In preparation for CQWW I bought a BE102 mast support from Lynchy and 2x 5m 16swg ali poles from http://www.metals4u.co.uk/. The plan was to get a Cobweb (multi-band dipole) up at least 9m in the air for 20-15-10m. It was all installed a couple of weeks before the contest and I was getting good reports from the cobweb at around 9m over the ground. I lowered the antenna back down to ground level for safety so that it would be ready for CQWW phone 08.
I got home from work early on the Friday before the contest and put up the cobweb. It was up about 3 hours when the winds started to howl and I decided that since I wasn't using it through the night, I'd lower it and then raise it again on Saturday morning.
Saturday morning came and the winds started to rise yet again. I looked at the weather reports and found it was only going to get worse so rather than risk the antenna I left it at ground level. It was a fearsome gale, about force 7-8 and would definately have brought the antenna down. During all this time I was using my 80m doublet to keep the Qs going.
Sunday morning came and at last the wind died down so I went outside to put the antenna up. Never try and put up an antenna when you are tired! I made so many mistakes it took my twice as long as it usually did, but finally it went up and I hurried indoors to start the scores rolling properly on the higher bands.
I was on 15m and running the full legal limit when I got a knock at the door and a report that I was coming through computer speakers next door. Well, the linear was switched off and I spent the rest of the contest at 100w.
My contest turned out to be a disaster but lessons were learned for the CW leg which is the important one for me anyway.
1) I've ordered a thicker walled pole (10swg) for the bottom 5m mast section, to try and increase it's wind survival spec.
2) I've ordered a 12m spiderpole for a 40m vertical as my 40m score was pityful.
3) Try and get all antennas up before the contest and don't try and change things when I'm tired.
4) Remember to go to 20m early morning for the JA run and not just play on 80/40.
5) Order some ferrite rings for next door.
Hopefully CQWW CW will be better.