2020 Latitude Factor

Hi Bob
Poor HF propagation in the last couple of years seems to have favoured the southern hemisphere and the Latitude Factor is now returning to its level of 10 years ago – 1.55 for 2020.
The VKs, who have been doing especially well in the team competition, will now have to work somewhat harder and opportunities have arisen for the more northerly teams.
73, Peter G3LET

Bonusses missed in BERU 2019?

Hi Bob,

This is the list of CC stations that seemed to be on RBN during BERU that (mostly) no-one worked. It’s possible that some are RBN decoding errors and I also missed out some that were heard by just one decoder, as they were also probably errors.

ZS2PA 15m  
ZS2EL 17m ZS1EL probably
ZS1OIN 15  
ZD7BG 15,17,30  
Z21GC 40  
TJ3X 40,80  
C91AHV 20  
9M2WU 160  
9V1KB 20  
A3STE 20,40  
T2BA 40  
T2DE 40  
T2IV 80  
T2UB 80 Too many from Tuvalu – pirates?
VK0VVV 40  
9Z4Y 15,17 Only worked two BERU

As you will see some were on 17 or 30, but many were on the BERU bands. Maybe some of them just don’t like contests too?




Hi there, I am wondering if you have a list of past winners of this long-running contest. I have been sorting through some of my father’s things and note that I have a miniature that he won in the BERU Junior Contest in 1948. Ray Cracknell. His call sign from Rhodesia (and on the trophy was ZE2JV). In the UK he used G2AHU. Do you have any further details in your archives? Regards.

GM Helen
Yes, I do have lists of winners etc. And I have an archive of past results etc collected over the years. I will dig out information for you about the 1948 contest
Kind regards


Apologies to Keith VK4TT from VK6VZ


Sincere apologies to Keith VK4TT, who operated VK4WIA and that I inadvertently left out of my earlier report of the VK team and HQ stations.

Keith has been a great supporter of the Commonwealth Contest for many years, but now has very limited antennas, which at the bottom of the solar cycle make it very difficult for him to make the contacts he would like.

When a number of better equipped VK4 stations were unable to take part owing to personal circumstances, Keith kindly stepped in and offered to provide a WIA HQ station for as many hours as he was able. This resulted in him contributing 69 QSOs with other BERU stations.

I’d like to thank Keith for his contribution to the CC/BERU over many years – and, in particular, for coming on the air as VK4WIA in 2019.

Vy 73

Steve, VK6VZ

BERU 2019 report – VE7RAC operated by VE7JKZ


Hi Bob

After reading interesting posts from other BERU participants I decided to add my few cents worth, but first some background info. I grew up in the London area and passed the City and Guilds RAE in 1959 at the age of 17. Still have the original certificate somewhere. The first morse attempt (attempt being the operative word) was a dismal failure. Then things such as an apprenticeship, sandwich course for the HND/IEE exams, a move to Canada at the age of 22, and subsequent work activities plus a marriage intervened and amateur radio took a back seat for many years. Not uncommon I suppose.

I received the call VE7JKZ in 1976 whilst living in Ottawa and made my first BERU a year or so later. Since then I’ve only missed one BERU as best I recall. Some 20 years later it was a move to Calgary and three BERUs as VE6JKZ. Then to Richmond BC where I operated as VE7JKZ, then after a couple of years as the VA7RAC HQ station more recently VE7RAC, so forty years or so as a BERU participant.

Now living in Victoria BC the station has not changed much over the years. A beam at 45ft with 2 elements each for 20, 15 and 10 plus a rotary dipole on the same boom for 40. For the low bands an inverted L which can be remotely switched for 80/160. Living in suburbia noise is the perennial problem. S7/8 on 80m, 40m can be from S3/4 in the early mornings to S5 later on, 20m S2/3 and sometimes S5 in the afternoons when something somewhere comes to life for a few hours. Back in the early Ottawa days pre- internet, PCs, switching power supplies etc my 20m noise would barely move the S meter. Radio is a Picastar a la G3XJP with two home made linears. One with a pair of 4-125A tubes for 160 through 40 the other with a single 3-400Z for 40 through 10.

I found it interesting that many reported worse propagation this year than last. Not my experience at all. I recall CQ’ing for many hours last year and it was all I could do to finish with a hundred or so contacts. This year I made 195.

Being on Canada’s left coast it is frustrating to hear the VE3s working the Gs on 40/80 and not hearing them at all. Similarly on 20m where I hear only a few Gs. On the other hand it’s water all the way to VK/ZL so probably easier for me than the folks in the east. The activity from VK was most impressive, particularly the WIA HQ stations. With 195 Qs my total score came out as 3,190.

Brian VE7JKZ


Hi everyone

This year I decided to rent some accommodation in a rural area for a portable operation, away from the urban QRN and with some space to erect proper antennas. I booked a property at Hoddles Creek, about an hour’s drive east of Melbourne. The QTH is on a hill about 475m ASL and has a low angle to the horizon (less than 3 degrees) in all directions. Most importantly, it has some tall trees about 50m distance from the accommodation that can be used to support wire antennas.

