2017 CQ World Wide DX Contest

Over the weekend just gone (Saturday 28th and Sunday 29th October 2017) the CQ World Wide DX Contest was held.  This is one of the biggest DX contests on the worldwide amateur radio calendar.  The objective is for amateurs around the world to contact as many other amateurs in as many CQ zones and countries as possible.

CQ WW logo_8.jpg

The world is divided into 40 different CQ zones (see map below).  South Australia (VK5) is located in zone 30.


I headed to the shack on each opportunity over the weekend to take part in the contest.  I had a family function on the Sunday which saw me out of action for a good part of the day, and I didn’t make it an all nighter, nor did I get up early each morning (as I planned).   I was hoping to get up in the middle of the night and very early in the morning, but this didn’t eventuate.  The warmth of the bed won.

But in the end I made a total of 377 QSOs over the weekend, with a claimed score of 201,552 points.  No-where near as good as the dedicated contesters in Australia, but a lot of fun none the less.

I worked a total of 75 different countries (DXCC entities).  So much for people saying the bands are dead.  Contests certainly seem to bring the bands alive.

  • 10 metres – 2 different countries
  • 15 metres – 57 different countries
  • 20 metres – 57 different countries
  • 40 metres – 19 different countries

The graph below shows the number of countries worked on each band.

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Countries worked:-

  1. Antarctica
  2. Argentina
  3. Australia
  4. Austria
  5. Belarus
  6. Belgium
  7. Belize
  8. Bulgaria
  9. Cambodia
  10. Canada
  11. Canary Islands
  12. Chile
  13. China
  14. Cocos-Keeling Island
  15. Colombia
  16. Costa Rica
  17. Croatia
  18. Curacao
  19. Cyprus
  20. Czech Republic
  21. Denmark
  22. Dominican Republic
  23. Ecuador
  24. England
  25. Estonia
  26. Finland
  27. France
  28. Georgia
  29. Germany
  30. Greece
  31. Hong Kong
  32. Hungary
  33. India
  34. Indonesia
  35. Ireland
  36. Italy
  37. Jamaica
  38. Japan
  39. Kazakhstan
  40. Kuwait
  41. Latvia
  42. Lithuania
  43. Luxembourg
  44. Maderia Island
  45. Mexico
  46. Moldova
  47. Mongolia
  48. Morocco
  49. Netherlands
  50. New Caledonia
  51. New Zealand
  52. Oman
  53. Palau
  54. Paraguay
  55. Philippines
  56. Poland
  57. Portugal
  58. Qatar
  59. Romania
  60. Russia (Asiatic)
  61. Russia (Europe)
  62. Serbia
  63. Singapore
  64. Slovak Republic
  65. Slovenia
  66. Spain
  67. Sri Lanka
  68. Sweden
  69. Taiwan
  70. Thailand
  71. Tonga
  72. Turkey
  73. Ukraine
  74. United Arab Emirates
  75. United States of America

I spent most of the contest scanning the bands and picking up stations who were calling CQ.  I only spent a short time calling CQ myself.  It was almost impossible on 20m as the band was so crowded and my 100 watt signal was being drowned out by some stations in Europe running a lot of power.

My first contact in the contest was with JI2ZEY in Japan on 20m.  And my last was with VE7RAC in Canada on 15m.  My contact with VE7RAC was in the last minute of the contest and just got me over the 200,000 point mark.

Most of my contacts were made on the 15m band, followed by 20m, then 140m, and then 10m.

  • 10 metres – 55 QSOs (2 zones)
  • 15 metres – 153 QSOs (23 zones)
  • 20 metres – 113 QSOs (26 zones)
  • 40 metres – 56 QSOs (18 zones)

The graph below shows the number of QSOs on each band.

Screen Shot 2017-10-30 at 9.39.00 pm.png

Best DX worked during the contest:-

  • RI1ANC, Antartica.
  • VK9CZ Cocos Keeling Island
  • XU7AJA Cambodia
  • PJ2T Curacao

I also picked up a fe new countries for particular bands.

Below is a map showing my contacts during the contest (courtesy of QSOMAP.org) across all 4 bands – 10, 15, 20, & 40m.

