CY9C – Day 11, Farewell to Nova Scotia

by | 2016-08-29

Team North East PointYou’ll have to forgive me, but this article is going to be a little more verbose than the others I’ve posted – Blogger’s Privilege 😉

The remaining members of the Atlantic Cove team are arriving by boat early this afternoon with the remainder of the equipment for loading and transport home. I’m waiting for them so I can load the generators and gas cans I bought locally, and head to Edmunston, New Brunswick for tonight, then back home for Tuesday night. As I post this article, I’ve finished uploading the final ADIF to ClubLog.

Going on a DXPedition has been a “bucket list” item for me for a good long time. Circumstances brought me to the attention of Randy Rowe, N0TG early last year and I was fortunate enough to be made a member of what was a wonderful adventure and a fruitful endeavour – we will easily pass the 60,000 QSO mark when I post the logs tonight.

If you would indulge, I’m going to put on my patriotic hat for a few paragraphs.

St. Paul Island from the NE Point, looking SouthAs you know if you’ve been following my journey, I was the only Canadian in the group. St. Paul Island is part of my country, and I felt privileged and honoured to be one of the few Canadians who has, or ever will see, this gorgeous part of our territory.

Additionally, this is the first time I’ve been able to properly see the eastern part of my country My drive took me right along the Trans Canada Highway through lower Quebec, New Brunswick and into Nova Scotia proper before I got onto Cape Breton Island. The scenery I experienced on my trip here will be forever imprinted in my memory.

In Cape Breton, the scenery is especially beautiful – rolling mountains covered with trees for as far as the eye can see, beautiful beaches all along the coast, a view of the Atlantic Ocean that is unparalleled to anything I’ve see along the eastern coast of North America, and the people who live here are among the nicest, kindest and most generous that I’ve ever met. I needed a place to stay on day 1 here when I decided to transfer to the North East Point, and the boat operator, Paul Fitzgerald, took me to his house, gave me a couple of beers and put me up in his guest room. Yesterday when I went looking for coffee I went to The Markland Resort (where we stayed on our first night here) and Kim gave me 2 coffees and a basket full of muffins and refused to take my money. Last night, I stayed in a little cottage owned by an elderly couple in White Point (about 20 minutes south of Dingwall, off the Cabot Trail) and they made me the first hot meal I’ve had since going to the island.

Another Shot of St. Paul IslandThe beauty and hospitality I’ve experienced along every leg of my journey thus far makes me even more proud to call myself a Canadian. I sincerely hope to be able to build a house on Cape Breton one day – nothing fancy, an 1800 sq. foot bungalow, with 5 acres in the back for an antenna farm on a high point for good take off 😉

I would like to thank Randy, N0TG and Murray, WA4DAN for putting this event together from the very beginning. Especially, I’d like to thank Randy for finding me through a mutual connection and inviting me on what has been one of the most memorable events of my life thus far. I’d like to thank Pat, N2IEN, Ray, W2RE, Lee, WW2DX and Will, AA4NC for making me a part of their team at the last minute when I switched from Atlantic to the North East Point. I’d like to thank Ray and Will for all of their operating, and their guidance on when and where to operate. I would especially like to thank Pat for the use of his helicopter, without which, there would’ve been no way to operate from the North East Point. I would like to thank Barry Smith, Pat’s aviation mechanic, for his tireless efforts managing logistics from the mainland and keeping us all safe. I would also like to thank the Amateur Radio Service Centre (ISEDC), Fisheries and Oceans Canada, and the Canada Border Services Agency for their help and service in getting all the necessary operating permits together, and for expediting the travel of equipment and personnel from the United States. I’d like to thank Derek Faulconer of CRE Insurance Services for helping us secure the required liability insurance. Most importantly, I’d like to thank my wife, Cassandra McBride, VA3MEW, for her patience, support and understanding over the last 15 or 16 months while we planned and executed this expedition.

CY9C North East Team HQFinally, I would like to thank you, my readers, who have e-mailed, Facebooked, Tweeted and otherwise digitally sent your warm messages of support and thanks. It made the experience all the more enjoyable knowing that we had your support, and further cemented in my mind my own personal belief that the Amateur Radio community as a whole is made up primarily of decent, kind and well meaning people.

I will be writing an article for The Canadian Amateur, the publication of the Radio Amateurs of Canada (RAC), at some point in the near future, and will share that article here after it’s been published in TCA. My next journey will be in a couple of weeks to Heart’s Content, Newfoundland, for RAC’s Annual General Meeting, which will also commemorate the 150th anniversary of the laying of the first permanent cable between North America and Europe.

For now, with my thanks and best wishes, a final 73 from the east coast of Canada from VA3QR/VE1.

