9 Nov 2015

IARU / RSGB Marconi 144MHz CW Contest - November 2015

On November 7th & 8th the 24hr IARU & RSGB - 144 MHz International Marconi CW Contest took place. I was out again with the BlackSheep Contest and DX Group under the callsign "G8T" from Locator square: JO01KJ

We arrived on site later than planned due to work commitments that delayed setting out by several hours, traffic on the M25, etc. so we didn't do a huge amount of work on Friday afternoon as we only had about 2 hours of light.

We put up two identical antenna systems - each was 2 x 10-el DK7ZB yagis vertically stacked about 15ft apart on top of a 60ft Versatower. This was all we fancied doing in the 30-50Mph gusting winds, scrawly showers and rain that we had to contend with... at our site just walking around in the field for five minutes you grew in height 2-3 inches due to the mud on your boots!

The station comprised 2 x Elecraft K3/10 + homebrew transverter, SSPA and pre-amps. The IF output from No.1 antenna system (facing EU) was split and also fed to an Anan/Angelia SDR board with CuSDR and PowerSDR/CW-Skimmer. For this contest we used Wintest with rig control for the radios which gave us cluster integration and band-map.

G8T Station in Full Swing 

Tower 1 with 2 x 10ele DK7ZB Antennas 

The Group (2E0IBF, G4FAT, M0BTZ) working on Tower 2  

Tower 2 up with 2 x 10ele DK7ZB Antennas

Our claimed score is here:


342 QSOs, 193,176 points, 565 points/QSO. 

Best DX OM3RBS in JN98KJ QRB 1329Km.

G8T QSO coverage map

Conditions were flat on the Saturday towards EU and activity was very low from the UK. Initial QSO distances were in line with those expected of our site with many German stations in JN48/JN49/JO50. As Sunday arrived were experienced minor/moderate tropo inline with Hepburn & F5LEN Tropo predictions and distances increased to work JO73, JO90 ranges.

Through the night conditions improved slightly and/or QRM dropped and we worked over 50+ QSO's to OL, OK, OM, OE and SP stations with many distances over 800Km.

 Activity throughout the contest for G8T

It became very clear that the centre of activity for this event was Czech Republic / Austria / Slovakia / Hungry from where all the lines could be seen crossing on DXmaps.com. We also found that we (and other larger UK stations) were on the "western edge" of what was reachable to many of the stations in EU and hence it was quite common for pile-ups of DL/DK stations with the odd OK/OE/OM somewhere in the mix.

To give you an idea of what the contest looked like here is a screen grab from the SDR mid-morning today (Sunday) on the 2 x 10el facing EU 
you can turn your head sideways and read most of the traffic! 

Band View of Marconi 144MHz CW Contest 2015 

We did spend a considerable amount of time with the antennas facing in-land panning them around between GM, GI, EI, GW on Sunday and worked most of the "usual suspects" - we think that the only one that got away was Clive, GM4VVX which was a combination of QSB and bad timing. Unfortunately not many EI's on in this contest this year hopefully get to work a few of you next year in other contests.

On this occasion the BlackSheep group consisted of Bill M0BTZ, Nick G4FAT, Andy 2E0IBF, Mike G8TIC and 
Pat EI5IX / M0XII.

Thanks again to everyone that called us and we hope you enjoyed this contest as much as we did! Looking forward to the next one :-)


UPDATE 05 / 12 / 2015

144MHz Marconi CW 2015

A record number of entries was received this year 42, beating the previous record of 28.
The contest was again beset with bad weather but had good VHF conditions to the east on the Sunday, but not so good on Saturday. Those who chose Saturday in the 6 hours section certainly lost out to the Sunday entrants. 

The Single Operator Fixed section was won by Dave G7RAU from the Isle of Wight, with G0JJG runner-up.

The Open section was won by G8T, the Blacksheep contest group, with a fine antenna setup and many eastern Dx contacts. Sadly they were the only Open entrant

Jeremy Brown, G3XZG, operated the G3MEH station again this year, and won the 6 hour Single Operator Fixed section. G4ZTR was runner-up.

John Cockrill, of the Northampton club G4CZB/P, was again the winner in the 6 hour Open section. G3TCU/P was runner up .

Other certificate winners:

G0OOG leading station running 25W or less to a single antenna in SF section

G4HVC leading station running 25W or less to a single antenna in 6S section

No leading foundation or intermediate station certificates were awarded due to lack of entries being received for these categories.

The leading overseas entry was ON4KMB .

This contest was the final event in the VHF CW Championship.

Mike G3VYI

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