Monday, July 15, 2013

IARU 2013 - Weird from the start

2013's IARU Hf Contest was weird even before it started; thanks in part to the on-going solar disturbances (K-index oscillating between 2 and 4).  I intended to run an amplified Flex 1500 with my trusty ICOM 7000 as a backup radio.  Unfortunately, the receiver side of the 1500 developed a strange whistle making it unreliable for use in this weekend's radiosport.
The HF2-V installation seemed flawless, at least for the first 5 hours of the contest.   I took a 2 hour sleep break and awoke to find that the antenna would receive but not transmit even though the SWR meter indicated a less than 1.5:1 match on all bands.  Finally, after dark, a flashlight exposed the coax shield making capacitive contact with the vertical driven element.  Insulating it with red tape brought everything back to proper life.
By o6:30z, with less than 7 hours to go, I made up for lost time with some frenetic search-and-pounce on 40-meters followed by several frequency runs on 40 & 80.  On 160 I heard several California stations but could not get enough of an antenna match to work any of them, altho the HF2-V has tuned on 160 before.

This year the number of HQ stations seemed way more plentiful than in the 2012 event.  For some reason I find working HQ stations to be really cool. The W1AW callsign was /4 this year and the NU1AW call was /3.  While running a frequency it was an honor to have HQ stations calling me rather than them just sitting on a frequency waiting for us.

Noticeably missing was Hawaii (I worked only one station) as well as VE4, VE5 & VE6.  Additionally, VK seemed absent as well as BG (China) except for an HQ station there.  There were surprisingly few JA stations this year, continuing my beef that Asian stations seem to be noticeably absent from this year's radiosport events.  Brazil (PP5), Uruguay (CX3) and Columbia (HK3) were the only South American countries I could work.  Surprisingly, Europe was unhearable from my Alameda location, although I did hear EF5 and EA3.  By the time I was able to transmit, those goodies were long gone.

What amazed me this year was the blatant lack of operational courtesy and operating ethics on the part of a handful stations.  It would seem that I was the ONLY station to ask QRL before moving in on a frequency.  One station drowned out other stations to work me and then immediately moved barely 100 hz above me and began calling CQ.  When I moved up 100hz to match him, he disappeared. There was plenty of room several Khz on both sides of me.  Wassup with the 100 hz business?

Despite the horrible atmospheric noise levels, I was amazed at the stations who DiD come thru; especially on 80-meters.   The way things turned out, I ended up submitting a CW only log.

Where were you this weekend?
Did you play in the IARU Championship?
If so, was WQ6X in your log?

1 comment:

  1. As of 17:45z today, the K-Index is STILL 3 and the A-Index has risen from 10 to 20. For some who say this is a weak solar maximum - think again. It certainly is far from the highest on record - about a middle intensity cycle.