Wednesday, February 25, 2015

PACC 2015 results - a visual impression

We have visualized our log data of PACC 2015. It gives a nice impression of how we went on in the 24 hours of the contest (12:00 CET - 12:00 CET)

QSO rate per hour per band
The QSO rate per hour / band shows a 24h clock with a couple of peaks primarily on the low bands. 

Initially we focused on the higher bands. We used 10m sparsely aiming for NA/SA (see map below) in the early evening. We were mainly on 15m and 20m until around 18h CET.

The first peak is around 19h CET on 40m, followed by a peak around 20:30 on 80m. During the night there are smaller peaks on 160, 80 and 40m. After visiting 20m and 15m (aiming for Asia), we ended the contest with another nice run on 40m around 10:30 CET. 

Animation of our contacts logged over the 24h of the contest
The animation above shows you how PE55E went around the globe in the 24h of the contest. The high bands are represented by red (10m), orange (15m) and yellow (20m). While the low bands are represented by green (40m), blue (80m) and black (160m). The stars indicate CW contacts - the dots SSB contacts.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

PACC 2015 - YNOMY's Contest Summary

Pre-contest preparation
We prepared ourselves a bit better than last year (which already was a lot better than the first year). We got ourselves a nice temporary special call PE55E and we constructed and tested a number of different wire antennas well before the contest (last year M was still working on the 160m antenna a few hours into the contest).

Pre-contest modeling of our wire antennas

M had arranged a proper location at a camping ground near to where he lives and - importantly for this contest - in our province of Gelderland. The place definitely was an upgrade of the cold and windy hut we were in last year. It even featured WiFi so we had online cluster info in N1MM.

Our shack during PACC 2015

M started the installation of the antenna park together with his station manager on Friday. They installed the three main poles - 12m, 18m and 12m high - that were holding the wire dipoles for 160m (supported by all three poles), 80m (inverted v from the center pole) and 40m (inverted v from the nearest pole).

Low band wire antennas

We tested this setup before (more info in this post). Modelling showed this setup results in more gain on 160m and less gain on 40m than last year. As we would be running 3 to 4 times the power of last year on the low bands we weren't too focused on getting the maximum gain though.

Final preparations 
Saturday morning NO and YY arrived to complete the contest station,  adding an end fed for 20m, a hex beam for 20-15-10m and a yagi for 10m. As NO had to leave Sunday morning before the end of the contest - taking the hex and the yagi - we set up an extra 5/8 vertical for 15m we built and tested just 2 weeks before the contest.

Our beams: portable hexbeam and home brew 3 element yagi

When we finished setting up the station we had 7 antennas at our disposal - quite an impressive set-up for a temporary station. We were running 300-400 watts PEP into them via an icom 756P3 hooked up to a pc running N1MM.

Contest operation
We manned the station for 24h by sleeping in shifts. The camping provided us with two extra sleeping places conveniently located outside the noisy shack.
M was our CW operator while YY and NO took care of the phone contacts.

M on CW logging in N1MM with YY following the proceedings closely

As the weather was much friendlier than last year we had no calamities (as blogged about in this post). All went rather smoothly. Conditions on the high bands seemed a bit better than we remembered from last year. We will have to compare our logs to see how this worked out.

A better preparation allowed us to operate with minimal switching times between operators. We used our experiences from last year to choose the right band and mode at the right time and we had more power at our disposal on the low bands (300-400w as opposed to 100w last year).

This has resulted in far more contacts and more multipliers than last year. We logged approx. 800 contacts last year during our first real try in this contest and came in 6th place. This year we set our goal at 1000 QSOs and surpassed that by a considerable margin.

We will add more information about our results once we have taken the time to run our log through the PACC log robot and compare our results in more detail with the results of last year (numbers, multipliers, dx per band).