RSGB 1st 144MHz Backpackers' Contest, 20 May 2012

The day dawned bright and the threat of rain had reduced to "less than 5%" according to the Met Office. This contest was to be a solo effort by G0XAN, other club members being too busy (or too sensible!) to combine a significant hill climb with some outdoors radio.

Arriving at the usual operating site close to Chanctonbury Ring, there was a strong wind coming from the North. Whilst this was providing some sport for four gliders, it did make putting up the tent and mast single-handed rather difficult. Having erected the mast it did at least stay up for the duration of the contest.

The contest started at midday local time, three hours before the end of the 24-hour 144MHz May Contest. Tuning around the band gave a steady stream of contacts for the first half hour or so. Calling CQ resulted in very few replies so it was back to tuning the band looking for new stations. The first hour gave only 14 contacts, but 9 locator multipliers and 13 postcodes.

In the second hour the changing propagation became very noticeable, with very deep QSB causing previously strong signals to almost completely disappear. With some persistence and correctly timing the QSB GM6MD/P was contacted for the best DX of the day at 550km.

By 2:30pm, only two and a half hours into the contest, contacts had pretty much dried up. Then around 3pm the battery gave up, so it was time to go home. The IC-706 really isn't very frugal when it comes to power, the FT-817 is a much better bet for the Backpackers' contests.

In total 28 contacts were made. This is quite a low total for us, but with 3 countries, 14 locator squares and 24 postcode districts, we ended up with a fairly respectable claimed score of 238,292 points.

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