Isle of Mann (1992)
G D / D J 0 I P / p
This was my seaside setup for the 1992 Field Day contest. My FD QTH was on the waterfront in Peel, Isle of Mann. Located on the west coast, it was quite exposed to wind and water spray. The rig was a TEN-TEC Argonaut 509 with matching Argonaut 405, running about 20w from the motorcycle's battery. The antenna was a double-zepp mounted on a telescoping fiberglass pole.
A peek around the back of the shack reveals the comfortable operating position. The keyer, an old ETM-2, and the log book are sitting on the side case of the bike. My chair even had a back rest. Pure luxury. I managed to stay relatively dry throughout the contest, but it was SURE COLD AT NIGHT!
My hotel room must have been the janitor's suite. It was located in the basement of the hotel. Not to worry. I had my home-brew magnetic loop, cranked the amp all the way up to about 40w (I was running off of mains here), and was able to work Europe quite readily. Except for the contest, all operations were out of the hotel room using just the magnetic loop antenna. YES, THEY DO ACTUALLY WORK!
After a couple of days I got a room upgrade, and moved up to the 2nd floor! Signal strengths rose a little, but my pride rose a lot.
Note changes to the station: By 1992 I had built the audio filter into the 509 and replaced the separate keyer and paddle with a keyer with built-in paddle. This meant fewer boxes and fewer cables. I also found a flash attachment for my old camera so my indoor photos began to get better.
On the way home, I took a short detour through Gretna Green, on the boarder to Scottland. Like Las Vegas, Gretna Green is famous for runaway weddings. Fortunately there were no YLs available.
Notice the telescoping fiberglass pole on the back of the bike, and the magnetic loop's broomstick-mast strapped to it, sporting the Isle of Mann flag.
From Gretna Green I continued north to Scottland, stopping at Loch Ness, hoping to get a kiss, or at least a peek at Nessie. No luck. Nessie was a "no show."