We will have to analyse our log file some more to make claims about our success but in the mean time we can share with you some images of PACC 2017 @PC55C.
Just like in our previous attempts, we have used a field day set-up. We prepared the low band wire antennas on Friday afternoon on a campsite we also used in 2015 and 2016.
|Our 26m high center support pole for 160m and 80m|
An improvement over last year was our new center pole. We used the -very heavy- Spiderbeam 26m pole instead of the 18m version. We have seen better results on 160m and 80m, so we think it helps (but the impact of propagation variation is hard to filter of course).
We have used the 18m pole for the 40m inverted V this year. Last year we put it on a 12m version - so it was a bit higher as well.
|Support poles and sheep - an interesting combination|
|The sheep kept their distance initially but soon they got used to us|
Last year we stayed in a cabin near the field. It was already rented out however, so the owners kindly offered us a cabin they use as an office when the camping is open - inside a large barn.
A comfortable spot but it did present us some coax challenges as the antennas were quite a bit further away. It turned out that a lot of the spare coax was not good enough and we just made it connecting the usable segments together.
|Our 2017 shack - weather proof under a double roof|
In the same barn they store a few camper vans. One of them was available for us to sleep in.
|A camper van for us to use as bedroom|
Saturday morning we arrived at the camp site. We added our last antenna: the portable hexbeam for 20-15-10 and were ready for some action.
|The tried and trusted portable hexbeam|
Some impressions of our team in action:
|The operations center - our planning table|
The table above shows you some of the data we have used planning our operation. We always come prepared, using data of our previous attempts and recent propagation information. The plan we make before the contest serves as our guiding light. We use the plan and the propagation as it unfolds (experienced behind the radio but also from sources like the cluster) to make our band and mode decisions.
We had a lot of fun and apart from the normal issues like connectors not working properly and a 12m support pole tipping over (no damage), everything went smoothly. Propagation was rather typical and made this quite a different contest compared to last year. We used more CW and wasted less time on the higher bands. We did miss the short skip propagation for a nice phone sprint in the last hours of the contest - as we had last year.
Sunday at 12 UTC we switched off the radio and started to pack. There was quite a bit of work ahead to take down all the antennas, poles, guy wires, coax. Luckily the weather had improved - the sun was out and most of the snow had melted.
|The sheep were following our steps|
|An empty field once again (on the right side the cabin we used in the previous 2 years)|
We will update this blog once we have had a time to look at our performance.