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10/14/13

     
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QSL Mailed

 

November 5 - Wednesday 17:00 - Received the QSL cards from the printers - wow - there is a lot!  I am starting to fill out the cards.  Meaghan, my daughter and scribe, will be back from Vegas on Monday and will start with filling out the cards for those that have sent me a QSL card.

October 17 - Friday 17:00 - Pretty much cleaned up the logs - did the stats you see below.  Some of them were completed on the Thursday night, not Wednesday, but no big deal.  I've received about 75 QSL cards so far.  I've done up my third draft of the QSL card I will be sending out.  Please see here for more info.

We have a big emergency exercise scheduled for Saturday a.m. (TopHat).  Plan on being done by noon, and then a race to the ferry terminal to try and catch the 1:20 p.m. ferry to Gibsons.  Will be helping my bro out with building his house.

October 15 - Wednesday 22:00 - Cleaning up the logs - making sure they are as clean as I can make them.  Here is the data that I have verified so far - 4,200 QSO's.

20 Meters was so good to me, that I barely worked anything else.  Here is a summary by band that I did work. I will try and work on where I had really good signal reports - as many of the reports I received were well above 5 x 9.  The actual number of contacts dropped to 4200 from 4201, as I had counted the header on the first go around.

92 DXCC ENTITIES          
Meters 15 17 20 40 Total
58 498 3624 20 4200

I've received a large number of QSL cards already. There were about 12 when I got home, and about another 40 showed up in the mail yesterday.  We haven't checked today.  I've been working on completing the draft of the QSL card - and have been talking to Fred (VE7IO) about printing the cards - he is looking for pricing for me.  I will be making the QSL cards a priority.

I tried to work as many mobile, portable and QRP stations as I could find.  Here is my final count.

Mobile   232
Marine Mobile 5
Aeronautical Mobile 2
Portable   31
QRP - Low Power 23

I was also impressed with the signal reports the station received, and the comments from so many of you on the quality and strength of the station's signal.  I did a little analysis of the log, and came up with the following:

586 10 Over
200 20 Over
34 30 Over
15 40 Over
2528 5/9

Of the 4200 contacts logged, 2528 gave me a 5/9 signal report.  Of those 2528 reports, 586 were 10 over, etc.

There were a total of 92 DXCC entities:

  15m 17m 20m 40m Total
ALASKA     7   7
ALGERIA     1   1
AMERICAN VIRGIN IS.     1   1
ANGUILLA     1   1
ANTIGUA & BARBUDA     1   1
ARGENTINA     21   21
ASIATIC RUSSIAN   1 7   8
AUSTRALIA     3   3
AUSTRIA 2   18   20
AZORES IS.     6   6
BALEARIC IS.     1   1
BARBADOS     1   1
BELGIUM   2 29   31
BELIZE     1   1
BERMUDA I.     2   2
BOLIVIA     1   1
BOSNIA-HERCEGOVINA     3   3
BRAZIL 1   20   21
BULGARIA     4   4
BYELORUSSIA     2   2
CANADA 1 18 191   210
CANARY IS. 1 3 11   15
CAYMAN IS.     1   1
CHILE 1 2 9   12
COLOMBIA   1 6   7
COSTA RICA     3   3
CRETE     3   3
CROATIA     13   13
CUBA     10   10
CZECHO   1 10   11
DENMARK     7   7
DOMINICAN REPUBLIC     7   7
ECUADOR   1 4   5
ENGLAND   10 83   93
ESTONIA     1   1
EUROPEAN RUSSIAN     29   29
FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF GERMANY   14 134   148
FEDERATION OF ST.KITTS & NEVIS IS.     1   1
FINLAND     7   7
FRANCE 8 7 43   58
GREECE   1 11   12
GUAM I.     1   1
GUANTANAMO BAY   2 3   5
HAWAIIAN IS.     3   3
HONDURAS     2   2
HUNGARY     2   2
IRELAND   2 14   16
ISRAEL   1 4   5
ITALY 9 24 284   317
JAMAICA     1   1
JAPAN   39 106   145
JERSEY     1   1
KALININGRAD     1   1
KUWAIT     1   1
LATVIA     1   1
LIBERIA     1   1
LIECHTENSTEIN     1   1
LITHUANIA     5   5
LUXEMBOURG   1 3   4
MADEIRA IS.     2   2
MARTINIQUE     3   3
MEXICO   1 21   22
MOROCCO   1 1   2
NETHERLANDS   3 43   46
NETHERLANDS ANTILLES     1   1
NIGER     1   1
NORTH KOREA     5   5
NORTHERN IRELAND   2 9   11
NORWAY     7   7
OMAN     1   1
PANAMA   2 4 1 7
POLAND     43   43
PORTUGAL 6 2 8   16
PUERTO RICO   2 17   19
REPUBLIC OF SERBIA 1   2   3
REPUBLIC OF SOUTH AFRICA     1   1
ROMANIA     7   7
SARDINIA     1   1
SCOTLAND     11   11
SLOVAKIA   1 8   9
SLOVENIA     12   12
SOUTH KOREA     3   3
SPAIN 22 14 107   143
ST.PIERRE & MIQUELON     1   1
SWEDEN     15   15
SWITZERLAND 1 4 16   21
TONGA     1   1
TRINIDAD & TOBAGO 1   7   8
U.S.A. 3 335 2075 18 2431
UKRAINE     20   20
URUGUAY 1   2   3
VENEZUELA   1 11   12
WALES     10   10

