F/OK4W/P - UHF-SHF Contest 2007 from JN38OJ

           
(please select language version of this extraordinary contest report)

 

After 3 years of planning we decided to take the invitation from our French colleagues and run the October UHF contest from “the other side” again. We had in mind our good contest results in 1994 achieved from the same place, when we beat our “state representation”, so, we were curious, what is new in this area. We hoped, that statistical increasing number of active stations on 70, 23 and 3 cm in France will help us somewhat and our results will be in “top ten” in European classification. But sometimes you think something and life is running in his own way...

 

The Champ de Feu observation tower on the hill top in 1099m asl some 400m far.

The hill called Champ du Feu isn't any special place for contest winning. Hill is 1100m above sea level and hill top is covered by 15m high forest. French hams are allowed to use only one small specified place about 15 m under hill top (QTH is situated in nature park), and Southeast, South and Southwest directions are shielded by hill top with trees, but South direction would be bad anyway because of near higher hills of Vosges mountains. The Northeast direction in OZ direction isn't ideal too as you can check on this picture. However contest site is well opened in OK (in case that antenna is higher then trees) and PA & G directions. Contest site is not electrified and taking power source from GSM base station, about 600m far, is impossible due to local conditions..

Our equipment for 70 cm is for many years practically the same - power amplifier with GS31b tube with 1HP out, one 33el K1FO yagi and DJ9BV 0,4dB NF LNA near to PA. Except transceiver, this equipment was on the hill in UHF Contest 1994. But, in 1994 we were not QRV on 23 cm, but now, we have not only two dishes, two solid-state power amplifiers, but also experienced microwave operator – OK1TEH. And for fun, we mounted on the hill 10 GHz equipment too. Unfortunately we were unable to join the contest on 13cm, because OK1ZAD said before the contest, that he can't go to France due to some personal reasons. At the last time he decided to go with us but his equipment had to stay at home. It was pity decision because we found that for many stations JN38 square would be new on 13cm... In preparation for the contest we had to include power generators and solve the problem with our masts, because getting through the trees required to erect the antennas at least 20m AGL (above ground). The only possible way to solve the problem was 700km long transport of two telescopic masts with a total weight of about 200kg, which in their composite length of 4,5m isn't easy logistical task indeed. Another task was the production of 23cm dishes support that would allowed mounting them on 20m high mast and get suitable 2x 25m long 50 Ohms lightweight coax cables with minimal attenuation. Finally we decided for 1/2" coax cables so on 25m we lose 2,2dB. Unfortunately we didn't use any masthead LNA, because at our home QTH in JO60JJ we have dishes very low on mast so our  6m long 1/2" coax cables are short enough to leave one LNA in the caravan.

After these we were waiting for good weather forecast. If weather prediction will be rain or snow, our trip will be shifted to some next year ... and in this time, on Monday evening, in last equipments tests, our 23 cm PA burned out. Not because of overload but simply because there was some dirty place which caused the penetration of the Teflon PCB and the rest was finished by the "welder" performance of the switching power supply. Fortunately, during Tuesday OK1VPZ reserved replacement of new PTFE printed circuit board by DB6NT (TNX!).

In Tuesday evening we make decision - despite the problem with 23cm PA - we'll take part in UHF contest 2007 from France! Weather promise good conditions, so on Wednesday morning OK1VPZ's overloaded car is going with some parts of equipment for our 100km far contest caravan (overloaded, as well :-) ) and after some another 300km then arrived to our usual contest QTH on Spáleniště (the night is chilly with temperature close to 0 C
°). All others come to hill stepwise up to Thursday morning, like Jirka OK1ZAD, which surprisingly arrived too, but without his 13 cm rig. Before midday we are loading masts, anchors, cables, rotors, generators, petrol ... and cutlery, dishes, and many other things. After this all we are going to long trip on DL highway. On the way we are visiting DB6NT and taking out repaired amplifier (MNI TNX, Michael!). Than followed many hours on the road, with allowed speed 80 km/h, that we are with our overloaded “wagons” rather keeping. At about 7 pm we are finally in Champ du Feu, our destination. Weather is really perfect with incredible temperature in 1100m ASL around +18C!  so we refuse move to accommodation in local small hotel, and decide to sleep in caravan or big tent (thanks for good idea to David OK1RK), bump our first 50 liter barrel of Czech beer, start grill and our group consist of OK1RK, OK1ZAD, OK1BAF, OK1JFR and OK1VPZ enjoy really good times under incredible starry sky.

