visit to the BC DX Club's Island meeting 2008
trio of ham radio stars -- Jim Smith VE7FO, Steve
Wright VE7CT and Duane
Sandemeyer VE7UF -- during my September 2008 visit to Duane's
contest superstation in Courtenay, B.C.
DX Club includes a great bunch of much-celebrated DXers
and contest operators. I was invited to attend their 2008
meeting on Vancouver Island by BCDXC President Paul
an honour to be invited as a guest to one of these informal, informative
and entertaining get-togethers, and so I left home at 2:30 a.m.
on a Saturday morning (Sept. 6, 2008) to catch an 8 a.m. ferry from
Vancouver's Horseshoe Bay to Nanaimo's Departure Bay.
landed on Vancouver Island, I stopped in to see my folks in Coombs,
B.C., which is just outside of Parksville and on the way to Courtenay
where the meeting was to take place. Had a pot of coffee with Dad.
They live on a nicely treed five-acre hobby farm which may be a
summer contest haven one day. My brother Rhett, a veterinarian (yes
the vet"), also has his home and his busy practice there
-- about a block up the road from Goats
on the Roof.
catching up on family gossip, I drove up to the QTH
of Ron Philip VE7NS, whose idyllic seaside estate was the venue
for the meeting.
location is about ideal for a ham. The site is a few acres of very
tall Douglas firs, on the ocean with nothing but salt water for
many miles to the northeast through southeast. Wire antennas would
do wonders here and Ron has 'em up high. He also sports a Force
12 C31XR on a 45' tower, and a Mosley WARC TW33m on a second tower.
What a site!
a great time meeting many luminaries of radio legend. They might
not be aware of their places among DXing and contesting nobility,
but I already knew them by reputation, and they turned out to be
nice guys in addition to stellar DXpeditioners and high-rate operators.
a few hours of beverages, BS and a little business, a few of us
travelled a bit further north to Courtenay for a look at the contest
station built by Duane Sandmeyer VE7UF.
have to admit, stepping out of my car at Duane's place felt
like stepping into the cover of QST. First thing you notice
is a rather tall tower soaring above the place.
if you're a ham, you begin to notice the other towers -- any
one of which is three, even four times taller than the tower
I have at home.
contest shack is a sight to behold, too. Set up for multi-operator
contesting (CW and RTTY), Duane has done an extraordinary
job with the layout and equipment!
radio room at VE7UF's
contest station in Courtenay, B.C. One day soon, I hope
to join Duane and Jim VE7FO there for a multi-op CW or RTTY
test. I can't wait to see what it's like to run EU on 80M
with a four-square, or a big 40M beam in the clouds!
had planned to stay the night at Mom and Dads in Coombs (about 45
minutes south of Courtenay) but after seeing Duane's elevated 80M
four-square array, I had ideas in my head that needed to be acted
upon forthwith. So, I stopped in to visit Mom and Dad and down another
pot of coffee, then raced to Nanaimo to catch the last ferry sailing
back to Vancouver at 9:20 p.m.
home at 2:30 a.m. -- about 24 hours after leaving. Was up by 10
a.m. the next morning (Sunday) reconfiguring the elevated radials
for by twin vertical elevated 80M array.
a trip! Wouldn't have missed it for the world. And in October, I
had a call from Paul VE7BZ welcoming me to the group!