Monday, October 27, 2014


CQ Worldwide DX Contest, SSB

Call: EA5ON
Operator(s): EA5ON
Station: EA5ON

Class: SOSB/10 QRP
QTH: Vilamarxant
Operating Time (hrs):

 Band  QSOs  Zones  Countries
   10: 1352    34      116
Total: 1352    34      116  Total Score = 484,950

Club: EA Contest Club


For the last 6 years I have operated CQWW SSB as part of the ED5T multi single
team. We love this and have a great time putting on the show.
This year however we had a serious problem right after ARRL phone. One of our 3
towers came down in a storm, bring down our 2 element yagi for 40, our 2 x 4
element stack for 15, and the base of our 160m inverted L. Our team, including
myself, are very busy doing other things right now and the tower is still not
back up yet. So, no antennas for multi single.

In the meantime, my good friend Paul GM0OPK, who has a house near Valencia,
asked if I would be interested in using his newly installed 6 element ultrabeam
in a contest. He is not a contester but wanted to see how his station would
play. I thought about it and since I have been thinking about doing a Single Op
entry for a while, decided to accept his kind offer.

Paul's station is not designed for contesting. It has one single yagi, a TS990,
and an OM2500 amp. Its principally used for DX and ragchewing when he's here in
Spain while taking time off work. I decided that the best way to use this
station for a contest would be in QRP, where I could use the high gain beam to
make up for my very low power, plus use the dual receiver to enable me to call
CQ while doing search and pounce on the second receiver.

Paul was here a month before the contest and I went up one afternoon to discuss
what I would need. I took up a new Yahama CM500 boom headset, which we set up on
the Kenwood, and decided that all I needed other than that was my laptop with
the N1MM logger installed.

A week before the contest Paul texted me to say he hadnt been able to find any
flights but was still looking. I started thinking of Plan Bs but thankfully on
the Tuesday he managed to book tickets and on the eve of the contest I drove up
after a long day at work, set up the PC, moved the furniture a bit, and went off
home for dinner and bed.

A 6am start on saturday, only to be greeted by Paul with bad news: the
Prosistel rotator was acting up and there was no way to get the controller to
tell you where the beam was heading. He had tried in vain to control it with
the PC program but to no avail. So, I turned the antenna while Paul was outside
watching it and when it was pointed on EU, he called me to stop and we left it

A very slow start as usual. Worked a few east med stations and then after a
long and frustrating time of having a VK6 call CQ in my face, finally managed
to make the contact. Then the band started opening and I was able to work UA
and JA stations for a couple of hours, all on S+P. I found out after trying to
call a few double mults in vain that the antenna wasnt where I thought it was,
after that every time I used the rotator I went outside to check the beam
heading visually. Only a few degrees can make a fair difference on a 6 element
antenna so even the visual method wasnt great. Then, an hour later as I was
trying to use the quick reverse feature, the stepper motors got into a fuddle
and started an interminable cycle of changing back and forward. I couldnt get
the controller to respond so ended up pulling the plug and then doing a reset
of the whole thing. It worked fine after that but no idea what had caused it.

At midday I had a couple of hundred QSOs in the log and a number of zones and
countries but missed out on a lot of mults just not able to get through the
pileup with 5w. However when the band opened to the states it was quite a
different story. I was able to work everyone I heard, many on the first call. I
tried running, no real luck until around 7pm when all of a sudden I managed a
run to the US for about an hour and a half. Not the rates I'm used to at ED5T
but I still managed to leave when the band died with 678 qsos in the log and
188.000 points.

At night, I checked the spanish record and saw it was at 852 qsos and 319000
points. Its also the EU record. In spite of my good qso total, the record
holder had managed 34 zones and 137 countries back in 2002 and I was a long way
away from those totals.

Sunday morning was pretty much a repeat of saturday but having the beam under
control meant I was able to work double mults such as VU2, AH2R, and 9M4DX,
plus a few other countries. The band was so crowded that I'm sure many
potential countries were buried in the noise. Running assisted would probably
be a good thing under conditions like that, maybe next year? But S+P was
slower, I had already worked most of the big guns, and had to dig deeper into
the QRM for contacts which then took longer to complete. By lunchtime my score
had crept up a fair bit but was still not close to the record. However once
again in the late afternoon conditions picked up to the states and I was able
to end the run well over the previous record. After a short rest and some food
(I hadn't eaten in 10 hours) I took a tour up and down the band to work all the
south american stations I could hear, adding another few mults to the total.

This contest was a complete and absolute contrast to the last time I tried 10m
qrp in a contest, 2 years ago in ARRL 10m. In that contest, I couldnt make any
contacts at all with 5w, changed to LP, and abandoned after only working 50
stations during the saturday. The conditions this weekend were simply fabulous,
I'm sure the best I've ever seen 10m and probably will take a long time in
seeing again.

Thanks as usual to all that made it happen. For all of those who took the time
to pick my signal out of the noise. To the family for not missing me too much.
And most of all, to Paul and Tracy for coming down and hosting me in such a
great way, it is really and truly appreciated.