Category Archives: Contests

M4A Contests

The following is the latest list of contests in which the callsign M4A may be used, as issued by Ofcom on 18 December 2007 in the G6UW NoV. M4A may only be used by members of the club.

  • ARRL DX CW
  • ARRL DX SSB
  • ARRL 1.8MHz DX CW only
  • ARRL 28MHz Multimode
  • CQ WPX CW
  • CQ WPX RTTY
  • CQ WPX SSB
  • CQ World Wide CW
  • CQ World Wide RTTY
  • CQ World Wide SSB
  • CQ World Wide 160 CW
  • CQ World Wide 160 SSB
  • IARU Championship Multimode
  • IOTA Multimode
  • WAE DX CW
  • WAE DX RTTY
  • WAE DX SSB
  • ARRL RTTY Roundup
  • BARTG RTTY
  • IARU 50MHz Trophy Multimode
  • IARU 144MHz Trophy Multimode
  • IARU 432MHz to 248GHz Multimode
  • March 144 and 432MHz
  • May 432MHz to 248GHz Contest
  • Movember Marconi Memorial 144MHz
  • Russian DX Contest

M0TDG: CQWW CW 2006

For some years now, whilst CUWS has been regularly fielding teams for the major phone contests in the amateur radio contesting calendar, there has been little representation in CW contests. This is regarded as a shame by some but it also gives an opportunity to those who are active on the CW parts of the bands to use the G6UW shack both for some contesting practice and to give their own callsigns a QRO airing and to try and nab a few new ones for their country totals.

CQWW CW is generally regarded as the biggest CW contest of the year and there are many expeditions to rare and semi-rare countries all over the world. Often, these expeditions involve taking large antennas and amplifiers to these countries making them easy pickings when combined with G6UW’s large antennas. After some negotiations with other CUWS members keen to have a go in the 2006 contest, it was decided that I should have the Saturday to work what I could.

The original intention had been to travel up on the Friday night and be ready for the start of the contest. It became clear in the week leading up to the contest that this would not be feasible as work committments meant that an arrival in Cambridge would not be possible before 2100 and an 80m antenna would have to be set up in the dark as there is no permanent one currently at the shack. Taking this into account, I decided that it was best to get a good night’s sleep at home on the Friday then head up the next morning. Waking the next morning, I discovered that there was a serious accident on the route to Cambridge I normally use. I waited a little for this to clear then headed north.

The shack is pretty well set up for getting on the air with win-test and the rig interfaces permanently ready. In addition to this, I had use of a microham microkeyer to provide keying from the keyboard.

As time was short and the main aim was to expand my DXCC totals, I decided to go for Single-Op All Band Assisted High Power so that I could use the packet to sniff out the juicier stations. Things started off well with lots of DX audible even though winds forced me to keep the tower wound down. However, within 20 minutes of starting, a squally shower swept through accompanied by thunder and lighting. The only thing to do was to unplug everything in the shack and power down until the storm had passed. This took a good 40 minutes and there were several lightning strikes in the fields surrounding the shack. Once the lightning had passed, things were back up and running again quickly. Conditions were reasonable for the most part and 15m was open to the US and other parts of the world. The best DX worked on 15m was VK9AA for an all time new country at around 1330z. Small runs were possible to the states at times but these did not sustain for very long and the band opened and closed several times. There were also problems with the microkeyer at times which meant some of the keying had to be sent manually. The problem was eventually traced to RF getting into the USB lead from the PC to the microham and a well wrapped ferrite ring seemed to cure this.

In the end, I didn’t operate too long after sunset due to other things coming up and the final totals were as follows:

Band QSOs DXCC Zones points
10m 5 5 3 11
15m 55 43 19 136
20m 53 50 20 114
40m 26 26 8 36
80m 0 0 0 0
160m 0 0 0 0
Total 139 124 50 51678

For only a few hours work, this seemed reasonably successful with a reasonable score and a total of 82 unique DXCC worked which included 7 all time new entities and numerous new band/countries worked. Others also reported successes in the contest with good conditions on the higher bands (although sadly there was not much on 10m).

There is an increasing interest in CW among the active members who join our contest entries and hopefully, it will not be too long until we can mount a major multi-op entry into a big CW contest again.

CQWW SSB 2006

Article by Dominic Smith, M0BLF, edited by Thomas Wootten, M0FFX.

I participated in the CQWW DX SSB Contest from the Cambridge University Wireless Society, using our contest callsign M4A.

A short audio clip (1m37s) of me running on 20m at about 1220UTC on Sunday can be heard here (RealAudio format) or here (MP3 format).

