Friday, March 17, 2017

Spanish Award...14th Antarctic Activity Week...February 2017

Back in late February, a bunch of Spanish special event stations popped up on the HF bands to mark the 14th Annual Antarctic Activity Week. It ran from the 18th to the 26th of the month. It seemed a bit strange that special event stations in Spain should be marking an Antarctic week. Perhaps it's because of the Spanish research stations located on the continent?

It really was very well organised with 9 stations on air and an excellent support website where logs were being constantly uploaded....

Of all the websites dedicated to radio awards, this one is certainly one of the best.

These were the 9 stations...

I like the one with the Polar Bear......especially as there are none in the Antarctic! :o))

The top award was the Platinum which required working all 9 stations which wasn't too difficult.

I worked all the stations on CW and made an effort to work them on as many bands as I could.

AO5ANT was one of the hardest to work as the DX cluster shows that there was little or no 80m CW activity and he only appeared on 30m for a few hours on the 17th. EH5ANT was only on 20m CW for 2 days.

One of the interesting results of chasing these stations was that I learnt something about propagation. Notice how there is almost a complete lack of stations on 17m (18 MHz). I could hear them sometimes but they were very weak.

The centre of Spain is about 1,500kms from the south coast of Ireland. 1,500kms seems to be fine for signals on 14MHz and below but too close for 18MHz and 21MHz.

This was the propagation prediction map at the time...

It clearly shows that while 20m (14 MHz) was open to Spain from Ireland, the distance was too short for 17 and 15m. I believe that EG5ANT may have been in the Spanish enclave of Ceuta in North Africa so it's probably no suprise that he was the only one I worked on 17m. The distance in that case was close to 2,000kms.

On the top 100 lists on the website, I was the only EI listed. It's interesting that the many of those in the top 10 were far enough away (2000kms+) to make use of the openings on 17 and 15m. i.e. Poland, Ukraine, Hungary, etc.

Diplomas will be awarded in four different categories depending on the number of special stations contacted by the applicant (or received in case of SWLs)
BRONZE DIPLOMA... For contacts with 3 different Special Event stations, whatever the mode or band used.
SILVER DIPLOMA... For contacts with 5 different Special Event stations, whatever the mode/band.
GOLD DIPLOMA... For contacts with 7 different Special Event stations, whatever the mode/band.
PLATINUM DIPLOMA... For contacts with ALL 9 different Special Event stations, whatever the mode/band.

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