2017 Results

Summary

mar11_2017_diskAs the 80th contest, 2017 must go down as one with some of the poorest HF conditions heard for a decade or more. The sun was completely blank, no sunspots at all, one of the quietest periods for the preceeding 12 months.

.

.

As expected 10m proved to be dire as we approach the solar cycle minimum with a total of less than 100 QSOs in the submitted logs and almost none made by Restricted or QRP entrants.  15m was busy in the first few hours and 40m was in better shape than 2016. However the numbers of entries held up and were much the same as last year.

entrnatsbysection17Entries into the Commonwealth Contest have been on a general upward trend for the last few years and the 80th was no exception with 275 entries received.  There were 75 Open assisted, 77 Open unassisted, 28 Restricted assisted , 83 Restricted unassisted, 10 QRP and 2 Multi-op. In addition 15 HQ stations were active this year including six special 80th anniversary ones representing different UK&CD areas to give away the UK HQ bonus points. Seventeen Teams were entered into the team competition.  Overseas travellers visited 3B8, 8P, 9G, 9H, C4, E5, V3, VY2, and ZF.

Entrantsbyregion17All parts of the Commonwealth showed an increase in entries over 2016 and this is welcomed.

Interest remains high , especially from the UK.

The various initiatives, the three prize draws etc. doubtless played a part.

.

 Commonwealth Call Areas worked

The following call areas were active,

3B8, 3B9, 3D2, 4S7, 5B (C4), 5W, 8P, 9G, 9H, 9J, 9M2, 9M6, 9V, E5, H40, J3, P29, V3, V5, V8, VE(VA) 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9, VO1, VK 2,3,4,5,6,7,8, VP8, VU(AT), VY1,2, XK (Yukon), ZB2, ZD7,8, ZF, ZL1,2,3,4,6, ZM2,4, ZS1,2,5,6.

Open Unassisted Section

The leader of the Open Unassisted section and winner of the Senior Rose Bowl is John Sluymer VE3EJ, narrowly ahead of  9G5X operated by Iain, M0PCB. Looking at their scores in detail the effect of the poor conditions is most evident, although Iain had much better scores, both Qs and bonuses on 15m, John was still able to just hold the lead through superior Qs and bonuses on LF. John’s 223 total bonuses against Iain’s 165 more than made up for the difference in Qs, 760 to 971. A close run contest.

9G5X view north

 9G5X, the view North 80m antenna on right

9G5X was at a hotel north of Accra.

9G5X general view

9G5X antennas

9G5X Iain operating

9G5X Iain operating

 

ZF2CA Original

ZF2CA at ZF1A

.

.

.

.

.

.

 

Close behind in third place was Ron, CG3AT (VE3AT), followed by Dave, VE9CB, “What we experienced was just plain low-sunspot propagation. The G*80CC stations were a real treat, so congratulations to all of you for your activity.”, and then Colin, ZF2CA (G4CWH) ,”Huge fun as always pile-ups a challenge on each new band. 15m more open than people realised had to drag them there. “, using the antenna farm at ZF1A shown here. Only a 1000 points separated the top 5 stations.

BUO tower small

The top UK&CD entry and winner of the Colonel Thomas Rose Bowl is Dave Lawley G4BUO, here shown cranking up the 40m tower.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

G3BJ

Only 110 points behind Dave is Don, G3BJ who commented. “Poor conditions on 10/15 and rather disapointing on 80. Hard work – all QSOs felt as if they were “hand-crafted” given the conditions. ”

From VK, Kevin, VK6LW, was in 8th place and the next highest VK was Barry, VK2BJ in 12th place, “The conditions were about as bad as they can get “, followed by Steve, VK6VZ, in 14th place. “lost much of last five hours through thunder and lightning”.

The top UK&CD 12 hours duration Unassisted entry and Ross Carey Rose Bowl winner is Jim Fisher GM0NAI. The non UK&CD 12hrs duration Unassisted entry and winner of the VP8GQ trophy is Richard Ferch CG3KI.

.

Restricted Unassisted section

Peter G3LET / VY2GQ

Peter G3LET / VY2GQ at the bottom end of his LF sloper.

The leader of the Restricted Unassisted section and winner of the Junior Rose Bowl is Peter Hobbs G3LET operating VY2GQ, followed by 8P9IF (op G3PJT) in second place.

