CQ WPX CW Contest – May 2023
This weekend (27th & 28th May), one of the biggest events of the SRS Contest Group’s calendar will be taking place, CQ Magazine’s ‘WPX’ CW (i.e. Morse Code), which will run from 1am on Saturday till 1am on Monday morning, UK Summer Time.
For this contest – a first – there will be two different stations on the air, each using an SRS club callsign: G8SRS and M5MDX, and not G5O, as we would normally. Each station will submit its own log for adjudication. The reasoning for this unusual arrangement is that these two calls have relatively rare prefixes (G8, M5) and, given the rules of WPX (where prefixes count as multiplier credit), will give a greater incentive for stations make contact with us.
The QTH is ‘Common Barn Farm,’ off Smith Lane, nr Rainow, if you want to pop in and see what’s going on.
Having two stations will, in theory, allow for us to make double the usual number of contacts, overall, as each station can contact another only once per band.
Please feel free to make contact with either station but, if you do so, please work at least three other non-Contest Group stations, so that we avoid a raised eyebrow by the adjudicator for working a station not in any other submitted log. Also, you’re welcome to ‘spot’ us on a ‘cluster’ (e.g. DX Summit) but, then, please spot a few other stations, too.
When we are calling ‘CQ’ (i.e. ‘running’), you should be able to find our frequency using the Reverse Beacon Network (RBN). Given the scheduling of operators, G8SRS is most likely of our two stations to be running and, therefore, be either manually spotted or detected by the RBN.
If you are learning CW, WPX is a great opportunity to practice copying both station callsigns and serial numbers.
The equipment at the site, summarised by band, include:
40m: Dipole + Delta Loop
20m: Mono-band Yagi + TH-5 multi-band Yagi
15m Mono-band Yagi + TH-5 multi-band Yagi
10m: TH-5 multi-band Yagi
All bands are likely to be open for at least some time during both of the days of WPX.
Hope to make contact with you.
Pictured below is the hill top contest site and on the right Carsten G0SYP hard at work on the Saturday operating G8SRS.
When the plug was pulled M5MDX had 1,885 contacts in the log, whilst G8SRS had 1,379 contacts. We await the results in due course.
CQ WPX SSB Contest – March 2023
March, the month which sees the dawn of Spring in the northern hemisphere and for our contesters the month which sees the start of the contesting season with one of the planet’s biggest events occurring over the weekend of the 25th & 26th.
This year preparations have been hampered by the inclement weather conditions earlier in the month leaving a heavy covering of snow at Common Barn Farm, the group’s hilltop site. However, whilst a thaw has meant saying goodbye to the snow it has left the field somewhat soggy.
The week before the event sees preparations reach their peak with the antenna farm apparently growing from the ground and the operating caravan transformed into the bridge of the Starship Enterprise in readiness for the weekend’s exertions.
With thanks to our onsite reporters we are able to give you a feel of the events as it unfolds.
Date: Monday 21st March 2023
Bernard G3SHF Reports:
Monday saw Pete M1PTR, Kieron M5KJM and myself at the farm to position and level the 2 trailer towers with our 80ft masts.
This was hampered without the use of our station spirit levels.
(We tried the Iphone’s spirit levels, but clearly we needed a training course.)
Date: Tuesday 22nd March 2023
Bernard G3SHF Reports:
Today the Buxton Mast was dressed with guys, halyards, coax’s, control cables and a 4 element 20 m yagi.
At around 3.00 pm the tower was cranked by Dave in a fierce SW wind, getting dipole pulleys to about 66 ft and our wide spaced yagi to about 70 ft. SWR checks quickly showed 1:1 SWR across most of the 20m band.
Tomorrow’s work will include completing the Buxton mast antennas and making a start on the Worcester mast and antennas.
Tom M0DCG Adds:
“Five of us (Bernard G3SHF, Kieron M5KJM, Pete M1PTR, Dave G0LZL and Tom M0DCG) got to work on putting our station together for the CQWW WPX contest this coming weekend.
It had been decided to concentrate at first on getting the Buxton mast up and running, to give us a basic station, and then to transfer effort to the Worcester mast.
