The 79th Commonwealth Contest attracted another bumper entry of 270 stations, comprising 56 Open Assisted, 81 Open Unassisted, 24 Restricted Assisted , 76 Restricted Unassisted,and 3 Multi-op. Additionally 5 HQ stations were kindly active to give away the HQ bonus points. 16 teams were formed to enter into the Team competition, from Australia, Canada, the UK, the Mediterranean, the Caribbean, Africa and New Zealand.
Entries were received from 5X ,9H,9J2, 9M6, 9V1, A2, C4, C6, G, GI GM GW ,J3, J7, T32, V5, VE1-7,9, VK2,3,4,6,7,VO1, 2 ,VP9, VY2, VU, ZL1,2,3,4,5,6, ZB2, ZF, ZS1,ZS5.
The following call areas were active but did not enter logs; 3B8, 3B9,3DA0, 4S7, 5B4, 5Z0,6Y, 8P6, 8Q7, 9H1, 9M2, 9V1 , A3, C6, V3, V44,V85 , VP8.
There were 148 G entries, 56 VE, 19 VK, 13 ZL, 6 VU, and 18 other areas .This compares very well with last year, especially the ZL and VK entry.
This year many entrants found poor conditions on the higher bands at the start, due to a high initial solar A index after a solar event that occurred the previous day. Conditions on 10m and 15m were well down on previous years, as expected with the solar cycle in decline. But 80m and 40m were in relatively good condition. However 20m was disappointing overnight . The African stations still reported poor HF conditions and suffered noise problems. ‘ It was hard work putting QSOs in the log on 20M and 15M. The best DX on 10M was 9M6XRO and 9V1YC. The only G station logged on 15M was GB5CC.’ from Brian VK3MI and ‘I (ZL3AB) was in Team Quake Contesters and we lived up to our name as we had a 4.4 quake one minute after the contest started. That was enough to get the Adrenalin flowing (and quite helpful since the contest starts at 11pm here)!
The winner of the Open Unassisted section and the Senior Rose Bowl is Jeff, VY2ZM, narrowly ahead of Ron, CJ3T (VE3AT), and Dave,VE9CB (ex VO1AU) in third. Canada took the top 4 places as Vlad, VE3JM, was 4th. 5th was taken by Colin, ZF2CA, the top Australian, Kevin, VK6LW, was 6th.
Jeff commented.’All in all it was great fun and thanks for the fellowship – it was very nice meeting many FOC mates and other fine friends made over the years on the low bands.’
The top UK entrant Open unassisted section entry and winner of the Colonel Thomas Rose Bowl is Don, G3BJ who remarked.’Well that was hard work. Starting the contest with an “A” index of 23 is rarely good news, and it certainly was not this time.’
Restricted Unassisted section
Bob’s antenna was so close to the sea that the guy pegs were washed away but the antenna did not fall down overnight, luckily, ‘but great long path signals from the VKs on 20m’.
Peter VO1LET (G3LET) , operating this year in the Restricted section from the Admiralty House Museum VO1BZM. ‘Life was tough on the HF bands up here in VO1, not a sniff on 10 and very little on 15. Even 20 was quite dead from dusk until a 15 minute opening right at the end for a few remaining G’s.’ .
The winner of the UK Restricted Unassisted entry and of the John Dunnington trophy is Bryan, G3RLE.
The leading Restricted Assisted certificate goes to Frank, VO1HP who operated his station remotely , followed by Vic, G6M (G4BYG) in second and Peter, G3PHO, in third place.
The top UK 12 hours duration unassisted entry and Ross Carey Rose Bowl winner is David, G3WGN.The top non-UK 12 hours duration unassisted entry and winner of the VP8GQ trophy is Roger,VE3ZI.
The leading 5W QRP station is Mike, VE9AA, who also wins the Lilliput Trophy for unassisted QRP entries, ‘A special mention to ZM2B for my only Pacific QSO on 40m ! You have ears. I did hear other VK, ZL and even Indian stations, but no joy with QRP and verticals’ . Dave,G3YMC, was in second place.
Open Single Operator Assisted and Multi-operator sections
The leading single operator assisted station is John, VE3EJ, who wins the Rosebery Shield, followed by Art, VE3UTT and then by Lee,VE7CC. In the Multi-operator section Dave, G3TBK, was first, followed by Mike, VE9ML.
This year Travellers visited 5X, A2, C6, ZL, J3, J7, VY2, VO1, VP9, and ZF . Furthest travelled was ZL/G4SGX. ‘Well that was an interesting but very different experience for me this
year participating from ZL.’.and Colin. ZF2CA, ‘Wasted ages waiting for the Sunday a.m. 20m flurry, grrr. I was sure it was open – I could hear a few Gs- but they were all having a party on 40m it seemed.’ and ‘I need some of that coaching as VE3EJ still 200 ahead ‘.
The Travellers award goes to Mark, A25MC ,who operated from the Capital Guesthouse, Gaberone. Mark commented,’ I made 104 QSOs in the contest – it was pretty hard work being so far from the centres of activity, and conditions had been much better in the days before the contest.Keeping non-BERU callers away was particularly hard …..one Brazilian was even calling CQ BERU…trying to get in on the act!’
The RSGB HF Contest committee have awarded this year’s Commonwealth Medal to Team Quake Contesters. Their initial entry in 2012 as the ZL3 Earthquake Survivors Team came after what must have been a very challenging time in their personal lives. They have enthusiastically supported BERU and this year achieved an excellent result in the team contest despite poorish conditions and yet another earthquake!
The team competition is again won by Team Canada Eh? (VE3EJ, VY2ZM, CJ3T, VE9CB, VE3JM) , then Team Australia 1 (VK6LW, VK2BJ, VK3MI, VK2PN, VK7BO), ahead of Team Quake Contesters (ZM2B, ZL3PAH, ZL4PW, ZL3GA, ZL3AB). This is a very fine effort by the southern teams under challenging HF conditions.
Many thanks to the excellent HQ stations for handing out many bonus QSOs on all bands, the HQ stations in VK and ZL were again missing this year, something to look at in 2017.Graham, G4FNL, operated GB5CC. ‘Thanks to EVERYONE for the QSOs – and it was great that whenever I worked anyone of the BERU travelling fraternity, I would have a vision of them sitting outside in some sunny holiday spot (not VO1) making QSOs, dressed in their Dinner Jackets etc.’ Reality is a bit different, Graham, shorts and sweaty T shirts and swotting various flying, biting, creepy crawlies!
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.
Also a fascinating tool is a graph or plot per entries of scoring rates, which provides a great insight into the relative scoring pattern of the leading stations. Log standards were very good, with relatively few band or sent errors to investigate. A few logs were received after the deadline due to it now being shorter, but all were entered OK.
Looking forward to next year, when maybe the low bands will be even more important, and some special UK call area HQ stations are planned to be active.
There will be a more detailed analysis of logs and propagation in about a months time.
Put the date in your diary now 11 and 12 March 2017, the 80th contest and watch this space for special calls, prizes and certificates.