Sunday, October 4, 2020

Fox Mike Hotel Portable Ops Challenge review


Go pack...
 This new challenge is kind of a contest and a try out. I planned to participate on/off for 8 hours at sunday in the most difficult section portable SSB.

 The weather was not good, rain and a lot of wind. So instead of going out I stayed at home and setup the radio in the glass house with the Superantenna MP-1 just outside on the grass. A easy and compact setup. I installed VKCL log on my notebook. I've been active from around 9:30 till 11:00 UTC but only heard a few stations on 40m and 20m. Some of them calling in the RSGB contest and some in the TRC contest. But I didn't hear anyone making contacts in the Portable Ops Challenge. After 1,5 hour listening and calling I didn't make a single contact. I decided to try some WSPR with 5W but even that didn't result in any spot. Well I then decided I would exchange the portable for QTH section to see if I could hear/contact stations from the home base. I dismantled the portable station...

The station...

So back at home I tuned over both 40m and 20m, but unfortunately didn't hear anyone calling in the POC. Probabely this is more a American party? There was enough promotion on the internet and in magazines, there is a website and a lot of information but it looks like no one bothers? Or others have given it up as well after not hearing anyone calling?

While thinking about this "contest" and writing about it in this blog something else came to my mind. The complexity of the exchange....

From the POC rules and scoring:

"Contact Exchange CALLSIGN, Station class (Q or P), running contact serial number starting with 1, 4-digit Maidenhead locator."

Superantenna MP-1

It occured to me that this is way too complex. I would like to give the organisation an advice to look at the rules in the UKEICC contests in which the exchange is just the 4 digit maidenhead locator. Why should the opposite station know a serial number? I can see the need for a Q and P since it is part of the scoring, you could use callsign/P if portable to let others know instead of keeping it part of the exchange. However it is still difficult to work stations in other contests with these exchanges, you have to explain your goal and the exchange you need. It costs time other contesters don't want to spend. Another set back is that you can't use FT8 with these kind of exchanges...if we could use FT8 for digimode operation the challenge would be a lot more populair. Using only the 4 digit maidenhead QTH locator as exchange would solve most problems I think...

Personally I think the people that organized this challenge did a good job. It is well thought over and a very noble thought to give portable stations a equal chance in this contest. However most contesters have large antenna arrays and a lot of power, that's the way they play the game. They are not used to pick very weak signals out of the ether and not used to get out with only modest equipment. Even though this is a fun challenge. I wrote about RaDAR in the past, a fun challenge as well but not very populair. So unfortunate that there are some very good ideas around but there are just too many activities every weekend and even through the week that are much more appealing for the average HAM contester.

1 comment:

  1. I was going to try it Bas but like you said, the weather was poor (really poor here). I played with the Xiegu G90 on the EFHW but didn't hear a single POC operation on 20 or 40. I heard (and worked) two TRC and I had a few other contacts including a couple of Brits on 80M. I agree with your comment about the Locator being enough.

    73, Tom, M7MCQ


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