The IG9A CQWW 2001 SSB Story


    by Jeff Morris, 9H1EL 


It took me about 10 seconds to decide to join the IG9A Multi-Multi contest team after hearing about their requiring operators and receiving an invitation to participate. Not surprisingly, their requirement was that I operated 28MHz, and I relished the thought of such a challenge, knowing that my experience on the band at this location would hopefully be of some help. As many of you will know, Lampedusa is a small island located between Malta and the east coast of Tunisia. As luck has it, it is located within the boundary of zone 33, which of course is North Africa. This means that all QSOs with the world except Africa will score three points, thus giving a significant scoring advantage.


Lampedusa’s terrain is somewhat similar to Malta’s, in that it has a rocky coastline, and the facilities on the island are reasonable, but the main export is tourism and catering standard reaches 2-star at best. The life-style is typically Italian, population is approximately 6,000 and fish is the staple diet.


After leaving home on the Friday, 8 days before the contest, catching the Air Malta flight from Malta to Palermo, and Air One to Lampedusa, I was greeted very warmly by the two contest organizers, Antonello IT9EQO, and my long-standing friend Fabio, IT9GSF with whom I would share 10 meters. We enjoyed a delicious dinner complemented by Sicilian wine, and expressed our views as to how we could win our category. I realized at once that we had in our midst an experienced and knowledgeable group who could really do things properly! By the end of the evening, our ‘spirits’ were running high!


The following morning, it was time to start antenna construction. When I saw the size of the project before us, I realized we were in for a long week of hard work. A total of seven towers which would support stacks on the high bands, a 4-element 40m KLM yagi (as at Neville’s home) and two large vertical antennas for 80 and 160 meters together with a comprehensive Beverage receiving antenna system all had to be erected. This together with six operating positions and the use of Writelog and a Windows-based LAN for logging purposes would more-or-less complete the project. The list of transmitting antennas was as follows:


160m: 31m high vertical, top loaded with 60 radials.

80m  : 20m high vertical with 150 radials

40m  : 4-element KLM yagi at 20m high

20m  : 5 over 5 stack (11m booms), top at 20m

           5 element monoband yagi at just 10m high, for high angle use

15m  : 6 over 6 stack (11m booms) top at 20m

           5 element monoband yagi at 10m

10m  : 5 over 5 stack (Hy-gain 105CA), top at 15m

           5 element monoband yagi at 6m


While the antennas are not particularly high, they were all mounted on a 70m-high cliff edge, so even the low-mounted antennas did not exhibit high-angle properties. We just found that the low beams could be used to advantage at right angles to the main stacks to pick up stations in unfavourable directions.

The radio equipment was a mixture, mainly ICOM 775s and some Yaesu, together with home-made linear amplifiers. On 10m only, we interfaced the microphone with the laptop PC sound card thus providing a CQ machine and saving my already delicate voice as a result of HF Convention ‘flu.


It took around 7 days to assemble the antennas and stations. This, compared to D68C seems to be an interminable time, especially when it is hard work and the temperature was an incredible 30 degrees C. However the tower construction is somewhat complex, as both stack antennas are side-mounted to the tower, and a Prosistel rotator near the lower antenna is connected to the high antenna by a 25mm pipe and upper thrust bearing. This of course has the disadvantage that the stack antennas are always beaming in the same direction, fine for a stack but there is a reduction in versatility as one cannot beam in two directions at the same time. It was originally intended to put some power into the separate low antennas but these projects for 20/15/10 were never completed. All towers were erected by means of a small hydraulic crane mounted on a pickup truck. A steel triangular-hinged base was bolted into the ground rock, the tower bolted to the hinged section and the crane did the rest. Just 4 men required to steady the tower using the guy ropes.


There was a problem obtaining resonance for the 31m vertical for 160m, (who can tell what ground conductivity and its capacitance to the radial system you will have when you go to a new site?) Once resonance had been obtained and some feedline problems solved to the 15m stack, we were ready to run. By this time it was the Friday afternoon before the contest, and we were all TIRED! Several of us tried our hardest to stimulate the party atmosphere by the ingress of alcohol sugar, but frankly our best bet was just to get some sleep.


I decided that the best ploy on 10m was to start the contest at 00z, knowing that Fabio, IT9GSF would take over from me when the band opened to Japan in the morning. The band actually closed for 45 minutes during the whole contest. I made a mere 70 QSOs all night, but included were several valuable Pacific multipliers, so at least it appeared to be reasonably justified. Once the band opened, it was gangbusters! Saturday was just wonderful with high rates and a wide selection of multipliers, most of which called us! In total Fabio and I made just over 5000 QSOs, 40 zones and 178 DXCC on 10m.


