We decided to visit Grenada again for our annual holiday but to try a beach front location at Petite Anse Hotel(see 2015 report). The beach faces roughly east and is screened to the south west.However I could site the venerable Butternut right at the waters edge and it would be interesting to compare this site with the 2015 site which was high up overlooking the same horizon.
You can see J8 on the horizon just to the left of the islands of Carraicou and right of the antenna.
On arriving it was immediately clear that the shape of the beach had changed significantly over the year. A change in the weather and sea state had carved a platform across the whole beach. This platform was about 1 M high. Also a patch of thin grass had grown up to the edge of the platform.
As I didn’t have a great deal of time I erected the antenna a few metres back from the edge of the platform and very close to the sea edge at high tide. I just spread out a few radials around the adjacent beach. The post of the Butternut was set in wet sand. I had carried a 100M of Aircell 7 in two 50M lengths so I had a lot of flexibility as to where I could site the antenna. In the event I only used one length.
When I looked at the beach on Saturday morning I realised I had completely misread how fast the beach was eroding as the antenna was now only 1 metre from the edge and by Sunday morning it looked as if it would soon undermine the antenna base as the guy pegs had already gone and two radials were in the water.
They say that verticals need to be close to the sea, well this one certainly was!
On the radio side I used the same setup as 2015, a KX3, home made 100w amp, keying through a Microham usb box. Logging with Win-Test.
And of course our old fellow traveller, Murphy, came along too. I plugged in the power supply to the hotel mains and pop went the elc trip. Luckily it reset correctly and no more trouble. I connected the radio to the amp and no signals came though the amp on stand by. Something had got shaken up and after a bit of connector wiggling it all came on and stayed on for the rest of our stay.One of those oddities when DXtripping.
The contest played out like this, bearing mind the A was in the 20s and the K ~ 4.
LF. In the Caribbean you start on 80, or at least I do. 15 mins was enough to pick up some of the big VEs. Do the same on 40 and go and have an early breakfast.
I only returned to 80 at 0045 at the prompting of Peter, VO1LET.My last Q on 80 was at 0640. It would be wrong to assume I spent the whole time on 80, rather it was a lot of hopping down to 40, and even 20.
40m. For most of the first 1 hour I CQ’d and S and P’d and conditions were pretty good. I was called by T32, first time I have ever worked one on any of my trips. Then off to HF for most of the day.
I came back on 40 at 2030 and picked up GM4AFF but although it was late afternoon at my end the band hadn’t really opened to G, so I went back to 20. Later at 2145 40 was better and I ran/chased Gs.At 2200 I took quick look at 20 and 15 for VE6’s and 7’s. Then more Gs and VEs and band hopping to 80 right through to the finish, A sprinkling of VK, ZL, ZF etc made up the mix. Delicacies like A2, 8P made for an interesting mix.
HF. On to 20 at 1115 for a run of Gs/VEs for an hour. Then to 15m at 1330 with hops to 10. Is it open? or is it ever going to open!And to 20 to get a bonus or two.At 2000 a LP? opening to ZL and VK, I say LP because this location is screened to SP to VK/ZL.2145 down to 40 whilst keeping an eye on 20 (another T32! ) and 15.
Operating thoughts. Even with a great location the bands go pretty quiet at times and at other times seem to be full of stations already worked. I stopped at 0800 and had some sleep before breakfast.
Summary for 18 hours operating
BAND QSO DUP DXC HQ POINTS BONUS AVG
80 104 0 13 2 520 480 9.62
40 221 0 21 7 1105 940 9.25
20 205 2 26 4 1025 1040 10.07
15 123 0 20 3 615 800 11.50
10 13 0 7 0 65 220 21.92
TOTAL 666 2 87 16 3330 3480 10.23
TOTAL SCORE : 6 810
354 G QSOs, 192 VE QSOs, 12 VK QSOs
QSOs on 10m J7,ZF, VE3, VE9, VY2.
Callareas, 5B, 5X, 8P, 9H, 9J, A2, AT(VU), C6, G, J7, T32, V5, VE(1,2,3,4,5,6,7,9) , VK(2,3,4,7), VO,VP9, VY2, ZB, ZF, ZL (1,2,3,4), ZS1.
A key technique in BERU is the QSY. Many entrants just don’t seem to understand what to do when asked. Yet its the quickest way to maximise your score. That little widow which pops up to tell you what bands the station in QSO is needed on is invaluable. In S and P mode just work everyone you haven’t got in the log bonus or not.
Unwanted callers are the bain of my life. This year on 40 they were bad, very bad. It seems to me that if they stop you making Qs then you might as well QSY. This year I worked some, big mistake. Just made things worse.Its a bit tempting though when an FK8 calls you but they don’t count just like the other non-Commonwealth’s calling.
PS I had my revenge on particulary agressive I station later during our stay when he tried to break the general pile up 15. Unfortunately for him he just didn’t seem to be able to get through. I wonder why.