I always want to start with ‘Friday Morning dawned bright and early’. The early part was true but no – it was raining AGAIN. Did we let it dampen our spirits though?
The first job of the day was to get the really big tent up. The space for catering and 3 lucky fellas sleeping quarters. It had heating, bug zappers, chairs, a table, and mats so what more could you possibly want? I must admit though standing on the outside when it was being erected, we heard some strange ‘goings on’. The Big one goes there, Chris, you put it in that hole, and so on ( not getting involved with that one). We also remembered Mike’s grass and put down some walkways to protect it while it was wet.
last minute Coax runs put in by Sean M0SLY and Andy G7LRR.
Oh yeah, and the odd cup of tea usually when Chris had nothing to do – for god’s sake someone keeps him busy or we will all drown in tea.
Friday evening was BBQ time. Lots of food was cooked by Head Chef Chris G0URG and his new Sous Chef Charlie 2E0CIK. Well done lads Chris G0URG And Steve M0EBJ by the BBQ.
CQWW started at 1 am Saturday (clocks fallen back!) Many of us were not there to see the start but we had the usual hardy bunch of night workers taking on the task of getting us off to a good start.
As usual with this contest, it began pretty slow but began to pick up speed into the early hours with 80m and Top Band wide open. We ran 5 stations through the night but as predicted 15 and 10 meters did not come alive until mid-morning. The ops were working to a rota that had been drawn up to provide ample breaks and relief ops during their 8-hour stint. The roster was tossed out of the window by Saturday afternoon as operators and band conditions changed constantly, however, it proved a very helpful tool for the weekend.
It has to be noted that the 10-meter band was pretty bad for us, as it was one-way traffic. We could hear the USA and South American stations but they struggled to hear us. Just the band conditions as other stations around the northeast UK confirmed.
The Morning team started at 7ish, we have to go with ‘Ish’ as not all know what 7 am looks like. Did someone mention breakfast butties well you will have to wait for Chris and Charlie to finish their stint of operating.? Bacon, eggs, and sausage were offered along with toast with either jam or marmalade. Someone put the kettle on, please. Night-time lads drifted off to their various sleeping quarters, be it a tent, a pod, or a caravan, and good lord you should have heard the snoring.
Trevor G7IWE trying to warm up after his unusual showers. Poor Trevor had his airbed up against the tent wall so he got flooded out of bed but all clouds have a silver lining as he got upgraded to a caravan. One of our most senior operators deserves the best.
Saturday mid-morning called for our catering crew to start food in slow cookers for the crew to eat later in the day. Linda had made 2 big pots of Beef Stew or casserole whatever you prefer to call it. There was also a pot of Chicken Curry, Poppadum, bread rolls, and rice were supplied. They had to cook their own rice because of the health and safety of re-heating and we didn’t want to kill off any operators or else we would be down on numbers. I should really say we did not just give them brekkie and tea; they had sarnies for lunch too again made by Linda. Our catering crew did include our only female operator so she was kept busy all weekend.
They call her Queen of 80m but this weekend saw her have a go at every station, getting her first contact in Peru and another in Thailand which made her a happy bunny.
As we started to rack up the points, we quickly saw our previous best score appear on the main projector screen with still a full day of contesting in front of us.
BUT THEN……….. Our 10-meter PC had a fit and died on us, causing panic and sweaty palms. Another PC was set up very quickly by Andy G7LRR as this was an “anticipated” event from the contest planning stage. Andy announced “panic over” as he had got the backup running, but upon checking the score we had lost 2 million points from the total. Now I really don’t need to write the panic mode we were all in at this point, with certain ops crying openly into their tea (the crying is a tall tail lol).
After a lot of worry and panic the old HD produced the goods, and the scores were all reset to as they should be. Panic over but was certainly a squeaky bum time.
Saturday afternoon brought about a very special visitor Bob who is one of the ‘youngest’ founder members and I for one was very proud and pleased to meet him. We had a small ceremony with Mike Wood being given a certificate for honorary membership of the club for all the hard work he puts into helping us and for putting up with us for so long, well done Mike. There were also 2 other certificates given out for Lifetime membership of the club. Both of these are founder members of the club and therefore fully deserved due to the commitment, time, blood sweat, and tears put into maintaining the running of HFDXARC. Congratulations to both Bob M0RWL and Andy G7LRR who both shed a tear but don’t tell anyone as they will only deny it. Well, Done to everyone.
More operating, more tea drinking, and lots of eating was the order of the day. And then the bell ringing started. 4 million, 5 million, and so on. We even got to ring it for some rare callsign or a PB for the operator. We love a bit of bell ringing. More night operations with again our stalwart crew of night guys although I am convinced some of them forgot to get some sleep.
Sunday, the final day. Again, the breakfast butties were on the go all done with the usual care and attention to detail (eat it or do without!). Linda had made another 6lts of Beef stew because let’s face it who doesn’t love a good stew? She also made 2 giant quiches, 1 rather sticky-looking chocolate cake and my personal favourite 2 fruit tea loves. Yum yum.!! Also supplied were 6lts of Bolognese with the usual load of biscuits, crisps and sweeties. And yes, a good few men helped with the washing up.
The afternoon of napping, chatting, tea drinking, and operating. Then the run down into the final few hours of the competition. Obviously, some had to go home as they apparently had real lives outside of the club and had to go to work the next day. Thanks all.
We plodded on to the very end trying as always to grab that one last contact and reach that 5th Million mark. Again, we had the Queen of 80m sat at her usual station refusing to move until the bitter end – 4.5 hrs she sat there for and god help anyone who tried to take over. Andy came in with the usual ‘it’s time to stop gesture’ and the radios fell silent.
Monday was clean-up day and as usual, everyone that could get mucked in and got the site back to as near normal by lunchtime.
Thank you so much to everyone, whether you are a member or a guest. Whether you did the whole weekend or just a couple of hours, all of it was appreciated. Our crew consisted of many Guest operators, some of whom drove all the way from Gatwick, Northampton, Somerset, and Norwich to whom we are truly grateful. It was a real pleasure meeting and operating with some of them for the first time and joining up with regular ops who gave their time to the club and contest again.
The team for the 2023 CQWW were :