We just got back from a very enjoyable trip to Roatan Island that included 8 friends vacationing together. The snorkeling and beach time were lots of fun. We stayed at the Seaside Inn, highly recommended.
Of course, I took along some ham radio gear and made radio contacts from the island using the Slacker DXpedition method. The station was a Yaesu FT-991 driving an end-fed half wave wire antenna, cut for either 20m or 40m. I operating as K0NR/HR9 and my co-slacker Denny was on the air as KB9DPF/HR9. (Reciprocal licensing info is available from the Radio Club De Honduras.) We started out on SSB but that was tough going with poor propagation, so we soon found that FT8 was more effective.
We were pleasantly surprised with how well FT8 worked out for us as it was very compatible with the Slacker DXpedition philosophy. Here are the Top Ten Reasons to Use FT8 for Island Time DX:
- You can listen to your “island time” playlist while working DX.
- You don’t annoy your fellow vacationers by screaming into the microphone.
- You don’t have to worry about remembering proper phonetics.
- You can read the other station’s QRZ page while the computer completes the contact.
- You have time to visit the restroom without missing any contacts.
- You can upload your log to LoTW while operating.
- You have time to mix up a rum punch while making QSOs.
- It doesn’t matter if you slur your speech a bit due to that extra rum punch.
- If the run rate is really slow, the pc screensaver will kick in to entertain you.
- You can actually make contacts when propagation sucks.