Summary

Contest CQ World Wide DX Contest
Callsign M4A
Mode PHONE
Category Multi Operator – Single Transmitter (MS)
Overlay —-
Band(s) All bands (AB)
Class High Power (HP)
Zone/State/… 14
Locator JO02AF
Operating time 41h13
BAND QSO DUP DXC CQ POINTS AVG
160 73 0 40 6 78 1.07
80 281 0 61 12 331 1.18
40 396 0 85 23 797 2.01
20 980 8 118 35 1845 1.88
15 591 0 113 31 1004 1.70
10 189 2 53 16 247 1.31
TOTAL 2510 10 470 123 4302 1.71
TOTAL SCORE 2 551 086

Operators: DL5RB, G3ZAY, G7VJR, KC5WNG, M0BLF, M0DEG, M0FFX, M0HSW, M0TDG, OZ7AGL

Soapbox: A very fun contest entry with a large team made up almost entirely of current students or recent graduates of Cambridge University. We had our fair share of problems, such as melting two baluns during the weekend, which left us with 80m for much of Sunday evening, and we also had only one 14/21/28MHz antenna, so the mult station could not use these bands while the run station was on one of them. Nevertheless, we improved on our score from last year and felt that conditions weren’t as bad as they might have been. More information at http://www.domsmith.co.uk/contests/cqww06/

Set-up

Run station: FT-1000MP, Quadra, Dunestar filters.

Mult station: FT-2000, TL-922, Dunestar filters.

Antennas: 160m dipole, 80m phased array, 80m dipole, 40m four-square, 40m rotating dipole, Stepp-IR.

The antennas were shared between the run and mult stations. This means, of course, that while the run station was on 20m, 15m or 10m, we could not use the mult station on any other of these bands (except if we forced the 40m rotating dipole onto 21MHz).

Logging was with Win-Test, which worked very well except for a small bug in the communication with the FT-2000 (hardly surprising given how new the rig is).

Some pictures of the set-up are at http://www.domsmith.co.uk/gallery/main.php?g2_itemId=892.

Highs and lows

Good points were beating last year’s score and taking the opportunity to introduce many students to contesting for the first time.

Low points included melting two baluns, which meant that we couldn’t use 80m for the last four hours on Sunday; getting the mobile tower stuck and not having sufficient antennas for a full mult station.

Band breakdown

(QSO totals below include dupes)

Band QSO % Time % QSO/min.
160 73 3 79 4 0.924
80 281 11 273 13 1.030
40 396 16 409 19 0.968
20 988 39 855 39 1.160
15 591 23 411 19 1.440
10 191 8 149 7 1.280
Total 2520 100 2176 100 0.877

Distribution

There were 1970 unique calls in the log, of which 2 were worked on all bands, 8 on five bands, 24 on four bands and 82 on three bands.

Rates

There were 76 minutes during which we sustained a rate of four QSOs/minute or higher (individual minutes, not one 76 min period!). On average, we made about 1.02 QSOs/minute during the 41h13min on-time.

The hourly contacts per hour rates were:

Date UTC Rate
28/10 0000 59
0100 83
0200 122
0300 66
0400 30
0500 18
0600 29
0700 40
0800 94
0900 55
1000 57
1100 55
1200 118
1300 72
1400 85
1500 124
1600 74
1700 94
1800 99
1900 32
2000 28
2100 30
2200 54
2300 26
29/10 0000 10
0100 8
0200 15
0300 16
0400 9
0500 23
0600 12
0700 24
0800 31
0900 61
1000 101
1100 85
1200 95
1300 127
1400 35
1500 74
1600 30
1700 34
1800 57
1900 63
2000 21
2100 15
2200 12
2300 18

Thanks to everyone who contacted us!

Dominic’s site can be found at http://www.domsmith.co.uk

Statistics on this page created by SH5rescab.nm.ru

SH5 v1.18 (25 June 2006)

RSGB AFS SSB 2005

M0BBB and M0TDG were portable around Cambridge for this one while G3ZAY and newly licenced M0TJH manned G6UW for our first full 3 station entry into the this competition for 3 years. Local QRN hampered our efforts somewhat and antenna and transceiver problems led to M0BBB only being able to operate for some of the time. M0TDG was operating from the terrace of his College’s sports ground in what became sub-zero temperatures by the end and this reduced his rate (as well as his ability to type or speak) by the end.

Scores were as follows:

Callsign QSOs Points claimed Points after checking Position
G6UW 293 2930 2890 =10th
M0TDG/P 227 2270 2210 =31st
M0BBB/P 153 1530 1460 =80th
Total 673 6730 6560 9th

The final results put us in 9th place overall which was quite pleasing as we could still improve on our score by a lot provided we sort out the equipment problems and we weren’t too far off the 6th place score. A top 5 score could well be possible if we can muster 3 stations again next year.

The complete results listings are available at: http://www.contesting.co.uk/hfcc/results/2005/afsssb2005.shtml

CQ 160 SSB 2005

G3ZAY, M0TDG and M0TJH decided to do a low key operation in this contest to provide some contest training. A poor antenna and a lack of operating time did not lead to a great score.
Our final claimed score was 63336.

Results are pending.

ARRL DX Phone 2005

We were lacking a multiplier station due to lack of operators for this contest so there was no chance of putting up a competitive score but we still put in a Multi/Single entry. Conditions were very poor this year and this further reduced our score with a final claimed score of 956238. Operating this one were G3ZAY, M0BBB, M0BLF, DJ9AO/M0TAO, M0TDG and M0TJH.

