RSGB 1st 144MHz Backpackers' Contest 2013

The RSGB Backpackers' series of contests runs through the "summer" months, although the weather for the last two years has not been particularly summery on the South Downs on contest days. Due to the family commitments of various members of the group this session ended up being a solo effort by Gary, G0XAN.

 For the week preceding the contest the local weather forecast for the weekend had been consistently dismal, but by Saturday the outlook had improved and Sunday morning dawned at least dry if not actually sunny. According to the Met Office there was only a 20% chance of light rain in the morning, with light winds and reasonable temperatures, so the decision was made to leave the heavy tent at home and brave the elements.

No sooner had I got in the car than the rain started! So much for "20%". At least it was only light rain...

Thankfully the rain eased off and the walk up to Chanctonbury Ring was quite pleasent. The promised light winds meant that erecting the antenna single-handed was not too difficult and the station was set up with a couple of minutes to spare before the start of the Backpackers' contest.

M0REG/P Backpackers' Contest May 2013

The RSGB 144MHz May Contest was already in full swing and there were several strong signals to be heard. I started steadily working my way up & down the band and was pleased to contact GD8EXI on the Isle of Man for 3 multipliers (country, locator and postcode) my best DX of the contest at 462km.

The rain showers returned intermittently, and were enough to threaten the integrity of the paper log so an emergency shelter was called for. The rucsac provided shelter for the radio and battery, with the groundsheet pulled around as a windbreak / rain shelter for the log (and operator!). Fortunately the rain eased off before anything got too wet.

The M0REG/P setup for the Backpackers' Contest

After an hour or so I found a quiet frequency and put out a CQ call. This worked well, pulling in 8 contacts in about 10 minutes. Then it was back to "search and pounce" until the battery power ran out and M0REG/P was forced off the air. I packed up the station and just as I began the walk back to the car park the clouds parted and the sun made an appearance. Maybe next month the nice weather will coincide with the contest?

In total I made 36 contacts in 2 hours 20 minutes, with 5 of them over 300km. Contacts ranged from North Devon in the west to Ipswitch in the east, and from Darlington in the north to the Isle of Wight in the south. It was nice to hear some familiar backpackers' callsigns - we'll all be doing it again next month!

You can see a map of the contacts made in the contest here.

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