IARU Region-1 VHF Contest 2020

We went this year’s IARU VHF Contest in a fairly modified line-up as well as with a different equipment. Last year, we competed from a hill above Kavečany, a neighbourhood of Košice, whereas this year, we chose our new spot above the village of Košická Polianka.

We were full of expectations, since we hadn’t done any big competitions from this locator, KN08QQ. But the Operational Activity Contests I would go from there with Peter, OM8ADU, have proved this to be a much better spot than Hŕbok above Kavečany. Because of Volovské Mountains the western direction was closed to us from Hŕbok and we would loose out on about 40 to 50 connections.

We set off for the hill at about 8:30 in the morning after loading all the equipment at the club. Since Košická Polianka isn’t far from Košice, situated only about 10 km away, we got to the spot at 9 o’clock. We began unloading and started building the antenna system of 3x 8el. DG7YBN. As we had never had this put together before, there were concerns (especially on my part) about being able to build it. My worries came true, and even though we had a needle, we managed to bend it so much while lifting the mast that we decided to shorten it. Of course, there was a problem because we didn’t have a saw in our equipment. Dušan OM3WAK, got in the car and went to the club to pick up the necessary things. In the meantime, we discussed and speculated as to how to proceed next. We agreed we needed to shorten it by 3 metres so that the lower part of the antenna triplet wouldn’t be 7 metres high, but only 4. After we shortened the mast, all went really well. Our mistake was that the needle was too short. With the shorter mast, the needle worked just fine, and we were able to lift the mast just half an hour before the start of the contest.

We had a half an hour spare before the contest, so boys quickly put up a tent and I started unpacking the equipment. I quickly plugged in the computers, set up the log and turned on the ICOM IC9700. We then measured the antennas and, fortunately, everything was fine PSV 1:1,17. Almost everything was set by 4 p.m., only ICOM didn’t show any output power. I checked all settings, but all seemed OK. Only resetting to factory default helped. I then set up all the required and we could start broadcasting, just 15 minutes into the contest.

This time there were enough of us for the broadcasting. We have two new operators in training, waiting for exams (Jaroslav Kessler, as well as our chairman Miroslav Šmelko), so I supervised and passed on my experience to them. Furthermore, Rudo OM8ATS, Dušan OM3WAK were ready and I, Peter OM8WG, was ready for CW operation.

Connections may have been growing a little slower than I imagined, but given our young team and experience, it went really well. The guys didn’t have any major problems and we had already discussed minor operational shortcomings. I am very pleased that they are really into it and are already talking about when we would go another contest again.

The spot turned out to be very perspective. We finally did DL stations too, especially 24 OK stations. We did only 4 OK stations last year. In addition to a better spot, the new antenna system (a triplet with 8 el. antennas constructed according to DG7YBN) helped to get the better result. Many thanks to Dušan, OM3WAK, who constructed them.

This is how we heard our ODX IQ4FD from the JN63AX square, which represents 887 km.

You can check out our photo album from the contest HERE:

Our map of connections:

TOP 10

1IQ4FDJN63AX887 km
2IQ5NNJN63GN887 km
3IO2VJN54WE883 km
4DL5NENJN59OW750 km
5LZ7JKN22HS705 km
6LZ9AKN12PN698 km
7LZ2TKN13RD637 km
8S59DEMJN74DS626 km
9DG0VOGJO60QU623 km
10S51SJN75ES620 km

Contest statistics

Number of connections: 151

Number of points: 49 989

Number of countries: 14 (40xOM, 24xOK, 15xHG, 13xS5, 12xYO, 11x9A, 8xYU, 6xSP, 5xE7, 5xOE, 3xDL, 3xI, 3xLZ, 3xUR)

Number of locators: 40

Equipment: ICOM IC9700

Power: 100 W

Antenna: 3x 8el. DG7YBN

During the contest, Peter OM8ADU and Juraj OM8AJD came to see us, who then went the contest on Sunday under their own call signs.

Thanks to everyone who made a connection with us and we look forward to hearing from you again.

73 team OM3KSI