As I mentioned previously, Ed, VP9GE helped me to get a license to operate from Bermuda (VP9) for my vacation last week. Since this was all pretty last minute, the exact plans to get on the air were pretty much non-existent, but Ed suggested that I contact him on the repeater when I got down to Bermuda and work out the details that way. I decided to bring along my Icom W32a HT (a full-featured 5w transceiver) as well as my little Icom Q7a HT, which is very small, runs off two AA batteries, but only puts out 500mw (1/2 w).  I haven’t used the W32a much recently, and although I’ve tried to keep the batteries (I have 2 battery packs, one stop and one an extended capacity version) topped off, I think they may have simply reached the end of their life and don’t seem to hold a charge very well. Still, I figured that I might be able to get enough power out of them to make contact with Ed.

I didn’t mention previously that we were taking a cruise to Bermuda, and because of the location of the ship (we were docked in “Dockyard” it was very difficult to reliably hit the repeater. The first day there, we decided to take the high-speed ferry to Hamilton (the capital city) and I took the small Q7a with me, hoping that there would be good-enough coverage there. As it turns out, that did work out quite well, and I was able to contact Ed via the repeater, using my K2DBK/VP9 callsign. Ed is constantly running around (he runs some guest apartments on the island) and had a number of runs to the airport and meetings over the next couple of days, but we agreed to try to contact each other again at around noon the next day.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to get in to the repeater the next day, as we were doing some sightseeing in St. Georges, and apparently the repeater doesn’t have good enough coverage there to pick up my little 1/2 watt signal. I didn’t know it at the time, but I was close enough that I could have worked Ed simplex, but I never tried.

So although I did manage to operate at least once as K2DBK/VP9, I wasn’t able to get on HF or 6 meters. Still, it was fun doing that, and if I ever get back to Bermuda, I’ll try to plan a bit more in advance and hopefully get on the lower bands.

David Kozinn, K2DBK, is a regular contributor to AmateurRadio.com and writes from New Jersey, USA. Contact him at [email protected].

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