The article from QST covering the contest has been published but only covers the top ten places in each category and we were well below making the top ten in M/S. The article can be found on the ARRL website as a PDF here.

IARU HF World Championships 2005

After a strong start and, rather unusually, having been ready for the contest before it began, our entry into the HF World championships ended with a disappointingly low score. Software and equipment problems (apologies to those who heard our morse software doing an impression of a heart monitor monitoring someone going into cardiac arrest) were compounded by poor conditions and only having simple antennas for the low bands so a final score of only 603064 was achieved. G3ZAY, M0BLF, M0TDG and M0TJH (with BBQ support from G7VJR) were operating as M4A in the Multi/Single category. It was not a score that will make us competitive but it was still an enjoyable contest and gave good practice to the ops, especially those who were trying serious CW contesting for the first time.

Our score was reduced to 563760 upon checking leaving us 19th in Europe in our category. Given better low band antennas and conditions, it’s felt that our score could have been much improved. The top score of 2.8 million is a long way off but better preparation in the future could see us greatly improve our ranking in the future for this contest. Results can be found at http://www.arrl.org/contests/results/prscores.html?con_id=91.

RSGB IOTA Contest 2005

Our entry into this contest could probably be used as the basis of an article entitled “How Not to do a Contest.” We arrived on Heimaey mid-afternoon on Friday. Heimaey is the largest and the only populated island of the Westman Islands which all count for EU-071. The group of G3ZAY, M0TJH and M0BLF who had been on the mainland for a week were joined by M0TDG who flew out from the UK the day before the team headed for islands. The journey to the islands had been somewhat eventful as we had to divert down a bumpy unsealed road around the coast to avoid a blockade by lorry drivers and we also discovered that Iceland’s largest music festival was taking place on the islands the same weekend. Despite all this, it did not take us too long to find the tourist office who then put us in touch with owner of the site where we would be camping. The normal campsite for the island was being used for the festival so we were staying in the local scout site.

Setup began that evening. We were entering the Multi/Single Low Power DXpedition category so all the antennas had to be single element. We started cutting dipoles for each of the contest bands and after the traditional CUWS inability to cut two dipole legs of the same length, we were ready to get on the air. We immediately found that conditions were extremely poor and very little could be heard. We had intended to try to make a lot of QSOs that evening to spread awareness of our activation but there were very few people we could contact. Other problems that we discovered that evening were that the computer cw keyer was not functioning correctly and the IC-706 we brought with us would not power up. Fortunately we had an FT-100 with us also so we still had a working rig. No amount of adjustment, tin foil or harsh language were able to fix these so we called it a night.

The morning of the contest dawned bright and the good bit of news was that M0BLF’s stern bedtime words to the IC-706 the night before had got it working again. However, the cw keyer still caused problems so everything had to be sent manually and a new problem of intermittent S8 QRM that we never positively identified but we suspect came from the imersion heater in the hot water tank. We discovered an on air problem that as our callsign was not the same as the standard CEPT callsign (our call was G6UW/TF) and some operators refused to work us claiming our call was illegal. This did not seem to be a problem during the contest but it is unlikely that we will ever be able to tell. As the last few adjustments to the station were made (including deciding to build a 20m vertical instead of a dipole), the weather began to cloud over very quickly and the wind started to get up. As the contest started, a full Atlantic gale was blowing towards us.

The contest started extremely slowly and it was very difficult to hold a QRG because of our weak signal. Greater success was had with cw although the keying was dodgy at best due to the complicated exchange and the computer keyer not functioning. As the day progressed, the gale outside strengthened and we discovered that the constant shaking of our telescopic masts was causing them to collapse in on themselves and then fall over. This happened several times and to make matters worse, whilst restoring our 20m vertical to a more vertical attitude, the mast snapped around 2m from the base. This was partially fixed but the mast was still notably shorter. As the evening wore on, we found out that the island’s airfield had been shut and some of the tourists trapped by the closure were being put up in scout building we were operating in. This meant we couldn’t use SSB much as it would disturb them too much. At around 0200, the combination of the appalling weather and both antenna masts falling within a couple of minutes of each other, we called it a night for a couple of hours to get a little sleep and allow the weather to improve. The wind had died the next morning and conditions were slightly better on the air allowing a few more contacts but by the time the contest finished, we had been limited to just 314 QSOs which gave us a paltry final score of just 137970 points.

The score breakdown is as follows:

Band CW QSOs SSB QSOs Total QSOs
10m 0 0 0
15m 4 13 17
20m 196 77 273
40m 17 7 24
80m 0 0 0
Total 217 97 314

While this wasn’t a competitive score, it did give us a chance to see a little bit of the islands (though the weather limited this somewhat too) and it was good to provide a multiplier for other stations. Hopefully conditions will be better in the future allowing a much higher score.

Checking reduced the score to 123546. This left us 85th in our category. Not a great result but we did provide a multiplier for quite a few others. Results can be found at http://iotacontest.com/2005/iotaScores.php?q=ims.