You can see an overall map of the Isle of Skye below. We stayed in Edinbane towards the south of the island and visited Staffin Bay further north for our portable operations.
This year Steve G0MTD, Mark 2E0MAX, Brian G0OMB and Paul M1PAF made the trip up to the islands carrying all of our gear and food for the week in 2 cars. Our base was a cottage in Edinbane which was very comfortable having the benefit of a kitchen with a dining table so we could eat away from the radio gear. Mark did his usual excellent job in the kitchen making sure none of us went hungry (in fact exactly the opposite)!
At the cottage we set up 2 stations, one for 80m/40m and the other for 20m and up. Either conditions weren’t brilliant or our location was not the best as we struggled on the higher bands but did make some good contacts on 17m, probably as a result of the 2 element delta beam that we used. We tried putting up something similar for 20m but it didn’t seem to work too well from the cottage. However – we had a plan.
Following our exploits in 2005 with portable operations on the beach we went a little better prepared for portable operations this year, taking a generator and a vertical Moxon for 20m as per a design by Pete Mills. We set up the Moxon at our base in Edinbane to tune it up and at this location (inland) it didn’t seem like it would work very well, as signals were only a little better than our Cobwebb antenna located on the hill side behind our cottage. When we took the Moxon to the beach however, it was a different story. The Moxon was a complete success from a performance point of view but the design was a pain to erect. Following this trip the construction of the antenna was completely re-designed resulting in much more robust construction that is a lot easier to get in the air.
Our beach location was Staffin bay, about a 45 minute drive north east from Edinbane. Skye is quite a large island and it’s surprising how long it can take you to get between places. From Staffin the path to the east was clear across the sea but to the west we had high cliffs directly behind us, hence we concentrated on the east! The bay is a great location as there is a road right down onto the beach and we were able to safely park (we thought) close to the high tide line.
Our first visit to Staffin was very successful with plenty of DX (even a guy in a Land Rover up in the Himalayas) and some noticable changes in propogation through the day. We returned to Edinbane very pleased with our results.
Our second visit was much more eventful with quite nasty weather and winds blowing into the bay. We worked plenty of stations again but got soaked through. We were thinking of packing up and heading off to Edinbane when a local lady walking her dog told us we had better get off the beach sharpish as there was a high tide due which coupled with the weather would put the car well and truly underwater. Also in such conditions the bay gets such a battering the sea defences (very large boulders) get re-arranged by mother nature and usually require the services of a bulldozer to clear the access to the beach. Needless to say we departed very quickly and just made it off the beach before the tide covered it.
You can see pictures of the cottage at Edinbane and our portable location at Staffin bay by selecting the relevant pages from the menu above – hope you find them interesting.