At the other end of the spectrum Spiros, SV8CS and Vincenzo, IT9CHU were having a hard time on 160m. It seems that conditions were absolutely appalling, so not much could be done about that. In any case, 71 countries were worked, a miracle under the circumstances.


On 80m, Peter 9A6A was correctly given the job of starting the contest. However Peter, such a stalwart of 9A1A decided that in order to get a good frequency on 80m, he established himself on 3799 at 1800z, six hours before the start!! This proved to be very successful so that Franco, I4AVG and Fausto I4EAT could take over and work through the night with just about the best frequency available on that band. The country total was also down on last year, but Sunday sunset in IG9 yielded a superb opening to A5, YB, T88 and others I have forgotten! Around 1600 QSOs were made, with 24 zones and 92 DXCC. Someone decided, from the direction of the UK, that it would be a good idea to contravene his licence conditions, and send music on our frequency. I would just like to say that it’s a bit early for Christmas music just yet, and I am sure that Franco would agree.


40 meters had several of the top 40m operators in Europe if not the world, Peter 9A6A, Claudio I4VEQ and our tower climber/human crane Flavio, IV3TMV. Under the poor LF band circumstances, they still managed 125 countries and 34 zones, a true testament to their fine specialist skills. Using two men listening, one on the 4-element yagi and the other rapidly switching Beverage antennas, they were able to catch all callers. Surprisingly, the 40m yagi appeared to be quite noisy, proving once more that on LF the best combination is separate transmitting and receiving antennas.


I thought that the location of the 20m stack together with 24-hour openings would yield a very high number of QSOs. In practice, what happens is that during the day, most casual operators are on 10 meters, meaning that 20m does not produce large volumes of QSOs. Of course, during the twilight and evening hours, there are very good signals from most parts of the world. It is therefore possible to have a large multiplier count although not the highest QSO total. Rough scores indicate 4800+ QSOs, 40 zones and 162 DXCC. The slick operating of Paolo I4TJE, Marko N5ZO and Leo S50R were responsible for the great contribution. By the way, Leo was one of the judges at the Slovenia WRTC this year.


Robert, 9A3GW our 15m specialist and I made a private bet as to who would have the highest QSO count by the end of the contest. When I saw the 15m stack in the air I wish I hadn’t made that bet, especially as Robert holds several CQWW 15m EU records! However, like 20 meters, 15m suffers from the same problem, in that when 10 meters is alive, everyone wants to go there. There’s no meters like 10 meters, right? Still, Robert together with the boss, Antonello IT9EQO and Jun JH4RHF managed an impressive total of 4600+ QSOs, 38 zones and 164 DXCC, subject to checking. Jun was especially invaluable when working Asia, but then again was versatile enough to handle USA/EU pileups without problems. Jun’s qualifications do not need to be justified, his being present at ZL9CI, BV9P etc should naturally earn him a place on any team. (You might give that some thought Neville!)


Now that the dust settled after the end of the contest, we believe we have around 53-57 million points, with 19000+ QSOs. I have used such a broad score spectrum as it is obviously subject to checking.


Monday brought some tired faces and the prospect of taking down the antennas. The customary group photo session was followed by a very efficient disassembly, which just took one day (why is that?) We tried to celebrate our possible success at dinner that night, but we were all so very tired, but happy with our result.


Flavio IV3TMV, Antonello IT9EQO and Fabio IT9GSF have worked so hard (together with the core group from IQ4A) to organize this project, and I must congratulate them on a job very well done. To work with such a team that has an extensive technical and mechanical insight is a great privilege for me, as a ‘new kid’ in multi-multi phone. The support from IT9INO, IT9NTD (No Tengo Dinero) and others operating the multiplier station, bringing lunch dwhen we were all working, was so much appreciated I am sure by the entire team. Once again they were:





Jeff 9H1EL (10m, what else), Fabio IT9GSF (10m),


Robert 9A3GW (15m), Antonello IT9EQO (15m), Jun JH4RHF (15m),


Paolo I4TJE (20m), Marko N5ZO (20m), Leo S50R (20m),


Flavio IV3TMV (40m), Peter 9A6A (40m and 80m start), Claudio I4VEQ (40m),


Franco I4AVG (80m), Fausto I4EAT (80m), Nino IT9SGN (Mult. and 80m in light hours)


Vincenzo IT9CHU (160m), Spiros SV8CS (160m),


Nino IT9INO (Mult. And any band when the chair was empty),

Sebastiano IT9NTD, Pippo IT9QQP and Leo SV2DCD, (logistic support),

Gianni IW9GIH (1st network sysop), Antonio IT9IVE (2nd network sysop).


A special thanks to Provincia Regionale di Ragusa for two loaned caravans, to Comune di Comiso for the Power generator set and caravan loan and to Sezione A.R.I. of Ragusa members who gave their organizational help before the contest.



The Multi-Multi bug has bitten!