Archive for the 'Contesting' Category

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RSGB 80m CC CW – 16th March 2016

We got back home from Toronto at around 1430z on Wednesday 16th March. At 2000z I was on 80m doing the Club Championship CW contest. As I was half asleep from the overnight flight and a long drive back from the airport I didn’t do any SO2V or S&P etc, just sat and held a run freq.

Overall 129 QSOs using the Inverted-L and 100W. On balance, happy with that.

RSGB Commonwealth Contest 2016 – VE3/M0PCB

Chloe M0GEJ and I planned to be in Toronto, ON over my birthday weekend, which also happens to be the Commonwealth contest. The prime motive of the trip was a holiday, but the fact that it was to a Commonwealth country was no mistake.

Thanks to John VE3EJ I was able to operate from the VE3MIS club shack in Mississauga, though without Bob VE3CWU I wouldn’t have been able to access the shack. He sat with me the whole 24 hours, thanks Bob! The club shack is hosted in an industrial building with two towers on the roof holding 2x KT-36, a 3 ele on 40m, an 80m loop and a 160m dipole.

Clive was keeping an eye on me...

Clive was keeping an eye on me…

I used the club kit, FT-2000, Alpha 91B with 750W into the antenna system. It was the first time I’d used the FT-2000 and to be honest I couldn’t really get it to sound right for me. Even though I adjusted the side-tone pitch down I found the audio pitch with the IF filter centred was too high, so had to offset by down by 100Hz. Also whenthe volume control was above 0 there was a low level background white noise present between the side-tone, quite irritating. Never-the-less I think I did pretty well.

I was Open section but unassisted. No doubt I missed some BCAs, but I did CQ a lot and I am thankful to those multipliers who found me – there were some whose pile-ups I wouldn’t have been able to break – like A25MC for example.

 Band     QSOs     Pts  Cty   Sec
   3.5      59     875   25    4
     7     177    2330   68    5
    14     329    2935   59    6
    21      56    1160   41    3
    28      15     355   13    1
 Total     636    7655  206   19

Score: 7,655

N1MM+ tells me I worked 5B, 5X, 6Y, 9H, 9J, A2, C6, G, GI, GM, GU, GW, J3, J7, T32 (a nice catch), V5, VE, VK, VP8, VP9, ZB, ZF, ZL, ZS. Not sure how to get it to list the BCAs though.


VE3/M0PCB in the contest.

Conditions weren’t great, on 80m I had high noise from the local environment and the path never seemed terribly strong to G. The band/QSO numbers tell the story pretty well. the 3 ele on 40m was working well, but it’s beneath one of the KT-36 antennas so could hear better if it was higher. Noise on 40m was around s4, 80m was about s4-5 and 20-10m were very low.

I managed to stick it out for the whole contest, and I was working people right to the end, but the gaps between QSOs were pretty big at times. I worked 70 non-BERU callers as the rate was slow enough to allow it and I wasn’t deluged with callers.
As always Clive the Contesting Penguin was with me and oversaw the whole contest


RSGB 1st 1.8MHz Contest

Only a small effort, I was on late and had to leave the shack early.

Contest : RSGB First 1.8MHz Contest
Callsign : M0PCB
Mode : CW
Category : Single operator
Overlay : ---
Band(s) : 160
Class : High
Exchange : GL
Grid square : IO81UT
Operating time : 00h 45m
 160 36 0 28 108
TOTAL 36 0 28 108

Also managed another new DXCC on 160m too with the 26m Inverted-L and 200W.


FOC Marathon 2016

Conditions were very good on most bands with some nice DX worked. This time I entered the Open QRO section as I decided to run the amplifier. I was averaging about 200W output depending on band. The antennas were the usual Cobwebb, dipole and Inverted-L. The station worked flawlessly and other than CQ calls I spent the contest keying by hand. 18 hours in the chair according to the log.

Decided to use and had made my own contest definition file based on the BW QSO Party one that ships with the software. Functionally everything was fine, but scoring is quite complex and that was left to Marabella by G3WGV.

Callsign: M0PCB
FOC number: 2024
Section: QRO Open
QSO totals:
 1.8 3.5 7.0 14.0 21.0 28.0
 35 115 134 149 155 28
 5-banders: 22 x10 = 220
 6-banders: 4 x5 = 20
 Continents: 6 x5 = 30
 Entities: 52 x2 = 104
 Total QSOs: 616
 Total bonuses: 374
 Africa Asia Europe Oceania N America S America
 4X 5B 6Y 7Q 9A 9J 

CQ160 CW 2016

I hadn’t put this one in my calendar for some reason, and was occupied on both Friday and Saturday evenings. I spent just over 2 hours early on Sunday evening and worked what I could hear – well I worked those who could hear me! I did get a couple of small runs going when I found a clear frequency. Noise level was around s8, better than it has been but not great.

