316 x 305
Band slots (CFM) on Clublog x LoTW
2306 x 2226

Monday, 27 July 2015

EJ1Y - Ireland`s Eye Island - EU-121 - IOTA Contest 2015

Where we will go next? Last year after Great Blasket invasion we had no plans for this year IOTA Contest. Shortly after spring time when summer arrives to Ireland Papa Lima DX-Group members decided to go somewhere to do IOTA Contest. Plan to stay at home wasn`t an option. First idea was Aranmore Island or Inishbofin Island but .... distance was a big problem during busy holiday period.

At the end of June Adam EI5JQ , Oleg EI7KD and Maciej SQ9DDD went to see Dalkey Island possibility. Someone told them ... "you can`t stay overnight there". So one more option on Irish Sea was .... Ireland`s Eye Island beside Howth. Brief visit around the island and no other options left we decided to activate Ireland`s Eye Island this year for IOTA competition. It will be our first time from EU-121.

Adam EI5JQ unloading boat

We landed on the Island Friday afternoon. Shortly when all our equipment was safe we went to find place for camp. Not too far from landing spot but still a distance to move our heavy boxes. First tent as usual was radio - tent. The same tent we used for kitchen on Great Blasket last year ...
Then time for antennas. Just three antennas this year. 5 band HEXbeam by SP7IDX , GP7DX multiband vertical and Inverted V for 80M.

Heaviest item! PA power supply.

Installing hexbeam

Radio tent

View from the hill on our camp

Multiband vertical GP7 DX

Inverted V for 80M ready to go up

Oleg EI7KD started contest on 20M CW run station

Adam EI5JQ on mults station

Friday evening, when Hexbeam was installed we did few QSOs as EJ0PL.
Early in the morning on Saturday antenna work continued. Then shack need to be set , all networks connections , computers etc. Around midday on Saturday Jurek SQ7IT arrived on the Island with 2`nd power generator. Set-up was simply. Two stations , two power amplifiers, two power generators. 
Now contest time! For some reason we thought that competition starts at 14:00 .... what a mistake! Hurry up few things are not working as it should be but great help from Michal EI3KG by phone let us set computers.

Oleg EI7KG started and he was on run station for first 3 hours. Then he had to go back to main land with Maciej SQ9DDD. Just three operators left on the Island. EI5JQ , EI9KC and SQ7JT. Shortly after contest started we realized that EJ1Y is the only off-shore island station during IOTA Contest 2015 from Ireland. No competitors again ....
 At about 2:00 at night we took 4h break for sleep. 

Weather forecast for Sunday was not great. To be honest was bad. Very bad ..... and it was. Rain started at 6:00AM , heavy wind makes tents fly. Radio shack was secure , antennas as well. But 80M Inv 80M had to be lowered because one mast guy rope supporter was loose.

First part of the contest I was on multi station. We used N1MM plus logging software and it was mistake. It was very hard to find and log multiplier station. Maybe because I was using this software for first time .... but for sure previous version N1MM was much better. 

I had my time also on RUN station but on Phone. I was too shy to try CW with long serial number and IOTA ref on top. But in the morning I decided to go on RUN station on CW!
Yes, why not. 28 WPM was my speed and 99% stations came back to me with similar speed. It was great, Mistakes can happen but practice make you master. 
Band condition wasn`t great. 15M was closed on Saturday with a small opening on Sunday. 10M was dead. 40/20 did a great job.
As far as I remember now EJ1Y logged about 1500 QSOs during competition.

At 12:00 just one hour before end of the contest EJ1Y went QRT
We had to contact our boat man to get instruction for departure.
Boat was booked for 4PM. So we had just 4h to dismantle station.
Heavy rain plus wind din`t help. Makes this DXpedition hard. We had to protect every single electronic device against rain ... it was hard job.
When all boxes were packed and ready to be loaded on the boat our boat came from Howth ... but high waves makes departure from the Ireland`s Eye impossible .... 
Boatman contacted us and told us about emergency landing spot on the Island which can be used during high tide only! At what time is next high tide on Howth then ? 20:30 .... we had to wait few hours for it ....

Waiting for high tide
When boat arrived with high tide we had just few minutes to pack all our gear. But we had great help from our non radio members and departure was much easier. When boat was loaded was too heavy to reverse because emergency landing spot on Ireland`s Eye in not so deep even in high tide and our boat ran aground! We were stuck for few good minutes. Finally escaped .... and reached deep water.
Lucky we had no option to stay on the Island another night or so.

Great adventure it was and our first time from EU-121 ...

All gear safe on Howth`s pier.

Our boatman was happy too to have all of us safe in the port. Last year boatman said "I hope I won't see you again" ... this time boat owner asked us .... "did you win ?"
Yes we did! We won Irish leg of the contest. IRTS IOTA trophy is ours for next year!

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