|CQ WW SSB 2000 CN8WW MM|
My personal diary
While studying last years SSB logs we realize that from Morocco 15m might be well open to South America and Japan LP part of the night. I decide to improve my Spanish to more than 2 phrases and even start to note down some of it in Japanese. Thanks to the help of some friends I end up with a little booklet containing the basic information for running Contest QSOs in 7 languages - including how to move stations to other bands. I doubt that this will help any except causing confusion, but it's never a mistake to expand your horizon!
Sunday, 2 days ahead of my flight. It turns out that all equipment needed for my clinical experiments would be available the following week. Itīs obvious that there is no way leaving for a radio contest, now! I am not able to reach anyone as the truck will be leaving to Morocco this evening. I start checking last-minute flights on Internet and finally talk to DL6FBL and gang who are having dinner in a pub.
Our "flight manager" DJ5IW is able to buy another ticket for me real quick and I'm back to medical school - both physically and mentally.
New ticket arrives. That week passed by in a second!
First updates and pictures on the web site. The team already consists of 17 people and works pretty hard. 10-80m are partly up, no 160m yet and no Beverages. Wow, the 3el KLM for 40m looks great, I did not know about this one!
Have difficulties getting away from school! Manage to get my luggage all packed together around 8pm though and have some dinner. I mostly carry working clothes, several pair of shoes, backup notebook, headset, several cable adapters and an assortment of ferrites, chokes and small tools. Everything should be there already but who knows what will happen in a 6-transmitter environment?
Finally get confirmed that I will be picked up at the airport. CN/DL8OH puts me in charge of buying another bottle of champaign at Paris Airport. No doubt - everyone believes in this project! I send out a short email note to all friends and the FRC reflector about my departure and wish everyone good luck for the contest.
Iīm ready to catch some sleep about 23pm local. Get a call from CN/DL2MEH who got real sick and requests medication for gastritis. I realize that I will be the teams doctor for the next week and pack together all useful medication I have. Of course, Metoclopramid drops are missing and I take a ride to the only open pharmacy and do some serious shopping. I start to feel the excitement slowly building and have difficulties to fall asleep. Installing GEOCLOCK on the notebook and starting the diary helps, however.
Iīm expecting nothing than a casual travel day but trouble starts while checking in at Stuttgart Airport: My total luggage weight is too high! As I mainly carry summer clothes and a notebook I start wondering how the others did it. I end up emptying 1/3 of one bag to carry it as hand-luggage and fill up the other one with the rest. A charming smile does wonders, too.
Arriving in Rabat over Paris I feel like on vacation until a local grabs my suitcase and walks right away with it. Iīm confused and take up the pursue until he suddenly stops at the airport entrance. The situation clears up: I get my suitcase and he wants Deutsche Mark! Iīm trying to look like a poor student and finally manage to get out. The team seems too busy to pick me up and I take a hot 45min long taxi ride to the site.
The antenna farm already looks pretty functional and Iīm quickly integrated into one of the working groups. The rest of the day is spent rolling out Coax to the Beverages with my 15m teammates DH1SGS and DL2MEH, and collecting the hardware for our operating position.
Even more Coax to string, setting up the 15m shack and helping out HA0DU and DK4VW soldering masses of PL-plugs. I obviously mix up some details of the RX input circuit for 2 radios causing Ulli to be busy with producing a series of cables half of the day - the wrong ones. I apologize and we clear up the situation, but I realize that everyone is giving his very best for more than one week and really needs a rest.
In the evening all stations are put on air to figure out interaction. There is a strange intermodulation effect on 15m when 40 & 10m are transmitting at the same time, but disappearing after securing all 10/15m cable connections. In the meanwhile, I begin to feel sick and DH1SGS takes over what you call a US pileup!
Operating position gets some major refinements and we still need a working voice keyer. Interaction gets worse again and I spend a lot of time reconfiguring the RX inputs and swapping all kinds of different cables.
In the afternoon we gather for a team photo and talk propagation and strategy.
Right in time Iīm in poor physical shape and donīt see any fun in a phone contest! I man the first shift with DH1SGS running and myself listening to the same pileup with different antennas. I take over after 1 hour but we have a hard time getting complete calls. North America is still very workable - at 1am local - but the band sounds noisy. I figure out it must be some interaction again. When DL2MEH takes over I again have a look at the RX cinch connections and find one weird plug. I swap cables and hear Manfred saying "QRM is gone!". We certainly missed something the first 4 hours.
The rest of it is a blur. US is much easier than Europe (DL) or even JA, and we are literally seeking for the EU QRM to calm down and US westcoast getting loud in the evenings. The midday hours are much like 40m phone with the band filled up from .150 to .450. As expected I lose my voice (CW operator) - but 1SGS holding a frequency with his powerful audio and 2MEH listening seem to be an effective combo, anyway.
The late-night openings to JA and South America never really occur and I can rarely use my preparations to good advantage. My Japanese is subject of amusement, however, judging from Manfredīs and Stefanīs loud laugh...
30-Oct - 01-Nov
Dismantling antennas is easier than getting them to work! Still run into some funny situations: How do you roll 100m of 7/8 hardline along the beach?
Finally, on Wednesday, I arrive back home.
What an adventure!