On the 14th of November the RSGB AFS 1.8MHz SSB Contest took place from 20:00 – 23:00UTC, we were at our VHF/UHF contest site on the Isle of Sheppey.
For this contest our Team consisted of Blacksheep members: Nick G4FAT, Bill M0BTZ and Pat EI5IX / M0XII using our club callsign MX0BAA as the Club HQ during the contest. Roger G3MEH and John G0ODQ were also on the band from their own QTH’s as Club Members of the Blacksheep Contest & DX Group.
Weather conditions were very wet and windy on the Saturday but it didn’t stop Nick and Bill getting the antennas up just before darkness set in at 17:30UTC. The Antennas selected for this contest was a 270ft Doublet antenna in an Inverted V configuration, we also tried a Sloper antenna on a fiberglass pole off the top of the Tower approx 90ft from ground, the Transceiver used this time around was a Yaesu FTDX5000MP at 30w with a M0BTZ Homemade ATU.
270ft Doublet & 160m Sloper in the wind
Looking up the tower at 160m Antennas the next morning.
Pat EI5IX / M0XII Testing the DX conditions on the bands before the contest.
We finished this contest at 23:00UTC on the 14th with a claimed score of 123 QSO and 1559 points, We contacted 7 DXCC entities and found that there was excellent activity on the band, Thanks again to everyone who gave us points during the contest it was an enjoyable event, looking forward to the next one.
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!
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!
The RSGB 2015 Convention held between the 10th & 11th of October 2015 was at Kents Hill Park Training and Conference Centre in Milton Keynes. There was plenty to choose from over the weekend whatever your interest whether that’s Contesting, DXing, Technical matters or Computing in radio. It is also fantastic opportunity to meet up with some familiar faces and new one’s too. On Sunday the 11th of October the VHF Trophy presentation took place where members of the Blacksheep Contest & DX Group received some silverware.
Back L>R: John G0ODQ, Bill M0BTZ, Andy 2E0IBF, Matt G0XDI, Mike G8TIC, Dave G7RAU, Roger G3MEH.
On July 19th the RSGB – 70 MHz Trophy Contest took place.
We entered under the callsign “M0BAA/P” from Locator square JO01KJ. Mike G8TIC, Bill M0BTZ, Andy 2E0IBF and Pat EI5IX / M0XII arrived on site on the 18th Saturday evening to set up the antenna system which was a 8 element Yagi on our Versa Tower at 20m, we finally setup the Yaesu FT5000DX with a DB6NT Transverter and a 4CX250B valve linear amplifier producing 160 watts and once everything was prepared we had a quick listen on the bands, had a few QSO’s on SSB & CW working CT & PA so at that point when everything was working we decided to call it a day and go for a beer and some food then grab some sleep before the start of the contest at 10:00UTC Sunday Morning.
The contest was hard work with very little Sporadic E or Tropo conditions throughout the event, We finished up the contest at 16:00UTC with a claimed score of 115 QSO’s 32,214 points with 69 Multipliers and our ODX was Keith CT1JAD at 1752Km.
Thanks once again to everyone who called us during the contest, we look forward to the next one.
The number of entrants for this event continues to show a healthy increase with 59 this year. In general the weather was kind to the portables but the further north you ventured, the wetter you became!
There was a sporadic-E opening from the start of the contest until 12:06. In this period there were 64 QSOs greater than 1000kms with three CT and two EA stations. The best contact was between GM4ZUK/P and CT1JAD at 2249kms. Comments regarding the tropospheric conditions varied from reasonable to poor. In total there were 6 DL, 2 EI, 1 LX, 2 ON and 19 PA stations together with all G prefixes except GD. The best QSO was between G3TCU and DK5YA at 737 kms. There were 24 QSOs in excess of 600kms. In total there were 217 stations in the logs with 152 G, 30 from other G prefixes and 35 non UK stations.
Logging standards were generally good with only 2.8% of contacts being judged as not valid. In all three sections the top two stations were separated by very small margins and logging accuracy was key.
