The Dave Gilmour quote in the title is there to mean that, since I've read about it first, I felt an attraction for the RSGB IOTA contest. I don't know why, but I love to think my days will end on an island, pretty far from "society", like St. Helena, or Ascension. Returning on OM tracks, I decided that I had to give a try to this week-end competition (it's like NYC Marathon, you want to run, even if you don't live in sneakers) and that the best way to take part was /P. I knew it would be harder than IARU HF Championship, as islands are like bread for DXCC hunters, so pile-up would prove more intense, but I decided I wouldn't mind. Some hours in the open, along with the chance to undust the PRC-320, were enough of a perspective.
I didn't went very high this time, choosing the heights of Champlong, near Lauzon, above Verrayes, in my Aosta Valley (loc. JN35pr). Some 1600/1700 meters on the sea, on a warm summer day. In the middle of a grass near the wood, a stone that seemed built there to install the 320 on, surrounded by the space needed to span the counterpoise. In ten minutes, my radio-engine was heaten. I did listen, and try to place some calls, to understand if everything was working properly, and to check how propagation was working. The former was positive, and the latter provided a fundamental piece of information: 20 meters were too crowded and busy to be heard with a minimal set-up like mine (the 2.4 mt. whip). So, the game had to be played from 15 mt. upwards.
That's what I did when 12.00 UTC clocked. Rather than sit on a frequency and call, I preferred to sweep continuosly the selected bands and answer to others contesters. This technique paid, as at the end of the three hours I spent there (I knew since the beginning I couldn't transmit for the whole twelve hours slot, as family was with me), some twenty-three QSO were in the log. Nine in the ten meters band, and the remaining fourtneen in the fifteen one. In all, I did work five islands (EU-025, EU-174, EU-040, AF-019 and AS-004), with all the others contacted OMs being "steady ground" participants, like yours truly.
The most remarkable result, in terms of DX, has to be 5B4KH in 28 MHz, for a 2400 kilometers QRB. Also, a good skip to IT9 (with some five stations worked from Sicily) has to be noted, as well as QSOs with italian zones 2 and 4 on high bands (which is not usually the case). Since a contest was on, everybody would pass the standard "five by nine". However, since I know how these things go, I asked a couple southern Italy stations for a real report, obtaining S from 3 to 5, with "perfect modulation". I was satisfied, as with less than 30 watts and a neither 3 meters whip this becomes a result in itself (and a good training for others operators ears). On the grounds of the final score, I'm aware all this work will be ridicolous, but once again IX1 will be ranked, and that matters to me. Nothing else.
This time too, the 320 surprised me for its reception performance. Some five minutes before the contest start, I stepped in the below QSO, in the 18 MHz band. Hear for yourself how both ends were booming in Lauzon, and guess why going /P is the best declination of the most beautiful hobby that a human being could ask for.