As some of you may have noted, I had alerted for G/SE-002 this evening during the 6m RSGB contest. After the thunder storms of this afternoon, the evening promised dry but misty. I had spent some time earlier preparing a 6m dipole, which I hoped would perform better than the verticals I have tried on previous occasions.
Intending to be ready-to-go at the start of the contest, I set off for the twenty-minute drive. Halfway there, the drizzle started. It became heavier the closer to my destination I went, but I still considered it light enough, and hopefully temporary, to complete the activation. Having parked, I walked up the hill into the AZ, and found a damp picnic table to use as my “shack”.
The gear was soon ready, with the new dipole strung across the lower branches of a convenient tree. Now for the test! I switched on, and was delighted to hear a band full of signals. So, the antenna worked fine on receive, but would it do the business on transmit? Just another five minutes until the start of the contest …
Suddenly the drizzle became rain, swiftly followed by heavy rain. I decided to stay put for the time being, and learned a few valuable lessons -
- operating search-and-pounce in a contest is a lot more difficult, if not downright impossible, with the rig inside the rucksack.
- whilst I can operate with the key inside said rucksack, the same is not possible with a microphone!
- holding the mike in one hand, whilst wiping my glasses with the other, leaves no hands for tuning or logging
It swiftly dawned on me that I was on a hiding-to-nothing. The Europe-wide opening on 6m meant that my five watts to a dipole would never be noticed amongst the S9 signals there. So, I grabbed everything and dumped it into the rucksack to dry out and re-pack at home. Then it was back to the car for the short drive home. Guess what? It isn’t raining here!
One contented customer was Poppy, the Black Labrador, who thoroughly enjoyed her walk.
That dipole will have to await a more auspicious occasion for its real debut.
73 de Les, G3VQO