12th November 2016.
Its not often you hear 1.8 MHz full of phone, but tonight was that night. The RSGB club calls contest is one of the most popular RSGB HF contest around, and at various times of the year covers both CW and SSB from 1.8 to 7 MHz. You can read more about this contest on the HF contest website.
The idea is for clubs to field as many stations as possible, and for the combined scores to contribute to the AFS clubs score. Exchange is a little unusual, the 4 letter club names can be found here.
Report, Serial Number, ‘Club HQ’, ‘Club Member’ or ‘No Club’, Club Name (a 4-letter club abbreviation)
Running as M1GEO and operating as members of the Camb-Hams provided a great volume of QSO over the 3 Hrs contes. The antenna was a top band dipole with the centre at 30m and Icom 7600 running 32w. Most signals received were very strong, although finding space on the band was sometimes difficult. The QSO total was 120, very respectable considering a break for some food at 21.00 Hrs.
Here you can see George M1GEO doing a spot of antenna maintenance before the contest.
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.
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