We are glad to publish the text received by YOTA member YL3JA Kristers, describing with his words the Guest-op experience with D4C team during CQ WPX SSB 2019 contest:
Hello! My name is Kristers Misa (YL3JA,ES7GR, ex YL3AJA) , I’m 21 years old. I’m from Latvia, Tukums. Now studying in Riga Technical University, telecommunication faculty. In ham radio I am since 2010, and it started in local schools club station YL1XN, station chief is Karl Kravalis YL2HB.
Since I was a little kid, my dream was to operate and to be part of the team in D4C. All the time when I wanted to get there it was too expensive for me, but then Monteverde Contest Team came up with great announcement, that they are opening doors for youngsters. Two youngsters they offered a lot of goods and discounts for accommodation. I was very happy and glad that they did choose me to be one of the team mates.
My trip to Cape Verde, Sao Vicente started at Riga international airport. First flight was to Warsaw where I had to wait 2 hours for the next flight to Amsterdam. When I landed at Amsterdam I had 12 hour layover for my final flight to Sao Vicente, which was 7 hours long trip.
I was the first one from all team to land in Sao Vicente, I had to wait approximately one 1 hour till Marco (IK2LFF), Richard (W7ZR) and Ed (K1EP) landed. Then, we got to our rented car and went to hotel. Almost immediately we were off to Monteverde, the highest point in the island where the station is located. All of us was amazed to see how all of that looks in real life, not just in pictures, amazing! Marco wanted to show a little surprise, we opened 15m band with 100w! That was insane! We were very tired after long trip so we were good to go back to city. Quick rest in hotel and straight ahead to dinner.
Second day started with great breakfasts and shopping. Weather was perfect, mood was amazing. After shopping we visited D44AC Carlos to pick up some equipment and we were ready to go back up to Monteverde. We started then to setup up the station with equipment which we had at that moment and of course opened 15m band again. Marco made lunch for everyone, nice Carbonara. After that we did some little antenna works outside and Marco made 20m running. That was amazing, no words can describe a pile up which we had. Everyone had a little taste of that and was more than happy. Ed and our local guy Navi was working on beverages for 160m all day long, great effort. Again after all those works, we had great dinner back in town.
Next day started with great breakfasts again and my first swim in Atlantic ocean! That was great! Thank you for this opportunity. After that again we were up in Monteverde to do some works and to wait for the rest of the team Helmut (DF7EE), Andrea (HB9DUR) and Ljuba (YU5EEA). They had some equipment for the contest so now all of that was in one place and we were ready to setup all positions and test them.
It was Thursday already. One part of the team was working inside the shack with all equipment there, and other part of the team was working outside with antennas. Beverages and inverted Vs. Weather was fantastic again, no wind, no clouds, only sun and warm air. We took some great pictures with our sponsor flags from YOTA (Youngsters On The Air) and FlexRadio. Everything seems to be working , but we didn’t know anything about 40-160m, because we have not been into the station during night hours. So after dinner me, Ljuba and Andrea were going back to the station to test low bands. We did some great operation on all three bands, everything was working so we were off to hotel.
Friday is here! Contest starts today! I was so excited. So after breakfast back to station to check everything, see if there would have been some little things to do. After everything was checked, we went down to have our last lunch together before contest. We discussed all the schedule and operator changing time, bands etc. After the lunch we were back in hotel to have a little rest. Me and Marco went to beach again, catch a little swim in ocean, that was exactly what I needed. After that a little nap and evening was here. Back to the station and we were good to go.
Station was working great without any problems and operators was keeping up a good rate. Everyone enjoyed their operation time and got the best out of it. This was first time when I operated out of Europe and in the station, where are zero rotators. Propagation was completely different, it was amazing. From a place as great as D4C is, you can open dead bands as 10m and 15m are nowadays, we had some great runs on both of these bands. 15m and 20m was incredible, with all this fast antenna switching equipment and no rotators, operator can follow propagation and split pile up in two sides, for example EU and NA, which is very useful to get out the missing mults. Also to check SA or AF directions it takes just a couple of seconds, it is almost impossible to miss callers all around world when in couple of seconds you can listen in all directions or in two directions at the same time. I found this very useful and easy for operators. From propagation side I was interested how does low bands sound here and how to operate there. It was very interesting and pretty hard at the same time, because all other stations or located pretty far away, but D4C crew have done a great job. Those dipoles for 40 and 80m are working great. 160m Vertical is for 100% best option in this kind of location, it works great! I was happy to see and listen how other operators are working, that was a great experience. I loved to see a guy like Richard (W7ZR) operating from a place like this, he is the most experienced operator I have ever seen. Also, to listen how Andrea (HB9DUR) and Marco (IK2LFF), who have the biggest experience operating from D4C, have been dealing with pile ups and propagation changes. When the contest was coming to the end, there were different emotions, from one hand I was very happy that this event is ended and that I have achieved my dream, but from other hand I was bit sad that soon we have to leave this magical place, and say goodbye to all new friends.
After the contest we packed up all the equipment and went down again to D44AC Carlos to say goodbye. Then to hotel, pack up all of our belongings and to have last sleep in Cape Verde. Breakfasts in the morning and then I was off to my plane. I was first one to leave. Hard to say goodbye to all those new friends, but I know that I will see all of you again.
I wanted to say big thank you to all D4C crew for organizing this event and having youngsters on board. Also my thank you goes to Latvian Contest Club (LCC) and Latvian Radio Sport Federation (LRSF) for all your support. I truly appreciate sponsorship from Kelly (N0VD), you made this trip easier for us! I truly enjoyed this week in Cape Verde, looking forward to be back!
73! Kris YL3JA