This was the first of many single-operator, single-band entries by Mark G4AXX, in the CQWW contest.
On Friday I took the trailer-mast up to a hilltop on a nearby farm. The weather forecasts were predicting high winds. I ran 100W with a barefoot MP and the 3-ele 20m monobander at 90ft, all powered from a 2kVA petrol generator. In the fray of the contest, with headphones on, I wasn't really aware of the worsening weather conditions until about 9am on Saturday morning. When I tore myself away from the radio and got outside the scene was quite alarming. It was lashing with rain with gale-force winds. The tower was bending over badly and the windward guy stake was coming out of the ground!
I phoned Andy G4KNO for help and quite by chance Colin G4CWH arrived. We tried to get the tower down but couldn't, the sections were stuck. Eventually we took the leeward guy (the one downwind) off it's stake, lengthened it by adding a spare guy, tied it to my car and I slowly drove along a track upwind to gently take the strain and pull the tower vertical. Eventually the tower could be safely lowered to 25 feet and we tied it down securely.
I was soaked to the skin so I went home, had a hot bath and got into some dry clothes before returning to the contest.
I logged with CT, and made 558 QSOs, 92 countries, and 27 zones. The score was 119,427 with a UBN correction -0.7%, which in 1998 was an country winner & new all-time record for England.
Click on a thumbnail below to see a larger picture.
Let the contest begin, goodbye dear family.
The scene on Sunday after the storm cleared.
The tower secure at minimum height.
I find taking a break every 4 hours or so, for a brisk physical work-out and a cup of tea, help keep me alert in 48-hour contests.
The new gamma match got wet and the SWR drifted from 1:1 to 3:1 during the contest. It was sealed with epoxy resin after that.