Martha's Vineyard DX-Pedition 2010

! Check Out The Web Cam Monitoring Our Event !
compliments of Faith's Seafood Shack.


Check out the 2010 site layout.  Two HF Yagi's, 2 Verticals, 2 Dipoles, and a Delta Loop.
Not too shabby for a portable site that only takes 2-1/2 hours to set up.

4/29/2010 - On Our Way:  Sort Of......
The HAMCOW haul from Westport to Woods Hole was quite uneventful and actually pretty casual.
But.... (There is always a 'but'...), when we arrived, the Steamship Authority agent at the ferry terminal
check-in asked to see what was inside the HAMCOW.  Apparently he was not impressed with 90 lbs. of
propane and 36 gallons of gasoline on board.  Today there will be no passenger ferry ride for me.
I am now delayed until the 1:30 PM hazardous freight ferry, which delays me 1-1/2 hours, but only after
filling out the proper Hazardous Material Manifest form.  And the humorous part is the rest
of the gang got to depart early on the 11:15 AM freight boat, which puts them on the island
early, but without anything to set up.  I guess I'm lucky I didn't tell him I had the water tanks filled
with plain tap water.  I think only imported mineral water is allowed on the Vineyard. :-)

Here are the culprits; legal fuel containers and propane canisters that are not allowed
on the passenger ferry even if they are locked inside a trailer!

 There is my ferry that will be leaving without me on it!

Which one is not like the others?

I was the first one on the Hazardous Materials Ferry.  I had to back on
a very narrow ramp all the way to the back corner of the deck.
I shared the ride with 2 semi trucks, a dumpster hauler,
a fuel truck, and a bus.

4/29/2010 - I'm on the Island and on my way to the site! (Sort Of.....)
The ride on the ferry, which I affectionately call "The Garbage Scow" went pretty well.
The waves were crashing against the side of the ship and my truck is now
covered in salt deposits, but a good washing will fix that.
Once I hit Vineyard Haven, about a mile up the road some moron who was
hot-dogging in a Toyota 4-Runner decided to jack on his brakes right in
front of me a couple of times in a row, and the 2nd time I had to brake hard and
felt my brake pedal go squishy, and on my 2nd step on the pedal, it went to
the floor!  I limped about 1/4 mile into a grocery store parking lot, and
discovered I was hemorrhaging brake fluid!  The Tahoe blew a brake line!
Lucky for me, literally 100 yards away there was an auto service center that
had 3 empty bays, and was more than happy to do an emergency brake line
repair.  1.5 hours later, and $187 dollars lighter, we were back on the road.
W2DAN and I unhitched and re-connected the HAMCOW like a
professional NASCAR pit crew! 
Now to make matters worse, on the way down I had noticed my electric brakes were
not performing well on the HAMCOW, and while we were sitting at the shop, I
took a look and found the brake adjusters on 2 of the wheels were missing!
Only 2 of the 4 wheels on the HAMCOW were working!
A quick trip to the NAPA auto parts store 1/4 mile away from the repair shop
netted us some suitable brake hardware to fix the trailer brakes.
(What's with all of the brake problems on this trip????)

Notice the heavy trail of brake fluid as we put the Tahoe into
the repair shop.

Finally we hit the site around 4:30 PM and started setting up.  Everything went well and
we didn't even try to hurry.  The wind was blowing pretty hard when we arrived but
settled down and was quite calm by the evening.

W2DAN assisting N1JOY with assembling the 5-Element HF Yagi
on the HAMCOW tower.

The crew is assisting W2DAN with his tower and HF Yagi.

All of this hard work setting up is requiring some good food!
KB1JBC smoked a pile of ribs, chicken wings, and brisket!

KB1JBC took some time to work a few satellites with his HT and Arrow antenna.

The generator and auxiliary fuel tank are keeping us running loud and
strong with 4 stations all equipped with amplifiers.

N1JOY does the trailer electric brake repairs with parts he picked up at NAPA Auto Parts.
Thanks to KA1RCI for picking up the tab on the parts!

Here is the HAMCOW setup with the main tower with a 5-Element 10/15/20 Meter Yagi and an 80 Meter Dipole.
The rear flagpole supports a 40 Meter Delta Loop.  To the distance in the rear is a full sized 40 Meter
1/4 wave vertical, and to the right is a Butternut 6 band vertical.  In the foreground is the 4 element
10/15/20 Meter Yagi.  Several of us sleep in the HAMCOW and the motor home,
but the tough guys still sleep in their tents.

5/1/2010 - Sunny Day!
This morning we woke up to to a beautiful clear sunny day.  Life is good!
One of our commercial neighbors on the hill also let us know they had a web cam pointing right at us!
Check it out at:
Be patient: bandwidth may be limited.

Our first QSO on Saturday morning was a sched with Mitsu, JH4IFF, and KB1G worked him easily!
Bill was using his K3 and the HAMCOW SB-220 amplifier at 600 Watts on the main HAMCOW Yagi.

Before the NEQP contest starts, we have time to conduct the duties of a water stop for
the MS Ride The Vineyard 100km course. 

KB1TQB takes a minute to pose in front of the lighthouse.

This shot taken from the scenic overlook of the cliffs really shows just how
close to the lighthouse we really are.

Team HAMCOW group photo.
KA1RCI, & W2DAN, and one of the local dogs who stopped by the site for a couple of hours to visit and play.
 Not in the photo: N1PMB, & KB1G.

N1VDK working a pile up.

Even a new Ham like N1AGE was able to generate and work a long list of stations
in a relatively short amount of time.  Amplifiers and good antennas make
all the difference.

Our claimed score was slightly lower than last year,
but still quite respectable for a portable operation.

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