ALAN R PIKE
Now back in Florida. Sort of nice to not be living out of a suitcase. Iceland was fantastic. Put it on your bucket list.
Iceland is for the birds. It is about the birds, filled with birds and the birds don't seem to mind the humans. I made a climb of Drangey Island the other day and caught a few resident puffins.
A little explanation on the puffin picture. These birds were on Drangey Island which is West of Hosfos. I took a boat out to the island, and climbed to the top. It was a rather harrowing experience. You land on a tiny dock, then grab a rope and go hand over hand to the top. The island was home to an infamous Viking who lived on the island to avoid being captured and killed. His name was Grettis. He was a very bad dude. He lived on the top of the island and had a rope ladder that he would pull up so no one could get him. But, eventually, his luck ran out. Anyway, here is the island. The green part on the upper right is where Grettis had a house. The white specs on the face of the island are birds. Millions of birds nesting in the cliffs.
Here is me, holding on for dear life working my way up the rope to the top. This was near the bottom and the climbing got very steep. The final part was a 25 foot steel ladder, straight up, and then you were on the green flat grass of the top. Anyway, it was a thrilling climb and an even more thrilling descent. The path was small rock chips and it was like walking on ball bearings. You can see the puffins just below me seemingly undisturbed by a terrorized tourist.
Here is a shot behind me of a young German couple working their way up on the rope.
This was a bit further up the climb.
The green saddle like formation on the upper right was about half way up to the top of the island.
The trip to Northeastern Iceland was memorable. It rained for 2 straight days and the wind was howling and the fog rolled in. Pretty typical Icelandic weather for this area which gets a lot of tough weather off the Arctic Ocean. We did a few hikes. Here is my daughter walking a trail. Note the terrain...treeless. This is the wide open spaces of Iceland. Looks like North Dakota except perpetually cool temps.
The shoreline was extremely interesting even in the fog and rain. Here is an example of what we saw.
I think this part of Iceland, near Porshofn, qualifies as "windswept."
They call this the "land of the midnight sun." This is for a good reason. During this time of year, the sun never sets. It gets like dusk but never dark enough to see a star. Here is a picture I took the other night a bit after midnight.
Went over to Lake Myvatn...Iceland's largest lake. Beautiful spot but real"buggy." Worth the trip. I was able to climb an extinct volcano.
If you were a "volcanologist," you would be in heaven here. This is what the inside of the crater looked like.
Near Lake Myvatn, is a large geothermal area. Hot geysers coming right out of the ground. This is a major resource for Iceland. It is cheap and plentiful and many people heat their homes this way by tapping into it.
You can get really close to the actual geyser. The smell is a bit rough, suplhur. In the old days, they would harvest the sulphur for making gun powder.
They continually spew hot, steamy water vapor.
Also nearby, is Iceland's most powerful waterfall. Gooafoss Falls. It is complete with its personal rainbow.
This is the view from the Deplar Farm fishing lodge. Breathtaking. Pristine. No Walmarts. No McDonalds. No billboards. No traffic jams. Incredible.
Spent30 days operating out of Deplar Farm. It is the fishing lodge my son owns. It is really spectacular. It is tucked away up in the Fljota Valley on the Fljota River. This is salmon country. The lodge is nearing completion and has had a few visitors. Fishing, hiking and boating are the main activities in the summer and heli-skiing in the winter. The lodge was designed as an old Icelandic structure...black exterior, which in the old days was tar, and a sod roof.
It features an outdoor heated pool with a swim-up bar.
Here I am in the pool enjoying a pint of 3 Daggers Blonde, from our brewery in Wiltshire in the UK. My son owns the 3Daggers Pub in Edington, Wiltshire, UK.
This is how we celebrated July 4th. Up until 2am, listening to old rock and roll music and having a drink....in the pool.
The views from the lodge are spectacular. Lots of glass all around.
Here you can see the antenna I used at the fishing lodge. My room is on the lower level (door open) and the wire runs from the ground sloping up to the upper level on the left. Pretty low, but it does radiate. Spending most of my time on 30m.
One of my favorite things to do was to just walk out behind the fishing lodge. Iceland scenery is breath taking in every direction.
