Tintamarre NA-199

March 2003

FS/G3TXF/p: CW operation from Tintamarre NA-199

FS/G3TXF/p operated from Tintamarre (aka Flat Island) on three days in March 2003. The uninhabited island is about two miles from the nearest fishing port Cul-de-Sac on the north-east side of St Martin (FS/PJ7). The daily journeys out to Tintamarre were made in a small fishing dinghy. We had planned on being in French St Martin for long enough to allow for a possible maximum of five visits to Tintamarre. In the end, just three trips were made. On the first planned day (Friday 14 March) the boatman told us the seas were too rough for the trip. However we were able to make the trip out to Tintamarre on each of the next three days.

The first day (Saturday 15) as FS/G3TXF/p netted 500 QSOs in just under five hours operating. The first QSO was K3NA on 10m at 1618z on 15 March. The second day (Sunday 16) was much better with 1,000 QSOs logged in eight hours. However radio conditions on the third visit (Monday 17) to Tintamarre were atrocious, and only 300 QSOs could be scrapped into the log, despite being on the air for nearly eight hours. Three days on Tintamarre was enough, especially after the third day when conditions had been so poor.

The operation was "field-day" style with a generator as there is no infrastructure whatsoever on Tintamarre. A small Honda EU10i generator powered the TS50 and laptop. An R-7000 vertical antenna was placed on the beach. Unfortunately the only easily accessible beach on Tintamarre faces "the wrong direction" for Europe. The beach faces just south of west, which together with rising ground and dense foliage towards the north east [EU], explains the relatively puny signal that FS/G3TXF/p had in Europe.

Operation was limited to daylight hours. The plan had been to get onto the island and set up by about 1400z. Unfortunately this only proved possible on one of the three days. The boatman who took us out to Tintamarre was up all night fishing for lobster and had difficulty in waking up in time for our planned early morning starts! The same boatman came to collect us each evening at about 6pm local time, which meant that operating had to cease by about 2140z.

Because of the limited daylight operating hours the only areas worked were Europe and the USA. The continental breakdown was 62% Europe, 36% N America, 1% S America and 1% RoW. No JA's were worked and only a couple of VK's made it into the log.

However hopefully there will be at least a few new CW IOTA contacts among the 1,800-odd QSOs made from Tintamarre NA-199.

The last QSO from FS/G3TXF/p was G3WVG on 30m at 2143z on Tuesday, 17 March 2003.

View looking from Tintamarre back towards Cul-de-Sac on French St Martin, with R-7000 vertical on ground to the left.
Operating as FS/G3TXF/p from Tintamarre. Note the petrol can in the back-ground. The station (TS-50) was powered by a generator.
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