Monday, December 16, 2019

#10m ARRL contest 2019 review

Well, this was a very busy weekend. First of all I promised to install a christmas star in the antennatower. I had the idea to use a multicolor LED strip in the form of a star. I found a reasonable priced LED RGB strip with WiFi in a local shop, a colleague still had a star made of iron on his attic. Well, things came together and I lowered the tower to install everything saturday morning. I was a little afraid the LED driver would have a dramatic QRM effect on my receiver but it does not. I was also afraid of  electrically driving the LED strip when transmitting, something I saw lately from a light project by PB7Z Bernard. But nothing happened, even not when transmitting 100W. I have access to this LED strip with my phone over the internet and can choose any color I want it to shine from everywhere in the world with internet access. Well project finished.....But when I pull the line to install the inverted-V antenna again I noticed one of the legs was broken, just the part into the trees and over a ditch which is normally dry but is full of water in wintertime. Oh my! And I had to go for the 10m contest.  I don't need the inverted-V for the 10m contest so I let it go at first, but then later on I got a message that a new country could be worked on 60m already late in the afternoon. I had to choose, listening to the 10m band noise and wait till I found a signal or fix the inverted-V to have a chance for A50BOC from Bhutan. I chose to repair the inverted-V but had no time to try for A50BOC since I had to go to a party, family business, returning very late in the evening.

Well, the 10m contest. I managed 20 QSO on saturday after all. It took a lot of effort, propagation was really hard. With some meteorscatter pings and fast fading. Stations could appear one moment and gone the other. Most of the QSOs are made on CW as expected, almost nothing was heard on SSB. And in the end I spend less time due to antenna repairs.

Contesting with bad propagation on the IC-7300 is a complete different dimension compared to how I did it in the previous years. I had to get used to it, but it works well. The spectrum display in N1MM+ working together with the IC-7300 is really usefull in this case. Turning the antenna you can clearly see signals going up or down to see which direction is the best.

And no, you cannot hear everything. The IC-7300 is good but is not magical. I didn't work all the calls displayed in the picture, they are from the DXcluster and are just a indication in case a signal pops up there.

The HamAlert tip I gave...well I hope it did well. It went too well here. I got over 1000 spots on my phone. My XYL asked me who was calling all the time till I explained it could be stations I could work. I actually went crazy from it and changed it to only spot when my own call was spotted.

FR4QT's signal
I had some more time Sunday, that will the morning. I started reasonable early and there were already some conditions. At least I made some QSOs but signals were fading fast again. Till about 11 UTC when propagation started to get better. The magic winter ES?? It was even so good that I heard FR4QT from Reunion Isl. with a S7 on SSB! Well I tried to make a screenshot, should have switched the AGC to slow....

Below the first part a short recording from FR4QT's signal. A few minutes later I managed to work Namibia V51WH Gunter in SSB. He was about S5. Recorded the QSO and attached it to the soundfile. Listen below...

Fun isn't it! I really enjoy the 10m band when it is opening. Propagation was really good and I managed to get some EA stations in the log on SSB. I heard Russia and Israel on CW but unfortunately they didn't hear me. However, I had to go. Since we had a party saturday evening my daughter slept at my parents home. So we had to go there to get her home. I decided I wouldn't be returning on 10m again and finished the contest participation. I'm shure if I had more time I would at least have 25 more contacts into the log.

Actually I did know winter ES was something possible but never hoped for it during the 10m contest, but it happened. I heard other dutch stations as well and think they did a lot better since they had some more time. Overall I had a lot of fun again, the 10m band is still my favorite band.

Returning back home late afternoon. You wouldn't believe it but we had to go again! We just had a hour to get a cup of tea and then leave for other family business, in this case out for a diner. But in that hour I saw A50BOC spotted. I slipped into the shack and tuned in for 60m FT8. I saw A50BOC with strong signals. A few calls later I was in the log...Bhutan of a new one on 60m and a ATNO (All Time New One).


  1. Congrats on Bhutan, Bas - especially on 60m.

    I made only 18 QSO's in the 10m contest. Like you said, fading was quite fast and seemed to come and go in waves. Strong, weak, strong, weak - all in a matter of seconds. I should have focused on Bhutan - they're QRT now.

    73 - John

    1. Oops - no, they are not QRT. There is still time...!

    2. John, they are active till the 20th as far as I know. I hope you'll work them. I've seen you been active on 60m last week. I got you programmed in HamAlert. But you're never on when I am :-(. 73, Bas

  2. Good evening Bas, yes it sure is hard this time of year with family commitments and radio and finding the balance. The star on the top of the tower is great and as I saw the picture I was wondering just what you answered in the post regarding any issues. Excellent work getting Bhutan in the books. I have tried 60m with the Endfed I have but it does not seem to like it and the SWR just is not great even with the tuner. I do have on order a new Endfed more on that when it arrives and I get it up.
    Have a good week Bas

    1. Would be great if you could get on 60m. It's a great band for DX. Regarding the LED star, there are no issues. No additional noise or QRM at all. 73, Bas

  3. Congratulations, Bas! Good work at 60m and 10m! I could hear nothing at all on 10m, and had no patience to sit there all day for the chance of something!

    1. I learned to patient years ago. 10m is almost the same as 11m propagation wise. And I did a lot of DX on 11m before I was licensed. That's why 10m is my favorite band I guess. But these years, at the bottom of the solarcycle, 60m is the band to go for DX. 73, Bas


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