ALAN R PIKE
Just returned from a trip to England and Scotland. Â Started out in London, and traveled to my son's country place in Edington, Wiltshire, about 2 hours out of London. Â The main house there was built in 1340 as a monastery for "the Blue Monks." I set up in a guest house with my Mountain Topper at 2 watts and an end fed wire that is 53' long strung out the window to an apple tree. Â This rig travels very well in a backpack. So far, no problems getting through security. Â I kept the coax and antenna wire in my suitcase and imagine it probably got inspected? Â But the Mountain Topper in the back pack seems to sail right through the x-ray machines with no concerns? Â I always carry my license, plus a couple of copies of the CEPT paperwork that is available off the ARRL website.
The main house is referred to as "The Priory."
Behind the house is a large pond built by the monks back in the 1300's. Â They lined the pond with clay and stocked it with carp as a food source. Apparently, they had some sort of secret recipe to make carp edible? Â My son has a fishing hut on the shore of the pond and it is now stocked with trout. Â Much better fish to eat.
We covered a lot of ground...Bletchley Park, the Jane Austin house in Chawton and Bath, and then went on to visit York. Â I was impressed with York. Â The cathederal there is one of the finest in the UK. Â
Our crew, 4 of us including my brother and his wife plus my daughter, stayed in a terrific little hotel just inside the city walls called the Lamb &Â Lion. Â Here we are waiting for a taxi in front of it.
We spent a day on a vintage railway system near Haworth, which is the home town of the Bronte sisters (Wuthering Heights, Jane Eyre Â etc.) and rode an old steam train back and forth between Keighley and Oxenhope. Â The carriages were over 100 years old.
Scotland was our next destination. Â We stayed in Edinburg for 2 nights. Â The weather, frankly, sucked. Â The Scots tell you that there are 2 seasons in Scotland....June and winter. Â Beautiful, but rather crowded city. Â This is from the castle that sits high above the city.
The main drag, Princess Street, is very busy. Â The monument on the right is a tribute to Sir Walter Scott and is referred to as "the gothic rocket ship."Â
We toured the border area which plays heavily in Scottish history. Â It is a beautiful area of rolling hills and famous for being the haunts of William Wallace (Braveheart), Robert the Bruce, and a band of Scots who played both sides of the conflicts with England and Scotland called "the Reivers." Â
We also went to Melrose, which is the site of the Melrose Abbey. Â This is an incredible site with full access to the public. It was founded in 1136 by King David 1st, and was run by the Cistercian (Trapist) monks.
As the story goes, when King Edward finally caught up with Robert the Bruce, they tortured and executed him, cut him up in several parts and yanked out his heart. They sent the body parts to various parts of the kingdom as a message not to rebel against the King. Â His heart is buried here at Melrose Abbey. Â And you think we live in pretty gruesome times now? Â Here is a shot of where his heart is buried.
We then moved on to Rossyln Chapel made famous by the book and flick "The Davinci Code." Lots of history here, plus some ties to the Knights Templar.
No trip to Scotland is complete without listening to bagpipe music. Â It is like Scotch whiskey, Â an acquired taste.
It was a great trip. Â Now, back down to Florida for about a month. Not the best place to be in August, but business requires it. Â Listen for me without any portable strokes added to my call...just plain old W4MQC. Â In September, back to W4MQC/1 in NH.
Here is the antenna that I have now used in Iceland, England, NH and FL. Â Easy to deploy and multiband. Â The short end, counterpoise, can be any non-resonant length and should be run away from or perpendicular to the radiator. Â More than one counterpoise is good, but they should be non-resonant lengths. Â Although I have never tried this, if your coax run to the balun is over 25', you can go without the counterpoise (like the EACHI end fed or the PAR antennas). Â The counterpoise can also be dropped vertically. Balun Designs offers an excellent UNUN for use on this antenna. Â I highly recommend it and it costs around $50 and handles up to 300 watts. Â I have done this with good success in an L configuration. Â In Iceland and England, I used this wire with a 2 watt QRP rig and talked all over Europe. Â Give it a shot!!! Â
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, Â 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