Story from 163DX/EU124 activity.
Including a slightly detour to my sons home we arrived at our holiday QTH on Holy Island after 5h40min drive, apart from Holyhead Mountain in the direction of N/W our location was near perfect for radio with the Irish Sea only 200m away and elevation of 60m. Arrival was early evening Fri 10th so activation would start as planned on the 11th Saturday.
Checking my iC706mk2g beforehand found I had no receive, turned out the UT-106 DSP Module is kaput, must be 8 maybe 10 years since I used this back up radio so this is proof we shouldn't leave electronic equipment dormant for long periods, lesson learnt so now I search for a UT-106 DSP module, anyway the iC706 works fine with NR disabled.
Very early Saturday morning antenna was assembled while the family slept, Bamby antenna was made for me by my friend 1AT048 Max, he made this antenna must be 15 - 20 years ago, Bamby worked great Max Grazie!
I didn't want to disturb the family so radio was setup in the car with the idea of moving the equipment in doors afterwards but the views were so wonderful I operated from in side the car the whole of the activation with a 240v extension cable reaching outside to the samlex switch mode psu, I did take a 12v leisure Battery but it wasn't used.
Equipment all connected, Bamby swr was perfect and WOW, no local QRM/interference, rx was sooo quiet, I could hear stations perfectly with no deflection on the S meter, after suffering years of local QRM at the home QTH to hear this was absolute bliss.
163DX/EU124 holy isl. QRZ!
First in the log was 14AT190/Mobile, a few log entries later 184 George, John 101, then arrived the avid island hunters Chris 019, Twan 256, Jurek 015, Ludo 461, Fred 049, Marc 181 (tnx for video), Simon 070, David 076 (tnx for video), Jesper 109, Mario 001, Svenny 013, Frank 035, Pete 015, Adriano 015 (first from outside EU), Carsten 132, Soren 002, 027 Wolfgang, Chris 159, Pepe 252 and many more friends called in on the first day to say hi, much appreciated.
2nd day pulled in Mike 030, Finn 011, Chris 276, Uli 110, Daniel 074, John 142, Jerome 297, Henry 348, Trevor 115 and more.
Over the next few days I was fortunate to work many more island hunters and friends, I won't pretend I ever had a major pileup, I didn't, in fact after the first day most of the time I had no takers, I'm sure if I had something like a Skypper antenna and 300 watts I'd have been more busy but I didn't mind, I had zero local noise, fantastic views and I was on vacation, what's to complain about :), the quiet times on the radio gave me chance to communicate with a few friends via messenger to set up skeds, remember I'm on holiday so I couldn't sit by the radio 24/7, anyway if I was at the QTH and someone wanted to try I was happy to go to the car and try. I want to give special thanks to Jerome 14HF297 for setting up an antenna especially to try and work me, after a couple of days and few attempts we made it THANKS mate, these sked QSO's didn't deprive anyone of a QSO, there was no preferential treatment, I had hours and hours of zero takers, so it was a case of " hey Daz can you try xxx freq" or I would spam someone on messenger and tell them I'm only a few seconds from radio if they wanted to try. One contact I missed was my good friend back home 26DX059 Bill, we tried many times, I could hear him but with local QRM he couldn't hear me, well in fact he heard me once when I was in a brief QSO with 14/26AT114 Paul, apparently I was 5/8 to Bill for a few seconds, I'll take the blame for that Bill apologies :(.
While on family/tourist duties I collected a few Postcards to send to some operators, why send postcards for proofs?, postcards don't prove much, they certainly don't prove someone tx'd from a specific location, they can show you were in a certain location, especially with purchase receipt they show date, time etc, but for me I like to show friendship and appreciation occasionally to some 11m operators by the way of a simple postcard, over the years I've received many postcards from friends all over the world, do these postcard 100% prove my friend tx'd from a certain location? no they don't, what they do prove is the sender thought "I'll send a few postcards, hm I'll send one to Darran", I like to do the same on the rare occasions I do an activity, I do this not soley for proof purposes, more friendship. Anyway I sent a few Postcards, I hope all are received and in 10, 20+ years time when these ops come across this postcard in their collection it will jog their memory back to this activation with fond memories.
To close, I'd have been happy with 100 in the log with most of the island hunters being satisfied, I ended up with 261 in log including a few dupes, very very happy with that, thanks to all which called in, thanks to all the old friends which called in to say hi, special thanks to Jerome and a very special thank you to Jesper 47DX109 for support in the back ground, daily online log updates and being available on whatsapp whenever needed, thanks mate.
For me 163DX/EU124 has rekindled some interest back in radio, hopefully I'll be active again soon from another island, if I am, and you hear me please give me a call.