This was a joint effort with the Sands Contest Group and an excellent write up with pictures can be found on their blog at http://www.m0scg.org.uk/home/jura.
This was an altogether larger affair than our previous island visits. Paul, Steve and Mark from the Workington club joined the crew comprising (from right to left in the picture):
- Mike 2E0VMF
- Ian G0VGS
- Steve G0MTD
- Frank G8BME
- Kev G6FKE
- Andrew G0LWU
- Brian G0RDH
- Paul M1PAF
- Mark M0WCR
Kev’s dad, Paddy (on the left), came along with us and ably assisted at every possible opportunity. Thankfully he helped Mark in the kitchen as catering for ten people for a week is a major undertaking. He also displayed particular flair with the dinner gong which was heard over the air on a number of occasions!
The main challenge with this number of people was finding somewhere we could all stay. The Sand’s guys came up trumps here with Jura House, possibly the largest house on the island with a nice meadow in front of it leading down towards the shore. The house was something else, with more bedrooms than we needed and ample catering facilities including two kitchens. In the event that anyone wanted some relaxation and a break from the radio there was even a full sized snooker table.
We had a variety of antennas in the arsenal this year, including a pair of phased verticals for 40m, a Spiderbeam for 20m up, a 1/4 wave 80m vertical and dipoles for 160m, 80m and 40m atop a 15m mast. Getting the dipoles up that bit higher worked really well. We also took along the vertical Moxon for portable operations.
There was plenty of opportunity for shared learning on this visit and everyone got something out of it. We were introduced to networked logging using Win-Test and liked it a lot. We sometimes had 4 stations going and it was great to be able to see who was working who, what frequencies everyone was on and a live running total of countries, QSO’s etc.
Steve and Paul also took the opportunity to do some portable operation using the now well proven vertical Moxon with 100 watts. Despite our obvious enthusiasm there was a bit of healthy scepticism (in the best of humour) from the Sands guys as to whether it could really out perform the Spiderbeam and 400 watts from the house. After returning from our portable foray 400+ QSO’s the better, including nearly 80 contacts to Japan, there was more interest. The following day some of the Sand’s guys came along to our portable site to see for themselves. Their timing was impeccable as we passed the mic to Mike (no pun) and his first shout raised a station in Australia. No more convincing needed from thereon.
The main station did do much better towards the americas though as our portable spot was not the best for contacts to the west. In fairness the combination of the two different approaches helped us achieve our total of 6000 QSO’s which from our perspective was a mindblowing total. It’s possible we could have done many more but we did eat, sleep and drink a little bit (well what did you expect in the heart of whisky country) as well.
It’s interesting that everyone got on with one another well despite some being met for the first time at the motorway services rendezvous. We all had a great time and it was really fun being part of a larger party.
The Sands team take the credit for the organisation of this trip and we thank them wholeheartedly for giving us the opportunity to take part (and drink Boddingtons)