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Vendsyssel is an island in Denmark which counts for IOTA (Eu171). This page recounts the Grantham Radio Club's expedition to Vendsyssel in June 2003. This was my second trip with the Grantham club.

The trip began with a 4 hour drive from Grantham to Harwich where we were booked on the ferry to Cuxhaven in Germany. The picture below shows us waiting at the docks. Our valiant team consisted of nine persons:

From left to right:

bulletJohn - keen member of the "Keep the Pound Campaign". Sometimes British and sometimes Australian
bulletKevin - a joker who enjoyed sharing his bodily functions with us
bulletHarry - 82 years old. Our cook (sans tea-pot)
bulletBrian - gentle giant handy for applying brawn to problems
bulletPeter - an HGV driver who enjoys doing more driving
bulletTom - half of the CW team
bulletAlan - our trip organiser, a taxi driver. What he says, we do or else...
bulletRob - laconic mobile radio entrepreneur

The ferry crossing gave us some time to relax - if that is how you describe 18 hours sitting in one of the most uncomfortable chairs on the planet. None of us got much sleep. Kevin had brought along something inflatable but even that did not help.

Like all major expeditions, we had a Pilot to help manage the admin. Ours had his own rather fancy boat.

On arrival in Cuxhaven there was an 8 hour drive up to Vendsyssel with a ferry across the Elbe.

The island itself is large with some big towns on it - amazing that anyone actually needs it for IOTA!

We were very kindly provided with our location for operation by Knud and Inger Bach. They have a farmhouse with a huge field, ideal for radio. The CW station seen above (Tom G0PSE at the keyboard) was in the farmhouse while the ssb lads used a marquee outside (too noisy to be inside!).

As ever there was some friendly rivalry between the CW station and the SSB station. The odds were very unfair with seven SSB ops and two CW ops, however it was not possible to bolster the SSB team any more to even things up.

The picture above shows one of the SSB stations in action (we had two HF SSB stations on the air at some points). Alan, our OberGruppenFuerer is making sure that Pete and Brian know what to say...

Conditions were very poor and contacts were hard to come by. This favoured the CW team, especially during the night. Tom and I worked shifts to keep our station on the air at all times. The SSB team tumbled about like puppies and were unable to field a late-night crew.

Unlike the last trip, we had lots of interference between the stations which slowed progress somewhat. Only late on the last day did we also discover that Knud's new portable TV was radiating noise across all the bands - even when switched in standby.

How many radio hams does it take to fix an antenna?

It is best not to ask why Kevin is smiling.

G3CWI concentrates to work the weak ones.

Knud's house and the SSB antennas - note the special high angle beam arrangement.

At the end it was all too much for one team member.

Knud and Inger in the SSB marquee. Did they realise what they were letting themselves in for I wonder?

The CW antenna was located in Knud's front garden.

Three days of hard work yielded about 1,400 CW contacts and 1,100 SSB contacts. No great totals but a lot of fun (if very tiring).

Our trip back required us to start at 0400am "now the fun starts" said Alan. The rest of us thought that the fun was over.


With thanks and apologies to Alan, the Grantham Radio Club, Knud and Inger.


Richard G3CWI





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