Monday, February 18, 2013

Results from the PACC contest

Upgrading my 80m "DXCC worked" status

Today I finished entering all my log entries for the 2,5 hours that I joined the PACC contest more than a week ago (see previous post). I found out an efficient way using Fast Log Entry to do this. I blogged about FLE before. Now it turns out that entering a contest log is a bit more cumbersome than I expected. In FLE you can create a simple text file with only the bare minimum of data (check this post). In the case of a contest log there are exchanged codes to process. It turns out you can only add these if you also add the 59 and @59 in your text file for each log line (otherwise the FLE program does not understand what the codes mean).
That is why this time I entered the data in Excel. You can easily copy the 59, @59 and GD (exchange from my end in the PACC contest) to all fields. If you then save the file as CSV and in notepad replace the comma by a space, you can load it in FLE and save it as a full-blown ADIF. Bob's yer uncle.

Okay, back to the results. As I wrote before I was just going to check whether my 80m inverted V worked okay. I started out with 24 DXCCs worked on 80m since I started on HF (80m license since June 2011), of which 3 only just worked in the week before the contest - so my 80m activity had been rather modest to say the least.

Counting the results of the PACC activity I logged - to my surprise - 31 DXCCs in the 2,5 hours I was out in the snow. One contact (NP4) was outside the contest. This has brought my DXCCs worked on 80m up to 32. So that's 8 new band ones. Not bad for 2,5 hours. And what's even better is that there was one new DXCC (all band) hidden in there: HB0. I hadn't even noticed it when I wrote down the call.

There were four dupes in my list (I suspected two but when you are logging on paper it is hard to check) so my score turns out to be 166x30 = 4980.

I should get out more with contests to work the low bands in the late and early hours. There is a lot more DXCC fishing to do on these bands. 
Now there is just the station manager to convince..

Sunday, February 10, 2013

A lot of activity on 80m in PACC

Testing my 80m inverted V during PACC and logging loads of contacts

My agenda did not leave any time for PACC. There were plans to activate PI4ANH (the local club station) but in the end I could not join this nice initiative.

However my appointment on Saturday ended sooner than I expected, which left some time in the late evening (22h CET) to go out and try my 80m inverted V, joining the busy band.

I hoped to work some new DXCCs. I had never really focused on this band as I did not have an effective antenna.  Up till the beginning of this year I had 21 DXCCs worked. I added three to this list last week with my new Ventenna dipole. I bought an extension and coil to use this dipole on 80m. Just last week the parts came in and I tried them at night (pushing my antenna out of my attic window).

I did not know PACC was this popular. There was no quiet place on the whole contest segment of the 80m band. Signals from 9+ to 9++ everywhere. Having a reasonable antenna (as I already suspected the inverted V to be) combined with a mobile radio that does not seem to have very narrow filters, has its downsides.

After a while I found a spot with QRM at only an S9 level. I did have to move a couple of times to get away from incredible splatter. I got so many replies when I started calling that I stayed put (slowly getting snowed in) for 2,5 hours - 1,5 hours more than I planned. In total I handed out points to 173 OMs. As I had not really planned to stay long or log more than a handful of calls I did not bring my laptop. At this moment I wish I had... 

PH0NO contest station in the snow with 80m inverted V (supported by fibreglass pole)
I will have to type my paper logs in to see how many new DXCCs are amongst them. Most of the contacts logged were from PA, DL, ON, OK, OM and YO. There are however two DX contacts in the log from R9, setting the maximum QRB on 80m to 3600km. My first DX contacts on 80m.

The bonus came at the end of the activity when I was ready to pack my stuff. On the cluster I saw a lot of spots for NP4A. He seemed to be very strong in EU (a glance at his towers gives you an idea why). In my modest station he put in a 9+10dB. To my complete amazement he picked me up after calling once. So, the end of the day (actually the early morning of the next day) brought a new record distance on 80m: 7300km.

All in all great fun. I had some time for short QSOs with the guys at my club station. They had started in the afternoon and were at 300 contacts. We agreed to find a way to participate again next year and with a slightly better set up than the club station can provide (long wire on the roof line). I also had a nice chat with Bas PE4BAS that I so far had only met through email and JT65. He was seriously contesting the whole weekend, as you can read on his blog.

Busy activation in Deelerwoud

Second activation of PAFF-055 on two bands

A last minute opportunity brought me to PAFF-055 Deelerwoud. It was snowing lightly - nothing to really spoil the late afternoon. I had been to this nature park before in the autumn but activity level was not very high at that time. A good reason for a revisit.

PH0NO / P with an end fed for 20m in the snow
With 2,5 hours of radio time I focused on 20m and 40m. On 20m the first OM to respond was in VE1. So, there were at least some conditions into NA. This was confirmed by another VE OM (this time VE2) and four USA OMs (W1/3/8). In total I logged more than 100 calls in over an hour of radio time on 20m.

When I felt that 20m was slowing down I got out and set up my 40m inverted V.

Full size inverted V for 40m - works very effectively in EU

In the next 70 minutes I logged another 90 calls from all over EU. 

In the more than 2 hours I was on the radio I logged a total of 196 calls from 38 DXCCs. Luciano I5FLN, Max IK1GPG, Jakob OZ7AEI and Vadim R7GA and Alex UR7ET came by on both bands.
DX came in from VE, W, 4X, 7X, and R9.

Thanks all for stopping by.