UBA DX CW 2009

My contesting plans were seriously compromised as I got injured badly a few days ago. Probably and hopefully no permanent damage but my body is aching from head to toe. As a result of this I was not able to set up the antennas myself. The mere thought of cranking up the tower with all these bruises… Ouch! Wim ON4BHQ offered to change his work schedule to do the heavy work for me. I really appreciate that but his work is more important than my hobby. So when my parents came over to visit us, I asked my nephew to come along and crank up the tower. He also helped me to put up the wire antennas. That way ON4BHQ could focus on his work. Thanks anyway OM! And thanks nephew!

I have always played the UBA contest with limited means. The tower only 2/3 up, and the 40m GP in stead of the vertical dipoles. Limited but still a win 4 years in a row. Last week in ARRL I noticed how these full size vertical dipoles always outshoot this GP. Since WX was calm and the switching system was still installed from last week, I went the ‘full option’ way for this one. Tribander at 21m high – I didn’t have to crank it up myself HI – and the dipoles for 40m. One to USA with respect to the tower, the other at about 60° for Russia and everything else. So I was all set to try a fifth win in a row in the ’12h HP’ class. Doing 24h is not tempting as the nighttime goes so slow you end up in bed anyway. I did some DXing on Saturday morning and was glad to hear life on 15m. I was ready to hit hard at 13.00z. My target was ‘950 QSO’. But I discovered that this was achieved in 2006 in a 24h effort. In 2007 I made 877 QSO in 12h and in 2008 only 836 QSO. I wanted to do at least as well as last year but quietly I hoped to break the 1k limit in 12h.

I started on 15m but as open as it was in the morning, as closed it was at the start of the contest. 10 QSO and 9 minutes later I parked on 20m. I went as low as 14002.8 and the band was open to USA and the antenna was aimed to the east. Soon after my first CQ’s some frustrated low life sc*mb*g came QRMing me (the b*st*rd was S9+20dB) and telling me that this frequency was for DX and I needed to QSY. If that SOB would have shut up I would have worked DX. I turned the beam to USA and his signal dropped to about S7. So the MoFo is inbound from the East… I even went a bit lower to the band’s edge but he kept following me. Pardon my French but the LID didn’t even ID when asked for. All this made for a slow start but I kept telling myself: it’s not who leaves Paris the fastest, it all about he who arrives in Roubaix first. How’s that for a sports metaphor! Too much at stake so I moved up to 14021. The rates were good and I had 500 QSO after 5 hours. On 40m VK8AV was a nice and loud surprise as well as the JA callers.

After a longer break I attacked 80m at 22.13utc. My plan was for another 100/hr but I was spotted right away and this turned out the be a curse rather than a blessing. A frantic packet pile up emerged and the callers where so undisciplined  and chaotic that I needed to repeat reports 3 to 4 times and send the call twice etc. I tried to listen up 200-300 Hz and narrowed the K3 DSP filtering but the callers didn’t follow my ‘up’. I was disgusted by the callers’ behavior and saw the rate collapsing while enough callers where there for a good and fast hour… I finished this 2 hour streak on 40 with a PY2 and a VP2M calling me. GREAT! Seven hours down, five to go and 686 QSO in the log. Almost but not quite a sustained 100/hr rate. Time for some sleep.

I got up and took my sore limbs to the operating chair. I started on 80m at 06.00z and my fear became reality. A very slow hour with little multipliers. Some USA but no ‘real DX’. I heard 2 ZL’s right after my sunrise but a) they didn’t seem to be in the contest and b) begging for a number was useless as they didn’t hear me. No ZL answered my CQ either. I worked some more 40m and started using the second radio for the first time. DX Is, Mults Are and Rate is King… I took a short break and hit 20m for some JA. The rate picked up with 3 point Russians and some new multipliers. At 08.15z I planned a raid on 15m and it worked out quite well with VU2, DS3 and a JA as well as UA and UA9 multipliers. And a ton of EU multipliers. In between I sucked 40m dry with the 2nd radio. I did a quick QSY to 10m and worked ON, a DL and an F for 3 multipliers on 10m. Then going back and forth between 15 and 20 with 40m on radio 2.

During my last run on 20m I got called by WH2D. How sweet! With still a good hour to go the #1000 mark was within reach but it wouldn’t present itself on a plate since the rate was too low to get there in that time frame. So I started using radio 2 more aggressively on 40m and mixed running with hit ‘n run S&P. With 2 minutes of my operating time left, I called OS0S on 20m for QSO #1000. Woohoo.


The image above shows the evolution of my "12 hours High Power" efforts in the UBA DX CW. I’m very happy with this year’s result. The contrast with the same contest in SSB can’t be bigger. More than double the QSO numbers with the same setup and in 12 hours. The UBA CW contest is quite popular! I hope plaque #5 is a fact now.

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