Finally the day had come to start our trip to Luxembourg for the IARU VHF contest on 3 & 4 September.
Below the story!
(Nederlands verslag op: http://sitekreator.com/PI4KML/lxpa1tkp_09-2005.html)
Things had been planned long before and so we left on 31 august around 13:00 hours.
Everything well organized by Theo/PA1TK which does this for 30 years now.
I joined the car from Kees/PA5WT and along the route we would contact Theo/PA1TK who also pulled the caravan.
The fourth operator (Ruud/PE1BTV) would join us on Friday because of QRL obligations.
We were just on track when we could hear Theo calling us on 144.315 in SSB.
We made contact and soon we were behind Theo and his caravan.
After many talks over the radio we stopped to drink some coffee and shake hands.
Then, back on track again and so, somewhere in the afternoon, we drove into Luxembourg.
Really nice views along the way with nice mountains and steep roads.
Then, we reached our destination and after setting the caravan we started to build the tent which would be our shack for the next 4 days.
We could also set up the rotatable south tower which held one 9 elements yagi.
The second was my telescopically tower with a 144MHz antenna and a pulley to hoist my 30 and 40 meter dipole.
After dinner we made a 144 MHz set-up and one for HF, so we could do some radio first evening from this lovely spot at 550 above sea-level.
The HF bands worked well and even with the balun at 6 meters I worked two ZL's on 30 meter the first evening with 100 watts.
"LX/PA3GVI/P on HF".
Many Europeans were logged to, but no big pile ups.
Theo/PA1TK played some VHF and it must have been around 00:00 local before we had hit the sack.
The next morning I was out early (around 06:30 local) to work HF again.
A bit later Kees/PA5WT joined in and after a short chat he concluded he could better be of to bed again because he did not feel to well.
His sickness held on to the other day, long before the contest began!
After Theo/PA1TK woke up and having had breakfast we started building the east-tower which would hold 2x 9 elements yagi.
Rotator placed on the ground which made the system easier to lift (especially with the 4x9 el.).
This went up successfully and then we came to one of the bigger systems.
As lifting the north-tower with his 4x 9 elements yagi's would be difficult to do with the two of us we limited our self to assemble the antennas and set the tower without antennas.
By the time we did this the afternoon had already gone halfway and so we took a break to eat something, same time discussing the next thing to do.
We decided to build the shack with his tables, transceivers, antenna adjustment gear and amplifiers.
Theo did spend the evening with testing the amp's and he made some nice QSO's while I made some QSO's on HF again.
I also got familiar with the switching system which was very thoughtful made.
When all antenna's were up we would have 6 towers (5x rotatable).
The 6th tower held a Maltese cross (12 times dipole), just for a listening station.
All antenna groups held an amplifier from about 400 watts which were all switched same time.
This way the frequency would stay clear with the vertical system and we could call on the yagi towers in all directions.
Whilst listening on the headphone you could listen to the yagi-systems (all together or individually) and/or the vertical system.
Left side from the headphone you would hear the yagi's and right side the verticals.
It must have been around 00:00 local when we went to the caravan and fell asleep after a day of hard work.
Friday morning started with some HF again and we were happy to see Kees/PA5WT back on his feet.
Still a bit shaky but feeling better along the day.
First thing we did was take the north-tower down to connect the 3 yagi's.
With the three of us we could easily lift this and after it was fixed we could connect the 4th yagi as well.
The rotator was on the ground again which made the tower much easier to lift.
The bearings with their guy wires held the tower on his place.
Then we started on the 4th rotatable tower, the east one.
Four 9 elements yagi's were prepared and the tower was tested straight up again and guy wires connected.
After some time this tower was also operational and now we had to fix the HALO system (omni directional system for TRX) from one to "four stacked".
This was just a piece of cake to what force we had to use for the other towers.
Last thing was the listening system, the Maltese cross which contained 12 dipoles.
