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Anguilla Cays – NA-219 – Departure Update

We will depart Thompson Bay, Long Island this afternoon for the 42 hour trip to the Anguilla Cays. We should arrive on Sunday morning. The change in QTH and timing is due to the weather. 

It seems we shall be the ‘meat’ in the weather ‘sandwich’. The meat will be thin but hopefully tasty!

The forecast now gives us 15-20kt winds on the Cay Sal Bank on Sunday and Monday. But there is a serious risk of strong thunderstorms on Tuesday night and after that, strong winds from the north and west associated with a cold from transiting the area. Had we gone to Cay Sal itself, another 50 NM further, we would lose operating time and there is no decent shelter from the forecast winds. So, we’re going to the Anguilla Cays since that will allow us some operating time before we have to run for shelter in Florida. (There is no acceptable anchorage at Cay Sal to weather the cold front since the (anchor) holding is poor).

The Anguilla Cays have never been activated to my knowledge. The satellite photography is not so good but I got some pictures from the web site in my last post and it seems that the islands are pretty high – 12-15m. There are a couple of beaches on the west coast that will be sheltered from the wind but the takeoff will only be suitable for working to the west. For Europe, I’ll have to cross the hill and find a sheltered spot. 

On Sunday, I’ll get to the beach and setup to work north and west on either 15 or 17m for as long as I can. (Please bear with me – I’ll be a bit knackered after the trip). I’m hoping not to have to use 17m as there is limited space on the band and I expect to have a reasonably wide split but if 15m isn’t working, I’ll use whatever is!

Since the wind is likely to be lower on Monday morning – I’ll plan on being QRV for Europe and eastwards on Monday for the 15m opening. 

Just a word on scheduling. I can’t be QRV between 1130 and 1230 UTC on Monday – that’s when I get the weather forecast for the next few days. (That’s ok since 15 and 17m don’t open to Europe till at least 1200). The wind is due to change a bit more to the southeast early on Monday morning so I may have to move the boat and find a new qth so please bear that in mind if I’m late coming on.

I’ll stay QRV for as long as possible – I’m hoping not to have to leave before Monday night but that will depend on the forecast I get on Monday morning. I will also take a break every few hours for battery recharging. Help me work more stations with less power – please form and orderly queue – lol! #DX Code of Conduct šŸ˜€. If I get impatient while the main battery is charging, I might put some AAs in the KX3 and see who I can work – that’ll really wind up the armchair critics at CDXC!

So there it is. We’re off and there’s a good chance I’ll get to operate – see you there!

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