Congratulations go to:
The Blacksheep CG, M0BAA/P, for winning the Open Section and being awarded the VHF Managers Trophy;
Erik, G8XVJ/P, who won the single operator (others) section and, as the highest scoring single operator entry, is awarded the Four Metre Cup;
Fred, G4BWP for winning the single operator (fixed) section;
and also to the other stations identified in results who will all receive certificates.
The weekend of 4th & 5th of July 2015 was the VHF/UHF National Field Day.
We were operational on 50MHz (6m), 70MHz (4m), 144MHz (2m) & 432MHz (70cm) from Locator Square “JO01KJ” under the call-sign “M0BAA/P“.
We arrived on site on the Friday at 15:00BST and began to set up our portable stations, weather conditions were amazing on the Friday with the sun beaming down on us as we constructed the stations for the contest which were starting on the Saturday at 14:00UTC until Sunday 14:00UTC. We worked hard into the evening on Friday until the Thunderstorms ceased our operations, so we decided to order a Take Away and have a few beers then bed down for the rest of the night to which got up early on Saturday morning and finished off the rest of the station builds. Weather was certainly a lot different on Saturday morning a lot cooler and the land was wet from the torrential rain the night before.
We had a lot more challenges than usual present them selves this time around but we just put the head down pushed on through then suddenly it was 14:00UTC…CQ Contest!!!
Stephen G4SHF and Nick G4FAT and Pat EI5IX / M0XII were on 50 MHz. Mike G8TIC along with Matt G0XDI and Andy 2E0IBF who operated on 144MHz and Dave G7RAU with Bill M0BTZ operated on 432MHz for the start of the contest. We kept rotating operators on the stations which was great as it gave every body a feel of the different bands over the weekend.
Once 50MHz had finished at 22:00UTC we had to dismantle the station and built the 70MHz setup for the next morning at 08:00UTC, Operators were getting tired so we said we would finish the setup on Sunday morning only to find a few more issues which delayed our start on the 70MHz band by 45 minutes.
Once 14:00UTC on Sunday appeared on the clock some very weary and tired contesters began to disassemble the stations and get ready for the next stage “packing up”, We decided to stay overnight Sunday and go for some Fish and Chips have a few beers then get some sleep and be fresh for the morning. We got up Monday early packed up the stations and left the site in the afternoon for journey back home.
We finished up the contest with the following claimed scores and entries into the Open section of this contest with the following:
50Mhz (6m): 182 QSO’s – 40’809 Total Points with an ODX of 2007Km with 9H5MC
70Mhz (4m): 91 QSO’s – 21’284 Total points with an ODX of 779Km with GM3WOJ
144MHz (2m): 657 QSO’s – 268’429 Total points with an ODX of 1100Km with OL7M
432MHz (70cms): 227 QSO’s – 75’752 Total points with an ODX of 969Km with OL3Z
Even though we had some issues along the way the Team stayed positive and pushed on through, everyone really enjoyed the weekend, it was great laugh and we are all looking forward to the next one.
The RSGB 50MHz CW Trophy contest on the 28th of June at 09:00- 12:00 UTC using the callsign”M0BAA/P” from locator IO91MP.
Bill M0BTZ & Pat EI5IX / M0XII went up the hill (to fetch a pale of water. ha) were they put together a Portable setup, FT847 with 100W and a 5 Element Tonna Yagi about 6 meters off the ground for the RSGB 50MHz CW Trophy contest.
There was Poor conditions on the 6M band with very little Tropo propagation around and UK activity was low, Thank god for some sproadic E propagation to keep us on our toes but not as much as we would have liked, Weather was Mild but it did rain a few times which hindered rotating the mast at times as we went with the old armstrong method this time around. We entered the Open section as it was set out for Portable stations and finished up the contest with a claimed score of 50 QSO’s 9,375 Points with “YO2BBT” as our ODX of 1797Km.
This is the fourth year of the 50MHz CW contest. The number of entries has continued to decrease with only 21 entries this year. Though there were 85 UK stations active in the event.
