RAC Winter Contest … whew!

Our local DX Contest group (Radiosport Manitoba http://rsmb.keizer.ca ) was able to secure the VE4RAC callsign to run in the RAC Winter Contest these past couple of days.  The contest runs for 24 hours on 2014-12-27 from 0000h to 2359h UTC.  Next year’s (2015) RAC Winter contest will be on December 19, 2015.

VE4DXR volunteered to run the call and host a multi-single — and I was asked to participate – which I was more than glad to do.  Leor has a nice setup with a spiderbeam ontop of a 58′(ish) tower and runs a TS590 rig – a nice contest rig.

We started off on Friday evening and had a couple of good runs until it got “real” quiet near midnight – seems most contesters slip away into bed for a few hours rest — somewhat useful too considering the bands were not great in that evening.

Back at it in the morning, Leor is working stations before I get back to his station — we make some really good runs on 10/15/20 and Leor pokes away at giving out CW contacts in-between.  (Let’s face it guys, both of us don’t know CW that well, and it was hard slogging through – even with the decoder on!)  But we were able to push out some more contacts on that mode.  We did lack anything outside of HF and were limited to the 80-10 bands.  Something to note for further contests – prepare more ahead 🙂

By the end of it, we were able to contact much of the local VE4 contest traffic – great to see more calls on the air participating in this contest!  and it was great to hear a number of old callsigns and the usual contesting groups working.

By the time 6pm local hit, we were rather tired and were both getting the start of some form of headache — lots of SSB noise ringing in our ears 🙁

Chalking it up to experience, I think we both learned something from each other and are better prepared for future contests.

Here’s Leor’s station setup — he’s chasing the CW …

VE4DXR
VE4DXR

 

While I’m running with SSB …

VE4DRK
VE4DRK

 

The spiderbeam did rather well I must say — great signal *and* great audio reports … using the Heil microphones, it must show 🙂

Spider beam and GAP vertical
Spiderbeam and GAP vertical

 

Fun, fun, fun — until next time …

73, Dan ve4drk

New gear .. always welcome …

Well, during the Christmas season, it’s great to get a new radio piece .. in my case, a nice complement to the contesting scene for me — a spiffy new headset with boom mic  — welcome Heil Pro-set Elite 6 — another easier way of contesting – hands free 🙂

Thanks to my XYL, Michele, for such a great gift …

headset central
headset central

It’s being broken in right away!

73, Dan ve4drk

2014 10m ARRL contest

It was ‘weird’ working only one band on a contest – not quite what I’m used to, but heck, got used to the usual crowd in their usual places after a while — and some moved around just to make it fun to see if I can recall what their call is by their voice 😉

Only worked with the G5RV at 100 watts, so, no power station here that’s for sure.  Still had fun.  3830 score summary listed below … such that it is:

score summary
score summary

d-star …

well, i am a digital guy by heart – been working with computer since way way back .. (punched cards anyone?).  I’ve heard of this mode before and I’ve never really looked at it much before.  So, in order to understand more about it, I decided to try it out — and picked up a used ID31A (UHF d-star) radio.  It has conventional analog UHF mode as well as the dstar digital mode.  It is interesting to see the data-format used — will prove interesting as I move into using more of an integrated RF/digital mode and seeing what this protocol can do.  Naturally, one can replace the payload with whatever codec one needs — I’m interested in seeing if this codec2 can play well with the other options out there — will see.

73, Dan ve4drk

d-star (oldie)
d-star (oldie)