RSGB 3rd 144MHz Backpackers' Contest 2013

For a summer series of portable contests, the RSGB Backpackers' series seems to attract remarkably poor weather to the South Downs! However, this time - for the first time in about two years - the weather was warm and sunny and the tent could be safely left at home.

Gary, G0XAN and David, M0HVD set off on the one mile walk to the usual operating site at Chanctonbury Ring high on the South Downs. It was very hot walking up the path which is well sheltered from the wind but with only intermittent shade. Arriving on the top of the Downs the breeze was very welcome.

The antenna was quickly set up and David checked out his radio by giving away a few points in the VHF NFD contest before the Backpackers' event started. Seating was arranged, along with a simple sunshade consisting of a well guyed golf umbrella. We didn't fancy chasing it along the South Downs Way!

M0REG/P July 2013

We were all set for the start of the Backpackers' contest at midday local time and started by tuning the band contacting NFD stations who were glad of a new station to work. After a few minutes we heard DF0MU calling from northern Germany so we knew conditions were quite good. He had no trouble hearing our first call and we were glad of some DX and two multipliers.

Things went quite well for the first hour or so with 21 QSOs in the first hour and contacts with France, Northern Ireland and Scotland. After the first hour things seemed to go a bit quiet and we only managed 8-10 contacts in each of the remaining three hours. This may have had something to do with the Wimbledon Men's Final...

David, M0HVD operating M0REG/P July 2013

Conditions were definitely "up" and we contacted many distant stations and added Wales and Eire to the list of countries. We heard a Danish station, but he couldn't hear our tiny signal so remained "the one that got away". Despite the good conditions, there seemed to be very few Backpacker stations around after the NFD contest had finished. We did manage to contact some of the die-hard regulars though.

Gary G0XAN operating M0REG/P July 2013

Overall, we felt we did quite well, with a total of 48 contacts, 15 of which were over 300 km. We even had four contacts over 500 km. Our best distance was 852 km to TM7G in the south of France. Due to some mis-reading of the logged locator when checking the map, we didn't realise quite how far away TM7G was until we got home!

You can see a map of the contacts that we made here:


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