Tropo conditions were reported as being from flat to poor to terrible. There was patchy sporadic E throughout the event though only 31 Es QSOs were completed with 12 stations in DL, EA, EA8, I, IS0, OZ, YO and YU. The best DX was between G4SGX and EA8DBM at 3098 kms and the best tropo contact was between G3ZVW and GM4PPT at 529 kms.
During the adjudication 8.3% of QSOs were disallowed and some entrants will notice large reductions in their claimed scores. Again the most common error was with RST.
Congratulations go to:
The Tiverton (SW) RC G4TSW for winning the Open section.
Steve G3ZVW for winning the SF section.
The other certificate winners who are identified in the results tables.
This contest is the second leg of the 2015 VHF CW Championship. G4TSW maintain their lead followed by M0BAA/P.
Roger – G4BVY
Thanks to Roger for adjuciating this contest and to all that gave us points during the contest delighted to come in 2nd place, look forward to the next contest,
On June 20th & 21st the RSGB & IARU R1 – 50 MHz International Trophy Contest took place. We were active again this year under the callsign “G8T” from Locator square IN79JX. We arrived on site on Thursday evening to put together our station for the weekend.
Band conditions were very patchy with very few Es on Saturday but much better on Sunday. Our ODX was KP4S at 6453Km via multihop Es on Saturday evening. We finished up the Contest with a claimed score of 638 QSO’s and 232 Multipliers totaling 177,146,848 points.
WX was foggy and windy at times right on the coast.
A big Thank you if you worked us; it was a fantastic weekend.
Thanks to Matt’s wife Mandy for taking the Photo of us all, it certainly was a fantastic experience and great weekend with the group.
There was very good sporadic-e for this contest with 26 stations working across into the Caribbean and Cape Verde at over 6000km. Well done to UR7D and Z35T for working KP4 – Puerto Rico at over 8000km and to G1ZJP, G0VHF/P and M0WAF/P for working PJ4 – Bonaire at over 7000km.
Looking through the logs was very interesting and although at times the e”s were patchy there were 332 different locators up for grabs and 2107 different call-signs appear in the logs. A strong opening to the east and south-east enabled good points for many with good activity from most countries i.e. there were 267 unique Italian calls in the logs.
Turnout this year was similar to last year (98 this year compared to 93 in 2014) with the exception of an increase of overseas entries from 12 to 17 and sections 6S and SF were up by 4 each.
The same logging errors appeared this year as last year and common errors were incorrect serial numbers, some odd calls due to Mixing I”s and O”s with numbers and strange locators i.e. a station placed in Asiatic Russia (not permitted!) and a European station moved to South America and so on. It is worthwhile at least sense checking prefixes and typo funnies before submitting as a number of these were obviously wrong!
There were a number of stations using the DX window 100-130 to conduct European QSOs which contravenes the IARU band plan. The rules are quite clear on this and if you are going to CQ in the window you can only count the QSOs with other continents and should not work the European callers. Warnings have been issued and hopefully next year I will not be reporting on this.
The use of chat websites e.g. KST are allowed for this contest as it is in line with an IARU event but please remember do not to pass any information or assist the QSO in any way apart from agreeing a frequency to work each other, things like please “send the serial again” is seen as assisting the QSO and will result in a penalty being applied. If you want to stop the other station assisting during the QSO then say before starting “No chat during the QSO please”.
A final note on operating; I have received complaints and noted myself that some stations were frequency hopping onto other stations frequencies where QSOs were in progress. It is courteous to ask if the frequency is in use (or QRL? In cw) before starting CQ Contest as mutual QRM always destroys the QSO rate for both parties.
Well done to the Blacksheep CG operating again down on the Lizard in Cornwall for retaining the Telford Trophy with a massive score and congratulations to G8XVJ/P ” Erik operating from IO93 who takes the Six Metre Cup with a huge lead over the other contenders in this category.
Well done to all the other certificate winners”, details are shown in the results tables.