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Above:- Map showing QSOs made during the contest

I made a significant number of contacts into Europe & the United Kingdom on 20m long path and 15m short path during the contest.  The 15m band was again a real surprise, with openings on both days in the late afternoon/early evening into Europe on the short path.  Signals were quite good.  Not as strong as 4-5 years ago, but still pretty good.

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Above:- Map showing contacts made into Europe & the UK

I didn’t make a huge number of contacts into the United States of America, as most of the North American activity I heard was on the 40m band, where I have a very average antenna for DX.  However I did log some of the big USA guns on 40m, and worked a little bit of USA on 15m during Sunday morning.

Screen Shot 2017-10-30 at 6.02.44 pm.png

Above:- Map showing contacts into the USA

I was also really pleased to work some South American, Central American & Caribbean stations during the contest.  Countries worked in that part of the world were:-

  • Argentina
  • Belize
  • Chile
  • Colombia
  • Costa Rica
  • Curacao
  • Dominican Republic
  • Ecuador
  • Jamaica
  • Mexico
  • Paraguay
Screen Shot 2017-10-30 at 6.03.59 pm.png

Above:- Map showing South American  Central American QSOs

The 15m band proved quite reliable for contacts into Asia during the contest.  And late on Saturday morning I made a number of contacts into Japan on the 10m band.  Mongolia (JT5DX) along with Cambodia (XU7AJA) was the most interesting DX worked from that part of the world.

Screen Shot 2017-10-30 at 6.03.45 pm.png

Above:- Map showing contacts into Asia.

I didn’t hear a huge amount of activity out of Africa during the contest, albeit that I did not get up into the wee hours of the night to listen for Africa on the short path.  There were three stations from Morocco with huge signals who I logged.  On Saturday afternoon I heard 5H3EE in Tanzania, but he was tied up with a big pile up from Europe.  It was a shame as he was a good 5/7 signal on the long path.  I also heard FR5DN from Reunion Island on 40m on Sunday evening, but he was not calling CQ, but moving across the band working other stations.

This is a fun contest and a real opportunity of picking up some new countries for your log.

Coorong National Park 5NP-005 and VKFF-0115

Every year in October, National Bird Week is held in Australia.  This year is the 4th year the event has been held.  The celebration of National Bird Week has its origins back in the early 1900s when 28th October was first designated by the Royal Australasian Ornithologists Union, as the first ‘Bird Day’.  BirdLife Australia organises and promotes Bird Week with the goal of inspiring Australians to take action and get involved in bird conservation efforts.

So last Friday (27th October 2017) I headed down to the Coorong National Park 5NP-005 & VKFF-0015 to do a bit of bird watching, and of course playing radio.


The Coorong National Park is located about 150 km south east of Adelaide.  It was to be roughly a 200 km round trip for me (see map below).  I have activated and qualified the park previously for both the World Wide Flora Fauna (WWFF) program and the VK5 National & Conservation Parks Award.

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Above:- Map showing my route for the day.  Courtesy of plotaroute.

There are a few ways for me to get to the Coorong.  Rather than travelling down the South Eastern Freeway I drove down through Woodchester and on to the wine growing region of Langhorne Creek via Wellington Road.  The Langhorne Creek region is traditionally a red wine growing district, well known for production of outstanding Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz.

I continued on until I reached the little town of Wellington on the banks of the mighty Murray River.  It is located just upstream from where the Murray empties into Lake Alexandrina.  The town which dates back to 1840 was named after the Duke of Wellington.  It was the original crossing of the River Murray for people, livestock and foods travelling overland between Adelaide and Melbourne, until the bridge at Murray Bridge was built in 1879.  During the gold boom of 1852-1853, most of the gold escorted by the South Australian Police from the Victorian gold rushes, crossed the Murray at Wellington.

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I crossed the ferry at Wellington, over the Murray, and I then travelled south along the Princes Highway and took the turn off to Narrung, travelling along the Potalloch Road, enjoying some great views of Lake Alexandrina.


As I travelled along the Potalloch Road my attention was drawn to a pair of crows who were chasing a Whistling Kite.  I was fortunate to catch some nice shots of the Kite.

