2018 PW 144MHz QRP Contest Results
Colin Redwood G6MXL has the results of the 2018 2m QRP contest.
Colin Redwood G6MXL has the results of the 2018 2m QRP contest.
2018 saw 65 entrants submit logs in the 33rd Practical Wireless 144MHz QRP contest held on Sunday June 10th 2018. The entrants made a total of 3097 (2576 in 2017) valid contacts with stations in 46 (47) different squares, Fig. 1.
Again, demonstrating the advantages of height and a clear take-off, the overall winner, leading single-operator and leading Welsh station is the Hereford VHF Contest Group GW1YBB/P, operated by Steven Clements G1YBB from Pen-Y-Gadair (800m ASL), the second highest peak in the Black Mountains in South Wales (IO81KW). He used a Yaesu FT-817 transceiver and a 9-element DK7ZB antenna, Fig. 2.
In second place and leading English station is Steve Marsh G4TCU/P, operating from IO82QJ.
The leading multi-operator entry is the team from Burton on Trent ARC G3NFC/P, operating from IO93DH.
The leading fixed station is the Ossett Amateur Radio Operators G8BUN, operating from IO93EQ.
The leading Scottish station is Galashiels and District Amateur Radio Society GM4YEQ/P, operating from IO85MM.
The leading GI/EI station is again Joe Bigham GI4TAJ/P, operating from IO74AU.
The leading Channel Island station is again Chris Rees GU3TUX/P, operating from IN89VR.
The leading Isle of Man station is Mike Webb IOMARS GD6ICR, operating from IO74PF.
The leading overseas station is Frank L. Laanen PE1EWR, operating from JO11SL in The Netherlands.
Full details of the results can be found in the Tables. As usual, certificates will be sent to all the leading stations above and the leading station in each square, Table 3.
Checklogs were received from Phil Willetts 2E0DGP, A G Stewart Wilkinson G0LGS, Tony Crake G0OVA, Callington Amateur Radio Society G1XIC/P, Maidstone ARS G3YSC and Ed Dudley MM0UED/P.
Propagation & Activity
Opinions differed regarding conditions, with some stations reporting more contacts than previous years, which was reflected in the 20% increase in valid contacts over 2017.
The Carmarthen Amateur Radio Society GC4YCT/P felt that, “The conditions were very good on the day, allowing us to work almost twice as many stations as in previous years”. They also incorporated their usual barbecue and picnic into the event, Fig. 3.
Sheffield & District Wireless Society G5TO/P thought that, “Propagation conditions were lively with QSOs over a good distance, our best being with DL6YBF in JO31OX, a distance of 612km, which we considered remarkable for 5W on 144MHz”, Fig. 4.
Further north, Stuart Tweddle MW0GCT from the MW0GMZ/P team had an “Enjoyable day as always, better weather this year although conditions didn't seem all that good.”
At Burton on Trent Amateur Radio Club G3NFC/P, they thought that, “Conditions seemed quite flat this year but the weather was glorious”.
Paul Norris EI3ENB was one of several stations that commented on how surprising it was to see what stations he worked with just 5W.
Many stations commented about the excellent sunny weather with no wind/gales, enabling some stations to raise antennas higher than in 2017.
For some entrants the weather started out damp but improved. This was certainly the case for the Sheffield & District Wireless Society G5TO/P. Dave Shaw M5DWI says that, “The weather from start of setup at about 08:00 was horrible − very damp and misty meaning we had wet feet the rest of the day. However, it did clear up nearer lunchtime, turning out absolutely glorious and sunny”.
Joe Bingham GI4TAJ/P found conditions, “A lot more pleasant than last year. Blue skies and light wind”.
The Hambleton Amateur Radio Society G0JQA/P in North Yorkshire thought, “The weather this year was very hot, probably the hottest for seven years or more”. It even reminded one of its members of the very first PW QRP contest, Fig. 5.
Over the years, the PW 144MHz QRP contest has introduced countless amateurs to 2m SSB operating and contesting. This year was no exception, with more newcomers than I can recall for many years.
It was Andy Webster’s G7UHN’s first entry in the contest and his first experience of 2m SSB. He says, “I only had a couple of hours to play but it was great weather on the hill, everyone was very cheery on the air and I walked down the hill with a big smile on my face”. Andy says that he is looking forward to next year.
Some clubs use the contest as a way of introducing members to contesting. Among those this year was the Bittern DX group G6IPU/P. The station was mostly operated by the YL club members with Linda G0AJJ and Sue 2E0TSZ on the mike, Fig. 6, but time was given to Giles M6YGK, the youngest club member to have his first go at contesting watched over by Alec G3YOA and Sue.
