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Youth Contesting Program 2018 – DQ5M (@DM9EE)

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After seeing posts about the YCP at DM9EE I immediately applied, eager to be able to take part in
the CQWW SSB contest from a big contest station. My contest experience was limited, having only
participated at smaller stations and once at 9A1A as part of the YCP program. I was eager to gain
experience and learn more about contest techniques and strategies.
Six youngsters were selected to go to DM9EE for the contest, 4 of them coming from various
regions of Germany, one from Sweden and myself from Austria. It was an interesting combination
of people, with different skill levels, some having only operated QRP stations whilst others had
been to large contest stations before.
On Friday we arrived at the DX-Hotel in Holzminden in the north of Germany owned by Carsten
Dauer, DM9EE. The DX-Hotel (see dm9ee.de for more information) is a normal hotel, only that in
the garden there are two high masts with yagi antennas on top and a 4 square for the 80 meter
band. The station itself consisted of two IC-7851 transceivers with an OM-Power and an ACOM
amplifier. One thing some of us had never seen before was the micro ham system which connects
all parts of the station. The functionality it provided was impressive, however before we could get
started some tweaking was required so we got right to work to make sure everything was working
flawlessly. Thankfully we arrived early before contest begin so we had enough time. At the last
minute we had to solder a new control cable for one of the amplifiers as we changed the set up a
little to optimise the station.
The antenna systems were great, an opti beam ob-17-4 (3 element on 40m, 4ele on 20m, 4ele on
15m and 6ele on 10m), a 4 square for 80 meters and an inverted L wire antenna for 160 meters. All
of this concealed in the garden of the hotel. A big thank you to Carsten, DM9EE who not only
provided the station and his experience but also housed us in his luxurious hotel. I am sure no
other contest team lived and ate as well as we did during the contest.
We operated using the call DQ5M, a special youth contesting callsign. During the contest we
changed operators approximately every 3 hours, however sometimes we operated for 4 or 5 hours
and other times we changed more frequently. There was no tight schedule, if an operator wanted
to be replaced, one of us would jump at the opportunity to operate again. The contest itself was
very interesting, we had never seen the bands so extremely full. It was an interesting experience
and a challenge to call on a frequency when you can hear and even understand the station above
and below you. We quickly noticed that we were able to achieve better rates using search and
pounce, especially for multipliers. Towards the end of the contest we had to resort to calling on a
frequency as we had already worked all stations which we were able to hear on the band, the band
map became very empty. Occasionally a new multiplier would pop up in he cluster and we would
immediately try to work it before resuming to calling.
The social aspect of this event can not be overlooked, new friendships were made and we all
share an enthusiasm for youth work and will work together to spread our hobby among young
people in the future. I have noticed that one of the key factors which makes it difficult to get new
youngsters into the hobby is that there is a lack of other people their age who they can practice the
hobby with, then they quickly loose interest and become inactive. Small events like the YCP events
are perfect to change this. Even though there are quite a few youngsters in Austria, they do not
know each other, they have to be connected at events such as this one. Furthermore a weekend
activity together is the perfect opportunity to get to know each other, the team which met at DQ5M
will stay connected and work together in youth work. Amateur radio needs more events like these
to grow and to pass the hobby on to the next generation.

73 de Monty, OE3VVU
DQ5M YCP team

 

Youth Contesting Program 2018 – 4O4YCP (@4O3A)

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I had heard of the YCP from my friends Fiodor IZ7YBG and Riccardo IV3CVN so I decided to apply myself to see a big contest station at work. I has been chosen for 4O3A, for CQWW RTTY 2018 contest, so I planned my travel by car to Montenegro. At the airport of Dubrovnik I met Florian PB8DX and together we reached the 4O3A peninsula, because we cannot use mobile phones in Montenegro we used 2 repeaters to talk with Marko who helped us with directions.

Finally, on the evening of Thursday we arrived at the meeting point where Marko 4O9TTT picked up us and took us to the station, it’s on a mountain so a 4×4 vehicle was needed to reach it, Marko is the president of the MARP and stayed with us for the contest to help us with FlexRadio, we met also Roby E77E, the chef, there was also Ljubomir YU5EEA who was testing the station with a pile up. During the next day Jahko YU3EEA joined us and the contest team was complete, we met Ranko 4O3A during the afternoon, he with Marko explained how to manage the station and use FlexRadio and also some suggestions for the contest.

