Monday, February 11, 2019

PACC 2019 review

Event: PACC 2019
Section:  Single Operator Low Power  All Band SSB
Logger: N1MM+ newest version
Station: Icom IC-706 MK2G 100W
Antenna 1: Inverted-V apex @12m
Antenna 2: Butternut HF5B @14m
Antenna 3: 3 band endfed @groundlevel

The most important (for me at least) dutch contest is over for this year. Just searching the archives for last years score, it was a better score compared to this year. No progression, I guess this is the limit of my station at this moment. If I want to have a better score the only way is to improve my antenna for 20m. The HF5B did a great job on 15m, as soon as there were slight conditions I could make the contact, it gave me some extra multipliers.

Some things I notice this year:

- Some spots that appeared on DXheat cluster didn't show in the bandmap of N1MM+. Most spots did, only a few didn't. I checked if I had any filters on or some adjustment wrong but so far I didn't find anything. Conlusion: it pays if you keep an eye on a second DX cluster.

- It could be propagation but even when I was spotted (I was spotted 10 times) there was no follow-up pile-up like last year and the years before. Didn't anyone hear me? Or was it just a lack of stations? In the end I had 40 QSO less compared to last year on 80m which is my "money" band.

At least one multiplier will not count, EP2C (Iran) was not giving serial numbers in the contest. I worked him on 40m which was nice but not counting in the contest. In my heart I'm more a DXer as a contester. Wrong attitude to win a contest :-).

But I worked some interesting DX and they were giving progressive numbers for the contest. Sometimes it was just a matter of asking. Propagation not good? Well indeed, but for "low sunspot" standards some pretty nice things happened. I worked 3 times USA on 80m and K3ZO was even coming back on my CQ. Last year I didn't work across the ocean on 80. On 40m I worked K3ZO as well just like a few others from USA. I checked 15m and 10m regularly and found 15m open for a few minutes on/off. OD5VB and A41NN and a few russian stations made it in the log.

The endfed was setup as spare antenna, actually it was quite good. Though the large wind was a problem this weekend, it kept sliding in no matter what. Tried some tape to hold it but that didn't work. I made some QSOs with it but that was all. I noticed 20m receive was just as good as on the HF5B beam, a confirmation that I should improve something on that band. On 40m it was sometimes better sometimes worse but most of the time receive was equal to my inverted-V. SWR was great and it worked well with 100W SSB although the antenna is made for QRP use.

Less off time compared with last year. I went to bed for about 3,5 hours. This contest might be interesting to do for a continuous 24h participation in CW but for the SSB section it hasn't much use. You better get some sleep to have a fresh mind in the early morning. 

Worked 47 DXCC, one more compared to last year. No south-america or central america, no Australia or Africa. I heard PJ4DX but so far he only appears to do some S&P and almost got a QSO with a VK2 but it didn't happen in the end.

I was up at 5 UTC in the morning, even that is too early...I made only 4 QSO, one every 15 minutes of calling. But you never know of year it could be different. Made 7 last year at the same time. Best time was 20 UTC on 80m, almost like every year. Though last year my best time was at 18 and 21 UTC. The most difficult thing in this contest is what band to choose at daylight. I sometimes felt like I was on the wrong band at the wrong time. The problem is that every year is different. The only thing that works is to be at 80m at saturday evening for some extra QSOs.

Then the CQ WPX RTTY contest at the same time. It's the same every night 40m is only usable from 7100 and up, below that frequency it is full of RTTY sigs. Another disadvantage is that most big contest stations and well known contesters participate in the RTTY contest. It's a pity...I don't think it will ever change since the date of the PACC contest is always the same since decades. We have to make the best of it as it is.


  1. Good afternoon Bas, very good score in the contest. I was just listening to the contest on an internet SDR site in the morning while having my coffee. The SDR station was in Ottawa and I was able to hear lots of stations from the Netherlands. This weekend it’s the ARRL DX CW contest for me.

    1. Hello Mike, if I have some spare time will try to make some QSQs in the CW contest. I always hope to work you some time. 73, Bas

  2. Very well done, Bas! It's nice to see someone making the effort that you do. As for the fibreglass tube, the best way is to either use the Spiderbeam clamps (or make your own - all the components are readily available for much less money), or wrap tape two times immediately above where one section meets the other, and then a couple of additional wraps that spans both sections. I tend to think the low in the sunspot cycle is in its dying month or two...

    1. Hello John, it was hard work for shure. In time we will see what place I managed to get. Last year I had second place in my section which is the largest section by the way. I know the clamps and will look for it to make them myself. The tape is not a good idea since I use the mast for /P operation as well. 73, Bas

  3. Hallo Bas, Nou je hebt toch prachtige resultaten geboekt. Het zal best wel hard werken zijn geweest maar de resultaten liegen er niet om.
    Wat betreft de EndFed, deze kun je ook gewoon een paar slagen om de mast wikkelen dat gaat ook goed. Zoals je weet werk ik op HF hoofdzakelijk portable en gebruik 95% van de gevallen met een EndFed. Hierbij sla ik ook de antennedraad een paar maal om de mast en dat gaat uitstekend.
    73 Hans, PE1BVq

    1. Hallo Hans, ik heb geen idee of het een goed resultaat is. We zullen zien na de uitslagen. Ik had de draad in eerste instantie er omheen gewikkeld maar doordat de mast steeds in elkaar zakte ging de draad er weer vanaf. Op gegeven moment was het snel naar beneden, mast omhoog, weer voor de radio. Heb er geen aandacht meer aan besteed. Maar qua werking is het gewoon een prima antenne en er kan gewoon 100W SSB op. SWR was ook prima. Ik zou hem bijna boven op de mast plaatsen ;-). 73, Bas


Thanks for your comment. Bedankt voor je reactie. 73, Bas