VY2GQ basement operating position showing SD logger and AZ Map

VY2GQ basement operating position showing SD logger and AZ Map

VY2 Take-off to UK.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

Peter operated from VY2ZM’s cliff top villa on Prince Edward Island and here is the view across the St Lawrence ice field to UK. Rumour has it you can see the top of GM3POI’s towers on a clear day!

web-0377

.

.

.

Contrast that with the view to the UK from Nigel’s villa (3B8/G3TXF) on Mauritius!.

.

.

.

.

IMG_1752IMG_1744

The top UK&CD Restricted Unassisted entry and winner of the John Dunnington Trophy is Quin Collier G3WRR another traveller but only as far as the Isle of Wight

.

.

.

.

 QRP section

The leading QRP station is Dave Sergeant G3YMC, who wins the Lilliput Trophy, with VE3PYG second.

 .

Open Assisted section

The leading single operator assisted station is Vladimir Milutinovic VE3JM, who wins the Rosebery Shield, followed by VE3FU.

web-0315

In third place was Nigel, 3B8/G3TXF who operated from an islet just off the coast of Mauritius.

.

.

.

.

3b8g3txf ant

And here is the 80m vertical when the tide came in , just what you need for good vertical performance.

.

.

.

.

.

Restricted Assisted section

pier2

The leading Restricted single operator assisted certificate goes to Iain Haywood G4SGX operating V31GX, with a vertical on this landing stage on the coast of Belize.

G3RLE was in second place.

 .

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

Multi-Operator section

IMG_2629

In the Multi operator section C4I (seen left at their contest dinner with 5B4AHJ and others) (ops G3UFY and G3VYI) was first. “We had Thunderstorms,S9 static all weekend inverter batteries flat ,generator fuel tap was blocked 80m vertical blew down, hailstorms more thunder in the morning great fun! internet dish blew away but good fun was had by all! Thanks for all the repeats!”

The Malta Marconi Radio Circle  9H1MRC (ops G3TJE, G3RXP and G4CXQ) was second. See a RadCom news item.

 .

Travellers Tales

C7l2s-bVMAAX3Xn

The 2017 Travellers Award goes to E51KTA (Dominic Baines M1KTA). Dom operated from the QTH of Andy E51AND but hand carried a selection of antennas etc much of which he left on Raratonga for future trips. Dom said,’ I almost covered the PA in Fanta, burnt through the coax just before the off and the piglets ate through the 40m feeder’. Those are the sort of things that happen when a QRPer encounters a QRO amplifier.

.

.

.

.

,

.

 Commonwealth Contest Medal

IMG_2674

The Commonwealth Contest Medal goes to Mike Franklin G3VYI. Mike has supported BERU over many years as the adjudicator and by undertaking contest expeditions, to 5B, 9H and VP9 and thus added plenty of bonus interest for all of us. Many thanks, Mike.

 .

.

Team Competition

Team Australia 1 win the Team competition. Australia 1 comprised of VK6LW, VK2BJ,VK4CT,VK3MI,VK4SN just managed to hold the determined challenge from Team Canada EH!, VE3JM,VE3EJ,CG3AT,VE9CB,VE3FU. Team Australia 2 (VK6VZ, VK7BO, VK2GR, VK2PN, VK3JA) came third. Team A25UK DXpedition (G4BUO, G3BJ, M3W, G4FNL, G3PHO) came 4th and as the highest UK Team win the special prizes for the 80th BERU. With the two ZL teams in 5th and 6th places the southern hemisphere has done very well this year. Congratulations to all 17 teams who took part.

Just a note in passing, the Latitude Factor is designed to level the propagation playing field a bit. So the members of teams who are south of the equator have their individual team score  multiplied by a factor re-calculated each year.

HQ stations

Many thanks to all the excellent HQ stations for providing many bonus QSOs on all bands.  Six out of the seven UK&CD areas were represented this year and there were HQ stations in VK, ZL and VU.  Canada had a total of six on the air. Many soapbox comments on the UK HQ stations, “Great to have so many HQ stations for the 80th commemoration of BERU”, “hopefully this will continue in 2018.” “G*80CC stations were a real treat”. And for all the other HQ stations, ” Most of the RAC HQ stations in Atlantic Canada….. VO1RAC by VO1MP was cut short by a major wind storm and poweroutage.  Thank you to VO1MP, VE1RSM, VY2LI and VE9BK for activating”, them.