 

Our power generators.

 

In the morning Lada, OK1DIX with Robert F1OET - our “guardian angel” - finally arrived and during Friday we start mounting our antennas, rotators and masts. Lada OK1DIX while shaking his head says memorable sentence: “what a strange country, flies crawl into ears”. And first problem has just appeared – power generator is not able to regulate output voltage with different load and voltage vary between 150 and 350 volts, what is unusable for our equipment. Fortunately, Robert brings another generator, but without inverter too. But difference between voltage peaks is not so large, so this one will be used for 23 cm and our two little Honda 1kW generators will be connected together and will feed 70 cm with tube amplifier. On 23 cm, where are used switching power supplies in PAs, is hope, that unstable source will be not so critical. We tried to use on-line UPS, but after long way across half Europe, we are finding, that UPS is not on-line type and can't work with motor generator... shame. Luckily weather is perfect during our whole expedition and we can work on hill only in t-shirts, what is for us truly unbelievable during the October UHF contest.


On Saturday after lunch we enjoyed siesta time. On picture from left Jirka OK1JFR and Robert F1OET.

In the afternoon we enjoy coffee time. Indeed OK1BAF's generator is handy just for this purpose only - kettle don't need stable voltage. David 1RK comments that with "coffee for Vee Kay Vee" (VKV is Czech term for VHF). So, we have only one serious problem left – internet. Our cell phones can connect to internet via GPRS, but 24 hours on ON4KST is pretty much expensive via roaming from home mobile provider (about 400 EUR). We are trying to get local SIM card with activated GPRS, but without success. For our hosts isn't problem to order GPRS, but Orange FR is activating this service as far as 48 hours! So, dream about ON4KST chat on 23 & 3cm and long distance skeds fade away ... it means, of course, loss of some interesting QSO's and points in contest. But never mind, mood is still good, and we are looking forward to next contest with hope and optimism.

During whole contest we enjoyed perfect weather. Both high mast are 20m AGL, 3cm mast is 9m AGL.

On Saturday morning we prepared our rig for 3 cm, completed 70 and 23 cm workplace and tried to connect to DX cluster via local packet radio but it's vain effort. Packet radio near Strasbourg died as well as in other areas and countries. Our contest operations will look like 13 years ago during on first visit in Champ du Feu – without DX cluster or ON4KST chat so our results on microwaves will respond these facts.

At 16h UTC the contest has just started. The UHF bands are clear without any signs of QRM from local stations as we know from the west Bohemia. In the evening we start enjoy excellent tropo opening to north England and we worked even some GM stations on the distance over 1000km (just it's pity that activity wasn't bigger). At this time we also get nice visitation from members of F6KQV club. Local radio amateurs are not so familiar with foreign languages, but we have no problem to talk with them thank to our "polyglot" OK1DIX and Robert F1OET, who speaks fluently in German and English, Jirka OK1JFR has fun to meet F1JFR :-). F5NWY shoots the film which can be seen here (61MB) or on Youtube.

On both bands we continue with good QSO/h rate and for many station is our call F/OK4W/p really rare, and if they read “OK4W”, they turn their antennas to JO60 so we lost them in noise..

We said that it's pity that we couldn't sent our announce to QRV list and at KST chat. We wanted to do that on Friday evening or at last on Saturday before the contest however without success.

