Russian DX Contest 2005. UP5G Story by RV1AW/RA3AUU

We are on Almaty – Moscow flight, with emptiness in our minds. Hey, why?! Is Russian DX Contest 2005 already over?! So quickly! Hey, we want more!

I never felt such rush as this time, not even from CQWW. I have a feeling, if we would have 2nd radio for S&P we could have at least 15-20% more QSOs.

2005 Russian DX Contest

CALL:  UP5G      Kazakhstan
CLASS: Multi Single High Power 

BAND     CW     SSB   OBL    DX    Pts

160      87      13    54    27    835
80      258     150    65    43   3287
40      447     307    71    67   5817
20      426     384    73    68   6172
15      391     544    73    75   6639
10      197     108    42    39   2204
Total  1806    1506   378   319  24954

Claimed score: 17 392 938 pts

Before the New Year Andrey RV1AW harassed me with the idea to start training again, as we did not make contest together for a long time already. For about 1.5 months, we were wandering “where to go next". Finally, with the suggestion from Eugeny RK3AD, we designated our future haven. Sergey UN9GC passed his invitation through Eugeny: he is ready to host us, and we made up our minds for this trip.

Neither Andrey, nor me had never been to Kazakhstan before. Moreover, to my shame, I didn’t know (I have forgotten) Almaty’s position on the map. When I saw the position with the assitance of RU3DX, I worried about 80m and 160m mults since it was 3000 km distance to Moscow and UA3 area!

Two weeks in March I was away of home and without Internet access, so I didn’t know that a great battle in MS World entry is expected. UCG team “soaped their skis” to the East – to sign 8Q7DV. RV3BA/RA3CO – to EX9A (I’m sorry Dima got sick, and no MS entry succeeded from there), RX3APM/UA4LU – to EY0R. Sure, Europen teams leaded by UU7J, were not going to take second roles.

On my come back home all my thoughts were only about RDXC. I could not even sleep thinking of operation plans.

I met Andrey late Thursday evening in Moscow and together we departed for Almaty from Domodedovo, one of Moscow airports. Eugeny RK3AD departed 30 minutes earlier, from Sheremetievo Airport. Old Kazakhstan capital met us with spring weather and nice mountain views. Unfortunately, due to our tight schedule we were not able to reach the mountains during this visit.

UN9GC Multi-Multi shack is situated some 40 km away from the city in the “open field”called steppe. As usual, not many Multi Multi stations have Multi Single features as antenna switches etc, so from the arrival moment we were busy connecting antennas to M/S set up with 2 radios. We decided, our “switch board” will be RK3AD who early agreed to do such a heavy job. Our “Switch” worked fine, except 4-5 hours for a short sleep.

Even the time difference between Almaty and Moscow is just 3 hours our brains had absolutely no knowledge on propagation and band changes ideas including moving time for low bands. Therefore Sergey UN9GC guided us through hour-by-hour propagation overview and we made our plan for all 24 hours which we used during the entire contest.

As usual, the contest start was very busy. 263 QSO during the first hour, 208 QSO during the second hour. Then the rate went a bit down. Finally, the average rate for the contest is 140 QSO per hour. Writelog 10.47 software glitched quite strange. Network numbering behaved unexpectedly, the numbers were running ahead and backwards. The network broke down twice completely, so we were not able to restore similar correct scores on the both PCs.

...The day earlier, while on 160m, RV1AW complained he could hear many calling stations but he was not able to log them due to a very heavy noise. This way we’ve got an idea of the conditions we would have during the contest. UN9GC said that such noise was very unusual at his place. Anyway, as a plan we named at least 50 oblasts mults on 160m we would need to work during the contest but the local guys strongly doubted this forecast.

So, when we moved to top bands we found them very noisy, especially the 160m band. Actually all 160m QSOs were made S&P drumming our 4-digit serial numbers many times. Well, here is our complaint to the RDXC Committee: “Dear Committee, Hereby we inform you that Russian participants feel more freedom than we, the foreigners. We have to send out long numbers at a less speed then Russian SP, MA and other tr-tr-tr. Firstly, we wanted to send out AY (for AlmatY), but after rereading the Rules decided to send serial numbers. Finally, we lost about 20% of probable QSO score, and spent a lot of time for long number rapid speech and keying”.

80m was easier and funnier with 4-el yagi and quads. The long distance from EU affected primarily SSB QSO number and final band mults number. The positive effect is that being located like in the center of Russia we were able to reach both far EU oblasts and 0-area-oblasts excluding the Far East.

The most number of our QSOs were done on RUN bands 40, 20 and 15. We continually moved from one band to another as well as modes to keep best rates possible.

Studying propagation before the contest we noticed 10m opened to EU from 9-10Z to 12Z. We have planned these hours for the contest. Nevertheless, during the entire contest, especially in the morning hours, we regularly listened 10m as we could not get mults on other bands this time. Sometimes we “dropped the rod” at 28500 once in 10-15 seconds signing “United Papa Five Golf” for a minute. Suddenly RN0CT arrived with S9++ at 02Z. But where are the rest Eastern participants? Nobody even suspected there was 10m opening. There were only RK0AXX in half hour and three Chinese stations headed by BG1EFG who won the prize; we did not need the others for mult. After 1.5 hours we worked EX2T trough short-skip zone. All others realized the 10m is open at 06Z only. It looked like somebody was spotted in DX-cluster and lots of people went to 10m. Funny, the direction where the propagation came from was absolutely different from what we expected. All EU and some AS we worked from the SW direction! When we turned antennas to the right directions, signals completely disappeared. We started good RUN on CW but realizing we would manage SSB easier with long serial numbers and bewared of the “strange" propagation will close soon we went to SSB and we were right. After 1-1.5 hours after a strong Russian opening the prapagation was over. Eastern and Central EU opened for another one hour with some weak signals but was also over in one hour.

We were finishing the contest on the 15m due to a best rate band for the moment.

For those who probably doesn’t know: Contesting – is a real show performance. During the entire contest, including the night, from 2 to 8 Kazakh HAMs watched us with greetings and support. We really felt their support!

We’d like to say many thanks to our host Sergey UN9GC who organized such a nice weekend and wish him to continue his ideas into live!!

Our thanks also go to Eugeny RK3AD for his support during the trip, for perfect antenna switching design and for his advices!

Many thanks to Igor UN7GM for his technical support!

We also thank everybody in the support team who greeted and encouraged us during the entire contest: Victor UN8GV, Victor UN9GD and Victor UN9GBL, Anatoly UN6G, Alexander UN7GC.