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Ramsey Island 2011 - The Story

Charles Wilmott
Charles Wilmott
Details


Ramsey Island 2Ø11; Trials & Tribulations

The Strumble Head team met at the Club House on Tuesday giving us time to test, prepare and pack the items needed for this year. As before, we always try to be more efficient and to take only the essential items to the island but also with consideration that we may have to stay longer than anticipated should the weather turn poor.
Sea and weather conditions were forecast to be very poor for the crossing on the Thursday morning but what a surprise to awake at 04:45 to see a beautiful morning on the Pembrokeshire Coast. The vehicles were loaded and we arrived at the Lifeboat Slipway around 07:30 where shortly afterwards the ‘Thousand Island Boat Charters’ arrived and we were on the Island by 08:00, amazing.
K1024_11062011078
After heaving all the gear to the top of the ‘harbour’ we then had the massive climb to the top of the Island where we bunk in a Barn (complete with broody Chickens!). Carrying 2 x Acom 1000 Amplifiers, 2 x FT1000MPs and worst of all the Kenwood TL922 to the accommodation is always a huge challenge. Fortunately the RSPB Warden and his wife (Greg & Lisa) are very accommodating and helped us up the hill with the Quad and trailer for which we are always very grateful.

We got off to a good start and as always, no one sets their stations up until all antennas are fully up and we work together to achieve this. K1024_DSC_1625The 2 x G3TXQ Hexbeams (built by Ant MW0JZE) were the first up and then we worked on the Windom for 40 and 80M. Everything ran as a well oiled machine and shortly after lunch, all three antennas were up and we moved inside to set up the stations.

Around 15:30 local we had all three stations on air and were qrv from ‘IOTA EU-124 Ramsey Island’. Chris G1VDP started the Digi station on the Windom working 30M, Ant MW0JZE started up on 20 SSB and Tim M0URX worked 15m SSB. Pile ups were pretty fast, the World Flora Fauna reference helping to boost them as well ;-) .
Almost immediately the station used by Chris suffered a major problem when lights on the FT1000MP flashed and the dedicated PSU and TL922 also shutting down. K1024_SNV34697Then worse to come was that dreaded smell – something was on fire. A subsequent check showed a hole on a transistor within the PSU and sadly totally  n-repairable for here at least. We were now down to two stations.

We worked very well and most stations had solid pile ups until late in the evening. Conditions weren't brilliant and most of the traffic was from EU with Yuri A65CA from Asia and a few stations from North America. Tim had a good run into SA and also the Caribbean but again, conditions definitely down. We had over  1000 in the log and with the two stations we were happy at that.

The next morning we all woke early after a terrible storm kept most of us awake during the night and we got started. We worked early on 40M SSB and then 20M SSB using both Acoms and running 300/400 watts. Rob MW0RLJ and Charles M0OXO decided to take a boat to the mainland to take the faulty equipment back and to collect a spare rig to replace it. The guys continued to work well and on their return the qso count was 2500.

It became very obvious that conditions were giving us some Sporadic E propagation so they started pushing the K1024_SNV34730higher bands (17, 12, 10 & 6) to give the Island IOTA to as many that required it. We had an amazing time, many stations commenting on how pleased they were to get EU-124 onto the new bands and in particular many ‘G’s that needed it as a new DXCC Band slot. Ant had been slogging away on 6M for a long time with a huge pile up and handed the Mic to Charles to continue. 6M continued to be very good and in total we finished with well over
396 qso's & 29 Countries on one run on 6m, the better one maybe CN in Morocco? Before we left we set ourselves  a target of 4000q’s for the whole trip and by midnight we closed on 4035 q’s, amazing and very pleased but that was to be short lived.

