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RSGB Commonwealth Contest   2018   Mar 10   Comment Summary

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Click on a call below to see the score rumor detail. Click on the [email] link to send an e-mail to the contester who posted the comment.

MM3AWD   SO(A)-Restricted12 QRP   5102018-03-10 22:16:00
Will be submitted as a checklog. Just handing out points.

Bands terrible. 1 RSGB club station really stepped over the line with a
disgusting comment over the air!.

73 Scott
VE9CB   SO-Open24 HP   6,7602018-03-11 10:16:34
Band QSOs Pts Cty Sec Pt/Q
3.5 102 1450 37 7 14.2
7 240 2540 59 9 10.6
14 263 2415 46 7 9.2
21 12 280 11 1 23.3
28 3 75 2 1 25.0
Total 620 6760 155 25 10.9
Score: 6,760
1 Mult = 3.4 Q's

SOAPBOX:The contest started very well, with good propagation to ZL and VK on 40

and 80 metres. I was able to work several UK stations on all-daylight paths on

40m. Absorption was very low, but so was F-layer ionisation. As the contest
wore on, conditions declined. I watched the Solar Flux stay still at 68, and
the A and K indices slowly rose. The last hours are always long, but these
especially so. At least there was no disturbance. Thank you RSGB for
sponsoring BERU, my favourite contest.
X-RADIOS:FTdx-5000 + TL-922
X-ANTENNAS:4el Tribander at 22m, 4-square on 40m, quad loop on 80m.
X-ANTHEIGHT:72 ft (22 m)
VO1RAC(VO1HP)   SO-Open24 HP   4,0952018-03-11 10:35:18
Band QSOs Pts Cty Sec Pt/Q
3.5 94 1010 20 5 10.7
7 194 1770 37 4 9.1
14 138 1290 21 4 9.3
21 1 25 1 0 25.0
Total 427 4095 79 13 9.6
Score: 4,095 1 Mult = 4.6 Q's

RSGB Commonwealth (only) contest - 2018-03-10 1000Z to 2018-03-11 1000Z -
434 QSOs (with dupes)
VO1RAC - Off Times >= 60 Minutes

2018-03-10 1916Z - 2018-03-10 2032Z 01:17 (77 mins)
2018-03-10 2112Z - 2018-03-10 2216Z 01:05 (65 mins)
2018-03-11 0030Z - 2018-03-11 0707Z 06:38 (398 mins)
2018-03-11 0949Z - 2018-03-11 0959Z 00:10 (10 mins) (End early)

Total Time Off 09:10 (550 mins)
Total Time On 14:50 (890 mins)
G4FAL   SO-Open24 HP   4,4952018-03-11 10:40:05
A five band contest, when two of the bands are virtually unusable, should be
disappointing, however I quite enjoyed Beru this year - especially as I had
three QSOs in the last hour, whereas last year I had none. 40m was in good shape
and worked well with my 4-square. 20m was quite good but lacking in the Far East
and Far West directions. 80m was good but the 80m opening to ZL at 6:30 on
Sunday was a little disappointing. I enjoyed the added interest from the eight
UK&CD HQ stations, working three of them on five bands and all of them on
80m and 40m. My setup had SO2R which meant I could run on one band whilst
searching on another - which is effective in a contest that is all about finding
QSOs at every possible opportunity. I was pleased to work many VKs and ZLs -
something I always dreamed of doing when I was first licensed as a teenager.
9H6A   Multi-Op HP   5,0352018-03-11 11:01:59
Propagation was not good. 10meter: we did not even touch. Very poor 15 meters,
only some TEP. We dad tremendous noise on 80. On the whole enjoyable.
Team Med
VE9AA   SO-Open12 HP   2,8502018-03-11 11:22:10
I showed up......made some noise.....had some fun.

Only put in a titch over 5 hours.

At opening bell VK/ZL action was pretty good on 40 and even 80

10 was dead the times I checked. Heard VE9CB (who I couldn't work) and a CX7
station (who I also couldn't work)

15 was almost like 10.

