October 10, 2010

Some final thoughts before "Sailing Home"

Hello Folks,

Its just over three weeks since we left the Isle of Arran after a DX-pedition filled with a mixture of good and bad weather and the odd disaster but a week that can truly be described as memorable.

Paddy is leaning across the wing of Marks car as Mark frantically tries to take the St. Georges Flag off his mobile whip for fear of upsetting the locals.

On our final day I took Paddy and Mark down to the local pub in the village of Kildonan

Nice picture by Paddy

Another of Paddy's pictures

The propeller seen above was salvaged and hung on a barn wall close to the pub. I have done a little research on the propeller since arriving home and discovered that it's thought to be the prop from an American Wildcat aircraft. These aircraft were commonly used on aircraft carriers. Its thought that this prop had been ditched overboard from a carrier.

A major film you can see these plane in action is "The battle of Midway"

This is the second DX-pedition that we have had the pleasure of working with Steve, Paul and Mark from Workington and the first time with our CW operator Brendan from Ireland, each of whom brought their own expertise to the event that we were all able to learn from.

Over the course of the week we were able to run six stations and experiment with an array of antennas. We had a nest of dipoles for 160m, 80m and 40m at a height of 15m, fed with one coax for the ragchew station.

We used switchable 2 element vertical 1/4 wave phased arrays for 20m and 40m.

We used a 1/4 wave vertical for 30m on a 12m mast

We used a 5/8 vertical for 17m

We used 1/4 wave verticals for 15m and 10m

When the mast arrived, we erected a 1/4 wave vertical for 80m on an 18m mast. This had a coil at the base for matching.

We also used 2 unterminated 100m beverages, one running north/south and the other east/west which worked very well.

We also had small beams for 6m, 2m and 70cm

We had great food prepared and cooked by Paddy and Mark. This was our last evening meal and what a meal it was. Mark can be seen below just checking the Gammon Roast. The crackling was glazed with honey and marmalade.

As the sun goes down on our final evening on the Isle of Arran we tucked into our evening meal.... Gammon and Veg followed by Chocolate Pudding topped with custard.

An army marches on its stomach and we were treated to many excellent meals. Full English breakfast, sandwiches for lunch and a two course evening meal served with white or red wine.

Each of the Dx-pedition members took something home with them as they reflected on their personal experiences. The pictures above have Steve taking a little personal time before breakfast enjoying a Wainwright moment in the peace and tranquility that the Isle of Arran has to offer.

Ian G0VGS giving Smudge the farm cat a last fuss before breakfast.

Here's a picture of the DX-pedition members just after breakfast on our last morning on Arran

We managed to get an earlier ferry than planned which saved us an hour or two, getting home just after 4pm. By the time we had unloaded all the equipment it was just gone 5pm.

Thanks to all the stations who worked us over the week and to everybody who made this DX-pedition possible.

73 Brian G0RDH
The reluctant Contester