US Islands Awards Program

W4YBV Pepperfish Keys FL492, FL493, FL494 May 2014

Two NFARL Members, Terry Joyner (W4YBV) and Jim Paine (N4SEC) set out on a fun adventure of qualifying three new islands off the west coast of Florida on May 2, 3, and 4 with the US Islands Awards Program. Planning started several months in advance by looking at tide tables, our availability, and other factors. Our island transportation was Terry’s 26 foot Carolina Skiff Center-Console fishing boat.

Sunday May 4 on West Grassy, FL494.  Terry Joyner, W4YBV, is in the foreground, Jim Paine, N4SEC, at the logging computer in the background.

We packed a Yaesu FT-450, three 12v boat batteries, a 40-10 meter fan dipole, a bunch of those hamfest military surplus fiberglass poles, along with a table and chairs. Also, lots of water and snacks. We had everything ready to head out from Steinhatchee on our 27 mile round trip. One factor that could not be anticipated was the weather. Our first day, Friday May 2nd, it rained. We were able to get out around 2:00 PM and setup on the first island (wet beach photo). Band conditions were as bad as the weather! However, we were able to exceed the 25 contact minimum requirement by USi. Saturday was the same weather and departure time. However, the fishing was good that day and we caught five really nice speckled sea trout. Sunday, the final day, we got a weather break and worked a lot more stations. The “Beach” photos were taken that day. We totaled 148 contacts that included 32 states and 10 foreign countries. Our only regret is that we were unable to work all of you back home that were listening for us. We sincerely appreciate the time you took, but the right band conditions were just not there. What’s next? More islands! Stay tuned.

Sunday May 4 on West Grassy, FL494.  Terry Joyner, W4YBV in the blue hat, Jim Paine, N4SEC, in tan hat.

Friday, 2 May, Little Grassy, FL493.  Terry, W4YBV, Setting up antenna at high tide and in the rain.  Thankfully, no lightning. We worked 2:00 pm to about 5:00 pm.  Rained all morning