Station was the K3, driving the KPA500 to deliver 150W out and the antenna was the 26m Inverted-L tuned against 150 feet of radials. Didn’t work any NA but worked most of EU and 6 new DXCCs on 160m.

Contest : CQ WW 160-Meter Contest
Callsign : M0PCB
Mode : CW
Category : Single operator
Overlay : ---
Band(s) : 160
Class : Low
Exchange : 14
Grid square : IO81UT
Operating time : 02h 10m
 160 99 35 0 0 498 5.03
TOTAL 99 35 0 0 498 5.03
 FINAL SCORE: 17 430

UKEICC DX Contest CW 2016

I’d been doing an awful lot of engineering in the shack since I got the antennas sorted and everything worked very well. I was SO2R for the first time ever, which was only due to a fortunate ability to collect an incoming parcel on Friday – also a day off. The parcel contained band decoders to hang off the K2 as a second radio.
Much soldering on Friday afternoon and early on Saturday morning and I had built the KRC2, wired it up to the Dunestar filters and modified the Six-pak controller for external inputs. I also had to add another high-side driver to my K3 band decoder box, which is now pretty cramped!
I’ve only got one amplifier here, a KPA500, and I have planned to build a clone of the 4O3A 1A2R box, which should let me share the amp between both radios. I am planning on switching the BCD band signals as well as PTT and RF in my version. All the parts arrived by Friday but just didn’t have time to get the thing built.
My modifications to the Cobwebb worked very well, I have 3 feeders on mine, one for 20m, one for 17/15m and one for 12/10m. Interaction was present, for example when the K2 was on a harmonic band lower than the K3 I was getting s9 phase noise. Then I found the filter control lead had come off. Getting the filters in line got me to s5-7 phase noise and a safe amount of RF on the 2nd harmonic itself both ways round.
The aerials are pretty close to one another, with the 40m dipole directly under the Cobwebb on the mast and the 80m inverted-l about 3m away, so interaction on LF seemed worse – no doubt due to the larger near-field.
I drove the K3 and K2 at 100W with a Microham u2r, all controlled by DXlog, which worked very well. Only one hiccup this time when the keying stopped working and I had to complete a QSO by hand while hitting ‘ESC’ several times. This resumed normal function. I really like the way I could swap radios by up and down between the two log lines.
I’m still getting used to how I want the audio switching to work and found that at various times I swapped around so I could try and make best use of the 2nd radio. I think about 60q on the 2nd rig, so worth having for sure.
Overall 467q, with 14q lost to dupes or busted. I am amazed at how fast the results came out.
I spent about 9.5 hours in the chair, I’d not been in great fettle on Friday and early Saturday so decided for the better that I should go to bed for a full night. Pretty happy with the result, though 10m only gave me 3q – 2x 5B and an EA1. The other bands somewhat better.
The SO2R station at M0PCB, Elecraft K3 as main rig with ELecraft K2 as 2nd radio.

The SO2R station at M0PCB, Elecraft K3 as main rig with Elecraft K2 as 2nd radio.


The 2015 AFS CW left a bit of a sour tatse, which lasted rather longer than I had hoped. Thankfull over the Christmas period there were some major changes at the RSGB Contest Committee announced. With that backdrop I am hopeful for the 2016 series of RSGB contests and decided to put an effort into AFS.

The 40m band has been added this year, I was a little sceptical over whether this was necessary, but actually it did add to the fun and the QSO total.

I used for logging, which worked pretty well. On a couple of occasions the F keys stopped working until I’d hit escape a few times. Likewise I managed to wipe a QSO by hitting the wrong keys trying to log in ESM mode without sending anything.

Had I had a bit more prep time I would have had a bash with SO2R, but I had trouble getting Omnirig to talk to the K2 and also hadn’t managed to wire up the 2nd set of band-pass filters to the K2. The dilemma of high or low power was settled by tossing a stick of laptop memory – in lieu of a coin. I ran ~200W in the end, which I think helped.

Overall 281q with 5 dupes, so 276q total for 2760 points.

Looking forward to the Club Championship series for a more regular dose of CW contesting.

CQWW CW 2015

The prime motivator for this contest was to make DXCC on 80m. I’ve been stuck at 71 worked for some time at home. With the help of a few of the G9V gang I set up an 80 station at the usual G9V contest site.

The station was a K3, KPA500 running 400W into a full size quarter-wave vertical over 36 radials.

