dinsdag 17 juli 2012

IARU contest 2012

IARU contest 2012 : what a nice contest !

I had some clear objectives this time :
- (re)become familiar with strategy during the test.  What band, mode, running or S&P
- test the new amplifier
- test the 80m antenna in order to make a technical choice for the coming winter
- make a least 2000 QSO's, something I never did before during a 24h game

The decision was made to go assisted, which means reclassification to M/S.  Not fair, but who cares...  However, there is a survey going on contesting.com about this subject.   The cluster didn't help me
much, so next year no more assisted for me.

I started on 15m, went to 10m, came back to 15m and finally went to 20m where I stayed until 0h UTC.
After a slow start with 86 and 60 qso/hr, I ran two hours at 134 Q/hr.

At midnight I received a message from OQ5M indicating that there were more bands than only 20m :-)
During the night I was very active on 40m with many 5 pts QSO's, a bit afraid to go to 80m.  
I didn't had found the time to install a K9AY array and I feared the qrm on the vertical antenna.
Not so ! I still regret that I went too late to 80m...
Made only 100 Q's all runs in CW, with about 30% outside Europe.
Very happy with this setup at only 800W output : 25x W, 2x VE, CX, 2 LU, 2PY

This confirms my first opinion to install a vertical wire antenna tuned by the new MFJ998RT.
After consulting the reviews on eham.net it became all a bit confusing.  This month the tuner was tested
by QST magazine, and it seems to fill in my demands.
IMO the basic point is to put only 10W at the tuner to let it tune.  More power will attack the RF detector.

After the 80m success, the fatigue started to play and I made a mistake : in stead of going back to 40m, I went to 20m to work Asia.  This was the worst decision during the contest.  I lost time and became frustated.
I bit later I received a new message from Franki, OQ5M : 1600 Q's in the first 16 hrs.  I had only 1450 Q's.
Damn !  Although he had much more experience and played SO2R, this wasn't looking good because I was in mixed mode and had more possibilities to work stations two times on the same band..

I took up my courage and restarted on 40m for another 240 QSO's in CW.
Then I went to 20m for a nice run in SSB : 281 QSO's within only 2 hours.
Finally I did a quick tour on 10m, with the same result as on Saterday : poor conditions, not many stations on the band.   I'm very surprised that other stations did work much more on 10m...

The last hour the weather changed and a thunderstorm came close. New message from Franki : QRT due to nearby lightnings.
I decided to continue and made 65 QSO's in the last 30 minutes on 20m CW.  Ten minutes before the end VK6DXI called me, a nice final event.   2145 Q's was the final report.  Ouf ! 

S&P was and is not my best point.  Even with the clear purpose that multipliers were not a personal goal, I feel that I must be much more quicker to turn on the band to search for multis.  
For sure I lost time with tuning tests on the amplifier.  OMpower seems to be very sensible to incorrect
matchings, but during this test not one fault occurred.  Ig2 is sometimes too high.  I'll do more dummy load tests on this item to see where it goes wrong.
Another fear was EMI problems in the shack:  not one problem detected.
Also no negative reports from the neighbours.  Even the electronic horse fence of the neighbours gave no problems on reception.

After every contest I look always if there are new ones for my DXCC program.
The crop looks good : EK and BA on 40m; YS and CO on 20m; CX, EI, GJ, TA, YS, CO, TI on 15m and YA + 9Y on 10m.
After all, I worked 86 DXCC countries and 30 WAZ in only 24h.

So, new goals are defined : A complete low band wired TX and RX setup for the CQWWDX with a nice money save by not buying vertical alu antennas.

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