Mid January is the time for the RSGB’s Affiliated Societies SSB (AFS) contest – a 4 hour sprint for three separate stations to make as many QSOs as possible on 80 metres – no multipliers, just work anyone and everyone. Most clubs encourage as many of their members as possible to enter from their home stations, worrying about who to regard as the ‘A’ team when results are in. But for CUWS it is not so simple – with our only permanent station at the G6UW shack we have a major problem putting two more stations on the air at all.
This year, thanks to Michael G7VJR, we were able to use the Trinity Hall sports pavilion and the offices of his company ‘Third Light’ at Milton. The stations were all ready for delivery and set-up by Martin G3ZAY and Michael on Saturday morning – but drunken revellers caused a serious problem by heaving a milk bottle through the rear window of Michael’s car during Friday night, making it unusable. Fortunately the Cambridge traffic wasn’t too bad and Martin managed to make all the necessary deliveries in time so we were ready to go with 20 minutes to spare.
Stavros, M0BBB, our star contester, took charge of the G6UW station with a dipole at 50 feet, FT1000MP and Quadra linear. He ran steadily on 3699 kHz for more than half the contest, searched and pounced for a few minutes in the middle, and finished on 3618 kHz with 317 valid QSOs.
Tom M0TJH operated /P from the sports pavilion using G3ZAY’s FT890, TL922 linear, and an inverted Vee hung from a support contrived with a 20 foot ladder and the boom of a TH3 beam.
Unlike M0TDG last year (who was forced to operate ‘al fresco’ and was nearly dead from exposure by the end) Tom had a centrally heated position next to the squash courts – though the sound of squash balls hitting the wall of the court behind him did cause some VOX tripping every now and then. Noise levels were a little higher for some reason and Tom managed to finish with 173 valid QSOs.
Martin operated from Michael’s offices with an FT847, 12 volt solid state linear running about 300W, and an inverted Vee at about 30 feet supported by a fishing pole lashed to another old TH3 boom.
He started running just above 3600 kHz and moved to search and pounce when things got slow just before 5.00 pm. He feels he probably left this a bit late as the band had changed with sunset and there was a substantial dead zone close in – only the GMs and nearer EU stations were loud. Nevertheless he was satisfied with his score of 252 valid QSOs.
Tabulated, the results were as follows:
So the team total was 7420 – and based on last year’s scores this would have placed us 5th overall in the team listings. But there was a little more activity this time so we may be lucky to hold on to 9th place. Leading stations were making around 360 contacts so it is clear we need to match their expertise/equipment and ensure that with a suitable remote antenna we can listen around the band at the same time as our voice keyer is blasting out the CQs. Something to think about for next year – there must be enough space at the farm to do this.
Results are pending.