The RSGB Commonwealth Contest runs from 10:00 on Sat 9th March to 10:00 Sun 10th March. You will hear participants calling CQ BERU (British Empire Radio Union). This is a CW contest in which the participants must be in commonwealth countries such as Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Ghana, The Gambia, Grenada to name a few. A full list of Commonwealth Call Areas may be found at https://www.rsgbcc.org/hf/information/codes.shtml. Stations from those areas may also work Headquarter stations including those from their own call area. The contest details may be found at https://www.rsgbcc.org/hf/rules/2019/rberu.shtml.
Bob G3PJT maintains an interesting site at https://berucontest.wordpress.com/ with the latest news about participants, especially those travelling to some far-flung part of the commonwealth. Our own Don G3XTT will be operating as C56DF from The Gambia. I’m sure he would be delighted to work as many RADARC members as possible!
One of the advantages of this contest is that it is easier for UK stations to work DX because you are not competing with most of Europe or the USA. Saturday afternnoon is worth trying for African stations on 20m. You should also be able to work many Canadians on 20m from mid-afternoon to mid-evening, and on 40m during the evening. It’s worth getting up on Sunday morning to operate between about 06:00 and 07:30 as you’re likely to work VK and ZL on 40m and possibly 80m. There’s a very noticeable lift around UK sunrise that coincides with sunset in ZL.
RADARC participated in three RSGB AFS contests in January – CW, Datamodes, and Phone. Each was of 4 hours duration on 40m and 80m. Typically stations started on 40m and as propagation changed, moved to 80m. In all three legs, it was very noticeable that GM stations had much better conditions on 40m than the Gs, and hence GM stations tended to be the winners or runners-up.
RADARC came 6th in the Local Club category with a team consisting of Don G3XTT, David M0DHO, Jim G0LHZ, and Michael M0MPM. I stayed on 40m longer than many, and this helped to reduce the time at the end of the contest whenI had worked everything on 80m. For details, see https://www.rsgbcc.org/cgi-bin/hfresults.pl?Contest=AFS%20Contest%20CW&year=2019.
RADARC came 24th in the Local Club category with a team consisting of David M0DHO, Michael M0MPM, and Simon M0ZSU. This was my first attempt at a datamodes contest and using N1MM and MMVARI to send RTTY and PSK, and I treated this as a learning exercise. For details, see https://www.rsgbcc.org/cgi-bin/hfresults.pl?Contest=AFS%20Contest%20DATA&year=2019.
RADARC came 14th in the Local Club category with a team consisting of David M0DHO, Jim G0LHZ, Jonathan M0JSX, and Michael M0MPM. Dealing with the inevitable QRM is one of the challenges. Running with 400W meant that I was able to keep my run frequency on each band. For details, see https://www.rsgbcc.org/cgi-bin/hfresults.pl?Contest=AFS%20Contest%20PHONE&year=2019.
RADARC came 6th in the AFS CW Local Club section out of 54 entrants in that section. Participants were G3XTT, M0DHO, G0LHZ, and M0MPM. Great work team!
Full results can be found at https://www.rsgbcc.org/cgi-bin/hfresults.pl?Contest=AFS%20Contest%20CW&year=2019.
The current General Availability (GA) release is WSJT-X 2.0.0
The FT8 and MSK144 protocols have been enhanced in a way that is not backward compatible with older program versions. The new protocols become the world-wide standards starting on December 10, 2018, and all users should upgrade to WSJT-X 2.0 by January 1, 2019. After that date, only the new FT8 and MSK144 should be used on the air.
For FT8, WSJT-X 2.0.0 will decode the messages sent by earlier releases and respond with the corresponding older message format. However, for MSK144 (often used for meteor scatter), the payloads are incompatible and 2.0 will not decode messages sent from pre 2.0, and vice-versa.
See https://physics.princeton.edu/pulsar/k1jt/wsjtx.html for details and download.
For those of you that also use JTAlert with WSTJ-X, there is a later version 2.12.10. See https://hamapps.com/ for details and download.
Thought the following Podcast might be interesting to members:
Eric Swartz WA6HHQ, co-founder of Elecraft, joins us to guide our understanding of RF receiver performance specifications. Eric introduces us to common receiver specs such as Sensitivity, Noise Floor, Dynamic Range, Intermod Dynamic Range, Phase Noise, and RMDR. He tells us what they mean in real-world receiver performance terms, how they are tested, and whether it’s better to have a higher or lower number in each one. It’s also the final episode before the 2018 Hamvention and George and Jeremy share our plans for our Booth, special offers, and exclusives for show listeners who stop by booth 3104 in Xenia.
The RSGB Commonweatlh Contest is on next weekend, starting at 10:00 Saturday 10th and ending at 10:00 Sunday 11th. This is a CW contest.
Details of the contest including rules can be found at http://www.rsgbcc.org/hf/rules/2018/rberu.shtml.
If you are not normally active in this historic contest then please consider taking part. The Commonwealth Contest (where “CQ Beru” is used to solicit QSOs) is a great opportunity to work Commonwealth DX stations without the normal EU wall of contesters to contend with. Often the DX stations can be worked at marginal signal levels which would be quite impossible in the big international contests. For stacks of background information see Bob G3PJT’s excellent website.
UK HQ stations
This year we will have seven RSGB HQ stations using the regional variations of G6XX – the RSGB Contest Club callsign. This is following clarification from Ofcom that a Club Callsign can be active from multiple UK regions simultaneously. See QRZ.com for the history of G6XX.
Chris is also using GB5CC under the new rule that “other HQ stations may be active to celebrate or commemorate events of significance to the Commonwealth”. This will be to recognise the forthcoming marriage of Prince Harry and Megan Markle in May, unless Chris can suggest an alternative justification.
RADARC won the G3PSH memorial trophy for SSB Field Day 2016.
Although we came 2nd, the leading team were not eligible to receive the trophy because they had not registered.
From left to right: Jonathan M0JSX, Jim G0LHZ, Tom G0VQR, Ray G3SCZ, David M0DHO.
The next RSGB club championship is the DATA leg on Wednesday 14th Feb. It runs on 80m from 8pm to 9:30pm local time. You can find details at http://www.rsgbcc.org/hf/rules/2018/r80mcc.shtml. All valid QSOs count towards RADARC’s club score. The leading contributor wins the club ladder with a trophy presented at the AGM.
I found this great presentation about data modes from W6AER.