Conditions similar to 2019 with deep QSB on most DXstations after midnight. The ZLs didn’t appear on 20m at 4am like they used to years ago but instead were very good on 40 and 80m. Great to work G3TXF on three of the five bands. I heard him on 80m but could not get through with my 100 watts to a dipole. This year I added an 80m quarter wave inverted L to the “farm” and was glad I did as I read and worked stuff with it that was inaudible on the dipole. Disappointing turnout from Far East. I only heard 9V1YC and VU2PTT all weekend.Outstanding signals on all bands: VP5O VE8CB VK6LW 9G5XA ZF2CA (who was coming through on 40m well into mid -morning on Sunday. Nice to work two old friends from way back in the ’60s .. Barry VK2BJ(ex G3PEK) and Nev Bethune 6Y5FS (ex G3RFS). As always the Restricted Section presents major challenges with Search & Pounce much more productive than CQing and being prepared to spend 10 to 20 minutes trying to work one valuable multiplier! For UK ops this is NOT a rate contest!
Back from Belize now to sunny North Norfolk but it was only just..
The day after I arrived, they banned any more Europeans from entering and Mr.Trump set up his ban on arrivals from EU unless they had been away for 14 days, which was a problem because all flights go via the USA to England from Belize and USA has no real transit area, you have to physically enter the USA and go through immigration customs etc.
No sweat I thought, at least I got in and it just means another extra week in Belize, not a problem, so I ordered another flight. Alas I could not get a refund for the first return flight.
About 2 days into my second week, five days to go before returning, there were rumors about Belize closing the land borders, despite having no cases of the virus confirmed as yet.
The next day I received a message from my hosts, which was sent to them from a government friend, that all the land borders will close at 4pm the next day and the airport a day after that. (Before my ticket home).
Left with no choice, I got into a taxi the next morning to the Mexican border, walked across and then found a bus to Cancun with the hope of getting a flight out from there, being a much larger and busier airport than Belize and it was in the back of my mind that if I did get stuck, Mexico was probably a better place as it had more infrastructure.
I booked the only flight out to London from Cancun, going via Canada. Due to number of people also trying to escape, all tickets were full for days apart from Business Class, which I reluctantly bought as again I was running out of options.
The day of departure, I got a phone call from a friend, who was trying to help some friends stuck in Panama, telling me that Canada had just closed its borders to non Canadians.
Its OK, I thought, I’m transit and Toronto has a proper transit area but when I tried to Check in online it refused me, stating the new travel restrictions.
I went to the airport where the lady at the Air Canada desk agreed new rules were in place since that morning and I would have to contact the airline directly to arrange a refund.
Now thinking waiting for repatriation was my last and only hope, I just tried to check in anyway, with one of the machines. To my great surprise it printed out two boarding passes but stated I would have to speak to check in assistance to confirm.
Fearing the worst I queued up anyway. By this time confidence was running low and expected to be turned down but they just waved me through.
Waiting for the plane, it was repeatedly delayed by 1/2 hour several times, so was still worrying about a last minute cancellation.
There were plenty other Europeans in my situation waiting for the plane, from all over South and Central America, looking for that elusive non USA bound transit flight to EU.
Finally they let me on and we left Cancun and I transited to London with no problems.
I’m lucky that I’m fairly used to thinking on my feet, having travelled quite a lot in 3rd world countries in my youth but even I acknowledge that was a close thing..
I still have no idea what happened toward the end but someone was smiling on me.
Here are some very preliminary charts showing entrants by section, region and assisted/unassisted
I must stress this data is pretty noisy as the definition of sections has changed quite a bit over the life of this dataset and I have sometimes been a bit arbitrary in allocation.
73 Bob G3PJT
A big thank you to all in the Australian teams and our HQ stations for taking part – you did a fantastic job – and to everyone else who took part in the this year’s CC! My summary was 322 QSOs (4 dupes) for a score of 4,455 points.
. 80 40 20 15 10
QSOs 68 157 75 18 1
Bonus 32 55 43 15 1
Antennas this year were a half-square antenna on 80m, an Innovantennas C-140 rotatable loaded dipole on 40m and a Innovantennas XR6 2-ele yagi for 20/15/10m. All the antennas’ highest points were around 20 metres above ground.
Conditions were very bottom of the cycle and, with the exception of 80m, were poorer than in 2019. 10m was dead except for VK6WIA, 15m barely had a pulse, 20m staggered open very briefly on the UK short path/long path, but the 80m conditions compensated to some extent, including QSOs with the UK, Caribbean, VE/VY2 and VO. 40m was the money band, providing about half my QSOs.
Hard work and great fun as always. Biggest highlight was working Peter GM3XOQ who taught me CW back in 1969/70 via his (then G3XOQ) 160m slow Morse transmissions.
As an update, Team World Travellers are now all home or on their last journey legs apart from Team sub Richard G3RWL/8P6DR who is staying in 8P6 for a while longer as he originally planned.
I think we have all had to alter our travel arrangements to get out of locations before borders or airports close on us, but Iain G4SGX/V31GX has had the most harrowing journey involving a route via two other countries. I will let him describe better in his own words.
73, Colin G4CWH again.
Bob – here is my report on the 2020 BERU, thanks.
So glad I made the effort to get back in the BERU – Just managed to get my 80m shallow vee up to about 45 ft on Friday night using some bendy 3″ plastic pipes which fell over a couple of times during erection !! It was meant to be a temporary antenna but after all the effort I think it will continue to be an eyesore for a while. The 4el KLM is only about 40′ fixed and pointing 60 deg. but did not do too badly in the end. Had an amp failure on the old SB201 when the relay wire to the swr bridge seemed to have melted and made me deaf !! So after a quick pull down and an equally quick solder job – got it going again !! Desperately tried to snag ZD7BG on 15 but he was focused on EU, also heard my neighbour ZF2CA from the back of the beam but he could not hear me. Good to hear some still familiar calls like G4BUO he was loud !! The HQ stations all had big signals too – the lack of multipliers and VK/ZL’s let me down this year.
80 and 40 was very hashy throughout the entire contest – I got a very slow start as I was using and learning the new SD logging program for the first time after coming from the old pen and paper logging 23 years ago !!. It is great when you get going eventually !! Now if only I can get it to key from the keyboard – oh well, I have another year to figure it out.
Thoroughly enjoyed it although slightly handicapped by a quadruple bypass and arthritic fingers !!! Covid19 hit us here on the island earlier in the week so there were many family concerns, but the show must go on hi !! Hope to see you all next year……
This is what it looked like in the end, less anything that I got wrong of course…. SD check was a breeze !!
- - 80m 40m 20m 15m 10m Total QSO's 70 120 139 4 0 333 Bonus 27 36 31 3 0 97 Points 890 1320 1315 80 0 3605
|VK4CT Beacon NA Spots 14-15 March 2020|