October 14 - Tuesday 12:00 - Got home late, late last night - will work on the QSL cards this weekend.

October 13 - Monday - 14:30 - Been at the Belize International Airport for a while. Caught the 9:15 a.m. flight out of Placencia this morning.  Only person on the initial leg of the journey.  Picked up another four or five people at the first stop.  We then flew into the International Airport, dropped off the people that we had picked up, and flew back to the Municipal Airport.  Interesting that it costs less to fly to the Municipal Airport than the International Airport - but you have to fly through the International Airport to get to the Municipal Airport!

Major towering cumulous clouds - those are the babies that can strike aircraft from the sky.  They contain heavy weather, updrafts and downdrafts that will exceed the climb and decent ratings on most small aircraft.  The really black ones are something that I learned to avoid and just about any cost when learning to fly in London, Ontario.  Well we had a wack of them today.

I'm sitting at the International Airport right now, and there is a major tropical downpour occurring - the water is coming down so hard it is pooling on the tarmac.  I've taken a picture and will push it up later.

Lance from Caribbean Travel had arranged for Errol to meet me and give me a tour of Belize City.  Was quite interesting.  The average income per person in Belize is around $B 4,000 per year.  Canada has its own issues with homelessness and the poor, and I had to keep reminding myself that the living conditions for someone in some of these homes would be way better than not having a home.

On the tour, I only took pictures where I felt it would not be noticed or intrusive.  I'm not a photo journalist, and making people feel small, threatened or inadequate is far from my goal.  I also didn't take a picture of a police takedown of a pedestrian by three police officers (okay the guy did look like a drug dealer - but who is doing racial profiling?).  A rule of thumb that has worked for me in the past, is unless I am introduced to the individual carrying an automatic weapon, I'm not taking his picture!  Worked for me in the past, and I see no reason to change that rule.  Didn't get that close a look, but I think it was the equivalent of an M16.

In Placencia - the police station seemed to be open all of the time - with the front door open and someone manning the desk. I didn't pop in to introduce myself, but no-one I talked to had any 'problems' or concerns with the police.  I have to admit, during my stay, I never had anything happen that made me concerned for my safety or security.

So - some facts from Errol, the tour operator, - not substantiated:

  • Schools - public and private, are associated with a church;

  • Kids pray 4 times a day - 5 days a week;

  • Belize is mostly Christian;

  • Today - Canada's Turkey Day (Thanksgiving) is also a national holiday in Belize - Columbus Day he thought;

  • Canada has invested hugely in Belize over the years;

  • The Royal Bank was big here at one time - the Scotia Bank is still large;

  • Crime against a tourist is dealt with swiftly, and strongly - usually the same day (i.e. 'no time to hire the expensive lawyer - even if they could!');

  • You will notice from the pictures that many / most of the windows / doors are barred - not because of the risk of daily B&E - but if people leave for higher ground in a hurricane, they will know their stuff is okay when they get back;

  • The Mangrove tree grows in salt water, as well as fresh water - They are the reasons that there are so many 'keays' (spelling to be confirmed), or islands off of Belize - their roots grow, providing shelter for fish, animals, insects and trap dirt, etc.;

  • These 'keays' provide substantial protection to Belize during their hurricanes and tropical storms;

  • Belize is mostly low lands - and all that I saw was only a few feet above sea level; and

  • A whole subdivision of housing was 'falling over'.  The contractor hadn't done an adequate job of the piles before the houses were built - so half of the house was sinking - many were still occupied  - and they were at a pretty good slant.

