Welcome to my ham radio page. It's not as elaborate as some I've seen on the Internet but, hopefully, you'll find it interesting and perhaps even useful.
My callsign is VP9ID and I've been licensed since 1975. Although I'm not as active on the radio now, as when I first got on the air, it's still a fun hobby for me. The reason I got my license was to meet and talk to people from all around the world. I have no interest in the electronics side of the hobby, only the communications side. It's a wonderful opportunity to make new friends and I've been lucky enough to meet many great people over the years.
In order to become a licensed ham operator in Bermuda, I had to sit the local examination, which was a combination of morse code and electronics theory. The thought of learning the morse code scared me at first, but I finally decided to have a crack at it. Once I learned the basics, I discovered it wasn't so frightening after all. In fact, it became fun after awhile.
At the time, there was only one class of license available and it required we be able to successfully copy 13 words per minute of morse code. Today, we also have a novice license which requires a person to successfully copy only 5 words per minute of morse code. However, the operating privileges of a novice class operator are very restricted, whereas a fully licensed Bermuda ham operator has the same privileges as a U.S. extra class operator, and more.
Once a person becomes licensed here, he is restricted to morse code only until he has completed 500 morse code contacts on the air. Only after that "amazing feat" has been accomplished, can he use a microphone to talk to other hams. Personally, I'd like to see that requirement removed because I think it has acted as a deterent to some folks who would have liked to become a ham operator. I think the requirement to learn morse code, in order to achieve a license, should remain. A ham radio license is a privilege which should be earned.
MY STATION is a fairly modest one. I use a Kenwood TS-850S radio, which runs at 100 watts. During a world-wide contest (other than the Bermuda Contest), I sometimes kick in the Ameritron AL-811H amplifier, which runs about 700 watts of power. Living on an island, like Bermuda, we don't usually need extra power to make a regular contact because the surrounding water seems to boost our signals tremendously. But, in order to compete with the big boys in a contest, a little bit of "kickapoo juice" is needed to be heard!
The antennas I use are a Force 12, 8-element beam at 60 feet and an Alpha Delta DX-A twin sloper for 160-80-40. The Force 12 beam also includes a rotatable 40m dipole on the mast as one of the elements and covers 10-15-20, as well as the WARC bands. Here's a picture of my radio, along with my "secret weapon" (the cat finds the rare DX for me!) and a picture of the antenna:
MY OPERATING TIME is usually just on a Sunday morning, on 14.275 MHz, at 13:00 UTC, or 12:00 UTC during daylight savings time. Along with a friend, WB2FSL (Bob), I started the "Bermuda Net" on that frequency during the early part of 1976. We would get together on the frequency every Saturday and Sunday morning for a chat, which usually lasted an hour or so. Some months later, a number of U.S. hams, who often visited Bermuda, discovered where we were and joined in. Over the years, this gathering has grown tremendously and sometimes we have in excess of 20 hams participating. It's a very informal Net and we have a great time, with lots of laughs.
I also participate in a couple of contests, during the year, mainly the Bermuda Contest, the CQWW SSB Contest and the ARRL SSB Contest. The Bermuda Contest is an individual operator contest, while the others can be either individual or team. I usually operate with one or two other operators, from my station, in those. More on that later.
So far, I've been lucky enough to win the overall trophy, for the Bermuda Contest, 5 times and also won the CW section of the contest one year when no one was looking! For some strange reason, the local hams follow me around the bands during our contest, which is probably why they never win it. They know VP9ID is the Number One Station in ALL OF BERMUDA, according to many of my fans, and these guys do their utmost to be just like me. Don't believe it? Just take a look at this next photo:
There's Tony, VP9LR, on the left and Jeff, AJ2U, on the right at Tony's house. Just look at their shirts! It really is a huge responsibility, constantly having to set the example for all of these fellows, and they sure are hard to train!
CONTESTING is a part of the hobby that I sometimes enjoy, but certainly am not fanatical about. The only contest I really participated in, until 1995, was the Bermuda Contest. It's more fun-oriented, although the reward of winning it is also appealing, particularly to the overseas winners, who were able to get a free trip to the island in order to claim their prize.
My pal Jeff, AJ2U, started to visit me in 1995, on a regular basis, in order that we could do some contesting from my place. Although it was mostly for fun, we actually did quite well from here. This, of course, gave me more "boasting rights" when on the local 2m repeater! If you haven't guessed it by now, we're a bunch of crazy Bermudians down here and give each other a hard time (for fun) at every opportunity.
