Last night was the running of the Harry Angel Sprint, a short contest honouring one of Australia’s oldest hams.
I was unsure I would enter this contest but an email from Ash, VK3SSB, convinced me it would be fun. Ash and Matt, VK2ADF, were setting up portable stations at a scout in NSW so I went back to elephant rock and set up my switched inverted vee antenna. Learning from my mistake of last year, where I ran QRP, I took the FT757 and ran 100 Watts.
The band was in good condition and the noise was low with no static crashes that I heard. I worked VK2, 3, 4, 5, and 7. I heard some VK6 stations but they were in QSO and not interested in the sprint.
I made 42 QSOs in the 106 minutes which is the best score I have got at this contest in the 6 times I have worked it. I almost made it 43 QSO but the last desperate contact with a VK4 station just didn’t come together in time. We started the QSO with about 1 minute to go. He was a good 5 x 7 signal to me but he was struggling to copy my details. After taking about a dozen tries to get him to copy my call sign correctly we were about a minute past the end of the sprint before we started working on exchanging numbers. Getting the number through proved to be equally difficult. In the end I gave up, told him we were way out of time and wished him 73. Part way through the QSO a ‘pirate’ station came on air to let us know that we were too late and suggested we must be using a different clock to everybody else. I say ‘pirate’ as he didn’t give his call sign. I was unable to thank him for his concerns but I’m sure he felt vindicated when the exchange failed. He may have even thought I gave up because he was so helpful and generous with his advice.
After the sprint I caught up with Ash and Matt and chatted a little with them about how they got on. Both reported that it was only 6 degrees where they were and a cold night was ahead of them. For me, it had just stopped raining when I arrived and was a chilly 10 degrees and clear when I packed up by the moon light.
Last year I said I would do this sprint from Gilwell Park because the tower would be ‘up and fully operational.’ Well, the tower is certainly up but not quite fully operational.
I have planned a couple of working bees up there this year and by this time next year it will be fully ready for contesting and hopefully already been the home of some fierce competition.