RAEM 2017

I like this little contest a lot. It’s a CW contest where you actually have to copy something. And its distance based scoring makes it fun and interesting. But I never managed to do it for the full twelve hour period. So that was my goal for this year: do the RAEM contest from start to end. I missed it last year as it fell on Christmas day. For 2017 the calendar worked along, the WX was OK to have the tower all the way up. Actually it was still up after last week’s 9A CW contest.

The contest starts at 1 AM local time. We had to attend a small get-together Saturday evening. I didn’t want to be a party-pooper for the XYL so I went along. I expected to be back around 10 PM. It was just a drink, a snack and a chat. But that ‘small get-together’ was a serious misunderstanding on the XYL’s part. We anticipated three couples and five kids. Upon arrival there were more than twenty adults there. And almost two dozen kids. Our hosts had prepared a copious banquet which we couldn’t just turn down. Even Santa Claus paid the party a visit with a truckload of toys for the kids. Ho ho ho!

So in the end I got home much later than I planned and with a stomach that was full of various dishes. The label ‘light’ wasn’t applicable to anything. Good thing I don’t drink any alcohol. That would have worsened things. The XYL went to bed and I was tempted to do the same. But I knew that when the alarm would ring less than two hours later, I would be way too cozy and would miss the first few hours. That’s how I never did this contest from the start. So I watched some TV on the couch in the hope I would fall asleep for a good hour. That didn’t work out as planned. The digestion process didn’t run smoothly. Too much too late too bad. A good hour later I fired up the rig and the amp and I started the contest.

Much to my surprise things ran well on 80m. And on 40m. Then back to 80. During the previous editions I found that I couldn’t work much on 80 and surprisingly little on 40. This year my hunch got proven. When I’d start the contest around 0500 utc, most of UA would be in broad daylight already and everyone would be on 20 or 15 already. With only a few leftovers from western Russia on 40m. Now things ran fine on the lower bands.

I had a few sloppy hours. I was so tired and I had a hard time concentrating. I was just too tired. That was especially a problem around sunrise. Later on it was a matter of twenty meters. There was little to be worked on 21 MHz. Even with the RBN picking my CQ’ing up in VU, YB, 9M, JA, VK and even ZL. A shame. I didn’t even try ten meters. That’s a goner for now. I think that I could make 1000 QSO in this one with the right propagation, the necessary dedication and SO2R. I hope to be back next year.

On the next LotW and eQSL upload, I will once again have three errors flagged ‘invalid callsign’. Guess what call that would be?

While searching the web for more info on RAEM, I came across the following interesting link:

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