Charles got up the following morning (Day3) to find a problem. We had Voltage issues and it seemed the current was poor and not enough Amperage to run even the radio. We traced the problem to not  just one but both our generators had gone down, who would believe that? K1024_SNV34712The black cloud descended over us and we spiralled into depression. We worked several theories for several hours and eventually decided to run the spare ‘Robin’ generator only and to run 100w only. We never gave up the fight and tried many theories were explored over a pot of Porridge (thanks Jane!) and we came up with a plan! Greg (RSPB Warden) kindly offered to allow us yet another Generator which could give us 6Kva so the mood lightened and again, we weighed up our options over a chat until 0930………

Time moved on and by 1130 we were on air again. Conditions were OK and by 1.00pm we were running well as we approached 1300 and the beginning of the World Flora Fauna’ GreenDay’ event, We used all bands from 40m thro 10m and as we were using 12 & 17m, we were not in a ‘contest’ but just an ‘event’! All continued OK with runs predominantly into EU but with the odd DX station thrown in the mix. When 1500 came the bands just died with barely a trace of anyone on 20 thro 10m. In a few hours this eased and we pushed on on 20m, 17 and 40M. 40M was running very well with Chris on the Mic running 100w from the FT890 but only 20 and 17 really had any decent propagation to EU.
As the evening moved along we had another good run with many JA stations on 20M and a few down into OC with VK. We closed at 0030, filled the generator and after a few hours stargazing we slept………but not well!

K1024_SNV34817We were kept awake most of the night with the predicted ‘bad weather’. Sadly it was worse than expected. Torrential rain was hammering at the windows of the barn and roof and the wind was tremendous. First light at 0400 saw 2 x Hexbeams both leaning to the side and getting buffeted by the very strong wind. There was little we could do, they were unusable in that state so after a chat (again over a bowl of porridge) we decided they needed to be taken down to prevent damage. We all donned out wet weather gear and got stuck in. Taking them down took 15 minutes for each Hexbeam with us all working on the same antenna at the same time before moving on to the other. It initially appeared that the fault was either the rotators not being up to the strain of the wind or the strain on the stub mast and clamps were too weak. Another thought for another day but they were all down and we left the Windom in place. K1024_SNV34823We spent the remainder of the morning inside the barn, we dismantled all the equipment and packed it away just leaving the Elekraft K3 and the Windom to use later in the afternoon with a view to making the few required qso’s which would give us 6000 contacts.

The afternoon was poor but we worked through trying our best but pretty soon we ran out of time. We had the now (now traditional) 'Party' looming with invited guests joining us for supper and a few drinks. By the time 7pm came we had 11 people for supper including Greg & Lisa, Nia,Mike & Nicola. We must not forget the now famous Border Collie 'Dewi', now a celebrity after his debut on the BBC's 'Countryfile'!

After a lovely meal provided by Jane, we all had a few drinks (some more than others!) and spirits ;-) were high. Some of us were in a bit of a tacking by 0030, and with an empty bottle of Famous Grouse, one of Romiel and several bottles of red wine, we turned in for the night. At that point it seemed extremely unlikely that we would wake in 6 hours feeling well but Charles did and fired up the generator for a quick blast. Another 60 stations were logged on 40m which brought us to a final total of 6024 q's and the end of the 2011 trip. K1024_DSC_1846We got the gear down to the slip and from that point it took us 50 minutes to load the boat, do the crossing, unload at the Lifeboat Slip, carry the gear up to St. Justinians and to load the Van for the trip back to the farm.

CLICK HERE to take a You Tube tour around Ramsey Island


(Stats of this years trip can be found if you scroll down below this entry [in a few days time]).


It just leaves me with a few thoughts and thanks for the help we received this Year. Greg & Lisa Morgan (RSPB Wardens) were once again invaluable in help, planning, advice and in allowing us on the Island, two people who's performance, commitment and drive is outstanding and a major asset to the RSPB. 'Thousand Island Expeditions' once more gave their personal service to us and were extremely kind, a service recommended by us. Mike Chant and his crew aboard the 'Gower Ranger' also pulled out the stops with their prompt and personal service. Good luck to Nia Stephens (Assistant RSPB Warden) in her future career and not forgetting Mike and Nicola who give their time as RSPB volunteers. Finally a big thanks to all of you that worked us whilst on Ramsey Island. We were very pleased to give so many of you the new Band Slots, IOTA and WFF areas. I guess almost all stations on 6 meters would have been very pleased to get IO71hu in their logs so a good job all round. Some stations worked us on 7 band slots and many more with 6 contacts which was remarkable. Of course we wouldn't be without the odd negative comments either. Some made good points and others were well, just pathetic but all in all, a great trip to Ramsey in 2011.