20 I found was weak (but keep in mind, I was only on 5 hours)

40 was pretty good in G. Hammered it at 2pm local.

80 was also pretty good. Got on before SS and started working G's and a couple

In my own experience there was very few on from anywhere except G,VE,VK,ZL,9H
and a lone ZF2....where were all the Caribean and expeditions....wait, can't
forget Dave @ 3B8 - did work him on one band.

Til next time....
Radio 1 IC-7410
Antennas for Radio 1 include, but not limited to:
10m - Bent/twisted A3S on my shed ~24\'
15m - K3LR/K1WA (parasitic) 5el array (partially working--ice storm)
20m - Wire/Aluminum 4-square of inverted L\'s (Comtek)
40m - Wire 4-square in the trees (Comtek)
80m - Wire 4-square of Inverted L\'s in the trees (Comtek)
160m - Wire 2 element array of Inverted L\'s in the trees (Comtek)*currently
only 1 element in service due to some season known locally as winter and all the
wrath it brings.

Radio 2 - IC-7410 (broken, not used)
Antenna for Radio 2 is a modified ZS6BKW with an added 15m inverted Vee.
80m-6m contest bands, no 160m

N1MM+, CM-500 Mic, N3ZN paddle, SO2R+ box.
(small 550w amps used for some contests)
Thanks for the Q\'s

CU (all of a sudden) in the next one.

dit dit

Mike in NB, VE9AA
VE3UTT   SO(A)-Open12 HP   3,6102018-03-11 11:48:07
K3 / Optibeam / 80m "V"

I found conditions on 40m very noisy Saturday evening local time. Overall not
great conditions on any band especially 15m and 10m. Can't really use 80m due
to RF getting into my router only when remote.

Re-read the rules and subtracted out VE3 QSO points - sorry.

Hope all had fun.
VA2RAC(VE2FK)   SO(A)-Open24 HP   4,0052018-03-11 11:57:37
It was fun. 80m was very poor for me.
See you next year.
73, Claude VE2FK
VE3KI   SO-Open12 HP   3,4152018-03-11 12:11:05
K3, KPA500, TA33 at 50 ft, ZS6BKW at 35 ft
Disappointing - 20m was much worse than last year, I missed some of the best
time on 40m, and 80m and 15m were also down from last year.
VA3DF   SO(A)-Open24 LP   3,5602018-03-11 12:41:00
Score should be a bit higher as WriteLog balked at awarding points for contacts
with an "M" in the prefix i.e. GM etc. Couldn't be bothered to sort
out the issue and assume log checking will compensate.

Big signals on 40 from VK and ZL at the start of the contest but things got very
slow at times. So then, I just worked DX I found in pileups on the bands.

Probably the high point of the contest was working 3B8 on 80 meters.

As usual, it's a jungle out there...


VE9HF   SO(A)-Open12 HP   2,1452018-03-11 13:19:21
I was hearing and working VK's and ZL on 40 in the afternoon in broad daylight.
In my 40 years of being a ham I can't say I've done that before.
VA3EC   SO-Restricted12 LP   1,0302018-03-11 14:00:55
Solid S6 noise on 40 and 80.

"Never before have so many suffered so much so that so few can be so
- Frank Burns 4077th MASH
VE3RUA   SO(A)-Restricted12 LP   1,1302018-03-11 15:20:11
My first Commonwealth Contest and it was a challenge with antenna and power
limitations. The Restricted category in this event is very much appreciated!
High points were working 3D2EU and a large number of HQ stations. I was also
thrilled by having VY1KX come to me while I was CQing just before I closed down.
Working VK6LW on 40, just after his sunrise, was also nice. I was a bit
surprised at the number of VE3 stations operating and dismayed at the fact that
contest rules dictate I cannot work them. All in all an interesting event and
I'll be back next year with a tri-band beam that will allow me to work the many
UK & CD stations I could hear but was not able to contact.
VE1DT   SO(A)-Open12 HP   1,7602018-03-11 16:16:16
Only a few hours available to operate, with lots of other items on the agenda to
deal with.

As is often the case in this contest, the highlight of the contest weekend is
"Finding Nigel".

