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Activity reports

CQ WPX Phone Contest 2009

The CQWPX contest is a smaller affair in comparison to the “biggie” CQWW DX Contest, and is more of a work as many different prefixes as well as DXCC entities to score the points. We decided as a team that we would try to get down to the farm to put on a smaller event, and maybe test some other antennas and generally have fun.


As it turned out it was only Rob (MW0RLJ), Oli (MW0JRX) and Chris (G1VDP) who were to be at the farm all Club_Mottoweekend, with Ant (MW0JZE) coming down on the Thursday to assist with building the 80M antenna. This was because of most of the other guys could not get the time off work, and had other commitments at this time. Rob also had the farm to run so he could not get on air as much as he would have liked so he invited Oli and Chris to have a go on single operator single band activations. As Oli had recently entered a contest from his home on 80M he asked if he could do the 40M entry and Chris decided to have a go on 80M – though this turned out to be a part time effort as he also spent time on other bands using his favourite mode RTTY.


Setting Up; Chris set off from his home in the Midlands at 04:00 so as he would not get caught in the rush hour traffic on his journey. As he set out from home the weather was clear but with a forecast of rain for that day it did not look good. The weather held right to the England/Wales border, and then the rain started. It rained all the way to the farm, and it was getting windy also, which is not the best weather to erect a vertical antenna. Ant had travelled down the night before and he and Rob enjoyed the usual “socialising” and were waiting at the door when Chris arrived.


After a welcoming cup of tea and breakfast the boys set about getting the 80M antenna  and all the necessary parts together from storage in the loft. At CQWW we had found that the antenna was short by about 1M, so we thought this would be a good time to change this and tune the antenna ready for the summer IOTA activation and the CQWW in October. While Rob did his rounds on the farm Ant and Chris got on with measuring and building the antenna, and wpx_friday_2009_2getting the guying points ready for the big pull up.


When Rob returned they got all the parts together and started to lift, using the wind to try and push the antenna upright. Slowly it started going, but a weak point caused one of the swaged poles to collapse and bend. This looked like the end of the 80M antenna, until Rob suggested we look in the store on the farm for some new poles. This also meant we would be modifying the antenna and would need to retune it. We found 2 poles of around 10 feet and one of 20 feet, all we need to do was join them and we had a new antenna. This was easily achieved with scaffold joiners, which again we found in Robs barn.


After re-measuring the poles and wire on the fibreglass fishing pole we got it up in the air with no problems, and it was found to be much stronger than the original antenna. Out with the radials and we then had to check the antenna for tuning. We found that the change in poles made a very slight difference, but as we want to use the antenna without going through a tuner and run the legal limit we needed to drop the antenna and shorten it just a little. This done Ant Sunset_on_first_dayand Chris made a ¼ wave vertical for 30M with wire and another 10M fishing pole.


Sadly Ant had to leave that evening, but not with out saying hello to Jane when she arrived home from work. A beautiful meal was then enjoyed and a glass or two of wine drunk to congratulate Jane and Rob on their engagement – though I think this will be celebrated more when we all go down there for CQWW. When Oli arrived Chris was busy racking up contacts on 30M RTTY and chatting with Rob and Jane.


The Contest Starts; The 40M antenna went up easily, when the team had erected it in the dark at CQWW they felt they could no erect this with their eyes shut! The boys then got on the air for some radio fun Chris on 30 and 20M RTTY and Oli on SSB trying 40, 20 and 17M both using MC0SHL. Some nice contacts with Europe and the USA, right up until it was time for the contest to start.


MW0JRX_on_40M_SSB_Before_contestFollowing the evening meal Oli had a brief sleep and then got settled in to the operating position. Both the boys kicked off at the same time, Chris calling CQ on 80M and Oli starting with Search and Pounce (S&P) for the first hour. The points soon started mounting, but it seemed that both bands were only open to Europe. The conditions we had enjoyed the previous week had just switched off, and by 03:00 Chris decided to get some sleep and try again for the big multipliers on the Saturday night. Oli stuck it out and managed to bag himself a run frequency, and as the grey line conditions started to come in he managed a number of contacts into the Pacific and South Asia. As it started to become light Oli went to bed, knowing he too would maximise his time later in the day.


During Saturday they managed to talk to Ant at his home on MSN, and discovered that he too had found the conditions drop out, and Chris made contact with one of his friends at another Contest station in England who also said they had found the bands drop out with very few DX contacts being made.


