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NA-054 Report

Well, it’s raining here today and so I better get down to writing this. I need to write it for the IOTA folks anyway so I thought I might as well share it.

9H5G/C6A activated Little Harbour Cay in the Berry islands, NA-054 between 31 March and 5 April 2014. The call was issued by the Bahamian Authorities and was used as documented.

Operations were mainly SSB with some RTTY mainly on 10m, 12m and 17m. My experience in handling large RTTY pile ups reduced the efficiency of the operation and this was discontinued after only 64 QSOs. The band breakdown is as follows: 10m – 1491, 12m – 500, 17m – 64, 15m – 2. The total number of QSOs was 2057.

Working conditions. Operations were ‘beachside’ at 2 QTHs. I initially selected the QTH from the relatively poor satellite mapping photos from Google and Apple aided by the elevation data on the marine Explorer Charts. This showed a reasonable take off for Europe albeit over slightly rocky terrain about 4m above sea level. This QTH was on the dock north of the beach on the left of the picture. The coordinates are below.

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This QTH was used for the first few days since there was a cooling breeze. There was however, no shade and that made computer use difficult in the bright sunlight.

20140408-105444.jpg Here is a picture of the station.

The second QTH was used for the last 24 hours as band conditions had got worse and I wondered if I was losing some signal from Europe due to the 4 m rocky terrain between the antenna and Europe. I moved to the shelter towards the bottom right of the photo (follow the track). I felt this was worth a try as I had the benefit of another 6m of elevation and a completely unobscured view.

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I enjoyed working from this shelter. I could see the screen and sit comfortably! It did not seem to affect reception much, if at all and I was able to work strong signals from ZL and VK here. That said, it may just have been the conditions on the day.

Rig and antennas. I have a TS-480HX and a 35Ah battery, an AT-200 PROII auto tuner, hand mic and a cheap headset. My antennas were both

The antenna for 10m was the ‘Simple Antenna for 10m that I got from the RSGB website. The 18m antenna is a longer version of the same design. Both antennas can be tuned for 12m. The antennas were mounted on a single 12m spiderpole one at a time as needed. The spiderpole was attached to an available vertical support with bungee cords.

Software was PZTLog by M0PZT

This was a ‘one pair of hands’ operation while my wife was away in the UK on business. I cannot provide the normal things such as airline tickets and boat captains certificates and receipts as required by the RSGB IOTA to evidence my presence there since I sailed our own boat there. The only habitation on the island is Flo’s Conch Shack. Sadly when I visited there was no one there – the VHF radio was on but there was no one there to make a meal so I could get a receipt!

So there it is! I went and made a bunch of QSOs and generally it was fun! My thanks goes to Buzz, NI5DX, for dealing with all the cards and to everyone who called. To the guys that I had a sked with, I’m glad it worked out! To those who didn’t manage to get through, we can try again next year.

73 de John;

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