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ZF9CW Cayman Islands flag Cayman Islands

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October 23, 2017

Just arrived yesterday.  Put up 160m vertical and got station somewhat QRV on one band with no RX antennas yet.  Hope to put up a RX antenna over next few days and also antennas for the other bands so I can work the CQ WW Phone Contest this weekend.  Will be here for about 50 days and will mostly be on CW except for the phone contest and will concentrate on 160m.

February 13, 2017

i have not added anything to this page since my trip last year.  We got here on January 22 as planned.  I worked the CQ 160 Meter contest and everything went quite well with over 2000 contacts in the log and 75 countries in High Power category.  I put my best effort in that contest.  Unfortunately the YCCC vertical receiving antenna that I worked on installing did not work.  It appears there are blown RF chokes and I had no parts to repair.  I instead put a couple of BOG (Beverage On Ground)antennas down.  They worked OK.

i did not know there was an RTTY Contest on until about four days prior to the start of the CQ WW RTTY WPX Contest.  I had never operated RTTY before.  W7RY was kind enough to get me all fixed up with what it would take to operate RTTY.  I decided to operate single band 40m.  RTTY was interesting but not my favorite mode.  I made about 1500 contacts and 5 Million points.

A few days after the CQ 160 Meter Contest my 160 Meter antenna broke.  Well the fiberglass spanning the coil broke.  I saw what the problem was when we took it down.   Amazingly I had what it took to fix it and it is stronger than ever.  I lost about a half turn on the coil, moved it down about 1-1/2 feet and then had to add a couple feet of tubing at the top.  It is much better mechanically than before.  

I have not been on the radio a lot except for the two contests and now getting ready for the ARRL (USA/VE only) DX Contest.  I do plan to get on 160m a few more times before we leave to go back to Arkansas in about 12 days.

December 17, 2016

Baby, it's cold outside.  Temperature in Northwest Arkansas expected to be down to 8 degrees F tonight.  My wife and I will be returning to Cayman Brac on January 22 through February 23.   I have been putting together the YCCC Kit for a 5 Square vertical RX antenna.  It will have four elements on the perimeter and one in the middle.  It will use three elements in line in switched in four directions.  I am hope to be able to install it at least during our stay a few hundred feet away from my transmit antenna and believe it will provide a better receiving setup than what I used before for 160 and 80 meters.

During this trip I will plan to operate the CQ WW 160 Meter Contest (high power) and the ARRL CW DX Contest (low power).

In between contests I will concentrate on 160 Meters and if I get the RX antenna up and working will welcome schedules from rare zones and countries who might need ZF or Zone 8 on Topband.  There will be plenty of opportunity to work me if you are in Europe or JA in the CQ 160 Contest or during other activity between contests.  

I am waiting delivery of QSL cards.  They should be here within the next week and we will begin sending them out shortly after receiving them.

December 7, 2016

We are back in very cold Arkansas after 6 weeks on the Brac where the temperature was between 78 and 85 degrees 24/7.  I just set up LOTW for ZF9CW and loaded 12,897 contacts from this trip.  This confirmed via LOTW over 100 JA stations on 160 meters.  I am in the process of a full color picture card which hopefully will be very nice.  Be patient for the real QSL card and hopefully it will be worth the wait.  Trying to decide whether to go back for the CQ 160 Meter Contest and the ARRL DX Contest in February.  I would like to do that. 

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

This morning I got up early with intention of working more JA stations on 160.  So far I believe I have 182 in the log.

i worked a KL7 who had a good signal, a KH2 and one JA.  I heard a big noise, the SWR went sky high and found that a 5/16" diameter rope I had used to pull the vertical up aside the telephone pole had melted and the vertical had come crashing down over the stairway from the porch.  It missed hitting the roof of the house by a few inches.

Following is an edited version of copy a post to Towertalk reflector on the subject:

This morning I got the power company to bring their bucket truck over in less than an hour to put the rope back through the pulley.  My wife and I put the antenna back up by about noon.

It is aluminum tubing starting at 3 inches OD at bottom, tapering to about 1/2 inch using about every OD size imaginable.  You can see a picture of it on QRZ.COM.  

