Bavarian Contest Club

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Stefan v. Baltz 


#HF Radio Contesting & Personal Information


As our planned MS has been cancelled due to a stuck rotor Im looking for a place to do some Single Op.   DH1TW kindly offers a seat for Single Band 15m but I decide that I rather like to be on 10m and give the new tribander at DF0UK, the University-of-Karlsruhe clubstation, a test run.  10m has been wide open throughout the week!

On Wednesday I make a stop at the station making sure I wont interfere with measurements in the lab opposite to the station building (300 degrees!), and get to meet with DK1CM, the head of the universitys radio group.  I work a little US pileup barefoot and when the log page is filled up I shut down the station.

On Friday I notice that my TS870 shows another bug:  When tuning "up the band" the frequency would change quite irregularly, sometimes even "down".   Turning the knob fast enough mostly overrides the problem, however, and I decide it should be ok for single band with lots of CQing.  The station is configured rather quickly:  TS870 to the left, notebook with CT and separate keyboard in the middle, notebook with Geoclock to the right.  With a flip-flop coax switch I route the 3el 40m Sloper Array to the RX input as an additional RX antenna, hoping to hear stations coming off the tribanders main lobe.  DK9IP supports me with a TL922 which is already wired up, but I set up my trusty SB220 next to it as a backup.

00:00:  Silence.  But finally OT1A, OQ1Z and DK3DM find the way into my log.   3DM does 10M Assisted and we chat for a minute or two.  I consider driving home to catch some sleep, but as I feel quite awake I decide to listen to the lower bands.  This really is an advantage when doing Single Band:  Plenty of time left watching your favourite competition or contest expedition, and figuring out their operating strategy!  At 03:00 I work 3 LY stations and chat with DK3DM for another few minutes.  With a 5/5 stack on a hilltop he is well equipped and going to give a shoot on the DL record.  At around 04:30 the band comes alive with the first bunch of good multipliers:  EX, IG9, EY, UK and YB get into my log within the next 30 minutes.  Im on S&P with both VFOs and decide to wait with my first CQs until Europeans get louder.  V8A is easy at 05:30, shortly after the first JAs show up.  E30NA already has a huge pileup on his frequency.  After logging 9K, 9V1 and FR Im looking for a CQ frequency and stumble over A50A, VR2 and VU.

Im mostly called by UA, UA9 and JA stations who get significantly louder at around 07:00.   At 07:15 I hear "Echo Tango Bravo" calling and flip the switch to the Slopers for the first time.  In fact its LU6ETB at his sunrise and from now on Im switching antennas virtually after every QSO - is this 160M??  I also hear XP1AB on the wires and the first KL7 at 08:00 could be an indicator for a solid US-opening.  ZL2AL and VK2CZ confirm that I have a good signal, hopefully zone 29 will be as easy!  Then, the weak JAs are coming through with few PYs off the back, and 5Z4IC.

At 09:30 I have 380 QSOs but the rate starts to dip.  S&P yields 4L, CT3, OH0, SV, TF, EA8 and CU.  I only call the loud Europeans to save time for DX and find ZX0F, 4X and EK.  VP2E and KP4 are already loud at 10:10 but I keep looking east.  Actually the JAs recover a bit, but all directions seem to be open now, anyway!

AA1QD is my first US at 11:00 and it pays off to tune the band with the antenna aimed west, BV2YA has a tremendous signal off the back.  Then the band literally explodes with stations head-to-head up to 29MHz.  28200-28300 turns out to be a gold mine for multipliers:  YN2EJ, XW0X and HC8A are right next to each other.   Im mainly running by myself now, manage to work FS and HR and have W6KK as my first zone 3 calling in at 14:27.  While on S&P around 28300 I suddenly hear an energetic, familiar sounding "five nine twenty!".  SV9CVY (DL6FBL) sounds like music to my ears - has anyone expected the call to be such good?

At 16:17 I get to talk to Manfred/DL2MEH who has nice runs on 10m, too.   I exchange name & QTH with WH6YX/MM who does not work contest and is located right between W6 and KH6.  I suggest to give out zone 31 and wish good luck working more DX on 10m.  At 17:35 KH6GMP removes any doubt about the multiplier.

The band keeps up just great until about 21:30 when propagation fades rather quickly.  I snag V47KP and VP5T just before signals disappear.

With 1470 QSOs, Im pretty much within my planned breakdown numbers but I know that the probability for a solar flare would be high on sunday.  Tired I get into my car, but turn off the engine again and get myself comfortable in the rear.  Luckily, I always have some kind of sleeping bag with me.

At 04:30 I wake up refreshed and drive downtown to grab something to eat.   Originally I wanted to spend the night at home!  After walking around for half an hour I end up picking up breakfast at a fast-food restaurant you might know - at least you get some coffee there, too.

Today the band opens with EX/K4ANA as late as 05:40.  I suspect the worst - yesterday, around this time, the first JAs were already getting through!  Checking my CQ WW dxpeditions list I still find some large multiplier gaps.  But except VQ9, 9M2 and IT9 there is not much fresh meat around.  So I give it a try and call south!  To my surprise ZS5NK comes back, and shortly after DJ2YA who asks about the ZS.  I suggest calling CQ Africa and work a second ZS.

Roaring pileup on 28495:  I definitely need VK6ANC, but the Russians are like a wall!  Finally DK3GI breaks through and I try again without showing consideration for my vocal cords.  I make the contact and breathe some "QRZ JA" into the Heil HC4 to work more Asians.  As expected, another VK6 calls in, but then the rate suddenly dries out.  DF9ZP does a lot better at this time, he works stations I can barely hear!  After all the band is a bit noisy in downtown Karlsruhe, and naturally Im missing some 2 or 3dB of sheer antenna gain compared to ZPs 9el Yagi.

Im now calling every station I can hear, no matter how weak he is, and finally find a few new countries.  I sure have been calling the 4K7 for a long time before my sunrise!  Nevertheless, Im still missing a lot from Africa and continue my efforts calling south.  I fill in 6W, 9G and 9L this way, and CN8NK at 15:00 wakes up nice memories of operating 15m at CN8WW last year!

Though 2 hours late, US eastcoast is quite loud.  But I cant get much attention, even when trying further down the band.  I chat with N3RS (N3RD) and N4TO (K1TO), but the same over there:  Why is nobody calling?  Two times I am able to raise a pileup with some familiar calls, obviously I have been showing up in the FRC network!   At 17:40 I work SU1SK as a double multiplier, but where is zone 36?

At 18:30 I give up hope for a decent westcoast opening and concentrate on South Americans.  I like saying "cinco noeve uno quattro" and nobody cares about my otherwise flat Spanish.  In contrast to Saturday there is lots of activity down there and I work some 45 stations.  At around 21:00 my YL inquires about how Im doing and I turn around the big switch.

I end up with 860K / 1963 Q / 39 Z / 146 C.

Thanks to DK9IP for support and congratulations to my competition for their superb scores! © by Stefan v. Baltz, DL1IAO