> Gerald, VE1DT
VA7ST   SO-Open12 HP   6002018-03-11 16:44:39
Yikes. At the very bottom of the solar cycle, BERU is a tough slog. Only managed
1.5 hours in total over several sessions, but didn't hear or work many BERU
stations anywhere.

Year Qs Points
March-18 28 600 HP 1.5 hrs
March-17 197 2,405 HP 9.0 hrs
March-16 212 2,660 HP 8.0 hrs
March-14 273 3,620 HP 7.5 hrs
March-13 385 4,505 HP 11.5 hrs
March-12 80 1,235 HP 5.5 hrs
March-11 168 2,600 HP 8.0 hrs
March-10 186 2,525 HP 5.5 hrs
March-09 149 2,125 HP
March-08 117 1,545 HP
March-07 190 1,850 HP
March-06 99 1,095 LP
March-05 74 908 LP
March-04 23 580 LP
VE3BR   SO-Restricted24 LP   1,6452018-03-11 17:16:20
Radio: Ten-Tec Orion
Antenna: DX-Eng 80/40 Thunderbolt 55ft Dual Band Vertical
Software: N1MM Logger+ 1.0.7099.0

I quickly knew it was not going to end well: full daylight on Saturday morning
had me with no ZLs or VKs in the log. Much worse than that: I had heard none. In
my previous 2 appearances in BERU I would have about a dozen on 40 at this
stage. Numbers were not that much worse than last year, maybe a little noisier
(SSN:0 SFI:68 A:12 K:4), yet my trusty vertical refused to hear most anything
but noise; on 15 I heard one station, ZF2CA, and worked none. And yes, I did
check every inch from the radio to the feed point during the day (twice, because
I refused to believe the "no faults" picture that my analyzer was
painting for me). You cannot work them, if you don't hear them. And I didn't, to
the point that I almost didn't run because of the "ESP level" callers
that would come back; I knew they were there, but couldn't quite get them. As
frustrating for me as it must have been for them. All this frustration for about
a third of the Qs and a much reduced score. Still love the contest...
VA3RAC(VE3NNT)   SO(A)-Open24 HP   5,5802018-03-11 17:29:31
I had a few operational issues with the remote station that forced me to restart
everything in the middle of runs, but for the most part things worked well.
Between the heavy static and the lost packets over the internet, I had to ask
for repeats of numbers quite often, particularly on 80m. The noise floor from
static on 80m was about S7 later in the contest and pulling contacts out of the
mud was really painful with my inverted V. I hope to improve this situation by
next year by installing an OB2-80S above my OB17-4.
Propagation was terrible. I woke up for the European opening at their sunrise
Saturday night only to find out that the sun didn't rise after all. Saturday
night was just a gathering of a few ZLs and VKs. Although I was on 18 hours, the
last several hours were really a waste of time and didn't net me many contacts.
Next year I'll try the 12 hour category.
My highlight of the contest was having unusual stations answering my calls, like
VP8NO from the Faulkland Islands.
It was fun using the HQ station. I might try it again.
VE7RAC(VE7JKZ)   SO-Open24 HP   1,8952018-03-11 18:34:27
The worst condx in 40 years of BERU'ing. My qth has fallen into a black hole
from which RF energy can neither enter nor leave.......
VE7CC(@VE7SV)   SO(A)-Open24 HP   4,1102018-03-11 23:59:32
Nice to meet many old friends.

A few good openings on 40 and 80 to Pacific but generally condtions were
horrible. Weak or non-existant signals and lots of static crashes.

Total UK qsos 14. 7 via LP on 40, 7 via SP on 20. All between 1530Z and 1652Z.
VK2PN   SO-Open24 HP   3,0252018-03-12 00:43:45
Well chaps... it was fun after all. Mix of frustration and delight. The first
delight was on eighty early in the test and the Canadians started to call.
Almost fell off the chair. Then a call from Mauritius and Cayman island. Had
two good runs of "Gs" one on 20 m and the second before the end on

Then lotsa CQs with no answer (imagine the electricity wasted). And again when
doing S&P and finding that I've got the lot I could see on the screen in the
log already.

