September 30, 2006

Leaving the Island

We are just about to set sail from the Island. It is an absolutely wonderful day, very calm, just right to be crossing back to the mainland, although Kev is looking green around the gills already. We eventually left the 40m vertical up until this morning as it only took 10 minutes to pack that station away. Kev managed to work Bolivia and Iceland on PSK31, a nice final touch. We expect to get back home around 6pm, it will then take awhile to unload the gear. It will be nice to sleep in our own beds tonight!

September 29, 2006

Thats It Then!

Having our last few contacts on 40m and the station is well on the way to being packed down. Its raining again but overall the weather has not been too bad. The last of the logs and the photos will be put on the homepages when we get back tomorrow evening. Its been a fantastic week and we have learnt a lot, some things we may have done differently and its very possible we will be here again next year. Our thanks to Dave g6crv for his help with Win-DRM and getting the logs, diary and photos back to the website, our thanks also to all the amateurs that have worked us and shown their support! We will report back on the blog when we have returned safely to Morecambe. Best wishes to you all!

Nice Day for It!

Beautiful morning here on the island so, if the rain holds off, we may get a few more contacts in before we start packing up. Yesterday was a good day on 20m, it wasn't the quantity it was the quality! We managed contacts with the Falklands, Mexico, Chili and British Virgin Isles to name but a few. Ian and Chris managed to untangle the 15/20m elements on the Spiderbeam that had tangled in the gales using the sota pole and a lot of luck. We now stand at nearly 1900 qso's, it would be nice to hit the 2000 mark but, at this stage of the solar cycle, we don't think it will be quite possible with the time we have left! The logs are now on the homesite from yesterday and Win-DRM has worked wonderfully in transferring all the information on 80m. Right breakfast time and then, maybe an hour or two on 40m before we finally pack down.

September 28, 2006

Last Radio Day

We have virtually decided to make today our last day on the air. The ferry back to the mainland is booked for 10am Saturday morning and the weather forecast for tomorrow is heavy showers. We would like to get everything packed down and dried out before it goes in the cars. Its a big job and we also need to inspect a slight bend on one of the 15m elements on the Spiderbeam. It will also be nice to have an evening to ourselves as this has been a holiday for some of us as well. We will, however, still be looking out for radio contacts as late as possible today!

The Trouble with Ticks!

Our first tick and hopefully our last. Bex was the first to have a tick removed from her person, but seeing both her and Chris are both vets it was removed in no time! Good news on the weather, the wind is slowly abating and it even looks as if the sun may soon break through.

Shack for the Lower Bands

Ian g0vgs operating the other station which is mainly on 40/80m. Here you can see the Kenwood TS2000 and one of the laptops using Win-Test.

The 20m Shack

Thought it was time we got some pictures back of the two shacks. Here is the station using the Yaesu FT920, Ranger 811H into the Spiderbeam for 10/15/20m.

Still Aloft!

We decided not to tilt the mast and beam over yesterday despite the worsening conditions. It was a gamble but it seems to have paid off. The spiderbeam was non the worse for wear, which proves just how well consructed these german beams are! Propagation yesterday was very poor but a steady rate of contacts was made and we were still working Stateside at midnight. Bex is also keeping a firm grip on a box of chocolates that Kev and Ian bought her yesterday as a way of thanking her for the excellent cooking!

September 27, 2006

Windy Wednesday!

With gales forecast for later today and overnight we have to make a serious decision as whether or not to drop the mast and Spiderbeam over. The wind is really picking up and although the mast isn't bending, the beam is bouncing around a bit. Ian and Kev are on their way back from a wee bit of sight-seeing and we shall probably make our minds up when they get back. Having said all this it may give us more of a chance to concentrate on the lower bands, conditions today have not been good on 20m anyway. Anyway its time for lunch here, who knows what the rest of the day will bring....

