Midweek Update

Yesterday (Tuesday) was another very stressful day for those with antennas. It was a storm with 90-100 km/h gusts and a continuous strong wind. Not my favorite WX. It seems that everything survived but I was wondering: if the antennas don’t come down by the wind, how long will it take before they just wiggle apart? Another problem is that the bedroom is right under the roof and the howling wind keeps me awake. I guess it was the third night out of 5 or so that I almost didn’t sleep.

A storm with 100 km/h wind or less might seem peanuts to some but to Belgian standards it’s a genuine storm. Furthermore my QTH is situated in the clear and the wind can pick up speed from all directions before hitting the house and the tower. That is most definitely an advantage when it comes to radiating RF on the ham bands but it’s a drawback when the wind blows. And blowing it does. When there is a gentle breeze it feels like wind already here. When there’s wind elsewhere, there are minor gusts here etc. Or could that be my impression? When the tower got installed late 2004, I remember getting out of bed at night to check if all was fine when there was wind. It’s a "crank up tilt over" designed for +100 km/h when fully extended so the math says all should be fine when it’s down like right now. My conscious begs to differ. At first I tilted it over often but I soon realized that with the Belgian weather it would lie down on the lawn all too often and I gave up bothering. The good thing is that if it survives 100 km/h winds, I can sleep in confidence when the wind speed is less. sleep – apart from the noise that is!

Now all this seems like a repeat of 2007 where we had a storm exactly this very week too. It started with strong winds migrating into a storm and this WX lasted about 2-3 weeks. Just long enough to wreck my planned 24h effort in the UBA DX SSB Contest. The wind settled in the early afternoon on Saturday so I started 3 hours late late because I had to set up the low band antennas and raise the tower. I settled for the 12h category and won  ;o)     My fear now is a repeat of this scenario. Not that I mind winning but I’d like to prepare on Friday afternoon for which the WX should be calm over the whole weekend. I have started putting myself at ease with the idea of skipping the SSB part if the UBA DX Contest. Only to make life easy on myself and the XYL when the WX once again blows (pun not intended) my contesting fun.

Other than that a small communication appeared on the UBA website:

  • The access on 160m for ON is extended from 1975 kHz to 2000 kHz with a 10W limit in that window.
  • The LowFer range 501 – 504 kHz has been opened up for ON with a 5W ERP limit and CW only.

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