October 12 - Sunday - 19:30 - Back from dinner - on the drive into town, it was dark, and I noticed about 8 crabs on the road.  Never noticed them before - or the road kill after.  After dinner I found a couple of carcasses (when a car approaches - they turn toward the lights and put out their claws -hmmmm).   I guess the eco-system here is so efficient that by morning, the carcasses are gone!

Dinner at Wendy's was good - I had a reasonable sized lobster, and a couple of Gin and Tonics.  Driving back, there is almost a full moon, and I could see huge, towering Cumulous clouds - a line of them stretching East to the horizon.  The wind was picking up as I drove back to the shack.  I'm betting the clouds went to 30, 40 perhaps 50,000 feet.

Now that I am back at the shack, the wind is picking up, and I can feel, more than hear, the rumble of the thunder.  It seems to be North of us.  It seems like it is going to be a noisy, windy night.

I took some more pictures today - I'll work on getting them moved up before the storm hits. Here they are.

17:30 - Well I am done - it has been an awesome 8 days, but I am in the process of cleaning up and packing up.  I worked another 363 stations today - for a total of 4,201 stations.  Thanks all, it has been a very interesting experience.  I've learned a huge amount, about the hobby, people and myself.  I've made some friends - and expect that I will grow these friendships over the years.

I'm going to upload the logs, and maybe some pictures, and then head into town for a dinner - never had a dinner in town before, so it will be a new experience.

06:00 - I'm off line - disconnected from power and network.  I woke up around 4:00 a.m. today, caught up on my email.  I went to the shack early, around 4:35 or so.  I sniffed around on 20M, 15M, 12M and 10M.  No takers.  Hooked up the vertical in the lagoon, and was up on 40M in no time.  Got a few contacts in, but there was some huge thunder happening.  The whole shack would shake.  I got up a couple of times, and I could see the storm coming, but I thought it might pass East and South of my location.  About 10 minutes ago - after another look out the window, I shut the station down, and disconnected the antennas - better safe than sorry.  Had some nice Q's, mostly with the mid-West, Florida, Panama and Atlanta.

I got back into the house just before the monsoons started.  It is just coming down.  I think most of the storm did pass south of me - but I'm not going to take a chance.  I'm sitting on the front porch, enjoying the breeze and the sound of rain.  For the first time since I got here, I'm thinking I might have to put a shirt on, rather than the sleeveless T I'm wearing.  Feels wonderful.

Out on the porch, I can see the lagoon about forty feet away - the water is already starting to pool on the sand.  To the North and West, the sky is turning blue as it clears.  I need to talk to Rob and see if he would consider renting the top and bottom of the house, as well as the shack.  I'd like to come back with a couple of buddies -maybe look at setting up a station on the ground floor, and hooking in the vertical in the marsh.  Another station on the upper floor, tied into the dipole would be another option.  This would give us the opportunity to work several bands and modes together.  A benefit to me is that I always learn something when I'm operating with someone else. 

Haven't heard any thunder or seen any lightening for ten minutes - but these storms usually come in waves - I'll give it a bit more time, before I think about going back into the shack.

I've had some questions about the location here.  This might as well be as good a time as any to describe the layout.  The Peninsula runs North and South.  There is an airport to the North of the station, about 500 meters away.  The house is on the West side of the peninsula, 40 or 50 feet from the Salt Water Lagoon.  There is nice landscaping, and the walkways are all sand.  On the North East side of the property is a caretaker's house, about 100 feet from the front of the house.  On the South side of the caretaker's house is the Ham Shack.  There is a big garage in front of the property.  The road into the house, is dirt, off of the main paved road running North and South on the Peninsula.  I'm guessing from the Lagoon side to the Caribbean side is about 500 meters at this point.

Everything seems to be sand - everywhere you look, or tread, it is sand.  The roads that aren't paved are made out of a reddish mud.  The Caribbean side has the nicest beaches - and that is where the majority of the resorts have been built.  It looks like they have dug out the jungle and they rake the sand every day.  There are a half a dozen resorts within walking distance of the house.  The sand is absolutely beautiful.  In the village, it looks like all of the houses are build on sand, and there is sand everywhere.

There is a grocery store, which I think caters to tourists, about 500 meters away.  It was closed for the season when I was here.  It was necessary to go into Placencia Village, where there are a number of grocery stores.  They are pretty simple - mostly canned and bottled goods, frozen meats and I haven't seen a lot of fresh vegetables.

Back to the property - there is a 2 element, 5 band Quad antenna on a tower attached to the house - at about 30 feet.  I can't believe how well it works, and the signal reports it has generated.  There is a vertical antenna in the Lagoon, in the salt water.  It is resonant on 40m and 80m, and can be used with the tuner as well.  There is, I believe, a 160m dipole on the North side of the property.  Above the Shack is a 6 meter Yagi.

