Sorry Bob, I sent a brief run-down to Colin CWH, our team captain for World Travellers but fogrot it hadn’t gone to you too! Well done by the way on your own effort, excellent signals on 4 bands.
The decision to go to Turks & Caicos was largely driven by increasing inability to cart multiple large suitcases around the styx, hence the need to find what is essentially a ready-made station, in other words a rental shack. After a number of fruitless enquiries, I settled on Jim Jordan’s very nice villa on Providenciales, which is equipped with a basic Elecraft setup, together with a SteppIR 3el with 40/30m loop and a rather low 80m dipole. It soon became clear that this setup had been largely tuned towards the ARRL events rather than CQWW, which would need to perform in all directions.
The benefit of the SteppIR is that it can be configured as a dipole by retracting the director and reflector elements, leaving me with what I had thought would be rotary dipoles for 10, 15, 20 and 40m. Unfortunately (not declared until after I had arrived) the rotator had ceased to exist some months previously and turning it by Armstrong method wasn’t really on at relatively advanced age and degree of decrepitude. Nevertheless, a couple of hours using this together with the barefoot K3 appeared sufficiently promising to consider a Restricted entry. The villa is high up with outstanding sea views to the north and north east and this probably helps. Having switched off the pool pumps and pulled a variety of wall warts (the shack only accounts for a small propertion of lettings) the site also proved nice and quiet. I had brought along my own P3 which was missing from the station but I was disappointed to find that there was no second receiver fitted to the K3. CAT control, which has been the bain of recent events, was however faultless.
We arrived at 7PM on the thursday before BERU and had just enough time to visit the local weekly Fish Fry event, a mile along the beach road before collapsing for the night. Luckliy, Jim had run ARRL SSB the weekend before and had left everything pretty well set up, so it was only necessary to create a new SteppIR antenna with collapsed parasitic elements. This took longer than anticipated because it had to be done separately for each band and then the driven element optimised for SWR. Still the station was ready to go by mid-afternoon on Friday, soon followed by an early retirement.
Well, it’s true, keeping awake for 24 hours when approaching one’s dotage is non-trivial! I really struggled over the last 6 hours, but then there wasn’t so much going on anyway as the end approached. Looking at the log, it doesn’t look as though I napped for longer thasn asbout 15 minutes. Hard to comment rationally on conditions, having no experience of the station here but 80 in particular was disappointing to the UK, with lots of absorption. I spent ages trying to make it with Nigel but signals were too poor and fluttery. 40 was marginal and nothing heard from him on the HF bands. 15 was open on and off all day to the UK and the P3 came in really handy to catch the “on” times. I also spent an unreasonably long time chasing VP2VB and finally made it on 2 bands. Signals were never wonderful on 15 and so i never bothered with 10m. Had the dipole been rotatable it might have been worth looking for Brian 9J2BO but the QSO with him on 15 was marginal anyway.
VSWR was quite manageable with 100 watts on all bands but I’m not sure how it would have worked with higher power. For me, a highlight was following the other Nigel 6Y5HN, who was a regular in the ’90’s but not heard since, so his “guest” entry this year was quite special.
So here we go:
80 – 101 QSOs, 36 bonus, 0 dupes
40 – 280 QSOs, 71 bonus, 3 dupes
20 – 253 QSOs, 48 bonus, 4 dupes
15 – 46 QSOs, 16 bonus, 0 dupes
Total 680 QSOs, 171 bonus and 6820 points.
I was disappointed not to have made either 700 QSOs or 7k points but there was literally nothing to be had in the last hour.
Thanks to all for the QSOs, everyone in the World Traveller Team seemed to be doing very well, although some of the numbers being touted by the big Canadians were pretty frightening. I think there’s little doubt they will walk off with the team competition this year as most of the VK/ZL numbers were comparatively low this year.