During the contest we had planned shifts of 4 and 6 hours to work at the station and go to sleep, shifts were good and also sleep was needed to survive the 48hrs.

The Monday after the contest we went to the SKYLAB, the house of Ranko and also the laboratory where the FlexRadio are made, it was very interesting to see how a sdr radio is created. After a good lunch with ćevapčići I left for return to Italy which took 1 a day and a half.

I am very happy for this experience, it has given me the opportunity to improve my ham radio skills, meet new people and visit new countries. Many thanks again for the great opportunity and all the work of the team in 4O to make it all happen.

I suggest every youngster to apply for the YCP, you will not regret!

73 de Matteo, IU2GGL
team member 4O4YCP (@4O3A)

YCP 2018 – King of Spain SSB Contest @EC2DX

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On the weekend around the 22nd June the annual His Majesty The King of Spain SSB contest took place.
We (David, OE5DFL, and Benjamin, OE3BVB) had the chance to participate from EC2DX station in spain.

On Friday we flew to Spain and we were warmly welcomed by Imanol (EC2DX). After a two hour drive we arrived at the station and had some meal together. Since we arrived very early in EA-land we helped Imanol with some of his new projects. We helped to concrete the foundation for his new homemade tower and we also helped bulding his new 10/15m yagis.

After that we started to prepare for the contest. We errected the 80m fullsize 4-square, put the station together and did some first tests. Everything worked well.

After prepearing the station Imanol showed us some local spanish habbits also including drinking coffee at 11 pm. After a good dinner we went to sleep for the contest next day.

For the contest we were able to use EF0F, thanks to Jose EA7KW, URE and the EA5RS contest group for making this possible. We were active on 2 bands at the same time, sometimes also on 3 bands. Some stations could make contact with us on all bands 160-10m as well. The contest went very good but in the night we took a short break since there was almost no activity.

In the end we were able to achive a little bit over a million points and almost 2200 QSO‘s.

On our last day we visited San Sebastian and had a great time with the locals.

Thank you EC2DX for hosting us at your station, also a big thanks to his wive for supporting us.
Also thanks to IARU for making this possible with the YCP Program

73 de David (OE5DFL) & Benjamin (OE3BVB)

YOTA @HAMRADIO 2018

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HAM Radio 2018 was incredible, we have never seen so many youngsters and YOTA friends. We were proud to be part of the IARU booth for 3 days long. In our Flag ceremony at the mainstage the YOTA flag and key were handed over from the UK to South-Africa. And yes, YOTA ZS is coming closer! Florian (OE3FTA) and Lisa (PA2LS) introduced the audience to Youngsters On The Air and gave an overview of all activities and news, YOTA keeps on growing and developing its program.
The IARU R1 International Youth Meeting on Saturday was attended by a group of youngsters and youth coordinators. Koos (ZR6KF) and Nico (ZS6QL) updated of all youth activities in South-Africa as part of SARL (South African Radio League) and Hammies. Followed by a discussion of Alex (IV3KKW), Florian (OE3FTA) and Lennart (PD5LKM), who are part of the IARU taskgroups which are working on the future of amateur radio. Their work is still in a starting point and are going to use the input to their relevant groups working on education and outreach, it’s not an easy task, but an important one.
In the afternoon a train full of youngsters visited all IARU member societies, questioning, does your society have a youth program? We were happy to have Silvio (IZ5DIY) as our train driver.
On Saturday evening we had the famous YOTA dinner, attended by more than 60 youngsters and YOTA friends from more than 10 countries. The family keeps on growing!
And last but not least, we had the chance to think about new future plans and took the time to say thank you to many of our sponsors which were attending HAM Radio. Without them we are not able to host all our many activities.

#hamyota #FHN2018

YCP 2018 – ARI International DX Contest @ES5TV

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When my Friend Fiodor IZ7YBG told me about his YCP experience I decided to apply myself.
I have been chosen for ES5TV station for ARI DX contest so I booked flights to Tallinn.

I met Tonno and he brought me to the station, where I met Oleg, YL3DW and Valeri, ES5QA. Tonno gave me a nice welcome to his station, he explained me how the station works. The Friday evening before the contest he let me use the station for practicing, I made some QSO’s together with his son Jasper, ES5JASS.

