Tuesday 30th May
North of the Island
The South Wales Pembrokeshire coast is clear - we see distant towers and cranes. We guess these are probably Milford Haven docks, 35 miles away.
Jenny, Bernie and I play radios. Jenny, Bernie are "class A" radio amateurs. We attempt to get a station running on 80 metres. We're not planning on this being a "DXpedition" or anything serious - just a shout to friends back home.
There is an ideal site in a field behind the Quarters. There's a 4 metre square concrete plinth with earth stake. Very useful. (The plinth was originally used for a wind turbine installed in 1982, but since removed.)
A kite is flown, pulling a long wire. This looks splendid. But tuning the aerial fails. Duff ATU? Try Top Band - No match.
As a mere "class B" I suggest using a useful book on growing tomato plants. "There's a copy in the Quarters bookcase".
OK. Cut the length of aerial wire to form a simple quarter wave on 28 MHz. Now this should be dead easy. No.
50 Ohm dummy load - fine - lots of power.
What can be wrong? Give up. Get more beer! Complete abject failure! 60 radio amateur man years of experience. Probably the simplest component to design - a short wave aerial - and we fail!
The moral - preparation!
Round of the evening by watching the sunset over the Atlantic (21:14) then beer in pub.
Astronomic twilight is all night long at this time of year at this latitude - the clear black moonless starry sky was littered with satellites. I dismissed flashing trails as aircraft navigation lights - until Bernie corrected me: these were spinning satellites. Their rotating solar panels reflected sunlight back. The flash really was a sinusoid.
We unpacked Jenny's 8 inch Celestron reflector and set it up outside. There was just an incredible number of stars!
The finderscope was not fitted, so setting the polar alignment accurately was not easy. We'd leave that for another night when we would be clear-headed and sober.
Tough! This was to be our last cloudless night!
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