All nice ops - so thank you all. And I got cranky only twice (I'm allowed to
get cranky - I'm old)
Thanks all for having me in the group.

VK4SN   SO-Open24 HP   3,7002018-03-12 04:48:48
Worst conditions experienced for a while here in south east VK4. Was hard to get
a run happening except for the 40m opening on Sunday evening but that only
lasted for an hour after which 3,500km to the east, VK6 had openings not seen
here. Earlier that day only VK, ZL, and a couple of VE stations were heard. A
lot of calling here lasting 15 to 30 mins without a reply. Longest calling
period without a reply was 48mins. Working southern states (VK2/3) was
difficult with low signals also.
G4PIQ   SO-Open12 HP   3,7802018-03-12 08:01:40
12 hours – Unassisted – Mother’s Day Domestic Harmony section...
80 37 0 10 10 180 500 18.38
40 69 0 23 13 340 1020 19.71
20 74 1 26 13 370 1120 20.14
15 8 0 4 4 40 160 25.00
10 2 0 0 2 10 40 25.00
TOTAL 190 1 63 42 940 2840 19.89
This means I operated as and when I could fit it around other stuff which needed doing in
the house – rather than optimising the operating time to get the best score. I missed the
LP ZL opening on 80m because getting up that early this morning would not have led to
domestic harmony, and also had to be out during the prime early evening slot 1710 – 2020.
I operated just short of 11 hours in the end.
I thought that conditions were quite poor with the bands closing early and quite a lot
of static making for several repeats. 40m was certainly good early – I was very surprised
to have VE7CC call me LP in the afternoon. 15m very poor – in the last hour I was hearing
a number of new bonuses who couldn’t hear me. Luckily VK6LW came good in the last 30
The home station here is not very effective – I heard about 15 additional bonuses who just
CQed in my face – need better antennas. I had SO2R (but limited because of a broken amp
for the second radio) for about 2/3 of the event - I was building antenna switching during
the contest! No triplexer – so the second HF antenna was just a 160/40 dipole.
But – overall – surprisingly good fun as ever given the hard work – BERU is truly unique.
Many thanks for all the QSOs and especially to those who tried moving for me – even if it
didn’t work.
Rig : 2 x K3 + 1 x Ten Tec Titan
Ant : 80m : Inv-V dipole @ 18m
40m : Inv-V dipole @ 18m
HF : Somewhat broken 4el TET tri-bander @ 17m
VK3MI   SO-Restricted24 LP   2,2052018-03-12 14:16:01
Brian VK3MI

My claimed score of 2,205 points score is well down on previous years – mainly due to missing the crucial initial 6 hours of the contest, the limitations of the hastily erected antennas at my new QTH (see below), and very patchy propagation. Most of my DX QSOs were on 80M and 40M. I did not manage to work any call areas beyond VK and ZL on the higher bands except for 9M6/G3VYI, 9V1YC and ZF2CA. I heard 9J2BO calling on 20M around 0500Z but unfortunately, he could not hear me.

Getting ready for the contest this year was more challenging than usual as we had just moved into a new rental property. The new QTH is a town house and only has a small back yard of around 70 square metres in size, so no room for the dream antenna farm! However, there is a tall gum tree in the middle of the yard that can be used to support antennas.

I ran a couple of wires up alongside the gum tree, along with some elevated short radials (9m long), to make a multiband vertical antenna for 80M and 40M.

An antenna for the 20M, 15M and 10M bands was more difficult. I discounted using a multiband vertical for these higher bands as experience suggested that a horizontal antenna at modest height should be more effective and less sensitive to manmade noise from the dense housing in the neighbourhood. There was not enough room for inverted vee dipoles to be installed at a reasonable height clear of the house so I decided to build a compact multiband dipole (cobweb style) and hang it at about 9 meters AGL from a rope thrown over a limb of the gum tree. I originally intended to complete this task during the daylight hours immediately prior to the start of contest at 9 pm on Saturday. The antenna took longer to make than anticipated (like most antennas do!) and I was also distracted by some domestic duties. I ended up completing the assembly and tuning of the antenna on Saturday evening, and then hauling it into position around 2 am on Sunday morning. After fixing some residual problems with the matching of the 80M and 40M antennas, I finally managed to get on the air and join the contest at 3:15 am!

