In honour of Ondrej Oravec, OM3AU, who contributed significantly to the development of VHF in Slovakia and the former Czechoslovakia, the Slovak Amateur Radio Association organises the annual Ondrej Oravec Memorial Contest, OM3AU, which runs on the 144 and 432 MHz bands.
Ondrej’s amateur radio activity began in the fifties of the last century in Košice, in radio club OM3KSI. He was among the first to listen to signals from the first satellite in orbit, Sputnik. During his amateur radio activity, he established more than 130 000 connections mainly on VHF and would finish in the leading places in contests. On 2 July 1967, he set a tropospheric record, when he established connection from a spot in Makovica with station G3IMV from England, reaching a distance of 1,615 km. In 1971, he became the champion of Czechoslovakia for his work on VHF. As the first in the region of eastern Slovakia, on 15 November 1972, he established a satellite connection with station DM2BEL from Germany. Ondrej Oravec belonged to our and the world’s absolute top. For his substantial and successful work, he was awarded the title of “Merited Master of Sports” in 1979 and was the holder of several Czechoslovak VHF records. Ondrej Oravec died on 27 May 1997.
Our radioclub, OM3KSI, simply had to take part and it was our pleasure to honour the memory of such an important radio amateur, as was Ondrej Oravec. We participated in the contest on both bands. Due to strong wind gusts (forecast to reach 18 m/s), we decided against going the race from Kojšovská Hoľa (1,246 m.a.s.l.) and instead ran up to the outskirts of Košice to the hilltop of Heringeš (305 m.a.s.l.). Because the strong winds were blowing in Košice as well, we decided to go only the 2m band and instead of building a 12-meter mast, we build only an 8m (we were only three), on which we placed a 9el. antenna constructed according to DG7YBN. Thank you Dušan.
We didn’t make the start of the contest. :) It somehow took us too long to mount the mast and the antenna. We began at 15:11 UTC. As soon as we appeared on the band, boys asked whether we managed to catch the Spaniards. Well, we missed it! We were a little disappointed, but never mind. I hope we’ll plan our preparations better for next time and start the race on time.
The main operator on the two-meter was Dušan, OM3WAK. We swapped places late at night and there wasn’t much to do, because Dušan managed to get everyone who was on the band. Miro and I started chatting and we managed to get several connections, as well as our ODX with LZ2T from KN13PK at a distance of 609 km. We decided to go to sleep at around 2 a.m. as it wasn’t worth listening to just noise.
Dušan returned in the morning to continue the race on the 2m band. However, there weren’t that many stations and he made only 4 connections. We decided to finish the contest at noon and began to pack. We left our ‘’spot’’ in Heringeš above Košice at 1 p.m.
Although we had decided to go only the two-meter race, I felt we could do more so when I was packing on Saturday morning, I took an extra speaker stand and a small 9el DK7ZB for the 70cm together with my FT857D. The idea was to just put it up on the stand and listen, and that if we hear anyone, we’d try to establish a connection. We were surprised to make 5 connections with just 20W and the antenna at 1,8m above the ground. We connected with 3 stations from Slovenia, one from Croatia and Ukraine. Our ODX was 623 km with station S59DGO from locator JN75FO. We tried to get some skeds with OK stations on Sunday morning, but were unable to establish any more connections.
We were joined by Milan, OM8MM, in the evening, who went much of the contest from home. We discussed the situation in the contest, activities of stations from the east, talked about antennas. He went home at dusk and continued the contest on Sunday, making several connections.
You can see the photos from the contest HERE. A thank you goes to Ján Bača for lending the car.