It was my first time entering CQWW VHF Contest from 1800 UTC Saturday, July 16, 2016 until 2100 UTC Sunday, July 17, 2016, and as I was back at my home QTH in Westport at IO53GT I used the opportunity to take part in this contest, the callsign used for the weekend was EI5IX in IO53 for this contest.
Propagation for this contest was very bad, 50MHz has not been great in July this year unfortunately and maybe it's a sign of the times who knows, anyway I entered a Single Op entry on 50MHz (6m) and there was very little Sporadic E propagation around on the Saturday evening with just high levels of Tropospheric ducting available on the band into the night, nothing really worked QSO wise but I just kept hearing some distant pings of EU stations come in via Meteor Scatter propagation, then on the Sunday afternoon things began to pick up a small bit on the band with QSO's around EI & GI via Tropo conditions and then at 15:00UTC conditions opened via Troposcatter into Sporadic E towards more southern EU areas with it QSO rates peaking into the late evening around 19-20:00UTC. I would have liked if there was more sporadic E conditions around for that weekend but I think I may have been a bit too far North West for this years conditions on the band as this contest is very well supported within EU I was surprised with the lack of activity in Ireland and the UK. I did hear late into the Sunday night after the contest was over some stations in Canada and the United States on CW via Chordal propagation or multi hop E's but unfortunately didn't get to work them this time around as I was taking the station apart... typical... maybe catch them next time.
Anyway I did the best I could in the contest but it wasn't great. Thanks to all the stations that persevered into completing QSO's in some very difficult conditions, I'm looking forward to working you in the next contest.
For this years IARU HF Championship contest on July 9th-10th, 2016, members of the newly formed EI DX Group put on big effort from a green field site with a multi multi station (Multi Radio/ Multi Op) for this contest. The objective for this contest is to contact as many other radio amateurs, especially IARU member society HQ stations, around the world as possible using the 160, 80, 40, 20, 15 and 10 meter bands.
We had a 7 station setup for the weekend and were QRV from 10m through 160m bands both on SSB & CW. The callsign used for the weekend was EI0HQ as the National Irish Headquarter station.
Here was some of the photographs from the weekend thanks to Thos EI2JD.
The EI DX Group operators for the contest
EI0HQ - Multi Multi Station
Pete EI4GZB and Declan EI9HQ on SSB 40m
Dave EI4BZ and Myself EI5IX having the craic
Oleg EI7KD flat out on CW
Enda EI2II enjoying 10m SSB
Jim EI8GS on 15m SSB
Mark EI6JK in a Pile up on 20m SSB
Thos EI2JD working mults on 40m SSB
Myself EI5IX trying to get serious on 15m CW
Again Myself EI5IX "trying to find a needle in a hay stack" on 20m SSB
One of the HEX Beams in the clear
Our 80m Vertical
Pat EI9HX working on the Electrics
Tri-Bander No. 1
The lads working on Tri-Bander No.2
Tri-Bander No.2 up and running with a 40m rotatable Dipole
I really enjoyed the weekend it was a fantastic opportunity to test out some antennas also new equipment and it was a great way to meet new people within our DX group. The weather conditions throughout the weekend could have been better andwas quiet variable at times, as on the Friday when setting up the station we had beautiful clear sky's and sunshine but then it rained on the Saturday and Sunday and of course then cleared up for taking everything down at the end of the contest... Typical.... Propagation for this contest was not great this year and activity seemed low at times with the effects of the solar minimum certainly being observed across the bands throughout the weekend and a minor geomagnetic storm was observed during the previous 24 hours of the contest and with a high speed solar wind stream which remained geo-effective, there was some isolated periods of storming which remained throughout the contest unfortunately. Not to worry we all enjoyed the weekend and learned a lot about our EI DX Group including each other. I'm certainly looking forward to meeting up with the guys again and doing some other contests and DXpedition's in the future. The results are still yet to come for this contest hopefully we did alright and my thanks goes to all the EI operators that turned up and made this weekend possible, I really enjoyed myself and I hope you got the opportunity to work us either on SSB or CW and on as many of the bands as you could over the weekend.
The weekend of 2nd & 3rd of July 2016, I ventured out with the Blacksheep DX & Contest group for the RSGB VHF/UHF National Field Day. This year we were operational on 50MHz (6m), 70MHz (4m), 144MHz (2m) 432MHz (70cm) & 1296MHz (23cm) from Locator Square "JO01KJ" under the call-sign "M0BAA/P".
We arrived on site on the Friday at 15:00BST and began to build our portable stations, weather conditions were patchy on the Friday with the sun beaming down on us one minute then a few showers of rain the next, this hampered us a bit as we were still building the stations right up to the start of the contest on Saturday 14:00UTC. This year we had a few testing challenges with generators and we could have done with some extra manpower but we just put the head down pushed on through then suddenly it was 14:00UTC...CQ Contest!!!
50MHz / 70MHz Station
I was operating on 50 MHz and 70MHz throughout the weekend. Conditions on 50MHz was very tough at times with very little SpEs around this year and what seemed like low activity on 50MHz, I was also dealing with static rain at times which didn't help things and my apologies to those stations I had to ask for the many repeats. It's a pity as I was looking forward to some nice Chordal hop opening to North America on CW but that didn't happen. I finished with 106 QSO's and 19,172 Points and my ODX was GM4ZUK/P at 655km.
Once 50MHz had finished at 22:00UTC we had to dismantle the station and built the 70MHz setup for the next morning at 08:00UTC, Operators were getting tired so we said we would finish the setup on Sunday morning only to find a few issues which delayed my start on the 70MHz band by 15 minutes or so. The joys of Field Day :-) Conditions on 70MHz was pretty bad, slow at times with deep QSB on some distant stations, having CW really helped confirm QSO's but there were No SpEs on the band that I could find during the contest unfortunately. I finished with 75 QSO's and 16,233 points and again my ODX was GM4ZUK/P at 655km.
144MHz - 6 x 3ele Yagi's
144MHz - 4 x 10ele Yagi's
432MHz - 4 x 17 ele Yagi's
1296MHz - 4 x 44ele Yagi's
1296MHz - 4 x 44ele Yagi's & Station
Blacksheep DX & Contest Team for NFD 2016
L>R Matt G0XDI, Stephen G4SHF, Nick G4FAT, Dave G4FRE, Bill M0BTZ, Bert PE1RKI, Andy M0MUX, Pat EI5IX / M0XII &Mike G8TIC.
Once 14:00UTC on Sunday appeared on the clock some very weary and tired contester's began to disassemble the stations and get ready for the next stage "packing up", we cleared as much as we could before I had to leave to make the journey back to London as I had work the next day but some of the Team decided to stay overnight Sunday go for some beers along with food and then pack up what was left of the stations on Monday morning clear the site in the afternoon.
I have got to thank the Blacksheep DX & Contest group (Mike G8TIC, Stephen G4SHF, Nick G4FAT, Matt G0XDI, Bill M0BTZ, Andy M0MUX Dave G4FRE and Bert PE1RKI) for all the hard work they put in throughout the weekend and especially for making VHF/UHF NFD contest a success for us even though propagation was not great this year the Team stayed positive and pushed on through, I really enjoyed the weekend with the group, it was great craic and a many a good laugh was had and I'm looking forward to the next one.