September 29, 2008

Thats It Folks!

The last contact has been worked! May we thank all of you who took the time and trouble to make contact with us over the last week. It has certainly been a time to remember and we have met a lot of people and made a lot of new friends. The weather could not have been better and although band conditions could have been better, with no chance to work 10m 0r 15m, we have still had 6000 log entries. Once we get back home we will upload the vast majority of photographs and the logs to the main website and put a few on this blog as well, its a shame our internet access was not as good as we hoped. So farewell to the wonderful Isle of Jura from all of us at Sands and Workington ARC but we have a feeling we may well return in the future.....

The Final morning!

Just had the most fantastic rainbow here as we sit down to breakfast for the last time at Jura House. We have been made so welcome and we are very sad to be leaving. The ferry leaves at 14:00 GMT so we still have time to get those final few entries in the log! Now its just a question of slowly packing the gear that isn't needed in the van for the long drive back home, we don't expect to get back until midnight. In the meantime listen out for those final few calls on 80m and 20m!

September 28, 2008

Early Evening!

We have just started to take down some of the antennas whilst the weather is fine as there are some heavy showers about. At the moment we can still work 20m and below and hope to still have a few final contacts tomorrow morning before we leave this location around midday.

We have battled our way through the RTTY and SSB contests that have been taking place on the bands which have not made keeping a frequency easy at times. Stateside is good at the moment and the atmospheric static has vanished on the lower bands. We will be around on Topband tonight after about 18:30 GMT aiming to break the 6000 QSO mark. We are all pretty tired now but enjoying ourselves immensely, most of us will sleep for a week when we get home. Oh and Mark has recovered from the excesses of yesterday and is making his way down to the local Public House again, dinner could be late tonight!

A Nice Contact!

A lovely contact on 80m this morning. We managed to work Mike ZL4OL whos daughter actually works in Jura House gardens (above), it is a small world! This morning we have been out and repaired a little damage a few wandering sheep had done to a few of the radials and are now working pileups on 80m and 20m. The dynamic duo, Steve and Paul have again gone out portable, so look for them on 20m very soon. We will be working as many bands as we can until early evening when we need to make a start dismantling some of the antennas whilst the weather holds, rain is forecast for tomorrow but we do hope to be on air until late evening with the nest of dipoles and possibly the Spiderbeam.

September 27, 2008

Beware the Jura Whisky!

This is the view we have down the field where the antennas are, a really beautiful view down to a private beach. Its dark now of course and its been yet another busy session, the only thing making things difficult for contacts at the moment is a contest on 80m ;-)
We have managed to get on Topband tonight and had some really nice contacts but we have had a problem with static on the lower bands and that is much in evidence now! The best band during the day has been 20m again and the USA has accounted for a good few entries in the log!
The only casualties tonight are Mark and Paddy who decided to visit the Festival in the town and have returned slightly the worse for wear after sampling the delights of the local hospitality, Mark is now gently snoring in a corner somewhere, lets hope he can cope with the odd pileup tomorrow......

Antenna Farm

Thanks to Barrie G1JYB we finally have a few photographs of the antennas that were put up on Monday and Tuesday. By midweek there was certainly a lot more wire in the sky but at least this gives you an idea of some of the antennas we have been using.

After Breakfast!

As you can see the cloud has cleared after some early morning cloud. We have had what Steve calls our 'DX Breakfast' which sets us up for the day and are now getting on with some serious radio. At the moment we are active on 80/40/20/17m and have put a few calls out on 2m SSB. We also are planning to go down to the beach at Craighouse again tomorrow and build on the success of the portable station. At the moment we have over 5000 different stations worked in the log!


Weekend is finally here and time has flown. Hopefully this will be our busiest time and we aim to contact as many of you as we can on as many bands as we can! The guys down on the beach had a cracking day on 20m again yesterday and were certainly working the DX, in fact they have done better than the main station on 20m which shows that dangling your feet in the sea certainly helps. Also a busy time on the lower bands last evening and the photograph above shows Steve handling the pileup on 80m. Again apologies for no photographs of the antenna farm, we seem to have been plagued with computer problems and despite several trips down to Craighouse, where our only internet access is, we have only managed to get the blog entries and the odd photograph back and have not been able to fix the problem with the log search on the main site. It may be that the majority of photographs will not be published until we get home on Tuesday but we haven't given up yet. The main thing this weekend is to concentrate on the amount of amateurs we can work, although a few of us may have time to slip down to Craighouse for the weekend music festival on the island!

September 26, 2008

Another Lovely Morning!

