The last weekend in October saw CUWS’s annual entry into what has become the largest HF contest of the year. We were at a disadvantage this year compared to last year’s efforts due to a lack of operators. Setup the previous weekend had not been as successful as had been hoped as we had not had time to put up the second tribander on the smaller tower. We knew already that we wouldn’t have enough operators to run a mult station and this removed the chance for people to casually turn up and mult hunt when they were free. A lot of work was required on the Friday of the contest to get the shack up, ready and running on all 6 of the contest bands. We successfully managed to be ready on 10m through 80m but testing the 160m dipole at dusk showed an extremely high SWR. After a little checking, it was found that the balun on the dipole had shorted internally and we didn’t have a spare to quickly change. There was not enough daylight left to try an alternative so that band had to be left. Our link to the packet cluster was also down and despite a scheme using a telnet to GPRS to bluetooth to ethernet to wireless LAN network was a possible alternative, it was decided that it would be too unstable to work for more than short periods of time during the contest.
The start of the contest came and it was impossible to establish a clear frequency on either 40m or 80m. Searching around showed there to be S9+ noise right up and down both bands. Search and pounce was the method of choice for this portion of the contest. Throughout the night, it proved extremely difficult to find a run frequency and it was also difficult to pick out all but the strongest stations. One good run was possible for about 20 minutes on 80m and a few stations were worked in the US on 40m but very few QSOs were made overall. Things picked up a little once dawn came and 20m began to open but things were quite slow and there was not a lot to work outside of Europe. The afternoon gave better pickings with some good runs to the US on 15m then 20m as dusk came and went. Things slowed down again once 20m closed and the low bands, once again, proved crowded and difficult to hold a clear frequency on. The highlight of the night proved to be a good run on 80m to the states at about 0400z. Sunday dawned with better conditions to the east giving good runs on the high bands. Good runs were achieved into the US after midday right through until when 20m closed after dusk. The last evening did not yield much in the way of DX but a few more local multipliers were chased up and a good run into Europe was established on 80m to add a few final points to the total.
The call for this contest was M4A and the operators were Martin, G3ZAY; Michael, G7VJR; Daniel, M0ERA; Elisabeth, M0ELI; Tim, M0TDG; and Tom, M0TJH.
The equipment used was as follows:
- Yaesu FT-1000MP
- Heil Headset
- MFJ-434 DVK
Antennas were as follows:
- 10/15/20: TH5 at 20m
- 40: 4-square and rotatable dipole at 23m
- 80: 3 way sloper beaming west and inverted V at 20m
Once the contest had finished, we had a final claimed score of 1668238 with 1934 QSOs. The score breakdown was as follows:
Given our lack of packet and a mult station, this was felt to be a good effort given difficult overnight conditions, the lack of one band (even if it was 160m) and this being the first serious HF contest for some of operators.
Results are pending.