(Click on the picture for some pics of the “expedition”)
Mid-morning last Friday “Sassy” motored up to marker KNB to meet the main channel of the Ottawa River. There she hoisted sail, but in very light winds she picked a tack and continued to motor-sail all the way to Aylmer Island. Around noon, heading SW she entered the anchorage area passing midway between the island shore and marker K7. Minutes later she anchored SE of the island in 8 Ft. of water some 70 meters from shore. Wind was N-NE at abt 10 Kts. and the current setting SE was of abt. 0.1 Kts. Hence, with a 5 KG Bruce (original Belgian) well set and 40 Ft. of chain in the rode she decided to pay only 70 Ft. of rode and settled to swing with the bow pointing towards the island.
Landing on the island was around 2:30PM and CQ calls started close to 3:00PM. The CQ information offered both Aylmer Island (ON-295) and Lighthouse ARLHS CAN-897 (Historic). I operated with the VE3DTI call for about 3 hours. The rig was the Elecraft KX3 at 10W and the antenna was the PAR EndFedZ Tribander hoisted vertical with the aid of an S9 telescopic pole.
At 6:00 PM it was time to pack-up and return to the boat for a BBQ dinner afloat, but before, a pipe was smoked in honour of the Algonquin ancestors buried in the island. Sunset was spectacular. And so was sunrise. The night had been very quiet with almost no wind but after sunset light winds started to back first to the SW and later to the S causing the boat to swing starboard to the island and closer to shore in 6-7 Ft. of water.
After a “nautical” breakfast with cereal, coffee and toasts, radio operations were conducted “portable-afloat” with the same rig as before but with a 20m Par EndFedZ antenna at the stern of the boat (using a SotaBeams “travel” telescopic mast).
Contacts were made with stations in Ottawa, Italy, Mexico and several states in the US (PA, VA, IL, TX (x2) & WA) . Some of the latter were long CW QSOs, which were very enjoyable and much appreciated. A big surprise was a contact with Eric W4EON at the summit of Rocky Mount (SOTA W4V/BH-035) for a total of 6 SOTA chaser points and a first River to Summit contact.
For the first time I was using SMS-to-Tweet to send QRV and QSY information in real-time, which some of my contacts indicated to have found useful.
At noon Sassy was ready to weigh anchor. She hoisted sail but the SE wind soon diminished and she ended the trip motoring part of her way back to the marina. I wish I could have stayed on the island longer but had to be back on time for Father’s Day breakfast the following day…