From: Barry Simpson VK2BJ
Date: Tue, 12 Mar 2019 07:13:29 GMT
Allan Mason, VK2GR
I enjoyed my first BERU as a Canadian ham… though I’ve been licensed over 35 years in Canada! Thanks for the rule change, I operated VY1AAA in Whitehorse and VE4EA in Winnipeg, alternating between the two stations, remotely from my home QTH in Hancock, NH
Why two stations? I had not initially planned this. Cary, VE4EA, spends the majority of the winter in Palm Springs, CA. However, the early morning of the contest (2am Pacific), the had an underground power line explosion, and Cary had no power for almost all the 24 hours of BERU. I knew that not many VE4 stations would be on, so I decided what time I had splitting time between the two stations.
What might be amazing to mary — propagation from Yukon can be much better from Winnipeg — if, and only if, geomagnetic disturbances remain low. Well, as luck may have it, propagation was actually very good.
I awoke at 5am New England time to get on from VY1AAA on 80m. The station is a full-size 1/4-wave ground plane, with the base at 20m high, and 500w. I called CQ for a while. Finding nothing, it was on to S&P. V31GX was in the log with one call!
This was followed by VK6LW, but then a long period of nothingness other than a booming VE3EJ. The first hour produced just five QSOs!! (I’m glad I’m a VHF contester as well as can deal with very low rates!) At 11z, both 80 and 40 can produce good contacts, so I QSYed to 40… VK4CT was booming, followed by ZL1IF, ZL3AL and ZL3AB… followed by much of nothing other than some stalwarts from VE3.
I did not return to VY1AAA until 1200z, where I enjoyed quite a nice run to the United Kingdom — with rates up to about 150 at times. Very strong signals. It was nice to work Europe without the competition of a huge, inpatient pile calling me.
Nothing heard from India. Late Saturday on 20, picked up a 9M6… who had no idea what BERU was! Good enough chap that he gave me a serial number.
Some amazing signals during this one! During the late afternoon Pacific time, I heard a very, very strong signal trouncing the K3 — something very hard to do. I thought it was VY1KX operating as VY1RAC. No — it was VE5MX! He was actually pinning the s-meter on the K3 — something I had never seen.
For those who don’t know, VY1AAA is at the home of J Allan, VY1JA. J is a retired Electrical Engineer from the Yukon Power Generation system. He had been the go-to op for CW in the Yukon. J has some medical issues, and therefore cannot be on for contests. He LOVES building the station and maintaining everything. We hooked up three years ago and became fast friends, On 20-10 including WARC, the antenna is a 4-element Cubical Quad up 18 meters. On 40, it a pair of phased ground planes. On 160, it’s a Double-L with the vertical component about 20 meters. He is working on Beverages.
Cary’s station in Winnipeg is on a postage stamp lot — but includes K3, 500w amp a 40-10m Yagi at 18 meters, an Inverted-Vee for 80, and a Double-L on 160. Conditions from VE4 were not quite as good.. .I struggled to work Africa on 40m, but we made it. No India and nothing from the Pacific. The Saturday afternoon run was very nice to the UK on 40m. I was very surprised at how good it actually was. I hope I was there for you from VE4, and sorry if we did not work.
Again, I ran this “Dual Remote” not out of choice. I wanted both locations to be on for the contest. I hope the committee understands.
Thanks for all the QSOs! I hope to be on from VY1 for the entire contest duration next time.
Gerry Hull, VE1RM
Also: W1VE, VY2CDX, VO1CDX, VE9XDX, VE3AII, VE4CDX among others
Hancock, NH USA
Here are some of the views of the antennas at VY2TT used by me in BERU.
80m was a 4 square behind the house, 40m is a 4 ele at 90 feet on the near tower, 20m 3 * 6 ele stack, 2 rotatable, 15m 6/6/4 stack all rotatable, 10m 2 8 ele both rotatable
and here is the op trying to point them, use writelog, key, and catch up VY2ZM who has even bigger ones ( I failed !)..73 mike
This year I came back to Bahamas for the second year running using the C6AKT call.
I always try to take everything with me on my BERU trips, this one was no different. 2el vertical on 80m, 4sq on 40m and a host of other verticals. All to be setup right at the waters edge. The Team Carribean morphedin the World Travellers and I suggested that they should have Don and Nigel in the team which actaully meant I became a spare which meant I could do something a bit different. I am usually a qrp operator (BERU 2017 aside) but this time I was asked could I take a little more RF to help those with more simple antennas.So I packed a Hardrock-50 which is a 50W PA, the result of the ARLL 50W PA contest a few years ago. It mates well with the KX3 and meant all the coax feeds and antennas were fine.
