Firstly it was great so see new calls in the UK entrants – I got the
impression of a new generation of BERU followers and that made it that much
more exciting. Conditions were affected, I think, by the flare during the
week and I found the early hours of the contest quite noisy – surprisingly
so – even on HF with waves of noise going across the bands at times. In
terms of activity, BERU owes a lot to the travellers and also to the
stalwarts around the world who are there every year to make the mix more
enjoyable. BERU has a unique feature which frustrates and challenges. Why
else would we sit around for 24 hours to make just 500 QSOs?
Always I find that something could have been a lot better and this year was
no exception. Firstly in the later stages of CQ WPX SSB last weekend Martin
found that the amplifier tripped out for no good reason, and claimed an arc
fault. It transpired that one of the feedlines was showing poor SWR on all
antennas it fed, and I suspected a problem where the rather bulky LDF Heliax
connector connects to the remote relay box – I’ve had issues there before.
So I cleaned it up and all was well for the rest of WPX. Then Friday I
noticed that the background noise level on the bands fed by that feed line
would drop suddenly for no reason. I feared I had not cleared the fault
fully and I was right. It returned Sunday morning of BERU and tripped the
amplifier again. Reasoning showed that it is in fact the relay box in the
shack which feeds the two LDF lines to the antennas – I suspect a duff
relay. Work to do. Anyway, I was able to work around the issue with careful
choice of which antenna/rig I used on which band.
Then there is the 80m issue. I’ve not done BEUR in three years as a “normal”
competitor, having missed one year, and operated GB5CC from here last year.
Somehow the 3510 rule had escaped me (remember – RTFM) and I had made a
handful of QSOs (fortunately not bonus Q’s) when Dave, BUO, was kind enough
to remind me of the no-go zone. Rats! But thanks Dave for the heads-up.
Interesting to hear loads of others (including GB5CC !) using below 3510.
The African contest seems to have been a non-event here in Europe. But I’d
be interested to hear the views of the African team on whether it caused
mayhem. Still a silly clash of dates, and if the contest grows it could
still yet be an issue for BERU.
Apart from that, it kind of worked OK here. Tiredness took its toll about
04.00, not helped by the scarcity of stations to work at that time. But the
20m opening overnight netted a good haul of VK and ZL, whilst 80 and 40
were, to mind, rather poor overnight.
Some really good signals from the travellers – Nigel (of course), Mike VYI
who was loud everywhere, and Nick come to mind. Bob’s (PJT) modest set-up
played well, and he was a great signal into the UK. I got the impression
that ZL support was holding up well, but was VK down ? Some of the
regulars were notable by their absence. Great signals from ZL generally,
although 80 m VK/ZL was as I remember it from the past, rather sub-average.
A good clutch of ZL2 on 80 but little else apart from VK6 and a couple of
BERU is an ideal contest for SO2R and I ran that mode for the full 24 hours.
I am often tempted to try SO (A) in BERU, such is the challenge of finding
the bonus QSOs, but it seems to detract from the fundamental essence of the
contest. So bonuses were hand cranked here, literally, as most of the time
was spent turning the VFO of the non-active radio to find them. I also
considered whether to use G5W, now that it is permitted, but it seemed to me
that a number of years as G3BJ in BERU may have made some sort of impact in
terms of callsign recognition and as it’s hardly a “rate” contest, I stuck
with the main call. Others used SCCs and I may review that decision for next
A unique contest which rarely disappoints but always surprises. Next year,
perhaps I may be technical problem-free – and remember the 3510 rule!
Thanks to everyone for the QSOs and to the travellers for making the effort
to spice up the contest in such an effective way.
BAND QSO DUP DXC HQ POINTS BONUS AVG
80 48 1 13 2 240 540 16.25
40 91 0 27 4 455 1080 16.87
20 134 2 36 4 670 1460 15.90
15 118 1 37 4 590 1480 17.54
10 63 0 26 3 315 820 18.02
TOTAL 454 4 139 17 2270 5380 16.85
TOTAL SCORE : 7 650