CQWW SSB Contest 2000

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CQWW SSB Contest, 28-29th Oct 2000

Here's the detail from the summary sheet and my soapbox comments.

             2000 CQ WORLD WIDE DX CONTEST
     Call used: M4R                             Location: TL53
     Category: Single Op Single Band  Mode: PHONE  Power: 100W
     Callsign of Operator: G4AXX 
     Exchanged Information: 5914
     Hours of Operation: 44:17
     band    QSOs   points    zones     ctys 
     160        0        0        0        0 
      80        0        0        0        0 
      40        0        0        0        0 
      20        0        0        0        0 
      15      885     1549       32      118 
      10        0        0        0        0 
     TOTAL    885     1549       32      118     SCORE: 232,350

     Club or Team Name: Granta CG                   
     I have observed all competition rules as well as all regulations for
     amateur radio  in my country.  My report  is correct and true to the
     best of my knowledge.  I agree  to be bound by  the decisions of the
     CQ Awards Committee.
     Date 31st October 2000  Signature Mark Marsden   Call G4AXX
     Name: Mark Marsden                    Call: G4AXX 
           38 Lambert Cross              
           Saffron Walden,
           Essex, UK

Despite the typically gale-force seasonal wx for CQWW, HF conditions this
year were truly excellent. 

I set up the 15m barefoot station at the airfield on Friday and found the
electric winch wasn't working. I phoned Strumech and work for help, but
couldn't get the mast up, so I left it at 30 feet.

The trailer mast door handle had been modified with four long M6 bolts
through the door, so it was, at last, possible to properly slam the door
shut from the inside.

The band was not open at all at midnight start, so I got some more sleep
before getting off the starting blocks at 0500Z.

Colin G4CWH came to help with the winch on Saturday morning and dismantled
the electrics. After a while he got it working by hitting the motor with a
hammer. The motor had seized.

As the band conditions were so good it was decided it was definitely on
for a good effort even with the antenna at 30 feet, and it was better to
keep the mast low with the predicted gale-force winds. 

Saturday was a day of S&P and checking my rate against last years HP log.
Saturday ended at 2123Z with 495 Q's.

The winds had whipped the rain cover off one of the tent pegs and exposed
my tent's inner mosquito netting to the rain. The tent was flooded and my
sleeping bag was soaking. I slept very uncomfortably on a wet Lilo in a
puddle, fully clothed wrapped in a blanket!

Sunday started at 0500z, I warmed up, had breakfast and a hot shower from
a thermos flask! Propagation was brilliant, at 0800Z I could hear Eu 
stations working JA's but I couldn't hear them, then at 0900Z the JA's 
came booming in at S9+. 

I spent most of the day on 21.175MHz calling CQ. It was near the bottom 
of the S&P LF->HF sweep (as you do in USB). Stations called in, in little
waves, at a rate of 1/minute (never a pile-up - not with 100W) and my Q 
rate steadily rose. By mid-afternoon I knew for sure I had beaten Shaun's
1999 all-time record. I worked VK on both days, and 118 countries!

S9 Rain static affected me around 1700Z on Sat and 1900Z on Sunday. 
Interestingly it was raining heavily before and after the static, I guess
some clouds are charged and some just aren't, hi. As the static died down
I could hear individual charged raindrops discharging into the antenna. 
(the tower was grounded with jumper cables and a guy stake)

2 hours after sunset the W's became unworkable, and the band opened up to
South America. I just called CQ and was called by S.Americans, some of
which were new country multipliers!

Andy G4KNO called me at the tail-end of the very last QSO as the band faded
out. We exchanged news and had a discussion about the new SSB Field Day rules. 

The Army got so used to me phoning them up to open the gate (eight times
in all) that they gave me the number of the combination lock on the gate.

The claimed summary then is:

Band Call  Score    QSO  Zn  Co   Year
L21  M0BJL 199,206  764  33  120  1999
L21  M4R   232,350  885  32  118  2000

Total fuel consumption 32 liters.

73 Mark 

Click on a thumbnail below to see the picture.

The station, very comfortable, it's important. I like to eat seedless grapes during a contest. They're the only food I know where you can still talk with your mouth full, hi!

The tower at minimum height. I tied the coax and rotator cable to the outriders to stop them slapping against the tower in the wind. Everything was tidy and neat. It was a relief not to have to worry about the weather. The station, tower, guys & the antenna were strong, and all set to withstand the elements. I was completely focussed on the contest.

The winch that seized up. Colin got it working after a while but we didn't use it in the end because of the wind.

The winning certificate from CQ magazine.

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