Mountain Breeze is primarily a couple and family vacation spot – a place to relax, enjoy the people, views, food and fun of the Caribbean. In addition, it is also home of Signals From Mountain Breeze – an amateur radio station.
Amateur radio is a national resource of licensed radio station owners and operators. The operators are licensed by the Federal Communications Commission in the U.S. and equivalent national governments in countries around the world. Often referred to as “ham radio”, the service’s purpose is to foster international good will, provide emergency communications and advance technologies. As you might imagine, on an island the emergency communications function is particularly vital.
”Signals from Mountain Breeze” is operated by George, radio call sign NP2N. It is a premier amateur radio station equipped with multiple transmitters/receivers, an amplifier, antennas and on site electrical generation capability. The radio room is in the lower level of the main house, with a private entrance and is fully air conditioned (although on nice days and evenings, you might like to use just the ceiling fan)!
To learn more about amateur radio, visit the website of the American Radio Relay League: http://www.arrl.org/
Some Details for Licensed Amateurs
If you are a licensed radio amateur, you are welcome to use the station. Note this is not a contest station – Signals is a DX station designed for those who like to DX, rag chew or want to try DXing in an easy, fun way! The station may, however, be used for contests if you choose. Do keep in mind the villa is a shared facility and hams always have courtesy for the neighbors.
“Mountain Breeze" is located about 100 meters above sea level with wonderful antenna views to EU, USA and Asia to the north!
License Note: All operators licensed by the United States are qualified to operate from St. Croix in the United States Virgin Islands. You will operate portable KP2, NP2 or WP2 (your choice). Operators licensed by other countries may operate if their country of license has a reciprocal operating agreement with the United States. For additional licensing details for international amateurs, see this website:
The equipment and antennas
Please note: Signals is under constant improvement and update. Contact George at NP2N@arrl.net for the latest updates and information regarding access to the station, equipment and antennas currently available. Follows are some photos and descriptions of the station.
Station 1: The “Pro Station”
This is a station for the serious operator and contesters. It consists of an Icom 757II, Ameritron AL 1280 legal limit amplifier and associated peripherals.
Station 2: The “DX Station”
The fun station for the operator who wants ease of operation combined with the fun of operating as DX! The station is an easy to use Kenwood 440.
Station 3: The “Fun Station”
If you just want to have fun, try out QRP from a DX location or spend as many hours as you wish rag chewing around the world, try the Fun
Station! The station is a no hassle Alinco DX70. It can be operated from 5 to 100 watts, so you can pick your power level and start the pileups or the rag chew.
Antennas at Signals
The current antenna compliment consists of a 33 foot, US Towers crank up tower with an AS – 3, 3 element beam for 10/15/20 meters and an Alpha Delta trapped dipole for 40 80 and 160 meters. There is also a standby 40 meter and 80 meter dipole for use. Note, the crank up tower is left in the down position and the dipole(s) are removed. It is a simple, 1 hour operation to install the dipole(s) on the tower (in the down position) and crank up the tower. The antennas system is always being improved – contact NP2N for the latest antenna update and watch for upgrades and additions!
To operate Signals, in general, plan on about 1 one hour set up.
MOST IMPORTANT: Be safe – never ever climb the tower or place any part of your body inside the tower. There is no need to do this and you must never do it!! Safety is rule ONE!
Please note that George NP2N will not be on the Island when you are operating. You will have the rigs, antennas and equipment exclusively for your use! George will be available via phone, email and radio to talk over any last minute details and questions you might have. Your on site hosts Mony and Eric Westerberg are not hams. They will do all they can to make your stay enjoyable but they do not have knowledge about the radios – that will be one of the fun parts of your stay – the easiest setup of a DX station ever!
Your first job will be to remove the coax and pulley rope from their stored position on the tower (using diagonal cutters to cut the cable ties) and install a dipole on the Dipole Arm of the tower (using the rope pulley system from the ground – no climbing!).
Dipoles are stored in the radio room to protect them from weather. The newest dipole is the Alpha Delta 40/80/160 meter trapped dipole. There are also dipoles for 40 and 80 if you chose. End ropes for tying off the dipoles are also stored in the radio room.
There is a Kevlar rope and pulley system. Just remove the protective tape from the coax connect, connect the coax to the center conductor and pull up the pulley rope. With the dipole installed and the coax/rotator cable spread out on the ground, crank up the tower. If you’ve never had a crank up tower, you will be surprised about how easy it is. Just remember the first rule – BE SAFE – never put any part of your body inside the tower and NEVER climb the tower!
As the tower is cranked up, make sure the coax and rotor cable is sliding up the tower as it rises. It is nice to have a second person to keep the cables and dipole from tangling. Nice but one can do it.
When the tower is raised, simply tie off the dipole ends to trees (for best results, use an east/west orientation).
Inside the shack, you will need to uncover the rigs and plug in the rigs you will be using. Connect the two antenna coax leads to the antenna switch, turn on the master AC power switch, tune (dummy loads for each rig) and join the pileups – from the DX end!
Computers at Signals
There is currently a cable connection for the lap top you brought. It is routed from a wireless internet connection and is shared at the Villa. Remember, you are on an Island – do not expect a T1 connection and there may be service interruptions. Watch for future upgrades of the computer system!
A Shared Villa
Mountain Breeze is a shared villa. Please expect to share the air and space with the other residents, cooperate in interference reduction and be considerate of non hams at the Villa!
Contact George NP2N@arrl.net for more information.