This weekend some members of ARK participated in the RSGB IOTA Contest from Tustna in EU-036. This gave good opportunity to test out the DX Commander antenna that we put together last week. We joined the multi-one low power assisted category, and with our modest setup, we are really satisfied to have logged 870 contacts!
Band Mode QSOs Pts IOT
3.5 CW 117 1095 31
3.5 LSB 2 30 2
7 CW 89 795 28
7 LSB 79 655 14
14 CW 158 1190 23
14 USB 199 1715 33
21 CW 105 875 17
21 USB 73 675 14
28 CW 48 350 8
Total Both 870 7380 170
Conditions across the bands were quite good, but there was some interesting fading phenomena. During a period of two-three minutes, all callers would completely fade, and then suddenly after some time there would be a pile of three to four callers.
All that we lacked were some serious openings on 10 m and 80 m on SSB. Both bands worked decently in CW, though.
Not much DX was available, but we worked a bit into parts of North America. This might be more representative of the contest demographic than the actual conditions, however.
It turned out to be very wise to allocate about half the operating time to CW, as this made the most out of our setup. Deploying a 80 m dipole for some night time CW also turned a big profit in the QSO department.
But surely, it could not have been all good? Well, the DX Commander antenna fell down three-four times, but that was largely our own fault. Some rookie mistakes have to be expected on first use.
We did two things wrong. The first was to elect for only a single set of low guy lines. This did make the setup very easy, but once a bit of wind appeared and one of the guys gave, the antenna suddenly went flat. This gave rise to our second problem, the telescopic parts retracting themselves.
Even though the DX Commander manual states that hose clamps are not mandatory for non-permanent installations, we found them to be very much required for operation in anything but wind-still conditions. After we attached the hose clamps, we had no further issues, and are very satisfied with the DX Commander antenna.
Thanks to all those worked for a great time on the air, a big thanks also goes to LA2PRA, LA6XTA, LA9SSA, LB1MH and LB6RH for making the weekend memorable.