In November 2021 I joined a team of contest operators on a trip to Mauritius where we did CQWW CW as 3B8M. During this contest DXpedition we operated all bands including outside the contest where I operated as 3B8/M0SDV. Click the link to read the full story
Normally I would operate in CQWW SSB as part of a large Multi-Multi team at M6T in Suffolk. Unfortunately, due to obvious reasons the team did not gather at the station this year for a M/M entry. The station was no in use so I was able to use it to do my first competitive CQWW SSB single operator entry. I decided that I would do Single op all band, assisted. I had online university lessons to do before and after the contest so I didn’t want to exhaust myself by doing unassisted and ultimately spending more time in the chair.
Before the contest that was a solar disturbance, which gave poor propogation predictions for the weekend. However from the start of the contest I found conditions to be quite good. Low bands were open nicely to North America and I was able to keep up a good rate through the first night. Throughout the day time’s I took advantage of big antennas on 20m and good conditions on the high bands.
To my surprise, 10m opened well into North America where I was able to get the Zone 4 multiplier. 15m Was also booming and I was able to get my best rate of the contest on Sunday, where I ran a 244 Q/hr rate for 1 hour, all to North America.
I finished the contest having operated only 36 of the 48 hours available with a score I am pleased with.
The station set up: – Elecraft K3 + Amplifier
160m Dipole @30m
40m: 2 ele @ 30m
20m: 4ele @ 30m and Skyhawk Tribander @ 25m
15/10m: Skyhawk tribander @ 25m
The final result:
Today I received some communication from the 9J2LA team. Whilst I am not working with this team, I know many of the operators and I wish them a huge success and Safe trip to Zambia in March.
“Some good news have to be shared today. After an endless long process to get our Zambian license we are finally there. A big thanks to Mario 9J2MYT (IK1MYT) and Brian 9J2BO in Lusaka who helped us achieving this important goal. The license has been received just before the weekend. We are concentrating on our “boy scout trip” now. Our QTH in Zambia is secured, bus transportation from Lusaka airport to the lodge is booked and flight tickets are purchased. We are still working on customs clearance details, but we hope that we have it sorted out soon. We will leave Oslo the 4th of March at 18:45 with a scheduled arrival at Lusaka airport the day after at 12:30 local time. Let’s hope that the customs clearance will go smooth and don’t make too much of a headache … however, you never know. The bus ride to the QTH is short of 2 hours, depending on traffic.
Furthermore there is an ongoing power shedding through the whole country right now as it has been over the last few months. The reason is that the country has some issues with one of the main power electricity generators. According to our last conversation with the lodge owner, they suffer 4 hours of power cut each evening. For this reason, we are also in the process of purchasing a portable electricity generator as a backup. The rainy season that comes late this year, has been rather dry as well.
Stay tuned for more updates coming up soon!
73 de Rune LA7THA
9J2LA team leader”
I’m excited to try out a new antenna I’ve been working on. It’s an adapted take on a design by DJ0IP for a 160/80m antenna on an 18m pole. The original desin of this antenna (pictured below) is a top loaded vertical for 160 with an 80m Inverted L hanging from the side.
I will say early on that I am not an expert, just an experimenter. The M0SDV design is slightly different. There is no shared feed point, and No shared ground plane. Instead they are two independent mono band vertical antennas from the same mast. This is an 18m spider beam pole. The 80m vertical is 1/4 wavelength with 2x elevated radials approximately 3m above the ground. To allow for a wide spaced coil at the base of the antenna I have built a frame from plastic tube to separate the 160m and 80m elements by 1m.
The 160m antenna is a “T” vertical using approximately 17m vertically and each leg of the top hat is about 15m long. This is over a pre laid ground plane. You might be wondering what I have used for the ground plane. I am not sure how effective this will be but like I said, I am an experimenter not and expert. Due to lack of space in my garden my radials are between 16m and 20m long going is multiple directions. This idea is taken from M0MCX at DXcommander who has modeled vertical antennas and shows that having shorter radials can also be effective. To add to this, I have 2 earth rods approx 1.5m under ground. I am not sure about the effect of the earth rods, but if you know maybe you can email me with your thoughts. and because I had extra wire I decided to tune 1x elevated radial along the fence. This combines multiple techniques that I have used before. Over the coming weeks and during CQ160 CW I will test this antenna and work on improvements for future.
I should also mention that each antenna goes to earth when not in use to avoid interactions between the two elements. As I repeat over and over, I am an experimenter, not an expert. Please feel free to email me your suggestions and comments… but for now 73 es CU on 160!
