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Activity reports

MW5W 2007

MW5W CQWW Phone Contest 2007 Multi Multi Team Wales
Written by Tim Beaumont M0URX

Contesting on a budget!

Driving home from the Chiltern DX Club’s annual dinner back in March, Callum M0MCX said “Let’s do CQWW this year” Chris G1VDP and myself M3SDE Tim agreed and the dream was born. To bring friends together in a celebration of Amateur Radio at its best! In 2006 that is exactly what we did in CQWW, our aim to win our category with as much fun as possible. van_1

The first problem we faced was LF antennas, what should we use? Callum offered to do some research, I agreed that I should look into finding the right location and get a team together. I had the easy job, firstly I knew Rob MW0RLJ. Now - Rob owns a farm on the coast of Pembrokeshire, I approached Rob and discussed our ideas and Rob agreed that he would host our team, giving us permission to invade his home for this special contest in the Radio’s calendar. So why Wales? Well Anthony, Rob, Chris, Oli and I had previously operated from nearby Strumble Head Lighthouse as GB0SH for the last 3 years, we knew that the Welsh Coast was a great place to operate from. It was some years that a Multi Multi had been active in Wales for CQWW Phone.

I thought carefully about the team, I realized that to put on a Multi Mutli Entry we were going to need some serious operators with the commitment to see this through to the end, I wanted it to be a International Team, and a team that would jell together and get on together.

Please, let me introduce MW5W 2007:
G1VDP Chris, M3SDE Tim, MW0JZE Anthony, MW3SDO Oliver, MW0RLJ Rob, OM0AAO Viliam, M0OXO Charles, M0KCM Ian, M3POV Neil, MW0CRI Dai, M0MCX Callum.

M5W is the contest call belonging to Wythall Amateur Radithe_boxes_for_cqwwo Club, to which four of the team members belong. Ofcom had to be informed of the location and dates that the callsign was to be used and we were set to start planning for the weekend of radio.

I had set Callum a challenge, to build antennas for 40m and 80m that would give us an edge, where we could work the real DX and the close in, under 1000km QSOs. We did not have the money to invest in Titanex hardware. It was going to have to be home made and designed for the job. Callum spent hours on the computer using MMANA software to develop his ideas learning as he went along. In Callum’s own words “It doesn’t take long to convince yourself that building antennas using software is more accurate, less time consuming and a heck of a lot safe (and cheaper) than the real thing” For both 40 and 80m Callum settled for ¼ wave verticals and these were tested out on two events over the summer. Both antennas worked flawlessly creating pile ups that were really enjoyable.

Getting together enough equipment for a Multi station entry was not too difficult just some gentle persuasion was needed to friends to let us borrow items of equipment, after six months of planning the time was here.

40m_verticalM0OXO Charles had driven from Royston near Barnsley and was knocking at my door at 6am on Wednesday 24th October. Charles was a new member to our team, I had invited Charles as I knew he was a top operator and prepared to work hard and was as keen as we were to be a part of this. After a cup of tea it was over to see Chris G1VDP, pick up the hire van, load all the gear both from Chris’s house and from Tim’s house M3SDE and on our way on the 4 hour drive to West Wales picking up the LF antennas from Callum’s M0MCX on the way.

In beautiful Autumn sunshine we arrived at the home of MW0RLJ Rob at mid afternoon and set about unloading the equipment and walked around the field on the 270 acre farm thinking about the best place to site all of the antennas, we had a 4 element 10m Yagi which we placed on the near side of the field, a 3 element 15m Yagi was sited on a 40 foot lattice mast adapted to freestanding with guys. Thanks for all your work on that one Rob! 3 element 20m Yagi was sited on Rob’s 60 foot lattice tower beside the house. While back in the field we placed the 40m and 80m raised verticals with radials. Lastly on top band we used an Inverted L at the far end of the field. 600m of RG-213 and Westflex were used in the cable runs to the antennas so a considerable amount of thought and work went into the site before we could even think of setting up the radios.

10:30am on Friday morning Rob MW0RLJ called “Everyone down tools” quick cup of tea in the farmhouse then we must have a team building session with a walk around the 270 acre farm. There is a Coastal public footpath crossing gone_for_a_walk_1Rob’s land with the most beautiful views around the bay. This was a real pleasure and a chance to take some photographs and view our antennas from a distance. OM0AAO Viliam had flown in from Slovak Republic days earlier and he told us that he had never seen the sea before and this was all a new experience for him. Viliam was a close friend of Oliver back in his home country and Oliver recommended that Viliam be added to the team to add some international flavour!

Rob had to put a lot of work into the repairing rotators for the Yagi’s, the rotator on the 10m Yagi which wasn’t completed until 10pm on the Friday night in the pouring rain. The fault was found in the 7 core cable run on an old connection that needed re-soldering.

MW3SDO Oliver was our on site IT Engineer and he set about connecting all the 6 computers that would be used for oli_cable_layingthe N1MM logging software. We would like to thank ICOM UK for the loan of two Icom Transceivers, the IC-756 Pro III and the IC-7400, we had 6 stations so as well as the Icoms we had Yaesu FT-2000 and 2000D, and 3 x FT-1000 & a FT-920 along with 3 x Acom amplifiers at 400w along with Heatherlite and Yaesu FL2100 at 400w.

