Stevenage And District Amateur Radio Society
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Racking Up The Contacts


The club last took part in this contest last in 2001 where we achieved a creditable 1005 contacts for 863,226 points. We felt that this was a reasonable score considering we were only using 100w and an assortment of wire and vertical antenna’s. After a bit of a hiccough last year, which precluded our taking part, we felt it was time to give it another go in 2003. For this year’s CQ WPX CW Ron (G4DDX) and I (G0WAT) decided that we could not manage the whole event as there would only be the two of us this time, Tom G4BYE who had been on the team in 2001 would be on holiday for this year’s event.

It was decided that we should take part as a fun entry from the Club shack allowing us to test out the new Optibeam 7-3 on the HF bands…we would ignore LF overnight activities…. this would allow us to saunter along on the Saturday morning, have a leisurely set-up and play until late afternoon and return for the same on the Sunday. This seemed the way forward as Ron did not fancy an overnight jaunt and we did not have the operators for me to go it alone…. as we have always ensured that the Club shack can only be used when there are two members present…. it may be a bit of a drag, but rules is rules…

We plumped for EI5DI’s Super Duper (SD) for the logging program as both of us were equally familiar with it and we would use a IC756 Pro for the rig. We had been unsure up to the event whether to use the clubs Contest Call ‘M3S’ or the clubs Special Prefix of ‘GX3SAD’…in the event we went for the latter as there would be few, if any, GX3’s on during the contest, whilst there may well have been a few M3’s…. this would hopefully ensure we were a ‘Mult’ and therefore hopefully be a bit busier when running.

After setting up from about 0900 we got going around about 1000 on the Saturday with me running…after an hour so Ron took over and did a bit of S&P, a pattern we would continue throughout the weekend…conditions did not seem to be great as 10m was completely dead, 15m was not really open yet, so, consequently, everyone was crammed onto 20m…things were pretty busy on this band!

It was good fun to get some runs going on 20m as I had not taken part in a CW event this year…. we achieved respectable short runs of well over 100+ for the last 10, however the lack of power (or a desirable location) meant that it was hard to sustain impetus and I often found that the runs fizzled out after a few minutes.

We had a problem after about two hours when we noticed that the computer clock was not set to GMT…so all our entries were 1 hour out!…this sort of thing has happened to all who Contest, but nevertheless it is still a prize PITA and it has to be resolved before you can continue…we exited SD, edited the time in the log and  reloaded it with the correct time…all was now OK and we set off again with the correct time (this time) !

We ended the first day at about 1800 with  332 Q’s in the log, 239 Multipliers and 560 Points…not great but not bad.

We rolled up on the Sunday morning at about 0900 and set too again…10m was still awful but 15m appeared to have picked up a little so we concentrated more on this band for the morning…things went OK for the rest of the day although any hoped for opening to W/VE never really materialized.

We ended the second day at about 1700 with 294 Q’s and 104 Multipliers and 420 Points.

Here is a graph representing our hourly rates for QSO’s, Mults and points during the Contest

And here are our band totals and summary


20 Metres

15 Metres

10 Metres

















Radios: IC756 Pro (and briefly Ten Tec Omni V)

Power: 100 Watts

Antenna: Optibeam 7-3 @ 50ft

Overall we had a great time although conditions could have been better…the beam performed flawlessly and certainly appears an improvement over the old 3 element trapped Tribander we had up previously.

One noticeable thing about the Optibeam was that it does not appears to have a very high front to back ratio…when we were pointing to the States we would often be called by say an OK station at quite a good signal strength…as it is only 2 elements on 20m though I suppose you can’t buck the laws of physics, but it does seem that it is optimized for gain rather than F/B…still this does somewhat make up for the fact that as both of us are inexperienced beam pointers, not having a high F/B means that when we end up pointing it in the wrong direction we at least get somebody calling us!

Tu 73 de

Paul G0WAT and Ron G4DDX

GX3SAD in CQ WPX CW 2003