Edited Soapbox

5B4AHJ
A casual entry – had lots of fun on 15/20 Saturday but Sunday was marred by large static crashes from nearby thunder storms necessitating lots of requests for repeats no fun anymore so gave up. Only two QSOs on 10m 9J2BO & 3B8/G3TXF both igs. Requested a ZS to try 10m but he didn’t understand the question! Code reader?

8P9IF
Not a good event poor conditions and problems. A cockerel got into villa spent 15mins chasing him out with a broom! Tuning knob on the K2 went very stiff makes S and P a pain. 80m antenna failed just after band opened too dark to fix.

9H1MRC
Many thanks to all the guys at the M.A.R.C Malta for making us so welcome and for allowing us to use their Club Station.

G3BJ
Enough activity to keep the interest up. Neck and neck with Dave BUO for most of the contest in terms of QSO numbers but I’m sure he will have beaten me with the bonuses.
Another great BERU – plaudits to Bob G3PJT for his promotional work.  Roll on BERU 2018.

G3PHO
This year’s score is almost identical to last … just two more Qs and 5 more points.
However last year I ran 100 watts but ran 400 this year … an indicator of how poor the conditions. Restricted section again this year but a late invite to join the A25 team made me decide to run the legal limit in the hope of gaining extra points for the group score. This was big mistake as even with a reduced score of say 20 or 30 Qs less I would now be in the top 5 of the Restricted section rather than in the middle of the Open :-). No Qs on 28MHz and only a baker’s dozen on 15 meant the other three bands had to produce the bulk of the final score.
Having only separate dipoles on each band plus a 40m groundplane in the Open Section meant I had little hope of challenging the “Big Guns”. I like the level playing field of the restricted section. In spite of poor conditions I managed 3B8/G3TXF on all bands except 10m as well as 9G5X (massive signal!) and ZF2CA. 80m was a big disappointment with no VK/ZL. My low 80m dipole at 27 feet does not cut the ice!
40m was excellent to VK/ZL on Sunday morning. I’ll be 80 years old in next year’s BERU and dont think I’ll be doing a full 24 hours ever again!

G3ROG
I really liked the introduction of additional HQ stations in the UK, hopefully this will continue in 2018.

G3VPW
Conditions didn’t bode well, however thoroughly enjoyed yet again. Surprised even to make many DX contacts on 40 and 80 despite S4 VDSL-2 noise. Thanks to everyone who worked me. Roughly same number of contacts as in 2016. . Long may the Contest live.

VE3BR
Compared to when I lost my BERU virginity in 2015 the conditions were waaay down! 10 m was dead and -at its wake- 15 m was giving a eulogy by trying its best impression of a severely depressed 10. With SFI=70 and A=12 this was NOT the time for a vertical.
Alas as my uncle Joseph used to say “when you don’t have what you like you like what you have” and soldier on. I offer my deepest condolences to all those I couldn’t hear or took through the torture of multiple repeats (callsigns and serial numbers sometimes possibly in vain). My excuse is that I had to run otherwise I would end up with just a fistful of S&P contacts with the big guns. Thanks for the great contest; thanks for the Qs; apologies for being deaf unfortunately there is no sign language on the radio…

VE9CB
We had very poor conditions, but there was no disturbance to complicate polar paths.  What we experienced was just plain low-sunspot propagation.  I did work a couple of VUs on 20, one on 40 and HQ stations AT3T was a nice plus.  I did hear a couple more.
The G*80CC stations were a real treat, so congratulations to all of you for your activity.  Most of the RAC HQ stations in Atlantic Canada were on, however I understand that VO1RAC by VO1MP was cut short by a major wind storm and poweroutage.  Thank you to VO1MP, VE1RSM, VY2LI and VE9BK for activating those stations. Things started slowly, but ramped up nicely once the sun came up.  My best clock hour was 93 QSOs from 1100-1200 GMT, and my best 60 minutes started at 1143 with 115 QSOs.  After that, there was a bumpy decline in rate, and, as usual, the final hours were pure endurance.  From 0800-0900, I made a paltry two QSOs.
I never made a single contact on 10m.  Even the skeds with stations around the Maritimes within 200km all failed.  The only signs of life I heard on 10m were weak LUs operating in another contest. My QSO total is pretty good in these conditions, but as usual, my bonuses aremuch lower than I would like.  I always have a tough time working more than a very few ZL and VK stations, and that is where my score falters every time.
BERU is my favourite contest.  Congratulations to RSGB on hosting this great event through 80 runs.  What an amazing record!