Coming back from breakfast, I noticed my neighbor had put out a roll of plastic tubing for the trash pickup.  It turned out to be fairly heavy walled polyethylene tubing about 1-1/2 inches diameter.  I cut a piece, microwaved it and it stayed cool so I thought maybe it was a decent option at this stage.  I used about two feet making a sling around the aluminum tubing which was taped with good 2" wide 3M tape.  My pull rope is going through both ends of the sling with holes drilled back about two inches from the end.  

I am very fortunate that this fairly large vertical crashed across the stairway (going down to ground level from the back porch), missed the house by a few inches and the gigantic coil was suspended in air with the tubing about two feet below it hitting the stairway.  

I'm learning a lot about what doesn't work next to the salt water that would never be a problem on a mountain in Arkansas.  I can tell you what does work for sure.  A decent vertical on 160m with a less than adequate radial system but within about 75 feet of the open sea.

Any opinions on whether what I did to make an insulator will be good enough for about 1100 watts?  I can send a picture of what I made to anyone who wants one.  I really don't want this thing to come down again.  Just as a safety measure I'm going to put a rope around the vertical and telephone pole up as high as I can get it with a step ladder above the bottom support bracket (which is lag screwed to the pole).

73... Stan, ZF9CW

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

I will not be able to work JA today on 160m.  Yesterday I put up a Beverage for Europe for contest.  I have only one salvaged RCA plug that will fit RX Ant jack on TS-590S.  It is installed on coax to Beverage.  It is  almost worn out from many changes.  I will try to see if I can find another on this island today.  Need to get some rest so will be able to stay up during the contest.  I will be here until December 5.  After CQ WW I will take down antennas except for 160 and 80.  Will operate ARRL160m Contest and then take down 160 and 80 antennas on December 4.  Early morning operation on 160m (JA) will be sporadic or non-existent until about next Tuesday.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

You can copy this link and see if you are in the log.  I do not have all logs loaded but do have the 160m logs there.


Saturday, November 19, 2016

Took antenna down and put back up four times with help of XYL.  Storm brewing to South of me.  Put a guy rope on vertical at about 45 feet.  Antenna continued to resonate way below band.  Finally just made it four feet shorter to make it work where I wanted.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Thought I would get on for a few minutes on 160 to work Europe before getting some sleep so I could work JA early in morning. Antenna resonance had moved 100 kHz. lower to about 1725 :-(  Went out in dark and couldn't find or figure out what might have happened.  About to give up and then it changed back to where it is supposed to be.  Obviously I have a bad connection somewhere.  Anyway, hoping it will be good when I get up to work JA in a few hours.  Have worked more than 100 in last two days.  I believe ZF is a new country for many of the JA stations on 160 Meters.  

I did load the current log file to CLUBLOG and you should be able to see whether you are in that particular log which I believe contains all the 160m contacts. I will try to load contacts after the sun comes up.  Will also respond to emails.  Please try not to make duplicate contacts. 

It sounds like there are over a hundred JA stations calling.  I have high noise but did make a flag antenna the other day.  It helps.  I will transmit on 1822 unless occupied and will listen down.  Please spread out a little.  With so many calling it is hard with the noise and so many calling within 2-3 kHz.  I am hoping to work as many as possible and will listen from about 1815 to 1821 if I can hear a big pileup..  Hoping the conditions continue to be good and my antenna works OK.  As I write this the QRN is particularly high.  Hoping it goes down over the next 6-8 hours.

Hoping also to work at least one JA during the upcoming contest.  However, I will only be running 100 watts then.


ZF9CW was active in the CQ WW SSB Contest and plans to be active in the CQ WW CW Contest in November and hopefully the ARRL 160m Contest in December.  

QSL cards are being designed and have yet to be printed.  It may be a couple months before they are available.  I also hope to get LOTW set up so logs can be loaded to LOTW.

The station is located on the Island of Cayman Brac on the North side of the Island next to the water with a nice water shot from about 225 degrees to 45 degrees.

The station consists of two TS-590S rigs an AL-1200 amplifier and an assortment of wire and aluminum tubing.

During the month of November I hope to build some vertical antennas that can cover the contest bands - 160 through 10 meters.

I will attempt to get on and make some contacts on various bands along the way.  I can always put up a dipole for a particular band although a low dipole next to the salt water is not the best use of the water. Most contacts will probably be on CW.  I made 3400 contacts on 15m during the phone contest and that seems like about enough for this trip :-)

73...Stan, ZF9CW





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