[CQ-Contest] Q-14RE: on an island by Cuba...........

w5gn at mxg.com w5gn at mxg.com
Thu Nov 13 17:41:02 EST 2014

When I was KG4CS at Guantanamo Bay, I got to climb the Navassa Island 
swinging ladder, in July 1971, for the only solo DXPedition there, 
and climbing the ladder was a piece of cake; the challenge was for
the Hollyhock's Coast Guard Helmsman to keep the Boston Whaler UNDER the
Ladder to stabilize it as you climbed, amidst three directions of waves.

My first trip to Navassa was via a Navy Huey helo, after W0EXD found me
on 20 asking if I could help the Navy Aero Medical Institute, NAMI, in
Pensacola, to get to Navassa where they wanted to examine the goats 
of Navassa.  They ultimately confirmed that DDT from the land had worked
into the fish at sea that were eaten by the birds of Navassa that fertilized 
the grass on the island that did indeed get into the bloodstream of those 
700 wild and smelly goats.  
At the time, I was the Gitmo Base Passenger Transportation Officer, 
"Barry BiPTO", running the MAC air service, on the COMNAVBASE Admirals 
personal staff, and he saw the value of this research, and I could fund
what little was needed at GTMO, he gave his full support to the project,
and I made all the arrangements on our end, and was scheduled to join the 
team to be the DXPedition part on the island, since W0EXDs time was 
limited with the research work, and they didn't plan to be on much.
But after making the whole damn thing happen, after they are already at
GTMO and are loading the helo for the 125 mile flight, the NAMI Admiral
cancelled my joining, claiming some crap about hazardous chemicals.

Truth:  A concurrent NAMI trip to investigate contaminants in the
        brain of monkeys in Africa had allowed the wife of one of the
        researchers to go along, and she made a big stink with the
        animal cruelty folks when she published photos of the 
        monkey's brains being examined. Since I was unknown to the
        team except by ham radio, their admiral decided I was a risk.

So I stayed in GTMO and was the communications link between them on
80 meters. Toward the end, they had apparently contacted their Admiral
who invited me to fly to from Navassa on the last day, after they
had shutdown.  But, it was still a kewl trip with good photos of the
whole island before we touched down, at the top, so I could climb
the light house, and also drop something it the 500 foot deep outhouse.

But THEN, Admiral McCauley at GTMO was REALLY PISSED that I had 
basically done everything to make that NAMI trip happen, and
couldn't go to operate ham radio. 
 NOTE: There was NO OVERSEAS PHONEs at GTMO in 1970-1972; ham
       phone patches were all there was, so I ran all of the
       Admiral's patches, and of course had visited the station,
       so he had a good appreciation for ham radio!
So he then made friend with Commandant Coast Guard Miami, whose buoy tender,
the USS Hollyhock came annually to service the navigation lights
at GTMO and to replace the Navassa Lighthouse batteries, and so I
was able to join them, taking a 100w Heath SB-102 tranceiver,
an AVQ-14 Vertical, and a longwire and an LC-tuner and a 500 watt
generator. I went over with the first boat trip and got set up 
at "Lulu Bay", at the top of the ladder, on the first shelf of
the island.  Then, a dozen or more Coasties began to haul up the
new batteries, about 30-40 pounds each, into a special backpack,
taking a pair and making the long treck up to the second shelf
where the lighthouse was located.  They had replaced the (100?) 
batteries by late afternoon, but then had to anchor off shore
and send a team back the next day to measure the temperature 
to verify all the batteries were working, so I got 28 hours on Navassa.
Unfortunately conditions were poor, with 15 never opening overseas,
but I still made 714 Contacts, including 25 JAs as K4CSY/KC4.
  I've lost it now, the letter sent to me from from the FCC that
  was required in those days, and only issued AFTER you had the 
  letter from CCGD Miami who "owned" Navassa.  It initially stated
  that I had permission to use the call K4CSY/KC with NO number,
  which of course would have been a brand new KC0 prefix for WPX 
  hunters, but I chose not to exploit that without reminding the 
  FCC that previous calls were /KC4 and not /KC, and their second
  letter corrected the error.

A couple of other Navassa facts:

Originally a source of guano for fertilizer after the US Government
Guano Island act (1880s??) that said that if an Island has guano on
it, and is not occupied it is now USA territory.

In the 1890s, the workers of the Baltimore and Navassa Mining company 
mutinied and killed the manager, which led to a US (Supreme?) Court 
declaring that Navassa Island was a ship for purposes of Maritime Law.

In 1956 it was the staging area for the planned US Invasion of 
the Dominican Republic, that never happened, with a couple 
thousand troops there.

Navassa is the first light enroute from the Panama Canal to Europe.


Barry, W5GN

-----Original Message-----
From: CQ-Contest [mailto:cq-contest-bounces at contesting.com] On Behalf Of Ron Notarius W3WN
Sent: Thursday, November 13, 2014 1:55 PM
To: w7dra at juno.com
Cc: cq-contest at contesting.com
Subject: Re: [CQ-Contest] on an island by Cuba...........

Hope she gives you the OK Mike, but I hope she doesn't expect you to climb a rope ladder up a sheer cliff to get there!! <g>

On 11/13/14, w7dra at juno.com wrote:

thank you thank you thank you!

Lovely Carol will read the article and hopefully give an "OK" to a /KH6 for the 2014 OCDX contest..............

mike w7dra
On Thu, 13 Nov 2014 08:17:13 -0700 Randall K Martin <rkmassoc at comcast.net> writes:
> The article you are looking for is actually the website KC4DX.COM
> 73 Randy K0EU
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