Marconi Memorial Contest 144 MHz 2019

The Marconi memorial contest is held annually in honour of the pioneer in wireless telegraphy, G. M. Marconi. The race takes place on the 144 MHz band, exclusively by CW operation (telegraphy).

This year’s race had unfortunate timing, but since I’m a big fan of CW operation, I couldn’t have missed this race. I packed my things in the club and travelled near Medzilaborce, to the village of Čabalovce (KN09XF) to my family. The geographic location of the village isn’t very suitable for broadcasting on the VHF band. It is surrounded by hills and the only somewhat open direction is to the south and southwest. Because of this, I didn’t expect many connections, but hoped that I would be able to do at least 30.

Frozen to the bone on Friday afternoon, I built an 8el. DG7YBN antenna on the balcony using about 4 metres of pipe. I plugged in the FT-857 and went to measure the SWR, as we hadn’t had time to test this antenna in the club yet. It’s one of the antennas from our triplet, ready for the new season, but due to the absence of a combiner, we haven’t managed to test the triplet. The SWR 1:1,1 was excellent. Dušan, OM3WAK, is skillful with his hands. I can’t wait to run up to the hill and compete with the triplet.

The race started slowly for me. There were only a few stations on the band, just as I expected. My antenna was facing southwest to Slovenia and Croatia and I looked for stations in this direction. For most connections, I used AirScout software, designed for connections by bouncing signal off an aircraft. To increase my success to call Slovenia or Croatia, I waited for the best opportunity to do connections by bouncing off planes. This tactic worked really well and I managed to make almost a third of the connections over 500 km. On Sunday morning, Danko, OM3WC, and I had a sked to try to do a connection. I wasn’t very hopeful we’d be able to do it. The western direction was closed but I ran up to the balcony and turned the antenna a little further west. It was just ‘licking’ the hill from the south. But it worked. Thanks to an airplane, the end of that session was a 599. I left the antenna turned in that direction and managed to make 13 more connections on Sunday. I didn’t use the KST chat during the race, because due to my location, I would have had to reject most connection requests.

This is what my result looks like on the map:

Finally, some statistics from the contest:

TOP 10

1S57MJN76PO577 km
29A1NJN85LI573 km
3S59ABCJN76TO555 km
49A1CRSJN95AE538 km
59A9RJN85QQ532 km
6S59PJN86AO529 km
79A1EJN85QT513 km
8S51ZOJN86DR506 km
9S54WJN86DT500 km
109A4VJN95KI490 km

Total number of connections: 31

Total number of points: 10 638

Number of countries: 8 (8 x OM, 7 x HG, 6 x 9A, 5 x S5, 2 x UR, 1 x YO, YU)

Number of locators: 15

Transciever: YAESU FT-857

Output power: 50 W

Antenna: 8el. DG7YBN