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RSGB Backpacker Contest


#1

In an interesting development I see that the RSGB has adopted a “SOTA-style” qualifier for the 3W section in the Backpackers series of contests this year. This will be a welcome development for some and will allow SOTA stations to be much more competitive.

73

Richard
G3CWI


#2

In reply to G3CWI:

Interesting. Perhaps the RSGB is becoming aware that many people refer to these contests as the “Carpackers”!:slight_smile:

73

Brian G8ADD


#3

In reply to G3CWI:

I can certainly see the sense in the new rules for the 3W section of the contests, although I was quite dissappointed & a little miffed when the rules for this year were announced, that there is no 10 Watt section for the 50Mhz backpackers contest.

Suffering from horrendous QRM at my home QTH on 6 metres I was looking forward to getting out & about to less noisy locations with my FT897 & dipole. Of course I can still get out & play radio, but as the FT897 will not produce less than 5 Watts without a bit of tweaking ot flat batteries HI, I have resigned myself to being unable to enter the contest proper & only submitting a checklog.

The 6 metre backpackers contest does coincide with the 50Mhz trophy contest over the same weekend, which as a higher powered station (10Watts???) I would be encouraged to enter instead.

Anyway, I’m not downhearted, I’m sure I’ll enjoy myself whatever happens :slight_smile:

Here is a very short video of my station in one of last years 144Mhz backpackers contests, I’d just worked Nick G0HIK/P who was a Huge signal with me, although looking at the map later he should be, there was nothing between our locations & theoretically we could have worked optically. The main reason I was out that day was to test my Sotabeam SB5 & Yaesu FT897D, & I have to say I was, & still am very impressed with both. A very nice antenna Richard :slight_smile:

Here is my “Bike-packers” :wink: station: http://www.dogswebspace.com/belthorn.wmv

The furthest station I worked that day was in Kent, a distance of 337 Kms, & he was only running 2.5 Watts, although he did have a 13 element Yagi :wink:

Have a great weekend, the weather looks very promising.

73 Mark G0VOF


#4

In reply to G8ADD:
Have a look at the RSGB Yearbook 2006 on page 105 for a photograph of a backpackers station. To quote Main: “2m Backpacker station of xxxx; Inset: The station on the backseat of the car”


#5

In reply to G6DDQ:

Thats the picture that led to the nickname. Then there is the group that operates from a caravan in a field, and the groups where you can actually hear the generator in the background! The whole contest is a travesty and an insult to people who really know what backpacking is!

73

Brian G8ADD


#6

In reply to G8ADD:

The whole contest is a travesty and an insult to people
who really know what backpacking is

As someone who has a shedload of Backpacker wins behind him I feel a comment or two is due. The only problem with the Backpackers contest was in the name. It suggested something that the rules did not encourage. It’s easy to see why, the idea in 1995(ish) was to encourage small scale entries to the bigger contests. At the time there was no large scale history of SOTA style operation in the UK so it’s seems perfectly reasonable to me that you would not create an entirely new series of contests for people carrying gear up hills if you didn’t have a group of people who regularly carried their gear up hills anyway!

Now that SOTA (and its clones) has demonstrated there are a core group of people who do lug sacks of swag up prominent lumps it makes perfect sense to have a section in the contests specifically for those people. It suddenly makes SOTA stations competetive as you aren’t going head to head with some who’s only exertion was to get out of the car and set up. There will still be “big” stations who drove on site and are sat in a caravan with a big Yagi (I assume it’s still single antenna with height AGL limit) and they may be the overall winner still. But at least a SOTA station in 3W category stands the chance of a class win.

I don’t do QRP contesting anymore (been there, got the inch thick wad of contest win certficates) but this may encourage a lot more activity in these contests which is only good for both the QRP entrants and the QRO contest stations operating in the contest that run concurrently with them.

Andy
MM0FMF


#7

In reply to MM0FMF:

As someone who has a shedload of Backpacker wins behind him

Scottish sheds must be much smaller than English ones! I agree with your point though Andy, the problem was the name, not the contest itself. In fact “SOTA rules” stations have done well in these contests in recent years. ISTR that I was second in one session a couple of years ago; that was from Brown Clee and was a “SOTA rules” attempt. Some 3W car-packers had very sophisticated stations with computer logging, large beams (10+ elements), rotators etc which made life much easier for them than it was for a SOTA activator out in the open on a windy summit.

