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.|
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This map is a bit out of date because the town of Tisbury has now been renamed as "Vineyard Haven", and Gay head has been renamed as "Aquinnah" after the Indian tribe that lives there.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.
rest of Friday was spent touring the island with the excellent guidance
of Mickie. Mickie probably knows more about the island than most
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)
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.|
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.|
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.|
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.
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.
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.
|1125 (9/19/09)||W1GHZ*||FN41ee||72 Km|
|1740 - 9/19/09||W1FKF*||FN33kd||277 Km|
|0003 - 9/20/09||K1TEO*||FN31jh||217|
|0001 - 9/20/09||K1RZ*||FM19jh||608|