UBA DX CW 2018 (and some CQ 160 SSB)

Contrary to the SSB event, the CW part is pretty popular and it’s possible to achieve good rates. At least in the first half of the contest. Make that the first quarter. And so it turned out. The start was good and the first three hours were pretty fast. The single first hour netted 145 contacts on 14 MHz. Of course it could only go downhill. I tried fifteen meters which was absolutely awful. Not even one American or Canadian for the multiplier. Even the RBN could not hear me beyond to Belgian skimmers. So be it.

I decided to stick to the twelve hour subclass. I did 24h in the past but with the two highest frequency bands missing and the other bands only so-so, I thought I’d better get some breaks and some sleep. That turned out to be a good decision. My only concern grew bigger: ON6NL put down high serial numbers throughout the contest. Last year he was 24h so I hoped he was in that category again. If so I probably would have a clear path to the victory in the 12h HP category.

I took a few one hour breaks but I wouldn’t make the same mistake I made the previous years. That is to take too much off on Saturday evening into Sunday night. That leaves too much operating time on Sunday morning where things are very slow. Later on I was happy to log DX mults like PY, HI, VK8, HS and YB on 40 and 20.

I invited my pal W1EBI to make a few contacts in this contest. I was running with decent rates on 80m when I saw him spotted on 40m. Now what? It’s too early for him to work me on 80. Leave 80 and jump to 40? But that would end my run. It’s been a long while since I did a two radio effort. My 10+15+20 vertical is down since 2016 just like propagation. I decided to keep running on 80 and fire up the second rig to work W1EBI on 40. Of course by the time I got there, he was gone. I decided to keep the second radio on and skim that band for contacts while maintaining the slowed down run on 80. Soon I knew why SO2R is so much fun. It keeps you focused on the contest and makes things less boring when the rate slows down. In the end W1EBI called me on 80 for one of my only two W contacts on 80.

Then the contest got so slow that I grew a bit overconfident and did some dual or dueling CQ. The UBA does not really lend itself to smooth SO2R with the long exchange on my side (serial + province). But it is a nice challenge when things are boring.

Soon after I decided to quit operating the UBA CW contest for Saturday. I had about four hours left on Sunday. That should do it. The QSO counter showed 720 QSO. I was winding down a 40m run when HS0ZJF called me. That’s expat ON4AFU who used to live a few kilometers from here until he moved to HS. Thanks for the multiplier OM Eddy!

Before going to bed I made a brief appearance in the CQ WW 160 SSB contest. I have never ever made a single QSO in this one. SSB on Top Band… I made ten QSO which is another personal record in 2018 with some room for improvement. I just wanted to give a contact to the guys at OT6M but to make it fair I called another bunch. It wasn’t easy. VY2ZM was very loud but he was way up in the band. Close to the upper edge? My antenna has a 6:1 SWR there, I never hang out that high. That high in the band we’re only allowed 10 Watt too. I tried a couple of times. As they say: no guts no glory. It was indeed no glory. Even the EU contacts were a struggle. SSB on 160: it makes no sense. Bye-bye 160. Hello bed!

Sunday I woke up a bit too late to my liking. I didn’t set the alarm. On purpose. OTOH I always hope for surprises on 40 or 80 around sunrise but that has never materialized in the UBA DX contest. To my surprise the rate on 40 was decent. Even some Americans burning the midnight oil and a bunch of missing EU mults. Sweet. It was time to move up to 14 MHz but I kept the second rig busy on 40 to work new QSO and even try the occasional dueling CQ again.

Things again slowed down on 20. So my guess was to move up to 15 again. Any QSO there apart from ON would be a multiplier. First to call me: a loud R8TT. Could it be? The RBN heard me in 3B8, HS and somewhere else to the East. I seem to remember even a V5 skimmer heard me. After two dozen QSO I decided to keep on calling CQ on 15 ‘just in case’ and work cluster spots on 40 with the second radio. To close the contest I ran a slow 20 with dilettante dueling CQ on 40. The bell rang and 991 QSO were in the log.

Two days after the contest ON6NL submitted his log in the 24h category. He tells me his active time is about 16 hours which netted him only 70 QSO more than me. I can’t think of anyone else having done the 12h category and doing better than me? W1EBI asked me why so few ON stations were on in our own national contest. YO9HP says: “Not very impressed by ON stations participation (8% of QSO-s)”. What can I say?

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