Summer Holidays 2015

As it turns out I didn’t do as much ham radio as I planned to do. The weather was only a minor limiting factor this summer. Space weather and its impact on ionospheric propagation was more of a problem. Or rather the lack thereof. That makes DXing a bit of a drag.

My biggest concern was finishing the log checking for this year’s UBA DX contests (SUCCESS!). Furthermore I worked on a few construction projects (see the sneak preview post), finished some jobs that got started already last year. I tried to relax a bit (FAIL!) and read a few page-turners by McNab. We also held quite a few BBQ Grill Parties with lots of friends. I think this summer was a record year for BBQ’ing since we moved in here in 2003. Hail to the grill baby! To paraphrase my friend Duke.

As a family of four we did our share of daytrips to visit some of the landmarks in our own region. Maybe I don’t get to be as active on the air as before, I can assure you that ham radio is on my mind more than ever!

Look at this beauty:


It’s a thirty meter high watchtower just 30 km from here. I learned about this construction by accident on someone’s website. Public access, local government property. So I just had to go there and climb the beast. Race you to the top! Well, it was a slow race because my kids needed some supervision on the stairs.

There was a little garden at the base and the municipality provided a picnic table so we headed for a local store to run errands and had lunch al fresco while my head started spinning. Not from vertigo but from wild plans. FIELDDAY! A publicly accessible structure, 30m high, with room for dipole legs in all directions and a nice flat lawn to put a tent on. And no neighbors to hear the generator roar. Honestly I was so excited it took me thirty hours (!!!) to realize… that you cannot use existing structures like this for field day antenna supports. DUH! The love for this tower soon cooled down. With the platform being at 133 meter ASL, this would be a kickass VHF location. Just keep it in mind.

On yet another sunny hot day we decided to visit the open air museum of Bokrijk.

I swear I did not add the flags – the quad loop was there when I got there.

Some people might say: “hey look, what a nice medieval windmill they managed to preserve and put on display here”. Guess what my first thought was? Geez, a full size single loop quad antenna for 80! Let me count the steps between the blades to see if 160 is possible too? I can’t help it. This antenna business has been messing with my mind for too long.

Maybe I should just forget about all this ham radio nerdiness. A day to the north sea shore will do me good. Now you should know that ever since I read the stuff K2KW wrote about Team Vertical (“we’re just using some verticals on the beach mon“), I can’t just look at the sea. I don’t even see the sea. I see a giant reflecting plane that turns a simple vertical into a DX magnet working better than a yagi on a high tower. I can’t help it. Salt water… low take off… ON5ZO QRZ dididah didahdahdit. What is that you say honey?

Salt water… SALT WATER!

And then once we got off the little commuting boat that took us across the harbor channel (for free nonetheless!), seeing this doesn’t help either. Light house weekend anyone? It’s got a ILHW reference.

Lighthouse Lange Nelle - Oostende
Lighthouse Lange Nelle – Oostende

It was a good summer holiday. Only way too short. And again with some unfinished jobs waiting for next year…

3 replies on “Summer Holidays 2015”

Hi Lee. Thanks for reading and commenting.

Our last QSO is almost 4 years old. What gives? I guess you might be going through ‘the phase’ too: too old to have lots of time to play, too young for retirement and do nothing but ham radio ;o)

Hi Franki,

You have it right 100% – Lots to do at work, lots to do at home, especially with junior op (now 3 years old.) Still waiting for official permission for permanent antennas at new QTH – otherwise I really will be operating ‘field day style.’ So in the meantime I follow the contesting news, operate from my club station occasionally, and dream of free time and big antennas! 73, Lee G0MTN

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