G4GWR's account of the Dxpedition
The Chippenham and District Amateur Radio Club, G3VRE, needed some new members. We have our own permanent shack that includes a 60 foot tower and beams for 2, 70, 20, 15 and 10 and a doublet for the other HF bands. The Club meets every Tuesday night at the Sea Cadets HQ so the reason for declining membership was put down to a lack of activities. So, it was decided to enter a few competitions, run a fox hunt and organise the odd trip. These events all went well. They included a trip to the Leicester Space Centre where we were shown the AMSAT station that was being operated by a couple of AMSAT members. The ideas for future events started to swing round to the idea of some sort of Dx-pedition. We could not afford to dash off to some exotic pacific island however tempting the idea was and we did not want to spend years organising an entire container load of kit.
We wanted something cheap that was going to be fun to organise and participate in. Bernard the Club's Secretary suggested Lundy. It certainly has its own "Islands on the Air" status as EU-120. It did have some buildings that could be rented. One pub and a small shop seemed to make it an ideal choice for our first trip. The event was advertised within the club. After a couple of months we had around 8 people who were seriously interested.
The accommodation was then booked. We elected to stay in one of the Landmark Trust buildings on the Island. We chose "The Barn". It can sleep up to 14 people so if a few extra wanted to come this would not be a problem. The cost was around £550 for the week. So split eight ways this was not going to break the bank for too many people. Everyone booked his own ticked for the boat, which was £42 return. We had elected to go and return on a Tuesday. On these days the boat left Barnstable in North Devon at 10am.
Not much planning was done before the trip other tha organize the special event callsign GB2LI and to publicize the trip with the usual Dx organizations. We had decided to take both the clubs rigs, the FT990 and the IC709G. We raided the shacks of our members and came up with an HF mini beam and a couple of transportable towers. We also took a collection of heavy duty trapped dipoles. It was decided not to take the linear that the club owned on the grounds that it needed a couple of new values and no one liked tuning it up!
As news spread of our impending trip we were asked if we could add a satellite element to the trip to help publicise the launch of the new FM satellite ECHO. Discussions with AMSAT led to a very generous donation of £100, which was put towards the costs of the Dx-pedition such as QSL cards, petrol etc. So we were all prepared ready for a very enjoyable fun packed week of walking, drinking and playing a bit on the radio.
It was the night before the trip. I was clearing out my e-mail in box before I went away. The phone rang, it was Richard G4SUX who had just rung the Lundy Shore office to confirm the sailing for the Tuesday. He had bad news. The recorded message that is updated at 8pm the evening before sailing's had reported that the next sailing was cancelled.
We called around all the other party members to let them know we were going by Helicopter and that we could only take 10kg each. The small rucksack of cloths alone I was taking weighted over 15Kg. Oh dear! So I took out all the clothes and just packed my FT847, power supply my wash things and one change of cloths. The hope was the shop would sell washing powder. We also discovered that Bert G0FGR was sick and would not be able to make the trip. Bert was the only member of the team who had been to the Island before. He is also the Treasurer and had the money!........Continued Part 2
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