CQWW SSB Contest 2008

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25th-26th Oct 2008, Cambridge University Wireless Society shack

The Granta CG joined up with the Cambridge University Wireless Society again for this contest.

There were some good runs in this contest. My favourite was the US opening on 20m on Sunday evening, where I (Mark G4AXX) worked an average rate of 206 QSOs/hour, with the Wintest rate meter peaking at 295 QSOs/hour, exhilarating!

Click here for Dominic M0BLF's write up and video.

Here are the soapbox comments, (by Dom M0BLF).

Contest         : CQ World Wide DX Contest
Callsign        : M4A
Mode            : PHONE
Category        : Multi Operator - Single Transmitter (MS)
Band(s)         : All bands (AB)
Class           : High Power (HP)
Zone/State      : 14
Operating time  : 47h59

           BAND   QSO  CQ DXC DUP  POINTS   AVG 
             160    90   6  48   2      98  1.09 
              80   679  19  86  10    1165  1.72 
              40   597  30 110  10    1256  2.10 
              20  1398  37 133  21    3269  2.34 
              15   352  32 109   3     888  2.52 
              10    19   5  19   0      22  1.16 
           TOTAL  3135 129 505  46    6698  2.14 
           TOTAL SCORE : 4 246 532

Dupes are not included in QSO counts 

Operators       : DL5RB, G3ZAY, G4AXX, G4EAG, G7VJR, M0BBB, 
Soapbox         : A very successful contest for a large team of operators 
		  of various experience levels from the Cambridge 
		  University Wireless Society.  For once this year, we had 
		  no major problems and even the weather was kinder than 
		  in previous years.  A pity that 15m wasn't anywhere near 
		  as good as last year. Thanks for all the QSOs.

Run station: FT-1000MP, DVK, Quadra linear, Dunestar band-pass filter
Mult station: FT-1000MP, Tokyo Hi-Power linear, Dunestar band-pass filter
Antennas: For 160m: Dipole; For 80m: 3x slopers; For 40m: 4-square array; 
For 20m: 4 element monoband yagi at 80ft and TH3 triband yagi at 40ft; 
For 15 & 10m: Stepp-IR 3 element yagi at 50ft and TH3 triband yagi at 40ft
Computers: Win-Test for logging, networked via cross-over cable with packet 
cluster link on 4m.

The Cambridge University Wireless Society's annual entry in the CQ WW DX SSB
contest using the special contest callsign M4A has two principle aims. 
Not only do we aim to maximise our score, but we also aim to encourage newly-
licensed and inexperienced students by introducing them to contesting at a 
fairly well-equipped station alongside more experienced contesters. This is
the reason that we always have very large numbers of operators and this year
was no exception with thirteen people on the rota, of which seven are 
current students.

We are especially grateful this year to Mark G4AXX for providing use of 
Plextek's 85ft trailer mast, to Andy G4KNO for the loan of the Granta Contest
Group's 80m slopers and to Martin G3ZAY for supplying a 4 element 20m 
monobander to mount on the tower.Our increased score this year (up from 2.7M
claimed, 2.3M checked, in 2007) is probably mainly due to this extra equipment
and indeed our 20m QSO total is up over 50% on last

On the downside, it was disappointing not to have good runs on 15m this year
because of propagation and we made less than half of last year's QSO total 
on that band.

Our more experienced operators were, however, able to take advantage of the 
prevailing conditions, with one 7 QSOs/minute minute and ten 6 QSOs/minute 
minutes.  These were rates never achieved in recent years at M4A.

After losing many points last year due to the M/S band-change rule not being
understood by all of our operators, I am very pleased to note that we have a
clean log in this regard this year. 

We were also fortunate that (in the South-East of England at least!) the 
weather for the contest was much better than in recent years and the winds
gusted less strongly than initially forecast. This allowed us to have the 
towers slightly higher than usual. Our commiserations to those in the North
of England who were affected by storms.

The only problem encountered can, as usual, be put down to the fact that 
the station is rather hastily assembled on Friday evening. Such is the 
nature of a student club! We did not have a gender-changer for the serial 
CAT control lead (whose idea was it to use a male on the back of the 
FT-1000MP?!) and so rig control on the mult station was done through more
leads than would otherwise have been necessary. This, of course, proved 
susceptible to RF, meaning that the mult occasionally lost rig-control. 
Hopefully, we will remember that we need to check the cables next year!

The quick installation of the station also meant that ergonomics could 
certainly have been improved. As it was, the mult operator had to lean 
past the run operator to change antennas and the run operator had to reach
across the mult operator to change direction on the 80m slopers, which was
less than ideal. We also found ourselves lacking a PTT footswitch on the 
mult station, and so the 'dah' side of a CW paddle was wired in for the 
purpose. Another thing to consider in the future.

Finally, thanks to everyone for the QSOs. See you next year!

Click on a thumbnail below to see the picture.

We came 1st in England, and 20th in Europe. Here's the certificate from CQ magazine. We lost 8.24% of our initial claimed score after checking.

Dominic M0BLF setting up

Phil M0DEG laying out the guy ropes

There was a new storage unit, more to guy to, hi hi!

Phil & Dom fitting the elements to the 4-ele 20m monobander

Before raising the tower

Winding up the tower

Simon G4EAG winding the winch

Checking the SWR, spot on!

A helicopter flies overhead

The 4-element 20m monobander and 80m slopers

Martin G3ZAY

The SteppIR with the 30m & 40m dipoles.

The A3S

The two towers

Taking N-types off the 80m dipoles and replacing with PL259s

Hugo M0HSW & Michael G7VJR

Hugo M0HSW on mult, Dom M0BLF on run

The 40m 4-square

Dom taking it down on Monday morning after the contest

The tower shortly before lowering it

One set of guys was tied off to a barn

The ropes were tied to a cross brace

The tower lowered

Phil M0DEG dismantling the 20m beam

Christian M0SCH removing the guys

Phil M0DEG taking the 20m boom off the tower

Preparing to leave

Back in the Plextek car park

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