On 70cm band we're missing second antenna and PA, because conditions are very good to northeast and northwest. We are working several OK/OM stations on big distance over 700km and some of them are surprised how well we get with single 70cm yagi through. We even worked some HA from KN07 on distance over 950km.  On 23 cm it's little bit better because of our two 150cm dishes and Matej OK1TEH enjoy real "contest orgasm" :-)

 

OK1VPZ and Franck F5SE.

In the evening we have nice visitation from well-known Franck F5SE who came to visit us from 300km far Reims and he brings an surprise - a real champagne! I sit with him by the fire and we talk  about remembrance of VHF history during last decades. He remembers all those beginnings as well as various European operators, extraordinary tropo openings, the beginnings of EME, he mentions great number of Czech VHF operators of those days and I'm also pleased to hear about his often visits of our OK2KKW web. We are also talking about Josep EA3DXU and we don't know that he just became silent key.. We're having good times and don't care about the time. Meanwhile David 1RK on 70cm and Matej 1TEH on 23cm are continuing their contest fighting, on 3cm is Lada 1DIX changing his seat with Jirka 1ZAD. After over 2 hours I present Franck to our young Jirka 1ZAD & Jirka 1JFR who had heard just his callsign yet - hey guys, do you know what name is this man who talks with us? No? Well that's Mr. Tonna. Franck is son of legendary F9FT and he come to see us from Reims! Jirka OK1ZAD is truly shocked and surprised with it.

Back by fire I learn for an example the history of popular 16el F9FT yagi, that it has never been counted but result of precise experiments sometime in 1964 and first man who brought it to OK was Jano OK1VJG sometime in the late 60's. And do you know how the popular 21el F9FT yagi for 70cm came to Czechoslovakia? He claimed that it was done over Ondrej OK3CDI (OM3AU), who asked to F9FT for full yagi description for his friend Jano ex OK3CTP how was first EME station in Slovakia in 1979 with 16x 21el F9FT. By the way when we talk about antennas, Franck lost his EME array during Kyrill storm in January 2007, but he is working on his new 10m dish so hopefully we will hear him soon not only via tropo under F6KIF club (note of OK1TEH: we didn't know that we'll work Franck as F6KIF with his 10W on 23cm from Prague on tropo opening over distance of 762km some 10 days later hi).  At last I really appreciate that Franck speaks fluently English, which is currently at a French population, unfortunately, still an exception. TNX Franck for visitation and nice evening chat!

But if you think that everything is running smoothly you are wrong. Some time later Matej run out of caravan and say: Come one quickly something is burning! When I get to caravan, equipment is shut down and I start looking for source of pungent smoke. The problem is identified in the rotator controller for 23cm band. One of relays suddenly broke and during next turning of the dish the power supply went in short circuit - luckily it resulted in burned out cables "only". So I try repair it and finally I succeed. The problem resulted just in blocked 23cm dishes in one direction for something over 1 hour (our dish beam is wide for about 10° for -3dB).

In the evening the French generator suddenly became unstable, the voltage oscillates with frequency of 0,3Hz between 150 to 250 volts. Along with Robert with flashlight we dismantle Solex carburetor and by the time I've started to know the whole French system by heart - float chamber, needle valve, nozzle, diffuser.. However the problem is coming back and back again after several minutes... Matej, unfortunately, these short breaks cost lot of nice 23cm contacts..

 The F6KQV's club members - from left Robert F1OET, F5NWY, F1JFR, F2LU and F8CDP.
 

 

Sometime around 3 hour after midnight I refill Honda generators. I've noticed earlier that one of them often go to stop, but always I turn it on and generator continue in operation. However after last top up gasoline (I used the second canister) it's within a 5 minutes dead like a cadaver.. The same is caused with second Honda too. I succeed to turn on one Honda but I have to open the engine choke (although hot) and soon it begins to oscillate as well as before the French generator for 23cm.. What both types of aggregates have in common? Yet gasoline.. Robert says that it's impossible because he took new gasoline himself. Nevertheless we make decision to change the fuel because our suspicion falls on OK1JFR's black canister. As we haven't any house witch we could use for suck of gasoline - thus I cut off old disused gas pipeline from caravan and I wish Robert "bon appetite". After refueling the Honda slowly start working normally and even bouts of oscillation period of the French generator is extended. Just the last one Honda is still dying time to time.

