Six members of the Kansas City DX Club journeyed to V31 land for the QCWW Phone contest the last weekend of October, 2ØØØ. What a blast!!
We were concerned about the effects of the Hurricane that sweep up the Belize coast just a week before our arrival, however Rickís, (V31RS Ė our host), QTH is 5Ø miles inland and didnít sustain any adverse wear and tear. Several of the resorts on the coastal islands were shutdown a few weeks. The storm dumped 4Ø inches over all of Belize and caused flooding everywhere that was still evident along the coast when we arrived.
Over the River... The Belize River was still high and moving very swiftly. There are four ways to get across the river. During low water conditions, not while we were there, you just drive across the bridge. The second is the use the WW2 British Commando boat which is attached to a rope stretched across the river and is pulled hand over hand by a member of the staff at The Banana Bank Lodge that provide us with meals and lodging during our stay. The third is to park on one side, walk across an Indiana Jones style suspension footbridge and get into your second vehicle, which is left north of the river for just such occurrences. The forth is a ferryboat. Let me describe this device. It looks like three sections of a WW2 British pontoon bridge which have been secured together, with a deck bolted to the top and ramps added at each end. The ferry is keep from being sweep down stream by two cables, which span the river at the top of the banks upstream. There are four cables, which run from pulleys that traverse these wires and are attached to the ferry. A third cable spans the river just down stream from these two and is used to move the ferry across. This cable is wound around a capstan that normally is operated by two large wheels that drive a gearbox from an automobile rear end. The Ferryman toils on one and a member of the party crossing the river have the privilege of turning the other. This method takes about 2Ø minutes. We were lucky, the Mennonites were harvesting their crops when we left. They have a hydraulic device, driven by a tractor, which decreases the trip to about four minutes.
Through the Woods... isnít nearly as exciting or diverse, just a quarter mile walk from Banana Bank to Rickís. However it was pitch black after the sun sets and the path is about a block from and parallel to the river.
We arrived at Banana Bank late on Tuesday afternoon, Oct 24th, stowed our clothes in the cabana and relaxed a little before supper, had a "Bilikins", a Belize beer and the only brand available. After supper we went over to Rickís to check out the operating position and antennas. I started setting up my station, took almost everything but my linear. I finished well after dark, was the last one there and didnít have a flashlight. Spend the first of many nights sleeping on the couch in the basement next to the shack. In fact I spent every night there, except the last one, as I operated late on 4Ø Meters into the states and on 2Ø Meters early morning into the Australia and New Zealand area. Until the last night I probably didnít get more than three or four hours a night but I went to Belize to operate the radio, AND I DID!
We knew Rick had two rigs, two verticals, a beam and a linear amp. We didnít know how well any of them would work. Rickís rigs worked fine as did one of the verticals and the beam. The rotor required some TLC. Steveís KW amp died on Thursday afternoon and we never did get it or Rickís amp working.
Operating before the contest
My reasons for going included trying to work all contents, states and 1ØØ countries plus being on the receiving end of a DX pileup and seeing what kind of rate I could achieve. I logged 1Ø15 QSOs before and after the contest using V31TD. I worked all six continents, fifty states and 56 countries. Guess Iíll have to go again sometime to get the other 44 for DXCC. Before the contest I had two occasions when I ran over 1ØØ Qís an hour for four and five hours straight. Itís hard to describe how much fun that kind of operating is. I had contacts from 4Ø to 1Ø Meters including WARC on CW and Phone.
Bill operated a lot of RTTY and Steve a lot of CW, Alan was mostly SSB, Mac even got on for a while. I donít know how many Qís they had but Bill ordered 5ØØ QSLs from NØTT at South Side before he left. I ordered mine after we got back.
We started operating at ØØØØZ on 28 Oct and finished at 2359 on the 29th. During this period everyone that wanted to operated got to operate. We didnít get as many Qs or multipliers as we wanted. At one point I had a rate of 24Ø Qís per hour going, Bill hit 316. I donít know how he types that fast, it must be the RTTY he operates. Our efforts netted us 5338 QSO and over 4 million points.
I started tearing down late Monday afternoon. I had to get all my equipment back into two 21" pullmen suitcases. I finished packing before supper and keep Steve company as he operated Rickís rig until he had to quit for supper.
My last QSO was with Julio, EA8ANI at 2347Z on 1Ø-3Ø-2ØØØ on 28.45ØMhz, we exchanged 59 reports.
The Final Irony
We went to Belize representing The Kansas City DX Club, none of us live in Kansas City.
Interesting Facts about BelizeThere area only three traffic lights in Belize.
tnx, gd dx es cu down the log, 73
de V31TD/NØUF op Bob qth Gladstone MO USA tu ..