Following is a story of Uostadvaris Lighthouse activation on 2003


……We put on sails early in the morning 9:20 AM (considering a fact that it was weekend’s morning). So far our crew consisted from: LYR346, his XYL, and his son, all packed in Russian jeep VAZ 2103; LY2UF, his XYL, and me, LY1DF. Although LY1DF could hardly fit at the back seat of LY2UF’s Opel Vectra, somehow we did not need to throw away any radios as ballast and started just on time. Weather was fine as always is in LY-land during summer months- warm refreshing breeze. After the first 30 miles of driving the engine has stopped: distilled water was missing (because of a leaking hose somewhere under the engine) therefore gas reducer was covered with ice!  It was August, so five minutes to melt, a couple of minutes to buy additional 5 liters of stuff to fill in the tank. We kept on going. After another 30 minutes of trip one more tank of additional 5 liters consummated.

The next involuntary stop was announced when leaking water has reached LY2UF’s knees (a limit when driving becomes really inconvenient). Now the crew consisted from: 1) previous participants; 2) a pile of bottles and tanks with mineral and distilled water; 3) a raft for those sitting on the front seats of the car not to sink.

At 12:40 PM QTH»Silute, a few miles left until our final destination, here we met LY2FY’s crew aboard Nissan Patrol escorted by rain with heavy clouds. At 13:00 PM, finally, QTH=Uostadvaris Lighthouse, LIT007!

It was raining buckets. When the wind has reached 59+40 and the ground has mixed with the sky, we have volunteered to go up the trees and the lighthouse tower to hook wires, as anyway we all were already sopping wet. Meanwhile LY2UF checked 2 m FM, and found LY1CM/LGT (Already there!!!) from Cape Vente Lighthouse. LY1CM, who arrived earlier, was already drinking brandy in his temporary lighthouse tower radio room and making QSOs on HF/VHF. That has inspired us - within 20 minutes LY2FY has already hooked 80m band dipole, while LY1DF, 2UF and LYR346 were still about to hook up 160 m band dipole.

A historical event was announced by LY2FY - first QSO from LIT007 by LY2FY on 20 m band with 80m band dipole tuned with IC-775 AT, SWR=1.2:1. No champagne, sorry, only some smoke, Icom’s antenna tuner has blown out right after the contact!

When 160m band dipole was finished, SWR measured to be ideal, it was time for W3DZZ made by LY3IT. Afterwards LY2UF’s TS-850 was attached to a legal kilowatt PA, pumping RF juice to W3DZZ. While we continued with the other antennas, LY2FY was shaking 20m band with this set up. Pace was growing 240 QSOs/hour, then 270 QSOs/hour. We felt that we were needed on the bands! While LY2FY kept on pile-up, LY1DF and LY2UF continued with antennas, until it has become dark. A rain was our compulsory companion, of course. While we continued with antennas, LY2FY visited us atop the tower with another sad news- PA has died L. Now we had only barefoot LY2FY’s IC-775 200W without AT, and TS-850 with 100W output left. We all felt like the God has finally left us.

No more 300 QSOs per hour pile-ups, we thought. A first QSO on 40m band - Japan, 20m band was still open to US. 15m was already closed. But still there were pile-ups on 80m band with many LY and EU stations! Taking turns, all of us made many QSOs that evening. Everything was the way expected. Lottery for the night shift: LY346 on 160, LY2UF on 80, 40, 20, LY1DF go sleep. At 04:00 AM the next shift. The next day after breakfast XYLs initiated attraction- a visit to another Lighthouse, Cape Vente, to meet LY1CM/LGT team and to see the Ornithological Centre (that’s what Cape Vente is famous for). Uostadvaris was left safely controlled by two maniacs, LY2UF and LY1DF. New day, new antennas. LY1DF unfolded spare feeder, - why not to make it into anything that works on WARC bands? First QSO on 10Mhz with 8S6LGT, exchanged reports 569-589. Solder-less extension of cable works just fine on HF. What’s today for our lunch? -Russian RDA contest on all but the WARC bands! We did not expect that. WARC dipole was made just on time. Meanwhile our crew has returned from Cape Vente Lighthouse - they said their trip went fine, if not to mention petrol drinking in the middle of a marsh- LYR346 told us the story:

“..On our way to Cape Vente we have stopped at petrol station. Just to add some fuel and to buy fresh newspapers. LY2FY has also stopped but did not step out of the car (those who read this, do not miss this moment). Afterwards we continued towards cape Vente. We were friendly met by the locals who maintain the lighthouse, because we carried donuts? Locals showed us where LY1CM/LGT temporary resided. Warm welcome, short excursion around the lighthouse area. While LY2FY made several QSOs from LIT008, XYLs and me, LYR346, tried some brandy. LY1CM recommends visiting Minges village, similar to Italian Venecia, just a difference that Minges is a village with only few granges, surrounded by water and marshlands. What a fantastic view! (Why didn’t you make some pictures then for the rest of the World to see it?). On our way back, somewhere in the off-roads, LY2FY’s car stops as both the gas and petrol was finished (for those who still read this, recall the above described moment at petroleum station). Luckily, LYR346’s car followed afterwards. Unfortunately, no one had neither a fuel tank, nor a pump to do the job. Decision was made fast - disassembled pump for tires, but the rubber hose was too short. Nevertheless, LY2FY tried to help the situation by blowing air by his mouth…and suddenly the reverse direction…(later that evening he has tried a lot of beverages to kill the A-92 petrol in his stomach). Suddenly an idea came to LYR346’s head- why not to disassemble VAZ 2103 carburetor? It contains internal pump, which could be connected to the rubber hose to make a fuel pump. This way, a result was 4 liters of petrol for LY2FY’s car to keep going“. So they have reached the camp.