BTW: On Sunday morning Jirka OK1JFR confess to fact that during last weekend before the contest he used the black canister for diesel fuel...

Significant inversion line on Saturday evening after sunset in the U.K. direction.

 

  Burnt resistor from 70cm PA

Robert went to bed and I'm sitting near to aggregates so it's blowing warm air to me and time to time I turn on dead Honda. At about half past four in the morning David come back, that he saw some strange sparks in the 70cm PA. I restart circuit breaker on the PA and try to make some QSO. Soon I see that  something in PA arc welds! I shut down PA and amazed I watch over the perforated cover on the starting resistor of the HV power supply that it's hot to light orange glow!!! The second Honda is certainly dead again.. I start it again and when I turn it to the car to see it's control LED, I realize that Honda dies when I touch it. During next few minutes I understood why we lost good place in European UHF Contest on 70cm. Honda has some problem with it's position, when it's leaned to one side it dies immediately. If it's on the other, runs reliably. Perhaps too low oil level.. So when one of the two connected Honda dies, the line voltage is broken however in 17 years old PA the starting HV circuit is solved in wrong philosophy: unless circuit doesn't check 1850 V DC on electrolytes, it's automatically switched in starting mode so with resistor in series and because the resistor isn't designed for continuous operation it burns!

 

 David's (OK1RK) shoulders show where you should look for our 70cm station.

It's five in the morning, it's still dark, weather is cold, foggy, everything is covered by the dew. Well really not ideal conditions for begin of playing with high voltage circuits! David is fed up of it and says he would rather go to sleep. For this moment we give up 70cm band according to saying "the morning is wiser then the evening". Just after the Sunrise I dismantle 70cm PA and I find out, that I can't repair it on the hill. While the molten glass is dripping from the resistor, part of the winding is disclosed, burnt, and damaged place was jumped by the arc. Because such a resistor isn't growing on the hill top, in the second part of contest we continue only with 50W out of FT847 :-(  Although the power at the antenna is smaller then we would deserved after such an anabasis, thank to good Sunday tropo propagation to OK we succeed to working nice contacts (for an example SN9D on 848km) however not good enough to break in good place in European evaluation.

 (Some time later we'll find out that we won the UHF contest in France on 70cm and became on the 10th place in European results just some few thousands points below DL0FM, DR5A and PI4GN, I think not so bad results for one half of contest with 50W out :-)

But don't forget that 23cm is still alive and OK1TEH didn't stop fighting, so following report belong to him:


A more detailed report from the 23 and 3cm bands from Matej, OK1TEH:

 The Sunday's look at both antennas for 23cm band. (175x125cm)