Thanks to everyone from the Strumblehead DX Group; Rob MW0RLJ, Charles M0OXO, Tim M0URX, Chris G1VDP, Ant MW0JZE and of course Jane (our Support Staff ;-) ) who kept us fed with over 120 meals, doing this with 2 small gas rings on a Baby Belling stove and little facilities was a great & welcomed achievement!

**One thing we did learn was that ''two Acoms are better than one''....(well to fry breakfast on at least!!!)

K1024_DSC_1931



 

73 de Charles.







Ramsey 2011 - The day before we leave

Chris Colclough
Chris Colclough
Details
The boys have all landed at the farm. Some of the food and kit have been transported to the island by Rob, Charles and Jane. The team had a nice meal and chat last night and are now setting up all the laptops for logging etc, and they have had a couple of hours operating on the air from the farm.

We will be back on air in a little while after sorting some coax runs and a mast that we are taking over to the island.

We look forward to meeting you all on air over the next few days.

Ramsey 2011

Chris Colclough
Chris Colclough
Details The time is near. The boys are almost ready, well they are all ready to go just a thing called work in the way at the minute!

It has been finalised that we will be on Ramsey island (EU-124) on Thursday 9th June at around 08:30 (local) and will hopefully be on the air with all 3 stations running from 14:00 (local) onwards! We aim to be on all bands from 80M through to 6M, so please do listen for us.

This is if all goes to plan, and there are no sudden problems. The only thing we can see that could prevent us landing is the weather, but looking at long range forecasts it is looking like the UK is heading in to a settled and very warm period. Lets hope the bands are as lively, and we can work our friends around the world on as many bands as possible.

Remember we will be looking for Asia on all bands as we know that EU-124 is still in the top 30 most wanted from that area. And as before we will be adhering to the DX code of conduct, see elsewhere on the site.

We ask all callers to listen to what we ask, if we ask for DX outside EU, then please do not call if you live in a European Country! Please also use your full call, this makes the QSO numbers alot quicker. And if we ask for a station with "Delta Kilo" and your call does not have these letters then please be quiet and wait your turn. The number of QSO's will remain higher and less QRM means easier and quicker QSO's. This is especially needed on RTTY, where Chris and Charles will be having some fun.

Many thanks and we look forward to hearing you and seeing you on our screens.

New Manual For DX'ers

Chris Colclough
Chris Colclough
Details

We have been informed through the DX Code Of Conduct website about a new  manual for DX'ers. Aimed primarily at new starters in the hobby, although some old hands will also learn from it, it has tips, hints and ideas on getting started in this part of the hobby. It can be found at;

http://dx-code.org/newdxer.pdf

Go and have a read and a look at the DX Code, as on our site below;

http://dx-code.org

All the guys in the group follow the code and we believe that all GOOD operators should also follow it.

See also our Links page for these 2 sites.

Ramsey 2010

Chris Colclough
Chris Colclough
Details A number of the photos taken from Ramsey Island 2010 are now on the Gallery. Please view and leave any comments in the guest book.

Group update

Chris Colclough
Chris Colclough
Details

Hello all,

Well a little update on what is happening within the group.

As some of you know Charles (M0OXO) and Chris (G1VDP) operated from the Farm over the past weekend (23rd to 29th March 2011) during the CQWPX weekend. Sadly none of the other guys could make it down so it was just Charles and Chris - with Rob (MW0RLJ) in attendance but he was very busy on the farm sowing the years crops. The 2 guys started in the contest but for some reason neither of them did a serious entry although Chris using MW9W did a bit more on 15M for some fun and a new prefix to the deserving, Charles was on 10M using MW0X and also gave the deserving a new prefix. DSC_1416The other reason the guys were there was to test out a new mast Rob has purchased for portable working, and to make and build the new 80M vertical for the groups trips and expeditions. Luckily the guys had good weather and some excellent sunsets were to be seen. Full report to follow.