In March 1998, Jeff and I were joined by John, N2KJM, in the ARRL SSB Contest. We made just over 5,600 contacts for a total of about 4.5 million points, during that 48 hour period. Of course, it was a constant struggle for me to keep these two guys operating because they kept disappearing, leaving me to do all the work! Just take a look at what they were up to when I wasn't looking:
|Ready to tour the island||Catching some "rays"|
And they told their wives that they were down here to operate in a radio contest! Too bad they're not rich fellows because I could really hold them to ransom! Actually, they both worked very hard, during that weekend, and "Team 98" had a lot of fun while racking up the contest points. Here's some photos of the contest action:
Jeff enjoys operating at any time, during a contest, so we assigned him the graveyard shift both nights. He doesn't usually sleep too much when he's here but, after the second night shift, he slept for hours, then complained because we didn't wake him. Just look how happy he is, being able to operate a "real" radio station! I'll bet he'd like to have a TS-850S in his own shack!!
Here's John racking up the points. I'm surprised the poor boy had any energy left because I kept him busy, at first, fixing some computer problems I had been having. One of the computers needed "major surgery" and John was kind enough to spend hours on it while we worked on antennas. John also took some time to make some personal CW contacts with his own /VP9 call after the contest was over.
The guys finally gave me a chance to sit down and make some contacts during the contest. As you can see, it's not the neatest of stations, but it sure can get out when it needs to. It's so much nicer to immediately log contacts with a computer these days, rather than have to scribble them down in a log book and then try to figure out, later on, what it is that you actually wrote!
The time we spent together that weekend went by too quickly and, unfortunately, the guys had to fly back home on the Monday. Jeff usually stays an extra day and we try to go out on the golf course to get some exercise to relieve some of the tension from contesting, but they had to get back to work. Either that or John was afraid I'd find some more computer work for him to do around here! I'm hoping Jeff and John will make this an annual event from now on and we can strive to improve our score in each contest.
|Jeff (AJ2U) and John (N2KJM)||The VP9ID Station in action|
The guys also have their own web pages. Click the links below to visit them.
Jeff - AJ2U John - N2KJM
2 METER OPERATIONS in Bermuda takes place on our local repeaters. The main machine is 146.34/146.94 while our secondary machine is 146.22/146.82 and there are only a handful of us that are active these days. We have a weekly Monday Night Net at 8:00 p.m. where we gather for updates, weather reports, swap shop and a "trivia question of the week." Transmission is in the FM mode only, although a couple of us have the capability to operate SSB and CW on that band also. We've also just introduced an IRLP link on the repeater, which has allowed us to talk to our ham friends around the world over 2 meters. To find out more about IRLP, click here. Recently, the Mid Ocean News did an article on my ham radio operations. If you'd like to read it, click here.
If you happen to be visiting the island, and have a 2m radio with you, take a listen each weekday morning, between 8:00 and 8:30, and you'll be lucky enough to hear the "Do Nuthin Net." There are four of us, who make up this motley crew, but we do allow a couple of other "lost souls" to join in from time to time, only because they need our professional guidance! Here's a picture of the "Do Nuthin Byes" for you to see:
|Tony (LR), Doug (KL), Glen (ID) and Tom (KG)|
Believe it or not, we actually do some sensible things on 2 meters as well. We provide communications for the annual Bermuda 10K and Marathon road race; we've participated in the annual Santa Parade, as well as the annual "Round The Sound" swim, to name a few. We also provide marine communications for the annual Newport to Bermuda and Marion to Bermuda yacht races. Although our numbers have become fewer over the years, the main group of us enjoy assisting the community whenever we can.
THANKS for visiting my ham radio page. I'll leave you with some links to other sites you may find of interest but please come back for another look sometime. I will try to have some additional photos, etc., available the next time you're here. For now, best 73's and hope to hear you on the air.
|The 599 DX Report||American Radio Relay League|
|Dayton Hamvention Info|
|Club Stations||FCC Home Page|
|Frankfurt Radio Club||HF Radio|
|KW Amateur Radio Club||IARU|
|Radio Society of Bermuda||Radio Amateurs of Canada|
|Alinco||U.S., by State|
|Amateur Electronic Supply|
|Ham Radio Outlet||Amsat|
|Yaesu||Hurricane Watch Net|
Email me if you would like to have your page included in my links section.
Be sure to check out my Bermuda Shorts web site!
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