For a long time I had been looking forward to run UHF contest from somewhere else than from Czech Ore mountains, last time I participated on similar expedition during UHF Contest 1998 as G/OK2KKW/P JO02. At that time we enjoyed the trip and 70cm band however results of 23cm band were poor. Coincidentally during the UHF Contest 2007 I was going to celebrate my 10th anniversary of my contesting on 23cm band :-) More during year 2007 we won in OK on 23cm almost all main contests so I wanted to give a chance to others dudes too ;-) Expedition was preceded by a long preparation. First step during the Summer was the contest site personal checked by Lada OK1DIX then we prepared and tested all our UHF equipment. Everything seemed to be running smoothly so during the weekend before the UHF contest I wanted to test our 23cm solid state PA with my small 1m dish. On Friday I worked on EME G4CCH and on Sunday I was interested in trying to work my new continent with JA6AHB. This QSO should be the final test before the packing of PA for the 1000km long trip. I turn on PA, checking the bias current, everything seems to be OK so I'm starting to call in JT65C and suddenly after some 20 seconds of period the current drops down, then the pointer start jumping wildly so I switch off PA (the protection and temperature circuits don't register anything wrong.. not surprisingly according to Mr Murphy). After PA restart the bias current is gone. After dismantling the PA the problem is clear: the motherboard was hit by an arc, the explosion of tin covered the whole board and the main RF board is burnt on both sides.. It's Sunday evening and we should leave home just 2 days later.. Well at last we made the full reparation in time with the great help of Michael DB6NT (TNX!) but it was close, ugh. However in the other hand maybe that it was better to happened before the contest at home than on the hill in France. On Wednesday we leave sunny Elbe to Prague with a caravan, having dinner in Krusovice brewery restaurant and finally in the evening we arrived at our little mountain cottage in JO60JJ. Outside weather is usual for October contest in Ore mountains in 1040m ASL: misty clouds, temperature somewhere near to freezing point, water everywhere.. However we continue with getting ready our contest things, we're going to visit Venca, OK1XNG some 30km further to load our two 20m high telescopic masts (one weight 90 Kg), everything must be ready to leave our house in the early morning for the 700km long journey. In the morning we wake up to a typical "Erzgebirge" morning, cold, water, fog (damn who forget to load our stove?). In the morning we have short stop at Venca OK1XNG house who has big hammer for mast's pins and at Michael DB6NT to lift up our repaired 23cm PA and we are on the way!

Yep we are on the way but not so fast because of overloaded caravan and trailer with all the "iron" and both 90Kg masts so we can't go faster then some 90km/h. However the luck stay with us because the roads are dry and traffic is low, time is running fast and in the evening we crossed the Rhine. Meanwhile our second lighter part of club travel much faster and they're some 100km ahead. It took a while before we found each other but we were in good mood. The weather is just like in summer with air temperature close to 23° C and clear blue sky, what a beautiful welcome to Alsace! Over the Rhine river on the French side is plane which is used for growing owine grapes and in the distance of about 50km near to horizon we see the Vosges Mountains with the Champ de Feu hill, our contest place. Especially nice was the city Andlau with the medieval houses with streets full of blooming geraniums. We feel like in a fairy tale.

Upon arrival at the hill we decided to stay for a night because the air temperature in 1085m ASL was still incredible high around 18° C. So we rolled out our barrels of beer, started grill with several pounds of boar's meat, and we had a pleasure evening. What a change to walk in t-shirt compared to cold morning in OK! Next day we start with antennas & masts preparation and time is running like a wild horse. First we make test of SWR on 70cm. It's perfect around 20dB. We looked for beacons from UK, but nothing is heard however PI7CIS is loud on distance about 400km and DB0INN from JN67 is even stronger 599fb. Well we have no appetite to call CQ DX due to fact that Jirka OK1JFR brought some strange fire-water from YO called Hanul Ars. We didn't know that it's little bit psychedelic drink like Absinth so it resulted in the evening party with loud music played by David OK1RK :-)) At this time Florent, F4CYZ arrived at hill to visit us and since that time Jirka OK1JFR has strict prohibition to bring any Hanul Ars to our club for ever ;) Before we go sleep we proposed a toas in honor of smooth contest without any mechanical failures.