Probably poor planning on my part I got the travel days wrong so I arrived the afternoon before the contest. Not too much of a problem if you have all your antennas ready, A bit taxing if they are still in the bag. So once I arrived out came the 80m and 40m antennas as I knew I would need those first and they would take the most effort to put up. It was very windy and sadly murphy appeared, just as the guys were being attached and broke one of the 80m phased verticals. So a rapid rethink meant an 80m GP. I left the rest to take down post contests. The 40m 4SQ went up were it did last year and I covered the shelf by the sea with radials for the 40m and 80m antennas, Finishing just as the sun was setting.
I ran the contest with an SDR-Play RSP1A working as a pan adapter for the KX3 and I had an ELAD T/R switch. I provided sufficient isolation for my needs. Might not if you were running 400W. I also deployed a couple of coax line static and stub coax filters.
The idea was to run two KX3 with one being active the other sitting there on the ‘other band’, in the ennd the second KX3 and RSP1A never came out of the bag.
I probably heard 4-5 times more stations that managed QSO which had to be the RF level effect. QSB was vert fast and deep here on 20m. 40m was nicely open.
I spent a while trying to work Nigel 3B8XF who popped out of the noise on 40m but typical once the initial exchnage happened static returned. I had to log 001 which must not be right 🙂
I use win-test to log.
I was on 80M for first ½ hour then moved upwards through the bands, looking at the summary from 2018 and operating outside of it to analyse and previous operating plans with openings all marked out in time order. I was asked to qsy bands a few times as I would have been a bonus. No QSO’s on 10M at all even though had been asked to QSY.
I picked up Colin, ZF2CA, Ian V31GX and VP9IV as I had promised to try to. Not sure about Don C56DF.There was a fairly good path to VE and I could hear lots of VK/ZL, even managed to work a few. I was interesting to hear all the G calls at the time.
Only moan was some VE stations, please guys don’t just stick to 40wpm+
As was S&P most of the Non Beru callers were a rare annoyance a few times, in fact they were a relief during the quiet times of which there were a few.
All in all very enjoyable.
First of all a very big thank you to the folk who gladly and positively responded to my requests for UK Headquarter stations in this year’s contest. Disappointed that I couldn’t complete the list with the 3 Crown Dependancies but pleased and relieved that those who committed turned up on the day and put in excellent performances. Plenty of appreciative comments already on here and other sources so thank you all – great job! And huge gratitude also to the likes of Bob G3PJT and all the others who work hard organising Beru plus of course all the travellers who add so much to making this contest unique.
I’ve now had time to look through my log and think about the contest so can post a fuller account. First a run down on kit used. The radio was my K3 in SO2V mode feeding a newish Gemini HF-1K amplifier. Antennas here are all wires; I’m very lucky in being in a fairly quiet rural spot. The garden is small though and the pride of my xyl so I take advantage of a surrounding farm field normally occupied by sheep for my aerial hardware. The farmer is happy for me to put up ‘temporary’ poles/wires but permanent towers are out of the question. I’m still working on the possibility of him accepting a mobile tower! So the line up was – 80m dipole at 45ft, 40m quarter wave ground mounted vertical used for 15m too, 20m dipole at 30ft but up on a small hill with good slope towards North America, and a dipole for 10m.
The first QSO in the log was GB5CC and N1MM+ complained about ‘another HQ in the same CCA…’! I then spent 15 minutes trying to find what I’d screwed up in the set up before I gave up and decided to ‘forcelog’ any UK HQ call and not use ESM for them. Needless to say I kept forgetting the latter which caused it to send ‘AGN?’, slightly embarrassing but not major. I spent the first hour or so jumping from 40 to 20 with the odd foray to 15 chasing spots like Nigel at 3B8 and the two 5B4s. Don G3BJ moved me to 10m for my only 10m Q (I was declined a move request by one particularly strong and fairly local station later on). I’m not sure what Don did but I could hear something way down in the noise totally unreadable but then suddenly he shot up and stayed there, didn’t sound like reflection. The next 6 hours were spent mainly on 20m with again jumps to 15 for spots – having this new auto band and antenna switching amp is very neat! From around 1530 40m came into it’s own with a nice mix of UK and DX – VK6LW and VK6VZ were worked within minutes of each other as early as 1540. Without directional antennas I can’t know if it’s LP or SP, I just hear ’em and work ’em (hopefully..;-) I tried at all times to be running on one band while perhaps S&Ping or picking off spots on a second; I saw that as part of my job description as a **6XX station to give the UK entrants a fair chance of the bonus points. Having the 2nd receiver in the K3 enables that to be done very efficiently. This was also the reason I kept out of the DX slots at the bottom end of each band, trying instead to find a spot just slightly above so as to still be close to the action.
