Not the CQWW SSB weekend…or shouting Elephant at contest stations!

Over the years, I’ve developed an aversion to having anything to do with major HF SSB contests unless I’ve got at least a beam antenna. Of course, you don’t *need* a beam antenna and you *can* make contacts and good ones at that, with a dipole or vertical and perhaps 100w or less. The trouble is that each contact seems to go something like this

DX Station: QRZ Contest
Me (enthusiastically): Golf Four Victor Xray Echo
DX Station: QRZ the X-RAY
Me: Golf Four Victor Xray Echo
DX Station: Gee Four Vee Ex I you’re five nine twenty eight.
Me (starting to lose enthusiasm for this): No, it’s Golf Four Victor Xray Echo, Golf Four Victor Xray Echo, OK?
DX Station: QSL, Golf Four Victor Xray India you’re five nine twenty eight. What’s my report?
Me (thinking why did I bother….): No, the last letter is Echo, Echo Echo. Like Espana, Ecuador, Elephant (actually, I’ve never used Elephant as a phonetic, but I might now I’ve thought of it)… QSL
DX Station: QSL – Golf Four Victor Xray Echo – you’re five nine twenty eight OK?
Me: Roger roger (Thinking thank heavens for that…) you’re five nine one four. OK?

Disclaimer: I’m not singling out zone 28 stations! I was just listening to one last night. They’re super operators with great ears…

So, you can see that each contact, even with a semi decent setup is a bit of a trial of patience and I have learned it’s not good for my blood pressure. I’m quite happy to accept that I could put up a bigger antenna (but then it works ok most of the time for CW and data contacts) and that perhaps my voice isn’t that clear (well, sorry, I’m stuck with that).

It’s not that I don’t like contests – I love hearing the activity generated, and I love hearing DX coming through from all parts of the globe. I’m inclined to think, though that there is now so much interference and general aggro that anyone with a normal suburban station is unlikely to have a great time in the major SSB events (CW and data are usually better options).

Anyway, that’s a long way of telling you that I didn’t have any contest QSOs over the weekend. Still, I did have a listen on 7MHz last night about 2100z and very interesting it was too. In between the very loud Europeans there was some great DX from the Far and Middle East. JA3YGP (from memory) and 9K2HN were doing great business and good signals on the vertical and there was an Indonesian station coming through too..

Having switched the HF rig on, I listened around a little more. The 5MHz channels were quiet, though I did hear some Spanish fishermen on 5398khz! Listened on 27.555MHz too – someone told me recently that this is a CB frequency that shows activity even when the 28MHz amateur band is quiet. Not much doing there, though I heard some meteor bursts!

It was nice to listen on HF again though. I realise that I have missed playing HF recently, although not shouting Elephant at contest stations!

Tim Kirby, G4VXE, is a regular contributor to and writes from Oxfordshire, England. Contact him at [email protected].

3 Responses to “Not the CQWW SSB weekend…or shouting Elephant at contest stations!”

  • kevin n2kze:

    what you were talking about on 27.555 was what is known as free band to the cb’ers not legal transmitters. My scanner lately has been picking up transmitters on 27.71 from the southern states.

  • Tom K4TOJ:

    This was the first contest I’ve participated in. Aside from the fact that I gave out my ITU zone the first 2 contacts (the 3rd corrected me, oops and sorry!) I felt pretty good with what I was able to do. I walked away from the contest with two key things. One being all the 59s given out. Many QSOs I heard were similar to what you described above. How can that experience be a 59? The other thing I found to be key was submitting the log. It took a while to find something that would work for me in relation to sending the Cabrillo format. Quite frankly, it was a real pain. But now that I know how to do it, I’ll be ready next time.

  • Jon W4JRK:

    Interesting comments which hit close to home. I ran 80 watts into 2 indoor dipoles wrapped around the rafters in the attic. My last contest was run with a kilowatt and 3 elements at 45 feet. Yes, a big difference, but when the smoke cleared, 27 zones, 67 countries in a little over 13 hours of operating. I alwso found that I could work many of them with some patience and sometimes waiting till the pileup had gotten smaller. That said, a great deal of fun wrapped in some new methods of getting points without the “monster rig and antenna system”! I look forward to the Arrl contest coming up!

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