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Chris Colclough
Chris Colclough

Written by Chris G1VDP

2 days in to the trip and we are having fun on all bands. Just a pity that conditions are not too good, although we are working plenty of Europeans. Up to now we have made almost 1300 contacts. Logs have been sent to Tim (M0URX) for DSC 3954uploading to his OQRS and on line log search. These will be available from mid afternoon when he gets home from work.

What else have we been up to? Thursday was fun trying to get the antennas up in the air. It was blowing a gale and raining - the worst weather conditions we have encountered on any of our activations - causing us all to get soaked to the skin. But our spirits were kept high with constant warm drinks supplied by Jane and Laura (Ant's wife who is also with us this year) when we were down in the dumps. Murphy also visited us 3 times, and once with one of our members on Friday who is not here with us, sorry Tim from all the guys here.

We had one of our rotators fail this year too, one of the bolts sheered that hold the base clamp in place. So in good old amateur tradition we improvised and decide we would have to turn that Hexbeam using the good old fashioned "Arm DSC 0032Strong" method. This is OK during daylight hours, and when it is not raining, but definitely not something to be done when dark - lots of rocks and other nasties in the field.

The second Hexbeam also had a few problems with the mast we were trying out. This was a 36ft telescopic mast and due to the strength of the wind and rain we could not get it to it's full height safely, so again the decision was made to drop it down to a safe height. We knew this would compromise our plans for working the USA, but we need to be safe and injury free when we leave the island. We have also changed the way we guy the masts now using 4 anchor points with 3 guys to each one.

The third visit by Murphy was with the Windom. We erected the antenna and connected to the radio, set up and went on 40M as planned but not one signal could be heard. So a change to a 40M dipole and we have had good reports from all stations using Chris' (G1VDP) new Kenwood TS590s - this is so new that it was sent direct to Rob's on Wenesday ready for Chris arriving and getting out of the box.

DSC 4003Thursday ended with Jane cooking a meal and again out doing her previous years culinary delights.

Friday saw the guys getting on the air with more conviction, and making most of the QSO's. Charles and Chris have had one station set up just to operate on Digi modes using a Yaesu FT897 and US Navigator. The main SSB station on the Hexbeam using a FT890 and Elekraft KPA500 amp. And the TS590s on the 40M dipole.

We also have had time to go for walks around the island, the weather on Friday was a little better than Thursday but still rained. The volunteers and wardens have all paid us a visit and are impressed with how many contacts we are making. They will be joining the team on Saturday night for a meal and drinks, as we do every year to thank Greg and Lisa for allowing us to come over and stay on the island. Chris and Laura (Chris appointed her DSC 3973his assistant and team photographer when he was not around or on the air) have taken plenty of photos which will be uploaded to the gallery when they have been sorted and we have a faster broadband connection.

Friday night was a relaxing evening chatting and having a few glasses of wine. Laura made the meal this evening and it also was a big hit with all, especially as every one of the boys really enjoy what she made (a secret recipe of hers).

So there we are, almost up to date with all the news.