RAEM 2018

This year was only the second time that I did the RAEM contest from start to end (12h). I guess the E.T. Krenkel Memorial Contest has made it to my ‘must do’ list. It really fits my profile and operating preferences. I wish there were more events with distance based scoring i.s.o. multipliers.

The long and pseudo-random exchange often needs repeating so I edited the exchange string in N1MMLogger+. Wanting to be smart, I put a tilde between longitude and latitude to get a short pause between both parts: 50N~04O. The contest started with a logging software glitch. As soon as I entered the copied coordinates, I got a runtime error. Second QSO: same thing. Oh boy. Obviously no one has tested the latest version for this contest. I decided to downgrade and took the oldest version I could download. This one was from before last year’s RAEM and that one worked. But the very old version triggered another error. Actually it was the same exception error but it seemed to be caught in a cleaner way. I had to hit enter twice to close a warning messagebox and log the contact. That was manageable. Side effect: no points were calculated. Not a biggie, only useless to report scores then.

After a dozen contacts I had thought it over: the old version gave the same error as the latest version but it worked flawlessly in 2017. Could the tilde be the problem? Sure enough: I removed the tilde from the exchange and the error was gone. I quickly downloaded the latest version again and did a rescore. Problem solved, score calculated. If it ain’t broken…

Eighty meters was hot. Lots of good signals, plenty activity and more USA on 3.5 MHz than ever before. I worked twenty eight Americans. After three hours I had over 220 contacts on 80m. Not too bad.

The QSY to 40m was a cold shower. Not so much activity, weak signals and almost no DX. Everything beyond 2000 km was weak and real long haul DX seemed absent. The rate suffered. As well as the fun level. I think it was a general issue with the propagation. I could keep my position in the top five of the online scores. Most of the time I was third there. That puts things in perspective. Later on I got a message from my contest buddy W1EBI. He established the same thing: 80 good, 40 bad. He quit while I kept on rocking and rolling.

My sunrise didn’t bring anything special on 40 or 80 so I went to 20. Signals were not too loud there either. This was the band to stay on for the rest of the remaining time. I tried fifteen but only three stations were heard and worked. All UA9. Average point / QSO: 114. If I could keep that up for a few hundred QSO… but no. I didn’t try 10m at all because fifteen already was totally dead. It wasn’t a case of no one showing up there. The skimmers didn’t hear me so I stayed on twenty meters.

Around noon I decided try 40 gain. Some UA9 worth 130-140 points. RT0C netted 183 points. JH4UYB surprised me at 1105utc: he was so loud on 40 and good for 195 points.

Just shy of 80k points and about 90 contacts more than last year. DL5YYM was pretty active from z14 so maybe this time I won’t be getting the z14 winner wood?

When you least expect it

ON5ZO is a winner

RAEM contest plaque – hooray


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