The Saturday morning was little bit bleary but we started to completing equipment soon. Promised table for 70cm station had still not arrived so we decide for improvisation with barrel of beer :-) As the barrel wasn't empty yet, some volunteers made a offer to help to "prepare it" for installation in contest :) Luckily table had arrived 1 hour before the contest. We have left some 40 minutes to the beginning of contest and first problem appeared with power generators. UPS is unfortunately useless, voltage from generator quickly vary between 320 and 120 Volts. 70cm's site is solved thank to connection to both 1kW Honda generators and 23cm is connected to the French generator. Another problem was the missing internet connection to ON4KST microwave chat.. Even during weekend before the contest our IT guru N1GA alias OK1DIX promised that internet will be 100 % sure thank to Robert however later we found out that GPRS connection will be not as easy as we thought and when we tried to call at French number of Orange cell phone provider, we were unable to talk with the help-line operator as he wasn't able to speak in English even when we selected English language in the menu.. During our trip across the Germany we tried to solve the internet problem with Florent, F4CYZ, however despite his great willingness (TNX!) and bought SIM card we didn't succeed in GPRS activation.. Help-desk operator final answer on Wednesday! was something like: "of course we'll activate GPRS for this phone number but it will take some time, probably during Monday or Tuesday ...". Well we thought that the Orange services are about the same quality like somewhere in Romania or Mongolia.. The absence of connection to KST chat resulted in lost on 23cm band of about critical 15 000 points and later when we checked the final European results of IARU UHF contest 2007, we were just 13 379 points below DK0OX (DR9A) on the first place but that's the life..

Later during first hour of contest another problem appeared. On 70cm we used new Lada's notebook with Windows ("Hasta la") Vista and all seems to be working fine just before the first generator drop down. Unfortunately the hub was restarted too and new Windows Vista had to be restarted after every disconnection from local area network (it truly wasn't problem of VUSC contest log ;-) Luckily we solved this problem soon by change of hub power supply from the adapter to powering it by Notebook's USB port with internal battery. By the way the 70cm van and 23cm caravan are about 50meters far but it doesn't matter because in our home QTH JO60 we have 70 & 23cm stations over 400m far so we are used to easily communicate for possible sked on such a long distance thank to our VUSC contest log including chat via local area network. More VUSC log include full CAT interface support so David is able to see my actual frequency on 23cm.

F/OK4W/P expedition on 23cm: OK1TEH had stayed waken up for all 24 hours long.

14:00 I start contest on our traditional frequency 1296.215 MHz and first caller is PE1MMP JO21 on distance of 394km. The start of contest is promising, band is quiet without any kind of QRM (what a change compared to JO60 area!) and stations are calling us. Pile up is much smaller then in JO60 near to center of European activity, but it was expected. Before the contest I said that I'd be be glad if we can get over 100 contacts. Well we'll see. In first contest hour I completed 17 contacts, mainly with the local stations maybe also because of the crazy power generator behavior.. The voltage drops down from 240V to 150V, luckily near stations seem to be fully satisfied with our signal quality (I guess another advantage of solid state amplifiers). The power is limited with about 2x 80W so we have about 40W at the antenna feeds because of 25m long 1/2" coax but no complain. Another interesting caller after PE station was F6KPL IN99 with perfect 59 signal on back of antenna, QRB 634km. Unfortunately we didn't hear each other on 3cm. By the way I expected many more French stations to be QRV on 23cm, although the tropo conditions toward Atlantic coast (about 700km far) seem to be above normal. Due to my experiences from the West OK1 during DX openings I thought that even the JN18 Paris area must be full of French stations but the reality was a disillusion.. (I worked just very small number of them even the Champ de Feu hill is relatively close (300km) with very well opened terrain path profile).

16:00 After 40 minutes finally another station over 400km, DK5E JO42 but QRB only about 413km. The first "fruit" is a perfect signal from M1CRO/P  JO01 QRB 571km(wav) and soon followed by G0EWN from IO93FK, QRB 831km(wav)! thank to network sked from 70cm band. Tropo conditions seem to be fine but where are the stations?

