Tobago 2012

My license application was sent well in advance (I thought) in July 2012 but until October I did not hear anything. Even emails were not answered. Then I sent an email to the chief of the 9Y4 licensing authorities and – oh wonder – after two days I got an email, that my license is currently being processed. The only problem was that I had to sign and pay it in Trinidad. An expensive and awkward way.

  Monday, November 12, we started our three week vacation DXpedition. Andy, 9Y4W, told me that we may have to leave all our equipment at the customs if we can’t show them any license. We arrived in Tobago late in the afternoon. Our luggage was scanned and laid on the desk behind the scanner. We didn’t move any finger because we expected a thorough inspection of our electronic stuff. We were totally surprised when the custom officer indicated that we should take our luggage and leave the airport.
  We arrived in Castara in the dark.

  The next morning - another shock. When I got up to look for a place for my HF9VX vertical I realized that the steep hill right beside our hotel covered all important directions to EU, W and JA. The only way to avoid vacations without radio was to erect the antenna up on the hill. But I only had 80m RG-58 coax, not enough.
  Wednesday morning Alibaba, our host in Tobago, made a two-days-trip including sightseeing tours with us to Trinidad to receive my guest license. When we arrived at TATT, where I applied for my license, “nobody” knew about it.  Mr. Lynch promised to help me – but tomorrow.
  We made a day-tour through Trinidad, visiting the Pitch Lake and the Caroni Swamp – unforgettable!! The second day we made another “sightseeing” tour just to find a few meters coax. After three hours we found a shop with 40m in stock. That must be enough. In the afternoon I held the guest license in my hands.

  The ferryboat brought us to Tobago late at night. The next morning Alibaba’s friend Joey cut with his machete a way straight through the bush from the hilltop down to the hotel. My now 120m RG58 coax reached almost the top of the hill. But I doubted that there would be much power at the antenna.
I erected the HF9VX and adjusted it. A tuning test showed that TX and antenna worked perfect on all frequencies. Friday at 18:00z my first QSO was logged with WA9NMF. RI1FJ, 9V1XX and a few ZS stations were the next – it worked into all directions, I was surprised and satisfied.
The first day ended with 1426 QSOs.

  The pileups were tremendous, I didn’t expect such a run on a 9Y4 station. But it was joy too.

  After a while I realized that I had to pay tribute to the age :o)). I simply needed a little bit more sleep. But I limited it to about 4 hours per day. Usually I finished the pileups with Europe between 00:00 and 01:00 local time, went to bed and got up at 05:00 to look for Japanese stations. They are – compared to other parts of the world – a bit handicapped, because the openings to Japan are very limited.
  On this occasion I want to express my thanks for the discipline on the bands. Of course some guys never learn, but I have to state, that most of my pileups have been without any trouble.

  I have to apologize to the guys who waited for 160m. The problem was that I had only one cable and the way to the antenna was so hard, that I had a pulse of about 180 when I arrived at the hilltop. I would have to change the cable to the 160m antenna in the early evening hours. The “chance” that I couldn’t do anything on the other bands if condx on 160m were poor was too big. It was impossible to get to the antennas in the dark. I would have been enforced to inactivity until daylight. So I decided to ignore 160m.

  The weekend of the CQWW CW had its ups and downs. The first day was not bad with 2348 QSOs but then condx changed so the second day ended with only 1337 QSOs. All in all 3685 QSOs – not the result I was looking for but I wasn’t dissatisfied at all.

  The best band was again 40m – like in the years before from other islands. I made one single QSO on 6m with ZD8W. A few SSB QSOs are also in my log – rather unusual. A few friends asked me if I was ill :o))