This page was last updated
The contest season started with cold weather and snow, something we aren’t used to have in March. Several
scenario's were considered, going from skipping the contest, to reduced setup plans etc ... When we arrived
at the contest site on Saturday morning, the world was completely white with snow. When Marc, ON4AMX,
arrived with the shelter, at first a few snowballs were thrown around, the child is still in us, hi hi!
The contest group started to build up the antenna masts when Hans and Christophe showed up. The first decision
to be made was: what kind of set-up we will make. Because of the friendly whether (cold, but no wind and a
beautiful uprising sun) we decided to go for the complete setup. Half an hour before the start of the contest,
everything looked "ready to go"! But some ‘minor’ problems popped up: the voice keyer for 70cm didn't work
properly, little to no power on 70cm and 23cm. The output on 70cm was rapidly restored; we had forgotten to
switch on the power supply for the amplifier! Getting output power on 23cm was a bigger problem; after several
tests it turned out that an N-connector was cut from the power amplifier PCB. Soldering in the open in
freezing temperature was a challenge. Saturday evening, around 21.00h, we experienced another problem: the
AC power went down! Due to the use of electric heating a thermic fuse had opened on a cable-roll. Solution:
use a separate cable for the heater. Within about 15 minutes we were back on air! During the weekend all
the systems worked more or less fine. A nice contact at 24 GHz with PI4Z was welcomed by the whole group.
During the contest some improvements for the station were identified e.g. on the microwave mast we saw that
some of the dishes had moved, so they weren't properly aligned anymore. The 13cm dish had an angle difference
of about 10 degrees to the other dishes! Sunday afternoon: time to pack again! The snow had melted, but now
there was a strong cold wind. This made it difficult to loosen screws, but the cold gave us also an extra
stimulus to work quickly! The WHOLE station, from masts to shelter, was packed in 1 hour and 40 minutes!
We've never been so fast to go to our warm houses, hi hi hi!
Overall conclusion: During the weekend the weather was better than expected at the outset, but the conditions
for propagation were as bad as predicted. During our preparation meetings for the next contest we will discuss
what went well and what should be improved for the following contests, and for sure improvements are needed…
Hope to hear you during the next contest with an even stronger signal.
73 from JO20KW
The contest group ON4SHF
Jerry, Erwin, Hans, Christophe, Peter, Karel and Kevin.