5P5T Region 1 VHF test 2013 –best contest ever!
Looking back at the past 20 years region 1 VHF contest, it is pretty clear that you have to live near central Europe if you want to win. In 2004 G8P won the contest, but otherwise the winners has all been located in central Europe. Thus for stations located at far away from the main activity centers you need a little bit of luck in the form of good con and no major equipment failures, tough work and a good station.
In the weeks leading up to the contest we followed the weather forecast anxiously. Heavy rain makes access to the Kongsbjerg very difficult, but the forecast looked good and Hepburn gave indications of good conditions.
Kongsbjerg is the southern tip of the limestone formation on the island of Moen. The site is 134 m ASL and from 90 to 270 degress there is a clear view to the ocean giving an almost perfect horizon. Besides being a good radio QTH, it is also very beautiful and scenic.
Preparations for a big test like this always takes a lot of time. Just the logistics of bringing all the antennas, generator, operator (horse) trailer, etc. to the site is an effort on its own.
The 5P5T station has been developed since 2007 adding impovement and antennas every year. The status in 2013 was a 4 antenna system of vertically stacked yagis that allows us to cover the main activity areas south of us from 90 deg. To 250 deg.
Figur 1. Antenna storage at OZ1FDH's barn
Figur 2. Horse trailer partly loaded before take off
The setup was an ICOM 7700 with a DB6NT 144h +40 trvtr and an ICOM 756 pro II as receiver for the 2nd operator. The antennas were 8x3 el DK7ZB in 160 deg, 8x3 el DK7ZB in 210 deg, 4x6 el in 90 deg and 4x10 el DK7ZB on a rotor. All antennas were build from NUXCOM kits. We had the same station setup as in 2012, but back then the 4x10 el crashed when we elevated the antenna, and we were somewhat handicapped by OZ1FDH on crutches recovering from a heavy traffic accident just 1 month earlier. For 2013 everything and everybody was (hopefully) as good as it could get.
Friday september 3 was a wonderful day, somewhat windy but the sun was shining, and we started with a lunch of roasted fish and potatoes at restaurant Klintholm Harbour. OZ1GER, OZ1FDH and PA5DD arrived friday in the early afternoon and started mounting the antennas and masts. The 4x10 el was quite a challenge, as the plateu on Kongsbjerg is narrow and we had to tie some of the wires to the trees down the slope in order for the antennas to rotate freely.
Figur 3. OZ1GER and PA5DD mounting the BIG EAR
Friday evening we had 1,5 antenna systems up and as darkness came, it was time for a little food and a bottle of wine before turning in for a much needed good nights sleep.
Next morning the weather looked nice and sunny, but still the wind was quite strong, and we continued assembling station and antennas.
The station assembly went without any big trouble, a few bad interconnection cables caused some confusion, a bent element had to be replaced here and there. One of the 8x3 el antennas had a not to good return loss of 13 dB. Comparing it to the 4x10 el it seemed to work OK, and there really wasn’t time to take the system down, so we decided to use it as it was.
OZ1DJJ arrived at the site around noon on saturday and brought his BEKO PA some fresh blood, good energy and not the least –lunch!
Everything was ready 1 hour before the start and there was time for a short break –preferably a good nap, but tension and nerves just before the start made all of us quite fired up and ready. The weather was still quite windy and we didn’t expect much of any tropo conditions, but that was not to be.
Figur 4. Saturday afternoon everything ready to go
14.00 GMT came and PA5DD started as operator. If you haven't seen Uffe running and logged 101 QSO’s the first hour. Up here north this is a sign of reasonable condx, and we had good signals especially from the south east. Then at 17.43 UTC 9A7D called and set an ODX of 1143 km only to be broken 10 minutes later by YT1VP in JN94 1321 km!
The QSO numbers kept rising and we reached QSO number 500 just before midnight. WAUV, this looked good! Signals were good and stations just kept calling. Conditions improved and we started working ES and OH stations. Quite remarkable the activity stayed high, in the late hours between 01-02 we logged almost 30 stations. For us this was something we had never tried before. Normally the late hours are yielding 10-15 QSO’s if we are lucky. OZ1GER and PA5DD took the early morning shift. They had to kick OZ1FDH out of the horse trailer and serve him a glass of wine, in order to cool him just a little bit down to make him get some rest and be prepared for the morning hours.
Figur 5. OZ1FDH at the station.
As the hours went by the conditions turned back to normal on sunday morning, but still the activity was good and QSO’s kept comming in. We still worked into SP8 and SP9 with good signals just as 9A2L came into the log.
The equipment worked quite well. Especially the 4x10 el were excellent. The BIG EAR, as we got to call them, could pick up almost anything that we could only detect on the other antenna systems.
The final result was 916 QSO´s, 482000 points 123 locators and 25 DXCC, which we believe is a pretty good result and should put us among the top stations. Actually it is the best ever result made from OZ. However, we will have wait for the official result before we know.
But regardless what the final result will be, the region 1 contest 2013 was record breaking for 5P5T. Not only did we hit the highest score ever from OZ, we also broke the former OZ QSO number record of 912 QSO´s set by OZ5TE back in 1981.
Figur 6. QSO map.
Figur 7 The BIG EAR 4x10 el DK7ZB from Nuxcom.
The only sad thing was that OZ5BD Bjørn could not be with us as he had to stay with his work in Greenland. Both this and past years OZ5BD has put so much work into building antennas and setup that he indeed has a big share in our good result.
However, being only 4 people takes quite an effort to assemble and run such a big station, and we were tired but also quite happy. The 5P5T group is always open for new members!
Thank you for all the QSO´s, 73 and hope to work you again next year.
OZ1FDH, OZ1DJJ, OZ1GER, PA5DD & OZ5BD
Figur 8. After the contest -disassembled station
Figur. 9 Tired but happy after a well done contest. OZ1DJJ, OZ1FDH, PA5DD and OZ1GER
Overall (unchecked result)
123 locators and 25 DXCC
average/QSO 527 points
ODX YT1VP JN94xc 1321 km