At 17:00 I made nice contact with John, G3XDY JO02, QRB "only" 591km, however signal peeked 59+(wav). Unfortunately the 3cm operator is having break at grill side and taking another beer and because I have suddenly nice pile-up, I can't move to 3cm station and when I'm finally able to call John on 3cm, he is gone (KST chat was missed once again). When I get back to 23cm station I see that David on 70cm worked GM3HAM/p from IO74WV on the UFB distance of 1063km and he is asking for 23cm :-) So I turn my 1st dish to GM and second to JO42 area. And suddenly somebody is calling me with strong CW signal and it's really GM3HAM. I send him ask for SSB because his signal is peeking S9 fb however he can't so we finish QSO in CW. He gave me number 001 :-) After arriving at home I found at RSGB web, that he has only 80W in single 55el tonna and the note from contest is "Forgot the mike - Der!! - Good dx sat evening." The GM is followed by another PA station over 450km far.

18:00 The first DX station from East direction is DM7A club from OK/DL border with perfect signal 59+. What's interesting, they are much stronger then guys from DL0GTH (later when I analyzed GTH's QTH I found that they have blocked France direction by an near hill). Then I tune the band and first heard station are guys from OK1KIK JO70, QRB 660km(wav). After final 73 they claim to use only 10W out :-) Next one were guys from Koruna hill OL7M (wav) on distance of 702km with another nice signal, later on back of antenna F6APE IN97 596km(wav) and Claus DL7QY JN59 230km(wav). However I start to have first bigger serious problem with QRM thank to DK0OX (DR9A). The are some 92km far and some 60 kHz higher, however their IC910 with QRO with multibeaming is producing strong splatters about 200 kHz wide.. On the other hand it's nothing compared to some well known dudes from the Ore mountains area in JO60 :o) And the bonus is the missing QRM from any military radar.

19:00-21:00 The hour rate of connections finally stared to rise faster. I make QSO with PI4GN 550km, OK1KJB JN79 QRB 564km from Mezivrata hill followed on the second dish with nice signal by G3CKR/p IO93 833km(wav) and the next SSB caller is Tony, GW8ASD IO83 on 888km (wav), who remained our second longest contacts. At 22:00 UTC I get over border of 100th QSO and 33 minutes later I work OK1KKL (wav) from Kozakov hill. When I remember to their 3m full dish and 100W PA with ideal profile to Southwest, I would expect little bit stronger signal however the distance is 634km indeed. Thanks guys.

The contest period between 23:00 - 06:00h UTC.

This time period is marked by the final problems with the power generators. The generator continues normally, then suddenly it's sound is changing, the voltage start fast jumping between 120 and 300V and I try turn off all the equipment as fast as possible to prevent it from potential damage.. After great effort of the pair F1OET - OK1VPZ we successfully continue in operation. I make nice contacts with Zdenek OK1DFC under his club OL4A, signal is 59+ (wav), QRB 512km (his new second antenna worked fine). One note: I heard OL4A every time when I turned my dish to OK direction as well as DL0GTH and DM7A. Next contact is made with OL3Z JN79 on 556km (wav), they have QTH at Prague's suburb. What next? Another 30min long break for power generator reparation.. When it's on, I completed nice SSB QSO with Pavel OK1VEI (wav) QRB 556km. 10 seconds after the final 73 the lights are off again. Meanwhile I have visitation by David, OK1RK from cold van, who sadly tell me, that 70cm PA is thank to great arc-light show burn out..

On Sunday we were visited by well known F8ZW.

Well opened contest with our main 70cm PA we stop on the edge of about 300 contacts at 02:53h UTC.. Next contact is done after 7h UTC however just with 50W out from FT847.. More the GS31 PA was burnt out just during the contact with SK7MW on distance over 900km, Tor's signal was peeking 59+20dB.. But back on 23cm band. After Sunrise I finish another nice contact with OK2M and signal is booming, so we try them on 10 GHz and finally we completed them as our 3cm ODX 492km. Next station is OK1KUO on QRB 701km (wav) on 1296.220 MHz with another perfect signal. I was little bit surprised because I've never heard OK1KUO on 23cm before hi. The contact with OK1KUO is followed by Tom, OK2PWY, QRB 709km (wav) and from the same hill but different QTH and locator OL1B - 715km (wav). The next 23cm station is surprisingly Riso, OM2TW under OM5M (wav) for my 1st OM on 23cm from France, his signal is perfect indeed. He report foggy and very cold weather. The Sunday morning condx are really fine. Next station in log is OM50KHE club (wav) from Martinske hole hill (1456m ASL), QRB 853km, then OK5Z JN89 656km(wav), several PA stations and OK1PGS from JN69 on 490km. The km average per one QSO jump up fast.