The cobweb antenna was OK for making local QSOs but I struggled to hear or work many stations beyond VK and ZL. Poor propagation was partly to blame but I’m also suspicious the antenna was not performing as well as expected. The antenna is only just above the roof line of our house so it really needs to be higher, but this is not possible due to tree branches and foliage being in the way. It looks like I will need to consider other options for the high bands before the next contest from this QTH.

Thanks to the RSGB for running the contest, and to everyone for the QSOs, especially those who travelled to DX locations or operated HQ stations. I look forward to doing it all again next year, and hopefully with a decent set of antennas tested and ready to go prior to the start of the contest!

Radio – Flex-6300

Antennas – Vertical wires for 80M and 40M, and a cobweb dipole antenna (9m AGL) for 20M, 15M and 10M.
VE3JM   SO(A)-Open24 HP   7,7002018-03-13 00:37:21
Thought it cannot be worse than last year, but I was wrong. I heard VE3EJ
everywhere and had noticed that my QSO numbers were higher, but I expected he
was going to beat me anyway with the bonus points. I probably had some advantage
in working UK on lower bands, but was behind with VKs and ZLs on 40, 20 and 15.

My 15 and 20 monobanders on the high tower were stuck pointing to Europe, my
only options for working VK/ZL were tribanders. Given the conditions, the
tribanders are marginal compared to my monobanders that are much higher. Even if
I could turn the monobanders, John would probably beat me - but the scores would
have been closer.
VK6LW   SO-Open24 HP   5,9302018-03-13 01:31:22
Condx very poor on 15 and 10, but otherwise the bands sounded pretty good from
here. Especially on 40m where I started working G's 3.5 hours before their
sunset on the short path. With the low sunspot numbers 40m is a much better band
from here. A very enjoyable weekend.
GW6XX   Multi-Op HP   4,9452018-03-14 11:41:44
It was nice to be asked to run one of the new UK Headquarter stations for Beru.
We enjoyed the experience and hope it added something extra for everyone -
certainly fun working all the UK stations but thanks to everyone for the

When I heard a mention of visible aurora in Scotland on the BBC radio wx
forecast at 7am on the day of the contest I knew this wasn't going to be a
weekend for wire dipoles and single element verticals and I wasn't wrong. 12
contacts in the first hour set the scene, and 3 of those were calling and being
moved by Don G3BJ. Didn't improve much until Steve GW0GEI arrived at around 1400
to inject some juju but the hf bands were a real struggle and we appreciated the
well equipped GD6XX just across the water for giving us at least a qso on 10m.
15m was almost a write off and the early hours were spent on 20 and 40 until I
moved to 80m at around 1800 and enjoyed some relief with nice runs of Gs. There
was a lot of esp copying with many signals in and out of the noise with several
abandoned Qs and a good number of decent signals ignoring, or struggling with,
our calls.

Seemed an improved turn out from Australasia this year but a dearth from the
Caribbean and Africa. Not counting 3B8XF, 9J2BO and V51YJ were our only African
qsos. Around 0530 I was called by 9 ZLs in a row on 40m and there were plenty of
VKs too so 40 was in pretty good shape on Sunday morning. I felt many of the
regular travellers stayed at home this year which just emphasises how much this
contest benefits from the endeavours of those happy to make the effort. As usual
the VEs did the contest proud too...

One amusing anecdote concerns a spot that kept appearing in red for TJ3X, a CCA
(Cameroon). But this always coincided with YT3X in the bandmap and was the only
audible signal. Despite the cw being excellent several skimmers seemed to be
having problems decoding YT as TJ. You can see it from data downloaded from the
RBN, very odd....

K3/Acom 1000
Wire dipoles for 10, 20, 40, 80m; single wire 1/4 wave verticals for 40 and 15m


Stew, GW0ETF