Ant (MW0JZE) went on a seperate trip with some friends to the Island of Jersey where he operated as MJ0JZE for most of the weekend, but as it was also a stag do he did enjoy some of the local brew.

Tim (M0URX) was sadly unable to get the time off work, although as it happened he ended up being unable to get to work due to his car breaking down! So he operated from home in the contest and worked some new band slots and prefixes for himself.

Now onto OLi (MW0JRX). Oli has now flown from these shores and will only be joining the group from his new home in Australia, where he now holds the call VK8DX. Oli was active over the weekend and was worked by all of us over here in the UK. We wish Oli all the best and do miss him already.

Tony (G4LDL) was also unable to get down to the farm and was on from home, although he too was busy over the weekend and only managed a few contacts.

Villiam was active from Slovakia as OM0A and also had a good weekend on the air, and was worked by most of the boys for points in the contest.

The group are now planning the next Ramsey Island (EU-124) expedition, which this year will be a little earlier and will not be during the IOTA contest weekend - more details to follow. We also have members planning a trip to Timor Leste for September and a special IOTA activation with some friends from Australia and West Malaysia - again more info to follow.

There may also be a small activation from the farm at some point when the boys go to help Rob with his new mast and antenna building and installing.

We are also planning a big activation for October 2012, this is something we all will be involved with and are all looking forward to announcing as soon as we have more details.

An exciting year ahead for the group and they are certainly looking forward to getting on the air and working you all...

Seasons greetings

Chris Colclough
Chris Colclough
Details Well it is that time of year again, and we would like to send our anual greeting to all our radio friends.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

Nadolig Llawen a Blwyddn Newydd

Buon Natale e Felice Anno Nuovo
Joyeux Noel et Bonne Annèe
Felices Pascuas y Feliz Año Nuevo
Vasel Koleda
Froehliche Weihnachten undein gluckliches Nues Jahr
Kala Christougenna Kieftihismenos O Kenowios Chronos
Boldoy Karácsonyt
Wesolych Swiat Bozego Narodzenia
Cestitamo Bozia
Boas Fiestas e um feliz Ano Novo
Nollaig Shona Dhuit
From all at the Strumble Head DX and Contest Group.

May we meet on the air sometime in 2011.

And remember we may be on the air sometime over the holiday period from the farm to celebrate the new year.

CQWW 2010 and Rob MW0RLJ

Chris Colclough
Chris Colclough
Details

Hello all,

Only a couple of us come down to the farm this year, Oli and Chris. Oli is doing a 20M entry using his own call MW0JRX, and Chris is going on either 10M or 40M with the MW9W call.

The weekend has not started too good though. Chris has had to take Rob to hospital as he was in agony with kidney stones. He has been kept in over night and will be having some treatment today. I am sure all our friends out in radio land wish him a speedy recovery as do we at the SHDXCG.

Chris has also had to go QRT today due to bad operating and stations calling when he has asked for another call - not even the letters in the callers call sign. This is just poor operating and until people start to listen and realise that they will get a contact quicker this will never stop. If you do hear people keep calling then do tell them how to operate correctly.

Many thanks and see you in the pile ups.

Ramsey Island EU-124 - Over for anothr year

Chris Colclough
Chris Colclough
Details Due to us not being able to get a strong signal and slow speeds on the mobile dongle this year, we have been unable to upload a daily blog whilst on the island. But we are now back at the farm.

Anthony and Oliver have returned home. Tim, Tony and Chris are spending an extra night at the farm before their long journey home. Rob and Jane have again provided fantastic company and hospitality once more - and all the boys cannot thank them enough.

A full write up and report will be on here, along with a galery of photos soon. All logs will be uploaded to LOTW this evening, and any QSL requests will be dealt with when Tim returns home.

