Monday, November 30, 2015

CQWW CW contest 2015 - a great effort by EI2KM

I had the pleasure of taking part in the CQWW CQ contest 2015 with the EI2KM team. We were based at Doug EI2CN's QTH in County Louth. We used one transmitter only. Our final QSO count was over 4,100, with a claimed score 4.8 million points.

Operators were Alain F8FUA, Stephane F5UOW, Doug EI2CN, Declan EI6FR, Anthony EI2KC and Don EI6IL. Our best band was 40 metres, with over 1,000 QSOs.  Next best was 80 metres, with 919 QSOs, we had 938 while 15m. We made 452 QSOs on top band. We had the pleasure of using a four square receive antenna on the low bands. Equipment was an Elecraft K3 and contest software was Win-Test.

Rates were good a lot of the time, with nice pipelines to North America at times on 15m and some great action on 40m. Declan EI6FR ran through the night from midnight Saturday until around 6am Sunday morning on the low bands.

I have to say it was a real pleasure to hear the likes of HS0 Thailand, YB Indonesia and such far away places calling me on 40 metres. 

But it was a very sociable occasion and in addition to the contest activity there was plenty of chat among radio friends.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

ARRL 10 metre contest win - and a new record!

Much to my very pleasant surprised, I received a certificate in the post yesterday from the ARRL telling me that I had won a section of the 10 metre contest in 2014. I checked my log and sure enough I had made 341 QSOs that weekend. I remember enjoying that contest - even though I was not participating competitively, rather just dipping in and out when I got the time.

The certificate from the ARRL confirming my first place award.
All of my contacts in the ARRL 10m contest were made with my Antron 99 vertical antenna and 100 watts or less. Needless to say I'm thrilled to win, and did not expect it at all. (In all honesty, I may have been the only entry in the section).

After I announced my win  on Facebook, Declan EI6FR informed me that I also now hold the record for EI in that section - Single Operator Unlimited Mixed Mode, Low Power. I'm pretty sure that's the first time I've ever held a contest record, and it makes the win all the sweeter.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

A frank admission - I called out of turn and was admonished

I was a bit too hasty this morning trying to work the S79C Coetivy Island IOTA dxpedition on 15 metres SSB. It was an example of how it's important to listen properly to the DX before calling. I arrived on his frequency - 21.260 - and immediately heard him, saying what I thought was "Sierra Seven Nine Charlie, listening five down for number two". So I called. And I heard him telling someone they were calling out of turn. Then I called again. This time, I heard "Echo India Two Kilo Charlie, you are not number three, I am looking only for number three".

I have to admit I was embarrassed. I am not in the habit of calling out of turn, and as a very public figure in ham radio I try to conduct myself to the highest standards.

I listened as he moved quickly up the numbers (there was no pile-up) and he came back around after a couple of minutes to number zero, number one, and then he was calling number twos again.

So I called again.

He still refused to work me, because I had called out of turn the first time. I was very embarrassed. The worst thing was, he used my call sign again, and admonished me, so anyone listening would have heard it. I hung my head in shame..... I was deeply embarrassed.

I sat back from the radio, reflecting on how my haste in trying to work him meant that I hadn't listened to him properly at the beginning. And I was punished (I might say rightfully) for calling out of turn. I wonder if every dxpedition did that how quickly the pile-ups would become discplined!

Reflecting on my behaviour, I suddenly heard him giving my call sign and asking if I was still on the frequency (5 down). I replied in the affirmative. He said "Echo India Two Kilo Charlie you are five nine and in the log. Please co-operate". I apologised for calling out of turn and gave him a report and thanked him.

Now there's true ham spirit!

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Willis Island VK9WA in the log - ATNO - DXCC #316

I wasn't able to update the blog yesterday because I was busy but I managed to work the VK9WA Willis Island dxpedition. This was an All-Time New One (ATNO) and my 316th current DXCC worked (318 total).

I was listening at 8am on 17 metres CW and there was no signal from them at all. However, they were being spotted by lots of European stations, so I felt they would come up in signal strength as the morning went on. After 8.30am I began to hear them, and by 9am they were lifting my needle and sounded quite clear. I worked them at 9:05am local time (also UT), with a split of more than 6.5 kHz. I had decided not to move around, but to try to find a trough in the pile-up. This paid off because it took me less than ten minutes to work them. Here is a video I made a couple of minutes later:

Last night, I checked the online log and although it had been updated, my call sign was not there. I checked for variations, and did find an ES2KC in the log, on 17m CW. This is not the first time I have been wrongly logged as ES2KC. I'm 95% certain this is my QSO.

I would like to get a few more QSOs with them, but work means that I am unable to be at the radio in the middle of the morning when their signal might be strongest.

I was encouraged on Sunday morning to hear them strong on both 15 CW and 17 SSB, but I didn't manage a QSO and had to go to music. On Sunday afternoon they had a nice signal on 30 CW. So we live in hope.