The action was then moving more to 80m and just before 1800 I worked VK4, VK6 and VK7 in quick succession in between productive runs of UK calls. By then 20m was done for the day but 40 and 80 were still good for both UK and DX. This continued up until around 0130 and then things became very quiet as we entered the ‘graveyard hours’. I had last year’s log open on a second monitor and it was interesting how similar this year was turning out to be. Like last year 40m opened up to ZL around 0430 for 2 hours or so followed by a bunch of ZLs calling me on 80 just before 7. My time in the graveyard yielded just 6 QSOs from 0115 to 0315 although they did include V31GX and C56DF. To help keep myself awake and CQing I watched the replay of the earlier Scotland v Wales rugby game on iPlayer and was timed to perfection as the final whistle went minutes before 40m opened to ZL. A few years ago I was surprised to find 20m suddenly opened to ZL in these dead hours so I kept checking but nothing – we probably had sun spots then! The final couple of hours of Beru always seems quiet especially when 20m is not in good shape and 15 and 10 remain pretty much closed to a dipole and 5/8 vertical. Three more VKs on 40 and a couple more ZLs on 20 but enough Gs and others to keep me occupied by then.
VEs of course were everywhere and Beru aficionados everywhere owe them a debt of gratitude. Surprised to work just the one VE7 which was VE7RAC on 20 in the middle of Saturday afternoon. VE6WQ was my only Alberta station a little later on the same band and I managed 3 VE5 calls on 20m in the same period with VE5MX being worked also on 40m at midnight here. Again on 20m VE4EA was my only VE4 so thank goodness for all the VE3s…
My general impression was of the bands being in quite poor shape. In particular 40m whilst being very productive was at times extremely noisy with signals way down and sounding fuzzy. This often made for difficult copy and necessitated repeats and the occasional abandonment. Slowing down speeds was usually the best way to ensure successful copy. I very often had the impression I was being heard better than I was hearing the dx which is not a situation I’m used to. I began to wonder if I would benefit from a decent receive antenna.
The only 5 band call in my is not unexpectedly Don G3BJ. DX calls on 4 bands are ZF2CA, V31GX, VY2ZM and 5B4AGN.
As this is only the 3rd time I have operated BERU from the UK I am still learning the ropes so I went assisted again. I spent most of the autumn building antennas, for 40 a triangle of phased verticals and for 80 a pair of phased verticals.
I expected that conditions this year would be most like 2018. Well they were but also different in subtle ways.
80m. I managed 22 VE ( all eastern Canada) , 7 VK (all short) and 3 ZL (2 long, 1 short). Noise level was high – need much quieter RX antenna for next year. The phased verticals had some front to back but not enough to make much of a difference. High levels of rain static from time to time.
40m 42 VEs ( no 6 or 7), 19 VK, 10 ZL (4 long). I thought 40 was pretty good . My vertical triangle gave quiet reception but I wonder if it had the punch of a yagi or a full sized 4 square.
20m 61 VE s, 6 VK, 10 ZL. Something odd was going on as I couldn’t hear many VK. Has the Sunday morning LP to VK/ZL, moved to Saturday evening? I think this happened last year. Something to watch out for.
15m 2 VE, and 2 VK6. Why didn’t the band open up further west? The two VY2s were great signals but couldn’t find any VE3s or even VE1s for that matter.
We had a storm which arrived at 1100 on Saturday with a huge gust which has twisted the 10m 4el out of alignment, no signals on 10 so didn’t matter. The waterproof cover over the 40m switch box has vanished. I was chased around the bottom of 80m by the DX segment police. And on Sunday morning I had a huge digital station on 14008 spreading all over the bottom end of 20m. It was so loud it could have been local but after a while it went elsewhere.
Thanks to the Travellers and the HQ stations, I really appreciated their activity.
73 Bob G3PJT
I had a good time in the 24 hour open HP section with propagation seeming better than last year: Far lower QRN on 80 (though many of you had to send the numbers a good few times), good runs on 40 and 20 with 15 m often best especially to VK/ZL although the band would often seem empty. I think your graphs are helping us all figure out when propagation is best and when to make sure we should be trying.
The usual fun and games being a Traveller and arriving with the expectation for things to just work, but that is in my longer note in your DXpedition reports section.
BAND QSO DUP DXC HQ POINTS BONUS AVG
80 141 0 19 8 705 720 10.11
40 247 2 30 12 1235 1420 10.75
20 249 5 27 13 1240 1240 9.96
15 72 3 24 6 360 920 17.78
10 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.00
TOTAL 709 10 100 39 3540 4300 11.06
TOTAL SCORE : 7 840
73 Colin G4CWH, ZF2CA