I tried out some BOGs using KD9SV transformers, they did prove to be directional and very low noise but they were too short to hear the JAs etc. Might try some form of loop next time. Having said that the only stations I didn’t work from the band-map were those I couldn’t hear any trace of, so the vertical was working pretty well. The field was somewhat of a bog which may have helped.

In the end the contest went rather better than I had hoped, though there were some bodge-tastic moments with the aerial when the tail from the so239 on the radial plate came off and I wasn’t able to solder it back on in situ. Out came the crimper… It was only after the start that I realised the aerial was still cut for the SSB end of the band, so during the horizontal rain during the following day I was back out crimping in an extension. For some reason the KAT500 tuner wasn’t finding a match in some parts of the band, never really worked out why.

Total operating time was ~30 hours, with very little sleep during the days and 3 hour gap on Saturday night when the rate died. The slots from around 2am onwards til dawn were far better than the dusk period.

On the plus side it looks like I beat the existing G record and I surpassed my DXCC goals and actually worked DXCC in the contest taking me to 108 overall. All round win in my book.

Call: M0PCB
Operator(s): M0PCB
Station: M0PCB

Class: SOSB(A)/80 HP
QTH: Birdlip, Glos.
Operating Time (hrs): 29

Band  QSOs  Zones  Countries
80:   1763     27         101
Total:   1763     27         101

Total Score = 360,192


RSGB IOTA Contest 2015 – GU9V

Usually myself and Chloe M0GEJ join the HamTests team for the IOTA contest and operate as MU0HTJ. This year, due to the incredibly unfortunate and untimely passing of Louis 2U0FER plans changed somewhat.

Already we had decided that in 2015 the Vulture’s short contest call would be used as GU9V, and the team comprised Iain M0PCB, Pete, 2E0SQL, Paul M0TZO, Tom 2U0TKB and Rob 2U0WGE. Massive thanks for all the help provided by the Guernsey ARS in the guise of a hexbeam and mast, tent-age and general support.

A reasonably even split of CW vs SSB again this time and some decent run rates. The short call certainly helped keep interest up and made for a fun contest. Originally planned as a much more relaxed and small scale effort we exceeded our previous score and logged the same number of QSOs as last year.

We operated and also camped at the Les Maingys Scout Activity Centre, who were very kind to let us erect the antennas in a field to ourselves.

Score summary:

Call: GU9V
Station: GU9V

Class: Multi-Op LP
QTH: Guernsey, EU114
Operating Time (hrs): 24
Location: Island

Band CW Qs CW Mults Ph Qs Ph Mults
80: 81 20 176 42
40: 290 41 310 56
20: 593 55 436 46
15: 53 20 14 10
10: 0 0 0 0
Total: 1017 136 936 154 Total Score 4,223,850

Some photos:

Before the contest MU0PCB was active mainly on the WARC bands. Clive the Contesting Penguin was on watch as usual.

Before the contest MU0PCB was active mainly on the WARC bands. Clive the Contesting Penguin was on watch as usual.

The multiplier station, K3 loaned kindly from Dick GU4CHY.

The multiplier station, K3 loaned kindly from Dick GU4CHY.

The GARS folding hex-beam and mast, also supported dipoles for 80m and 40m.

The GARS folding hex-beam and mast, also supported dipoles for 80m and 40m.

CQWPX SSB 2015 – G9V

This year we had made some significant improvements to the station, with mono-band antennas for each of the HF bands.  These were a 3 ele mono-band Spiderbeam for 20m at 55 feet, a 3 element mono-band Spiderbeam for 15m at 40 feet and a 4 element yagi for 10m at 60 feet.

The 40m and 80m antennas were the usual full size quarter-wave verticals on Spiderbeam poles with 48 and 36 radials respectively.

CQWPXSSB Summary Sheet

       Start Date : 2015-03-28
    CallSign Used : G9V
      Operator(s) : M0IRD, M0SPF, 2E0SQL, M0PCB, G0HVQ, M0GEJ

Operator Category : MULTI-OP
Assisted Category : ASSISTED
             Band : ALL
            Power : HIGH
             Mode : SSB
             Name : Vulture Squadron CG    
          Country : ENGLAND
     ARRL Section : DX
        Band     QSOs     Pts  WPX
         3.5     284     685  111
           7     466    1220  280
          14     781    1313  235
          21     532    1028  214
          28     300     728  183
       Total    2363    4974 1023
            Score : 5,088,402

Some pictures:

20m Spiderbeam and 10m Yagi atop the NN4ZZ Hexlock

20m Spiderbeam and 10m Yagi atop the NN4ZZ Hexlock

All the antennas in view, l-r 40m vertical, 20/10m on tower, 80m vertical and finally the 15m mono-bander.

All the antennas in view, l-r 40m vertical, 20/10m on tower, 80m vertical and finally the 15m mono-bander.