VE3VHB
Had a high noise level for entire contest. 10M useless 15M nearly as bad no VK/ZL this year. Like the G*80CC idea please continue. Seemed to be many G’s missing this year.

VK2BJ
10m was dead 15m almost the same and no G’s heard 20m atrocious 40m and 80m both well below average. Lack of stations from many Commonwealth areas. Still enjoyable – just !!

VK6LW
Typical low sunspot condx, 40 and 80 were good and also 15 was better than I would have expected. Just a few weak signals on 10. Thunderstorms on the Sunday made it tough going towards the end.

VK6VZ
Poor HF condx meant 40 m was the main band and 80m took weight also.
Despite the testing conditions huge fun as always. Thanks to all who took part around the globe – and to those who organised the contest.

VO1HP
I was on a role and feeling good until the lights wentout…literally!….The power failed at 2pm Sat during a violet and frightening wind storm here…gusts to 160kmph….I had planned for 12 hrs this year but that was cut short.
On Friday I had cranked down my tower to about 40ft based on  the forecasts but had to bring it all the way down sat morning as it was clear that this was going to be a bad day….power was gone for us 30 hours …came back last night 2100 local…..still windy….during the powererless period the wind chill was about -20C .   We are used to wind and wild weather but even for here this storm was extreme and violent….
My VHF tower and InnovAntennas for VO1FN transAtlantic beacon rx at my remote site are  destroyed…on the ground in pieces…..while falling took out my 160 Inv L and my 80/40 antennas.  Some how my flimsy HF6V is still standing.

ZD8RH
Rushed departure on this trip from UK via Falkland Islands – forgot to pack interface lead from radio to laptop, so no freq info in log. Wrong laptop power supply packed – unit I had generated S7 QRN on 7Mhz ! apologies to those who I didn’t pull out of the local QRN! In the  end pleased to give away points to everyone from ZD8 from my hotel room qth

ZF2CA
No BERU traffic on 10m. EU sends BERU but antipodeans seem to send CC!

ZL6HQ
Terrible conditions but some nice surprises M7T and 9V1XT on a very dead 20m band at 1100z called by 9H1XT on 40m and of course my only African 3B8/G3TXF. Also 20m opened LP to the UK around 2030z most unusual. Power outage lightning storm and social engagements limited operating time.

ZM2B
Extremely poor propagation, plus a severe rain storm with lots of lightning and long periods of rain static on all bands on all antennas equated to a contest that I didn’t really enjoy.
Signals from beyond the Oceania region seemed to be much weaker than is usual in this contest.  The usual and expected LF/HF short path opening to UK  didn’t happen, the long path opening towards the end of the contest was much better.
Worked 50 G stations, my lowest number since 1987. VE’s were also scarce, just two 20m contacts. Stations not worked – anyone in Cyprus or Gibraltar, 9G5X and the rest of Africa. Re the Caribbean, only ZF2CA  and V3 are in my log, 8P9IF isn’t. 3B8/G3TXF was a struggle via long path, but made it into my log a couple of times. Unexpected but  welcome contacts included H40FN and VK8DX

Adjudicators Comments

Log standards were generally very good. Overall UBNs are about 3% for this contest with the leading stations getting <1%.    Only a small number of entrants had problems where assistance was requested.  Entrants are reminded to ensure they are using up to date contest information direct from the current RSGBCC website page as some external sites had incorrect information about the deadline for logs.  Although the RSGBCC does notify changes to other sites listing contest information, the RSGBCC has no control over these so cannot guarantee accuracy.

Neither can the RSGBCC be responsible for issues associated with logging software errors and especially software not being up-to-date with current rules.

2018 Date and Blog information

Make a note to be ready for the 81st Commonwealth Contest on 10 and 11th March 2018.

Over the next few months we will be inviting 2017 entrants ( starting with non-UK) to follow the News blog on this website. This will make it much easier for us to keep you informed over the year.

Advertisements