I nearly had to abandon the operation due to wild bush fires that had been burning out of control in an area about 5 km south of the QTH. There was a risk the QTH would have to be evacuated if the fires flared up again and there was a wind change from the south. Fortunately, this did not happen, and I only had to contend with some rather smoky air 😊

My original plan was to erect a quarter wave vertical with two elevated radials for 80M, and a pair of orthogonal multi-band dipole antennas for the higher bands. Unfortunately, I ran out of time on the Saturday afternoon to complete this plan and ended up having to make do with a single multiband dipole at the start of the contest. However, I did take a break during the slower hours on Sunday afternoon to install the 80M vertical, and also haul up the dipole a little higher to an overall height of around 20m AGL.

The absence of manmade QRN was amazing. Compared to my city QTH, there was up to a 30 dB reduction in background noise on 80M and 40M. It was so quiet that I initially thought there had to be a fault in the antenna or receiver! I had not heard the bands this quiet since the days of operating at the rural ZL6QH super-station. Of course, the downside of having such a low level of background noise is that many stations were Q5 copy with me but I could not even raise a ‘QRZ?’ from them.

I was reasonably happy with the transmit performance of the antennas, but the 80M vertical and higher dipole definitely made a noticeable improvement on the Sunday evening.

I thought conditions on 40M were pretty good. 80M was hard work due to the severe lightning QRN from nearby storms. 20M was patchy with no sign of the usual LP opening to UK on Sunday afternoon. I only worked two stations on 15M (VK6LW and VK3YE). I could hear John VK4CT on 15M but he was not hearing me. Nothing was heard on 10M.

I ended up making a total of 209 valid QSOs and a raw score of 3,605 points. This is a significant improvement over the 109 QSOs and score of 2,195 points that I achieved in the 2018 contest from our city QTH. The extra effort of setting up a portable station in a rural area seems to have paid off so I’ll probably do something similar again next year.

Here is the breakdown of the score:

Band      QSOs     Points

80M       44           935

40M       111         1660

20M       48           985

15M       2              25

10M       0              0

Total      205         3605


Category: Restricted – Single Operator Unassisted

Operating time: 20 hours

Radio: Flex-6300 100W + WriteLog

Antennas: Saturday night – dipole @ 15mh, Sunday night – dipole @ 20mh + 80M ¼ wave vertical

Thanks again to everyone for the QSOs, and especially those who activated the VK HQ stations!

73, Brian VK3MI



From: Mike Ruttenberg G7TWC
Date: Wed, 13 Mar 2019 10:32:12 GMT

I worked 60 stations in various stints. 2 VKs on 40, no Africans (9G, 9J2BO, C5 or 3B8 and certainly no ZS1EL which is unusual. Heard Nigel 3B8XF at ESP levels on 40. Didn’t hear Don in C5, or Dom C6AKT at all. 5B was a struggle. Didn’t hear ZB. 9H1CG wasn’t loud here.
V31GX was in and out and I managed to work Iain.
ZF2CA was a huge signal, as was VY2ZM and VY2/G3VYI.
VE5MX was audible but couldn’t hear me.
No ZL, 9M or 9V either 😦 I did hear 9V1YC but couldn’t break the pileup.
The 2 VKs rescued an otherwise VE3-fest and a little disappointing all in all.
Urban London location with an inverted L that was set up for BERU 2018 is still up, so that is a relief.
Thanks as always to the travellers, whether or not I worked them.
Flex6300, 100W
East Finchley, N London.


Not so organised this year with the antennas, I still had the 40m 2 element reversible beam up at 70 ft, for NW/SE directions and the 80m inverted vee dipole above that at 90 ft, but leading into the week before BERU nothing at all for HF.

But I thought I had enough time to rebuild the Spiderbeam and get that up on the second tower at 70ft. I had previously re modelled and optimised this antenna using EZNEC so I was keen to get the antenna built and tested.

This required some early mornings before work commitments but as the week progressed it was looking like I might not make it, so for a couple of evenings I setup some spotlights on our property, these were very popular with all the local bugs that seem to come from far and wide to take part in the antenna building project.

Anyway by late Friday afternoon I had the Spiderbeam up again along with a 40m dipole at 70ft facing NE/SW on the second tower.

The Spiderbeam has 3 full size elements on 20m and 15m with 4 elements on 10m, clearly I needn’t have bothered with the 10m part of the antenna, nothing was heard apart from the local VK6 HQ station. I can’t quite remember another BERU where 10m sounded so dead.

For LF receive I have 2 beverages, 600 ft long, one for EU and the other for USA. Also a Beverage on ground about 280 ft for signals coming in from the North.

Conditions for 80m and 40m overall seemed quite good, I think my QSO totals on those 2 bands are probably the best I have achieved. Started working G’s before 1530z on 40m and 80m opened up nicely about 30 mins before sunset in UK.

On HF it was a bit of a different story, even on 20m the signals were well down, although I did get a small opening on 15m to UK at around 1130z. After sunrise on the Sunday here, apart from the initial activity inter VK/ZL, the rest of the day was a struggle until a late LP opening to UK on 20m with weak signals at about 0800z and some welcome activity again on 40m towards the end with some more bonus points.

I made many visits to 10m, also moving others there, all to no avail.

The poor HF conditions were offset somewhat by the extra activity of the HQ stations and many thanks to those that took part and activated these stations, the bonus points were very welcome.

The Icom IC7610 with dual receivers and bandscopes, plus the external monitor was really useful for monitoring the other band activity and quickly working needed stations on another band without leaving a run frequency. I have it setup as SO2V and this works seamlessly with N1MM +

80: 67/35
40: 239/69
20: 83/49
15: 58/20
10: 1/1

448 QSO’s
5720 Points

73’s Kevin, VK6LW