February – 80m Club Contest Side Band

As a novice, I’ve always found contesting to be challenging. Remembering the ‘patter’, the conventions to be used when initiating or responding to contacts, does cause my brain to do somersaults. I’m wondering whether my brain is particularly visual, needing the visual clues in a conversation or even a ‘cheat sheet’ of what to say. I often feel as if I’m floundering on the radio. Added to this my QTH, or location to the uninitiated, isn’t very good for making a large number of contacts and, as a Foundation License holder (an M6), I am limited to 10W output only. So, to have achieved more than 20 in a contest on one occasion I see as some achievement.

Unfortunately, conditions on Monday 4th February were so bad that to achieve 20, or even 10, would have been miraculous. The level of interference was ‘off the scale’. I dutifully sat at the radio for the full 90 minutes, gamely having a go. I did wonder if, having not used my Radio (Rig) for a couple of months and setting it up in the kitchen rather than the loft had resulted in my changing some of the parameters resulting in the interference. However, it soon became apparent that everyone, perhaps excepting a couple of stations on the continent, had experienced similar issues.

My efforts were rewarded. My 3 QSOs, coming as they did at the lower power output scored apparently 59 points each! Not bad really considering the distance from the stations which I successfully contacted were 50yds, 0.5 mile and 10 miles. Even the one that was only 50yds away sounded like he was talking into a bucket in a field probably somewhere across Europe! I am pasting the image of the results below not simply to gloat but because I’m sure this will be the only time I come top of the list in our club.

Next time I’m hoping to go portable as there is rather a large hill just across the valley and, if the motorcycle battery lasts, I achieved 15 last time, so we’ll see…….