Clarence Island ON-301 – A Qualifying Success

Clarence 04

The forecast was for strong westerlies and possibility of storms, even some tornado warnings for the area. However, the possibilities of getting the required QSOs to qualify Clarence Island hinged on being able to participate in the North American QSO Party (http://www.ncjweb.com/NAQP-Rules.pdf) taking place 1800 UTC (2:00PM EDT) August 5 to 0600 UTC (2:00AM EDT) August 6, 2017. This was a strong reason against postponing the expedition.

From a recent visit to the island I knew that it was not as flooded as had been in early May (see bottom picture in the following composite) when the water level in the river was over 2 meters above datum:

Clarence 01

The Jeep CRD made the journey from Ottawa to the island in less than hour, even while taking the long route across the backcountry east of Ottawa, so as to avoid road traffic as much as possible. I decided to operate from a small area at the west tip of the island and the PAR EndFedZ Tribander was rigged up the S9v42 telescopic mast leaning against the trunk of likely an elm-tree, right behind the Jeep. The S9 mast is slightly longer than the antenna and the matching box hanged a foot above the ground and was wrapped in a plastic bag to prevent it from getting wet in the rain. Radio operations were started from the top of a bolder beside the car, but were soon transferred to the back seat of the vehicle when the wind picked up and the rain started.

Clarence 02

During the 6 hours that HF radiated from Clarence Island 36 stations were logged in two DXCC’s (W and VE). Two contacts were island-to-island and two were portable-to-portable, some may have been 2-QRP contacts: most of the QSO’s were in the NAQP CW, but four were not: one was a very nice and long CW QSO I was able to have with Bob KB2BSF in Staten Island, NY (island-to island). The second one was with Joe N2CX, operating /P (portable-to-portable) from POTA KFF-2032 (Chenango Valley State Park) also in NY State. The third was an SSB QSO, which took some effort to complete, with the group activating Barnegat Bay Lighthouse in Long Beach Island (IOTA NA-111) (another island-to-island). Then, it was 2:00 PM EDT and the “CQ NA” started to be heard in the CW portion of the bands. Eventually, a fourth non-NAQP QSO was logged: also portable-to-portable, with Ian N9XG who was activating a SOTA peak (SOTA W9/UN-002, Jackson County HP, IN). The first 25 QSOs were all with US stations but number 26 was with Brian VE3MGY from Sparta, ON which added the much needed other DXCC for validating the “qualifying”. Then I also was able to add to the log a “RAC Canada 150 Award” station: Summer VE5RAC in SK.

A Cabrillo log has been submitted for the NAQP CW claiming 32 QSOs and 16 multipliers for a total score of 512 points for the VA3PCJ Single-Op All-Bands QRP/P station.

In an effort to conform to the self-imposed principle that every island should be reached (or exited) by boat, I took the “Ecolos” ferry for a pleasure crossing to the town of Thurso on the Québec side.

Having thus successfully contributed to rename Clarence Island as “ON-301” for the future enjoyment all “VE Island Activators”, after a short stop for coffee at my son’s place in near-by Rockland, it was time for the Jeep to hit the road again and get back to Ottawa. The APRS track broadcasted by the TH-D72A is next:

Clarence 03

Here are further pictures from Clarence Island: https://www.dropshots.com/Sassygaffer/albums/521315

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