Sunday, 13 July 2014

IARU Contest - The Follow Up........

VE3MNE taking a break
Let me start off by stating that I've had far worse contest fact some have been so bad they became "non-contests".  This contest was not one of my better ones.  Only 71 contacts in the log from 34 countries, not very happy with that, but that's the way it goes sometimes.

Saturday morning started off with the SFI at 166, SN also at 166, A Index at 6, and the K Index at 2.   The only bands we could hear anything on at all were 20m and 15m, the other bands were just silent, the S needle never moved on them.  It was a very strange day for propagation, there were many European stations booming in at S9 +20, but they could not hear me, or the other station, VE3MNE, operating from the same site.  

I started off on 20m and worked US station after US station, but could not work a European despite them still booming in.  Eventually I managed to work GR2HQ, the RSGB HQ Station, but the band stayed at short skip distance for most of the day.  The other thing we had to contend with was some very deep QSB which just made things even more difficult.

I had two antennas to play with, a homebrew 80m OCF Dipole and a homebrew 31' vertical.  Both worked very well and tuned great on all bands.  The radio in use was my FT-857D with the YT-100 Tuner.  Looking back now I think using the FT-857 was probably my biggest mistake, but it was convienient and I was too lazy to take the shack apart to bring out the FT-950 again.

It was not until about 2300 UTC that the bands really came alive and DX could hear us.  Most of my contacts were made on 15m, the rest on 20m, and the very last four contacts were made on 40m. 

While disappointing radio wise, it was still a great weekend to be out playing radio. 

The next radio activity on the horizon will be the Sunday, July 27th, Brewer’s Mill Island activation. This is our clubs third attempt at getting this island activated. I'll post more details of this closer  to the never know.......VA3QV may just try and help us out with a contact!


  1. I was on Saturday afternoon and this is by far one of my fav contests…..but…..out this way I too found the EU stations just booming in and I was just not being heard. I was not sure if it was my balcony isoloop antenna setup but I had made it over seas with this setup in the past with no troubles. In a way it was good to hear that others also found the conditions were poor as well. I do agree that I too checked propagation and it seemed to be great with the sunspots and solar flux but it goes to show the propagations gods were not smiling on North America.

    1. Mike, I've talked to several other VE3 stations today, and everyone of us had the same issue on Saturday, so it was definitely not your antenna, just the propagation Gods having an off day :-)
      73, Bill