Sometimes both earth weather and solar weather refuse to cooperate. “Murphy” assists by planning the worst conditions possible during the planned activation of PAFF-0095/PA-0080 in the first week of May: a SFI of around 70, heavy gusts (5Bft+) and a lot of heavy rain showers.
My family and both parents-in-law visited a large holiday resort near the small town of America in the province of Limburg. My planning was to activate ‘Mariapeel’ on the 4th, 5th and 6th of May.
With Google Maps I found a very good spot to set-up my equipment. It was well sheltered and in the northern area of the reference.
My father-in-law and I decided to explore the reference on Tuesday, the second day of our stay. The weather was quite rough: heavy gusts and persistent showers. We managed to reach the aforementioned spot. Bad luck plagued our mission. Due to a mixup, I took short coaxial cables with me, so I had to fiddle around with coax couplers. Adding insult to injury, the housing of the EFHW balun smashed against the roof of the sheltered benches due to the stormy weather, breaking off some of the plastic 😢
One of the wires inside the balun broke loose from the SO239 connector. I did not bring along my TS80P portable soldering iron with me. It was still in the holiday home. First attempt: failed. 😔
The weather stayed troublesome on Wednesday. A lot of wind and some hefty rain showers during the day. The 1:49 was fixed quite easily with the soldering iron. This time I assured myself of bringing along enough coaxial cable. I discovered that I forgot one BNC coaxial cable at the spot in the reference area. I knew it should still be there. People here are trustworthy and let stuff alone. My father-in-law and I jumped on our bikes and started cycling back to the spot. The heavy wind persisted and we had to shelter a couple of times. The rain was simply too hefty. We managed to reach the sheltered benches without getting soaked. The cable was still there and we decided to set up the station. We put up a 20 meter long EFHW, horizontally between a tree and a pole of an information board. We could work 80 through 10 meters, if conditions allowed.
However, conditions were quite bad. Nonetheless I managed to make two WWFF park-to-park contacts with stations already running CQ around 14.244 MHz. Too bad I wasn’t able to make any other FF contact, but I did manage to work some Russian Special Event stations and other DX stations in both SSB and CW.
The last full day at the holiday park, my father-in-law decided to try to activate the reference once more. The rain was less persistent and the wind was less overwhelming. I am glad we brought the e-bikes along: it made cycling to the center spot of the reference area a lot less of a challenge. We put up a 15 meter long telescopic mast with an EFHW of around 14m, for 10-40m band. Unfortunately it was again very difficult to make a contact: conditions continued to be abysmal (SFI around 70). I managed to work some non-WWFF stations in both SSB and CW.
I will try another activation of a reference on the Veluwe, in the end of May. Hopefully this will be more successful.