Thursday, 29 November 2012

Empty victory….

Yesterday I received the following wrinkled and wet item in the post. This was for taking part in the CQ WW CW contest in 2011.

I would have been over the moon if I had placed amongst the real contenders in Africa. This obviously was not the case. Very few of the stations that took part in the contest from Africa claimed to be in the assisted class. I cannot help, but wonder why so few contesters claim to be assisted? 

I cannot see why in this day and age anyone would not want to use the DX cluster. Could it possibly be that some are indeed using the cluster info, but submit their logs as un-assisted?

This renders this (my) certificate worthless in my humble opinion i.e. this effectivly means if I want to compete against the Real Mc-Coy, I need to take a step backwards and not use the cluster and that does not make any sense to me.

Maybe it is time to scrap the assisted and non-assisted classes; i.e. using the cluster should not alter the competitive class. Maybe there are too many classes already?

Hopefully, one day I will once again be awarded one of these sought after certificates again and will then  believe that it was awarded in recognition of good performance.

 Food for thought....

73, Pierre ZS6A

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Time to show and tell….

CQ-WW-CW contest 2012

I have been reading a few of the CQ-WW-CW reviews on the various blog sites and I was most impressed at their results they achieved.

I was pretty tied up with work at the moment and only a few hours on Sunday to take part.

The graph below says it all….. 

Even with this dismal attempt I managed to work 3 all time new DXCC entities and 5 new entities on 10m.

I am looking forward to putting in a serious effort next year. Not having great antennas I might have to limit myself to a single band yet again. I must ensure that I am ready with at least one half decent antenna for either 20, 15 or 10m.

There is something very special about CW contests……

This is the first opportunity to put my new Elecraft K3 and KPA-500 through their paces. I think I can honestly say the performance is simply amazing. It has exceeded all my expectations in every regard. The second receiver (Sub) is such a powerful tool. I hope to write something about that soon. It gives us such a huge advantage during split operation that I think once others realize it, it might get banned.

73, Pierre ZS6A

ZS6A CQ WW CW 2012

Sunday, 11 November 2012

The early days….

I was still wet behind the ears and a madly keen SWL on the amateur radio bands, when I had my first introduction to magic and mystery of CW and QRP. I seem to recall it was 1973 or there about.

During the weekly Sunday club bulletins on 7074 kHz Chris ZS2CH would frequently announce himself on CW on the normal SSB net. During the call-in he would again be given his turn to exchange the normal pleasantries. We never seem to see this cross-mode QSO taking place anymore….

At the time transistors will still pretty much state of the art and were not in wide use by the amateur fraternity. My amateur band only receiver was a TRIO-JR500S.  It was a pretty modern and that was an all valve affair not a single transistor.

When I learnt that Chris was using an all transistor transceiver that he had self built I was amazed. Here was this tiny little homebuilt radio running of a few batteries and Chris was talking to the world. I immediately became hooked on QRP and CW.

This is some 40 years later and I still feel the same.

As Larry W2LJ says “do more with less”

I will try and get hold of Chris. Maybe he can provide me with a bit more details.

Have Fun !!

Pierre ZS6A

Chris ZS2CH provided the following info:

I have dug out the QRP rig which I used mainly while caravaning.
I am afraid I had stripped some of it. The audio section has gone, I was never really happy with it.
Just a quick line up.
RX: Direct conversion 40M only with a RF stage and a balanced mixer with
2 diodes mounted on top of
the vfo. The audio section was 3 stages driving a pair of ear phones. No much selectivity there.
TX: A Xtal osc 2n1613 driving a push pull pair of 2n1613's running 1 W output.
The xtals are still 2nd WW surplus, the type you could dismantle!