The 78th Commonwealth Contest attracted another bumper entry of 267 stations, comprising 53 Open Assisted, 79 Open Unassisted, 19 Restricted Assisted , 96 Restricted Unassisted,and 1 Multi-op. That said there was a reduction in G and VK entries in comparison with 2014, but conditions were nowhere near as good.
Four HQ stations were kindly active to give away the HQ bonus points. 16 teams entered the Team competition, from Australia, Canada, the UK, the Mediterranean, the Caribbean, Africa and New Zealand.
This year many entrants found poor conditions on the higher bands at the start, slowly improving then suffering from another flare which was active into Sunday .Conditions on 80m and 40m were reported as also being down on last year, especially 80m. The African stations reported poor conditions and suffered noise problems also. The All Africa contest which unfortunately overlapped BERU caused few problems, and is reported to be moving next year to a different weekend.
As Kevin VK6LW said, “10 and 15m were good at the start of the contest into the UK, but very poor on 15m/virtually non-existent on 10m on the Sunday.” VK6VZ said, “Years ago, Kev taught me that one should always start on the highest band that is open and work your way down, on the basis that Murphy’s Law of Contesting states that if you assumed the same good conditions that existed at the start of the contest would be there at the end, this would automatically not prove to the case. This CC was a very good case in point – and glad I started on 10 and 15m!” Thanks Steve (VK6VZ) for reminding us of that law.
The leader of the Open Unassisted section and winner of the Senior Rose Bowl is again John VE3EJ, narrowly ahead of Ron XL3A (VE3AT), and VE3JM is third,
with Peter G3LET fourth again visiting a very cold VY2 station as VY2GQ. Peter commented., “However, almost certainly along with Dave VO1AU, I am snowed in here in a howling blizzard (which had been forecast for Saturday but delayed 24 hours). I can just see the car occasionally which is parked a few yards from the house and so there’s not a lot to do apart from continue sleeping and get round to a bit of packing for a notional departure tomorrow So all in all another most enjoyable event – just have to hope the grub lasts out the storm!”
The top UK entrant Open Unassisted section entry and winner of the Colonel Thomas Rose bowl is Don G3BJ – “Firstly it was great so see new calls in the UK entrants – I got the impression of a new generation of BERU followers and that made it that much more exciting. Conditions were affected, I think, by the flare during the
week and I found the early hours of the contest quite noisy – surprisingly so – even on HF with waves of noise going across the bands at times. In terms of activity, BERU owes a lot to the travellers and also to the stalwarts around the world who are there every year to make the mix more enjoyable. BERU has a unique feature which frustrates and challenges. Why else would we sit around for 24 hours to make just 500 QSOs?”
Bob’s ultra simple set up at J34G, a KX3, home made 100w amp and laptop is shown in the picture. A Butternut HF6V-X completed the set up.
The top UK Restricted Unassisted entry and winner of the John Dunnington Trophy is G4DBW.
John Dunnington, G3LZQ, became a silent key this year. John had been one of our most stalwart supporters of the contest over the years, not only had he sponsored the trophy named after him but he had mounted his own solo DXpeditions to J7, 3B9, ZS3 in recent years. We will miss you old friend but your memory will live on in your trophy.
The top UK 12hours duration unassisted entry and Ross Carey Rose Bowl winner is again Andy G4PIQ.
The top non-UK 12hrs duration unassisted entry and winner of the VP8GQ Trophy is VY2ZM.
The leading 5W QRP station is VE3MGY, who also wins the Lilliput Trophy for Unassisted QRP entries.
The leading Restricted single operator assisted certificate goes to G4SGX, followed by GW4J second and G3PHO in third place.
Stew, GW4J commented, “I got off to a terrible start when I spent the first half hour failing to get a single response to my calls. I was on the point of deciding I’d got some strange technical fault on the antennas and giving up when I finally had a reply from Our Man in Namibia on 10m which persuaded me to keep going. Slowly things got going until by midday the pace had picked up well, but I feel like I lost 30 minutes of prime time for a reason that still mystifies me (other Gs were walking straight past me so couldn’t be conditions?)”
The leading Open single operator assisted station is VE7UF ( op VE7JH), who wins the Rosebery Shield, followed by VE3KI, then VE7CC. The propagation conditions to VE seemed to have been good, helped by inter VE area points and bonuses!
And this from G1N, “Once again the DXpeditioners really spiced up the contest for me so a beer to each of them”. We will be in the bar at the Convention, Gordon!
But all was not well in Kampala. Alan, 5X1XA, “Well that was a BERU to forget: just 273 QSOs instead of my usual 500 from this site using exactly the same equipment. I have no good explanation other than conditions were well down, as evidenced for example by VK6LW only being a moderate S9 instead of the usual S9++, plus the noise level at this city centre location has become much worse. I apologise to the callers I couldn’t hear because they were buried in this local noise.”
The highest placed Single operator Assisted UK station is G4FNL , on his first attempt.
Many thanks to the excellent HQ stations for handing out many bonus QSOs on all bands, the HQ station in VK and ZL was missing this year, something to look at in 2016. Dave, G3TBK or GB5CC, commented, ” Operating was shared with my neighbour, G4HVC, who last year helped me with the multi-op entry. In general a fun weekend, but I think I will go back to making a normal entry in future. The DX-er in me wanted to concentrate on finding the nbonuses, especially on the low bands! Thanks as ever to the Travellers, without whom the Contest would lose a lot of its unique flavour. Possibly I will be tempted to re-activate J88DR next year – my antennas and rotator are still there.
The Commonwealth Medal is awarded to Brian, C4Z or 5B4AIZ. Brian has not only entered BERU for many years but has also encouraged other Med based ops to do likewise. This year Brian commented, “Did I enjoy it?, as they say ‘You bet’, Do I want Skimmer, Cluster, RBN? – No. SO2R? maybe, but I can’t do it usefully, guess I am too old to learn multi tasking. One thing for sure – after looking through my CQWW SSB log report I really must, at least try, to learn to touch type to reduce those busted calls and reports!”
Entries were received from 5X ,5Z,7Q7 , 9J2, 9M6, 9V1, C4, C5, G, J3, VE1-7,9, VK2,3,4,6,7, VO1, 2 VP9, VY2, VU, ZL2,3,4,6, ZB2, ZF, ZS, 5B, 7Q7, 9J, 9V, 9M6.
The following additional call areas were active but did not enter logs; 3B8, 8P6, 9M2, A5, C6, GD, H44, V3, V44, V5, V85, VK9, VP2.
QSO analysis plots are available as part of the Contest Committee results service, at the tabs , and show band activity/ time for the various entry categories ; Click on the tab marked QSO Analysis.
New this year is a graph or plot per entry of scoring rates, which provides a great insight into the scoring pattern of the leading stations.
A number of overseas and UK and VE stations were very active but did not submit a log, lets hope they do so next year. Thanks again go to Steve G3UFY for processing a number of large paper logs and submitting them.
Looking forward to next year, when maybe the low bands will be more important!