PACC 2017 report

PACC 2017This year we participated as PA9G in the PACC 2017 contest. We operated as The Three Musketeers (Rob PA3X, Gerald PA9G and me PA8E) as multi-op, single transmitter. I practically moved my entire shack over to Gerald’s cabin in the woods. The big antenna plans we had before turned out to be a little too ambitious. We didn’t had that much lot to cover and as a result we had to work with only one antenna we already put up: the Fritzel FD-3. Because of this choice Continue reading “PACC 2017 report”

Attending PACC 2017

PACC 2017The Dutch PACC contest is of course a bit special for us Dutch hams. PACC 2017 is no exception. In the PACC contest for once in a contest season it’s all about the Dutch hams. This one contest we can run CQ and actually get pile-ups instead of search & pounce for whole contests.
For this year’s (the weekend of 11 and 12 February) participation my radio buddies Rob PA1RAB and Gerald PA9G and I came up with a new plan. Gerald offered to use his family cottage for the PACC-weekend.
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Participating in the WSPR-challenge

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WSPR-challenge

PA3FYM WSPR-challenge receiverThere is buzzing a new phenomenon at PI4RCG (our local HAM club): the WSPR-challenge. One prominent club member, Remco PA3FYM, founded this WSPR-challenge with Richard PE1ITR. Essentially they download the whole WSPR-spot-database once every night and parse it in a top 50. The result changes per day. This challenge only consist of reported spots to wsprnet.org. So you can sneak peak at wsprnet.org site to see your uniques. Since wsprnet.org only logs your reported spots, this challenge is actually a RX-only contest.
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Contesting

contestingLast weekend I did some contesting. Not like 2014 (my top-contest year) when I made over 3000 contacts. This time in a more sober way. I only got a view hours to spend. Two major contests going on last weekend: PACC and CQ WPX RTTY. My favorite contestmode is RTTY, but I feel a little obligated to participate in the PACC as a Dutch HAM. I started the PACC in CW-mode. But after 10 contacts I concluded my CW-skills are not yet up to speed for contests. I switched to CQ WPX RTT, made 100 contacts and then my time was up. Sunday I increased my PACC numbers with voice to 50 contacts.
No spectacular results but it was fun to participate in a contest again.

ARRL DX CW

This weekend I entered the ARRL DX CW contest. It started out as a challenge to score 100 Q’s. But actually it went quite well and I just closed N1MM with 350 Q’s in the log. It was a nice picture to see all the American and Canadian amateurs all lined op in my band monitor. The propagation was quite good so I got a habit of CTRL+[down], call the station, do the exchange, CTRL+[down], next. It seems like the higher bands (20 – 15 – 10) are favorite, I never scored the most Q’s on 10 meter before! A good thing I left my Antron 99A on the roof. It turn out to be an excellent antenna for 10 and 15 meters. Only with a very few stations that didn’t copy me, I switch to the ZS6BKW on these bands. And that’s no guarantee I will work them.

Great adventure and my CW-skills are a little better now!

CQ WPX RTTY

CQwwWPXThis weekend I entered the CQ WPX RTTY contest with target to improve my personal total QSO-record in a contest. I think the current personal record stems from a PACC-contest a few years ago and was around 450 Q’s. There was only one catch: in this same weekend the PACC-contest is organized. PACC-contest is a 24-hour contest where you only work Dutch amateurs (PA) to collect all the Dutch provinces which are handed out as exchange. Because the Netherlands is small country, this contest is only successful if there are enough Dutch amateurs participating. It’s a unwritten rule to always participate as Dutch amateur, if only for a few Q’s.
PACC is in CW- and SSB-mode. In CW I’m not yet able to be in running mode and SSB is far from my favorite mode. But for this one contest I want to make an exception and plug in the microphone. I switched back and forward from CW S&P and SSB and collect a poor 100 Q’s. BUT…… I did participate!

When I logged 100 Q’s in the PACC I immediately switched back to RTTY for the WPX. Saturday I ran around 250 Q’s and Sunday was good for another 350! Weird propagation (an A-index of 23!) on Sunday which was noticeable.
A fun moment in this contest was the very close encounter with my friend Jim Wilson, K5ND. We have an ongoing saga to just work each other once in a contest. I was in line to work another station when I saw Jim work him just before me. I switched antennas from vertical to horizontal to copy Jim’s signal but I couldn’t. When I tried to work the next calling station, K5ND again appeared on my screen! So Jim was Search & Pouncing just before me down the band! I figured if I skipped one or two calling stations and call the third, maybe Jim would arrive at that station just when I was working it. I worked NR5M and afterwards I wait a little to see if Jim arrived. I didn’t seen his call anymore, but this morning I read his blog update and it seems he did see me in QSO with NR5M! Ah well, maybe more luck in the next contest. I did broke my personal Q’s record, so it was a fun weekend.
The next few weekends I have some DIY-resonsibilities in and around the house. So I have to throttle back a little on the contesting.

BARTG Sprint RTTY

This weekend I ran the BARTG Sprint RTTY contest (my favorite mode). Wonderfull thing to don’t have complains from the neighbors. Stayed up Saturday until 0:30 AM at 268 Q’s. Then again up at Sunday morning and in the radio room around 6:30 AM. Worked a few nice ones like JA, VK and PY. The contest ended on 12:00 UTC and at 11:00 UTC I was at my goal of 350 Q’s. The last hour I ran CQ on 20m. Nice sprint but unfortunately no 400 Q’s. I think I did quite OK, 46 DXCC’s.

I did noticed this contest I got quite good signals from the East and the West. Countries like Bulgaria, Hungaria etc. are easy to work (often with the first call). Also the United States and Canada are good doable. Scandinavian and Africa are much harder to reach. You might think it’s logical because my ZS6BKW is positioned West-East. But I wouldn’t suspect it has such an impact.