At 09:53h I succeeded in another DX QSO with OL7Q from Lysa hora, QRB 831km and signal is perfect again (wav) so I got points also from Zdenek OK2ZB and OK2PE (wav) on their private callsigns, many thanks chaps! But how about UK stations? This direction remain to be silent even though I keep my 2nd dish in this direction. But suddenly I hear some weak CW signal, is it DL5CM from North Germany? No it's Palo, OM5CM, QRB 820km (wav) (I'm his new DXCC btw). I continue in pile-up with PA0WMX and OK7FA (ex OK1FAX) from OK1KKD club (wav) on distance of some 522km (btw the QRM in audio record is cause by DK0OX). This QSO with OK7FA was interesting too as his QTH in JO60WD is just 500m ASL and Petr used only 6W to his short yagi just 3m above ground. During last hour I work nice random QSO with DK3WG (wav) - Juergen is 681km far followed on the second dish finally by G3OHM/P IO82 833km(wav) and G3SVJ/P IO91 673km and I finish contest with 191 contacts and 67000 points.

I'm very happy with such a result however I know that it could be even better because of lost possibility of skeds on Sunday from 70cm band and missed internet connection to Microwave chat or DXcluster. I'm sure that I would work even some 50 contacts more (I heard for an example SN9D, OK1AIY, OK2VMU and other however our small power about 50W out at antenna wasn't enough, on the other hand we were heard by OK2KRT and OK2KJT). The satisfaction from good result was only little bit spoiled by note at DL0GTH's web. As usual they wrote "we had bad tropo conditions and worked "only" 279 contacts on 23cm" hi.

As we were deeply tired, me and ok1vpz decided to stay one night more at Champ De Feu and after Monday small sightseeing trip across beautiful Vosges mountain we returned at home. The France expedition was really amazing and we are sure that one day we'll be back again.

73 and hope to hear you on SHF again de Matej, OK1TEH
 

The Sunday morning - F1OET and F8ZW are exchanging their impressions of our expedition.

After the pleasure afternoon the time run out fast and suddenly contest was over. Despite all the problems we had great contest and especially our result on 23cm can be considered as quite good and hopefully we also get in front place in French national results. We spent a pleasant weekend with friends, crowned by a beautiful "late Indian summer" weather. The tropo propagation was excellent and we proved that northeaster France could be good contest place for long UHF contacts into OK and OM. The only one disappointment was, as usual, very small activity in Poland, United Kingdom and western France, where the tropo opening was perfect especially in the Saturday evening but we miss the any bigger number of station..

Pity, that we lost our 70cm PA witch could make our result for almost 100 QSO better and that we weren't QRV also on 13cm because many DL stations asked for sked on this band as JN38 square is relatively rare.

Our big thanks belong to the friends from F6KQV club, who released our expedition on "their hill" and especially to Robert, F1OET for all what he done for us and Florent, F4CYZ for his big effort to help us with internet access. Thanks to everyone who called us and we hope to hear you next time!

Greetings by OK1VPZ and whole OK2KKW's crew
 

PS: move from F5NWY can be downloaded here (61MB).                                                                                                   Our EDI logs are online at our web.


UHF Contest 2007 at F/OK4W/p  - results:

 

 


 

 


 

UHF Contest 2007 by F/OK4W/P - movies from OK1JFR (uncut)

 

UHF Contest 2007 by F/OK4W/P - movies from F5NWY

 

UHF Contest 2007 at F/OK4W/P - photos:

OK1TEH's photos:

F1OET's photos: