Itinerant Ham

Home » 2016 » January

Monthly Archives: January 2016


Cay Sal, NA-219

Vastly, R7AL sent me an email asking me about when I might activate NA-219, the Cay Sal Bank group. It’s been on my list since I was able to do any activations in the Bahamas but, it’s very difficult to activate as I have written before. 
This year, however, might present a better opportunity than there has been for a while. Alternatively, the timing may not work out. El Niño has been playing havoc with the weather here in the Bahamas as well as all over North America (and beyond) this winter. We have seen some extremes of weather such as the derecho of two weeks ago when we had sudden winds (at night – of course) of up to 107kt! When you live on a small boat, things like this cause, in no particular order, stress, damage and expense. I was lucky, I had chosen a very sheltered spot to anchor in and only saw 48kt! Many others were not so lucky but only one boat was lost although there were some injuries and a small dog was blown off the deck of a local boat and seen again.
Anyway, back to NA-219. There is a window of opportunity, in the last two weeks of February to activate this group and I’m going to do my best to do so. I will pass a message to my qsl manager, Charles, M0OXO when I leave. He will give notice through all the usual channels. If we are able to get there and it’s safe to leave the boat at anchor, then I’ll be on the air as much as possible for as long as possible – battery life, sleep and weather permitting. How long we stay will depend on the weather and local conditions.

QSL. This is IMPORTANT. Since I’m travelling on my own boat, I have to meet special requirements to validate the activation. I will send the evidence to Roger, G3KMA and, he will let me know if my activation is approved. No qsl cards will be issued before this approval is received. 

Logs. Cay Sal is uninhabited. There is no internet access. I will upload the logs to LOTW and Clublog as soon as I get internet access. This is likely to be when I reach either the Bimini Group our the USA.

Plan B. If the weather will not permit landing and activation, I will attempt to reach the Bimini Group (NA-048) and activate it. I’ll look to do some 40m for the guys in W4 who have asked for this.

Plan C. If it really doesn’t look like an activation will be possible, I’ll head for NA-054 and hang four there for a couple of days and activate that group again instead.

So there it is. That’s the plan. I really hope it works out. If it doesn’t, please bear with me, this is my XYL and myself on a 42 ft sailing boat rather than a multi–op, big-budget production, team effort on the Braveheart! Whatever the outcome, there will be some ‘less worked’ iotas to log!
73 and GL!
John, C6ATS


Crab Cay or Rolle Cay NA-001?

Do you ever have a bad day? I did recently. For a few years I’d had my eye on an abandoned beach bar in the Harbour at Georgetown in C6A. On January the 2nd, I decided to go and activate it.

I got there and anchored the dinghy, unloaded my stuff and took it all up to the bar area which is a nice, wooden platform about 3m above the sea. It’s marked on the map as Latitude Resort on Rolle Cay. It has great takeoff for Europe and the USA so it was a really good place to go. 

Within 20minutes my 20m monobander vertical was set up and working well despite finding yet another cheap pl-259 had gone bad. Unfortunately 20m wasn’t in great shape but after a couple of nice runs and switching to RTTY when the voice traffic died, I ended up with 160 qsos in the log over a couple of hours.

A couple of ‘admin’ problems then arose. As I was winding down the operation (my battery was getting flat), some friends came along and started chatting. That culminated in them inviting me for lunch so I started packing up the station and loading it back on the dinghy. That meant that I didn’t take the usual screenshot of the ‘ham square’ app on my iPad, that I use to validate the position of the station and I also forgot to take any pictures of the station. I usually write up any new activations as a blog so that Roger, G3KMA can validate the activation. This is necessary for those people travelling to the rarer spots by boat or ensure the operation takes place from the land rather than the boat.

Then the other problem. Somehow, I’d got it in my head that I was on ‘Crab Cay NA-001’ but to my horror I realised I had been on Rolle Cay.

So that’s the story of Crab Cay or Rolle Cay – not to worry, the QSL cards will come out with the correct name on them and I’ll be going back to do it again properly in a few weeks. In the mean time, happy new year and 73.