Bavarian Contest Club

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Stefan v. Baltz 


#HF Radio Contesting & Personal Information


Where is a flashlight??

I grope my way thru the shack, almost stumbling over a stack of boxes with radio accessories.  I canīt remember having had any trouble with the club stationīs main power ever before!  When switching on the power supplies all I noticed was a dull click from the main fuse and total darkness in the cellar rooms as a result.  Thatīs where the operating position is located.

Studying the "control roomīs" wiring does not enlighten me and I call DF9ZW for technical advice.  He canīt really diagnose the problem on the phone and  promises to come over.

Itīs 10:30z.  90 minutes for setting up a station is not too much if you want to be serious!  Running IARU from DL0WW was a short-term decision as DK3GI cancelled his plans just a few days before.  I was prepared for Single Op CW from home but antennas are so much larger at the club that I never can stand driving up.  Due to school obligations I could not start dismantling my home station before Saturday morning.   Besides I did not like getting up before 7:30 local as I would need to be well rested for the coming 30 hours.

I usually use the 75min car ride to calm down a bit and think about a strategy for the contest.  On which band/mode should I start running?  Will the JAīs be loud enough to run them on 15 right from the beginning?  In ī99 I had a slow start on 15m phone until I realized I had to run JA!  When I arrive at the station Iīm usually 100% psyched and organized to set up the shack fast and economically.

When Manfred arrives Iīm almost done with the SO2R setup, still working in darkness:  TS870 + clubīs Alpha87 as run radio on the left, the clubīs FT1000MP + TL922 for S&P on the right.  1 Topten decoder + WX0B 6way bandpass filters between run radio and amp provide sufficient protection as all antennas are conservatively spaced from each other.  There is virtually no interaction.  I still run a 2-notebook CT v9.23 serial network as v9.65 crashed during initial testing.  v9.23 has a bug in Check Call and Check Country so that verifying and moving new multipliers is somewhat difficult, but it runs extremely stable.

Thanks to Manfredīs efforts power comes back quite promptly and there is just enough time for a light meal, bathroom trip and finding a run frequency on 15 CW.  At 11:50 I lose power again but get the problem solved pretty quickly by myself.  My frequency is gone, however, and S52JK is my first QSO at 12:02.

I start running 15 CW and S&P 10 on the 2nd radio as the band is no good to NA.   20m is mostly EUīs and HQīs which I should be able to work later.  HS0ZCW and HL5FBT call in for zone multipliers and I keep beaming Asia until US gets louder around 14:00.  To my surprise N3AD and KZ5D are workable on 10 and I hope for a real band opening later this afternoon.  ZS4TX and OA4DKC are good ones at 14:20 and I fully concentrate on 15m S&P.  Besides the HQ stations I snag J75KG at 14:27 and settle down to run NA on phone at 14:52.  VE3EJ is only S8 with some aurora sound when he calls in and I have 435 QSOs and 67 multipliers at 16:00.

As the rate drops I heavily fill in 20m 2nd radio QSOs.  Asians are getting louder!  I work BV2YA at 17:10 and move ZS6SRL and DU1IVT down to 20m at 17:23 and 17:30.   Occasionally things get fast on 15 phone and I check 10m again at 18:00.  South America is wide open and I S&P with 2 VFOīs yielding several more multipliers incl. 9V9HQ.  I try CQing at 18:26 and run a decent phone rate until 19:00.  One lesson from ī99 was that I checked 40m too late for many Asian multipliers because high band rates were so good.  But the band sounds horrible on the 2nd radio, like BC-splatter, and I know that CQing would not cut it.  I S&P CW for 20min and phone for 10min to get 41 QSOs and 20 multipliers, and hit 20 CW at 19:30.  The band rocks and I run 80 stations incl. KL7, XE and ZS in the next 30 minutes.  At 20:00 my totals are 888/153.

