On November 7th & 8th the IARU & RSGB – 144 MHz International Marconi CW Contest took place for 24 hours 14:00 – 14:00 UTC. The Team arrived on site later than planned due to work commitments which delayed setting out by several hours, Traffic on the roads to our site at JO01KJ, etc. so we didn’t do a huge amount of work on Friday afternoon as we only had about 2 hours of light left. Most of the work was done before the contest on the Saturday morning.
The station comprised 2 x Elecraft K3/10 + homebrew transverter, SSPA and pre-amps. The IF output from No.1 antenna system (facing EU) was split and also fed to an Anan/Angelia SDR board with CuSDR and PowerSDR/CW-Skimmer.
We put up two identical antenna systems – each was 2 x 10-el DK7ZB yagis vertically stacked about 15ft apart on top of a 60ft Versatower. This was all we fancied doing in the 30-50Mph gusting winds, scrawly showers and rain that we had to contend with… at our site just walking around in the field for five minutes you grew in height 2-3 inches due to the mud on your boots!
The Group putting together Tower 2
Summary: 342 QSOs, 193,176 points, 565 points/QSO. Best DX OM3RBS in
JN98KJ QRB 1329Km.
Activity levels throughout the contest
Conditions were flat on the Saturday towards EU and activity was very low from the UK. Initial QSO distances were in line with those expected of our site with many German stations in JN48 /JN49/ JO50. As Sunday arrived were experienced minor/moderate Tropo inline with Hepburn and F5LEN Tropo predictions and distances increased to work JO73, JO90 ranges.
Through the night conditions improved slightly and/or QRM dropped and we worked over 50 x OL, OK, OM, OE and SP stations with many distances over 800Km.
It became clear that the centre of activity for this event was Czech Republic/Austria/Slovakia/Hungry from where all the lines could be seen crossing on DXmaps.com. We also found that we (and other larger UK stations) were on the “western edge” of what was reachable to many of the stations in EU and hence it was quite common for pile-ups of DL/DK stations with the odd OK/OE/OM somewhere in the mix.
To give people an idea of what the contest looked like here is a screen grab from the SDR mid-morning today (Sunday) on the 2 x 10el facing EU:
We did spend a considerable amount of time with the antennas facing in-land panning them around between GM, GI, EI, GW on Sunday and worked most of the “usual suspects” – we think that the only one that got away was Clive, GM4VVX which was a combination of QSB and bad timing.
On this occasion the BlackSheep were Pat EI5IX/M0XII, Bill M0BTZ, Nick G4FAT, Andy 2E0IBF and myself Mike G8TIC. Pat is our hero and “CW Axeman” and did about 95% of the operating (no sleep) the rest of us just filled in the odd gaps for a comfort break! Most of the time the station was manned with three operators, one for each radio and one on SDR/DX cluster/KST.
Thanks to everyone that called us and hope you enjoyed it as much as we did!
We hope to work you in the next contest.
A record number of entries was received this year 42, beating the previous record of 28.
The contest was again beset with bad weather but had good VHF conditions to the east on the Sunday, but not so good on Saturday. Those who chose Saturday in the 6 hours section certainly lost out to the Sunday entrants.
The Single Operator Fixed section was won by Dave G7RAU from the Isle of Wight, with G0JJG runner-up.
The Open section was won by G8T, the Blacksheep contest group, with a fine antenna setup and many eastern Dx contacts. Sadly they were the only Open entrant
Jeremy Brown, G3XZG, operated the G3MEH station again this year, and won the 6 hour Single Operator Fixed section. G4ZTR was runner-up.
John Cockrill, of the Northampton club G4CZB/P, was again the winner in the 6 hour Open section. G3TCU/P was runner up .
Other certificate winners:
G0OOG leading station running 25W or less to a single antenna in SF section
G4HVC leading station running 25W or less to a single antenna in 6S section
No leading foundation or intermediate station certificates were awarded due to lack of entries being received for these categories.
The leading overseas entry was ON4KMB .
This contest was the final event in the VHF CW Championship.