This picture story is about the second weekend of the 10 GHz and up Cumulative Contest in September, 2009.  Barbara and I drove to the island of Martha's Vineyard to meet Dale and Mickie (AF1T and W1MKY) for an extended weekend.  Since Martha's Vineyard (or just "The Vineyard" to regulars) is an island it was necessary to reserve booking on a ferry prior to the trip.  My pictures start on the morning of September 18 on the ferry.

We arrived in Woods Hole, MA early and were able to catch a ride on an earlier, smaller ferry. That was convenient since the smaller ferries are faster loading and unloading. This pic shows the view looking back towards Woods Hole, our car is the white one just behind the jeep.


Our first view of the Vineyard. Looking at the West Chop Lighthouse from the ferry.


The welcome sign at the ferry landing. Notice the sea opening between Tisbury and Oak bluffs. Early sailors and fishermen thought this looked like the 'chops' of a giant fish, so they called them "West Chop" and "East Chop".  Today there is a lighthouse on both sides, named appropriately, "West Chop Lighthouse" and "East Chop Lighthouse".

This map is a bit out of date because the town of Tisbury has now been renamed as "Vineyard Haven", and Gay head has been renamed as "Aquinnah" after the Indian tribe that lives there.  The lighthouse there is still named "Gay Head Lighthouse" and is one of the operating spots we used.


The rest of Friday was spent touring the island with the excellent guidance of Mickie.  Mickie probably knows more about the island than most professional guides.

Here are the four of us posing at the eastern site, a small park that they have used in many prior years for the contest. Dale says they may still go back to this site in the future if his access to his present, better, site should become unavailable.

(From left to right: Russ Pillsbury K2TXB, Barbara Pillsbury, Dale Clement AF1T, and Mickie Clement W1MKY)


About 0600 Saturday morning we arrived at the Gay Head lighthouse to set up for the contest.

It was very cold and windy Saturday morning. We had to tie our antennas down in order to keep them from blowing away. Conditions were poor and we had to leave the lighthouse by noon because a wedding was scheduled there, so we only made 13 contacts Saturday morning.


(See the end of this page for the contacts made.)


The view to the Northeast from near the lighthouse, showing Gay Head cliffs.


A zoomed-in view of Gay Head light from the beach, below the cliffs.

Unfortunately I did not get any pictures of our operation on Saturday morning (it was hard enough keeping the antennas aimed due to the wind.)


Here are two pictures of Dale and Mickie operating at Gay Head on Sunday morning. Conditions there were much better Sunday but I elected to spend the morning with Barbara and operated only from the Eastern site in the afternoon.


Here are Dale and I setting up the station at the Eastern site where Dale has permission to use the deck of a house.  Dale is working on the AC wiring and I'm getting ready to mount the RF equipment on my tripod.

This telescope tripod proved to be much to small for serious 10 GHz roving.  If I do this more I will have to get something much more robust like the ones Dale uses.


A view to the South from the deck, looking towards Gay Head. This site has an excellent, over water, shot in every direction that it is possible to work stations.


Dale and Mickie operating their family station from the Deck. ARRL permits family members to use the same equipment in contests.


Working the weak ones while Mickie waits her turn at the key.

Conditions on Sunday afternoon were far better than Saturday and we had a lot of stations in the log. Dale made about 75 contacts for the weekend and I had 52.  Best DX for both of us was 704 Kilometers to Va. Beach where we worked both K1MAP and NG4C on SSB.


Listening for Sun Noise.  Near sunset we both checked sun noise. I was able to see about 1/2 S-unit on my TR-751a transceiver and Dale had more.

My equipment was assembled in a hurry just for this contest and I had never made a contact with it prior to coming to the Vineyard. At the top is the TR-751a, below that is the DEMI 10 GHz to 144 transverter, and at the bottom is a box with a preamp and a 1 watt amplifier.

After the contest I had my noise figure checked and discovered that it was almost 4 db!  The preamp is just barely better than the transverter alone.  Obviously I need to do some improvements in the RX department.  It was obvious that Dale's station was working better.  He has a 1 db NF and 10 watts transmit power.  Even so, he only worked about 3 stations that I could not work.  But since I did not operate on Sunday morning he has a much higher score.



Sunset at the vineyard. With only a brief pause to enjoy the beauty of sunset we continued operating. This is when we had our best DX contacts and signals to the south became very strong.

In this shot you can see the little degree wheel I made for my tripod.  I used my laptop to calculate sun position and then aimed the dish to the sun by observing the shadow of the feed to be centered. Then I rotated the degree wheel so the pointer rested at the sun's position. After that alignment there was never a problem with aiming the antenna. The computer told us the true heading. We pointed there and the station was always there.


It gets cold at night in September on the Vineyard.  But the temperature inversion continued getting stronger to the south. While working Owen, K3CB in FM18 (565 Km), Dale was able to turn his dish a full 360 degrees and never lose the signal!


















On Monday we spent a half day enjoying the island and touring the Polly Hill Arboretum.  After enjoying a lobster roll for lunch at the Net Catch, Barbara and I reluctantly left our friends and headed home. Above is the view of Vineyard Haven harbor from the deck of the departing ferry.

My Total score for the weekend is:
24 unique calls * 100 + 8577 Km = 10977 total score.

My Log for Gay Head (FN41oi)
1125 (9/19/09) W1GHZ* FN41ee 72 Km
1223z N1JFU* FN42wb 96
1310 N1DPM* FN32qb 172
1343 W1PM* FN41it 66
1351 W1VT* FN31rg 147
1415 N1JFU FN51av 92
1416 W1EX* FN51av 92
1440 KA1OJ* FN32ou 235
1450 K2AEP* FN32ou 235
1516 K1GX* FN31tt 141
1517 AF1T* FN41oi 1
1518 W1MKY* FN41oi 1
1547 KB1VC* FN41ee 72


My Log for FN41ql
1740 - 9/19/09 W1FKF* FN33kd 277 Km
1748 N1JFU FN51av 72
1750 W1EX FN51av 72
1805 WA2BTR* FN30af 313
1807 W1JHR* FN30af 313
1808 K1MAP* FN30af 313
1815 KA1ZD* FN43bj 236
1840 K1GX FN31tt 150
1846 K2AEP FN32kp 244
1857 N1GJ* FN41rr 29
1928 WA2IID* FN33kd 277
1942 N1JEZ* FN34om 381
2036 W1GHZ FN41ee 90
2037 KB1VC FN41ee 90
2118 N1JFU FN41vr 44
2119 W1EX FN41vr 44
2126 KA1OJ FN33kd 277
2211 WA2FGK* FN21bf 440
2322 W1PM* FN41it 67
0003 - 9/20/09 K1TEO* FN31jh 217
0004 N1SAI* FN41ee 90
0006 W1AIM* FN41ee 90
0007 AF1T FN41ql 1
0008 W1MKY FN41ql 1
2018 WW1Z* FN41bu 184
2025 KA1LMR* FN43bj 236
2044 WB2ONA* FN20tl 335
2054 W1AUV* FN42bl 152
2055 N1JEZ FN42bl 152
2057 K1OR* FN42bl 152
2104 KA1ZD FN31xh 120
2110 W1JHR FN31rg 162
2114 N1JFU FN41ll 35
2134 N1DPM FN32qb 178
2305 K1MAP FM26aq 704
2316 NG4C* Fm26aq 704
2353 K3CB* FM18vr 565
2359 K1TR* FN42iu 162
0001 - 9/20/09 K1RZ* FM19jh 608