M0XXT CQ WPX 2009 (Amateur Radio Contest)

M0XXT UK Scout Contest TeamMy thanks to Lee (G0MTN) James (M3YOM) Terry (G4MKP) and Aidan (M6TTT, Scout) for getting our new station on the air for a first-time-out on WPX.

We also roped in Chris and Dan, two new foundation student contest Scouts for the spotting on the Mult Station. Barry M0DGQ also gets a big thank you for supplying hundreds of meters of 75 ohm coax for James’s stub-filter project and Charles at Moonraker for sponsoring the large number of required PL259 and T pieces.

We ran a pair of very old Yaesu FT1000MPs (non-Inrad versions) which were completely swamped by QRM to a number of interesting antennas including our new super all-band Mega-Loop (horizontal delta loop at 85 feet) delivering about 12dbi on 20m to US at 10 degrees elevation (more on higher bands). However, it also delivers 10dbi to EU and most of Russia at a very low angle, hence QRM flooding. James’s stub filter project worked but still needs some tweaking. Thanks to K1TTT for helping James get his head around this. Next time, James will have finished Bob Henderson’s filters as well which should sort out any final interference between bands. Poor James soldered nearly 100 PL259s last week. Don’t worry James, fingers should re-grow by CQWW!

The mult station ran Terry’s A3S at 30 feet on my hydraulic tower and also switched in a 200 foot doublet at 80 feet across the tree canopy behind the Scout Hut for the low bands (which worked great on 40m DX but rubbish for 40m NVIS). Need some switchable low dipoles for EU.

We had an initial target of 2,500 QSOs and 1,000 mults and just missed both by a whisker.

  Band    QSOs     Pts  WPX 
   1.8     152     301   50 
   3.5     574    1513  313 
     7     866    2203  264 
    14     722    1378  269 
    21     102     254   63 
 Total    2416    5649  959 
Score: 5,417,391 

We had two breaks of 30 minutes each to sit and have dinner / lunch as a team, an important lesson to keep morale and spirits high. Some day we might not be able to afford time off, however whilst we’re still novices and part-time, we can afford to have a lazy lounge around. We sent our score to GETSCORES every 5 minutes automatically fed by N1MM on a local wireless LAN picked up from my house about a 900 meters away. S51A and ourselves played ping-pong on the scoreboard for the whole 48 hours and we’ve since become competitive friends.

We particularly liked GETSCORES since it’s a way of interfacing with the rest of the world and having even more fun. I don’t understand why more stations don’t use this system. The USA seem to embrace this stuff quicker than others.

There were many highlights. Working VK on short path AND long path on both days on 40m was a privilage. Many more experienced contesters might have done this before but at last a first for me. Having the young non-licensed Scouts successfully finding some RED mults on N1MM was cool. Being called in just to work them was even cooler! Handing the headset over and telling them, “Great. Find some more!” was even better than cool! James’s run into South America was nice on 15m on Sunday, as was the long run on 20m band. Being spotted three times in 5 minutes from the West then the East then the West again was like using a very high gain vertical (which was the bloody trouble actually since we couldn’t dial out the QR Mary).

Like all (good?) contest teams, we’re now working on massive improvements since the station only came together on the Thursday and we started transmitting essentially 90 minutes before the off. Everything worked, nothing broke. Amazing.