Other people joined us for the contest, and at 12:00Z Saturday the contest started. This was first Multi operator-Multi station contest for me and I learned many things, especially how big contest station works. I have been awake all night long as I was so enthusiastic about the contest. Even once the contest was finished, I could not get “ES9C CQ Contest” out of my head.

Tonno managed everything perfectly, he picked me up at the airport and provided food at the station. It had a lot of fun operating with the Latvian guys: Kristers YL3AJA, Oskars and Ritvars (from YL1ZT); I am also glad to have met Tarmo, ES5NHC, Tauri, ES5HTA and many other people.

The funniest thing was when I was speaking Italian to the Italians stations because they did not expect an Estonian station speaking their own language!

I am very happy for this experience, it has given me the opportunity to improve my ham radio skills, seeing a big gun station, but also meeting new people and visit a new country.
The day the contest finished I got the chance to take ferry to Helsinki (only 80km from Tallinn) and I visited Finland too.

I suggest every youngster to apply for the YCP, you will not regret!

73 de Riccardo, IV3CVN
(YCP member @ES5TV 2018)

 

Young contest team together with 9A1A

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On the weekend around 12th of May the annual CQ Mir International Contest took place. Together with a group of youngsters from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Germany and Austria I had the chance to take part from a Top-Gun station in Europe. I met this group only thanks to an initiative from IARU Region 1 Youth-Group.

For some years, Youngsters On The Air have given the opportunity to compete in an ordinary station without any qualifications and prior knowledge. Of course, I did not miss this opportunity! Part of the YCP-Team were Philipp (DK6SP) and Flo (OE3FTA). We met on Friday afternoon in the new club station of the ÖVSV in Vienna. From there we drove together to Croatia. After a few hours of driving, we were warmly welcomed by the team around 9A1A near Zagreb. Another youngster from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Emin (E71CQ) and some young people from the area around were already on site. We started with the most important thing: the food. After a good portion of Spaghetti we where ready to go on. It was time to get to know the station. My first job now was to get at least 300 Americans into my log. So called “Warmeup”. With such a setup, 4 towers with a height of 45 meters each, equipped with uncountable stacked monoband antennas, this task was done relatively quickly. So I was granted a few hours sleep. In the morning it was setup time. There were six stations to configure and prepare for the competition. The team had managed incredible 2 million points last year, and claiming first place worldwide. This position, No 1 World, had to be defended this year.

As a multi-single Station, multiple operator but only one signal on the bands at any time, we have been active on three bands simultaneously with an interlocking system. 24 hours mixed mode CW and SSB stood in front of us. After a hard night and a short power outage last year’s result unfortunately remained untouchable. Thanks to the amazing team and incredible station setup we achieved solid 2100 QSO`s and this resulted in 1.44 million points. A big thank you to the croatian radio amateurs whom I was allowed to support for a weekend! In my opinion, the Youth Contesting Program of IARU Region 1 was a great success. I am looking forward to next year!

73 de OE3BVB, Benjamin
(YCP member @9A1A 2018)

LY YOTA team trip to ES5TV

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The following post was written by Simonas Kareiva, LY2EN (President, Chairman of the Board. Lithuanian Amateur Radio Society (LRMD))

 

In the summer of 2017, me and my wife visited the ES amateur radio summer camp in Merelaiu (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Cc67GwVYhc). Besides being a beautiful spot in Estonia, it was also a good place to reconnect with all the fellow hams from ERAÜ and I must say I have enjoyed chatting with every single person I’ve met there. It was almost a small talk between me and Tonno ES5TV, who said his superstation is open to opportunities to host young amateurs from Lithuania, whether it’s a big or a small contest. But big names like Tonno talk big and just few months later I was already discussing trip details both with himself and the young members of the Vilnius University amateur radio club LY1BWB, where almost every active member was a YOTA kid.

As the summer went by, some of the young contestants had serious plans for the CQ WW SSB, therefore I did not want to interfere neither with them or with the plans of the superstation itself. But the following weekend seemed attractive: Ukrainian DX Contest, Multi-OP ALL MIXED category, no limitations on band or mode changes, one signal at the time – sounded exactly like fun to me and others who had previous contesting experience at LY4A, LY2W and elsewhere.