This year I was looking for a station and lucky for me Mark M0DXR said he would be in the US at K3LR and told me to speak to Chris G0DWV. Chris said he was happy to host me and we started talking about plans. Being the biggest and best contest of the year I wanted to do a reasonable entry. I decided it would be good to do SO2R. This has been the first contest that I’ve properly used SO2R and I’m happy to report that there were no horrible errors on my part.
Into the contest it’s self, The first night on the low bands was incredible. Rate was high and mults were plentiful. I actually managed the first 1000 QSO’s by 1 hour after Sun rise. That’s good going! After sun rise is where conditions flipped. 20m was disappointing, rate was slow so I decided to use this to have a go at Dual CQing on both 20 and 15m. I learned a few things here. The main one being, If you’re going to dual CQ, the CQ its self needs to be short and fast. I settled for “CQ G9Y TEST” at 34 wpm. This seemed to be just right for interleaving QSO’s. With another night shift coming in, I decided to work the Sunset DX on the low bands, YB, VK, ZL mults, along with far east Russia (Zone 18) and some South East Asian countries. After this I went to be for a few hours waking with enough times to fill in 80/160 Q’s which I thought were a bit down on what they should be.
The second day was much better. I worked the missing Europeans from the day before and started to focus on chasing more elusive mults. This in its self was challenging. Most of the contest I have done this year have been RUN RUN RUN, “Rate is King, the mults will find you”, but this contest needs a bit more strategy. So using the second radio as much as I could I would Pause the run on 20 and CQ on 15 whilst searching for Mults, and vise versa. This resulted in me worked some of what I needed (albeit not all). The 2nd radio also let me keep an eye on 10m, which did have a short opening to Africa bagging me V55A, ZD7W and some ZS stations. All Multipliers of course being some of only 7 Q’s on the band.
This contest was super fun! I had to learn things about contesting that I never thought I’d do. Reflecting, I needed to spend more time in S&P mode looking for the multipliers and less time trying to make a load of 1 point QSO’s. I also needed to better plan my off time. This caused me to loose some 160m QSO’s. It seems Experience trumps Youth in the case. Well done to Nick FAL who appears to have beaten me (By 90k Points) It’s Close!
Thank you to Chris G0DWV and his YL Tina for being incredible hosts and making me feel welcome yet again!
Class: SOAB HP
Operating Time (hrs): 40.5
Location: Northern Europe
|Summary: Compare Scores|
As the long night’s start to draw in I have started to move onto my low band projects. My intention was to have all low band antenna’s up before the clocks changed, and well… you can guess what’s happened. I have made some progress albeit baby steps at the moment. I have reconstructed my 40m antenna. This is a simple quarter wave vertical with 2x elevated radials. There is always an argument about which is best; elevated or ground radials. Both have their pros and cons, however I find that elevated radials suit my QTH where the vertical is located in a “high traffic” area and ground radials would get destroyed. I get some noise on 40m, I’ll admit not as bad as some but still much higher than I’d like. Up to S7 when operating SSB and Up to S3 in CW. Luckily I favor CW more these days.
I want to get on all low bands. 160, 80, 40 & 30m. This in it’s self is a challenge. 160 & 80m will share the same 18m spider pole. I hope that in the next couple of weeks I can get up a T – Vertical for 160 (with buried ground radials). Getting the 160m Radials underground is the most time consuming task here. Each one will have to be “dug” in with a spade along the entire length of each radial, there are approximately 21 radials of varying lengths. I will also attach a quarter wave vertical for 80m to the same pole. This will have 2 elevated radials, about 3m above the ground, well above head height. A 30m antenna is something to think about later…
I have a 6 way switch by SJ2W and a home-brew control unit ready to be wired up, Just awaiting delivery of some control cable. I also hope to get up my new G1000 SDX rotator so I don’t have to use the “Armstrong” method of turning the hex beam through the winter.
But what about RX?
As I mentioned before, my noise level on 40m is up to S7. Not as high as some, but still high enough to drown out any DX. A little while ago I purchased a PCB kit from George M1GEO for his “Well good loop” antenna. His own take on the classic Well brook loop. George’s kit has some good reviews and actually sounds great when listening through some of the SDR’s on his website. I will build this I hope pretty soon and find somewhere to shove it out of the way.
Goals and Pursuits
At the moment, VP6R are just a few days into their DXpedition. Hopefully I will be able to make at least 1 low band QSO on 40m. Looking further ahead, December YOTA Months is also approaching where I have some scheduled time to use GB19YOTA. This is an annual event aimed at getting young operators on the air. (Not that I needed an excuse). For this reason alone I want to have a full functional, all band station to use whilst using this call sign. And looking even further ahead into the new year, I am excited to be QRV again in CQ 160 CW.. But there’s a lot to do before then. Stay tuned for updates as I progress!