15 is wide open, too, and I start running CW at 20:17 and checking 20 CW.  But something seems odd:  Surprisingly enough I donīt get loud W6 calls as expected but weak UA9īs and JAīs.  I hear DF0RI right beside me working stuff I cannot hear!  I need 2 more minutes to figure out that Iīm transmitting on the 20m antenna with pretty good SWR.  Fortunately, I did not kill any hardware!  The mistake costs about 20 QSOs and as a result the 20:00 hour is the first one below 100 QSOs - uggh.  Iīm running with the correct antenna for 45min and get called by KH6ND and VK4EMM who I move to 20.  Finally I decide to move down to 20m phone.  I canīt get any substantial rate, however, and continue on 20 CW and 40/80 S&P.  Good stuff like TF/DJ1YFK/p, FM5CW, P29IO and YB calls in and I move ZS4TX from 40 to 80.  I even work a few UA9/0 multipliers thru the 40m BC QRM.  At 22:35 40 CW seems runnable and I need 3 minutes to pull out TF/DJ1YFK/p who tuned up a short wire from the car!  The BC QRM is still terrible but Iīm able to close some EU zone gaps and even work PV8DX for zone 12 at 22:49.  Itīs getting hard to decide which band would offer the best run rate.   15 phone gives me a 114 hour while working 80m 2nd radio multipliers.  My half time score is 1282/211.

I try 20m phone again vainly for 15min.  But CW is still way better and I rip off a 122 hour.  I stay until 01:30 and work 13 multipliers on 160m.  Back to phone I finally get to command a frequency.  But hey - the first North Americans on 80 CW are quite loud!  As my 20m frequency is somewhat crowded anyway I move to 80 CW and work W1MK, VO1RAC, VA3RU and K1ZZ (AC) as multipliers until 02:00.  Then itīs time for 20m phone and I work 332 stations in 2 hours - wow!  At 04:00 I have 1844 QSOs and 244 multipliers.

Now the sun is up and Iīm running out of time working LF multipliers, including 40m which I did not hit for the last 5 hours due to QRM.  20m is still roaring and one more 120 hour seems possible when returning to CW after about half an hour.  As my multiplier already tops my ī99 totals I should continue running 20 and trying to find 3 or 4 zones on 40m with the 2nd radio.  Instead I do something odd:  I give up my 20m frequency and start CQing 80 CW at 04:00, knowing that the Bobtail gets out like a gun to the west.  I work NU1AW for a new HQ mult and successfully move F6BEE to 160m for a still missing zone 27.  7099 is clear at 04:23 and I quickly work zones 8, 7, 4 and 13, plus KP2/AA1BU and EA4URE on S&P.  At 04:37 I S&P 40 CW but only find W1AW/6 for a new mult.  W7OM is 439 and I canīt rise his attention which is unusual.  I have already spent 40 minutes for 40 QSOs and 9 multipliers and need to catch up on QSO rate.  I get some run going on 7012 and get called by VA3RAC, LU4MHQ, P3A, HC5AI, NU1AW, ER7HQ, ZL2BR, CT3KN and VK4EMM for new multipliers.  At 05:39 I return to 20m phone.  The band is still open to US westcoast with occasional VK/ZLīs, ZK1CG and KH6GMP calling in.  Knowing that my LF multiplier trip might have been a mistake I finish this hour with 105 QSOs and continue phone until 08:00.  I DID stay too long on phone as the 07:00 hour could have been close to 100 QSOs instead of 70.  My 08:00 totals are 2182/273.   Thatīs an average rate of only 84 QSOs/h for the last 4 hours - not enough for wide open bands!

10/15m donīt sound too productive and I milk 20 CW for every single US station.  I complete this 91 hour with FK8GM on 15 and VR2BG on 10 and try a short run on 10 CW.  I work DK3GI and a few UA9īs and work up the phone band with 9Q0AR as the best QSO.  As JAīs begin to sound workable on 15 I work phone until 09:36, and CW until 09:49.  Iīm definitely running out of stations and canīt get much going.  KQ2M is still about S9 on 14151 and working Europeans.  I throw in 20 CW until 10:16 and return to 15m CW JAīs.  Signals are quite reasonable but activity definitely went downhill for the last 1 or 2 years.  I end up S&Pīing and need 6 minutes to break the KH8/N5OLS pileup who listens split.  I finish this hour on 10 CW and find YE1ZTC for a new one.  With only 1h left I try getting attention on 20 phone while working up 15 CW with the 2nd radio.  Both techniques yield about the same rate.  I move down to 20 CW and work the first North Americans on 15 CW.  K3WW is loud!  I fire off some CQs while tuning 20m but canīt get any rate.  Then I decide to try something different and finish the race on 14072 with 82 QSOs in the last hour.

My final score is 2,63M / 2491 Q / 288 M for a claimed #2 World / #1 DX.

Thanks to Manfred/DF9ZW for fixing the power problem and KQ2M / VE3EJ for the great competition - Bobīs 3,2M certainly are hard to beat! © by Stefan v. Baltz, DL1IAO