I hope the attached photos do not make this email too large for your email system!
The first one is of the rig – an Elecraft K2 (on loan from Mark, G4MEM) with MFJ-993B Auto ATU, laptop with N1MM+ and Winkeyer USB.
This one is of the SOTABEAMS 10m (33ft) mast in place on the balcony and guyed, with Double Rainbow in the background…..the rain that evening became torrential, so I was unable to get the aerial up!
The other shows the aerial up at The Capital Guesthouse, Gaborone. The aerial was a 132ft doublet (fed with 450 ohm balanced feeder). The Auto ATU would tune it fine on all bands from 80m to 10m.
I made 104 QSOs in the contest – it was pretty hard work being so far from the centres of activity, and conditions had been much better in the days before the contest.
Keeping non-BERU callers away was particularly hard work…..on Brazilian was even calling CQ BERU…trying to get in on the act!
I managed to take everything within my standard baggage allowance, plus the items required for work! Radio and Power supply were in hand luggage, plus laptop in a separate laptop bag, which BA allows. Air Botswana do not allow more than one hand luggage item, but this was not challenged – but the bigger hand luggage bag was loaded onto the plane from the tarmac – which is always the case as the lockers in the ATR-42 are very small. I did sacrifice taking a paddle though, as my check-in bag was at the weight limit, and hand luggage was also at the limit for Air Botswana.
Anyhow, it was a successful trip work-wise, but I did not get on the air as much as I had hoped. One night there was an amazing lightning storm for the whole evening, with extremely rain eventually , but the lightning went on for hours, so I did not do any radio that night – just got soaked running from a restaurant to the car after a very nice meal!
So, keep up the good work in promoting this wonderful contest, and maybe I will be visiting some other customer in a rare Commonwealth country in the future! If not, then I will be enjoying the contest from G.
Mark, G4RCD, A25MC.