Saturday, July 29, 2006

RSGB IOTA contest effort on NA-148

Here are the results from the Georges Island trip. According to my logging program I worked:

  • 10 DXCC entities

  • 23 states

  • 13 IOTA islands

  • 102 QSOs

I made my goals! I use a program I've written called Cab-converter to take log files and prepare a Cabrillo file suitable for consumption by the contest sponsor's robot. If I'm ambitious, I'll write the code to do the "claimed score" to see how I really did.
Today was a beautiful (and hot) day in Boston. I rose early this morning and checked out the propagation numbers on the NW7US web site. Yesterday's conditions were a bit unsettled and I was worried, but things looked like they were going to be much better. After a quick breakfast I hit the road, drove down to the New England Aquarium and parked the car. I had plenty of time to catch the first ferry to Georges Island.
The ferry left promptly at 9 AM and the trip was great. I never get tired of looking at the Boston skyline from the water! Once we landed on Georges Island I hauled my gear to the first picnic table by the sea wall I saw. I set up the big Buddipole system in an L configuration. I used my two 5-segment shock-cord whips for the vertical radiator and horizontal radial. I then had an idea: I used my 7-segment shock-cord whip as a counter-balance on the other side of the VersaTee. That made a big difference! WIth the other whip in place, the system was nicely balanced.
I was on the air not long after 10 AM and ran until after 4 PM. I was mostly "heads down" either calling CQ or doing search-and-pounce the entire time--except for the time I spent talking to visitors. My first visitor was a ranger on an ATV wondering what in the world is all this? I took the time to explain this was amateur radio and I was talking to people all over the world using only 5 watts--less power than you might use in a night-light!
Two other rangers stopped by later followed by a couple from Ireland visiting Boston, a man with his young son, and finally three women who had been seated under the shade of a tree near my operating position and had finally worked up the courage to ask me what I was doing. Sure, I wanted to make lots of QSOs but the other thing that a 100 Pound DXpedition can do is bring ham radio to the public. We are ambassadors for the hobby. Take advantage of any opportunity to show someone who is curious exactly how fun, and still very relevant, our hobby still is.
Recapping: a successful trip. I achieved my goals, left the Georges Island staff with a good impression, and perhaps earned a reasonable score in the RSGB IOTA contest. That's a pretty good start to my weekend!


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