Andorra (1975)


This was only my second DX-pedition - ever.  I did not carry the radios by bike. Radios weren't quite that portable yet.  The remote QTH is on top of "La Rabassa", the second highest mountain in Andorra.


Charles Signer (Sigi), NV7E and currently QRV from 5Z4EE was the organizer of the expedition.  He brought two transceivers along in his VW bus, which also served as bedroom, kitchen, and shack.


THE RADIOS:  Well we had some kind of Halicrafters transceiver, but we never used it. It had those old-fashion transistors that get hot and light up in the dark. Our main rig was a Swan 100MX. It was fully transistorized and ran 100w (input), or 50w (output) output power.  


POWER TO THE PEOPLE  hadn't reached our side of the pond yet; we ran off of the car battery.  We ran the car's motor quite a lot, just to keep warm.  The September nights get real cold up there (over 2000 meters high). That charged the battery too, but Sigi had to make a few runs to the valley for gasoline.  Luckily the gas prices back then weren't like today's prices!  Unfortunately I was QRT during his supply runs to Andorra City.


THE WIRE ANTENNAS  were strung from the trees.  I built a wire beam for 20m, using trees and bits of wood for end supports.  While I was building the antenna, Sigi was on the air using his roof-mounted Hustler Mobile Antenna.  Rotating the beam took about an hour. After a couple of days, I took it down and shortened it so that we could work 15m for a few days.  We also had a dipole for 80 and 40m. Even though I'm a 40m CW guy, I think the most fun was running the early morning 80m SSB pileup.


We didn't have much to eat.  You can't imagine how good spaghetti and melted butter can taste after a long day of building antennas!  I shouldn't complain.  If not for Sigi's spaghetti, we would have gone hungry.