A travel report
 by Gerd and Erika Uhlig

The article was issued in “CQ DL” 4/1995

The photograph shows a
“bearded tree”, which gave Barbados the name.
Around the year 1500 portugese sailors named the island due to the ugly trees
Os Barbados - “The bearded”.
Only a few of these fig trees survived the centuries.
You can find some of the giants in Welchman Hall Gully, a rain forest in miniature format.

  After my last “part-time”-DXpedition as C6A/DL7VOG in April 1993 the time has come at last: Mid of May 1994 the “far-sickness” comes to an end.
It’s Friday, the 13th. From gate 13 - lucky, that we aren’t superstitious - our flight goes from Berlin via Frankfurt to Bridgetown in Barbados.

  Bended under the heavy weight of our cabin luggage, which consists of my transceiver IC-751A, laptop computer and other small things, my XYL and I enter our tourist clipper.
After a ten hours flight it almost happened that I was going to get superstitious. The customs officer demands, that I have to leave my transceiver at the customs, because I don’t have any receipt for the applied guest license! He probably does not know nothing about my skeds, I already have made for the first weekend.
My XYL told me a little later that my face would have been good enough for the title page of our “CQ DL” magazine at this moment.
Though the customs officer credibly assures, that nobody was in any public office Friday afternoon at 4 p.m. I try - and with success. Miss Roach, who I have called several times, promises to wait for me.
I don’t have to beg long and Brigitte Taylor, our host, who picked us up at the airport, drives us to the license office. Short before 5 p.m. I hold the guest license in my hands. Brigitte brings us and two other guests to our beach house, gives me some coins for the bus and a route description to the airport. I hope earnestly to find my way back before it is getting too dark. In Barbados - like it is usually in the Caribbean - the darkness comes instantly around 7 p.m.
I surely feel a little precarious, but the short wave virus wins. At 6 p.m. I am at the airport. This time it is a pity that I can’t photograph the face of the customs officer! He can’t believe, that I have got the license.

8P9GU in his shack

  When I return to the beach house an hour later, the daylight had faded away so that it was impossible to start erecting the antenna.  But the next morning around 10 a.m. my HF6V stands blinking in the sun.
A short tuning check on all frequencies shows, that antenna and transceiver are “playing”.
  Anxiously like always I search for audible signals: short afterwards I log my first QSO with K1EFI/VP9. Okay, the Bermudas are lying in front of my door - so nothing outstanding .
  Then again the usual prickle as I do the first CQ call.
WS4E wins the race, then some Europeans with F6KUQ and a few Czech stations get into the log. Before the first pileup starts I stroll to the nearby beach. Short afterwards my fingers are “itching” again and my XYL Erika, who has a good sensor,  sends me back to the radio. There are some signals on  15m. YI9CW catches me first, also my friends DL8HWA, DL7VSN/p and DL3BRE land in the “Top Ten”, then it overtakes me.
Obviously the condx are getting worse so I have only a little more than 100 QSOs in my log after a three hours struggle, amongst them the first 13 RTTY-QSOs of my life.
  It was early evening as a suddenly upcoming strong rattling noise interrupts my thirst for action. I am unable to read even strong signals clearly. I try some “crowbar”-QSOs but give up quickly, because I don’t want to annoy the guys. The S-meter-needle shows permanently S9.
Unfortunately this phenomenon continues over short or long periods the following days. Carlos, 8P6RY, whom I ask a few days later, means, that that was normal on Barbados. The transformers on the powerline poles are “spluttering” very often. To my sorrow the noise does not exempt the WPX contest so that my off-time exceeds unvoluntarily to 19 hours instead of 12. The WPX also stands for the rather bad condx during these weeks. The first day brings more than 600 QSOs though I am not even a big gun with my 100 watts into a vertical on plain soil and only poor contest experience. With an ogle to the 1000-QSO-mark I get only less than 200 QSOs the second day, though I fight honestly. Europe is rather unreachable the whole day, Asia - no signals at all.
A breakdown of six to ten QSOs per hour over long periods in the contest doesn’t even bring tears of joy into my eyes, but I don’t think about surrender.

8P9GU   Tony, 8P6CI

  During the next days I try to get in touch with native hams. A sloping beam in the neighbourhood was given up. The former owner does not live here any more.
One fine afternoon I discover a “chickenladder”-fed dipole on a hotel roof around the corner. A few minutes later we have an eyeball QSO with Lawson, 8P9GQ (V44KO), who is happy about our visit.
He works here as an engineer for a while and has brought his transceiver to keep in touch with his friends in St. Kitts.
We meet each others several times during the next evenings and Lawson introduces us to native hams, Carlos, 8P6RY, the President of the Radio Society of Barbados and Tony, 8P6CI.
A few days before we leave we take part at the monthly Radio Club meeting.
  Besides many common activities like snorkelling, SCUBA diving, sightseeing tours and meetings with probably

Bottom Bay
our preferred Beach

the nicest people of the world my XYL is giving me enough time for my hobby.
  After a fantastic vacation I have 3065 QSOs in my log. Compared to the time it could have been some hundreds more, but the conditions were against it. The best band was 40m, followed by 20m and 30m. On 10m I can manage some QSOs with DL at 20:00z! The 80m log keeps blank, even skeds in the earlier morning hours are successless. Maybe a wire antenna could have done a better job.
  Over 60% of the QSOs are with Europe. With 488 QSOs DL takes the top rank. North and South Amerca share the rest of the QSOs. The rest of the world lands with a little more than 30 QSOs beaten on the last ranks.
  Every morning I get up at 6:00 local time, that I don’t miss the short openings to Japan. But I don’t catch a single JA station, only seldom I can hear JA stations with extremely weak signals..

  June 4, we have to say farewell. Via St. Lucia we fly back to Berlin.
Because they incidently filled too much fuel into the tanks in Barbados we have to cruise about an hour over St. Lucia to loose weight.
  We get a gratis round flight and enjoy the marvelous view. So it was only a little step to our decision to come to the Caribbean again ...