• IARU / RSGB Marconi 144Mhz CW Contest 2015

    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.

    marconi

    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!

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    The Group putting together Tower 2

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    2 x 10ele DK7ZB on Tower 2

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    2 x 10ele DK7ZB on Tower 1

    Our claimed score is here:

    http://www.rsgbcc.org/cgi-bin/claim.pl?Contest=144MHz%20CW%20Marconi&year=2015

    Summary: 342 QSOs, 193,176 points, 565 points/QSO. Best DX OM3RBS in
    JN98KJ QRB 1329Km.

     

    marconi 2

    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:

    Marconi_2m_CW

    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.

    73

    Mike G8TIC

     

    =============================================================================

    UPDATE 05 / 12 / 2015

    =============================================================================

    144MHz Marconi CW 2015

    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.

    Mike G3VYI

    144Mhz CW Marconi 2015

  • 144Mhz / 432Mhz Low Power Contests

    We’ve now uploaded our claimed scores for the RSGB 2m and 70cm low power contests.

    First time for us for these contests and the stations were well put together and run by Bill M0BTZ and Andy 2E0IBF.

    UK activity was good on 144mhZ. Good Wx. Managed 1 GM and a few DL’s that were active on the band but there was a number of F stations around

    As for 432MHz activity and conditions were up a little bit, we were amazed to be called by EA2, it was the best Dx that we can remember in this contest.

    Thanks as always to those who worked us.

    http://www.rsgbcc.org/cgi-bin/claim.pl?Contest=144MHz+Low+Power&year=2015

    http://www.rsgbcc.org/cgi-bin/claim.pl?Contest=432MHz+Low+Power&year=2015

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  • RSGB VHF/UHF National Field Day 2015 – 4th & 5th July 2015

    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.

    4x10build
    Team Building the 144MHz – 4 x 10 Array
    4x10running
    144MHz – 4 x 10 Array up and running
    432shackbuild
    432MHz Shack going together
    4x17
    432MHz Station – 4 x 17 Array on a Versa Tower
    7for50
    50MHz 7 element antenna on a Versa Tower
    50-70
    50MHz / 70MHz Shack
    generator
    The good old Power Horse Generator (Now RIP)
    ecoflexpat
    EI5IX / M0XII rolling up Eco Flex 15+ Cable

    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.

    73’s


  • RSGB 50 MHz CW Trophy Contest 2015

    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.

     

    50mhz cw
    Map of our QSO’s

     

    =======================================================================
    UPDATE – 21/07/2015
    =====================================================================

    50 MHz CW 2015

    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,

    73 – Pat EI5IX / M0XII

    M0BAA CW (1)

     


  • RSGB / IARU 50Mhz Trophy Contest 2015 from IN79JX – 20TH & 21ST JUNE 2015

    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.

    50mhzStation
    G8T 50 MHz Contest Station

    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.

    50trophy-team
    Team putting antennas together.
    50trophy=vt2
    Versa Tower no.2 going up
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    Mandy (G0XDI’ YL) and Pat (M0XII/EI5XI) enjoying a nice Cuppa Tea!
    50trophy-ticloh
    Mike G8TIC and Tim G4LOH
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    (Pic L>R: Andy 2E0IBF,Bill M0BTZ (with the 50Mhz Telford Trophy from 2013 & 2014), Matt G0XDI, Mike G8TIC (With Shackle our Blacksheep), Rohan M6TIC, Nick G4FAT (With the Surrey NFD Trophy from 2014) Tim G4LOH and Pat EI5IX / M0XII.

    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.

    ====================================================================================================================================
    UPDATE 16/07/2015
    ====================================================================================================================================

    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.

    Dave Edwards –g7rau@rsgbcc.org

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  • RSGB 70MHz CW Trophy Contest, May 10th 2015

    On May 10th the RSGB – 70 MHz CW Trophy Contest took place. We were out under the callsign “M0BAA/P” from Locator square JO01KJ and first time that the Blacksheep Contest and DX group have entered this contest. Mike G8TIC.Bill M0BTZ and Pat EI5IX / M0XII arrived on site on the Saturday evening and set up the antenna system which was a 7 element DK7ZB on our Versa Tower at 20m, we worked hard into Saturday night building the system and finally setup the Yaesu FT5000DX with a DB6NT Transverter and a 4CX250B valve linear amplifier producing 160 watts. Once everything was prepared we went for a beer with some food and got some sleep before the start of the contest at 09:00UTC.

    CEnr3NeW0AAO7tF

    Conditions were flat and at times we struggled to work stations in the north of the country, but some big MS bursts at times from the continent included us hearing some Eastern European commercial radio stations break through at times. As for the weather I got to say it was very good to us for this contest and certainly helped us when setting up and taking apart the station.

    We finished up this contest in 3rd Place with 31 QSO’s and 27 Post Code Multipliers totalling 268,083 points, our ODX was GM3WOJ at 779Km’s.

    Once again thanks to everyone that called us and gave us points in this contest, looking forward to the next one.

    73’s


  • RSGB / IARU – March 144MHz & 432MHz Contest March 7th/8th 2015

    On March 7th & 8th the RSGB & IARU R1 – 144 MHz & 432MHz International Trophy Contest took place.

