IARU VHF CW aka Marconi Memorial Contest ’20

It’s been a few years since I last participated seriously in the Marconi Memorial Contest on 2 m. I tried to be QRV for some hours and hand out some points at least during the last few years. It’s always been fun so it was overdue to do a serious entry again. 😉

Condx looked promising, tropo was already enhanced a little on Friday and the F5LEN Tropo Forcast showed there might be good conditions to the east on Saturday evening. And so it was, all the Lithuanians worked (6-700 km) were solid S9 signals while they are usually S3 only in other VHF contests. Unfortunately there were only three of them QRV (LY2WR, LY2R, LY2FN). When they have their VHF Fieldday in July you can easily work 10-12 of them and a few Latvians and sometimes even Estonians, too, but not so this time, just no activity. Really a pity with these nice condx! Anyway, conditions into the other directions were not bad either, although not enhanced. But it helped to have stable signals from the South this time (compared to July contest) resulting in a good number of contacts with HA, 9A, S5 and two times YU again! YT3AAA was single op’ing from the YT4B location and could be worked Saturday evening. YU7ACO is a regular, too (although it didn’t work in July), logged Sunday morning and with over 1.000 km as well no slouch either. 😉

But the real highlight(s) came from the West this time. There was a small tropo zone evolving during the night across the North Sea. I had tried with the bigger GM stations a few times during the night but could never hear them (and vice versa). But on Sunday morning we finally had a stable duct enabling three very fine DX contacts into Scotland! 😎 Keith, GM4YXI, was the strongest of the crowd with a real S9 signal. Signals were stable for almost 4 hours until it all vanished again.

GM4YXI (IO87wk) tropo ducting over 1133 km Sunday morning:

Stewart, GM4AFF, was a nice signal with about S6, too, another easy QSO. Getting Chris, GM3WOJ, into the log needed a little more work. He’s another 130 km further away than the other two and the path is crossing a bit over land (although he has a coastal location as well) so signals were quite weak but we made it. 😎 His location probably helped, too. Tests with other Scottish stations further inland (i.e. MMØC) were all negative, it seemed the duct ended right at the coast line.

All in all lots of fun and great activity. I did not expect to log over 400 QSOs! If my memory doesn’t let me down I think my personal best in the past was something around 300 or maybe 330 QSOs in the Marconi. Would have to look it up in the archives. 😀

Good activity even 20 minutes before contest end.

I worked a bunch of Czech stations never heard before, all individual callsigns. I can only guess they are usually operating from the big(ger) multi-op stations but due to all the Covid-19 restrictions they now popped up from their little home stations. But no matter what reason it was much appreciated! Here’s a visual overview of all stations logged:

All contacts made in this year’s Marconi Memorial CW contest on 144 MHz.

And finally here are my total results. I logged with N1MMLogger+ this time taking advantage of rig control, bandmap, cluster spots, a.s.o. While it is not as flexible on VHF as TACLog (especially concerning reporting) which I’ve been using for the last 25 years it has all the modern advantages mentioned above which are missing in TL. And, I always have to run circles to make these old DOS applications like TL work under modern Windows versions (although DOSBox as an emulator does a good job but who knows how long it will last). So it was about time to do the move. 😉

                 VHFREG1 Summary Sheet

       Start Date : 2020-11-07

    CallSign Used : DH8BQA
      Operator(s) : DH8BQA

Operator Category : SINGLE-OP
Assisted Category : ASSISTED
             Band : 2M
            Power : HIGH
             Mode : CW
 Default Exchange : #
       Gridsquare : JO73CE

         Software : N1MM Logger+ 1.0.8714.0

        Band   Mode  QSOs     Pts   Pt/Q
         144   CW    412                    (incl. dupes)
       Total   Both  406   163260  402,1

            Score : 163.260

              Rig : IC-9700 + PA
         Antennas : 10 ele DK7ZB Yagi

QSOs > 800 km:
08/11  0849   GM3WOJ         IO77WS      1258
08/11  0832   GM4YXI         IO87WK      1133
08/11  1034   GM4AFF         IO86TS      1128
07/11  2021   YT3AAA         JN94SD      1079
08/11  0804   YU7ACO         KN05RD      1037
07/11  1754   9A0V           JN95PE       963
07/11  2319   F6DWG/P        JN19BQ       923
07/11  1759   9A8D           JN95LM       919
07/11  1752   9A1N           JN85LI       894
08/11  0052   HB9IAB/P       JN36GU       892
07/11  1553   9A4M           JN85EI       886
08/11  0642   G4PIQ          JO02OD       884
07/11  1807   9A1P           JN65VG       881
07/11  2338   F1UVN          JO10HE       865
08/11  0646   9A9R           JN85OQ       862
07/11  1924   G4CDN          JO02SS       849 
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