I joined the PA1TK contest group in 2005 during the VHF-contest in Luxembourg for the first time with great pleasure.
Our main goal in 2006 was the IARU VHF region 1 contest again which takes place every year in the first
weekend of September.
But as I am a HF addict I could not resist taking my HF gear again for the dark hours when we could not build our impressive antenna-farm.
This year we wanted to see if we could improve our ranking (3rd in the Dutch PA list-2005).
Instead of last year we would go with only 3 operators and this caused a logistic problem.
Theo, solved this with his famous "no problem" and hired a van to bring the gear to LX.
He would also pull the caravan which would be our sleeping place whilst there.
Kees/PA5WT and I (PA3GVI) would travel in a separate car to bring our HF equipment, clothes and stuff.
On the evening of 29th August we were at the depot to load the towers, antennas, power engines, amplifiers, coax, etc.
Ready to go
Wednesday morning at 1200 local Kees picked me up to start the 4 hour drive to LX.
We would meet up with Theo along the road.
After a short phone call Theo said he was just a mile ahead of us, so we stopped, just to have a short chat and to drink something.
On the road again the time went quickly, talking about the weather predictions and radio conditions in LX.
We arrived at about 1600 local and after setting the caravan we had set the shelter (shack).
The weather had just turned in our favour, dry and nice temperature, which is very welcome if you need to build several towers.
As we wanted to be active from the first day on the south mast with the 2x 9 elements yagi for 144 MHZ was our next goal.
We got pretty handy in mounting and lifting the towers so this was just a piece of cake.
The small 11 meter mast which would hold the dipoles for HF (30 and 40 meter) was next to go.
Theo had set the VHF equipment and so he was on the air the first, followed by LX/PA3GVI/P after installing the TS-2000 and the AL-811 amplifier.
We had to position the HF gear on an improvised table, because we forgot to bring the one we normally use.
Two camping chairs and a wooden plate did the trick and the amplifier was placed on a box on the ground.
Immediate response on 144 MHz when Theo called CQ.
On HF I hoped to have better results then last year when the offer was marginal.
Now with the amplifier at 400 Watts it seemed like 3x the offer of what I got last year.
Many European stations were logged that evening and even contacts into JA and ZL were common the next few days.
One contact was very special to me: The one when I was called by 3XD2A from Guinea on 30 meter, CW of course.
This station can normally be heard working hugh pile ups, but now the contact went very easy.
I worked 3X2DA (I still need 3X from home) some weeks ago but that one seems to be a pirate.
Thursday, I woke up early when the others were still asleep.
Again good conditions and I did not have to call CQ often, really great.
When Theo and Kees were on their feet again we made breakfast and enjoyed the low clouds in the valley down below.
"What a view"
The weather was good and we went on building the towers.
The north tower was up next but first we assembled all the yagi, 10 to be precise ( 2 were already up in the south mast).
Like I mentioned, we all have routine with setting these towers so this was done in record time followed by the west tower and an omni directional antenna (12x dipole/Maltese cross).
That day we enjoyed the sun and done a lot off work, I even got sunburned a bit.
On the end of the day around dinnertime we were ahead of our schedule with only the east tower left to build.
Theo, who is also a very good cook (with the microwave oven that is, hi) made our dinner which we took while watching the surrounding area.
On the east we looked into Germany, just on the other side of the valley, really a stunning view. We really felt happy that we had permission again from the local farmer to use this site.
The place is quite remote and just some local people can be seen on their evening or morning walk.
So, it is the right place if you need to run two 6 KVA power engines at night.
Kees/PA5WT was active that evening too and made some very nice contacts into JA on 30 meters.
The Inverted V dipoles 10 meter high worked very well.
We stayed up till about 2300 local and went to bed to be fresh again the next day.
Friday was very relaxed with just the east tower to build.
We fixed this before lunch, more then 24 hours before the VHF contest would start.
So, plenty of time to do some shopping and get fuel for the power engines.
Later, same routine as the days before, active on VHF and HF.
HF stayed very good with plenty stations calling, this was fun!
The Dutch stations were not too loud, but a few managed to get through.