    We were out under the callsign “G8T” from Locator square JO01KJ and first time in several years that we entered this contest. There was a lot of preparations to be made for this contest so we arrived on the site Thursday Night and started putting together our station for the weekend. We worked hard all day Friday and finally got all antenna systems built and working by Saturday afternoon just in time for the start of the contest at 14:00UTC.

    Below some pictures of the antennas we setup for this contest:

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    2m Shack and Antenna Systems
    2-G8T1
    The 2m Arrays
    3-G8T2
    4 x 10 Element Yagis on 2M
    4-G8T3
    2 x 14 Element Yagis on 2M
    5-G8T4
    6 x 3 Element Yagis on 2M
    6-G8T6
    4 x 17 Element Yagis on 70cm

    As for the contest conditions on the 2m band they were up towards OK/OE and F/EA on the Saturday but very flat on the Sunday and as for the 70cm band, conditions were up towards OZ/DL on the Saturday but same as 2m very flat on Sunday.

    We finished up the contest with the following claimed score:

    144MHz:

    695 QSO’s with 397 Points Per QSO – Totaling 275,837 Points, ODX – EB1DBP @ 1136km

    432MHz:

    171 QSO’s with 335 Points Per QSO – Totaling 57,310 Points, ODX – OZ1SKY @ 821km

    Once again got to say a big Thank you to all the Team in the Blacksheep Contest group for inviting me along again to contest with them, it certainly was a fantastic experience and a great weekend. Looking forward to the next one and as always thanks to all for QSOs and the points.

    ————————————————————————————————————————–

    UPDATE

    March 144/432 MHz 2015

    The Hepburn forecast was enticing during the week leading up to the event. In the end the forecast proved optimistic. However there were enhanced conditions particularly during Saturday evening. On 144MHz many stations were working into the further reaches of DL, OE, OK and SM. Additionally there were lifts into EA between 8 and 9pm on Saturday and between 7am and 1pm on Sunday. The number of contacts made by G8T was the highest by some margin in the 16 years that I have adjudicated this contest. On 432MHz the enhanced condition were into DL and OZ.

    On 144MHz 99 squares were worked. There were 15 QSOs greater than 1000kms and a further 18 QSOs between 900 and 1000kms. The best contact was between GD8EXI and EA1EWY/P at 1175kms.

    On 432MHz 60 squares were active. There were 8 contacts over 800kms and a further 27 between 700 and 800kms. The best contact was between G3M and OZ9GE at 899kms.

    The March contest is rarely benign weather wise and this year there were strong and gusty winds across the UK and rain affected some portable stations.

    Overall entry levels rose considerably and were 48% up on 2014. Most noticeable was the increase in single operator fixed stations participating in the 24 hour section.

    Congratulations go to:
    The Blacksheep Contest Group, G8T, who won the open section;
    Keith, G4ODA, who won the single operator fixed section;
    Richard, G4WFR/P, for winning the single operator others section;
    The Drowned Rats CG, M0HRF/P, who won the six-hour open section;
    Richard, GD8EXI, who won the six-hour single operator fixed section for the second year running;
    All other band winners and runners up, who together with stations identified, will receive certificates.

    Roger Dixon, G4BVY

    March 144432C

    March 144432B March 144432


  • 144MHz IARU / RSGB Trophy Contest from JO01KJ – September 2014

    On September 6th & 7th the RSGB & IARU R1 – 144 MHz International Trophy Contest took place. We were out under the callsign “G8T” from Locator square JO01KJ.

    image8

     

    We arrived on the site Friday morning and put together our station for the weekend. We worked hard and got all antenna systems built and working by the Friday evening.

    image3
    4x10ele + 6x3ele + 4x9ele + 2x14ele

    This contest was eventful more so than usual, despite testing our new pre-amplifier failed and had to be repaired. Luckily it was installed on our Versatower which allowed it to be lowered and raised again without too much effort!

    image7
    60ft Versatower on the way down – G8TIC / 2E0IBF /  G4LOH

    Later the bearings failed in the alternator of old faithful 2-cylinder diesel generator that the Team have been using for 25+ years! The backup petrol generator was unreliable also and we didn’t have enough power for the radio station and the cook house! Fortunately the farmer of the site had a spare John Deere 6330 tractor and a 25KVA 3-phase PTO generator that we were able to use (after fixing it). 🙂

    image4
    2-Cylinder Diesel Generator
    image6
    John Deere 6330 Tractor and a 25KVA 3-phase PTO Generator

     

    We had an intermittent connection in the TX IF drive to the Transverter which lost us nearly 2 hours during set up as we couldn’t get any power out of the station, then during the contest the logging computer (laptop) decided that it was imperative to reboot at 10am on Sunday morning in order to install Microsoft updates and went off-line for 25 minutes forcing us to do a session of paper logging, nothing like going old school in the heat of battle:-)

    image1
    Tim G4LOH operating the station
    image10
    Bill M0BTZ in the heat of Battle…

    As for Band conditions they seemed flat or slightly above average, some useful propagation to HB9 and southern France was welcome. We also managed QSOs in to OK, OE and SM and Mike G8TIC worked S57LM on a long meteor burst (over 30 seconds at 59+) around time of the reported asteroid pass and meteorite strike in Nicaragua.

    144Trophy Contest

    We finished this contest in 2nd place with 773 QSO’s and 319,629 Points our ODX was S57LM at 1,162Km, Thanks again to everybody who called us throughout the weekend during the contest.

    73’s