The sun is just burning the early morning mist off and the temperature is rising rapidly. Paul and Steve have set out again to do some more portable work down on the beach at Craighouse with the vertical Moxon. The rest of us are just sitting down to a huge breakfast. A few of us plan to have a small break from radio today and go down to the village and perhaps sample the famous 'venison burgers' at the Island's only public house, have also not had chance to visit the distillery yet!
After teething problems with the 80m vertical, which meant shortening the capacity hat and putting a few more radials out to make it resonant, it now works very well and we managed a ZL1 contact first thing this morning! Hopefully we will have a photo of this and the other antennas available a little later today.

September 25, 2008

Time For Dinner

Its a lot of potatoes to peel for 10 hungry people! Lamb Chops are on the menu tonight, we are certainly eating very well. Mike and Andrew should be back soon from their trip up one of the hills and we will soon know if they managed any contacts on SOTA, the climb is quite a tricky one. The bands have performed fairly well today with good contacts on 80/40/20/17m, it was nice to hear North America in good form a little earlier. Brian and Frank also took some time to have some longer chats on 80m this afternoon before the band changes and gets busier. We are all quite tired at the moment, it didn't help that the harddrive in the Linux PC died this morning and Ian spent over an hour reworking the network on the PC's we have with us! Certainly looking forward to a good meal and perhaps some time to relax for some of us at least!


Radio can be hard work sometimes, Andrew actually fell asleep as you can see! Another morning and another decent day up here on the island. We have already been busy on 20m and 40m, conditions seem quite good. The SOTA guys have now gone out so listen for them later today. The 80m vertical is working well and seems very good for DX as we were hearing VK this morning, however the dipole is probably better for Europe as you would expect.
Paul and Steve did very well out portable yesterday using a vertical moxon. They logged over 400 contacts, including over 40 Japanese stations and several Australians.
At the moment we are struggling to get photographs of the antenna farm onto the website as we had a technical hitch yesterday with the laptop, we were unable to fix the log search on the main website as well, this may be sorted for weekend! In the meantime we will just get down to some serious radio and work as many of you as we can, nearly 3000 contacts logged at this time!

September 24, 2008

Late Afternoon

Unfortunately the sun hasn't shone on us after all but never mind. Very busy on 20m today, Paul and Steve are still down on the beach about 2 miles from Craighouse. At the moment we don't know how many contacts they have made but according to sources they have had a good day. Andrew has been busy doing data on 30m. Both Mike and Andrew have decided to not go out camping tonight but will go out first thing in the morning to activate the Paps of Jura for SOTA. Ian and Kev have finally got the 80m vertical up, although Kev has been plagued by mosquitoes all day and is well and truely bitten!
Paddy and Mark have found time to go down to the beach and do a spot of fishing. They say they are catching dinner, we may go hungry tonight after all.
Hope to have a few more photographs to show you later once we make the trip down to Jura Stores and get them uploaded. Also we have a small problem with the online log, the search box on the home webpage is not working, we will attempt to fix this as well!

Wednesday Morning

Its a fairly cloudy morning so far but promises to be another lovely day. We have had breakfast and are getting ready for the day ahead. Lots of things planned for today. Andrew and Mike are heading out late afternoon to make camp overnight and to start early tomorrow with some SOTA operating. Steve and Paul are also going out very shortly to do some portable work, look out for MS0SCG/P a little later, probably on 20m. We also plan to do some RTTY on 30m at sometime today! We have had over 1500 contacts so far including some 2m and 6m contacts as well, the Moxon appears to be working very well! The 80m vertical designed by Chris M0DWK will be in use a little later, we have high hopes for it.

September 23, 2008

Full of Surprises!

The sun has just set here and what a day it has been! Radio has been fantastic and thanks to all the people who have managed to work us during a very busy morning and afternoon. The bands are changing now, although 20m is still open. Our first foray into psk31 on 30m seems to be working just fine, other data modes and hopefully some CW a little later on.
Surprise of the day was a visit by a dear friend who sneaked onto Jura on his bicycle all the way from Lancaster ( he didn't peddle all the way!) Nice to see you Barry G1JYB and you are truly mad, its a long way to travel for some light refreshment!!!
We have had a lovely meal tonight, prepared by Mark, roast Lamb with all the trimmings! Mark is the chef for the week and has made sure we start each day with a hearty breakfast and a wonderful main dinner in the evening washed down of course with a glass of beer or two

Very Busy So Far!

Up and running now and so far and over 1000 qso's by mid afternoon! All bands seem in reasonable condition and contacts are coming in very fast indeed. The sun continues to shine, we could not have asked for a better week!

First Day There

Its Been a busy 24 hours but we are finally organised! Virtually all the antennas are up now apart from the VHF Moxon. Antennas are as follows.

Nest of dipoles for 40/80/160m
40m 2 square
80m vertical
2 element Delta for 17m
Spiderbeam 10/15/20m
Dipole for 10m
Moxon for 2m/6m

Radios used are as follows..

