The V26X Story

 

The V26X operation was a 6 day, single op DX-Pedition by K8CX to the Island of Antigua, Leeward Islands, in the Caribbean Sea. The stay was from December 8th to December 13, 1999. A total of 7400 contacts were made on 40 through 10 Meters. The ARRL 10 Meter contest was operated on December 11 - 12 for a total of 3640 contacts made on both modes. The QTH was the ham rental cottage of Roy Carty V21N (and location of the multi-multi operations of V26B). Roy has stacked yagis on all bands 40 - 10 meters, a wire beam on 80, an Inverted Vee on 160, and a WARC tribander. You need to bring your own rig and computer. An Alpha 76 was on location. I brought my FT1000MP and a laptop for logging. The trip to Antigua from Cleveland was uneventful but long. I traded planes 3 times in both directions. The weather was 82 degrees and sunny every day. The temperature dropped to 78 every night. It rained every night for about a half hour. The Island is made from volcanic rock and is tropical. No active volcanos are currently on the Island. The coast line is rugged. There are mountains on the south part of the Island and flat land on the north. Roys QTH is on the north side of the Island. Antigua was hit by 5 huricanes in the last 2 years. Most of the houses on the Island are made out of concrete. The people are very friendly and the Island has very little crime. There are no locks on the doors. They speak a very broken English. It sounds like a cross between street slang and Jamician. Antigua is IOTA NA-100, CQ Zone 8.

My flight was on American Airlines. Be sure to take a solid, foam filled suitcase for all of your equipment. Mine wasn't so strong. They dropped my FT1000MP. When I opened all my bags at customs, I noticed that the MP was damaged. The memory, notch, and shift nobs were broken off. The AA agent at the Antigua airport said that they aren't responsible for electronic equipment. Luckily, the MP worked fine durring my stay. I adjusted the memory, notch, and shift with needle nose plyers. For my return trip, I packed it with extra foam. They dropped it again. When I got home, it didn't work at all. I sent it back to Yaesu. My shipping and repair bill came to $550.00. It was more than the cost of my flight ticket. I wrote American Airlines complaint department. I sent them a photo or the MP, ticket receipt, and Yaesu receipt. They sent me a $75.00 off on my next flight with American Airlines. This was an expensive lesson.

For those who may want to take their wife (and kids), you can put them up in the local hotel at the beach. This is a double expense, but I'm fairly sure they wouldn't want to stay at the rental. Roy's ham rental is just that. Its set up for ham radio and not much more. Wives usually don't like the place. Roy can get you a discount at the hotel. As for me, I stayed at the rental. I'm a Ham-aholic. I want to work the bands day and night. I didn't do beach time, I sat in the sun for about a half hour the whole time I was down there. I left the rental about once a day to go with Roy on his Island excursions. I'm a DXer. I didn't want to miss anything on the bands, and I didn't. I paid my wife to stay home.

Licensing was very easy. If you have a General class or higher, you can get a V26 license. My friend Sam WT3Q (V26B) helped me get my license very quickly. The fee was $10.00 for a one year ticket. Sam WT3Q is the stateside contact for anyone that would want to visit Roy's V26 rental. He was very helpful in answering all the questions that I came up with. He talked to me on the phone as long as I wanted and answered all of my E-mail very quickly. If it wasn't for Sam, I may not have been able to pull it off so smoothly. My (Yaesu) hat goes off to you Sam!

 

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