George W. Briggs III, PhD
K2DM & VP2MDG

Montserrat Info

Available ham equipment

All of the items listed below are available for use by any ham radio operator visiting Gingerbread Hill.  There are a small number of items that I reserve for my use only, because I rely so much on them when I visit.  Other visiting hams have left behind additional equipment, such as coax, antenna wire, etc.

Antenna Stuff
Mosley Classic-33 (CL-33) tri-band yagi for 10, 15 and 20M.  This antenna is partially assembled and is VERY easy to install on the tower or on a mast in one of the corner pillars on the roof-top deck.  This is stored in David's storage container.
55-foot, heavy-duty, motorized crankup tower.  It has a heavy-duty mast and a rotator installed.  Rotator cable is stored along with the rotator control box in a cupboard in the kitchen of the Heavenly Suite (the top floor of the guest house).
Dipoles for 160M, 80M, 40M, 30M and 12M.  Each is made from heavy-duty wire, and each has plenty of rope on the ends.  These can be hung from the cable standoff arms of the tower before the tower is cranked up.  These wire antennas should be stored in ziploc bags in the Heavenly Suite kitchen cupboard.
Numerous runs of RG-8X coax with PL-259 connectors on each end.  Lengths vary from about 50 feet to 100 feet.  Stored in a kitchen cupboard.
An Ameritron RCS-4 remote coax switch.  This is especially useful for a single-op setup to reduce the number of coax runs down from the roof to the station.  Stored in the Pelican case.
12 sections of fiberglass, surplus mast material.  These are sturdy, slightly under 4 feet long and slightly under 2 inches diameter.  Put 5 or 6 of these together, and you have a 20-foot high tie point for a wire antenna.  Strap 4 or 5 of these to a corner pillar on the rooftop deck and your wire antenna is pretty high above ground.  Stored behind the guest house by the washing machine.
Cushcraft 3-element 6M yagi.  Mostly assembled.  Stored in the container.
Hustler 6-BTV vertical antenna, 80M - 10M.  Stored in the container.

Station Equipment
Kenwood TS-570SG transceiver, 160M - 6M.  Has an SSB filter and a CW filter.  You may have to open the bottom hatch of the radio and swap the filters.  Stored in a Pelican case in the kitchen cupboard.  Included with the transceiver are an amplifier keying cable and a Kenwood microphone adapter for Heil Proset headsets.
Power supplies.  Three of them.  All switching supplies.  Stored in the kitchen cupboard.
CW paddles.  One Vibroplex non-iambic.  One Bencher iambic.
MFJ Grandmaster CW keyer, if needed.
110VAC power strip with 6 outlets.
Heathkit manual antenna switch.
A number of coax jumpers of varying lengths with PL-259s on each end.
Heil Proset boom headset/microphone.
An old Heil BM-10 boom headset/mic wired for the Kenwood radio.
Dentron Super Tuner, 160-10M antenna tuner.

Miscellaneous
Many pieces of rope of varying lengths.
Lots of wire of different gauges and lengths.
Lots of spare PL-259s, barrels, U-bolts for the CL-33, standoff insulators for the CL-33 and other hardware.
Compass.
Soldering station and solder.

Licensing on Montserrat

     Ham radio licensing on Montserrat comes under the purview of the Montserrat Info-Communications Authority (MICA).  The staff of this recently-formed Authority has been very responsive to requests for ham licenses.
     The Authority has recently established a website at:  www.mica.ms.  It explains the process for obtaining a license, and it includes a copy of the application form.
     For additional information contact:  secretary@mica.ms
     Be prepared to submit an application form, copy of your license, copy of your photo ID, and a modest fee.

Station Setup

     The first step in setting up your station happens when you reserve your space at Gingerbread Hill.  The Heavenly Suite on the top floor of the guest house is the only unit that has access to the roof-top deck, which is where you probably want to put your antennas.  So, either reserve the Heavenly Suite (I always do), or make sure in advance that you can access the roof-top deck.  It IS possible to run both coax and the rotator cable to either the Two-Bedroom Villa on the second floor or to the Backpacker's Special on the ground floor.
     Work with David to get the CL-33 triband yagi and the Pelican case (containing the dipoles and other small items) out of storage.  Also ask to borrow his tool kit, which has wrenches and screwdrivers.  The CL-33 should already be partially assembled (11 pieces) and bundled together.  At the end of your stay, please make sure that it is in that same state for the next visitor.  Carry the CL-33 through the Heavenly Suite and up to the roof-top deck, where it is VERY easy to assemble it WHILE installing it onto the tower's mast.  I have prepared detailed instructions which can be accessed through the 'links' button on the left.  Coax for all antennas and the rotator cable can be found in the kitchen cupboard.  The instruction manual for the CL-33 can be found in a brown envelop in the cupboard along with other manuals.  NOTE:  the CL-33 needs to be adjusted for mode as you install it.
     I usually hang the centers of two of the dipoles (80M and 160M) to the top two cable stand-off arms of the tower.  I run the rear ends of the dipoles up the back yard and tie them off to convenient trees, and I run the other ends over the guest house and down the driveway.  I tie off the 160M dipole onto the utility pole and the 80M dipole to a convenient tree.  For the 40M dipole I put 4 or 5 of the fiberglass surplus mast sections together, strap that to a corner pillar on the roof, and hang the center of the dipole from the top.  Of course, you can use a lot of creativity and get fancy with an inverted-L or something, but I haven't tried that yet.  You can connect all 4 antennas to the remote antenna switch and run one length of coax down to the station along with the rotator cable.
     I set up my station on a desk at the left end of the kitchen counter.  There are both 220VAC and 110VAC outlets located right there.  David can provide a small desk and a rolling chair.  I find the chair to be a must for a long contest as opposed to the lounge chairs in the Heavenly Suite.  I put my amplifier on the end of the counter, and I put the rig, power supply, laptop, rotator control box and remote antenna switch on the desk.

Recent VP2M Operations

  • VP2ME - ARRL DX CW contest, February 2013, by AA4NC, N4GG, N5OT, W6DR and W9RE.
  • VP2MDG - CQWW DX SSB contest, October 2012, by K2DM, G3NKC, G4XUM and GM4AFF.
  • VP2MSJ & VP2MUQ - July VHF contest, 2012, by W5SJ/4 and W5UQ.
  • VP2MRT - June VHF contest, 2012, by KB4CRT.
  • Buddies in the Caribbean - April 2012, by W3FF, N7UN, KB9AVO, W7DGP, N7QR, K2GSJ and N2YYZ.
  • VP2MXO, VP2MSN & VP2MOM - February/March 2012, by DM2XO, DL2RNS and DL7JOM.
  • VP2MMM - ARRL DX CW contest, February 2012, by N3AD.
  • VP2MWG - CQWW DX CW contest, November 2011, Minnesota Wireless Group by K3WT, W0OR, N0AT, N0STL and DF7OGO.  Also, ARRL 160M contest by W0OR and N0AT.
  • VP2MDG - CQWW DX SSB contest, October 2011, by K2DM, K3ZM, AD4J, W4GKA and K6AAX.

Montserrat Links

  • Gingerbread Hill - http://www.volcano-island.com, pictures, descriptions, contact information, etc.
  • Montserrat Tourist Board - www.visitmontserrat.com, everything you need to know about Montserrat.  Really!  How to get there, where to stay, where to eat, what to do, how to get around, etc.
  • Montserrat Info-Communications Authority - www.mica.ms, forms and instructions for applying for a license.