Well, another Oceania DX Contest has been and gone. This is one of a handful of contests that I always compete in each year.
I ended up making a total of 506 contacts with a claimed score of 311,202 points. Those contacts were made on 10, 15, 20 & 40m SSB. This was up quite a bit from last year when I made a total of 276 contacts.
Equipment used during the contest:-
- Yaesu FT-1000
- 100 watts
- TET-Emtron TE-53 5 element yagi @ 16 metres (for 10m, 15m, & 20m)
- home brew dipole inverted vee (for 40m)
Yesterday (Saturday 7th October 2017), leading up to the contest, the 20m band was in excellent condition on the long path to Europe. I worked quite a pile up leading up to the contest. Sadly, half an hour into the contest my noise floor on 20m went from S2 to S7. This noise seems to come up quite regularly very late in the afternoon here and I have no idea on where it is coming from. So as a result, it put a huge dent in my DXing on 20m. In the end I had to give 20m away, with 33 contacts in the log from Europe & New Zealand, and I headed to 40m feeling hugely frustrated.
Unfortunately my 40m antenna is less than ideal for working DX, but I still managed to work French Caledonia, USA, and New Zealand on 40m. I headed back to 20m at around 0845 UTC to find that the man made noise had gone, but so had the propagation to Europe on the long path. I decided to beam to the north and as a result I worked numerous JA’s, Asiatic Russia, Indonesia, Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, China, Hong Kong, Ukraine, USA, VK6, and VK8.
I then moved back to 40m at about 1000 UTC (8.30 p.m.). It was now dark. I worked about a dozen stations from Australia, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Asiatic Russia, Indonesia, Tonga, and East Kiribati. I heard a number of other DX stations, but sadly my 100 watts and the dipole were just not cutting though.
It was approaching 1100 UTC so I headed back to 20m and found that the band was starting to open up on the short path to Europe. The previous few nights I had been on afternoon shift at work, arriving home at around 1300 UTC (11.30 p.m. local time), with conditions short path to Europe being quite good. Sadly, conditions during the contest were not quite as good as previous nights. However I did have a good run of Europeans, South East Asia, the Sub Continent, and Middle East stations coming back to my CQ call.
I called it a night at about 1530 UTC (2.00 a.m. local time) with a total of 225 stations in the log.
On Sunday morning I made my way out of bed at about 10.00 a.m. and headed back to the shack. There wasn’t much happening on 20m or 40m so I had a listen on 15m and found the band open to Japan and South East Asia. I logged a little over 60 stations.
At about 0200 UTC I tried my luck on the 10m band which was wide open to JA, but sadly there were not a lot of stations to be found. I logged just 10 stations before heading over to 20m. It was too early for any propagation to Europe but I did log a little over a dozen stations from VK and ZL. I then flicked between 20m and 15, working stations from South East Asia, USA, Australia and the Pacific.
Just before 0400 UTC I headed back to 40m and worked about 26 VK’s with conditions there being very good. I then head a listen on 10m and 15m again, but stations heard there were quite low, with propagation to South East Asia dropping quite dramatically from earlier in the day. I did hear VK9XI on Christmas Island and tried in vain to work them. Almost, but not close enough!
At around 0500 UTC (3.30 p.m.) I moved back to 20m. The band was just starting to open up on the long path to Europe, with a dozen or so Europeans logged, and also VK and Tonga. I again moved back to 40m and logged a handful of VK’s, waiting for 20m to open up.
At about 0600 UTC I headed back to 20m and found that the band was really starting to open up now on the long path to Europe. Sadly conditions were nowhere near as good as the day previous. I also experienced a lot of QRM making it very difficult to pick up the weaker stations. Fortunately, the terrible noise I often experience on 20m was not present. There was at least one blessing.
At around 0700 UTC I decided to have a listen on 15m and I am very pleased that I did. The band was not only open to JA, but I worked a large number of stations on the short path into Europe. Although the European signals were not super strong, it was really pleasing to hear Europe coming through.
At 0800 UTC, the end of the contest, I had 506 contacts in the log.
I worked a total of 55 different countries during the contest. the following countries were logged:-
- Aland Islands
- Asiatic Russia
- Czech Republic
- East Kiribati
- East Malaysia
- Hong Kong
- New Caledonis
- New Zealand
- Northern Ireland
- Slovak Republic
- South Korea
- United Arab Emirates
- United States of America
- West Malaysia
Points to come out of the contest for me:-
- get a dedicated antenna for the 80m band. I do not have an antenna for that band so I missed out on any contacts on 80m.
- Get my Heil headset fixed so I can use it in conjunction with the foot pedal. I used the desk mic for the contest and as a result, have a crook neck.
- Arrange for a voice recording. Calling CQ all day long is not a good thing.
- Get motivated to do my upgrade so I can run some more power.
- Continue to look at a potential QTH move so I can get a more substantial antenna up in the air for 40m.
Thanks to everyone who called and thanks to the Oceania DX Contest Committee for another great contest.
I take my hat off to some of the VK big guns I heard during the contest, including VK5ARG, VK4HH, VK4NM, VK4KW, VK2AU, VK2XZ, VK6NE, and VK4FG. Good luck to everyone who entered.