ES5TV site

ES5TV site

It was a first visit to Tonno’s site for all, including myself. The few who declined, had visited ES5TV earlier, during the YOTA summer camp of 2013. Finally, a total of eight people signed off the trip, including my wife, who, not being directly involved in the hobby, took the delicious initiative of managing the kitchen’s businesses during the contest. We drove to Estonia ham-style, with VHF radios and APRS on, reaching the site just a couple of minutes into Saturday. The call signs brought in were LY1KB, LY5AT, LY5WB, LY3EU, LY1WS and LY2EN.

 

Connections between the numerous pieces of equipment

Connections between the numerous pieces of equipment

My first impression of the station was jaws dropped on the floor, without yet actually understanding all the switches and connections between the numerous pieces of equipment. In the early hours of Saturday, some took the chance to make a morning escape to the Tartu science centre – AHHAA. Not only I had to understand how the station ensemble works from an intense briefing by Toomas ES5RY, but also had to translate it to the the rest of team later. But in the end it was clear. No switching of antennas during transmissions. Patience, when multiplier position blocks you. Do not sit silently if you notice some equipment is broken or misbehaving – shout it out loud!

 

 

 

Contest kicked in with full force

Contest kicked in with full force

It was still an ongoing discussion and testing of things around 12:00 UTC when the contest kicked in with full force. Two operators were caught in heavy pileups and QRM on the run position; initially a bit cumbersome, double operation went smoother and smoother as the contest shifted gears. ES9C TEST!

On the in-band position, Jüri ES5JR was calmly fishing for CW callers, while the guys at run were interchangeably operating SSB. There was not much of resting for others; socializing and storytelling was second to observing and trying to understand how to unlock the true power of the superstation with a small switch at the run position or a hidden pedal at the in-band.

Pork ribs to test out the kitchen shack of ES5TV

Pork ribs to test out the kitchen shack of ES5TV

 

As the contest progressed, seats were switched, stomachs got empty. To mitigate the latter, almost 10 kilos of pork ribs were waiting to test out the kitchen shack of ES5TV. My wife took command and the ribs were such a success that the contest almost had to pause. Some photo evidence survived, clearly displaying Toomas ES5RY praising the final outcome.

Night time was low band time and 160 meters turned out to be the most valuable multiplier band, an average of more than 5 points for QSO. Linas LY5AT made his first and valuable CW QSO’s – chasing multipliers with assistance was not rocket science and, hopefully, a little push and promise to future self to become proficient in CW.

We have finished the contest with almost 2,6M points and all except five Ukrainian oblasts in the log. There were no empty chairs throughout the night and enjoyable openings on 20 meter band in the morning. On 15 meters, nobody was a match to the famous double-H tower, pictured below. The only thing we have lacked was good 10 meter propagation and enough sleep.

In the aftermath, Simas LY3EU said: “I used to hate working in multi-op category, but this contest has changed this. Toomas gave awesome tips which have changed my view on teamwork during contests. His operating tips made me to like contesting a lot more than I used to. The station setup is amazing and it is something to be desired by many. There is a ton of antennas to choose from, there is a humongous amount of filters, switches and all kinds of stuff which make operating the station a lot more fun. I loved this contest!”

Linas LY5AT also added:

The team!

The team!

“I’ve worked in a Multi-op station before, but after coming to ES5TV I have realized that everything I knew about such operating style could be done in a completely different way. It was a great pleasure to take part in operating such a modern, complex and really amazing set up station which opened up my eyes. Tonno – thank you for this opportunity, and thanks for all the tips and support from the locals who were in the station

Toomas ES5RY, Juri ES5JR, Valeri ES5QA.”

In my own experience, I rarely participate in contests alone. Teamwork and smooth cooperation to me are essential parts of amateur radio contesting. But overall enjoyment of it, all the positive emotions you get from humming crowds, waiting for your call, is extremely important. Some amateurs might find contesting stressful just because of reasons; they might think they can’t keep up with the results of the experienced, drag the team behind, but guys, that is not how cooperation works. My view here – no matter what your capabilities, set your attitude to positive and you will always get better results from everything you do – and contesting at large is no exception.

 

Simonas Kareiva, LY2EN
President, Chairman of the Board
Lithuanian Amateur Radio Society (LRMD)