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Mon Nov 26 16:28:56 EST 2012

                    CQ Worldwide DX Contest, CW

Call: M5E
Operator(s): G0CKV
Station: G0CKV

Class: SOAB(A) LP
QTH: Nr London
Operating Time (hrs): 36

 Band  QSOs  Zones  Countries
  160:  196    10       52
   80:  375    17       71
   40:  436    28      103
   20:  354    31       91
   15:  329    31       86
   10:  224    25       62
Total: 1914   142      466  Total Score = 2,236,832

Club: Wey Valley Amateur Radio Group


With a third of the house (including my tiny radio corner) stripped out
following a water leak and with building works going on it was touch and go
whether I would get on the air at all for this one. On top of that my single
quasi-permanent antenna had been pulled down. But when the builders left early
on Friday and the sun was shining I got busy and used a 10m GRP pole to rig a
temporary inverted L for 160/80, a military surplus push-up mast to support an
inverted V for 40 with the apex at 10m and my Cushcraft D3 trap dipole at 20ft.
I even rolled out some 20 radials for the inverted-L. In one of the stripped-out
rooms I got my K3, Microham boxes, automatic antenna switching and computer
going. This was essentially the same setup used last year (
http://lists.contesting.com/archives//html/3830/2011-11/msg03290.html ) except
that I didn't manage to push the D3 up to the same height. It was not only the
carrot of a great contest weekend that inspired me to this crazy rush on
Friday, there was also a stick: my XYL would otherwise have withdrawn her
reluctantly given permission for absence at a fancy-dress party some local
friends were giving and I don't fancy such parties.

When it was time for the contest to start I felt like it was time for a weekend
of rest.

The contest was however fun as always but quite different from last year. I
thought there were slightly fewer seriously bad signals on the air and less bad
behaviour - this may be more because of my benevolent nature rather than serious
statistics. It may also be because I was too tired to notice or since I do
almost only agile S&P I simply move away from trouble spots as fast as
possible. The issue of people calling on top of the DX without listening is
however getting worse?

Conditions were down on last year, at least in my local. After the first 24
hours of 100% S&P my QSO count was ahead but the multiplier well down on the
previous year. Last year I could get a couple of runs going the second day but
this year it was like several minutes between callers if there were any at all
so S&P was faster and could focus on high-yielding QSOs. My barefoot K3 and
poor antennas were getting out - the RBN showed me that I was heard - but
no-one wanted to talk with me. My CQs are of course well down on even the
average station and I guess casual tuners pick up the loud and easy stations
first and a weak G station has no real DX or multiplier appeal to help.

With a marginal ionosphere on 10 you need low elevation angles and those are
not generated by my low and well shielded dipole. This year the skip on 10 was
very long and only the big guns could do backscatter and pick up all those
fairly local Eu multipliers. 

Top band was a surprise. I rolled out some 30 short radials in a semi-circle
around the base of the temporary inverted L and it may have helped. I was
surprised to find that I worked three AF stations on 6 bands - C5A, D4C and
EL2A in addition to K1LZ, NN3W and W3LPL. I called K3LR quite a few times but
Tim seemed to prefer to call CQ rather than work little m(5)e :-)

Like most I enjoy operating from good locations with great antennas. A DX
location that attracts big pile-ups is exhilarating. But doing OK with a simple
setup in a cramped suburban environment is also great fun and very satisfying
when it works and it also forces you to use skills beyond brute force and
robotically pressing the F1 button.

There is no real excuse for having quite such handicapping antennas even at my
QTH. I shall try to put up slightly better wires for next year. Don't hold your
breath though - I might be back with the same but will then probably have a new
excuse for doing it in the last minute.

Here is a comparison between 2011 and 2012 using essentially identical setups -
how much of the difference was due to the conditions and how much was due to the

       2011                     2012
 Band  QSOs  Zones  Countries   QSOs  Zones  Countries
  160:   57     8       47       196     10      52
   80:  408    17       76       375     17      71
   40:  525    32      111       436     28     103
   20:  333    31      105       354     31      92
   15:  490    34      119       329     31      86
   10:  414    33      122       224     25      62
Total: 2227   155      580      1914    142     466
Total Score = 3,662,505                 2,236,832

73 de Olof G0CKV aka M5E, SM6CKV, W6CKV

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