____________________________________________________________________________________ This year we had a better antenna, suffice to say that this is an 80ft rotatable monster doublet with homebrew remote balanced tuner. We also refined the 'big-knob/little-knob' operation on the FT2000 so that the spotter could make Q's instead of just passing them to the run op. This makes the spotter's job much more inclusive and interesting. Creates the odd argument about who gets the transmitter though! We were very happy to have Phil, M0DEG, as guest op. Hopefully he enjoyed the experience! We set the tower and antenna up on the Friday, but actually this went together really quickly and we needn't have taken 1/2-day holiday. Tear-down took 1 hour 10 mins. That's the fastest ever for us. A bit strange to be mowing the lawn at home by 5pm! Propagation wasn't brilliant at the start and the going was very slow. Things only really picked up once we started moving LF towards the evening. We were behind the leaders at this point but then started to gain some ground. We're not sure we made up this deficit by the end. We're rather hoping the multiplier score is good! It was a surprise to find 15m open quite early on the Sunday morning, and even more of a surprise to find 10m open at 9:30am. ____________________________________________________________________________________Click on a thumbnail below to see a larger picture.
Started to set up on Friday afternoon.
Andy & Phil fit the rotator.
Fitting the remote ATU.
Ready for two 12m Spiderbeam poles.
We fit the antenna and do some preliminary ATU setups at low height. We left it at minimum height overnight because of the high wind.
Saturday morning, the wind has died down and it's a fine day.
Phil M0DEG, cranks the tower down.
The rotator needs calibrating.
Andy slackens the U-bolts, and we calibrate the rotator.
The shack all ready. Waiting for the top of the hour.
Mark and Phil start off on 20m. It's a slow start, activity on the 20m is hectic and hard going.
There was some JA activity on 15m before the contest but it had all gone by the time the contest started.
Two microphones. One PTT footswitch! Won't forget that cable again!
Andy & Simon press on into the evening, building the score.
Mark on the graveyard shift.
We took turns sleeping in the little tents. 6 hours on 6 hours off. I'm getting used to forcing sleep at unnatural times now.
The Honda 2kVA generator, ever faithful, hassle free.
The trailer mast. The chassis gets twisted by tension on the outriders so the door seldom shuts properly.
Mark & Phil on again in the morning, CQ'ing and sweeping the bands. Looking for new ones.
The electric winch.
The hand winch.
The tower at 50ft.
It's a Versatower M100, in other contests we have it up at 100ft.
The petrol & drinking water.
The Land Rover.
We used it for one of the guys. The stake by the roadside was too hard to hammer in.
The towing bracket, jockey wheel, & handbrake.
Front view of the trailer.
A double-extended Zeppelin.
Mark on VFO-B, at the end, 600 QSOs, some easy, some hard.
Andy & Phil...
...take off the Spiderbeam poles.
Careful not to let the sections slide out.
One for Mark, one for Andy.
Tidy up, wash up.
Back on the road, just 1 hour & 10 minutes after the end of the contest.