As part of My Amateur Radio Targets for 2015 I vowed to make more use of the VHF bands, to this end I entered the RSGB UKAC 6m contest yesterday evening. I entered into the AL – Low Power section (limited to 10w) as I like QRP and am a sucker for punishment.
I took part in this contest towards the end of last year and really enjoyed it. I once again went out portable on a cold winters night, with strong wind. The rain held off this time thankfully!
I drove to a nearby hilltop and proceeded to setup the SOTABeams SB6 Moxon on my fishing pole mast. I strapped it to a nearby farm gate and collapsed the last joint so that I could turn the Moxon by hand leaning out of the drivers side window…
I finally got everything set-up 15 minutes after the contest had started, due to delays in getting to the site. Not the best start! Conditions didn’t seem too good with only English stations heard, mostly in IO91 square. By the end I’d worked 20 stations, mostly through search and pounce. I’d wrongly assumed that as a low power station I couldn’t run a frequency, but I tried this anyway towards the end and it netted me a number of additional contacts. I’ll try and mix it up the tactics for the next UKAC to increase the score.
With 20 QSO’s my claimed score is 14,976 points, with the best DX being M0CGL in JO03BF square at 173km’s. Here’s a map of my QSO’s (the red pin shows my location):
|Call Sign||Locator||Distance (Km’s)|
This was another enjoyable evening dabbling with VHF and it taught me a number of lessons which I will use for the next UKAC I enter…
1. Make sure the mast is well secured before starting – I had a few issues with the wind moving the mast and had to break from the contest to refix it at one stage
2. Use the Elecraft KX3’s Preamp feature to pull out the weaker signals, I had this turned off and struggled with weaker stations as a result
3. Try a mixture of Running & S&P tactics – I spent too much time S&P and my QSO rate suffered as a result
4. Get setup in time before the contest starts!