The first year of my return to Amateur Radio contesting (or Sport Radio as it is often known as these days) came to a close for me after the December 144MHz UKAC event.
Overall I have been delighted with the results I have had both as a single op and also the invaluable help and second pair of ears from Paul G1YFC.
My year started late in the season, partly because I was still building a new 144MHz yagi and partly because I did have a few failed starts.
My first attempt in the UKAC was in March. I decided to try operating from the Blorenge as it is a drive on site and I’d planned to set up in or next to the summit car park. That was scuppered by extreme wind and my finding the ground adjacent to the car park was just too rocky to take the guy pegs I would need to have a chance of keeping a free standing mast up in the strong winds. This is what happened to my yagi while still strapped to roof bars on the car:
Myself and Paul G1YFC next planned to give some points away in the RSGB March 144MHz contest and duly arrived on site and set about erecting one of my old DJ9BV yagis. When it came to attaching the coax feeder we discovered a small issue in the fact we had different coaxial connector types and no adapters! Fail.
Finally I did get on air successfully in the April 144MHz UKAC event, backpacking to a site I used to use in the 80s. I managed 3rd in the 10W low power section with 5W from the FT-817 so was pleased I could still do the business under contest conditions. Here is a brief clip from a later UKAC event that Paul took of me, notice the signal report I receive and the fact I am using an FT-817 barefoot (5W):
We were now away and managed to enter all the contests we could attend bar a failed attempt on a UKAC later in the year (wrong battery to power lead adapter, doh!). As the season went on I honed the UKAC station, adding a rotator, new generator to power the rotator (after first using an inverter) and stop needing to use the backpacking battery, and a drive on mast base and scaffold pole. All changes were primarily to make the UKAC station quicker to erect and tear down. The scaffold mast and drive on base making the most significant gain.
Here are the events entered over 2016 with the results and sections where applicable:
Very pleased with EIGHT 1st place results from 13 entries! Also of note is the 4th place result in the Open section of the 144MHz Low Power contest. That event is 6 hours long and up to 25W RF output and any antenna array. Our entry was the 3 hours of the 4th Backpackers event that co-incided with the 6 hour event, and we were using 2.5W and a single yagi ! We did have a fantastic location and good conditions, but still very pleased with that.
Final standings in the RSGB Backpackers series (which was the main goal at the start of the year, along with PW):
Full results table of the 144MHz Practical Wireless QRP contest:
G1YBB station final section standings in RSGB 144MHz UKAC (top 20 from 193 entrants) 14th from entering 7 out of the 12 sessions:
In the UKAC 144MHz section Hereford Amateur Radio Society managed to get 38th position from 105 clubs and groups, but bear in mind that is a one station entry (until some help in last two events) up against groups and clubs with dozens of team members. In 2017 we are hoping to do better!