Chris decided to again go on to 30M RTTY during daylight hours, mainly due to 80M being more a inter UK band during daylight hours, and he had told the 30M Digi Group he would be on the air. Oli, when he woke, got back on 40M and carried on in the contest. With the conditions being so poor and none of the bands really opening for the DX contacts needed for bigger points totals they decided to have a break and take the mandatory walk to get the usual photos of the farm and the surrounding area.Out_on_a_walk_with_Rob_and_Jane_and_friends


A new operator; Saturday Rob and Jane had some friends pay a visit, and following a fantastic meal cooked by Jane the boys got back on the air. Chris again went on RTTY for a short spell working some USA but again the band just did not open up so he got back in to the contest. Oli was rocking on 40M and we realised that there was a possibility of a decent SOSB score, one that could put Oli in the top 10 world with the conditions being so bad. The DX was starting to come for him and this inspired Chris to get back on 80M.


Jane’s friend had brought her son and daughter along, and Rob brought the young lad in to the shack to show him what was going on and what this strange language which was emanating from within his shack. Gwynn had never seen or heard such a sight, 2 grown men sat wearing headphones with a microphone attached shouting in to a black box with knobs on the front must be some sight. But he asked what was happening, so out came the spare headset and he was sat next to Chris for his first session as a SWL.


Rob said he has never seen him sit so still and quiet for so long, Chris explained what was happening and showed him how the radio worked. He sat with Chris for a couple of hours watching him and making note of all the countries heard, he wondered what was happening when Steve MM0SJH called in and said hello to Chris and had a brief chat as to where Oli was and what frequency he was using. Chris passed this info on and passed his regards to all the boys on Orkney – friends of the group and we all look forward to going up to visit them in the next year or so. Gwynn was taken by this and listened more intently than ever. When it was time to leave he looked like he wanted to listen more, especially as the USA and South America had started to come through on 80M.


After the visitors had left for the night, Chris and Oli set about calling CQ and racking up the score. Chris however had over indulged in the wine at the dinner table and this started to have the effect of making him fall asleep so again he retired to bed about 01:00 again leaving Oli to make the most of it. But Oli too was finding the wine and good food had been a little too much so he also gracefully retired for a brief sleep. He was back on the air again for 04:00 and was working the USA, the Pacific and Asia for new multipliers and scoring high points.


Some_of_the_beautiful_scenery_around_the_farm_2Sunday was another day for Chris to work more stations on both 30M RTTY and handing out contacts and points to the UK stations on 80M, with one or two Europeans also making it into the MC0SHL log. As night fell the bands opened up. And the contest scores got higher and higher. Oli breaking the 2 million points barrier with his last few contacts.




The final claimed scores were;


MW9W   Oli MW0JRX  Single Op Single Band 40M

QSO’s 1311, Points 3428, Multipliers 617, Total Points 2,115,076      DXCC’s 82


MC0SHL Chris G1VDP Single Op Single Band 80M

QSO’s 702, Points 1699, Multipliers 426, Total Points 723,744           DXCC’s 62


Both boys are happy with what they achieved, and now await the results.


Post contest blues; Almost as soon as the contest ended the bands went quiet, both the boys tried tuning around for a short while, and Oli made a few more QSO’s on 40M SSB using his home call. And with the section between 7.100 to 7.200 now being free of broadcast stations he made use of it to work a string of US stations.


When they eventually got up it was decided to take the 80M antenna down first, this came down easy and was packed away in the loft ready for the summer dxpedition and CQWW. They decided to leave the 40M and 30M antennas up as Chris was staying another night and wanted to have some fun on the radios making more contacts on RTTY.


On reflection I always find it sad that we have to pack everything away and leave the farm. I have personally fallen in love with the whole area, and I look forward to many more visits to this beautiful part of the UK. All logs are now uploaded on the ARRL Log Book of The World and the first QSL’s requested have been sent either via bureau or direct, depending on how they have requested them from Tim (M0URX) our QSL manager.


Thanks must be passed on to a few people. Firstly to Rob for hosting us once more and for allowing the use of a field for the antennas, and we musn’t forget Jane here for cooking wonderful meals and looking after us so well. To Ant (MW0JZE) for giving up his day and travelling down just to set up the 80M antenna, we could not have done this without him. To Oli for making me laugh and being a companion for the weekend, and finally to all the stations who called us, both in and out of the contest.


We wish you all good DX, best 73’s and good health to you and your families.


Chris Colclough - G1VDP