Tobermory Tripping

Ian and Kev have decided to have a trip out to Tobermory on the east side of the island this morning after their frantic day on radio yesterday. The rest of us are staying back at the cottage and are on 20m and working 80m while conditions are reasonable. The weather today is fine but its getting very windy although we think the rain will hold off until evening. The 40m vertical blew down in the night, one of the guy ropes had snapped. We may put it back up later depending on how strong the wind gets.

Soaking SOTA

Was it worth going up Ben More? Well it was quite an experience and very damp. This picture shows us at the summit before the weather came in. We called on 20m and 40m in vain, but with 2w we did not manage any contacts on HF. We did, however, manage to activate the summit with 6 contacts on 2 metres. Got back to base quite late in the afternoon, very tired. By the end of the day though the team on 20m had passed the 1300 qso mark.

September 26, 2006

Fast and Furious

Today has been quite hectic with over 1100 contacts logged overall by 17.00 hours. Most of the activity has been on 20m with a few contacts on 80m as well. The Ben More contingent landed back just before sunset and we shall tell you how they got on tomorrow. Lots of very loud stations worked today both in Europe and the USA/Canada. Over the next 3 days though we will be listening in particular for QRP and DX stations, its just been so busy....

Blogs and Logs!

Unfortunately we cannot show all the details of the Mull logs on our website due to a ruling by the ARRL. This is to prevent false claims for claiming DXCC! So time and mode of the qso are removed for now. You can still see the amateurs we have worked and the order in which we have worked them. Over 250 qso's since breakfast and time for a spot of lunch....

Off to Ben More

Four of our team have now set off to Ben More. In the meantime we had a small power outage on the Island, but this only lasted a short while. We hope to make contacts from BenMore on 40m and 20m and hopefully a few more local contacts on 2m. Meanwhile the main station is now working on 20m again and getting as many contacts as possible in the log.

Antenna Farm

Finally you can see our antenna farm, this was taken last night on another beautiful evening!

Tuesday Dawns

The morning here is fine with just a few wispy clouds. It is looking as though we will be able to trek up Ben More later this morning with the aim to be up there around lunchtime. We will assess the situation after breakfast. Did about another 150 contacts after dinner with plenty of USA and Canadian contacts. Andrew also managed a couple of contacts "over the pond" on PSK31.

September 25, 2006

Fair Weather?

Lets hope its a nice as this tomorrow when three of our intrepid team plan to activate Ben More for Summits on the Air (ref gm/si-003) The three brave souls will be Chris M0DWK, Bex 2E0BEX and Mark M0DGK. The weather forecast at the moment is good but could change at any moment. Andrew, Kev and Ian will be back at "base camp"hopefully having another busy day logging those qso's! Now its time for dinner and a well earned rest before working a few more stations tonight...

Going Great Guns!

Things are going very well so far today, we have over 500 qso's logged so far! Its beginning to look like a real antenna farm here. We have put up a homebrew 6m Spiderbeam and have loaded up a 9 metre SOTA pole which works very well as a 40m vertical. Everyone is in high spirits, the weather is lovely, the food is good and the beer is cool, what more could you ask. All this and lots of radio too!

Early Breakfast

All of us, excluding Kev ( who again is still abed) have partaken of an early breakfast. Its a dull but fine morning here and we had our first sighting of red deer that came very near to the cottage. Radio wise, Ian G0VGS had his first ever contact into Australia on 40m working VK1GG, a very nice qso indeed. Andrew has also had his first PSK contact on the same band. Today we will get down to getting some serious entries in the log and will work as many stations as possible!


Managed to get the first set of Logs back to g6crv last night and they are now on the home website. It was a struggle with Win-DRM on 80m last night as the band was very crowded, perhaps early morning would be a better time to attempt this as we would also like to get some photos back for the blog...

