Belize 2005

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Click here to see Mayan archeology sites


Here we are at Xunantunich.  Left to right:  Alan NSØB, John WCØW, Bill NUØQ.

I accompanied John, WCØW and Alan, NSØB to Belize in February, 2005 for the ARRL DX CW Contest.  John has relatives in Belize, including his cousin, Daniel, who owns the Cahal Pech Resort in San Ignacio, Cayo District, Belize.  Daniel let us set up antennas at his personal residence next door to the resort, so we could operate from a cabana at the resort.  John stores antennas and other equipment there for his regular trips for the ARRL DX contest.  

Alan and I arrived at the Belize City airport on Wednesday before the contest.  We got through customs quickly and met John and a driver from the resort.  We quickly made it over to the administration building at the western edge of Belize City, where we got our licenses with 10 minutes to spare before closing time.  A license for the calendar year costs twenty U.S. dollars, and renewals are cheaper.  I received only a receipt for the license fee with my callsign written on it and a promise that the license will be mailed to my home address.  I got my first choice for a callsign, V31BC.  Alan renewed his V31EV license, and John already had his V31TP ticket.  With our licenses in hand, we headed west for the 90 minute trip to San Ignacio.  

We spent all day Thursday setting up antennas, trouble-shooting problems with coax, tuning the 160 meter vertical, and rebuilding the 40 and 80 meter dipoles.  We each operated a bit with our own Belizean callsigns on Thursday evening.  Our antenna work continued on Friday until everything was working perfectly.  The resort is at the crest of a hill, with a sharp dropoff to the north, so it's an excellent site for antennas pointed to the U.S.  We finished with four hours to spare before the contest, so we visited the Cahal Pech national historic site, a Mayan ruin located about one block east of the resort.  We also spend some time relaxing in the pool before eating dinner and starting the contest.  The resort has a pool, bar, gourmet restaurant, and offers tours to many sites in the Cayo district.

Click here to see the website of the Cahal Pech Resort

The three of us each worked a four-hour shift during the first 12 hours of the contest.  After that, we scheduled three-hour shifts, although we traded off more frequently during the daylight hours.  The schedule worked well, as nobody was scheduled for the same time of day on both days.  We rented two cabanas, so two people could sleep in one room while the third person operated the station.  

After the contest, we took antennas down on Monday, packed up everything, and then took a side trip to Xunantunich, another Mayan ruin located about five miles to the west, very near the border with Guatemala.  It is reached by crossing the river via a hand-cranked ferry and driving another mile or so up the hill.  From the top of El Castillo, the largest structure on the site, the views are impressive.  On Tuesday, we left the resort, stopped for some last-minute gift shopping, and headed back to the airport for the trip home.


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