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CQ WW CW Contest @ PI4COM by PA3EWP

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Ronald PA3EWP during the contest

Ronald PA3EWP during the contest

A short story of my experiences during the CQ WW CW contest at PI4COM.
After the CQ WW SSB contest in October the CW contest is also on my schedule. This is my favorite contest.
I had participated the SSB contest in the Single Operator Single Band (Assisted) class, only 80 meter.
This contest was from the contest location of PI4COM Contestgroup Oude Maas with my own call sign, one of the other operators was using PI4COM. I experimented during this contest with some RX antennas. This knowledge was very useful for the CW contest.
Until the last week for the contest it was not sure which class we would participate during the CW contest. But no other CW operator was available for the whole weekend so I decided to participate in the SOSB(A) 80 meters with the call PI4COM.
A few days before the contest I checked the propagation on 80 meter, so I knew what I could expect during the weekend. I also checked the Dutch records in my class, there must be a goal during the contest. I noticed that it would be difficult the beat that record. The multiplier wouldn’t be the problem, but the QSO amount (nearly 2.000). The noise level is very high at our contest location, receiving antennas are helpful but not that much.
Before the contest we always have to build our station, especially our receiving antennas. We would not leave them permanent otherwise the will be stolen or destroyed. So, it always just like a field-day.
I had two holidays of my company, Friday before the contest to build the station and the Monday after the contest to take it down again and to have a rest.
Thursday evening I disassembled my station from home and packed everything. Friday morning I went to our contest location (just 10 minutes away from my house). I got help from Kees PA3BWD. That helps a lot otherwise it was too much for 1 persons.
The following work was done:
– Putting radials on the ground for the vertical.
– Placing a low dipole at approx 10 meters
– Placing a high dipole at approx 24 meters
– Beverages direction E/W
– Beverage direction N/S
We were ready at the end of the afternoon. A quick dinner (Microwave food) and I started unloading my car for assembling the shack.
I had plenty of time before the contest started. Later in the evening Florian PB8DX joined me for the rest of the contest weekend. I did some small adjustments on the receiving antennas. I wanted to sleep for 3 hours before the contest started, but there was to less time left. So, I didn’t sleep before the contest.
01.00 LT, time to start the contest. I started calling CQ, the frequency was not the best and I couldn’t get a good run. After 15 minutes I started search and pounce. Off course I started with the difficult multipliers and double multipliers (zone and DXCC) first. After a half hour, I found a clear frequency and started calling CQ. After approx. 2 hours there were 200 QSO’s in the log. It is always a pleasure to be called by a semi-rare DX station: 8Q7SP and VP2VI. After 2 hours, I started working multipliers again. I had noticed that the beverages were working but there are not perfect at all, I had accepted a little bit more.
The next hours I changed a lot between running and S&P. During that time, I missed also a half hour, I felt in sleep (shit happens).
Around 09.00 LT I logged my last QSO before I went to bed for a few hours. I had nearly 500 QSO’s, 96 DXCC countries and 26 zones. The QSO’s rate was too low to break the Dutch record. The multipliers were no problem for 1 night.
After a few hours’ sleep I started around 16.00 LT, a little bit too late.
The first hours I was mainly running to work on my QSO’s. At the same time, I worked on my second VFO other stations that were calling CQ also. If there was a new multiplier announced in the DX-cluster, I selected immediate the second VFO on that frequency and tried to work them without losing my own running frequency.
Quickly the following multipliers were in the log:
BY (China), JA (Japan), HS (Thailand), A9 (Bahrein), JT (Mongolia and YE (Indonesia).
Some of the were double multipliers. The rest of the evening I combined running and S&P. The number of DXCC’s were already above 100, so I didn’t expect to work many more new countries. But working some more new zones was possible.
Later, I worked 3B9 (Rodriguez Island), JY (Jordan), BV (Taiwan), XW (Laos) and VU (India).
Most of the active contest stations in Asia were worked. Now I had to concentrate on North and South America. There were a few multipliers not in my log while these countries were active during the contest.
I fell in sleep again during the night, luckily on for a half hour. In the morning from 06.00 LT I worked a few new multipliers: FG (Guadeloupe), HR (Honduras), HC (Ecuador), CE (Chili) en LU (Argentina).
Zone 3 west-Coast North-America was still missing.
There were a lot of the spotted in the DX-cluster but I couldn’t hear them at all. It was already light outside, I had to work them now otherwise I would have a very little change to work them in the afternoon via long-path.
I was called by N7AT, was not an easy QSO, but zone 3 was a fact! A few QSO’s later I worked also W8TK in Arizona.
Around 10.00 LT I quit and went to bed for a few hours sleep. There were 1.250 QSO’s in the log, 116 DXCC countries and 34 Zones.
For the Dutch record I needed at least 600 more QSO’s, that was not realistic anymore.
I started around 15.30, it was very quiet, not many stations. But I still worked a VK6 (Australia). The band become more and more populated in the next hours. I was most of the time running and on my second VFO working other stations calling CQ. It was hard working for not losing my calling frequency if I tried to call on my second VFO another stations. Within a few seconds no activity on my main frequency it was already taken by some-one else. Normally in a CW contest I like to listen as width as possible. But many times I had to use 250 Hz filter to find a clear frequency.
Round 18.30 a new multiplier was spotted in the DX-cluster. My second VFO was on that frequency try to copy him. But what a big mesh on his QRG. I switch many times to my second VFO to listen again of the chaos was less, but no change.
Around 19.00 he was spotted on another frequency. I switched with my second VFO to this QRG, I heard him calling CQ. First call and Bingo. That was Zone #35 and DXCC #118.
The change that I could work another multiplier was very small. But the last hour of the contest I worked 9M2 (West-Malesia) for a new one.
If a DX station was strong, most of the time it was a big chaos on his QRG. Whole Europe was calling and nobody was listening anymore. So the DX-station was covered by European QRM. Some of them were working split, so there QRG was clear and the DX-station could work some stations.
My equipment during this contest: Elecraft K3, Perseus SRD receiver, amplifier from OM-power. RX antennas connected to the K3, so I could listen in diversity mode. The antennas were a vertical and a dipole on 20m and 10 meter high. Beverages E/W and N/S.
In the log EU: 1.363, AS: 90, NA: 184, SA: 17, AF 17 and OC: 6 QSO’s
I ended the contest with 1.677 QSO’s, 119 DXCC and 35 zones. I missed a few multipliers which were painful. I missed zones 1, 30, 31, 34 and 38.
The end score 340K points.
No new Dutch record, but I am satisfied with the result. So, there is a new challenge for next time.
(I hope that we can participated next year again in a multi operator class.)
Kees, PA3BWD and Florian PB8DX thanks for the support!!
Ronald PA3EWP.

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