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Saturday, August 25th was the W/VE Islands QSO Party, and club members Dan N6AU, Peg KI7PJS, and Scott W7SLM joined Bob K7NHE and Bob’s lifetime friend Jack, at Bob’s Stuart Island QTH to operate as K7NHE. A big thank you here, to Kent KF7VDD, who chauffeured our boat-ride out in the morning. Sadly, Kent could not stay, though he did have a good excuse. Thank you, Kent!

We worked three rigs, all on ‘off-grid’ power. Dan operated CW on 20M using Mike N7TLL’s GAP 20M Vertical set out at the top of the shingle beach in front of the house, with coax and a copper strip running in through a window to the comfort of the kitchen table. Upstairs, Bob, Peg and Scott took turns between two stations operating Phone on 20M, 75M, and 40M. 75 and 40 were dead for most of the day, but 20 was wide open and very active across the US. Preliminary tally is 70 contacts overall (36 being CW), 3 bands, a handful of DX stations, and a TON of Fun. A particular treat was working Hoop K9QJS on San Juan and Wayne WA6MPG on Orcas–I think we must get extra points for those!

The weather didn’t allow us to see Mt. Baker, which Bob assured me is visible from his shower, but the location was exquisite. And I’ll add, the hospitality was fantastic, and the company, even better! Thank you, Bob and Jack, for getting us there and back safely, keeping us warm, well-fed, and the radios humming! Thanks, also, to Peg for the fresh-from-the-garden tomatoes and the sweetest ground cherries I’ve ever had, and, Dan, for the Lindt treats. I felt completely spoiled…and I thoroughly enjoyed it!

I did not take a picture of the antenna arrays, but including the roof mounted verticals, the numerous dipoles crisscrossed above, and the tower with a Force 10 5-band beam, it was without question the largest antenna farm I’ve personally operated from. The selection of antennas, paired with an outstanding complement of radios–upstairs we operated an IC-775DSP and an IC-756ProIII, downstairs Dan operated an IC-7300–and on a no-grid-power island, we could work everything we could hear. I even got to flounder out of my first pile-up!

The whole day was a delight! If Bob is willing, I vote another club effort for the W/VE Islands on the Air QSO Party next year. Weather permitting, a few more bodies, and another boat or two, operations on multiple islands Could. Be. Legendary.

Scott W7SLM

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