UPDATE: JMMFD Closes for another year!
AREG members fielded 5 stations in the contest this year. This was a change of direction for the club’s participation which had revolved around building a single mega-station the past couple of years. The plan was to put more stations on air, thus providing more contact opportunities! VK5AKH, VK5MTM, VK5KX, VK5CP and VK5GR took up the challenge, and a challenge it turned out to be.
While the “atmospheric” weather was ideal in South Australia, the ionospheric weather was anything but. As the event unfolded, HF conditions deteriorated and contacts became challenging with a solar Coronal Mass Ejection around 0900UTC making things difficult.
T-Index Map courtesy Bureau of Meteorology Space Weather Services Showing conditions during the JMMFD 2016
None the less, contacts were still there to be had, just not on the higher bands.
The following are some of the notes from the various member stations that were active over the weekend! General comments are that it has been loads of fun.
From Andy: Thanks to all stations that were on the other end of my 320QSOs across 40,20 &15m while portable for the JMMFD. It was the first time in 6 months+ I have had some quality HF time since moving from a house with a tribander and antenna farm into a inner city townhouse with no ham radio. Was a great feeling to be back on the bands and a reminder that having to go portable to play HF is not a bad thing. 73 catch you in the next contest”
Theo entered the 6 hour section today running on battery power from Morialta conservation park. One of his comments about his station was that “I got 5 hours, 20 minutes from my little LifePo battery today (with lots of TXing and calling CQ contest) running at 50 watts all day until my battery alarm went spastic as soon as it hit 11.7 volts, then I called it quits, packed up and went home. The 857D performed incredibly well. Even in crowded condx, the bandpass filter once narrowed down a bit surprised me how effective it was.”
Theo made 92 QSO’s. His observations were that the bands were very quiet in his opinion compared to other years and conditions were not fantastic but none the less he had a great day and really enjoyed it.
Theo has also made a video of his activity!
Grant went portable under (almost) his own steam for the first time in a HF contest this year, operating from Tickera on the eastern shore of Spencer Gulf. Here is Grant’s report:
“Activity was also a bit slow, but I was also still evaluating my Buxcomm TF2D broadband antenna, trying to decide if it is the right antenna for the job or not. On 40m it appeared to work well, but not so good on the other bands (although the disturbed ionosphere may have impacted that impression this weekend). On 80m, however, it was clear that while on receive it seemed pretty good, transmit is definitely compromised.
Fortunately I had borrowed some wire and a balun from Chris VK5SA very late Friday night. So, in the face of virtually no contacts being made on 80m, I pulled down the TF2D and constructed a resonant 80m dipole at 9pm on Saturday mid contest. The decision was, either do this or go to bed because no one could hear me!
The gamble paid off handsomely! 80m sprung to life with all VK call areas except VK8/9/0 being worked. For almost 4 hours there was a continuous stream of stations, to the point that 80m was on the verge of having a higher contact tally than all of the other bands combined for a while! In the early morning (5.30am), 40m elements were added which helped the transmit performance on that band as well. All up, I managed 217 contacts over the 24hrs.
I also wish to say a big thank-you to Peter VK5KX who loaned me a generator so that I could enter the portable section of the contest, and to Andy VK5AKH who loaned me the portable tower – without which I would have been just throwing things in trees and hoping for the best!
Peter VK5KX also hit the field and relayed the following photos of his location on the ranges east of Balaklava.
From Peter: “We were intending to operate from ‘The Rocks’ just south of Balaklava, we got there and where I had intended to operate from had a nice new gate installed across the access track and it was locked, the other place has been blocked by big boulders, so The Rocks was a bust.
Drove into Balaklava and had a hamburger for lunch (huge), left there heading for the hills in the direction of Auburn, went thru a town called Halbury then saw a likely looking track on the right heading to the crest of a hill, went up this goat track for a few kms and settled on a place in the middle of nowhere (S34º 08.27′, E138º 34.06’).
Set the operating point in the bus up, then out to the antenna, erected the 8m pole with a 23m delta loop tuned thru an SGC-230, this would give me multi-band operation, alas something was not quite right with this arrangement (hadn’t been tested at home) so down with the delta and up with an inverted V for 40m, this worked well.
I only did the 6 hours, all on 40m apart from one 15m contact with VK4QD, all up I did 78 contacts of which 77 counted for the contest, we stayed the night and negotiated the further goat tracks in a pear shaped voyage back to Balaklava then onto Mallala race circuit for a look-see at some V8’s circulating.”
VK5CP on the air.
Chris also participated for a while from his shack at Younghusband in the Murray Mallee. From Chris: “I got about 65 QSO on 40m in an hour – MonstIR was working well and noise floor was low (much to QI’s surprise)”
All up a great deal of fun was had by everyone involved. I’m sure plans are already being drawn up to have another go next year! See you then!