is now available for down load from here Reflections in a Rosebowl
73 Bob G3PJT
is now available for down load from here Reflections in a Rosebowl
73 Bob G3PJT
Here are some photos from the 3B8XF BERU entry….
As can be seen from the BERU Score summary….
…. this year was an all-time low (521) in QSO numbers and in score.
[The nice 80m vertical shown in these photos was unfortunately not being used during BERU].
73 – Nigel G3TXF
As usual another enjoyable contest from VK4. The poor band conditions certainly created a challenge. A long-path 20m opening to VE was a pleasant surprise, just before daylight on our Sunday morning.
That opening worked well with a dipole, having no front to back ratio.The best surprise was when 40m opened for a nice run between 06:50 and 08:00 UTC with 57 Q. The five band jackpot went to 9M6, VK2, VK3, and VK6. Four bands with 3B8XF, just missed on 10m
The 12 hour operation created an opportunity to experiment with strategy.
From VK4, under poor conditions, 12 hours can do better than 24 hours.
There are good reasons why that is the case from VK4. The reverse would be so under good band conditions.
Anyhow, there is always more to learn about 12 hour strategy.
Antennas: dipoles on all bands, rotary on 40, 20, 15, and 10m
Entry: Open Single Operator Assisted, 12 Hours
Claimed score: 5,005
From 332 QSO (raw)
80: 46 QSO, 31 Bonus
40: 167 QSO, 61 Bonus
20: 92 QSO, 49 Bonus
15: 20 QSO, 20 Bonus
10: 7 QSO, 7 Bonus
Thanks Steve and everyone for being part of another pleasant weekend.
73, John VK4CT
I need to :
1. Properly understand propagation, especially the marginal openings
2. Sort out 40m. For the next few years I have to be able to exploit 40 to the fullest extent possible
3. Sort out a low noise RX set up for 80 together with as effective TX vertical as I can put up
4. All aspects of my operating style need to be sharpened up, QSYing DX, second RX operating, using skimmer, setting up the K3 properly, using WT …
And finally staying awake and motivated when the going gets slow.
What does your list look like?
73 Bob G3PJT
From: Graham G4FNL
Date: Tue, 13 Mar 2018 19:34:30 GMT
A brief update from me from the Commonwealth Contest where I was operating as G6XX, located in Brighton, UK last weekend:
Despite the poor conditions I thoroughly enjoyed the contest – and being an HQ station meant that I was kept relatively busy throughout. Like others, I find 24 hours continuous operating quite difficult (especially after a long working week.) For this contest I considered my role as ‘cannon fodder’ and was there for the benefit of other entrants. I hope I did a reasonable job – but I am not sure. I almost always called CQ – but I did also have the cluster running and would occasionally chase a new mult and those that I thought might be able make multiple bands QSOs with me. It seems that I was partially successful – but I realised that after trying to call some of the more marginal ZLs, VKs and West Coast VEs that my DX signals on 80m and 40m just aren’t good enough. So further work to do next time. I did manage 11 x 5-band QSOs – but they were all with stations within the UK. 10m was tough with just a total QSO count of 19 on that band and my best ‘DX’ was with my friends at GD6XX! I did manage a total of 18 x 4-band QSOs including the following calls: 3B8XF, 9H3ET, G6HCC GB5CC, GM4Z, VE3FJ and VK2BJ. Other stats are 54 x 3-band, 58 x 2band and 105 unique Qs. The overall QSO breakdown band by band is below (hopefully the formatting remains intact).
BAND QSO CTY HQ
3.5 147 32 5
7 158 58 6
14 145 57 7
21 38 10 1
28 19 4 1
Total 507 161 20
My station consisted of an Elecraft K3 + Alpha 89 amp, with a TB3 triband Yagi for HF at 60ft and a dipole for 40m at 70ft and ¼ wave vertical or a doublet at 60ft on 80m and some dubious beverage RX antennae
Thanks to EVERYONE for the QSO in the contest. See you next time……
73 Graham G4FNL
As others have already noted, it was hard work making QSOs in Commonwealth contest this year.
My claimed score of 2,205 points score is well down on previous years – mainly due to missing the crucial initial 6 hours of the contest, the limitations of the hastily erected antennas at my new QTH (see below), and very patchy propagation. I’m sorry I could not contribute more points to the VK Team 2 score.
Most of my DX QSOs were on 80M and 40M. I failed to work any call areas beyond VK and ZL on the higher bands except for 9M6/G3VYI, 9V1YC and ZF2CA. I heard 9J2BO calling on 20M around 0500Z but unfortunately he could not hear me.
Getting ready for the contest this year was more challenging than usual as we had just moved into a new rental property. The new QTH is a town house and only has a small back yard of around 70 square metres in size, so no room for the dream antenna farm! However, there is a tall gum tree in the middle of the yard that can be used to support some antennas.
I ran a couple of wires up alongside the gum tree, along with some elevated short radials (9m long), to make a multiband vertical antenna for 80M and 40M.
