By WBØRUR, on the scene
ST. EUSTACHIAN, Caribbean – It started as a family vacation, but turned into a ham radio DXpedition and revolt for a local ham radio operator.
Everett Blackstone – along with 24 members of his immediate and extended family – had planned a trip to the resort island of St. Eustachian for months.
“Oh we were really looking forward to relaxing with a mai-tai while sitting on the sandy beaches”, says Juanita Blackstone, the ham radio operator’s wife. “And then Everett pulls out his radio and RUINS THE WHOLE TRIP.”
Blackstone, realizing that St. Eustachian is a much-needed DX entity, secretly packed a Peanut Whistle 250 in his luggage, along with a Wet Noodle off-center fed dipole.
Staying at the “Scandals” waterfront resort, Blackstone had secretly contacted the resort to double check on the DX operation.
“They were really great. They helped me with the reciprocal licensing. And the concierge even found me a card table and two chairs to place in my cabana.”
When the rest of the family went whale watching, Blackstone worked feverishly to erect the dipole between two palm trees. Babysitting his 12-year-old nephew Joshua, he quickly taught the boy how to give signal reports (FIVE-NINE!) and use the logging software.
As the family arrived back at the resort, Blackstone proudly announced he had worked 328 QSOs, 39 states and 42 foreign countries. “Conditions here are GREAT!” he exclaimed.
Blackstone continued to work HF well into the evening, even though the family had a number of activities planned –game night, craft night, seafood night and searching for sea shells night.
During breakfast of the last day, the family vowed to “never again allow Everett to bring a radio of any sort on a vacation trip or there would be heck to pay.”
Blackstone adds that he brought along his 2KW HF amp on the trip, but had to run barefoot when he discovered the resort’s definition of “all-inclusive” did not include 220 VAC at 20 amps.