This year I was able to join the rest of the HamTest Jimmys (MU0HTJ) on the annual trip to Guernsey after shelling out on overpriced travel insurance just in case any of the usual medical issues flared up while visiting!
We all travelled down on Wednesday (24th of July) down to Weymouth to catch the fast ferry, on route we over took the GJ6YB guys heading for the same ferry as it also travels onwards to Jersey. After a reasonably smooth crossing we headed up to the Le Vaugrat Campsite which we use every year. After some unpacking and putting up tents including a 12×12 army tent that we used for socialising and eating.
Thursday morning we finished off setting up camp and got an inverted L up to use, and also picked up a few more bits from we needed in St Peters Port not forgetting a trip to the off-licence to pick up some rocquette cider (if you haven’t tried it its highly recommended) we also had to make a few more visits to pickup more adult beverages during the trip 😉
Friday we sorted out all the vertical antennas we planned to use including coax runs, then after a spot of lunch we headed back into St Peter Port to purchase a small section of data and voice sim cards from SureCW so that some of us could make business calls and also have cluster/internet access while at the campsite, we also did a spot of geocaching, not forgetting another trip to an off-licence to pick up more beverages (cider/ale).
Saturday morning was an early start as we was operating from Rousse Point just in front of the Rousse Tower which was built in 1778 to help protect the island, from other countries, by 11am we had the extra 12×12 tent up and 4 verticals up (40m-10m) in the air so I decided to have a quick go on 20m as MU0HTJ to check everything was working OK to get a rather nice run of G stations.
Start of the contest was kicked off by M0PCB on CW with a good hourly rate which seemed to happen every time he was operating, yet the rest of us suffered to get any real decent rates on SSB. what we wasn’t expecting was the appalling weather with thunderstorms and heavy rain we had to stop putting up the 80m vertical before we got more soaked this was sorted finally at 7pm in the evening in a lull in the weather.
We did have one piece of equipment fail in the shape of an ugly 1:1 balun that we replaced with an even uglier one made from some coax and cable ties (needs must!). Equipment wise we was made up of a K3 and FT-450 and verticals close to the waters edge on the northern side of the island and using Win-Test for logging and a locally sourced mobile data sim from the local mobile network (Sure CW).. We think we increased usage over the weekend for them by 50% 🙂
We was very lucky to have lots of encouragement / advice from the locals and even enjoyed a rather nice dinner out with GU4YOX on the Thursday before the contest, we was also very lucky? to get a visit from the rozzers at 2am Sunday morning wondering what we was up to but after giving them a tour of the operations tent and a brew – we might have gotten them interested in the hobby so that sounds like a good result!
You can find more photos at http://www.flickr.com/photos/m3php/sets/72157634876496858/