OM0AAO Viliam was to be our guest operator from Slovak Republic, he made a great contribution by building the stub band pass filters that would enable the 6 stations to operate simultaneously. The filters worked well during the event and this was all down to the research that Viliam had made to build the filters.

Even Rob’s mother played her part in the contest by making the team a traditional Welsh meal called “Cowel” which is a stew, after working in the field building antennas it is just what you need!

In the title of this report you will see: “Contesting on a budget” we are not rich Radio Amateurs spending thousands of $$, we have pooled our equipment together and saved hard to buy essential pieces of gear, or in Viliam’s case antenna_building_13researched stub filters and made the equipment himself. if we didn’t have it we borrowed of friends but our aim is to be totally self sufficient with equipment… However seeing that we had about £15,000 worth of gear in the shack, you may laugh at the title.

After 2 days of hard graft in the field setting up the antennas and building the 6 operating positions in the farmhouse it was time for the CQWW contest to begin, 40m and 80m were crowded, but we managed to get some elbow room on the bands and the contest started frantically with MW5W returning “59 14” quickly as the logs started to build.

By early morning the final team member arrived MW0CRI Dai, and by daylight 40m really came to life with QSOs to New Zealand, Australia, St Helena, Senegal to name just a few.
With all 6 stations working hard it sounded like music hearing the cacophony of noise coming from the Radio Room. It sounded sweet!

Chris had made the team a delicious Chilli at teatime and the contest was put on hold briefly as the team sat together to eat. By this time we already had over 1 million points as we started looking for the_shackmultipliers by boost our score quicker. The weather was beginning to hamper our efforts as the wind was picking up strength as the night drew on. By 3am the wind was 40 – 50 MPH and some emergency work was needed in replacing guy stays with iron stakes to anchor the antennas more securely, this was done in the pouring rain and complete darkness with just a torchlight for guidance. We were unsure if the wind would get worse so Rob lowered the mast for the 15m Yagi by about 4 metres to reduce the risk of it being blown over.

The team took it in turns in grabbing an hour sleep between shift as we swapped bands on each shift change to ensure that each op had a chance to operate on each of the bands. At the same time as the gale force wind was causing problems outside we also had problems inside to deal with too, PC Unit 2 for 20m decided to shut down and refused to reboot, villiam_om0aao_2Our IT man Oliver had not long gone to bed for some well earned sleep when I had to wake him to do some emergency IT work in the shack. Oliver worked on the base unit, the problem was caused with RF getting into the computer and it finally gave up. Oliver worked miracles and brought the unit back to life and N1MM was back on 20m running. Chris G1VDP even recalls hearing “MW5W 59 14” in his sleep…. Well considering he was sleeping directly above the operating theatre it is quite possible he did!
At this point it was looking as though we had lost conditions 10m, 15m and 20m were all silent only 40m was still running QSOs into the log, while both 80m and 160m were only finding Dupes… Next year for sure we were going to need better solutions for 80m and 160m antennas.

As each member finished his shift it was his turn to make a cup of tea for each operator and this continued through the whole contest. Consequently we ran out of tea bags!

Listening to Viliam was a pleasure, he had never taken part in a major HF contest before and his calm cool operating was just what we needed and another new experience for our Slovakian friend.

On Sunday 15m and 40m were really buzzing and producing some of our best performance in the contest. Anthony MW0JZE worked on a pile up that seemed endless on 15m, he told me afterwards that he simply could not have talked any quicker to put the Qs in the log. In fact 15m produced our highest DXCC multipliers with 112 while 20m gave us our highest band zone score of 29 Zones and our highest QSO band by a whisker was 40m with 1294 QSOs. rob_mw0rlj_7

As our 10m scores were looking a bit low we moved one of the Acom amplifiers to this band it worked a treat as Chris G1VDP made a lovely pile up this morning on 10m and this continued until tea time when the band closed.
Our biggest disappointment was the lack of conditions to the Far East and South East Asia, if this had opened up for us then it is no doubt that we could have scored considerably more points. We know that these areas were being worked well by G6PZ as we were in constant contact by SMS Text Message with banter flying between the two contest teams. It is easy to see where we can improve on this for next year. Monoband Yagi for 20m! Any donations or sponsors welcome here hehe! Improvements on the 80m and top band antennas and also maybe introducing a 40m beam to the antenna farm too.

Sunday evening and the sun set once again, by now the MW5W team were feeling tired and two members of the team had to retire, MW0CRI Dai had gone home with a fever on Sunday morning, and Tim M3SDE, full of cold had lost his voice unable to even give a “59 14”

But the show goes on and the remaining members stuck at it and continued hour after hour until at the stroke of midnight CQWW was over for another year. We were too tired to celebrate all we could do was sleep.

4,423,660 Points

How MW5W performed band by band. the_log

1.8 255 278 44 8
3.5 394 472 58 11
7 1294 1598 93 23
14 1181 2022 106 29
21 1201 2376 112 26
28 811 881 54 16

TOTAL 5136 7627 467 113

Monday morning soon arrived and with it another day of hard work, dismantling the antenna farm, which was a lot quicker to do than setting up. We decided to keep the 40m Vertical up for one last night on the air. We decided that this was now the time to celebrate, Oliver and Viliam had to leave early but thanks Viliam for the Slovakian drink.. wow was that strong!
I would also like to thank Pat, Rob’s partner… she supported us all the way and drove 5 miles to the chip shop and back to keep us fed! Thanks Rob for letting us all invade your peaceful home!