13 thoughts on “CY9C – Day 11, Farewell to Nova Scotia

  1. Lee K2HAT

    Thanks for all your hard work, with the Blog, and getting the logs uploaded to Clublog,
    and of course to All who were involved with getting CY9C on the air. 🙂

    My goal; was to try and get at least one Digital and one CW contact in the log, and I did more than that. 🙂
    I was Also able to add to my very small list of DXCC Countries on 160m too.
    {DXCC on 160m is going to take me a long time, LOL.}

    Best 73 K2HAT

  2. John Parnell

    Nice operation folks! Twas a rough haul from the NW USA, but many of us made it through for a new one.(The Gordon Lighfoot tune was a nice touch! I have seen him many a time over the years. VE has more than it’s share of great singer-songwriters)

  3. Michel Boissonnault VE2TH

    Hello Phil,

    A “BIG THANK YOU” to share this adventure and the story with the amateur community, it is great!
    This trip to St-Paul, is still in our dreams for years, as we would like to do it QRP only and on few bands.

    By the way I worked them on 20/30/40 CW and QRP @ 5 watts with simple wire antenna. I’m Lucky because the propagation was poor here.

    For now, a warm thank you again,

    72 Michel VE2TH & 88 Georgette VE2RH The QRP’er’s OM/XYL team

  4. VA3QV

    Thanks for all you and the team did….. and getting CY9 as a new CW and Digital DXCC was an added bonus


  5. Graham VK3GA

    It’s been great reading your blog Phil, and thank you for ATNO!!

    Happy trails, Graham VK3GA

  6. San K5YY

    Great closing remarks, Phil, and nice of you to thank all the people involved. Sounds like you did have a great 1st DXpedition. I have been on 25+ DX trips dating back to 1970 to over 50 countries and enjoyed all my team members and memories of the different experiences from each place..
    Thanks again for your involvement in this successful CY9C trip. Murray and Randy are great co-leaders and DXpeditioners…
    San K5YY Arkansas

  7. David Minster

    Congrats on all!! Was happy to be an early supporter. And I love the song choice. Literally one of my favorites from childhood. I grew up listening to the Irish Rovers version. All the best. David, NA2AA

  8. Toyo

    Thank you for giving me a valuable ATNO.
    After I sent you a small donation, Randy sent me a reply saying “For sure we look forward to making many contacts with you.”
    I was anxious about calling you in big pileups.
    But Ray picked up my weak SSB signals “for sure”.
    In continuing bad conditions, I almost gave up working you on CW.
    I barely heard your CW signals on 20m on the very last day and Will picked me up in the pileups.
    The only disappointment is that conditions got worse than we expected.
    I really appreciate your toil and efforts.
    Toyo, JL3LSF / NA1AA

  9. VE2EVN


    Thank you for your blog. It was great to follow the events “from the other side”. I was hoping to meet you this coming Ottawa Hamfest (along with Glenn, ve3xra who usually attends) but I see by the date of the RAC AGM that is very unlikely, as it falls on the same date. Oh well. I guess it’ll be at some other time and place. I’m looking forward to reading your article in RAC magazine.

    Be safe on your trip back home (Wave when passing through Montreal. 🙂 ) and please post more videos if you have any.

    73 de Marc-Andre, VE2EVN

  10. David Tiller

    Good work, guys – excellent DXpedition! I was lucky enough to work you on 8 bands (80-10, minus 60m) and both SSB and RTTY on 20m, all with 100W and a dipole. You guys had great equipment and great operators!

    73 de K4DET

  11. F2DX, Patrick

    Phil, it was a real pleasure to read you on your blog.
    It is unusual to be informed every day of the conduct of a DXpedition, and it was very interesting.

    All problems related to weather you have encountered remind me of what we experienced in 1990 for CY9CF. This island is really special and not easy (but so exciting).

    When I contacted CY9C on 30 meters RTTY, I received this friendly message after the traditional 599: “HAVE BEEN HERE WHAT A BAD WX ISLAND AND THE GROWTH WEEDS DIFFERENT U NEED TO COME BACK!!! 73 K8LEE”. Thank you Lee for your attention!

    Phil, you’ll long remember this expedition and you’ll keep friends forever. Personally, I remember ALL the details of CY9CF 26 years later.

    What you write on the kindness of the people of Cape Breton is absolutely true. I will always especially remember the hospitality of our captain (“Budy”) who had hosted us for long days in his small fisherman house before the weather allows him to take us to St. Paul.

    Congratulations to the team for this 60.000 Q’s DXpedition. In the current propagation conditions, it was not obvious and not easy.

    73, F2DX Patrick
    (CY9CF leader and one of the recent FT4JA DXpedition)

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