Since approximately the summer of 2008 I had been trying to find an appropriate location for contesting purposes. Spent hours in front of the PC browsing ads on the internet to match at least part of the criterias:
- excellent natural gain of the territory towards the main directions (US/JA)
- empty land with no buildings
- within an hour (or two) drive from home
- affordable price
- electricity already available or at least in affordable proximity
- last, but not least it is nearby something the family can enjoy too.
It seemed completely hopless till a family weekend spent in the Matra mountains. Matraszentlaszlo was the place; I saw the first time it will match most of my criteria, but the price.. There were a couple of estates on sale somwhat larger than expected for prices 4x more than my house back home. The nearby ski resorts were the reason behind. This fact made it clear; the place is perfect, but will never own a land here.
Started to look for a place to rent for contests. Actually, it was easier than expected, thanks to the land lady who hosted me for several years in her guest house.
I had the chance to test the site for a few years, when a nearby land becamce on sale in 2012. The size is a fraction of 2-3.000m2, but still matching the rest of the criteria.
Before making the deal I wanted to double check what I buy, so run a "quick" terrain analysis using the N6BV software.
The below graphs show why I finally made that decision.
One of my favorit contests is the IARU HF World Championships. I try to participate every year since 2008, from either home or the rental location in Matra. The difficulity is whichever place I choose I have to build antennas for all 6 bands a day before (or the morning of) the event. Even if I do it from home it is a field day style operation (from a tent in the yard) to avoid cross disturbance with the family.
I used to operate in the Single Operator Mixed Mode Low Power category.
The setup is still not ready for an effective phone contesting (lack of voice memory configuration) I still insist to participate in mixed mode even though I probably could do better in the CW only.
These are miscellaneous photos taken of the antennas, operating tents and others during the years. In most of the cases I am not ready by the contest start with all equipment/aerial installations (after a full day/night work on Friday); in 2013 I was only missing the 160m antenna.. but at least I started on time and was able to work thru the 24 hours.
This page is a brief summary of the past few year's antenna experiments. A collection of the pictures of various projects of which I did not forget to take photos before tearing them down to start building something new.
The first one here below is a six element monobander for 15m. I built it for the 2010 WW DX CW Contest and was also used in the 2011 WPX CW. I built actually two of them for simultaneous multidirectional beaming, but before the start of the WW it turned out that there is not enough coax to reach the shack with both antennas... This antenna was bringing me to EU 4. in both contests.
The following set of pictures are showing the installation and tuning of the W6PU design 4L dual driven monoband quad for 20 meters. I built it during the spring of 2009. Building a large quad has been a dream of mine since I got in touch with ham radio. It was planned to be operated during the 2010 ARRL International DX CW contest. I built it at my tiny home QTH, and worked several US west coast stations with only 100W before on a windy day in mid May the antenna mast fell onto my neighbour's garden toolcrib... The wire elements are kept safely, but the structure has never been rebuilt again.
The below one shows the 5L monoband wire Yagi that was built for the 2010 ARRL DX CW (after breaking the quad). It was a 10m boom design with logcell driven elements. I have used it during the 2010 IARU HF World Championships as well besides the HyGain TH3MKV tribander.
This is my latest home brew antenna, a 4L longboom monoband Yagi for 20m (based on the specs of OH8LQ). I built it right before the 2012 ARRL DX CW. Without extensive tests I managed to achieve a world 5. Eu 4. with this one. I keep using it for contesting since then as a secondary beam besides the KT36XA tribander.