George W. Briggs III, PhD


Gingerbread Hill is a guest house on Montserrat.  It is run by David and Clover Lea.  In 2004, when K3ZM and I operated CQWW CW from Providence Estate on Montserrat, Trond (LA9VDA) was operating from Gingerbread Hill, about 1/3 of a mile away.  After the contest, Peter and I visited Trond and toured Gingerbread Hill.  The Leas appeared to be very accommodating toward ham radio guests, and David told us of his plans to add a third storey to the guest house.  Gingerbread Hill also looked to have a better shot to Europe!
     In 2006, with the third storey having been added to the guest house, I made my first ham radio trip to Gingerbread Hill for the CQWW CW contest.  With a big assist from local hams Keith Greaves and Frankie Morgan, I shipped a complete station down to Montserrat over the summer.  Included were a transceiver, amplifier, triband yagi, dipoles for the low bands and coax.
     When the third storey was added to the guest house, a marvelous roof-top deck was also added.  The railing surrounding the roof-top deck had reinforced concrete pillars in each corner.  Each pillar had a galvanized pipe running vertically down the center to accommodate a smaller-diameter mast.  David provided two 8-foot galvanized masts for this purpose.  I used one mast in one corner pillar to mount the tri-band yagi and the other mast, in another corner pillar, to mount the centers of the dipoles.  This was the humble beginning of amateur radio station VP2MDG.  After a very successful contest operation, I left all of the equipment behind for use by future ham guests, and David was kind enough to store it.

Since then I have returned to Gingerbread Hill almost annually, sometimes to operate single-op and sometimes multi-op.  Having made somewhat of a commitment to operating from Gingerbread Hill, I have shipped down quite a bit of additional ham radio equipment.  The most noteworthy item is a 55-foot, heavy-duty, motorized crankup tower, which David installed against the rear of the guest house.  When cranked down, the tower extends only a few feet above the roof-top deck.  While standing on the deck it is very easy to install the triband yagi on the tower and to hang wire antennas for the low bands.  The corner pillars are still available for other antennas, such as the 6M yagi that I shipped down a couple of years ago.