CQWW SSB Contest 2002

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26-27th Oct 2002, Debden Airfield TL 559 348

This contest was an all-out attempt to use everything at my disposal to make as many contacts as possible. But mother nature had similar ideas, wind speeds were measured at 74 Knots, that's 137 km/h or 85 mph, "hurricane-force", so battle ensued!

Here are my soapbox comments.

Call: M4R 
Operator: G4AXX 
Club: Granta CG & CDXC 
Class: SOSB 14 HP Assisted 
QTH: Debden Airfield, Essex, 
Locator: TL559438, JO01DX 
Operating Time: 38.5 hours 

QSOs 1207 
QSO points 1842 
Zones 32 
Countries 109 
Multipliers 141 
Score 259722 

Homebrew 4CX1000A linear (blew up on Sunday afternoon) 
Homebrew 3 ele yagi at 62ft 
5kVA Belle G09 petrol generator (used 44 litres of petrol) 
4m packet link to home QTH in Saffron Walden getting internet DxCluster spots 


Quite some weather to be on an exposed hilltop for 4 days. I'd checked a few 
websites for wind speed predictions and was prepared so I set up the tower at
only 62 feet and guyed it down very tightly. 

An ear infection kept my left ear blocked throughout the contest. 

On Saturday the rotator slipped and the beam swung round to the East by about 
100 degrees making pointing the antenna quite challenging. 

The storm really got rough on Sunday and I lost half of the reflector at about
10am, a fishing pole split. At about 2pm the director spun around so it was 
nearly cross-polarised. 

At 3:45pm on Sunday afternoon the power output of the linear dropped to 200W,
there was a burning smell so I switched it off and went barefoot till the end
of the contest 

By Sunday afternoon the rotator was slipping badly, the thick scaffold pole I
used is deeply scored. I just couldn't turn what was left of the beam. 

Even with just 100W, the antenna damaged (my signals must have been down by 
about 10-15 dB) and no way to turn it, I managed to work a surprising amount
of good dx. 

Monday morning had a glorious sunrise, the sky was clear, bright winter sun,
no wind, beautiful. I took from 7am to 2pm to tear down the station in a 
post-contest euphoric afterglow state of mind. 

73 Mark G4AXX 

Unfortunately a computer hard-disk crash, after the contest, meant I lost a lot of photos of this event, but I did manage to recover these two.

Click on a thumbnail below to see the picture.

The broken 20m monobander at 62ft. It was interesting to push everything to the limit and see what breaks.

The director and reflector are wire elements supported by fibre glass fishing poles.

Here's the certificate from CQ magazine.

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