in the log from 6 DXCC.

August 25, 2012

Some more free time this weekend means another opportunity to travel to the Porto de Pedras lighthouse for some more LOTA action.

This time I check propagation on the quad though before deciding when to leave the house to ensure my efforts are worthwhile hihi.

Around 10:00 local time I decide to drive to the lighthouse as propagation is now open to Europe and the chance of adding more LOTA chasers to the log is inviting.

I put the car on the same place as the last time and after my first CQ call as 3DA/BRA-083 I hear nothing accept the occasional squawk of seabirds nearby.

After moving the car to the eastern side of the lighthouse grounds a while later though…BOOM!

116SD111 Nico from the Republic of Turkey in Western Asia is logged at 14:25 UTC.

It’s a great 5/9 copy but alas he’s the only operator on frequency at this time.

After calling without any results, I decide to stand-by on T5 checking the propagation for a while and taking in some of the breathtaking scenery nearby.

The cylindrical concrete tower of the lighthouse with its four ribs, black and white horizontal bands and white lantern is a mere stone’s throw away from my car and although I’d love to have my station set up at the top of this 26m high navigational beacon, it is closed to the public so as to preserve its historical value.

Suddenly, I hear 234SD/DX Jerry transmitting from the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and follow him off the international calling frequency and lower down the band. 

After some calls I get a response too. 

It’s a nice one for the log – even with low signals.

Some minutes later I log 153 division again, 153E291 Mr. Banana with a solid 52-55 report.

At 12:30 local time and with only 3 more stations added to the log, it’s zzzz on the band and time to go back home to drink an ice cold beer.

With the car on the beach, no shadow and a temperature which must be around 30° Celsius, the constant calling is thirsty work indeed!

At 18:00 UTC, I return to the Porto de Pedras lighthouse and this time decide to park the car north of the structure but well within the 1000m required in order to satisfy LOTA conditions laid out by the ARLHS.

After 1 hour and good propagation to Europe, I decide to go back home to charge the battery with the idea to go back later in the evening.

In the evening, with the lighthouse’s magnificent operational white lantern providing two white flashes every 15 seconds, I’m very excited as several European stations from France and Portugal call me back.

At 18:23 UTC, DA-RC big gun 14DA049 Fred smashes through the pile up with a thumping 5/9 signal and he’s followed later in the log by 4 more of our club’s well-known dx hunters 30DA016 Dave, 14DA051 Chris, 14DA011 Chris and 14DA028 Phil whom are gladly added to the log.

I’m thrilled to log Greenland station 38AT103 Mr. Bjarne at 5/9 and also some other stations from Canada and the United States coming through the speaker of my Yaesu FT857 D transceiver.

At 23:00 UTC, with the band closing, I shut down the Porto de Pedras LOTA station with 56 stations in the log from 3 continents…Asia, Europe, Africa and North America…and 20 DXCC.

These include 1, 2, 9, 10, 13, 14, 18, 19, 26, 29, 30, 31, 34, 38, 47, 78, 109, 116, 153 and 163 divisions.

For those guys who didn’t make the log for this LOTA activity, I will be back for 1 day on this one after I activate the other lighthouses during my tour. 

I will find a perfect place to activate and will use a Bambi antenna this time also.

The QSL card for this activity is available from me direct with standard contribution + SAE thanks.

The coordinations are:

DA-RC HQ SA, PO Box 1023, 57022-970, Maceio, Alagoas, Brazil

Thank you for supporting mine and other DA-RC activities 😉

73 de Roger 3DA012