It is 6:30 now, and to the North and West it is clear and sunny - big black clouds East and South - don't think I'm going to be working radio for a while.  Just plugged into the network connection, and it looks like the DSL is down.  Can still hear the crumps from the thunder, but it is a fair distance away - East and South of here look just plain nasty.

There are clothe lines in the covered porch to hang clothes.  I just took down a short sleeved shirt that had been hanging there, and it was still damp.  I think it takes forever to dry something here.  It is interesting - looks like everyone has an outdoor clothes line, but with the humidity so high, and given that it rains a couple of times a day - how do they ever get the clothes dry? 

I've arranged to fly into the Municipal airport on Monday (tomorrow), leaving Placencia at 9:15 a.m.  I'll try and find a taxi driver that is willing to give me a tour of Belize City for a couple of hours - might as well do something with my travel day.  Then out to the International airport, and wait around for the flight.  Like most places, you have to check in two hours before flight time.  It will be a long travel day tomorrow - I am scheduled to get into Vancouver at about 12:30 a.m. on Tuesday.

It is now 7:10 - still looking a bit ugly out there.  I've cleaned up - and I think I will head into town for breakfast - will probably get soaked, but I'll dry.

October 11 - Saturday 20:00 - Making some dinner - decided to save the chicken for tomorrow's breakie.  There is another big storm North and West of here.  Sitting in the living room I can see the sky light up - the lightening looks very high - the whole horizon lights up.  It might be sheet lightening - it is so wide.  Humidity has dropped, there is a bit of a breeze - it is a nice evening.

Saturday 19:00 - 561 Contacts today - for a total of 3848 contacts total in the last seven days.  Added the following countries, that I recall, today - Morocco,  Bosnia-Hercegovina, and Kuwait.  I talked to some of the guys from BC, VE7NX (Jerry), VE7AZQ (Al) and a couple of others.  I'm still trying to catch up with some of the other guys I would like to work before I am done.  One day left guys.  John Brodie - we need to work on Sunday when you get home from Hawaii.

Worked the pileups for about six hours straight first thing this a.m.  I am going to try and upload some of the audio.  I then went into town, and grabbed two chicken dinners, one for lunch and one for dinner tonight - not exactly gourmet fare - but it was quick, healthy, and it got me back on the radio.  Some of the pileups have been incredibly huge.  I have to go with the numbers, where you call for stations with only a zero in there, call, and then try and pull them out of the noise.  Once you have that station done, go with one, then two , etc.  Some of the stations don't listen 'too well' and continue calling right through all of the numbers.  Doesn't matter - I'm only going to take the call with the number I am calling  - it is painful, but without doing it this way, it would be worse than pandemonium.  Doesn't matter that it is difficult - this is the way it has to be done.

I work a lot of mobile HF - and my home station is pretty small.  Here in Belize, at this station, if I can hear you, I will work you.  There is a very low noise floor here at the station, and if I can get all of the stations to standby - I can work just about any station, no matter how far down in the noise floor.  I know it can be frustrating, but as a 'little pistol' home station, I know what a feeling it is to crack a pileup and get that DX station in your log. 

I can't believe the number of Mobile stations I have been able to work, and not just in North America.  In addition, the number of QRP stations that are getting big signals out is amazing.  As well, a lot of portable stations are out there - worked at least one today, picnic table portable in a park.  Awesome!

October 10 - Friday 19:30 - Worked 20 meters again today - then went into town for lunch.  Went to BJ's Restaurant - which is basically a balcony on the second floor of a house.  I had their Lobster lunch today - $20 Belize for a lobster - $25 Belize for 2.  I had the two - as they were small.  Excellent - along with a couple of Belize sodas. (Belize dollars are 2 to 1 to American dollars).

Lance from Caribbean Travel picked me up and we went north to look at Gord's property.  We found it, and I got a few pictures for him.  By the time we got back, there wasn't time for sunshine so went right back to the radio.  Couldn't find a spot on 20 meters - so went to 17.  Only one person there when I got started - but quickly generated a pileup.  The Japan stations found me - and I could barely hear them - they are like 1 and 1 - there was little to no noise floor, but they were almost at a whisper level.  I worked quite a number of them, but they were very difficult to hear.  They were hearing me 55 to 59 - but I was hearing them, when I could, at mostly 1 and 1.

