Well that was a an interesting but very different experience for me this
year participating from ZL.
I took advantage of visiting my aunty in South Island to compete, taking
my K3, 40M dipole, 8M metal telescopic and lightweight portable hexbeam
(6Kg) along with a 10M fishing pole for an attempt at an 80M vertical
near the Lake.
Obviously in the open section, but only with 100W, the flight weight
allowance of 30Kg did not stretch to a linear as well as clothes.
The QTH was a ‘Bach’ on Lake Ellesmere near to Christchurch, recommended
by the ZL3PAH of the Quake contester group as being relatively noise
free due to its remoteness. This was mainly true apart from the noisy TV
which I unplugged pretty quickly, (despite my daughters protestations)
and some dinner time QRN which I think was from a microwave some
distance away, which luckily only affected 40M to any extent, though it
was an irritation.
Alas the 80M vertical was not to be, as after carefully laying out over
20 odd radials and an inverted-L, I discovered the new RG58U I had
brought for the 40M dipole had a short in it somewhere, so I had to
utilise the coax from the vertical and hard wire it half way through the
contest, missing a few hours operating time. I didn’t want to waste any
crucial and short lived grey-line time bringing antennas down and
swapping coax just for a few 80M contacts. As it turned out that was a
good call as 40M was very active to the UK while it was open, in between
the nasty QRN.
I prepared quite well with some study of HamCap predictions along with
Club-log propagation log reports. I must also thank Holger ZL2IO/ZM4T,
who answered some of my early inquiries into local propagation patterns
and also sent me pile upon pile of his contest cabrillo files from
March, which I analysed with SH5. he was a great help and was much
Most were calling CQ- Beru, which I think only confused the foreign non
participants as there now isn’t any mention of ‘Beru’ in the contest
rules/contest diaries etc. which most would look at when trying to
decide what contest it was. I think just a mention of ‘previously called
Beru’ may help in future. When the going was slow I did answer the
non-beru callers with a quick qso but was quite irritating during the
significant 40M pile-ups in UK Sunday morning to have loud Japanese
calling over weak-ish UK stations. A certain F8 station was too
persistent and caused me much angst as by that time tiredness had hit, I
had started to get a little irritated and my hand sending then started
to suffer until I topped up my coffee intake.
Conditions wise I don’t have a lot to compare with but did seem to miss
all of Africa and the Mediterranean area.
The last bit when 20M opened to UK was lovely, nice clear band and a
pleasure to work although again quite weak. Worked a few QRP stations
which is always a good feeling. 10M from my station was a dead loss with
only 5 QSO’s.
Quite a few dupes which were worked anyway and a few non Beru in my 314
I can only gauge my results by comparing to the other ZL’s in the open
section (which were mostly running full 500W legal limit) so am not too
dis-chuffed with my similar QSO count.
Band QSOs Pts Cty Sec
7 86 1245 39 2
14 165 1840 50 3
21 51 1030 37 2
28 5 125 5 0
Total 307 4240 131 7