Monday, June 24, 2013

A fantastic day with EI13CLAN on the bands

On Saturday, my local radio club, Dundalk Amateur Radio Society (EI7DAR) had exclusive use of the special event callsign EI13CLAN for 24 hours. This is part of an effort to promote the callsign - and by extension the event that EI13CLAN promotes, which is called 'The Gathering'.

Every club is entitled to enter a competition to run the callsign for 24 hours and the club with the most points will win a radio, an Icom IC756PRO. Our club was the first to take up the challenge.

I was one of two CW operators for the 24 hours. We started at midnight on Friday night and ran through the whole of Saturday. I spent a lot of time initally on 20 metres, but moved up the bands during Saturday, working 17m, 15m, 12m, 10m and even 6m for a time. Band conditions were unfortunately quite poor, so most of the action was on 20 metres. I made about a dozen QSOs into Scandinavia on 6 metres but apart from that the band refused to open. 10 metres was very poor. 12 metres had some strong signals for a short time but after about 15 minutes nobody was coming back to the call. 15 metres was dreadful. 17 metres was okay, but even the European and Russian stations were generally weak, and it could take several attempts to get them into the log.

On Saturday evening I went back to 20 metres and turned the hexbeam north north east and pretty soon I had a mini Japan pile-up going, which lasted for about half an hour. That was about the most excitement for the day. The only decent DX was an A9, a VK6 and a 5T. The K index was around 3, and conditions were unfavourable. I made less than five QSOs into the States for the whole 24 hour period, which will demonstrate just how bad the bands were.

However, the club did brilliantly nonetheless. I finished the day with 580 QSOs. One of our digi stations had over 400 QSOs. We had two SSB stations, two digital stations and two CW stations, all running non-stop. We probably finished the day with over 3,000 QSOs. The competition awards three points for a digital QSO, two points for a CW QSO and one for a phone QSO. It will be interesting to see what our final score is.

Congratulations to all the operators involved for such a great effort. It was an enjoyable day, and although it is a competition, it didn't feel like a "contest" as such. We all enjoyed it. The other ops were: Thos EI2JD, Oleg EI7KD, Seamus EI3KE, Don EI6IL, Tom EI9CJ, Jim EI2HJB, Brian EI8EJB and Mark EI6JK.

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