Moved back up to 20 meters later in the afternoon - and worked another big group of mostly North American hams, with a couple of dozen Japan hams as well.  I also worked into Oman, and another South Korean station.  I also got an African station in the log.  I've basically pointed the Quad North - maybe a little bit East, and I'm working North America, Europe, Asia, Africa and the Middle East.  This setup is unbelievable - and the signal reports are consistently excellent - 59 to 59 forty over for probably 80% of the contacts.  Wow! 

What an awesome community of people - I've worked some huge pileups and almost without an exception, they have been professional, and extremely competent.  Thanks all.

I did a bit more asking around - and there is a minimum wage law in Belize - it is around $B 2.75 an hour or about $1.35 US.  A can of baked beans is about $B 2.75.  A bottle of wine at the grocery store is $B 27 to 47 each - and it isn't that good.  You can buy a local beer in the bar for $B2 - but a glass of wine will cost you $B 14.75. 

Vegetables aren't that readily available.  At one of the local bars I ordered the vegi plate, and it was 75% pickled vegi's.  

October 9 - Thursday 19:30 - Went for a walk up the beach - north to the airport, and then south a ways.  This was on the Caribbean side of the Peninsula.  There is a ton of garbage on the beaches that aren't cleaned each day.  Veronique indicated to me that tons of garbage have floated ashore, and the general feeling is that it is coming from an island off of Hawaii - as a result of a Tsunami hitting the 'garbage' island.  Not sure if it is true, but there is so much garbage it might be true.

I went into Placencia - and walked for kilometers around the beach, and the village.  Took some pictures, which I will push them up later tonight. There are some beautiful beaches here.  Supposedly across the road from here is Francis Ford Coppolla's (sp) place - I took some pictures.

Heard again today that there were a ton of Japan station's calling me.  I moved the Quad in their direction - and couldn't hear them.  Moved the Quad back, and still couldn't hear them.  I've worked a few - but they are hearing me a lot better than I am hearing them.

October 8 - Wednesday 20:35 - Slow start - big finish today. 2571 Total Q's, 397 Q's today - bands started really slow and then finished well.  Here is a summary of the countries below - have a total of 84 DXCC entities - the ???? are mostly portable and QRP stations that I have to correct the calls. There are some dups'. 

Count of CALL  
DXCC Total
???????????????????? 7
ALASKA 4
ALGERIA 1
AMERICAN VIRGIN IS. 1
ANTIGUA & BARBUDA 1
ARGENTINA 18
ASIATIC RUSSIAN 2
AUSTRALIA 2
AUSTRIA 14
AZORES IS. 6
BALEARIC IS. 1
BELGIUM 24
BELIZE 1
BERMUDA I. 2
BOLIVIA 1
BOSNIA-HERCEGOVINA 1
BRAZIL 11
BULGARIA 4
BYELORUSSIA 2
CANADA 132
CANARY IS. 10
CAYMAN IS. 1
CHILE 8
COLOMBIA 4
COSTA RICA 2
CRETE 2
CROATIA 10
CUBA 6
CZECHO 6
DENMARK 3
DOMINICAN REPUBLIC 6
ECUADOR 3
ENGLAND 54
ESTONIA 1
EUROPEAN RUSSIAN 25
FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF GERMANY 100
FEDERATION OF ST.KITTS & NEVIS IS. 1
FINLAND 5
FRANCE 30
GREECE 7
GUAM I. 1
GUANTANAMO BAY 1
HAWAIIAN IS. 2
HONDURAS 1
HUNGARY 2
IRELAND 10
ISRAEL 3
ITALY 203
JAPAN 87
JERSEY 1
KALININGRAD 1
LATVIA 1
LIBERIA 1
LIECHTENSTEIN 1
LITHUANIA 5
LUXEMBOURG 3
MADEIRA IS. 1
MARTINIQUE 2
MEXICO 17
NETHERLANDS 33
NETHERLANDS ANTILLES 1
NORTH KOREA 3
NORTHERN IRELAND 7
NORWAY 7
PANAMA 1
POLAND 33
PORTUGAL 8
PUERTO RICO 12
ROMANIA 7
SARDINIA 1
SCOTLAND 8
SLOVAKIA 7
SLOVENIA 8
SOUTH KOREA 2
SPAIN 85
ST.PIERRE & MIQUELON 1
SWEDEN 13
SWITZERLAND 13
TAIWAN 1
TONGA 1
TRINIDAD & TOBAGO 6
U.S.A. 1415
UKRAINE 15
URUGUAY 2
VENEZUELA 9
WALES 9
Grand Total 2570

 

October 7 - Tuesday 21:45 - Another major storm running through here - then the lightening started - hmmm - I didn't disconnect the antennas - so out in the rain (serious rain) and disconnected the antennas.  Really blowing hard - serious rain.  It is raining so hard I keep losing the satellite tv!