DX Code of conduct

Chris Colclough
Chris Colclough
Details

This was recently printed in the GMDX group's digest. And as I have seen this in other publications I thought they would not mind if we borrowed it, certainly as this is what we all here at SHDXCG follow and believe in.


DX CODE OF CONDUCT


1. I WILL LISTEN, AND LISTEN, AND THEN LISTEN SOME MORE!!!


2. I WILL ONLY CALL IF I CAN COPY THE DX STATION PROPERLY.


3. I WILL NOT TRUST THE CLUSTER AND WILL BE SURE OF THE DX STATION'S
CALL SIGN BEFORE CALLING.


4. I WILL NOT INTERFERE WITH THE DX STATION NOR ANYONE CALLING HIM AND WILL NEVER TUNE UP ON THE DX FREQUENCY OR IN THE QSX SLOT.


5. I WILL WAIT FOR THE DX STATION TO END A CONTACT BEFORE CALLING
HIM.


6. I WILL ALWAYS SEND MY FULL CALL SIGN - MOST IMPORTANT. PLEASE STICK TO THIS ONE!


7. I WILL CALL AND THEN LISTEN FOR A REASONABLE INTERVAL. I WILL NOT
CALL CONTINUOUSLY.


8. I WILL NOT TRANSMIT WHEN THE DX OPERATOR CALLS ANOTHER CALL
SIGN, NOT MINE.


9. I WILL NOT TRANSMIT WHEN THE DX OPERATOR QUERIES A CALL SIGN NOT
LIKE MINE.


10. I WILL NOT TRANSMIT WHEN THE DX STATION CALLS OTHER
GEOGRAPHIC AREAS THAN MINE.


11. WHEN THE DX OPERATOR CALLS ME, I WILL NOT REPEAT MY CALL SIGN
UNLESS I THINK HE HAS COPIED IT INCORRECTLY.


12. I WILL BE THANKFUL IF AND WHEN I DO MAKE A CONTACT.


13. I WILL RESPECT MY FELLOW HAMS AND CONDUCT MYSELF SO AS TO EARN
THEIR RESPECT.

If everyone who calls us follows these then we will make alot more contacts and we will work you alot quicker.


Please only use your FULL call when calling in.

Many thanks and see you in the pile up next week.

 

Ramsey Island EU-124

Chris Colclough
Chris Colclough
Details GW - Ramsey Island EU-124 - Once again the Strumble Head DX and Contest Group are heading over the water to activate this rare Welsh coastal island. They will be on the air from 22nd July through to 26th or 27th July (all dependant on tides) using the club call MC0SHL. This trip also takes in the RSGB IOTA contest where they will be on the air using the club contest call MW9W over the weekend 24th and 25th July. Last year they tried to work as many Asian and Pacific stations as this is #18 most wanted on the IOTA listings for that area and they will again try to make as many contacts both before and during the contest. They will have 3 stations using the following equipment;

2 X Elecraft K3 Transceivers
1 X Yaesu FT2000
2 X G3TXQ Hexbeams (built by Ant MW0JZE)
80M Dipole
40M Vertical
3 X Acom 1000

The team will try to use MC0SHL on 17 and 12M during the contest to try to give as many contacts on these bands also. They will be on the air mostly in SSB, but with some RTTY and CW thrown in. This year the team will be Rob (MW0RLJ), Jane (Robs wife), Ant (MW0JZE), Oli (MW0JRX), Tim (M0URX), Chris (G1VDP) and Tony (G4LDL). Sadly Charles (M0OXO) is not joining them but will be acting as a pilot station and will be in contact with the team throughout the trip as they are taking mobile internet so they can get on skype and their website with updates. Full details and photographs of last years operation are on the groups website http://www.mc0shl.com where there may be live access to the station via webcam if they can get this up and running. All QSL requests should go via the teams manager M0URX (see http://www.m0urx.com) where there is on line request and details on how to get the QSL quicker. All logs will be uploaded to the ARRL Logbook of the World (LOTW) and Clublog upon getting back to the farm HQ on their return.

