Yamashita Bay
Molokai - December 2012

Yesterday, Judy and I flew from New Hampshire to Molokai, Hawaii to visit our daughter, Catherine.
We are staying at a friend’s house while the owner is away. The place is stunning. Think of a classic
South Pacific getaway… and this is it! Today I made two QSOs… one with California and one with
Japan. Operating here is SO different from being portable in New Hampshire.

Before leaving I had mailed a box containing the HB-1B, the Par End-Fedz tuner and wire, a lithium
battery, and accessories. Late last evening I ran a 33 foot wire vertically from a palm tree. I didn’t
have any luck. 20 meters had already gone to bed. I used a 66 foot wire to try 40 meters. No luck
there either.

There are a few problems. First we’re roughly 3000 miles from the nearest land. There aren’t a whole
lot of signals. Secondly, we’re surrounded by hills and have no access to the horizon except for an
opening of about 35 degrees toward the southeast. I have to relearn a few things.

This afternoon I strung the 33 foot wire as a sloper to a palm tree. The wind has been nearly 40 MPH
and it’s pretty wild. The wire is bobbing up and down. Anyway, just before lunch I tuned around
20 meters. After trying a dozen weaker stations, I finally made a QSO. KB6VSE was calling CQ
and he was strong. Steve in California gave me a 449. He was running 75W to a doublet, and was
599. I was encouraged.

Right after lunch, I tried again. This time I heard 7L1WII calling CQ from Japan. He gave me a 559
and I gave him a 579. Now, I am elated. I know there’s hope for making some more contacts over the
next several days here.

Yamashita Bay Part 2

Today we are leaving Yamashita Bay. I operated for 4  different days from here. I made contacts
every day, but it wasn’t easy.  At home I make several contacts in 5 or 10 minutes. Here it takes 20
minutes or so to make just one. I’ll get a chance to try in a different area tomorrow. We are going
to the Fishpond Cottage on the south shore.

I thought being right on the salt water would make everything easy. But this place is REALLY
isolated. I know being surrounded by steep hillsides isn’t helping.  So far, all the contacts except
for one were made with a horizontal half-wave wire. Only one was made with a vertical. 
Here’s my log to date:

14 Dec-12 2259 14.030 KB6VSE CW 449 599 CA
15 Dec-12 0032 14.012 7L1WII CW 559 579 Japan
16 Dec-12 0307 14.017 KH6MB  CW 559 559 Hawaii
16 Dec-12 1905 14.013 KN7T   CW 559 599 WA
17 Dec-12 0114 14.006 W7SW   CW 599 599 AZ
17 Dec-12 1955 14.026 AH6V   CW 539 579 HI
18 Dec-12 0010 14.025 N3MD   CW 559 599 CA
20 Dec-12 0100 14.012 N6VR   CW 559 599 AZ

Here’s a picture from the shore with Maui in the background:

Fishpond Cottage
Molokai - December 2012

Location is everything! Today we are at the Fishpond Cottage on the south shore of Molokai.
No wind. No steep surrounding mountains. I made contacts easily…  Canada and Japan.

The fishpond is an ancient rock enclosure used for trapping fish. The fish enter at high tide and are
trapped as the tide goes out.

I set up under a kiawe tree at the edge of the fishpond. I used a half wave wire as a vertical. As soon
as I turned on the rig I heard VE6QX calling CQ on 20 meters. Dwayne gave me a 549 from Red Deer,
Alberta and sent “UR SOLID JIM.” We chatted for a minute and the band changed. I was so glad to
make a contact easily. I was a bit discouraged after the difficulties making QSOs at Yamashita Bay.

I tuned up the band, and just as quickly heard Shin, JA1NUT calling CQ. He answered right away
and also gave me a 549. We chatted for 15 minutes. Shin asked about the equipment and the antenna,
then sent, “UR QRP doing a great job.”

Yesterday, we hiked in a remote rain forest and ended up at Pelekunu, a high mountain peak with
waterfalls and views toward the north shore. The place is known to few, but one of Catherine’s
friends used to be a forest ranger and worked in the remote area every day for several years.
Tyson was a perfect guide. What a treat!

I had never seen a rain forest. I can’t begin to describe the vegetation, but everything was covered with
moss and droplets of water fell from every plant. It was like visiting a different planet. We walked along
a 7-inch board walkway… not just to preserve the environment but also to keep us from sinking into
the soft, muddy ground. A few times we lost balance and went nearly up to our knees in muck.
Overhead branches provided frequent opportunities for head banging.

At the top we peered out from a sheer cliff over several thousand feet of forest below. I stayed back
from the edge!

QSO from Rice Patch Beach
Molokai - December 2012

This afternoon I borrowed Uncle Don’s bicycle and rode a mile or so east from my daughter’s house.
I stopped along Rice Patch Beach and worked Newport Beach, CA.

The little strip of beach is only 5 or 6 feet wide… just enough room to sit down under a Kiawe tree.
I threw a 33 foot wire over the tallest branch. The wind wanted to tangle the lines, but it went together
without a problem. As soon as I hooked everything up, I heard Earle, AB6WL calling CQ. He had a
very strong signal and came right back to me.

“Very nice to meet you on Molokai. Hope UR having a good time,” Earle sent. I told him the wind
was nearly 35 MPH and the waves were lapping at my feet! I was afraid the water would wash over
the rig any minute.

Earle gave me a 559. He was certainly 599. What fun to make a quick contact from along the roadside.
The forecast for New Hampshire is calling for 12 to 16 inches of snow! We’re leaving here in four days.

I returned to New Hampshire last evening. There's a foot of snow here. Tonight the temperature is
dropping to 3 degrees.  I like Hawaii.