20:00 - Big day today - more than 2173 contacts at the end of today.  About 583 contacts today.  Huge storm came in early today - and I did the right thing by shutting down.  It looked identical to yesterday, but it turned out there was no lightening.  I went into town, and got absolutely soaked.  Had a nice breakfast, and got soaked again coming back to the shack.

Huge rainfall today - I took some pictures, which I will try and upload later this evening.  Huge pools of water, and a creek running past the shack.  Then it cleared up, got warmer and very muggy. 

What a beautiful day for radio - huge pileups into Europe, so big that I had to work the stations by whether they had a 0, 1, 3 etc. in their call.  Thanks all that put up with pileups and worked me - it is very much appreciated.  The North American pileups were a lot easier to work.  Many Japan stations - I worked some, but just couldn't hear them - I tried - but they were way down in the noise floor.  I need to get up really early and work the Japan stations.  I've not been setting an alarm, and have been getting up around 5:30 - going to have to break down and set the alarm - but not tonight.

Pictures on the Caribbean side of the Peninsula - close to the shack

After the major storm this a.m., pictures around the shack, the house and the Lagoon

October 6  - Monday - 20:30 - Finished up for the day - worked a bunch of JA (Japan) stations this evening.  Awesome pileups into North America.  Talked to Ben VA7BKL mobile in his car.  Worked two South Korean stations, an Australian station East to West, and another Australian station long path over the North Pole.  A few new countries in South America.  I will try and do a count of the countries later this evening.

Didn't even get onto 40 meters - was too busy on 20!  The log files are printed out and pasted into this page.

9:15 Working on the laptop - no network or power attached.  Major electrical storm passing through.  I think it is mostly going on either side of me, but it was best to err on the side of cautionWouldn't want to get the Ham Radio Darwinian award for stupidity - posthumously!   On the house that I am staying in, the big quad is on the end of the building, just above the bedroom.  I'm sitting in the living room right now, and looking north - lots of forked lightening and thunder from that direction now.  There is a nice, cooling breeze however.

Last night I was woken up to the sound of a torrential downpour.  Remember that this level of the house is wide open to the world, via screened in and covered porches.  The roof is metal, and although there was no lightening or thunder, it rained an incredible amount.  Probably for about two hours.  Water was pooled everywhere this a.m.  The lightening has moved about 13 seconds away now (see lightening - hear thunder).  Just looked to the East - out over the Caribbean, and I can see some blue sky breaking out.  However there is still some pretty dark looking clouds headed this way.  I'll give it a bit longer before I take another run at hooking up the radio.

Went into town yesterday, and as I was leaving the property, there were a bunch of mean looking birds at the front of the driveway.  I'm pretty sure they were buzzards.  I got some pictures, I'll just have to load them up and see how they turned out. (Turned out they are Vultures) I'm going to try and get an hour or two of sun today (assuming it comes out) and go for a walk along the beach.  At the end of the operating session yesterday I was beat.  Hunched over the keyboard isn't the best position for posture I'm sure.  Might be cranking the Tylenols this afternoon.

I'm going to try and get up on 40 meters tonight.  20 dropped off pretty fast.  Worked a huge pileup into North America all afternoon and into the early evening.  Finally got to the point where I had to call Uncle and go get some more water and some wine for the sore back.  Did a quiet dinner for myself at the house, and made it an early night.  The plan was to get up  really early this a.m. and work into Europe - but the loud rainfall last night and the lack of sleep changed that.  New plan for Tuesday a.m. 

Want to try and work some more of the guys in BC today.  Mario - VA7WOP is on my list of calls to get in the log book.  Wouldn't mind trying Jeff - VE7HPS and Ben VA7BKL.  Worked both of those guys a couple of years ago when I was visiting aboard the Missouri in Hawaii. Jeff is working off a buddy pole in his apartment, and Ben with an ATAS120A.

8:34 - Working into Europe - big pileup.  Huge electrical storm moving in above me.  I've signed off and unplugged the antennas and am shutting down until it passes.

October 5, 2008 - Got up around 5:30 this a.m.  It wasn't early enough.  Bands were booming into Europe - Huge Pileups.  Worked about 180 contacts, and it was the hard way.  I'll take a look at the number of countries later today, but there some new ones.  Going to go into town and get some breakfast now.  The log files are printed out and pasted into this page.  I taped about two hours of the pileup - but it is too big to put on the website - I need to work on a way of compressing them.  What a blast though - appreciated everyone's patience with working me through the pileup.

