Hoxa Head South Ronaldsay
Basecamp - With the 3 element multiband SteppIR Yagi on the 60ft tower...
The Lighthouse Weekend was due to start at Saturday 21st August 00:01z, but as this was not a contest we started transmitting using Station One at 20:50z. First in the log was EA5FG on 20m SSB, followed by a pile-up of other Europeans and South Americans including CP6/DF9GR (Bolivia). ZD8I (Ascension Island) called in at 21:55z with a Japanese pile-up starting at 21:57z. Intermittent contacts were made with the US and Canada throughout.
As we headed towards midnight local time (23:00z), the rate of contacts was starting to slow down. So in a bid to try and keep contacts going throughout the night it was decided to put the 80m wire dipole up on the tower. This undertaking was not to be made lightly, as the wind was reasonable, and it was pitch black outside. Steve (MM0SJH) bravely scaled the tower by torchlight, and attached the halyard to hoist up the dipole balun. The dipole ends were pegged out, and we were up and running on 80m by 23:48z with a contact made with GM0EKM. Erecting the dipole turned out to be a wasted effort, as this band was flat also. Only a scattering of European contacts was made at various points during the night.
A switch to 20m CW at 00.00z was more fruitful - with plenty of North American contacts made until 01:06z. The strategy throughout the night and well into Saturday was to keep switching between CW and SSB, mainly on 20m, in an attempt to generate activity. In the main, it was Europe responding but we did contact NL7G Alaska at 09:47z. Quick bursts on 15m SSB at 14:31z found 5Z4JC (Kenya) and at 15:24z DU1VDV/DU8 (Philippines), VU2KW (India), ZS4MB (South Africa) and V59SWK (Namibia).North America then opened up to us on 17m SSB from 15:50z to 16:53z (ST2M Sudan and FJ5IF Saint Martin also logged). The North Americans continued on 20m SSB indispersed with Europeans. HC2FN (Ecuador) was contacted at 20:49z. As the late evening progressed the North American contacts dropped away leaving Europe to keep us going (OX3KJ Greenland contacted at 00:28z). Then, in the early hours, disaster struck. Bolts on the underside of the rotator casing sheared off, causing the Yagi to fall towards the ground... "luckily" the guy ropes and coaxial cables broke the fall of the antenna, and prevented any serious damage. Nothing really could be done until daylight, and as the band conditions were poor anyway, it was decided to close down the station and allow the operators to get some sleep.
When the team awoke the next morning it was decided to use our trusted rotatable tri-band dipole in place of the Yagi. This was up and running by 07:49z. A steady flow of European QSO's were made during Sunday morning until we finally switched off the station at 11:18z.
MM0MSS on the mike...
Station Two was up and running by 21:27z with the first contact being RZ3EM on 40m SSB. A steady flow of European stations ensued, but this slowed down to a trickle during the early hours of Saturday morning. A notable contact was EM1HO (Antarctica) at 01:35z. Many contacts from the United Kingdom were made from 05:30z onwards including a good number of other lighthouses. A handful of 30M CW contacts were made; but this band proved to be very quiet throughout the weekend.
A switch to 17m SSB at 12:48z found North American as well as European stations until we went back to 40m at 15:15z. We stayed on 40m throughout the night working the UK as long as we could, then Europe.
We made our final band change to 17m at 08:20z and worked a steady procession of European and Japanese stations. Notable contacts included 9U6PM (Burundi),
We finally pulled the plug at 11:18z.
The Hoxa Head Lighthouse was probably our best location to-date from a radio point of view; and our equipment list was certainly the most ambitious. In total we had 3,355 contacts in 92 DXCC locations during the weekend. This was slightly less than we had hoped given the location and equipment. The band conditions were not good, and possibly symptomatic of the downturn in the solar cycle; but loosing our main antenna halfway through didn't help matters! That said, everyone concerned had a very enjoyable time. We did what we set out to do - put the lighthouse, the island and our club on the map... made lots of great contacts... and had fun.
Thanks to all for calling in - sorry to those who didn't make it through please try again from our next island OR?? All stations that complete our Island Survey AND INCLUDE THEIR E-MAIL ADDRESS will now go onto our mailing list to be informed of any future IOSA operations by the OARC team (please note that the mailing list will only be used to inform you of future activations. We will not send you any other unsolicited email/spam.
73 de MM0MWW team
Derek Smith, GM0EEY
Donnie Grieve, GM0HTH
Alan Flett, GM0HTT
Colin Blunn, GM0IFM
Ed Holt, GM0WED
Clive Penna, GM3POI
Steven Spence, MM0DGI
Dave Thomson, MM0EAX
Mark Simpson, MM0MSS
Bob Duncan, MM0RDD
Steve Harvey, MM0SJH
Duncan Elliot, MM3SWW
David Wishart, MM5DWW
A close-up of the3 element SteppIR Yagi, and also the 80m dipole....
This is the homemade 3 band vertical used by Station 2
Difficult to see on the photo - but this is SteppIR Yagi heading toward earth...
MM0MSS concentrating on the CW pile-up....
A 300,000 ton oil tanker delivering the diesel for us.... (in reality it was passing by on its way to the Flotta Oil Terminal)