Fall 2006 Issue
The VP2V/W7XU Expedition
From June 23 to July 1,
2006, K5AND, K5AB, W7XU,
Arliss, W7XU (left), and Dick, K5AND (right), unload the Cessna 182 at the airport in Tortola.
The trip to Anegada was planned to accommodate the high ranking of the British Virgin Islands on the “needed” entities list for European and U.S. 6-meter operators. Although several trips by 6-meter ops had occurred in the past, weak-signal contacts were made difficult by the extremely high QRN levels on Tortola, the main stopping-off island of the British Virgin Islands. Also, we later discovered that there is no active ham club in the BVI any more, and there are only about six active hams, none of whom operate on 6 meters. All of these factors combined to make the BVI more rare than it should be.
I had visited Anegada three years ago on a sailing venture and remembered that it is really off the beaten path and has little commercial activity. I thus felt that it might be electrically quiet, especially if a station could be situated somewhere on the north beach. The island is about 25 miles north-northeast of Tortola and about 12 miles due north from Virgin Gorda. It is a small island, only 2 miles wide and 11 miles long.
Anegada is mostly sand and rises approximately 28 feet out of the ocean. It is covered with sea-grape bushes, low-lying succulents such as Bay Lavender, and various salt grasses. The island is also covered with a yellow wildflower that looks like a daisy. There are no actual trees for antennas, and there is no problem for those who plan to erect a mast and beam. There are some friendly feral cows that wander the island, but because they wander, you have to be careful where you locate your mast and guy ropes!
Arliss, W7XU, went on the Internet to try to
find a suitable hotel or cottage for us and finally discovered Loblolly
Beach Cottages, owned by Kenneth Norman. Kenneth had built four new
two-bedroom cottages in 2001, so we figured everything would be pretty new
and well-maintained. Also, Kenneth, VP2VK, is an active ham and is
incredibly accommodating and friendly. Two of the cottages feature
airconditioning and ceiling fans in the bedrooms, a decided plus when
visiting the Caribbean! His cottages also feature access to 240 VAC and
good old U.S. of A. 120-VAC receptacles. No worries about connecting
Our journey began on two fronts: Alan, K5AB,
and I both live in the Austin, Texas area, so all we had to do was get to
Dallas-Fort Worth Airport to catch a plane to San Juan and then an
American Eagle island hopper to Tortola. Arliss, W7XU, and his son Nolan,
NØLAN, chose a much more exciting and challenging method of transport.
They flew their own Cessna 182 from Sioux Falls, South Dakota all the way
down there! Talk about adventures in flying! Believe it or not, Arliss
only had to stop three times for fuel, overnighting in Tallahassee,
Florida and again in Provo, Turks and Caicos.
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