IOTA - NA-057

July 31 - August 4, 2006

Well, our vacation on Roatan is over, as well as my hamming from there, but the memories are still fresh in my mind.

We arrived at Cabana Roatana late Monday morning and I immediately began to put up my half-size G5RV. Our room was on the upper level (see picture), so I tied one end to the front porch and the other end on the porch of the office. Unfortunately, this meant the broad side of the antenna was for the most part only 5- to 10-feet away from the building.

After putting up the antenna, I set up my Icom IC-703 QRP transceiver (running 5 watts) and laptop computer, listened to make sure I heard some signals, did a quick check of the SWR, then went to the beach with my wife, Jan.

Close to 1:30 p.m. I turned on the rig and heard W5LJT calling CQ on 20 meters. I gave him a quick call with my five watts and was a bit surprised when he came back to me. I was even more surprised to get a 569 RST report from him. About three hours later a maritime mobile JH9 answered my CQ. I have no idea where he was located--I suppose in the Caribbean--but it was great to know I was getting out.

That about ended my good luck for the next few days. Most of the time the noise level on Roatan was simply horrible and the rig's noise blanker did nothing to help the situation.

A greater problem I experienced was the power being turned off on our part of the island for hours at a time. I had hoped to do a lot of hamming in the wee hours of the morning, but that's when the power was often off. And the first night it went off at 7 p.m. local time and didn't come back on until about 8:30 a.m. the next morning. I should have taken a battery along--and I had thought about it prior to leaving--but the size and weight was more than I wanted to hassle with.

(If you look carefully at the picture on the right, you'll see my dipole strung up between our upstairs apartment and the office building. It was no small feat getting that up there.)

I guess overall in the less than four days of very minimal operation (This was our 40th anniversary and hamming was way down the line of priorities.) I didn't do too bad. I made a total of 47 contacts on 17, 20, 30, and 40 meters. All were on CW with the exception of two PSK contacts. I worked 21 states, 8 countries, and the maritime mobile station previously mentioned. The countries I worked were:
French Polynesia
Thanks to everyone who worked me. I know most of you had to struggle to pull me out of the noise. Please QSL to the address above and be sure to include a S.A.S.E. I will QSL 100% to those received, but please do not use the bureau.

I want to say a special thank you to Sr. Marco Tulio Barahona at CONATEL in Tegucigalpa for his assistance in getting my reciprocal license in such a short time. Without his help I most like would not have been able to operate with such short notice.

Quisiera dar gracias especiales al Sr. Marco Tulio Barahona de CONATEL en Tegucigalpa por su ayuda en conseguir la licencia recĂ­proca en un tiempo tan corto. Sin su ayuda es dudoso que yo pudiera haber operado con tal aviso corto.