Note: several Eastern Massachusetts amateurs are currently participating in a DXpedition to Roatan I. [NA-057] in Honduras.
Dennis Egan, W1UE/HR9 writes on the Yankee Clipper Contest Club list:
Salutations from Roatan Isalnd, Honduras!
Our HR9 operation is well underway. Sunday, we built the elements for the DXE Skyhawk. That endeavor took most of the day. The temperature here isn’t bad- 84F- but it is the relentless humidity that takes it out of you. There is also little relief at night, as the temp drops to maybe 78F. I guess that’s life in the Caribbean!
Monday, the 50ft aluminum tower went up. We were able to rig the rotor, mast, and feedlines to the tower before it was pushed up. It took the 4 of us, with 2 Honduran helpers, to lift it into place. I took a few pix until the tower got to the 30deg up, when all hands were needed to get it up the rest of the way. Still, once everything was rigged, the actual lift- while pretty exhausting- didn’t take an hour. We also brought the Skyhawk to the back lawn and began the process of finishing the antenna.
Tuesday, Paul K1XM and Charlotte KQ1F spent his morning finishing the antenna assembly, when Rudy N2WQ took the manual and a tape measure and rechecked every dimension of the antenna to make sure there were no errors. Once that was completed, Paul climbed the tower and we spent about 2 hours rigging up the ropes to tram the antenna to the top. We rigged up two pulleys to get a 2:1 mechanical advantage on the tram, and 1.5 hours later the antenna was on the mast at the top of the tower! Again, we have very few pix of this happening, as all 4 of us were actively involved in the tramming. Charlotte and I lifted, Paul was on the tower, and Rudy played the tie line. Seeing as the tramming area was little bigger than the beam, I thought it was a great job by all, especially Paul, who spent 3+ hours at the top of an unguyed 50ft aluminum tower! While they were checking over the antenna, I put together the antenna switching/BPF/Triplexer board.
It was most gratifying to put the antenna analyzer on the end of the coax, and see the SWR dips in the ham bands pretty much where we wanted them! The linears will be happy with this antenna!
I know some of you worked us Tuesday night. FYI, we were barefoot with 100 watts. We were surprised when 15m was still open to the states- the stations that called us were loud, but there just weren’t many of them. 20m was also fun, as stations in zones 14-15-16-17-18-19-25 were all easily worked.
Today we’ll be working on getting the low band antennas up. Expect to see us on 40/80/160 tonight, hopefully with a KW. There is more work to be done in the shack with running coax to the antenna switching board, and running control cables/coax to the operating positions.
If any YCCCer needs us for DXCC band/countries, let us know and we’ll try to accommodate. We won’t have much of an antenna for 12 or 17M, but any other band we should be good on.
PS: Remember, its HQ9X, NOT SQ9X. Even though we religiously sent the call correctly, and sent Zone 7 with each exchange, there were still over 200 ops that miscopied us in CQWW CW.