It is just as pleasing to see newcomers come back for more in subsequent years. Mark Waldron M1AEA says that it was his first PW entry under his own callsign.
Emyr MW0VPS and Derek 2W9FLW from the Swansea and District Amateur Radio Club MC0SDD/P are among many over the years who have left the decision to take part quite late. As Emyr explains, “This was our first ever attempt at anything like this. It was a huge learning experience for both of us. It was also a very last-minute decision to take part. The antenna didn't exist the day before”. After deciding to take part they bought some overflow pipe in B&Q and two tape measures, went back to the office and designed a plastic pipe mount for the elements, 3D-printed a batch overnight and assembled the antenna on the morning of the contest, Fig. 7. They had contacts from Guernsey to Cork so it seems to have worked and they can’t wait to do it all again next year!
Ed Dudley MM0UED was one of many stations active from Scotland this year. Ed says that it was, “My first PW contest entry and was rather last-minute. Hopefully I’ve helped a couple of people get some points, although my logging wasn’t the best. I learned a lot and this has given me something to build on”.
Simon Wheeldon M0SNW/P was another first-time entrant. He says that he didn’t make many contacts but, “Really enjoyed my time on top of the hill”.
Another Scottish first-time entrant in a contest was Stewart Harvey MM0HUF. He says, “I wasn’t able to get my camper van up onto the local hills because the road was closed for repairs so I used a local park car park. I used a quickly homemade Moxon antenna on a fishing pole tied to the rear ladders of the camper so was unable to get the antenna above the top of the trees. I only managed five contacts in the couple of hours I was able to operate.
“I have a problem getting the right words sometimes when speaking and spend most of my time using digimodes to get past that problem so being on SSB was a ‘refreshing’ change for me. I just used a simple setup with a compact netbook and my trusty IC-706MkIIG with cross-needle SWR meter and clock set to UTC. The only other essential kit was my kettle to make the much-needed coffee”, Fig. 8.
For Stuart Hammonds G8VUW/P, it was his first ever contest. It was also his first trip out in his new camper van, Fig. 9. Stuart says, “I'll get a bigger antenna next year and will try to spend less time making tea!” (see photo)
Nick Grundy G4NKV last entered a 2m contest back in 1979. Being semi-retired for the last few months has given him more time for the hobby so he decided to have a go in the contest, Fig. 10. His transceiver had been in its box for the last 18 years but still worked. The antenna had been hung up in the garage gathering dust and cobwebs and required some repairs. His old mast had not been used for some 40 years but after freeing off the corroded bolts, it worked fine. Nick says, “It took a while to get back into the swing of contest operating but it was quite enjoyable”. He will be looking for a better location next time because no signals were heard from the north or east.
One entrant’s logging software somehow managed to produce a log where every one of the serial numbers that he sent was erroneously copied into the corresponding serial number received. Fortunately, this was spotted during adjudication and a replacement log supplied.
One club actually submitted their entire entry using the wrong callsign! It was only when I came to do some detailed checking that I spotted it.
Despite prompts, one entrant managed to log all their contacts in BST rather UTC/GMT. Fortunately, the entrant didn’t make contacts outside the time period of the contest. Radio amateurs throughout the world keep their logs in UTC (which during the summer months in the UK is one hour behind British Summer Time).
Each year a number of entrants lose a few points by mis-keying locators. For example, the first two characters being keyed as numbers rather than letters (such as 10 instead of IO). The use of one of the established contest logging programs would prevent this.
This year the adjudicator’s task was a lot less smooth than usual. There was a problem with entries received from certain e-mail addresses (almost exclusively from entrants with either Yahoo or BT Internet e-mail addresses) not being forwarded from the Warner’s e-mail address to the adjudicator. Many thanks to those entrants who were kind enough to re-send their entries direct to the adjudicator. I’m not aware of any that were missed but apologies to any that may have slipped through the net.
Date for Your Diary
The provisional date for the 2018 PW 144MHz QRP Contest is Sunday June 9th 2019. As usual the event will be arranged to run alongside the RSGB 144MHz Backpackers contest for the benefit of entrants to both contests. Keep an eye on Practical Wireless and the PW Contest website at:
Many entrants expressed thanks to other stations taking part or giving points away. I would like to thank everyone who participated in 2018, and Neill Taylor G4HLX for devising what is without doubt one of the most widely supported single-band contests in the VHF calendar.
This article was featured in the November 2018 issue of Practical Wireless