We took our boat from the marina in Tighnabruaich over to a small peninsula on Bute (EU123). I picked the peninsula because it was surrounded by salt water for about 315 degrees and it just happened to be the nearest point to Tighnabruaich. Unfortunately it was at the base of some hills which blocked just about everything from 0 degrees through east to 180 degrees but hey-ho it was a convenient operating site.
My wife Christine dropped me off on the Island and then set off back to the mainland to watch the village's raft race and fun day. The peninsula was completely isolated with access only by boat. There was a convenient landing beach for the boat and a patch of grass for my sleeping tent. I got a full 3 hours of dry weather to put up the following antennas:
40/80m inverted L
I didn't have enough time to put up the 10m j-pole as a black cloud decended over proceedings and I had to scamble for cover under my carp umberella/shack. I started the suitcase generator and I spent the next half hour setting up the PC/rig/cat control/software and making mad dashes out into the rain to adjust for minimum SWR etc. I glanced over to mainland and could just see the Waverley paddle steamer come into the pier through the gloom.
I was in the 12hr/low power/dxpedition/cw category so start time wasn't an issue. I guess it was about 13:30UTC before I opened on 20m. The J-pole was working well and low and behold a mini pile-up emerged. I must have been spotted as the pile-up was now getting serious when the SWR started to climb and I noticed the Elecraft K2 transceiver power output throttling back. The rain had been collecting on the horizontal 5m section of 450 ohm ribbon feeder and caused the SWR to rise. A quick shake of the feeder resulted in the SWR dropping back down to normal. Unfortunately this happened every 15 mins whilst the rain lasted.
High points were working a pile-up of JAs with some NA stns in between, even a west coast NA called me. I had to break away from the radio every so often to scare sheep away from the antennas. A seal popped up at one point when I had the headphones off and stared directly at me for several minutes before disappearing, I wondered if it was appreciating the sound of my morse.
I went to bed after adjusting antennas at about 2am and set the alarm for 4am. Unfortunately as soon as my head hit the pillow I started to hear people laughing and shouting. I guessed they were in a yaght moored infront of the Royal Hotel on the mainland, but their voices were clear as day across on Bute. 4am came and I awoke before the alarm to odd "boooosh" noises out at sea. I unzipped the tent flap and looked out into semi-dark across the water. It took a few minutes to discearn that it was gannets diving for fish about 300 yards off-shore. I had never fully appreciated the size of these birds until I heard the noises they made when they hit the water.
I kept an 1hr of operating time in the bag waiting for 10m to open properly, but in the end I received the "come in MM3T your time is up" telephone call from Christine, meaning I had to just get on with it and then start dis-assembling the antennas before she arrived in the boat.
I made about 688 contacts over the 12hrs so I won't be breaking any records, but hopefully I provided some fun to those who were chasing islands. Anyway, thanks to all who worked me.