Our QSO total headed to 1000 QSO's with some more highlights, working 3XD2A and FG5FR on 40 meter, priceless!
East tower with 4 x 9 elements
Saturday morning I went out a little earlier to contact my friend KB5NJD/John from Texas.
No good conditions unfortunately, no stateside at all!!
Many Europeans and one ZL which came through 559 on 40 meter/CW.
Finally I made 704 QSO's and Kees ended up having 255 QSO's in his log as LX/PA5WT/p.
This was definitely much more then in 2005 and I was very satisfied with this especially because we almost did not have to call CQ at all.
How much fun already and the main thing we went there was just to take place.
That Saturday morning we tested the amplifiers for VHF and found one FET amplifier coursing trouble.
This was fixed by removing some SWR detecting device, probably trimmed to tight.
All the other gear worked perfect and we were ready to go, just had to wait till 1400z.
We took the HF dipoles down as well to limit breakdown time Sunday afternoon.
It was Theo who started the contest and instantly had to handle a big pile up.
He did a great job with 94 QSO's the first hour, well done Theo!
After the first hour the QSO rate went down of course, but still well above 70 the first 4 hours.
We changed operator almost every hour and this went on till the evening when Kees and I (PA3GVI)went to the caravan for a short sleep before we would take over for the night.
We refuelled the power engines and took over from Theo at 2300z.
The QSO rate moved downwards more and more to 10 QSO's an hour but still from time to time nice long distance.
We called CQ sometimes for 10 minutes and were then called by Italian or OK-stations.
We struggled through the night and when Theo came along to go on from there at 05.00z, we were somewhat disappointed about the low rate and number of QSO's during this night.
Rob and Kees
Theo of course was fruity and fresh from his beauty sleep and went on with his famous enthusiasm.
The rate went up again but we did not expect to reach close to 1000 QSO's.
More then 1000 QSO's was not possible in our opinion, but thanks to the many DL's calling we saw a change to end up high enough to be satisfied.
At 1400z we had 975 QSO's in our log.
The average distance and number of QSO's was somewhat higher then the year before, so we were very happy!
Kees and I already started to break down the south and west tower 2 hours before the end of the contest.
So after 1400z only the north, east and the tower with the omni directional antenna had to be taken down.
Unfortunately it started to rain and most of the antenna's and shelter went into the van wet.
Never mind, we were all yearning for a hot shower and some good food so we drove to the camping were we would shower and sleep.
Whilst enjoying our food at the Italian restaurant (good choice, Theo) we overlooked the operation and were very satisfied with the result despite the flat conditions.
The claimed score is 974 QSO's and about 340.000 points.
Monday morning we drove early to bring all the equipment to the depot and meet with the family again.
Regards and thanks to all the people that gave us some points in the contest or worked us on HF.
73, hope to hear you another time!
All contacts made in the IARU VHF-contest with LX/PA1TK/p will be confirmed with a special designed (by PA1TK) QSL-card with pictures of many years abroad and to commemorate Ton/PA0ASH (SK) who was the technical man behind the PA1TK contest group.
QSL's for LX/PA5WT/p and LX/PA3GVI/p can go via the buro or direct (direct needs 1 $).
All LX/PA3GVI/p (704) contacts will be confirmed automaticly via the buro.
Direct cards will find their way home the same way they arrived!
We used rotatable towers for the yagi's and fixed ones for the omni directional antenna's and Hf dipoles.
Besides the antennas, amplifiers and so on we brought many meters of coax, rotator cable and other usefull devices.
AC power was provided by 2 x 6Kva power engines.which used about 160 liter of fuel.
Transceivers: - 2x FT-847
Antenna's HF: - dipool for 30 meter
- dipole for 40 meter
Antennas VHF: - north tower with 4 x 9 elements yagi
- south tower with 2 x 9 elements yagi
- west tower with 2 x 9 elements yagi
- east tower with 4 x 9 elements yagi
- maltese cross (12 x dipole)
Amplifiers: - 2 x GS-35
- 2 x FET
- Discovery (UK AMP)
- AL-811 for HF
Below are more pictures to get a taste of our time in LX,.....have fun!