This weekend as I’m sure you are aware was the ARRL DX SSB contest. It’s safe to say that conditions were not in our favor. I was lucky enough to take part in the contest from the station of Don G3BJ using his contest call sign G5W. I operated M/S High power along with Kieran 2E0NCN
To start the contest 40m was exceptionally poor giving only a small handful of Q’s and very few mults. We though that this could be a problem with the antenna to start. So over to 80 we went. Using a Titanex Vertical and a beverage for RX we did manage some nice runs early on, but as expected, quickly, it went quiet. 160m held very few Q’s.
As the low bands were closing me and Don began to lower the 2 element 40 for inspection. Other than some tangled wires from Doris we found now faults with the antenna bar a few missing pop rivets. Easily fixed. We also re tuned the antenna to bring it resonant slightly higher into the SSB portion of the band. problem solved. However the A index still remained as high as 26 for the duration.
Later on 20m picked up for a very big run. Reasonable sized pile ups were leading to a fast increase in the number of Q’s in the log. and the rate continued for a few hours. 15m wasn’t very productive although we did snatch some mults on the east coast. Not much else on 15 was audible/workable.
Another night past and 40m had improved enough to get a 300 Q run.They seemed to all come at the same time! Not great but better than nothing.
After the low band closing up on the Sunday I decided to have a listen for some other DX and this is when we noticed a problem with the 3ele SteppIR. After figuring that it couldnt be fixed easier we decided to take the fixed A3s Tri bader away from the fixed tower and swap it with the SteppIR. And we did it in record time! To lower 2 towers, remove 2 antennas and put the Tri bander back in the air. Around 3 hours. So as it goes we spent alot of our rest time working on antennas. No complaints though! it had to be done.
For the remainder of the contest 20m proved to be the band to be on, supplying us with regular Q’s but no great runs. and then towards the end of the contest there was a slow rate of around 50 Q/hr.
Our over all score is
Band QSOs Mults
160: 12 9
80: 277 35
40: 276 37
20 1094 57
15: 74 18
10: 0 0
Total: 1733 156 Total Score 806,832
An enjoyable albeit tough contest. I look forward to seeing the results. Many Thanks to Don for allowing Kieran and I use of his station and call sign!