20:30 Local time - I went at it hard today - wow

180 Contacts this morning before Breakfast - huge into Europe

576 Contacts this afternoon - evening

Total of 756 Contacts today

Total of 420 Contacts yesterday

Total of 1076 Contacts this weekend

Total of 60 countries.

October 4, 2008 -Saturday - Bit of an overlap with the musings below.  It is about 5:45 in the a.m.  Just getting light.  Been up for awhile.  It rained off and on all night - not hard, but just steady.  The whole house is windows - screened in, but open windows.  The dog coughs and you hear it.  I didn't have much time to shop yesterday evening, so will take care of it this morning.  Left over canned 'stuff' for breakie isn't very appealing.

I will wait until the sun comes out before I take any pictures.  Lots of sand - right on the lagoon side of the peninsula. Also lots of bugs.  Not too bad, but those of you that are familiar with Northern BC will know what I am talking about when I say no-seeums.  I've switched on the ceiling fans and the little guys don't fly so well in the turbulence.

Okay - I'm online - just found the DSL cable.

16:45 Local time - Got into the station this morning - hooked up everything I could find.  No key!  I need to poke around a bit, as I know the web site indicates there is a key.  I worked about 231 stations in four hours.  Wow - only the second time I have ever been on this side of a pileup!  Thank you all for your patience.  I will head down to the shack shortly, and see if I can work a few more stations.  I will start with Europe, but I think it is getting late there.  I will then move the quad around and try Western US and Canada.

19:44 Local Time - Had a good run on 20 this afternoon.  Went into the shack at about 5:15 p.m. local time.  Worked Western US, British Columbia and a wack of Japanese stations - more stations than I could hear clear enough to work them, but I got some of them in the log.  I think I left it too late to go to the shack in the afternoon.  I'll try it earlier tomorrow.

Got VE7NX (Jerry).  He could hear me all morning working into Europe, but I was down S3 or so.  Not surprising - given that the Quad was pointed the other way.  VE7AVN (Mike) - good signal.  VE7IO (Fred) worked him barefoot to start with while his amp warmed up - good signal for 100 Watts Fred.

I think I am going to try and get up early enough to work into Europe tomorrow morning.  It took me a while to get organized this a.m. - find everything that was unpluged and needed to be plugged back in again.  Took my time, Val the caretaker stopped by and helped me, and we got it done.  I recorded an hour of the pile ups from Europe - just it is 30 MB.  Need to find a way to compress it down to something a bit more manageable.

The log files are printed out and pasted into this page

October 3, 2008 - Friday - Headed out to the airport about 10:45, right after I finished a conference call.  Flight wasn't until 1:30 so had lots of time to work on my laptop, and clean up some things.  Flight was uneventful - I think we flew over Galveston, Texas as we cleared the coast.  Beautiful down there, but I can see why the storm did so much damage.  Houses are right on the beach.

We got into Belize City about 20 minutes early, after a beautiful flight across the Gulf of Mexico, and across Mexico.  First impressions of Belize - thought I was in Manitoba - lots of water, lots of lakes, dirty looking water everywhere.  Did notice that there were no SAM (Surface Air Missiles) tracking the plane on this landing (last time I landed in Belize was about 25 years ago - and the highlight of landing in Belize, back then, was the local SAM battery using us as a practice target).  Clearing Customers and Immigration was a non-event.  Checked into Maya Island Air - people were very friendly and helpful.  I walked across the parking lot and rented a cell phone.  Thought long and hard about it, but a cell phone isn't a bad thing when you are alone.

Cleared through Security and waited for my flight.  Had a couple of 'sodas' in Jet's Bar - the social highlight of the Belize City airport.  Flight to Placencia was uneventful - lots of high cumulous clouds.  We never went above 2000 feet, and spent most of the time at around 1000 feet.

Veronique met me at the airport.  What a sweetheart.  She owns the local travel agency and has been a huge help with getting my license so I can operate in Belize. She brought a golf cart, and brought my luggage and I to the accommodations.   She explained along the way that there was an unusual power outage - it had lasted about three hours already.  By the time we had dropped my gear off, checked out the 'Shack' and driven into town it was getting dark.  So - it was more like driving into Beruit - everyone was out of their homes, on the street.  A couple of stores were open, with generators putting away.  I rented a Golf Cart for the week - there are two bikes - but - well, a Golf Cart can be a good thing.

