VHF NFD 2017 – G5BK/P

On the first weekend of July the Cheltenham ARA arranged a club field day to coincide with the RSGB VHF NFD contest.

I wasn’t able to attend on the Saturday but I did get along for the Sunday morning session on 70MHz. I took along my Icom IC-7300 (40W) and 5 element Powabeam antenna. The antenna went up on the 8m Racal push up mast on a drive-on plate that I usually use for portable operating.

We made 36 QSOs in the Restricted section between myself and Derek G3NKS. Our best DX being SP3RNZ right at the end of the session.

70MHz UKAC April 2017

Only 8 QSOs in this contest, from home. Station was an Icom IC-7300, 50W into a dual band 50/70MHz Moxon antenna.

Best DX was G8BCG down in IO70.

Unfortunately a lot of the 70MHz UKACs clash with my local radio club meeting.

RSGB Commonwealth Contest 2017 – 9G5X

In 2017 I happened to be on a DXpedition to Ghana with G3VMW, G3XAQ, G4BWP, 5B4AGN and G6MC. Of the team members I was the most enthusiastic about the Commonwealth Contest and so for the 24 hours of the contest I had the shack pretty much entirely to myself.

Some more details of thetrip are on the 9G5X page.

For the contest I had a K3, KPA500 driving a 3-band Spiderbeam on the roof of the building, a 40m Dipole broadside to North and an 80M quarter-wave vertical. Band conditions were pretty good on the North-South path.

 Band QSOs Pts  Cty Sec Pt/Q
  3.5 113  1025 0   0   9.1
    7 217  1845 0   0   8.5
   14 414  3370 0   0   8.1
   21 248  2100 0   0   8.5
   28 2    50   0   0   25.0
Total 994  8390 0   0   8.4
Score: 8,390

Even though my QSO totals were a long way ahead of anyone else I was beaten on error rate and band-call area bonuses by VE3EJ. Sadly during the night I wasn’t able to turn my beam as there was no safety railing on the upper balcony and in the dark it wasn’t safe enough to go up there on my own.

Thanks to my team mates for allowing me the opportunity of entering the contest, one of my favourites. My efforts landed me with 2nd place in the Open section.

CQ160 CW 2017

I don’t have a particularly good antenna for 160m at home, but felt like giving a few points away on Sunday evening. Thanks to those who heard my puny signal!

Only worked 39q in the end, hadn’t clicked that the contest ended at 2200z – just as I was about to CQ for a while.

My first QSO was GU4YOX, who was also a new DXCC on 160m – thanks Bob!

Contest : CQ WW 160-Meter Contest
Callsign : M0PCB
Mode : CW
Category : Single operator
Overlay : ---
Band(s) : 160
Class : High
Exchange : 14
Grid square : IO81UT
Operating time : 00h 42m

 160 39 21 0 0 183 4.69
TOTAL 39 21 0 0 183 4.69


This was my first contest of 2017. Conditions on 40m for local QSOs was terrible, so mostly Gm stations worked there at the start, with a few G stations later on.

I had SO2R set-up, the K3 and KPA500 on 80m and the K2 with Hunter 750 on 40m. Both outputting 200W. I logged with DXlog.net and drove the Microham u2r box to switch bands.

Contest : RSGB Affiliated Societies Contests
Callsign : M0PCB
Mode : CW
Category : Single operator
Overlay : ---
Band(s) : ALL BANDS
Class : High
Grid square : IO81UT
Operating time : 03h 54m

 80   150 1   149
 40   37  0   37
TOTAL 187 1   186


RSGB SSB Field Day – G5BK/P

Again my local club, CARA, decided to have a bash at another contest. This time it was SSB Field day. Like NFD I provided the station and a 120 foot doublet this time. We actually used my IC-7300 as it’s easy to extract from the shack, unlike the K3. It performed very well, but integration could have been better with N1MM+ for voice keying etc had I had more set-up time before the contest.

The inbuilt ATU in the rig didn’t like the doublet fed via balun and coax, nor did my LDG AT100Pro2, but that appears to have a fault. In the end I drove home and grabbed the KAT500 and SGC230 just in case. In the end the KAT500 tuned the aerial fine.

We made 398q in the end, more thanks to the efforts of Martin G4ENZ than my operating time – which was limited. We did have a couple of other club members try out HF contesting, so hopefully they’ll appear in other events too.

70MHz Trophy 2016

I didn’t manage to get out to my /P location for this contest, instead I had a few QSOs with the IC-7300 feeding the new EAntenna 6/4m dual-band Moxon antenna. I only worked 5 stations, all SSB, though I did call CQ on CW for a while. I only spent around 45 minutes in the shack in all.

Hopefully will get out portable next time.

IARU HF Contest 2016 – GR2HQ

This year I was an operator on the GR2HQ, UK team for the IARU HF Contest. I travelled up to join the folks at the Brimham Contest Group G6MC, a club I used to be a member of back in my University days.

I spent my time on 20m CW, which was great fun. Plenty of QSOs to keep us awake!

RSGB NFD 2016 – G5BK/P

This year my local club, CARA, managed to put a 4 person team together for NFD. I was in charge of providing the station, which was a K3 and 265 foot doublet at 11m above ground in and Inverted-V configuration.

We made 1000q in the contest, which fell to just under after adjudication and did pretty well considering it wasn’t a totally serious effort.

70MHz Contest CW 2016

For the first time in a while I managed to get out to the /P spot in IO81VT for a 4m contest. I used my Icom IC-7100 with 50W into the 5 element Powabeam up at about 5m AGL.

I made 27 QSOs, activity seemed down on previous entries. Best DX was GM4ZUK/P but a nice surprise was to work an ON4 station early on. This was a new country on 4m for me. I kept CQing to the East but no more continental EU stations heard or worked.

Everything worked flawlessly, though it does appear that my LDG ATU that was in line (for HF mobile) wasn’t actually in proper bypass mode. I found this when the SWR on 4m went high. Looks like a couple of toroid coils got rather warm and melted the hot-melt glue holding them in place. Oops! Taking the unit out of circuit completely solved the problem and it still appears to work at HF but more testing required.

Hopefully there will be more activity next time, I had thought that with the prevalence of commercially available 4m kit that activity levels would have increased.