Isle of Mann (1989)

GD / DJ0IP / p

I got my first motorbike in 1958, one year before I became an SWL. Combining both hobbies is three times the fun!


In 1989 I decided to go for the big one:   THE ISLE OF MANN


Coincidently, the Tourist Trophy motorcycle races are the same week as our European Field Day Contest - the first weekend in June.  This was the icing on the cake!


The Isle of Mann is a long ways from Munich.  Riding a bike all day is fun but very strenuous, especially when it is as overloaded as my bike was.  It's at least two hard days of riding, and requires taking two ferries; one to cross the English Channel and one to cross the Irish Sea. When you get off the ferry in England, you have to remember to drive on the other side of the road.  


I found riding a bike on the "wrong" side of the road to be much easier than driving a car on that side. With a bike, everything is the same except the road.  With a car, everything is different.


Camping somewhere in France the first night, I did not even bother to put up the tent.  It simply took too long to unpack and re-pack.  The picture shows my typical camping method while travling.  My old army poncho is staked on 3 corners, with a bungey cord to fasten the 4th corner.  Once you get in, it's warm and dry.


My island QTH was a camp site near Kirk Michael on the west side of the island.  As can be seen in the picture, my daytime operating position had all the comforts: a table and even a chair with a backrest. 


Nightime operations weren't quite as comfortable.  I operated by candlelight with the rig and operator laying on the ground.  (couldn't do that today)


The rig, as always, was a TEN-TEC Argonaut 509 and matching 405 amplifier, running about 10w during the contest.  The antenna was a double zepp attached to a telescoping fiberglass pole, and fed with 300 Ohm openwire.  I used a tiny MFJ matchbox and a homebrew keyer (on top of the matchbox), with an Autronic paddle. The tiny box under the rig is a home brew audio filter for the 509.


BTW, the Argonaut was highly modified.  It has an 8-Pole XF9-B SSB crystal filter, and an 8-Pole 500 Hz crystal filter for CW.  The CW filter was out of some Yaesu rig.  In addition I had added several little strips of copper to the underside of the SSB Generator board to reduct the amount of signal "blow by".  These mods improved the selectivity significantly.