Print
Category: Islands
Hits: 822
IMAGE COMING SOON Total number of QSO´s : 569
Divisions worked: 1, 13, 14, 15, 16, 19, 20, 21, 26, 29, 30, 35, 36, 45, 52, 54, 56, 68, 106, 108, 109, 161, 163, 178, 233, 327, 328, 329, 330.
A total of 29 divisions.
Team: 21AT140 & 21AT110 (now 21AT211)

 

 

The Story

 

 

May 21 1998

Night. Rain hitting the tent. Waves hitting the shore. These are some of the first impressions from the QTH of 212AT/EU002. 

Earlier in the day Loic, 140 and me, 110, had put the last things in the car, by two minutes catching the ferry from Grisslehamn in Sweden to Eckero island, Aland islands. We arrived at the camping Degersand, at south Eckero, at about 20:15 UTC, or 23:15 local time. After consulting the owners of the camping, so that we could get a good QTH, not to cause the other guests too much QRM and TVI, we started to put up our gear. We needed about 75 meters of cable to take 220 Volts to our power supply, which again the owners of the camping helped us with. After putting up the tent, it was time for the antenna. We had earlier prepared a little "mast" consisting of two easily joint aluminium pipes, all together about 3.5 meters high. The antenna was Loic´s faithful vertical that had done a great job in the past 21AT/EU084 activation. We simply put down the mast in the sand, about 30 meters from the Baltic Sea. The stays were only three tiny plastic strings. At first we were not to sure this would stand the wind, but as we would see, it made 15 meters per second wind from the Baltic just fine!

After finishing all this work we checked the band for propagation. Only a few weak Norwegian stations were heard. No reply to numerous CQ-calls. After installing ourselfs in the ice-cold tent, well after midnight, it started to rain.

 

May 22, 1998

Luckily for us, also our work with the tent had been successful, it was dry in the morning even after very heavy rain in the night. Checking the band, showed it was again pretty dead. Only a few very weak Russians were coming through on FM. We had breakfeast, while walking arround. It was simply too cold to stay at one spot while eating.

After this we jumped into Loic´s car, where we had installed the radio and the rest of the electronic gear, to protect it against the rain. The 555 seemed still very dead but we made some CQ-calls, QSY:ing to 27.530 USB. After some little time we had a call with a 5/5 signal. It was Harry, 178SD103 who was the one to fetch proggie # 1, at 07:08 UTC. Shortly after this 178AT105 Plamen called in, and during the next hour we worked a few stations from 45 and 233 division. The the band closed for some time again, before some weak UK stations started to come through at about 10:40 UTC. After that the band was more or less open until 12:30 UTC, though the signals were low most of the time, and the QSB sometimes made us lose copy of stations we copied at signal 5 just a few seconds before. We never had any real pile-up, though the band continued to be sporadically open during the rest of the day. The last station of the day was 14DR101, at 17:53 UTC. Then the band decided to not let us work more.

This day saw a total of 239 QSO´s. Logged divisions: 1, 13, 14, 16, 19, 26, 35, 45, 68, 106, 108, 161, 163, 178, 233, 329.

 

May 23, 1998

No rain the last night. Instead the weather had decided to give us a very strong wind. This meant still colder weather, but it anyway cleared the sky, and we got a very nice sunshine. Unfortunatly even the band was cleared of propagation. The band seemed even more dead than the day before. At 07:39 UTC we got the first call of the day, from 29EC47. After another Irish station the band died out for another hour, before some weak signals started to appear again. But never did we give up calling CQ on 555. Must try to build a CQ-machine in the future, to save some voice.... A little surprise was the groundwave QSO to 21AT116 Chris, at a distance of 130 kilometers. We invented a good way to monitor the propagation, so that we could move arround the area instead of listening to a stone dead 555. We simply linked the 555 to VHF, and so we could have 100 % control on the 555 on a little handheld while walking or cooking food etc. In the evening there was some short opening towards the Middle East, but no-one replied on our numerous CQ´s. We had a little hot-dog barbecue, while listening to some 112 div stations calling CQ. They obviously didn´t hear us, or they did not want 212 div. The hot-dogs tasted good anyway. A little opening to the north in the evening. Last station in the log for this day was 20VIP2 from Viktna islands in the Atlantic Ocean. Total number of QSO´s for May 23 was only 187. New divisions worked; 20, 21, 29, 30, 52, 54, 56, 109, 330

 

 

May 24, 1998

The wind became quite strong during the night. We were both worried the tent would fly away to another division.... As heard on a navigation warning on the maritime VHF-band, the wind was at 15 meters per second. But in the morning both the tent and the antenna were intact. We had still some dreams about a very good open band. In fact the band was opening up earlier than the other days. 1AT1395 was worked at 05:52 UTC, and after this we logged quite some Italians, though most stations only with a signal 1. Later on some other European divisions were worked, but at already 10:35 UTC the band died out. We made really hard tries at getting some more contacts, calling CQ in vain for hours. So we slowly started to pack the gear in to the car again, still hoping the band would open, as we had a place on the ferry not until 23:00 local time. Since the band was still closed well into the afternoon we decided to try an earlier ferry back home. Unfortunatly some other hundreds of cars were already there before us, although we arrived 2 hours before departure-time. So we had a quite boring time, listening to only static on the 555 in the car. The last QSO was made to 14RC172 at 10:30 UTC, giving the progressive number 569. The last day of the activation saw only 142 contacts. New divisions; 15, 36, 327, 328.

 

Summary

After all, this was a fun experience. At least both the operators had a fun time together. And I would like to say that we are quite satisfied with the number of contacts, considering the extremely bad propagation. Also pretty satisfied to have survived the experience in the cold, windy weather, even without catching a cold.

It´s always interesting to see the way operators behave while contacting us at an expedition. We must say that the 161 division can feel honoured with very good operators. I think there was not a single station from there creating problems for us and the other stations trying to call us. Most problems was created by operators in 26 division, although many very good ops there too. It´s of course always nice to hear someone´s life-story on the radio, but maybe not while many stations are standing by for a progressive number and the propagation is about to close. But still most operators behave far better on 11 than on other bands.

Now the only question remaining is; What can we activate next year????

 

 

 

Many 73s de 212AT/EU002 Team