I passed the Point Malcolm lighthouse which is Australia’s only inland light station and the nation’s smallest lighthouse.  It operated between 1878 and 1931 to mark the narrow passage between Lake Albert and Lake Alexandrina.

I crossed the ferry at ‘The Narrows’ and entered the little town of Narrung.  Don’t blink, because you’re likely to miss the town.  There is not much here.


The word Narrung is derived from the aboriginal word ‘Ngnara-rung’ meaning ‘place of large sheoaks’.

I then travelled south on the Narrung Road, stopping every now and again for a few photo opportunities.

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The sand dunes of the Coorong National Park soon came into view.  The Coorong is a 130 km long stretch of saltwater lagoons protected from the Southern Ocean by the sweeping sane dunes.  Over 230 species of bird have been recorded in the park.

First up I headed to Long Point to take a few more photographs and then headed to Long Point which is about 26 km west of the town of Meningie.

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Above:- Aerial view showing my operating spot.  Image courtesy of Location SA Map Viewer.

It was a hot 31 deg C day and extremely windy.  So windy that I could not roll out the awning of the Toyota Hi Lux.  So I bathed myself in sunscreen and huddled as close to the side of the vehicle as possible.  I ran the Yaesu FT-857d and the 20/40/80m linked dipole for this activation.  My power output was 40 watts.

First in the log was Nik VK3NLK/p who was in the Gippsland Lakes Coastal Park VKFF-0747.  It was a great way to start the activation.  BUT my luck was to run out in a big way!  The band conditions on 40m seemed to be down significantly, with signals from Victoria being quite low compared to usual.

I logged a total of 27 stations on 40m from VK2, VK3, VK5 and VK7, before decided to have a listen on the 20m band.  Everything started out fine there, with my first contact being UR5MW in the Ukraine.  This was followed by Hans VK6XN in Western Australia.  Towards the end of my QSO with Hans, a huge amount of noise suddenly came up on the transceiver…..S9 plus.  This did not sound like propagation.  And upon touching the radio I received a static electric shock.  Now I was worried.

The noise was across all bands and each time I touched the casing of the radio I received a zap.  So I turned the radio off and then back on, but it powered itself off after a few seconds.

So this was a very abrupt end to my activation of the Coorong.  Not great timing, with my planned trip away to Victoria and New South Wales next weekend.

And the news gets worse.  I dropped the radio off to a friend who is a radio tech, only to be advised that the repairs will need to be carried out in Victoria.


I worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK3NLK/p (Gippsland Lakes Coastal Park VKFF-0747)
  2. VK2HHA
  3. VK3PF
  4. VK3PAT
  5. VK2YMU
  6. VK7JON
  7. VK3ZPF
  8. VK2HFP
  9. VK3UH
  10. VK2WWV
  11. VK3ZVX
  12. VK3GH
  13. VK3ZD
  14. VK3MRH
  15. VK7ABY
  16. VK7FRJG
  17. VK5MR
  18. VK2SK
  19. VK3SQ
  20. VK4TJ
  21. VK3BU
  22. VK3CU
  23. VK7VZ/2
  24. VK7DX
  25. VK3PWG
  26. VK7DW
  27. VK3NBL

I worked the following stations on 20m SSB:-

  1. UR5MW
  2. VK6XN

I was very dejected at the end of this activation, but did manage some good bird shots during my trip, which you can view below.

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Birdlife Australia, 2017, <http://birdlife.org.au/get-involved/whats-on/bird-week>, viewed 30th October 2017

Cockburn; R, 2002, ‘South Australia.  What’s in a Name?’

Discover Murray Mallee, 2017, <http://www.murrayriver.com.au/paddleboats/river-boat-trail-point-malcolm/>, viewed 30th October 2017

National Parks South Australia, 2017, <http://www.environment.sa.gov.au/parks/find-a-park/Browse_by_region/Limestone_Coast/coorong-national-park>, viewed 30th October 2017

Wikipedia, 2017, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Langhorne_Creek,_South_Australia>, viewed 30th October 2017

Wikipedia, 2017, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wellington,_South_Australia>, viewed 30th October 2017