So what have I been up to since the last time I posted in this blog?… March saw me jet off to Togo with the EIDX group where we operated for 2 weeks as 5V7EI. The team consisted of 14 operators from 6 countries. Over the period of 2 weeks we made in excess of 50k QSO’s making one of the highest QSO numbers on any EIDXG DXpedition. A full report on this will be published soon.
Following my return from Togo I participated in CQ WPX SSB from the station of Nick G4FAL, I operated for close to 36 hrs using the call sign M7K, I made a little over 2600 QSO’s with a total Score over 6 million points as a single operator. I also participated in CQ WXP CW from M6T, again single operator making shy of 3000 QSO’s and over 6 million points again.
I paid a visit to Ham Radio in Friedrichshafen, where I saw old friends and met some new people who I hope to operate with in the future. I always find this events a great place to socialise, catch up, make new friendships and network with fellow DXers and contest operators. Here is a picture taken by Nigel G3TXF of me enjoying the company some friends.
In the coming months I will have some more DX trips. Firstly I will get a visit from my friend Phil DK6SP from Bavaria, and together we will travel to Ireland stopping in Dublin on the way to DX Feile hosted by the EIDX group on Aran Island (IOTA EU-006). There will be a Social event and a programme of talks for us to enjoy, as well as a station to activate the IOTA as EJ1D. More information can be found here > www.dxfeile.ie
And in October I will be heading for Cyprus where I will operate as 5B/M0SDV and P3F during the CQWW SSB contest, Many thanks to Bob 5B4AGN for hosting me at his home on the island. I’m sure there will be some fun pile ups to work whilst I am there.
As for further ahead only time will tell what I’ll get up to, No doubt planning for more DX and contest trips. Exploring the world and making many more ham radio friends along the way. Keep an eye here for my next update!
All logs for the 2019 activation of MS0INT from IOTA EU-112 have been uploaded to Clublog and OQRS is now open.
In this contest I was fortunate enough to be allowed use of G0DWV, Chris’s station in Norfolk. Here I decided to do SOAB HP, Unassisted.
The first hour or so of the contest i was mostly on 40m with some cracking rates. Around 170Q/h was average for the first two hours. and when it slowed down I QSY’d to 80 and so on. 80m was fun! I didn’t expect quite so many loud signals. Pile ups were just as lively as on 40m which was new for me to experience. I spent a large part of the night hopping between 80. & 160 for mults but 40 turned out to be the money band. I was surprised at how many Mid – West coast Stations called, contrary to what others have said.
I did manage to get some sleep in the mornings between sort of 9am-11:30. Not much but just enough to be refreshed. I started on 20m again and shortly after had a listen on the 2nd VFO to see if 15m was playing ball (various social media posts the day’s leading up suggested it may open for the contest). and as it goes the band was somewhat open. I made about 80 QSO’s and worked 25 S/P’s before heading back to 20, hungry for some higher rate.
The 2nd day was much the same although I found 15m had much better conditions than Saturday. Maybe people had missed the opening the first time?? Anyway I made a few more Q’s there before going back to 20m, However this time it was somewhat quieter than I’d wanted. I worked 2-300 more Q’s before the band died at about 19:00z 40m Opened early on Sunday, I was worked Q’s as far as IL and OH from 20:00z (This is where Chris’s 4 ele comes in handy) and this good rate continued pretty much to the end. I did hop around 160/80 too and mopped up some last minute mults, But again 40m offered almost constant pile ups to the end.
A huge Thank you to Chris G0DWV and his wife Tina for being my hosts for the weekend and making my time there very enjoyable.
Radios: Icom IC 7851 + Expert 2KFA + Microham MK2R+
Antennas: 160m top loaded Vertical, 80m four square, 4 elements 40m & C31XR
BAND QSO S/P DUP POINTS AVG
160 147 36 0 438 2.98
80 496 50 22 1485 2.99
40 800 53 20 2397 3.00
20 972 59 33 2913 3.00
15 234 37 2 702 3.00
10 0 0 0 0 0.00
TOTAL 2649 235 77 7935 3.00
TOTAL SCORE : 1 864 725
I recently received a phone call from team leader Dave EI9FBB asking if I would like to join their DXpedition to Togo with the EI DX Group. Of course I could not refuse this opportunity to join a Dxpedition team. This will be my first real DXpedition. However not my first DX activation. I have been QRV from a few different countries around the world but this will be my first large scale operation. Previous operations include; MS0YHC , DL/M0SDV, PJ2/M0SDV, PJ4/M0SDV & PJ4V. I expect intense pile ups like I’ve never heard before from this top 150 DXCC entity.
Thank you to Dave EI9FBB and the EI DX Group for this amazing oppurtunity! See you in the pile ups, de, 5V7EI
(Click the logo to see the 5V7EI website)