We are now getting towards the bottom of the sunspot cycle number 24 and the conditions were quite poor which reduced the five band contest to three for many entrants. contacts on 10m were few and far between, less than 50 and most of those were between stations which were ‘local’ to each other. In such conditions entrants with good LF set ups were at an advantage.
These conditions are likely to be one reason for a significant reduction in entries from 275 in 2017 to 224 this year after several years of gradual increase but other factors such as the special celebrations for the 80th contest last year played a role. However in the UK of course there were more HQ stations as well and this too must affect the number of normal entrants.
62 Open Assisted, 67 Open Unassisted, 28 Restricted Assisted, 50 Restricted unassisted, 13 5W/QRP and 4 Multi-op were submitted. The Restricted Unassisted section suffered the largest drop in entrants from 83 to 50.
The percentage of assisted stations also showed an increase this year as the use of spotting systems becomes more widespread.
In terms of the geographic spread of entrants most call areas showed some drop in entrants as the chart here shows.
Call Areas worked
Plenty of Commonwealth DX , a pity propagation didn’t allow make the openings longer.
The following call areas were active but did not enter logs: 3D2, 4S7, 5H, 6Y, 8P, 9M0, 9Y, P2, V8, VK1/5/8, VP8 and ZS1/4/5/6.
Open Unassisted section
Looking at the leading stations in this section shows that conditions in the southern hemisphere must have been somewhat better than in the northern as there was no less than 6 VK stations in the top ten places. And note how important 40 is.
First place in the Open Unassisted section and winner of the Senior Rose Bowl is Dave Goodwin, VE9CB, followed by XL3A (op VE3AT) in second place. This was Dave’s first win after many years as an entrant and it is very fitting that he takes the Senior Rosebowl. Dave comments, ‘The contest started very well, with good propagation to ZL and VK on 40 and 80 metres. I was able to work several UK stations on all-daylight paths on 40m. Absorption was very low, but so was F-layer ionisation. As the contest wore on, conditions declined. I watched the Solar Flux stay still at 68, and the A and K indices slowly rose. The last hours are always long, but these were especially so. At least there was no disturbance.
Dave’s antenna system was severely damaged a few days later as the before and after photos show, ‘Well, we had another storm last night. My antennas have been modified.’ he said!
VE9CB was was closely followed by Ron, XL3A, in second place. In third place was Colin, ZF2CA (G4CWH) who nearly made it to second place. Looking at how these leaders made their scores shows the importance of QSOs on the ‘edge’ bands 80 and 15/10 with the former favouring the VEs and the latter favouring ZF2CA.
Leading the VK group is Kevin, VK6LW followed by Barry, VK2BJ, In 7th place was VK6VZ, followed by VK2GR, VK7BO, and VK4SN in 10th place.
The highest placed UK station in 6th position was Nick, G4FAL, and he wins the Col Thomas Rosebowl for the first time, ‘ A five band contest, when two of the bands are virtually unusable, should be disappointing, however I quite enjoyed BERU this year – especially as I had three QSOs in the last hour, whereas last year I had none. 40m was in good shape and worked well with my 4-square. 20m was quite good but lacking in the Far East and Far West directions. 80m was good but the 80m opening to ZL at 6:30 on Sunday was a little disappointing. I enjoyed the added interest from the eight UK&CD HQ stations, working three of them on five bands and all of them on 80m and 40m. My setup had SO2R which meant I could run on one band whilst searching on another – which is effective in a contest that is all about finding QSOs at every possible opportunity. I was pleased to work many VKs and ZLs – something I always dreamed of doing when I was first licensed as a teenager.’
In 10th place is Andy Cook, G4PIQ, with a 12 hours entry and thus winner of the Ross Carey Rose Bowl. Next highest G station was Don, G3BJ, who suffered damage to his antenna rotator.
Restricted Unassisted section
ZL3AL was in second place. In third place was Brian, VK3MI .
The leading UK&CD Restricted unassisted entry in 4th place and winner of the John Dunnington Trophy is John Cockrill G4CZB.
First place in the 5W section is Dom, M1KTA operating C6AKT and here’s a bit more about C6AKT, and yet a bit more , who is awarded the Lilliput Trophy. Dom’s set up was completely home brew, down even to the PSU he claims! And the sting ray and the sharks made sure he didn’t spend too much time in the water. Roger, G3SXW, was second.
In third place was GM3TAL with antenna in an idylic spot.
Open Assisted section
First place in the single operator Open assisted section is John Sluymer VE3EJ , who wins the Rosebery Shield, followed by VE3JM in second place. As usual John’s unparalleled skill in finding bonuses more than made up for his smaller number of QSOs. The systematic searching out and QSYing of bonus stations is a must if you wish to score well in this contest.