September 24, 2006

Time for Tea

Finally everything is working well. Both stations can share their logs via Win-Test so each station can see each others logs. Its nice to have the two radios in different rooms and to operate on two different bands with no problems. It has been another long day but very enjoyable. Tomorrow we will start making some serious contacts on as many bands as we can but, for now, we are settling down to a well earned dinner ( beef in blackbean sauce) and probably a beer or two. We may try 40 metres later and work into Europe. The rain has finally stopped and should be better weather tomorrow.....

On Air at Last

Well, all went well for putting the Spiderbeam up but we certainly got a drenching putting the dipoles up this afternoon, boy did it pour down. Its now 4pm and we have managed to contact the locals in Morecambe on 80 metres to check on audio, a few quick tweaks and it is sounding fine! We are just making a few final adjustments and then off we go....

Sunday Morning

This morning we put the Spiderbeam up on the 50' mast. At the moment we are working on putting up the 40/80m dipoles and hope to start having some serious contacts by early afternoon. It is raining now, although very mild and the location is barren but very beautiful. We seem to have aquired a resident robin who follows us around and a flock of geese! The shack is fully working and we have very little band noise. A hearty breakfast has been consumed, although at the time of writing Kev g6fke is still abed!

September 23, 2006


We arrived about an hour ago after a smooth crossing on the ferry, the journey was uneventful and the weather has been beautiful apart from one small shower. We are now settling in and getting some food. This evening we will put the shack together and, if there is time, try to get the dipoles in the air for 40/80m. It depends on how tired we are really, its been a long day!

Setting Off!

Here we all are about to set off! A good nights sleep was had by all. The weather is fine and bright and we don't think we have missed anything to pack. Hopefully be at Oban for the ferry just after lunch.

September 22, 2006

Plenty of Packing

Well packing the cars is continuing apace, here are 3 of the team, Ian, Mark and Chris, checking the list and seeing just how much stuff you can cram into one car. Think they have forgotten the kitchen sink, but Ian has packed his favourite teddybear and hotwater bottle!

Checking Directions!

Packing the cars has started this morning. Our group mascot is checking the final directions to Mull, making sure we avoid going through Glasgow on a saturday!

September 21, 2006

Testing DRM

Tests are being conducted on 80m this evening to see if it is feasible to get the logs back to base using WinDRM. This will mean the logs can be posted on the Sands website at the end of each day. This will at least get over the problem of lack of internet on the island. So far the test seem to have been a success, but of course, there are greater distances involved next week! Keep the fingers crossed.

Looking good!

Well looks like the weather is going to be good, at least for the weekend, with sunshine and reasonable temperatures. Today we will start to get organised with some of the smaller gear, with most of the major packing being done tomorrow. Both laptops have been updated with the latest version of Win-Test. The major drawback on the island is the lack of public internet access, also mobile phone coverage is not good. The only way to get information back to the blog and the dxcluster will be via 40/80m, failing all that the good old "payphone" will make a comeback. Linda G0YLM will be manning the fort back in Morecambe.

September 20, 2006

Lament for the Landy!

Looks like the Landrover is going to be off the road for the trip so we will have to take another car. This isn't a problem as the 50' Spidermast fits snugly in the Honda Accord! All packing will be done on friday with, no doubt, ample space left over for a crate or two of beer !!

The Cosy Cottage

This is the cottage that the team will be staying at. Its near the hamlet of Bunessan on the south tip of the Isle of Mull. The cottage will sleep 8 people and has its own grounds with plenty of room for antennas and masts. The team will consist of the following operators..
Chris M0DWK
Bex 2E0BEX
Kev ( The Hat ) G6FKE
Andrew G0LWU
Mark M0DGK

We may also have a few guest operators turn up.

The team plan to operate on all HF bands on SSB and various DATA modes from 24th September to 29th September ( weather permitting ) A good way to follow what the weather is doing on Mull is to watch this webcam

A DXpedition to the Isle of Mull

This follows the adventures of MS0SCG on their trip to GM land. So far the weather is not looking good for the trip there on saturday. A small ex hurricane is scheduled to hit the western coast of Scotland, lets hope it does not stick around for too long!