Royal Wedding 2

Chris Colclough
Chris Colclough
Details What a fantastic weekend.

The weekend started when Tim and I arrived on Thursday evening with the four of us - Tim (M0URX), Rob (MW0RLJ), Jane, and Chris (G1VDP) - all going for a meal at The Sloop pub, in the village of Porthgain, where we were joined by Jane's friend Carrie and her 2 children Rhianon and Gwynne.

A thouroughly enjoyable evening and top food.

The Friday saw us working and getting things prepared. Tim was running Jane around with food and drinks for the reception after the church service, and Chris being Rob's gofer around the farm.

In between the running around and getting things ready we did manage to get on the air. Friday evening saw Ant (MW0JZE), his wife Laura, and daughter Eleri arrive. Sadly Jane left us for th night to stay at her sisters as tradition says the bride and groom should not see each other on the day of the wedding until they arrive in church. So we had a few beers, fish and chips and relaxed. Oli (MW0JRX) and Lucia arrived late Friday. So the team were there to celebrate in style.

Saturday saw us setting up a small marquee, which nearly was a disaster as the roof was not in the box as it should have been. But again Rob came to the rescue and a tarpaulin was substituting the roof. The rest of the day was then spent just finishing off.

The time eventually came to go to the church and the wedding. What a fantastic service and reception.

The Saturday night was even better. The number of people who walked to the back of Rob's and saw the view where it took there breath away. The usual drinks and celebrations went on well in to the night, and it was around 4.30am before Chris and Ant decided to call it a night.

Sunday was clear up, nurse a hangover and suffer England crashing out of the Football World Cup (soccer to our American brothers) to Germany, congratulations gents and we will win the next one! HiHi.

Thanks to Rob and Jane for putting up with us again, and congratulations to you both from all the boys and girls of the Strumble Head DX and Contest Group.

A gallery with Photo's will be on here soon.

Royal Wedding

Chris Colclough
Chris Colclough
Details This is it folks.

The weekend has arrived.

Rob (Mw0RLJ) and Jane are getting married.139._our_host_rob_and_his_partner_jane

Almost all the team are heading down to the Farm for this wonderous occasion. Tim and Chris will be there this evening and enjoying the hospitality of the wonderful couple. Ant and his family arriving tomorrow, Oli and Lucy will also be there tomorrow. Villiam will be absent as it is his busy period at work.

And sadly Charles and his wife Debbie have had to cancel for a family emergency. All the groups thoughts are with them through this difficult time and we just hope all goes well on Friday.

The new boys will also be absent this time round, but Tony (G4LDL) will be with us for the Ramsey trip in a few weeks.

We are hoping to get on the air some time this weekend with the club call MC0SHL from the farm so do please listen for us and call in. We will be pleased to hear you over this special weekend.

Club activity update

Chris Colclough
Chris Colclough
Details
Hello all.

Things have been a little quiet for the guys from SHDXCG, but we have all been on the air at various times through out the past few months.

The big thing we have all been involved in is the planning for the Ramsey Island activation in July, and almost everything is now in place. Rob has made contact with the people who's boat we will be using to ship the team members and equipment over with, Oli has the laptops ready and working, Tim has got hold of the rotators we are going to be using (and negotiated a good deal with ML&S the suppliers), Ant is busy finishing the Hexbeams, Chris has sorted out the vehicle for the logistics and making the 80M dipole we will use this year, and sadly we will be without Charles on this trip - but in his place we will have Tony, G4LDL, who we have welcomed to the group and look forward to introducing to the island. Charles has kindly volunteered to act as a pilot for the group and will be our eyes and ears from the mainland.

But before this event we have a bigger celebration. At the end of June we have a wedding.

Rob
and Jane are getting married and we will all be attending to celebrate with them. There will be no radio operation - unless we get a spare 30 mins to put the 40M vertical up - this time around but we will be sharing the day with all our friends on here when we get home. We will have a new gallery with the photos and I guess a report (if any of us can remember the day! hihi).

So even though we are not on as a group, we are still active and planning.

See you all on the air.
   
© MC0SHL