QSOs, a contest and a new callsign

I’ve had a couple of nice although quick QSOs on 40m over the last two nights.  I’m now suffering from some quite serious interference on all bands from 160m up to 15m which I think is coming from some Christmas lights in the street so it’s tricky for me to work much in the evening but I’ve had chats with stations in Austria and Hungary which were enjoyable.

Last night was the final 432MHz UK Activity Contest (UKAC) of 2010.  As the Martello Tower Group, we’ve only operated in the last four of these this year because we didn’t have a 70cms aerial at the Tower but towards the end of the summer we took down our 50MHz beam and replaced it with a 19 element Tonna for 70cms.  Our first and third entries have been quite good, the second one was plagued with technical failures, first the PSU packed up and then the masthead preamp developed a fault so that wasn’t a good one.  Last night was a superb night though.  Despite the fact that we started operating nearly half an hour late due to the group Chairman forgetting the keys to the Tower we ended up with 49 QSOs and 17 multipliers to give us a score which is by far the best we’ve managed in the 70cms contests so far.  At time of writing we’re showing as the leading ‘claimed’ score in the Restricted section out of a total of 37 posted scores in our section.  This gives me a warm and fuzzy feeling inside and the hope that next year we should be competitive.

Finally for today, there’s a new callsign in the house.  As previously mentioned, my son David passed the Foundation exam last week and he’s now been issued the callsign M6DHU and it had a quick airing in the contest last night where he worked four stations.  I think that was really good of him, he’s never used a radio before apart from the quick practical sessions during the Foundation course so to have four QSOs during a contest where the emphasis is on speed of operating and accuracy of logging is really promising.  The only reason he didn’t work more people was that my home station isn’t geared up for 70cms at all with just a small 2 x 5/8 colinear nailed onto the side of the house.  He’s already very keen to get on the wireless again and I can tell there are going to be battles in the shack in the future!

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