My intention was to operate for the full 24 hours, but I found activity
so low that the 11.5 hours I actually did operate seemed like very hard
work. By around 22:00z, and after about 10.5 hours operating, there
seemed very little left to work. Instead, I made the decision to enter
the 12 hour category and to get some sleep. Having set the alarm for
04:30z, I had hoped that 80m and 40m might be productive. Sadly, not so.
The Caribbean stations were loud, but the VEs and ZLs weren’t.
Conditions were truly awful and sadly, like the British Empire, I think
this contest is fading fast.
I should declare that I’ve never been a great advocate of the
Commonwealth Contest, which I know has a lot of traditional support. For
my liking, it is just too S L O W and needs an injection of activity.
For example, let UK work UK, or even open it up to all comers. Sacrilege
I know to the purists. My sincere admiration goes out to those who
endured the full 24 hours of this contest.
That said, there were some highlights. Not least working NFD colleague
Mark G4RCD, who was operating under great stress as A25MC with the half
the world calling, but not listening to him asking for “BERU only”. It
was amusing to hear PS8BR calling “CQ BERU” several times on Saturday. I
don’t think Brazil is part of the Commonwealth, but his enterprise was
to be congratulated. I got an email from Alan G3XAQ operating as 5X1XA
on Saturday evening with the title “Boring” and despite working him on
four bands, I think he was struggling a bit too. The VE6 and VE7s were
loud on 20m on Saturday afternoon and I was very pleased to get a call
from a rather weak and watery VE7BQO/VY1. The last QSO was 8P9RY on 80m,
but he wasn’t in the contest and I fear like 3B8CF worked on 40m, he
will not count.
40m was in good shape late afternoon on Saturday and there were some big
signals from VK and ZL. 9M6XRO was actually S9 on my S-Meter at 16:49z
on 40m. The Indian stations like AT1HQ struggled a bit with my M2X
contest call, but in general I found that most people have now got used
to the UK SCCs and they provide a useful advantage in pile-ups. Brian
C4Z and Don 5B4AGQ were the only active Cyprus stations I worked and I
missed the big signals from Bob 5B4AGN. 10m was pretty grim here and 15m
closed very early on Saturday.
N1MM+ logger driving a Microham micro Keyer II worked perfectly here
without problem in SO2V mode with my FT5K radio. I used a cluster RBN
feed to populate the bandmaps in N1MM+ and the BERU.cty file as per Vic
G4BYG’s recommendation. It was handy just to have only Commonwealth
multipliers shown in the bandmap with this arrangement. I dunno whether
N1MM+ scores the contest correctly, but here are my numbers.
Single Op (Assisted) 12 Hours:
Band QSOs Pts Cty Sec
3.5 14 350 13 1
7 42 1030 37 4
14 102 2005 68 6
21 29 725 27 2
28 3 75 2 1
Total 190 4185 147 14
Score : 4,185
Yaesu FT5K, Acom 2000A, 130ft Doublet 80/40, Hexbeam 20/15/10
I had only one gentleman suggest I do something ending in “off” and that
was on the low end of 80m on an otherwise virtually deserted band. He
was not a BERU fan apparently. Thanks to the intrepid travellers for all
the QSOs and to everyone else who took part in what was a very
Steve G3VMW / M2X