This weekend saw a cacophony of CW over the bands, as part of the ARRL DX contest. The idea is to work as many USA stations as you can. They send 5NN and their state, and you send 5NN and your power.
I thought the contest would be ideal to try out the radios in built CW keyer, so I programed it up ready to have a go. As some will know I don’t read CW, but as much is sent via machines / computers these days it will mostly decode in DM780 or you chosen data program.
One programed it was just a case of keep track of what I had worked to avoid dupes, and see what I could add to the log. I used 28, 21 and 7 Mhz and over the course of a few hrs worked 100 stations.
Its always interesting to see the propagation change over the course of the day.
Not too bad for a bit of wire and a couple of hundred watts….
73 Dave M0TAZ
The RSGB run a number of top band contests through the year. The first is the February 1.8 MHz covering both SSB and CW. John M0UKD and myself have taken part in these for a few years now, most notably 3 years ago in 6″ of snow, and last year getting the car bogged in the mud.
Thankfully this year was mild, and not so muddy. The contest runs from 9PM to 1AM, and using a top band dipole fed with 300 Ω feeder. The centre of the dipole was at 60 ft (18m), and with a span of 260ft (80m) you need a large back garden (or access to a large field in the country).
Using an Icom 7100 and 32w (the maximum for this part of the band) we managed to work 60 stations including England, Wales, Scotland, Ireland, France, Netherlands and Germany.
Location portable in JO01CM, ASL 20m, Operating time 2 Hrs, Temp +1C
Operating alfresco in the UK Christmas Cumulative Contest with John M0UKD from Hornchurch country park. Located in JO01 at a height of just 20m ASL. Using a Icom 7100 battery powered, with a push up mast at 6m. The antenna was a UKD designed 6E pegtenna, with a gain of 9.3 dBd.
We worked 43 stations, with our best DX 280km into Wales GW8ASD.
Other highlights included working into JO03 (quite rare) and ON5AEN (JO10) in Belgium.
A map showing the QSO is available here.
Altogether a most enjoyable afternoon operating in the afternoon sun.
73 Dave M0TAZ, John M0UKD
UPDATE – The results are now in. M0TAZ came third in our section.
Last night with the able assistance of John M0UKD we attempted an entry in the 160m club calls contest. As the name suggests this is a 160m contest, designed for clubs to have teams of members on air. The exchange is a little strange, RST, Serial, (member, Club HQ or non club) and then 4 letters for your club HAVE (for Havering). The rules and contest exchange are available here for further reading.
As you may recall, Saturday night was heavy rain. The forecast suggested it would be very windy and a little wet, it was in fact very wet and not windy. Our nominated operating position was grass based, and we soon took the view this would be less than desirable. Not only was the car likely to get stuck, but the prospect of getting muddy and wet before even starting!
We decided to use plan B, a tarmacked location with access to put up a large doublet. The plan was to use my 18m roach pole and a dipole / doublet (2 x 40m) fed with 300 Ohm feeder.
After the initial “what the hell are we doing moment” we decided to brave the rain, and was set up for around 20 mins late (around 8.20). In the process of setting up a local farmer came over to check we wasn’t trying to install a new caravan based settlement close to his home. He was “reassured” to see it was just some blokes with a very large pole. At one stage he asked “haven’t you got anywhere dry to do that” ….. A good question, well presented….”no”.
The next challenge was logging, we opted for SD and the first attempt caused much swearing. The exchange is not standard, and while the program should take this into account… lets just say it caused some stress.
The contest lasted for 3 hrs, and topband was very busy. At times it was hard to find a space to call CQ, and we had quickly worked 30-40 in the first hour. In the end we worked 69, not bad considering we had a very high noise level (s9) and I have no doubt we had people calling that we just couldn’t hear. Not sure why that was, only one local farm but who knows, even poor farmers have Range Rovers and plasma TV these days…
73 Dave M0TAZ