Elecraft K3 (two of them)
Yaesu FT1000
Kendwood TS2000 (two of them)
Various other ones for mobile use

The gang comprises.....

Andrew G0LWU
Frank G8BME
Brian G0RDH
Paul M1PAF
Steve G0MTD
Mark M0WCR
Mike 2E0VMF

Already had over 200 contacts despite the late start and worked Falkland Islands and Ivory coast as well. Hopefully we will upload some of the log and some pictures to the website and blog later today. Oh and Mark M0WCR is convinced that Jura House is haunted but the whiskey may have had something to do with that!

September 22, 2008

We Have arrived!

Arrived at the first Ferry terminal on time after a very uneventful drive.

The ferry crossings were very smooth, although Kev G6FKE is not a good sailor but we got him there in one piece!

Jura house is wonderful and there is plenty of room. We have just finished a light lunch, washed down with a wee glass of Jura Whisky. We are now going to make a start on putting the antennas and masts up. With a bit of luck we should be on the air by late afternoon, certainly on the higher HF bands.

September 21, 2008

The Isle of Jura EU-008

The location MS0SCG will be operating from at Jura House

This shows where we are in relation to the rest of Jura, the southern tip of the island.

Feeding the 5000

Thats the shopping done! Just the radio and computer gear to pack now. A few hours sleep for everyone now and then we set off at 23:00 hours and pick the Workington Club up further up the motorway. The early morning ferry leaves at about 7am, so we should be there with plenty of time to spare!

September 20, 2008

Loading Up

Made a start loading up this afternoon and thats just a small amount! Makes us wonder if we should have ordered a bigger van! We will load the valuable stuff tomorrow and, of course, do the huge amount of shopping on the list. 

The sun is shining and the forecast is still good for next week so smiles all round....

September 19, 2008

Blog Birthday!

Just browsing back through the entries in this online diary it suddenly struck me that this Blog has been running exactly 2 years! It was interesting to go back to the ramblings of September 2006 and look at the gang going through similar preparations then for the trip to the Isle of Mull, it brings back many memories. A couple of years on we hope that Jura will be even better both in how we approach things, the number of stations we can run, the antennas we can experiment with and the number of contacts we can make. This time we have the company of members of Workington Radio Club who bring their own experiences of Island DXpeditions and their own ideas!
I will be back at base again this time helping run the websites and keeping an eye on the DXcluster. Dave G6CRV will also be on hand to upload the logs each morning onto the home webpages. Some pictures and diary entries for this blog will also be uploaded every day.
Good luck folks and good DX
Linda G0YLM

So It Begins....

The weekend is nearly here and everyone is working very hard on final preparations for Sunday's trip to Jura. The van hire company have been fantastic and let us have the van today for no extra charge, which gives us far more time to get things packed! Apart from getting all the equipment sorted the main thing left to do is to do a large shop for 10 hungry people on Sunday morning and, judging by the planned menu, we will need the van for food and drink alone!! All the pc's are loaded with WinTest software for logging during DXpedition and Ian and Dave G6CRV have done final tests with Win DRM over 80M to make sure we can get the logs on the main website each day. The weather forecast for next week has improved and we may be lucky to have reasonable weather, particularly on Monday and Tuesday when the antennas are being erected.

September 12, 2008

Building a Moxon

How many amateurs are needed to put together a VHF Moxon Antenna? Well at least a small gathering! Today we put together the Moxon for 2m/4m/6m that we are taking to Jura. The overall build quality is very good, although it has taken about an hour to get everything right. We purchased the item from Sandpiper Antennas and for the price (£55) it seems to be very good. Hopefully it will perform well and will pack down and reassemble very quickly once we get to the island!

Jura Webcams

Here are a couple of webcams on the island

Jura Stores Webcam.


The second webcam also shows weather conditions on the island

September 11, 2008

Jura Video Available

As we continue frantic preparations at this end the start of the trip to Jura looms large. We think everything is accounted for, even stuff to keep away the midges! In the meantime we have found this nice video for anyone wanting to know what the island is like....

Jura Video


September 06, 2008

Rain, Rain and More Rain....

The monsoon season has arrived in the UK, flooding almost everywhere!! For this reason our intrepid gang of contesters have decided to abandon ship and not go out in the middle of nowhere to do Field Day! A mite disappointing but as the field is flooded we have decided to give it a miss this year, not that a bit of wet ever harmed anyone but we need all the gear to be in good fettle for the trip to Jura, which is only a fortnight away. No good turning up on the island with wet ropes, broken masts and damp spirits!! A few of us, however, will surely be about on the bands to give the odd point away here and there.
May we wish all those people who are brave enough to don goggles and snorkels a very successful weekend and hope that the weather hasn't put a lot of stations off! Good Luck in the contest...