In third place is Nigel, 3B8XF (G3TXF) just ahead of VK4CT.
Leading G station in 6th position was Bob, G3PJT, closely followed by Dave, G3TBK, in 7th.
Restricted Assisted section
In the Restricted single operator assisted section there was no change in first and second places from 2017 with certificates going to Iain Haywood V31GX (G4SGX ) , followed by G3RLE in second place.
In the Multi operator section 9H6A (ops 9H1GP and 9H1XT) was first, followed by 9H1MRL (ops 9H1TX, 9H1PI and 9H1GW)… an superb effort from all the ops on Malta.. G5XV operated by G0ORH, G8HKS and M0OJO was third and G4WSM ( G4CXQ, G3TJE) was 4th.
From Mike in 9M6 ‘…struggled with local rain static noise at times but enjoyed all the VK and ZLs, very different here! Worked as many Gs as I could , no Caribbean and a just a few VE s ,as expected, but after bands closed overnight at 3am Z here it was very slow to open again, like my brain ! Nothing on 40m in the morning here.’
Here are some photos from the 3B8XF BERU entry….http://www.g3txf.com/dxtrip/3B8XF/3B8-Mar-18.html
The Commonwealth Contest Medal is awarded to G3LET. Peter, G3LET, has been entering BERU since the late 1950s but perhaps he is best known for his operation from Signy Island as VP8GQ from 1960-64. Exciting enough, but on arriving on Signy Peter had to first to build his transmitter! In 1963 Peter won the High Power section and the Senior Rose Bowl. Since then Peter has been active most years, most recently from 9H/VO1/VY2. He has managed the Team contest and for the 80th contest, last year, he donated miniatures to be retained by future Open Section winners.
In the Team competition, the top three places are the same as 2017 with Team Australia 1 in first place, Team Canada Eh? in second and Team Australia 2 in third. However the winners this time achieved a commanding lead over their Northern Hemisphere rivals and Team Australia 2 were not far behind the Canadian team. Team Quake Contesters are in fourth place. Top UK Team, in 9th position, were Essex CW Club.
After the success of the UK&CD HQ stations , with calls in the Gx6XX series, in the 80th contest last year HQ stations were active in all of the UK&CD call areas.
Many thanks to all the excellent HQ stations for providing bonus QSOs on every band. It was the first time all seven UK&CD areas were represented. Graham G4FNL operating G6XX was the leading station with over 500 QSOs and 124 BCAs, GD6XX not far behind in second place.
Dave, G3NKC, and Martin, G4XUM, were the operators at GD6XX, travelling specially to the Isle of Man for the event.
Australia fielded one HQ station at VK5WIA operated by Grant VK5GR and Theo VK5MTM, New Zealand were represented by ZL6HQ (Frank ZL2BR). Canada had six HQ stations on the air, VA3RAC achieved fourth place overall, operated by Les VE3NNT. All the HQ stations made a significant contribution in QSOs and bonuses and to the general level of interest and activity.
I managed to capture most of the soapbox comments in the blog this year so I have included links here rather than just copy/edit the text over.
Australia and New Zealand
Rest of the Commonwealth
Two stations who have operated for many years in BERU became silent keys this year, namely John, ZL1AH and 7Q7BP.
John Wightman, ZL1AH was a very long time member of the RSGB, over 80 years. He was aged 97.
Joe, G3MRC, and 7Q7BP could be relied upon for at least one or two bonuses from Malawi.
The five day deadline for entries to be submitted was introduced in 2017 and last year due to some out of date links on external websites some logs did not reach the adjudicator within the time limit. However for this year the information had been corrected and only one late entry was received after adjudication had started, this was reclassified as a checklog. Two paper logs were received, one from a remote location, these were entered electronically by CSC members. A few uploaded logs had minor problems but these were quickly identified in pre-adjudication and corrected by the entrants. Please always take note and check on any warnings issued by the entry robot and also check the returned log file to confirm that it has uploaded correctly.
As usual, most logging errors were callsign or received serial number, but points and bonus were also lost by not recording the ‘HQ’ suffix sent by HQ stations. Band/frequency errors were almost nil this year with the majority of stations now using rig control. The appearance of Z60A on the bands over the weekend caught out a few entrants as it was miscopied as ZB0A.
There were a significant number of non-entrants from both the UK and the Commonwealth that made 20+ QSOs and some would have been well-placed in the final tables if they had entered a log. If this is you please consider sending in a log next year.
New for this year are the station/operator photos which can be uploaded with your log.( But please keep sending them to me as well bob(at)g3pjt.com!!)
The 9 and 10 March 2019 are the dates for the diary. Keep an eye on these pages for updates and information throughout the year. Please follow these blog pages as that’s the way we publicise what’s happening.
Commonwealth Century Award