Now we had all towers up which was a beautiful sight especially at sunset.
In the meantime Ruud/PE1BTV arrived and so we could enjoy some drinks and spent the evening testing and making QSO's.
Again some HF was done including some contacts with Dutch amateurs on holiday in Italy and Croatia.
Because all the work was ready we could rest on Saturday morning and make some checks on the amp's and switching units.
We were also visited by Philippe/LX2AJ.
He was showed around by Theo in the shack and passes the towers.
Philippe left to return the other day to do some operation as well.
The clock crawled to 14:00 UTC and Theo and Ruud started the contest.
Of course this went very well and we did not have to call CQ to much.
After two hours it was our turn and Kees and I (PA3GVI) went on same speed.
First 3 hours the QSO-rate was around 68 QSO's an hour.
In the evening we enjoyed some Chinese food, in shifts of course because we wanted to be on the whole contest without rest or sleep.
Nice long distance contacts were made like IK and GM.
Around 19:00 UTC we passed mic and laptop to our friends Theo and Ruud to have a long run so we could sleep some hours before our night shift.
Around 23:30 we were woken up by Ruud to sit behind the rig again and so we went with sleepy heads.
Power-engines were filled again and we good go on another 2 hours.
The average qso rate fell back to a minimum as 25 an hour but we kept calling and searching from time to time.
Sometimes we called for 5 minutes but the few that called from far, like S5 and TK, gave us the drive to go on.
Sooner then we thought the sunrise was there and time to switch operators again.
Ruud and Theo were fresh to go for our goal, 950 QSO's.
This would not be easy because the counter was around 700 at sunrise and we did not expect the stations to call that furious like the day before.
The crowd woke up soon and the rate went up again.
Not anymore above 68 QSO's an hour but still going quite well and when I made the 900th QSO a short party was celebrated and hands shacked.
If we were lucky we would just reach the 950th QSO goal!
Phillipe came along again and he and Kees formed an international team for about an hour.
And finally Ruud and Theo had the last shift and signed with 935 QSO's.
We were all very happy with the score and hands were shacked.
We relaxed a while and took some drinks to celebrate the way things had gone.
We did not have too much trouble except a forgotten rotor-cable and some loose wires which had to be soldered again.
The rest of the Sunday we disconnected the gear and took the towers down with the help of F6HPP.
He and his wife had already been there some hours in the early afternoon while we were contesting.
This was quite quickly done and that evening we enjoyed a very nice dinner with the four of us, of course telling jokes and looking back on the wonderful days we had on the hill.
Late in the evening we drove back to the contest site to sit outside and talk a bit more and watch the stars.
Satisfied we all fell asleep and on Monday morning after breaking down the tent we went on track, back home!
Half way we enjoyed some lunch and we said goodbye to everyone, thank each other for the pleasant time.
Maybe we will join again next year from---..???
Last two things to do are to thank all the folks who worked us and line up all the gear we used.
Transceivers: - 2x FT-847
- 1x TS-2000
Antenna's: - North tower with 4x 9 elements yagi.
- East tower with 4x 9 elements yagi.
- West tower with 2x 9 elements yagi.
- South tower with 1x 9elements yagi.
- Tower with 4x HALO antenna (omni directional)
- Tower with Maltese cross (12x dipole for the listening station)
Amplifiers: - 2x GS-35 amplifier.
- 2x FET amplifier.
- 1x 3CX800 amplifier.
All set at 400 watts.
Power : - 2x 6KW power engines and over 100 liters fuel.
Claimed score: - 315.000 points from 935 QSO's.
Best DX: - GM2T in IO86RW/959Km.
All contest QSO's will be confirmed by a special QSL of 30 years "PA1TK-contest groop".
73', and see you in the pile up!
Kees/PA5WT, Theo/PA1TK, Ruud/PE1BTV and Rob/PA3GVI.
Below are more pictures to get an impression about our trip.