by Antony Chazapis
The callsigns are still buzzing in my head! Being a member of the J48A team – a small DXpedition to Aegina island for this year’s RSGB IOTA Contest – was a truly unique experience.
This was my first time running a big contest, so many new things had to be learned and practiced: how to call and reply, how to handle pile-ups, how to use the radio’s DSP to try to avoid those high-pitched adjacent signals from piercing your ears. I had tried operating at small-scale, VHF-based events in the past, however the action involved there does not nearly come close to what happens on HF. Moreover, as this was a DXpedition, there was a whole lot of things to prepare: registering the callsign, listing the equipment that would come with us, and organizing where to stay. The year-long experience of the other team members was reassuring. However, at the end, I feel we got a bit lucky at not running into any unexpected problems.
The team was active during all 24 hours of the contest, on all bands except 80 m. We set up two stations (RUN and MULTIPLIER) and made a total of 1338 contacts, of which 1303 valid, as summarized in the following table.
We reached 85 distinct island groups (other than our own), which gave us 161 multipliers, for a total claimed score of 1,475,565.
Our equipment included two Icom transceivers; an IC-756PROIII and an IC-7400, a Cushcraft MA-5B mini beam, and a 40 m dipole. Each station had a laptop, connected to the transceiver, running N1MM logging software. The two laptops were networked, in order to sync their logs and generate unique contact serial numbers for each station.
I want to thank my teammates SV1CDY, SV2CLJ, SV1JGX, SV1GSU, our friends that helped, and all stations that answered our call. I can’t stop thinking of the next contest.