środa, 15 lipca 2015

That was disaster... At least...

The preparations as every year. Maybe easier because everything nearly ready. Year by year created some kind of procedure - month before visit my friend farmer (Herr Muller) where in language I dont speak we agree all the details.

It looks more or less like that:

- "Guete Morge Herr Müller" :) (big smile, good morning)
- "Guete Morge" (big smile too). "May day may day ?" (means more or less: "Would you like to use my field for your strange antenna activities again?"
- "Ja!" (means yes)
- "Wenn?" ("When would you like to do it again?")
Here I try to explain in my very bad Züri-Deutch when this is going to happen.
- Then we usually finish with universal:
- "Ok?" - big smile
- "Ok!" - big smile

I have to add that I don't have to pay for this and the only profit Herr Muller has from my "antenna activities" is nice cake (made by my wife) and some bottle which came from Poland (I'm Polish) - usually some special polish one...

So as every year I came by car fully loaded of our "stuff". Spiderbeam (20-10m), vertical (18m pole with radials) used on 160-40m. Radios: K3 and KX3 however never learned working SO2R so 99% of time use K3.

After assembling all the antennas, radios, food corner etc the contest starts. At the beginning everything was fine maybe except lower activity than expected. Late evening I noticed that something is wrong with the antenna - I have rotator mounted on the ground and rotating all the mast with Spiderbeam. Due to ropes which hold mast in possibly vertical position on the top there is free loop of cable that lets the mast rotate. And this loop was too tight, too small or whatever. I saw that whole mast behaves strangely when rotating and realised that something is seriously wrong. And that was in the best "activity" time when still there is many stations from Europe/East and already there are some stations from Americas.

I decided to put the mast down and fix the cable loop. Unfortunately 1. I'm always alone, 2. mast is 18m high and quite heavy, 3. all operations I have to do standing on the 1.5m ladder, 4. I need to use wrench to fix the mast, 5. there was quite strong wind that day

I released screws holding the mast (while standing on the ladder) and then ... the wrench went to the ground... So I was standing on the ladder holding the mast (I could not go down more than 20..40 cm because the wind was dangerously bending whole mast) and the wrench was laying on the ground 1.5m below.
I was waiting 5..7 minutes hoping that someone will pass but nobody did. I realised that I'm not able to hold the mast any more... was too heavy. So I lowered mast around 1.2m down not even looking up, went down, took a wrench, went up, lifted mast, fixed it and then finally look up. Uff - was still there.

The whole exercise with lowering the mast and lifting it up again took around 2..3 hours (please try to do it yourself - you will understand) and I lost probably the best time of that evening.

The rest of the contest was also far from fantastic. The only absolutely fantastic thing was QSO with Australia on QRP  SSB - 5W. That was my first Australia ever and after the contest I emailed the operator to ensure that that was not a dream. Was not !! I didn't think it is possible at all (I mean QRP SSB). The signal was quite strong and he didn't have very big problem to copy my callsign. That was a great surprise.

Finally I finished with around 26.000 points (previous year around 60.000) so I have no chance to be a member of "Top Ten" for this year. Ok, next time I will be better prepared and maybe finally learn how to use two radios in the same time (which I promise myself every year since I have two radios, hehe).

Picts and films will come later.