K3TRM/6Y5 Jamaica 2008

Date: March 14-23, 2008

Grid: FK08vk

IOTA: NA-097

Zone: CQ-08, ITU-11

Wha' hap'n now? This was our second visit...and again Jamaica does not disappoint! Good weather, good food, and good friends! Fortunately the bands did not disappoint either! I was planning to be active on 80-10M SSB and RTTY. Unfortunately I experienced some issues with my low band antenna, so 80M was a no-go.

Thanks to the support of the Spectrum Management Authority, I was granted special permission to operate on the 60M band. This was the first time the Authority allowed activity on the band, so it was very exiting to be able to provide another "new one" for the 60M DXers!



I ended the week with a total of 1,231 QSO's in the log. This was an improvement of nearly 400 Q's over the previous year, largely due to better band conditions...and, well, fewer distractions from the kids (mine and the locals) trying to take over the living room each night.

Not surprising, 17 & 20M provided the bulk of the contacts, mainly with the Americas and Europe. I had hoped for more openings to Asia this year, but only ended up with a few. One of the most interesting came from Chris, A45XR on 30M RTTY one evening when I seemed to be unable to work anyone outside of the Americas. I was also fortunate to catch a few short openings on 12 & 15M as well. Unlike the previous year, QSB was not an issue which provided for a more pleasant operation!

Nearly every evening was spent on the 60M band, since I was the first to activate this entity and demand was high. I had been expecting a lot of QRN, mainly because of some of the questionable looking wiring around town. But, the band was extremely quiet and I had much less difficulty hearing than being heard because of storm activity in the US. A total of 136 contacts were made, mostly with US stations, but also Europe, Africa, South America and Caribbean countries. Once the pile-ups died down, I also enjoyed many nights of ragchewing with the 60M "regulars" and one night caught my friend Alex, YV5SSB who was operating from Nicaragua as YN2YV.


On the HF bands I used a 5-band Spiderbeam for 20-10M, including the WARC bands and a 60M dipole. My portable station consisted of an Icom 706MkIIG, LDG Electronics AT-100Pro antenna tuner, and Alinco DM-330MV power supply. WriteLog v10 was used for logging and a K1NU interface for rig control.

I also erected a G5RV, the same one which performed so well on 80M from this QTH last year. Unfortunately there was a problem with it which I didn't identify in time. Instead I opted to spend more time on 60, 40, and 30M using the 60M dipole rather than spend more time troubleshooting the G5RV.

QSL Information

QSL's can be sent to my home call with SASE or through the US bureau. Non-domestic SAE's should include $1 US or 1 IRC. Cards with insufficient postage will be returned via the bureau. Additional information can be found on my QSL Information page.


We stayed at "The Roundhouse", a rental villa near the town of Lucea, which is on the north-western coast between Negril and Montego Bay. The Roundhouse is 1/3 acre waterfront property on the Port of Lucea (Lucea Harbour).

The Roundhouse is not a "rent-a-QTH". However, the owners, Caroline and Johnny Ellis, were very accommodating and permitted me to install portable antennas during our stay. The home sits just 15 feet from the water and offered great exposures to North & South America, Europe, Asia, and most of Africa. The owners are more than willing to permit future operations from their home and I would be glad to discuss possible antenna installations with anyone considering a visit.


Our whole family was excited about returning to Lucea this year. Throughout the year we kept in touch with many of the good friends we made in Jamaica on our last visit. Probably one of the most touching calls we received was on Christmas morning from Puni, the wife of Rupert, our host and caretaker, who wanted to pass along their holiday wishes. We were surprised how many of the locals remembered us from the previous year and found them to be even friendlier than we had remembered. Jamaica has definitely become a special place for us, and I suspect it won't be too long before we're planning another visit!

Useful Links

n Jamaica Amateur Radio Association
n Jamaica Spectrum Management Authority
n Reciprocal Licensing Procedures from DX Holiday

Logbook Search


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Sunrise over Lucea Harbour.
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Sunrise over Lucea Harbour.
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The Jamaican mountains.
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The Jamaican mountains.
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A visit from some of the local schoolgirls.
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An Easter party--Jamaica style.