One thing you see a lot of here in Iceland is lupine. It is actually Alaskan Lupine which was introduced here in 1885 to combat soil erosion. Same idea that they had in the American South with kudzu. The lupine spread like wildfire and now is all over the place. The plant has been used for medicinal purposes. They make tea out of it which boosts the immune system. Lupine, unlike other plants that take nitrogen out of the soil, actually puts nitrogen back into the soil. The lavender color covers the mountainsides.
Here is a shot of me and my daughter. She came along on this trip, as she says, "to try and make me not do too many stupid things." I think most daughters are that way?
Did a 5 day trip around the SE up to the NE part of Iceland. Incredible scenery but the South of the island is loaded with tourists. Iceland is being discovered as a tourist destination and the one day trips out of Reykjavik really load up the southern coast. But, as you work your way East you see fewer and fewer tour buses. What you do see is incredible mountains and waterfalls. Waterfall after waterfall. You almost get bored of seeing waterfalls. Here are a couple.
We also hit a couple of glacial lagoons along the SE coast. These glaciers come down to the sea and the ice shears off into lagoons. Fascinating stuff. Icebergs in Iceland.
The Eastern coastline is fantastic. Black sand beaches, mountains down to the sea...and pristine. You could be in Maui.
Went whale watching out of Dalvik, Iceland. This is a "must do" activity when you visit here. The boat was an old fishing trawler, The Draumur.
The Humpback whales put on quite a show for us. A real ballet. None breached but they sure splashed their tails a lot and it was amazing to see these massive animals in their natural setting. They were feeding on krill. Apparently a lot of the splashing was to get rid of barnacles attached to their bodies? Unforgetable.
Saw a ton of puffins in the east. A couple of spots had great rookeries. Puffins look like flying clowns. Now, that is a pretty spooky concept, right???
Lastly, here is my transportation for the last 2 months. It is a Toyota Hillux diesel, 4WD. I could not have negotiated some of the roads here called "F" roads that are only suitable for 4WD, but usually take you to the most wonderful spots on the island. After all, getting off the beaten track is where the action is.
Here are some of the locations I transmitted from while on the Troll Peninsula.
This is what the lodge at Deplar looks like during the winter months with some pretty spectacular Aurora.
Hope to catch you from Iceland as TF/W4MQC!
Here is the latest toy. Benny, K5KV, my CW pal in Star, TX, ended up with too many semi-automatic keys (a.k.a. bugs). He was kind enough to let me get one of his Telegraph Apparatus Company TAC-810 bugs. It really is a joy to use.
Here is the antenna that I have now used in Iceland, England, NH and FL. Easy to deploy and multiband. The short end, counterpoise, can be any non-resonant length and should be run away from or perpendicular to the radiator. More than one counterpoise is good, but they should be non-resonant lengths. Although I have never tried this, if your coax run to the balun is over 25', you can go without the counterpoise (like the EARCHI end fed or the PAR antennas). The counterpoise can also be dropped vertically. Balun Designs offers an excellent UNUN for use on this antenna. I highly recommend it and it costs around $50 and handles up to 300 watts. I have done this with good success in an L configuration. In Iceland and England, I used this wire with a 2 watt QRP rig and talked all over Europe. Give it a shot!!!
If anybody is interested in what I do for a living, check: www.elevenexperience.com
QSL cards for any Iceland contact should be sent to the FL address on QRZ.com.
For contacts in NH or CO, QSL to P.O. Box 133, Goshen, NH 03752...FL QSO's can get a card to me here at the Bokeelia address above.
Please note: Bokeelia is on Pine Island which is IOTA NA-069.
Pine Island is in Lee Country in Florida.
Goshen is in Sullivan County in NH.
The Cayo Costa (a.k.a. Lacosta) Island QTH and the East Part Island QTH are also IOTA NA-069, and are in Lee County.
Member of A-1 Operator Club.
A few numbers for those interested: 10-10: 8274, QRP ARCI: 3788, FISTS: 6198, NE QRP: 41, FPQRP: 1042, NA-QRP: 481, SKCC: 1234, CW Ops: 182, FOC: 1734.
Rev: W4MQC - Saturday, May 17, 2010