G0SBW's November Challenge

Thomas Robinson

Well, the WX was wet and very windy.  So operating /P from the camper van was the order of the day.


I planned to start operating at 12:00 UTC.  However I was at my first station, Martins Farm Country Park (JO01MT85TT) at about 11:30.  I set up the 20m  hamstack whip antenna and connected it to the FT857 at 50W SSB and listened.  20m was good so I decided to start my challenge there and then. I had QSOs at 11:41 — Portugal, 11:44 - Italy, 11:50 - South Carolina and 12:01 a Flora and Fauna station in Finland.  By then I was thinking the Challenge was going to be a piece of cake - how wrong I was!  At 12:00 UTC the bands went wild with a major contest starting.  Nothing but contest stations on 20/40.  After an hour I managed a QSO on 40m to make up my five QSOs at the location.  Almost by mistake I managed to work Peter in Northern Ireland who was SSB QRP with 3.5W from a very early issue FT817 to a low height NVIS antenna.  QRP NVIS to a very short vertical whip on 40m ??  I really enjoyed the QSO.  So I was only able to leave my first station just after 13:00 UTC. Based on my early QSO rate I had expected to leave just after 12:00.


I drove to my second station, the parking area at the Colne Point Nature Reserve (JO01MS64KW) and decided to try 17m.  Here I had a series of issues with the 857. Somewhat haphazardly it had long delays switching from transmit to receive on dropping the PTT switch.  Eventually after much plugging in and out of connectors and swapping hamsticks I did manage two QSOs, one with a station in the Ukraine and the other with a station near  Boulder, Colorado.  I was pleased with this last contact and because there was just 20 minutes or so to complete my four hour challenge period I decided to call it a day and make my way home whilst there was still reasonable daylight to drive over the rough road away from the nature reserve.


So, a worthwhile outing but, It should have been better.  A spray can of switch cleaner will be purchased tomorrow.


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