CQ WW CW Contest 2022

An intrepid band of CW contesters competed in the 48 hour 2022 CQ WW CW Contest over the weekend. We used the WARS contesting callsign VK2W.
The contest began at 1100 (local time) on Saturday the 26th of November and went until 1100 on Monday the 28th.

The previous weekend had seen some extremely strong westerly winds and one of the WARS club’s masts collapsed in these extreme winds. That mast had been holding up one end of the 20m dipole.
Three of the contesters visited the site a day early to make repairs and to finalise preparations for the following day.
It turns out that the mast had broken in three places, plus the kevlar core antenna radiating wire had broken too. I had thought that the kevlar cored wire was indestructible, but apparently not quite totally indestructible. The mast was repaired, and the dipole wire was repaired too. And then we re-erected the mast, and this time we placed a small water container on the halyard connected to the antenna wire to ensure a continuous tension and allow for any movement in the supports at either end.
We also lengthened the 10m dipole as much as we could. It was tuned for the SSB portion of the band and we hoped to get it better suited for CW operations.

We ran three rigs, each with an amplifier.
The operators in attendance were –
VK2AVH Simon
VK2IBE Barrie
VK2ICJ Chris
VK2RH Stephen
VK2WS Fred

How did we go?
At the end of the contest, we had 649 QSOs in the log.
Was this good, you ask?
Our previous best was 343 in 2020 and in 2019 we had 333. So, we achieved an 89% increase over our previous best result! Pretty darn fantastic, I think.

Interesting side notes:
• Chris’s partner Ruth comes along for these contests even though she is not a ham. Ruth is the most amazing cook. Ruth brought along homemade cupcakes (with a ham theme) and brownies to snack on. To add to that Ruth made a chili beef for dinner on Sunday evening. We had this meal while seated around a worktable in one of the outer buildings and dinner was awesome. Plus, the operators who were around for breakfast each morning got a very nice cooked breakfast. We were well taken care of.
• On late Saturday afternoon, near sunset, a very violent storm passed overhead and we had some very heavy rain accompanied by lightning and thunder. This went on for about 30 minutes. Unfortunately, the static being generated wiped out 40m for the best part of 3 to 4 hours. Later that evening the contest site was shrouded in very thick fog.
• In 2022 we made just one 160m contact in the log. This was with an Australian station VL2G. VL2G is located in Ulladulla and that is about 100km away in a straight line. Significantly, this was our first 160m contact ever, in any of the CQ WW CW contests we have entered.
• On other bands we worked the world. It was quite amazing the stations that were on the air that would normally be considered quite rare/exotic – Palestine, Brunei, Palau along with Chile and Peru in South America.
• For both the SSB and CW contests that we have recently entered, we have made a very large difference to the level of interstation interference that we were experiencing. Previously this interference made operating some bands, anywhere from very awkward to near impossible. It was frustrating. Over the last few months some of the team have spent considerable time investigating possible causes and solutions to the problem. What we have done now to fix the problem is to pay close attention to separating any extra lengths of feedline from each other, by pulling them out of the shack and arranging them on the ground for separation. For those band combinations where we still had a small problem, fitting a bandpass filter reduced the issue even further.
• We had the usual experience where we seem to be able to hear many stations that are unable to hear us. This is despite us running maximum legal power. The noise floor at Robertson is very low and so we can readily discern quite weak signals. Many of the signals that I was receiving that were quite readable, were not even moving the S-meter.
• The wildlife at the Robertson location is quite iconic. Besides the bird life, we were also dodging the kangaroos and wombats (they are out at night, and they are big) plus Chris and Ruth had an echidna scurry across the road as they drove in.
• VK2WS Fred, purchased a portable flagpole on eBay. It came with an Australian flag, lightweight aluminium snap shackles to clip on to the flag, plus a halyard to haul it up. The pole has a gold dome and a plastic pulley near the top plus a cleat to tie off the halyard on the lowest section. The flag was surplus to portable antenna mast requirements, so it was brought down to Robertson where we proudly flew it over the weekend during daylight hours on a short pole..

The higher frequency bands are really starting to come on. In previous years 40m was where we made most of the contacts, while this year 15m was clearly the best followed by 10m and 20m. 40m is now our 4th most productive band.

Contesting concluded at 1100 local time, and we had all the rigs, amplifiers, tools, masts and antennas packed away by 1300. Another 30 minutes to tidy up and we had all left the property by 1330.

The log is quite large and rather than list it here, a copy is in the files section.

73 Fred VK2WS