An antenna for the 20M, 15M and 10M bands was more difficult. I discounted using a multiband vertical for these higher bands as experience suggested that a horizontal antenna at modest height should be more effective and also less sensitive to manmade noise from the dense housing in the neighbourhood. There was not enough room for inverted vee dipoles to be installed at a reasonable height clear of the house so I decided to build a compact multiband dipole (cobweb style) and hang it at about 9 meters AGL from a rope thrown over a limb of the gum tree. I originally intended to complete this task during the daylight hours immediately prior to the start of contest at 9 pm on Saturday. The antenna took longer to make than anticipated (like most antennas do!) and I was also distracted by some domestic duties. I ended up completing the assembly and tuning of the antenna on Saturday evening, and then hauling it into position around 2 am on Sunday morning. After fixing some residual problems with the matching of the 80M and 40M antennas, I finally managed to get on the air and join the contest at 3:15 am! 😊
The cobweb antenna was OK for making local QSOs but I struggled to hear or work many stations beyond VK and ZL. Poor propagation was partly to blame but I’m also suspicious the antenna was not performing as well as expected. The antenna is only just above the roof line of our house so it really needs to be higher, but this is not possible due to tree branches and foliage being in the way. It looks like I will need to consider other antenna options for the high bands before the next contest from this QTH.
Band QSOs Points
80M 26 520
40M 46 910
20M 25 525
15M 9 225
10M 2 25
Total 108 2205
Radio – Flex-6300 90W
Antennas – Vertical wires for 80M and 40M, and a cobweb dipole antenna (9m AGL) for 20M, 15M and 10M.
Thanks to the RSGB for running the contest, and to everyone for the QSOs, especially those who travelled to DX locations or operated HQ stations. I look forward to doing it all again next year, and hopefully with a decent set of antennas tested and ready to go prior to the start of the contest!
73, Brian VK3MI
Firstly thanks for all of the contacts during this year’s BERU contest. I made a relatively last minute decision to participate and thought I would try something out of left field and activate a WIA HQ station for the event. A quick phone call to the president to gain permission to use one of the WIA callsigns and away we went as VK5WIA HQ. This all happened about 4 days before the contest so publicity was limited.
The station at this end consists of a 40m delta loop @ 16m (strung in a gum tree) and a 20-6m HexBeam at 10m. I get some terrain gain towards EU from my QTH and for some reason always do very well to NA on 40m of an evening, so I hoped I would be at least a semi-respectable signal on the air. Also, as my CW skills are still in the “developmental” phase, I didn’t want to make a big deal about it in case I broke too many calls. As it was, I suspect I surprised a couple who clearly did a double take when I called them as they weren’t expecting VK5WIA HQ on the air. With a lot of repeats I managed to copy most callsigns and so people at least had the opportunity to work the VK HQ station.
From an operational perspective, I couldn’t operate the whole contest due to other commitments. I managed in the end to start from about 1030 utc Saturday night. With Theo VK5MTM helping me, we commenced on 40m and worked quite a few VK/ZL as well as VE stations and one from Singapore. It was great to see 9M6 activated as well. I made a few domestic QSOs on 80m but my local QRM and non resonant antennas hampered me there (I basically loaded the 40m delta through the tuner – I suspect a lot of my power ended up as heat). Then at about 1400 utc Europe SP finally opened and I had quite a run of G/9V1/3B8 and 9M6 as well as ZL stations and others through to about 1600utc, when I headed off to bed.
4 Hrs later very early Sunday morning I was back at it on 40m again working G stations with a few others thrown in through greyline. I then QSYed to 20m and got to spend a little time working VE on NA Long Path. I had to stop around 2200 utc as I had committed to help with the telemetry collection for Horus 48 (the Amateur Radio Experimenter Group’s High Altitude Balloon project). Upon returning in the afternoon, a few more stations were worked on 20m and also 15m into ZL. I put some calls out on 10m but there were only JAs on the band so no luck there. I also did some 40m LP into Europe shortly after that and was rewarded with some more HQ stations from the UK as well as a few late VK starters. Finally the well went dry about 40 minutes from the end and no new contacts could on any band be found despite calling for about 40 minutes. I then packed it in and was pretty happy for my first attempt at the BERU.
Final scores for VK5WIA for ~9.5hrs on air were:
Band QSOs Pts Cty Sec Pt/Q
3.5 6 150 6 0 25.0
7 53 960 37 2 18.1
14 46 810 26 2 17.6
21 14 350 14 0 25.0
Total 119 2270 83 4 19.1
1 Mult = 1.4 Q’s
As I have a very modest station I had a simple goal: get to 100 QSOs.
Things got off to a good start (11pm here). 47 in the bag inside the first two hours with the VEs in particular coming through strongly on 40m and 80m. I hit the hay and then made my first mistake in not getting up for the sunrise grayline shift. Instead I got up at 8am and called CQ on 15m and then 20m for an hour without a single taker.
Daytime propagation in ZL at this stage of the solar cycle is a bit like Donald Trump’s brain. Generally a barren desert with the odd oasis of logic shimmering at you in the distance, except when you get there you are just as likely to find it is a mirage. Saying that I managed one highlight. As a bit of a fun project over last couple of weeks I have been looking at how to remote into my station. The BERU gave me plenty of time to experiment and I managed to get it to a proof of concept stage by making a number of QSOs from a laptop in the living room. I might just do BERU from a beach somewhere next year!
I had high hopes for the last four to five hours as 80m and 40m opened up nicely to the UK, when I noticed the SWR started going haywire on my inverted L. An inspection found a joiner at the antenna end was very warm due it seems to moisture getting in under the protective tape so that was the end of my contest. A paltry 84 QSOs for a very long time on the air and I probably missed the best opening.
I can only describe my overall experience as the contest equivalent of self flagellation.