I think that the height limit has been reduced to 4m from 10m which also favours SOTA-style entries. I just hope that SOTA stations do make the effort to enter the contests or else the rules for the 3W section could end up reverting to what they were before.

http://www.vhfcc.org/cgi-bin/contest_rules.pl?year=2009&contest=144backpack1&seq=

73

Richard
G3CWI


#8

In reply to G3CWI:

I think that the height limit has been reduced to 4m from 10m which also favours SOTA-style entries.

I can’t see why! I would have to saw my fishing pole in two if I wanted to enter with that rule.

Steve GW7AAV


#9

In reply to GW7AAV:
I quite often shorten my pole if its windy.
Unscrew base cap and remove top thin sections.
Replace cap.
Extend only sections you require.

Roger G4OWG

ps I stopped using supplied plastic collar as guy support - use a pack of various ‘O’ rings from B&Q - the elasticity copes better with the wind.


#10

In reply to G3CWI:
I particularly like :-

“h) Equipment must be carried and operated at least 100m from the transportation vehicle.”

Perhaps this could be adopted by SOTA to avoid confusion on summits Like Rombalds Moor and Bishop Wilton Wold?

Roger G4OWG


#11

In reply to G4OWG:

I quite often shorten my pole if its windy.
Unscrew base cap and remove top thin sections.

Sections of pole above the antenna don’t count anyway. The rule specifies the maximum height of the driven element.


#12

In reply to G4OWG:

Not that it is not insurmountable just I find that particular restriction somewhat odd.

My version of the SOTA beam fits as near to the top of the pole as is practically possible and I guy at the bottom of the first section. I have a plastic collar made from the inside of a roll of insulating tape with three cable ties attached to which are fitted the guys.

If I was to remove the top sections the antenna would no longer fit onto the pole. If I was to leave the bottom sections unextended the beam would spin in uncontrollably the wind ripping off the coax connections. The result is that I would have to have separate kit to use just for Backpackers.

The reason I find it odd is that there is little advantage between say 4 and 8 metres off the ground but a heck of an advantage between operating at sea level and from the top of a summit.

I think maybe the rules are moving in the right direction but if you want to carry a huge mast then why not? after all there is no restriction on the gain of antennas is there?

Whatever happens I look forward to working many more “CQ SOTA and the Backpackers” in the future and seeing some familiar callsigns in the top ten.

Regards Steve GW7AAV


#13

In reply to GW7AAV:

The reason I find it odd is that there is little advantage between say 4
and 8 metres off the ground

It can make a big difference in helping cancel out destructively interefering waves reflected back from the ground. Useful if you haven’t got a location with ground that falls away in the direction of take off.

but a heck of an advantage between operating
at sea level and from the top of a summit.

One of the best locations for VHF/UHF/Microwave contesting is Walton-on-the-Naze which is less than 20m ASL.

Andy
MM0FMF


#14

In reply to MM0FMF:
I was out last year doing the backpackers contest from different summits,

18th May, GD/GD-03

4th, MD0SGB/P IO74PD 44 qso’s G0VHF/P worked, 476 odx, 10 5 ele, FT857,

8th June, G/WB-004,

1st M0SGB/P IO82NN 77 qso’s ON4TOR/P worked, 495 odx, 2.5 9 ele, FT817,

3rd July, G/SP-010,

2nd M0SGB/P IO83RP 43 qso’s GI4GTY/P worked, 237 odx, 2.5 9 ele FT817,

20th July, non sota,

1st, M0SGB/P IO93AO HD 63 qso’s, DK5DQ worked, 678 odx, 2.5 9 ele FT817,

7th Sept, non sota,

1st M0SGB/P IO93AO 60 qso’s F6HPP/P worked, 604 odx 2.5 9 ele FT817,
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

As you can see from my scores you can do some dx with minemum power, I would like it, if you could take the big boy’s with big masts, (sometimes 4 x 17 ele’s) in a cricket field out of the game, May be some other stations might take part, but over the last few years i have seen more new comers to the contest, more than old hands.

Just a short one,

Steve m0sgb who might be out soon.