Wednesday, May 28, 2008

SY3M 2008 WPX-CW by the "rats terminators" contest group

Operators: Nico SV3SJ, Pat F6IRF
QSO details and claimed score here TRX: K3 + TT Titan, pro2 + AL1500ANT: 2el SteppIR @9m, Ground-mounted vertical Half-Moxon (40m), 16m ground mounted vertical (80/160), K9AY RX-loop and 120m beverage to JA
MSC: N1MM, Microkeyers, laptops, ICE filters, 700m of wire, 250m of coaxial, 200m of rope and a lot of enthusiasm and energy to setup/dismantle all this !!!
Under Max's hass, some of the hardware used for the operation !
My initial personnal plan was to go back to CN with some ambitions in the SOAB category, but for some obscur administrative reason the licence never arrived. On his side, Nico had already planned a trip to his home country... I could not miss such an opportunity to go back to wonderful Greece, so we quickly improvised something to be on the air; not to be competitive, but to take part, which is the most important as says the Olympic games chart! (another famous Greek/French joint venture !)Among the difficulties to setup a all-bands M/S station from scratch in a remote location, the first one was to rehabilitate a house, unnocupied by humans for some 20 years (adopted by rats and mices and invaded by wild vegetation); It took a few days to make the house usable, but we managed it... The cohabitation with the dense rats population was not always easy, but they finaly accepted to free-up some space for us (must say that we had to insist a bit, using some powerful unfair arguments... the main problem for me with the Greek rats, being that that they understand only Greek and they start working at sunset until sunrise...).Waiting for Nico to complete some "non-ham" obligations and beside some 6m and peri-contest activity (about 800 Q's as SV3/F6IRF ), I started by installing my 16m multiband portable HB vertical, tested the week before in britanny.

The 16m vertical used for 80 and 160. Alone it consummed some 300m of radials...
After a few tests on the air, I started to think about some more efficient solution for 40m, which is key band in this contest. We needed something simple, that we could setup quickly with the hardware we had (2 fiber 10m telescopic masts), so after a few simulation sessions we decided to go for a vertical "half-moxon" mainly for his broad horizontal pattern (a description will be published later here). Must say that the results overtook my expectations, the difference with the vertical being obvious right from the first listening tests. It was confirmed during the contest, as we did not get any problem to break the pile-ups and get DX stations to call us.
The vertical base; despite the poor ground quality, it worked fine...
Obviously the weak band has been 20 meters, due to the low height and limited gain of the antenna, but we could not do better for this time...10m provided some nice openings, including to JA (most probably multi-hop E's) and 15m a nice combination of E's and F2 propagation.
The driven-element of the half-moxon which gave us a strong signal on 40m. Another 200m of radials !!!
At the end we are just short of multipliers to be "almost competitive"- we had initialy planned DX-cluster through a VHF packet-link to Kalamata, but the distance and terrain profile between Kalamata and Pilos area did not allow it to work. We obviously also missed a second antenna on the high bands - but we did no expect them to be so productive and to say the truth we ended up short of time and energy (the temperature on those days did not help) ! - Anyway, in may still be a new Greek M/S record...
The SteppIR at 9m. On 20m difficult to compete with fixed stations using large antennas or stacks at a decent height.
I really enjoyed those 2 weeks in this still preserved paradisiac wild area... unfortunately not for long, as in many other places, the "beton" is about to win (a large touristic ressort is already in construction, a Motorway is scheduled and the promoters all around). A special mention to the Greek local people for their "way of life", sometime a bit annoying for a stranger, but so nice at the end !
73's from Sunny Greece - Pat
PS: More to follow here soon
including a video for which I have a lot of raw material...

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