The plan for today (Tuesday) was to have the Buxton mast fitted out with our Cushcraft 40m dipole, the 20m four element monobander plus sufficient halyards to take dipoles for 160 and 80m and a fan dipole for 15 &10m.
The 2 trailer masts had already been positioned and levelled on the field, aligned towards “true” north correctly so work could begin immediately, driving stakes, fitting guys, halyards, etc.
Since the caravan had been used over the winter months for the storage of much of the bulkier bits of the station make-up, some time was spent transferring items not required for this contest to the club trailer parked nearby.
Although we had little in the way of rain throughout the day, very high winds made work on the Buxton mast difficult and slowed us down. We did however succeed in mounting the monobander and 40m steerable dipole on the mast,along with 3 halyards for our wire antennas. While these jobs were in hand, work continued wiring up the sets in the caravan.
Because of the high wind, all five of us had to be in attendance as the mast was first luffed to 25ft, then cranked up to operating height (66ft).
We had hoped we might have had the wire dipoles up and tuned before our departure, however because we were slowed earlier by high winds, those jobs will have to wait until Wednesday.”
Date: Wednesday 22nd March 2023
Tom M0DCG Reports:
Report for Wednesday……
“Today was frustrating with progress again appearing slow at times. The weather continued to be inclement with high winds making antenna work difficult.
Fortunately the rain stayed away and we did enjoy a little sunshine!
In the caravan, following repairs to a monitor, the computers, networking and internet connection were set up successfully however we continued to have problems with the linear amplifier on one of the two stations.
Work started on the Worcester mast however progress was frustrated for a time due to continuing problems with the rotator. However, with the aid of Pete’s “magic local rotator control box”, we were able to determine that the fault was not with the rotator but somewhere along the feed cable. Continuity checks then quickly identified a fault in a multi-pin connector plug. After repairs the rotator is now working correctly and work started assembling the 10m and 15m monobanders on the mast. We still have considerable work to do on this mast tomorrow.
Progress was better on the Buxton mast where we succeeded in completing the work remaining from yesterday, raising the top band and 80m dipoles. Both these tuned satisfactorily. A fan dipole covering 10m and 15m was also raised. This tuned satisfactorily (and a Turkish station on 10m was worked!).
In summary, considerable work remains to be done on the Worcester mast and in the caravan, however given luck we may still complete by the end of Thursday.”
Date: Thursday 23rd March 2023
Tom M0DCG Reports:
Thursday at the farm started with lots to do as we were behind schedule due to continuing weather and equipment problems. High winds gave us problems for much of the day with tangled guys, halyards and wire antennas. Soon after starting work on the Worcester mast we were forced to take shelter while heavy rain showers passed.
After fitting the 10m and 15m monobanders to the Worcester mast we began luffing and were surprised when the winch motor started up by itself at one point, dropping the tips of the antennas into the mud. Fortunately no damage was done to the equipment! We concluded that the winch control switch had become waterlogged in the rain, causing it to short. After the mast had been raised to full height and guyed, an 80m dipole and a 40m delta loop were added and tuned to give us our full complement of antennas.
In the meantime intensive work continued in the caravan, trouble-shooting problems associated with the operation of one of the transceivers and its associated linear amplifier. A fault was eventually traced back to a band-pass filter and the problem corrected to give us a fully functional two-mast station with two transceiver/linear amplifier set-ups covering the competition bands between 10m and 160m.
In summary, after getting off to a slow start due to the weather, work today progressed much quicker than anticipated and we found ourselves by mid afternoon with enough time for a brief training session before we called it a day.
Date: Friday 24th March 2023
Andrew M0AQM Reports:
Its not only the team making preparations for the weekend.
Andrew M0AQM posted on our WhatsApp channel advising his station is ready for the weekend’s battle.
Date: Saturday 25th March 2023
Nigel G0RXA reports:
A quick visit to “base camp” at Common Barn Farm this morning produced some photos of the antenna and station setup.
Date: Saturday 26th March 2023
Kieron M5KJM reports:
Just before the plug was pulled, the final scores on the doors was:
…..to be continued….