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G4AXX

CQWW SSB Contest 2006



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28th-29th Oct 2006, Isle of Man, SC 265 710.

In October an appeal was put onto the UK Contest reflector for more operators for MD4K. I responded and arranged to meet with Dave G3NKC at HFC. Also joining the usual MD4K team, the Manx Kippers, this year were Stewart G3RXQ, Ian G0AFH and Goran S55OO.

This was my first time in a multi-multi station. I was asked to provide the 80m station.

I used my new FT2000 for its first contest outing, and borrowed an Alpha 91b linear from Dave G3UEG.

The MD4K team had wanted to improve their 80m capability over previous years and had bought two new 18m Spiderbeam poles and a Comtek PVS2 antenna array switch for an 80m phased array.

This arrangement, with two Beverage antennas East and West, made for a very good 80m antenna setup.

This is our score breakdown by band, after a 7.7% UBN correction. This put us in 4th position in Europe.

     Band  QSO  Qpts  Zn  Cty    Score  
     160   935  1042  11   65    79192 
     80   1268  1352  16   82   132496 
     40   2811  3264  31  117   483072 
     20   2442  3712  39  154   716416 
     15   2133  2610  30  134   428040 
     10   1669  1833  21   93   208962 
     ----------------------------------
     All       13813 148  645 10953709  

Click on a thumbnail below to see the picture.

The ferry in Heysham dock, the Ben-my-Chree.

Here's a better photo. The Ben-my-Chree was built in 1998.

In 2004 she had a 1.5m refit to expand the passenger capacity.

Passenger capacity is now 500, and the vehicle capacity is 275.

The Ben-my-Chree is 125m long and has a typical cruising speed of 19 knots.

Out of Heysham harbour into the Irish Sea.

How it looks from the air, on a fine day.

Another ferry, crossing from Ireland.

Four hours later, the Isle of Man, looming out of the cloud.

We stayed at the QTH of Robert GD4GNH.

The barn is an equipment store, well-equipped workshop, a large amateur radio library, and a multi-multi station.

The view to the South East, towards Wales, further round to the right is Cornwall.

The view to the North East, towards England and Scotland.

Robert's station is often used for VHF, UHF & microwave DX and contest work.

The tower to the left of the house was used for the 40m Yagi.

The tower to the left of the barn was used for the 10m Yagi.

We slept in the house, cars and a nearby B&B.

The view North, not such a good take-off, but most other directions are good.

Motorbikes were heard screaming down this road.

Robert's nearest neighbour.

The barn from the road.

Certificates adorn the shack ceiling.

Setting out the new 18m Spiderbeam poles for the 80m phased verticals

The phasing lines were each 0.25 wavelength RG11 and fed to a Comtek PVS-2. The verticals were driven East, West or broadside N-S. The front to back ratio was good, about 20dB, e.g., Eu signals dropped by 3 to 4 S-points when beaming to the US.

The base of one of the 80m verticals. The gain was probably less than 3dB because the earth mat could have been better.

The poles were guyed at sections 4 & 8 of 12.

My Dad, winching up the 20m Yagi.

Andy GD0TEP working on the 40m tower.

The 40m Shorty Forty with the 20m 4-ele Yagi in the background.

The antenna farm, L-R, a VHF yagi, 8-ele 10m Yagi, 60ft support for 160m dipole (foreground), 40m Shorty Forty and the 20m 4-ele Yagi. The 80m verticals are out of shot to the right.

Setting up Win-Test and the radios before the contest. L-R, Dave G3NKC, myself Mark G4AXX, Ian G0AFH & Goran S5500.

Thursday evening at the White Stone in Ballasalla. L-R Mark G4AXX, Peter G4MJS, Dave G3NKC, Robert GD4GNH, Stewart G3RXQ, Andy GD0TEP, Martin G4XUM is out of camera to the right.

The 80m station, FT2000 with a Microham MicroKEYER behind the radio. The Comtek vertical array control box is on the Alpha 91b. The new Beverage control box is above the Heil headset to the left of the FT2000.

The contest under way. L-R, Ian G0AFH on 10/160m, Mark G4AXX on 80m, Goran S55OO on 40m. Conditions were much better than expected. 10 & 15m were especially good for the bottom of the cycle.

Ian G0AFH 10/160m, Stewart G3RXQ 80m, Dave G3NKC 40m. Stewart wrote the software for the IW3HEV Vector Network Analayser that we used to measure the quarter wave 80m feeders.

Peter G4MJS building the score on 20m.

Martin G4XUM on 15m. Martin used to be Chairman of the RSGB VHF Contest Committee.

Tear down after the contest, Dave, Peter & Stewart, dismantling the 10m Yagi.

Putting the Yagis back into the roof of the barn. At the top of the stairs, Robert, Martin's son (8), Stewart, Dave & Goran.

My Dad lives on the island so after the contest we went for drive round the island. The Isle of Man is 32 miles long and between 8 and 15 miles wide. It has a beautiful coastline, such as Groudle Glen shown here.

Early on Tuesday morning Dave & I got back on the ferry. For me it was another 5 hours drive to Essex, a round trip of 550 miles.

unique visits since Nov 2005