The desire to operate from the "other side" finally became a reality in 1986. In the spring of 1986, newly married, and looking for a honeymoon destination, the island of Montserrat became the focus of a destination location. At that time Chod Harris VP2ML (sk) had a QTH available on the eastern side of the island complete with station. Letters and communications were exchanged with Chod and also Bobby Martin VP2MO over several weeks, and everything was put in place.
Today, when hearing discussions about island life, much of it relates to the "event" that occurred in July of 1995. That is when the Soufriere volcano changed both the landscape, and island life completely. After almost 30 years, the desire to return to Montserrat is still there and hopefully will be a reality soon. In 2011, a group of Minnesota hams activated Montserrat in the CQWW -DX. The pictures they brought home re-kindled this interest. Some before and after pictures are included here.
We arrived late into Montserrat, were picked up at the airport, and given the keys to a rental car, and taken to the "LAST RESORT". The "Last Resort" was the name of Chod Harris's place located on Spanish Pointe on the eastern side of the island overlooking the Atlantic. The next morning Bobby Martin arrived to deliver our Datsun 150V rental car, and explain a few more things. We were starting our two week adventure! The first full day was spent on the beach with just a few evening QSO's.
|Operating really took a back seat to
honeymooning and island exploration, but often the evenings offered
some time to generate some good pileups on almost any band. Here is the operating
position running a TS-120 radio. The island did have a Radio shack
where I was able to purchase a plug to get on CW! Here I am
enjoying the pile-ups with a cold HARP lager. The pile-ups would remain
throughout the dinner hour, and by simply sending a "?", the frenzy
would resume. Europe on 80 meters was quite simple starting in the late
afternoon, with only a dipole at 30 feet or so.100% paper logging,
however all the QSO's have been imported and uploaded to LOTW.
The license processing at
Public Works was complete, but the first few times stopping there,
there was no one around to finish the process, signatures,
etc. I began by operating the Montserrat Club call VP2MU, and
even after license was in hand, I decided to not activate as
VP2M/WA0MHJ. (CW Op's can understand why.) For the next visit it will
be a true VP2MXX call sign.
| This is a picture we took of touring the volcano. This is ground zero! We were able to drive up only a short distance, and then hiked the remainder of the trip to the
top. It was a long hike, and at the top was the strong smell of sulfur,
and gases. The insert picture in the corner is a reminder that where we
were standing decided to launch into a volcanic plume 40,000 feet into
the air over Montserrat.|
|AIR STUDIOS - Montserrat|
|We toured Air Studios in Montserrat, which was a state of the art
digital recording studio hosting artists like Elton John, Sting, Dire
Straits, and others. During the tour I asked one of the Engineers if there was any job
openings, and he laughed and told me to go to England and get at the
back of a very long line.|
|Air Studios was furnished as
lavishly as you would expect it to be, to entertain the rock stars, and below left is their beautiful
pool with a breathtaking view overlooking the Caribbean, as we saw it
1986. To the right is a photograph taken by the VP2MWG group that
were there in 2011. showing it just as it is; an abandoned property. There were some recording tape reels apparently still lying around, but not much
else to remember as how it was.|