LY2FY tried to dispel our worries by proposing to fix the blown PA. Optimism can add a few needed dBs, if applied on time! LY2FY disassembles PA. Then LY1DF announces the diagnosis- PA is possible to fix, a failure reason – blown PA anode rectifier capacitors. LYR346 proposes solution: local aboriginal tribes may have some old TV sets for sale at symbolic price. LY2FY and LY2UF with spark in their eyes have left the camp. While they hunted for anything like capacitors, LY1DF right in the bushes behind the Lighthouse excavated remnants of an old vinyl disk player, dated back in 1960s, with capacitors that looked like suitable!Meanwhile LY2FY and LY2UF went through village after village. It looked like there was no one alive in these marshes... Finally in one shack they found someone, sleeping deep August sleep, woke him up and 5 minutes tried to explain what is amateur radio, what is TV, how the capacitors look like, and that it could be easily converted into hard currency if anyone would find any. No chances, it looks like everyone cares about pollution and are local “green peace”. The next village turns out to be inhabited by a ham! LY2BGX, has surely understood the importance of the moment, and mobilized everyone who cares. Result- an old TV set “motherboard” with 5 (!) capacitors.


LY1DF   tested capacitors, some were good, but not enough of them, only for 1700V voltage, so we’d apply only part of a secondary anode transformer turn then. That will work. LY2FY can’t stand watching LY1DF testing, plugs soldering iron and here we go- first trial with 900V secondary voltage- attention- no smoke - it works! The next trial – 1300V – attention- it works!   Ready, steady,  go- first QSO and we are back on the air „calling LY…. from     lighthouse LIT007“. Get reply from VKxxx, also from a lighthouse. Nice! Afterwards make many EU, or to say more precisely, DL and DK, and few UA9’s. LY1DF gets nervous, when someone sends QSLL… Inspired with PA revival, LY2FY tries to play with his ill IC-775. When the smoke comes out of the back panel, it is absolutely clear that das ist alles. Expedition finished for IC-775, it was disconnected and packed back to the box.



An evening has come and LY2FY decides to go back home. LY1DF/LGT and LY2UF/LGT stay on the air. LYR346 meditates on the balcony and watches LY2FY jeep’s backlights disappearing in the darkness of marshes. After 20 minutes passed, still seeing his backlights, got a telephone call from LY2FY “..hi, it looks like our car is broken.. something is wrong with the gear box..”. Certainly a lucky day for LY2FY! It has coincided so that the same weekend LY VHF Championship took place. We have decided to give a rare locator to the others in LY-mainland. Around 22:00 UTC we hike the tower. On the top of the tower, at the open cabin, wind blows 59+40. After 20 minutes of intense calling first QSO with LY2BGX/P, we exchange reports, ours No. 001 and his 013. Someone out of the noise call us in Russian.. UA2, of course, I reply happily, but it looks like he’s just speaking to his next block neighbor in Kaliningrad…After another 20 minutes of calling, made a qso with Nida Lighthouse - LY2FN/LGT, who has officially activated the Nida Lighthouse for the first time in LY radio history, with LY3NTW, LY2DX and LY1FW. Due to a slow pace we have decided to forget VHF and climb downstairs to HF.

The night shift was operated by LY1DF. LY2UF asked to wake him up at 03:00AM, but as he did not sleep during the daytime, all LY1DF’s invitations to come and operate were not responded by snoring LY2UF. Having 20m, 40m, 80m, 160m open through the night, with US coming 599++, LY1DF felt like in heaven until the sleep has come. At 05:30 LT Sunday morning LYR346 found no operators alive… Of course I can’t miss mentioning here a fact that LY346 is responsible for 160m band operations in our LY7A club. So there’s no doubt what band he has chosen for this expedition. From what LYR346 has told us in the afternoon: …”I slowly navigate through 160. QRN’s disappeared, at 1823kc I hear  - CQ CQ de XQ6ET, XQ6ET...and once again CQ CQ XQ6E. My blood has come to the boil. I try to call him, but he only QRZ? QRZ? de XQ6ET....only one second separates us from establishing a contact, but suddenly here comes a strong and s l o w …..CQQQQQQ CQQQQQ de DLxxxx....DX  ONLY... “

While I fold back night antennas – 160m and 80m, and change LY2UF at the shack, LYR346 and LY2UF examine his car. Decision: repair might be complicated, and time-consuming. We better take additional amount of distilled water and stop more


often, but until we leave, we would make some more QSOs. That’s the ham-way of thinking, hi-hi. The last contacts, and after symbolic lunch, we say adios Uostadvaris Lighthouse! – see you the next summer or January – WW DX 160 m CW contest.






Expedition was finished with some 6 000 QSOs per two days. Lessons learned:

  • IC-775 is not a rig to trust;
  • TS-850 cooling fan makes QRNs unacceptable for DX work unless you put on solid headphones and stick with isolation tape;
  • Never use amplifiers with final lamps that need forced ventilation- it is impossible to stand that noise in such a small corner like our shack was;
  • Never use poorly made W3DZZ, it attracts sea birds but not DX stations;
  • An old Russian VAZ 2103, made in 1970s is more reliable than 1990s Opel Vectras + Nissan Patrols (is there any interdependence on the one who sits between the wheel and treadle?);
  • Never take any beer at all- anyway the amount will not be sufficient; instead, always take to the trip: 100 liters distilled water, -might be needed J.