I stopped by one of the markets that were open, and picked up something for dinner.  We're not talking fine dining here.  Three cans and a bottle of red wine.  Got back to the accommodations (thanks Veronique - she showed me the way in her van - it was dark out there), and using the light of my rental phone, managed to unlock the main door and get into the house.  Got a few candles going, and it was quite comfy.  The hurricane lamps need a tune-up - couldn't get them to work.

It is currently 5:40 in the a.m. on Saturday, October 4th as I'm typing this.  Beautiful morning.  Yes - I've been awake for a couple of hours.  Just starting to get light.

It took a bit of work, but I got the stove going, and warmed up my not so gourmet meal.  The upper floor of the house has a wrap around, screened in deck on two sides.  It is huge.  I had dinner on the deck, with a candle for company.  I could hear the water in the lagoon once in a while.  I had brought along a mini-mag rechargeable flashlight, and it got a bit of a workout last night. 

Val (the live on site custodian) fired up the generator for an hour or so, and he and his wife checked on me in the early evening.  Nice people - they have five little girls - I'm sure I will meet them all today.  There is supposed to be DSL in the house and the shack - haven't found it in the house yet, but I will take a look once it gets light.

The power came back on in the middle of the night - I didn't bother with the air - just the fan above the bed.  I started in the hammock on the deck, but once the power came back on I moved into the bedroom. 

October 3, 2008 - Woke up early (5:30 a.m. local time).  Went for a walk. Last night I dug up the rest of the info I needed for travelling today.  I'm flying Continental to Belize City, with an expected arrival time of 3:00 p.m. local time.  I am on the 4:30 flight with Maya Island Air (MIA), and should get into Placencia around 5:15 p.m. Downloaded Easy Log, and I'm experimenting with this program.

October 2, 2008 - Before I forget - the phone numbers and email address on the www.wishwilly.net site are incorrect for getting your Belize license.  They are as follows: 011 501 223 4938 is the new PUC office number - Telecom@puc.bz is the address.  I will give you a warning that most / all of the emails I sent to this address were returned about 36 hours later, undelivered.  I ended up using one of the very kindly PUC employee's personal email addresses. 

I'm in Houston - overnighting.  Tough to get a hotel room - contractors, security people are taking up all of the rooms available in town.  Talked to one tree cutter in the elevator and he said you should have seen the place they stayed in last night - it was a wreck.  Got about 1.5 hours of sunshine this afternoon - still working on the CW.... Went to a mall, and got the last couple of things I need for the trip.

Conference call in the a.m., 1:30 p.m. flight to Belize. 

October 1, 2008 - Spent last night at a hotel near the airport in Vancouver.  I live a long way from the Airport, and having the extra hassle of getting up really early, fighting my way through traffic, and then the hordes at the airport just wasn't attractive.  Got a good night's sleep, at the airport early, beat the rush and can relax and catch up on a few things.

I'm packed - at least as well as I'm going to be.  Still need to locate a better logging program than I have on my laptop.  Continuing to work on my CW (Morse Code).  I fly Vancouver to Houston this morning, and overnight in Houston.  The flight to Belize is at 1:30 p.m. on Friday (tomorrow).  I've got some time to kill in Houston, so will try and make the best use of it that I can.

I received copies of my import permit for radio gear, my radio certificate and a wallet size permission to operate.  I paid for this year and 2009 on my Belize Ham Radio license.  If I enjoy this visit, I might try and do it again in the spring.  The travel agency that I have been dealing with has been very helpful in not only getting the license, but getting copies of it and getting them to me.  I feel a lot better about having a copy with me, then hoping it was going to be there waiting for me.

It is going to take a day or two to get into vacation mode.  I'm not leaving my projects as neatly 'tied up' as I would liked to have, so can use a little of my travel time to address those concerns.

September 29, 2008 - Did a Justice Institute Radio Station Manager's course on Sunday - beautiful day to spend it in a classroom.  Gradually pulling together all of my gear.  Busy day today, work wise, as I try and finish things off enough to leave on Thursday a.m.

September 26, 2008 - Friday before I leave for Belize.  Working on my CW with my MFJ Morse Tutor.  Also working on the web site.  I've got a memory keyer that I would like to figure out this weekend as well - I'm nervous about trying CW, but it is something that I have wanted to be able to do my entire life.  I'm currently working with all characters and numbers at Farnsworth 20 / 15.  I know I am making progress, as the characters and numbers 'pop' into my head as soon as I hear them.  There are still a few letters that I am tripping over - I get them, but I miss the next character.

 

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