The only ones that point their beam towards the southern Indian Ocean are the US and that is just by accident – 3B8 is in the same direction as Europe but 6000 mls further away. This makes it very difficult to break pileups for multipliers from 3B8. The Caribbean multipliers are overrun by NA and EU. European multipliers are overrun by Europe and Pacific multipliers by NA and JA.
More than 95% of our QSOs were on paths longer than 7000km (such as London-Nebraska or London-Tanzania) and 25% were on paths longer than 14000km (like London-Kiribati and beyond). Seriously good stuff!
We were almost on the beach but beaches in 3B8-land are public so we had to stay just a bit away. Our antenna field was very limited in size, abt 35x35ft, 1/40th of an acre if my math is correct.
We squeezed in an 18m Spiderbeam pole with two parallel inverted Ls for 80 and 160.
The 40m vertical was only 15-20ft away and RF from 40 created havoc with the KAT500 that was supposed to take SWR down to less than 2 to keep the KPA500 happy. The first night we had to run less than 100w on 80 and 160 in order not to trip the KPA500. A bit of antenna measurements with my tiny SARK110 and some calculations with TLW led to the construction of an L network with a tap that had to be moved between 80 and 160. Luckily I had brought a few components for another antenna experiment. The network made it possible to bypass the KAT500 and it also acted as a LPF attenuating 40m. The ceramic insulator under the network can in an emergency double as a dinner plate. We could now run 400w also on 80 and 160.
The 20m VDA was built on a 12m Spiderbeam pole, here with extra support from G0CKV while W6NV is looking up:
Here our 10 and 15m VDAs built using those very light DX-Wire 10m poles are resting on the ground while waiting for their Friday morning erection.
Our wires were fed from three K3/KPA500 stations which of course is too little for proper M/M but so what? We had great fun. Here (L-to-R) Oliver W6NV is running 20, Seppo OH1VR is doing 15 and Jorma OH2KI is on 10. 20 was dead 09-15 local and 15 was down too during this midday period. The K3s are great radios but I have come to mistrust their reliability somewhat so we had a 4th K3 as a spare. In the end everything worked fine – no failures. Condx were excellent. 160 and 80 were disappointing. I had done quite well on those bands before the contest but with the crowded bands during the weekend we were just too far away and too weak. And then with only three stations we prioritized rate on the HF bands.
If I read the CQ Record Book correctly, our score is way above all previous records in any category in zones 37-38-39 and also above all records any category even in zone 36.
A Monday afternoon post-contest party. From left to right Anniki, OH2KI XYL, Kazu M0CFW/JK3GAD, Seppo OH1VR, Jorma OH2KI, Jacky 3B8CF sitting, Jacky’s son Ishwar, 3B8GL and the MARS President Patrick, 3B8GF
The full crew from 3B8MU: from left to right Jorma OH2KI, Oliver, W6NV, Seppo OH1VR, Kazu M0CFW/JK3GAD and Olof G0CKV / 3B8HA / 3B9HA. Photo by Clive 3B8CW.
Before the CQWWCW week I had been QRV as 3B8HA from a hotel on the NW Coast where I for the last few years have spent a couple of weeks for a family holiday.
I used parallel vertical dipoles for 10-15-20 supported by a coconut palm close to the beach. It turned out that noise level was high at the hotel and at dusk it increased another 2 S units and when I tried to use the KPA500 I got into the audio system of one of the restaurants. But I had fun handing out double multipliers in CQ SSB and playing a bit in the Ukrainian and OK/OM contests. There was a great opening to the US West Coast on 20 around sunrise every morning. The sunsets were beautiful and the rum drinks in the bar were included in the deal.
Following the family holiday on Mauritius and before CQWWCW I took off to Rodrigues solo. Rodrigues is the most Eastern part of Africa and belongs to the Mascarene group. The island is small, only 108 sq km and the surrounding lagoon is actually larger in area.
I stayed in a very rural guest house and had a great time in all respects. My host was running as a candidate for the 3B parliament elections early December and I got a unique chance to learn more about life and issues for the local population. Rodrigues is a very friendly Island, ca 38000 population, everything very affordable, great food with their French heritage, plenty of seafood.
Radio-wise the location was quiet. With parallel verticals for 40 and 80 on an 18m pole and vertical dipoles on 10-15-20 I did some 5000 qsos spending only a few hours on the air every day. My QTH was on the NW coast two hundred meters from the sea on ground sloping gently down to the sea.
I spent 4 days helping Robert 3B9FR get organized with his new IC756 and MicroHam box and more toys he had just received courtesy of NCDXF. He should now be QRV also on various digital modes and he has now 40/30m parallel verticals in addition to his Hex beam. I also left him my 18m pole with the idea that he would try to raise that for the December/January low-band season.