Maritime Mobile Lighthouses 2010


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A week of sailing around the islands of the West Coast of Scotland, operating amateur radio near lighthouses.

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Maritime Mobile Lighthouses 2010

  1. 1. Lighthouse Weekend 2010 Activating Isolated Lighthouses MM5AHO / MM
  2. 2. <ul><li>To activate isolated lighthouses (not activated before) for ILLW. </li></ul><ul><li>To do some more serious maritime mobile operation than before. </li></ul><ul><li>Determine what improvements could be made for future operations </li></ul><ul><li>Have fun. </li></ul>Objectives:
  3. 3. The boat: “Contender” is a fibreglass yacht built in 1976 32 ft long, sleeps 5, Heavily built for Atlantic crossings. 30HP diesel auxiliary 2 x 12V 75Ah batteries
  4. 4. Earlier this summer heading west through the Crinan Canal.
  5. 5. Radio Systems: Marine VHF, 25W Masthead ¼  whip Linked to GPS Best DX? Liverpool Coastguard Amateur: Yaesu FT857 100W Yaesu FC30 auto ATU 2m 5/8  whip HF backstay of mast, (About 8m sloper) DX? VK, JA, 9M0
  6. 6. HF ant (backstay) Insulator GPS Rx 25 litres spare Diesel 5/8, 2m whip HF ant cable From ATU
  7. 7. Creature “comforts”: 5 beds, galley, sea toilet, food storage etc
  8. 8. 2 Forward berths in bow.
  9. 10. Fresh Mackerel
  10. 11. Freshly Smoked Fresh Mackerel. (30 mins sea to table!)
  11. 12. In July we took part in a record attempt at making a “sunflower”.
  12. 14. The Crew MM1EUI Matt Navigator, technician and helmsman MM5AHO Geoff Radio Operator, chief cook and skipper. MM0HAI Alistair Radio Operator, outdoors expert and assistant cook.
  13. 15. After stowing our provisions for the week, we’re ready to leave.
  14. 16. Area of DXpedition
  15. 17. Route. 230 miles, 6 days
  16. 18. Navigation…..
  17. 19. How “politics” can interfere with a hobby… There are four lighthouse groups. Three claim to be descended from Ayr Club and GM4SUC There are four numbering systems for lighthouses. There is disagreement between these groups about numbering, and about validity of “activating” lighthouses, and even on what constitutes a Lighthouse.
  18. 20. Our first contacts were from Lismore Lighthouse A4107 SCO121 UK0120 IO76EL 22 contacts, testing the water…
  19. 21. <ul><li>Lismore </li></ul><ul><li>Actually On Eilean Musdile, an islet off Lismore Island. </li></ul><ul><li>10 acre island bought in 1830 for £500 </li></ul><ul><li>Lighthouse built for £4,260 in 1830 </li></ul><ul><li>First lit in October 1833 </li></ul><ul><li>Lismore was a Rock Station. 4 men worked 6 weeks on 2 off. </li></ul><ul><li>One of only two Scottish Lighthouses not converted to dioptric (lens) system but left as purely catoptric (mirror) system. </li></ul><ul><li>Converted to automatic in 1965 (£10,000 cost, 11 tonnes material) </li></ul>
  20. 22. From Lismore, to Tobermory for the night. Arndnamurchan Peninsula Mull
  21. 23. Balamory is a real place, and it really does have colourful buildings.
  22. 24. Next day, Tobermory to Canna Harbour. Tiree Coll Harris Rum Eigg Muck Skye Canna
  23. 26. Canna Harbour. Staging post for Hyskeir. We made only 4 contacts here, but two crew went ashore to explore.
  24. 27. Many young seal pups. Seals “sing” like a dog howling!
  25. 30. Canna has only 20 buildings, including 3 churches, a post office and this tearooms / restaurant. No mobile phone service, but good broadband internet available. Population 16. In 1995 there were 10,000 rats - successfully exterminated by 1999, but the people survive. A ferry comes here 6 days a week.
  26. 33. Hyskeir light was built in 1904 by David & Charles Stevenson. Standing 41m high, it’s on a rock outcrop and was manned until 1997. The keepers had a 1 hole golf course.
  27. 34. First view of Hyskeir approaching from Isle of Canna
  28. 36. The geology of Hyskeir is columnar basalt.
  29. 37. Hyskeir is known for its wildlife: Kittywake Arctic Tern Common Tern Eider Duck And sharks.. Loads of sharks….
  30. 38. We counted over 15 fins visible at a time.
  31. 39. Basking sharks are rather harmless. They eat krill and small things. We estimated the largest at 5m long and a metre across.
  32. 49. Note the UHF yagis for control from the mainland.
  33. 50. Diesel tanks for the generators.
  34. 52. The mess we humans make !
  35. 53. More mess…
  36. 54. The others had agreed to be back by 1400. At 1415 I started blowing our foghorn to get them to come back aboard. We had a long way to go to get to Tiree for the night. We could sail all night but I’d never been through Gunna sound in daylight, and didn’t want the first time to be at night.
  37. 55. Gunna Sound Isle of Coll Isle of Tiree
  38. 57. Seawater so clear we could see about 20 ft down.
  39. 58. Course to Tiree: about due south
  40. 59. Farewell Hyskeir. 145 contacts in 2 hrs 46min. ( remember it’s not a contest!)
  41. 61. Tiree ferry jetty the next morning.
  42. 63. Rigging a Butternut antenna on Tiree for Callum.
  43. 64. Verticals need groundplane radials… loads of them.
  44. 65. Decision decisions…. Forecast for Caledonia, covering Mull of Kintyre to Ardnamurchan. Winds Southwesterly Severe Gale 9 to Storm 10 (F 9 = 41-47 Knots, wave height 7-10m, wave crests begin to topple)
  45. 69. We encountered a wedding on Iona.
  46. 70. Mull, looking from Iona. Storm? What storm?
  47. 71. Iona from our anchoring place.
  48. 72. Sunset over Mull.
  49. 75. Oh, that storm!
  50. 76. Tobermory Harbour. Long chat with EA/GM0OPK in Valencia on 20m that evening.
  51. 78. Rubha nan Gall Lighthouse the next morning.
  52. 79. Rubha nan Gall Lighthouse. Built in 1857 by the grandfather of Robert Louis Stevenson. Automated in 1960. 127 contacts in a bit over 3 hours Operated mainly 20m, but some 40m 17m, 15m also. DX included JA3JDT K9VFU N8II UA9SGQ UA9JFR Only Scot was GM3IBU in Shetland on 40m
  53. 80. We anchored here
  54. 83. FT817 qrp with wire up the mast. Not successful running 2 rigs, as we had no filters.
  55. 86. Sound of Mull Lighthouses. Green Island Ardtornish Point Grey Rocks Lismore Lady’s Rock
  56. 88. Green Island: 3 contacts in passing
  57. 89. Lady’s Rock Lighthouse: 7 contacts in passing.
  58. 90. Duart Castle. We anchored here for dinner.
  59. 91. Craignure. Anchored here for the night. GB2LBN only contact.
  60. 92. The ferry coming in for another “go”.
  61. 93. Anchored here Lismore Light, second time.
  62. 95. Lismore Light Second visit 233 contacts in 4 hours Only 2 Scottish Stations: MM0IOB/MM Andy on a trawler in the Minch GM4MTI in Oban (about 5 miles !) DX included PP9A, W1OW, AA2DR, AA1VX G3ZOX/MM was on a yacht somewhere… We operated mainly 40m for UK contacts, but 20m for about 30% the time.