15.05.2021 Македонски English
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Wednesday, first part of the team arrived. HA1CA/Z38C-Zoli and HA1RS/Z38R-Laci finalized the systems - discussed how many tie cable we should have prepared.
HA1CA/Z38C-Zoli and OM5XX-Jan.
Thursday: HA/OM part of the team completed. HA7PL-Laci and HA5OV-Peter looked at the air. The heavy shower arrived, as forecasted.
Nothing interesting on this pic, it's raining... Our goal was to activate 6m-2m-70cm-23cm. Team members: HA1CA/Z38C, HA1RS/Z38R, HA5OV, HA7PL, OM5XX, Z32ID. Unfortunately, HA6NL, Z35Z, Z32ZM could not come.
Thursday, Skopje: Rainbow. Our planned Powers were: 6m: 500W, 2m: 2x1kW, 70cm: 1kW, 23cm: 40W.
Thursday, Skopje. Z38C QTH.
We started to check the eqipment. 6m PA was repaired just a few days before. Unfortunately, something has happened, since max. output was 250W -- half of the normal.
HA1YA gave advise what to check. Unfortunately we could not find the reason for the fault. So we had to give up HP for 6m. [Bad luck nr. 1]
Our 70cm plan was 2x23 or 4x23 el. F9FT with 2 cable system. HA1RS-Laci pre-assembled the antennas. The cable connections were prepared in Skopje.
T-1 day: ready to move to Kumanovo (about 1 hour drive from the contest QTH). We checked in the reserved hotel on Friday morning.
T-1 day. Still smiling OM5XX, Z32ID/Igor, HA5OV - just before departure from Skopje.
For logistic purpose we had a Toyota Landcruiser, Lada Niva. HA1RS offered his Suzuki Ignis for transportation as well :-o
Towards Kumanovo. (2nd biggest town in MK) - our planned Basic HQ.
Somewhere in Kumanovo.
Our hotel. Z32ZM/Mome helped us in Kumanovo (his home town) to find hotel and to purchase food, etc.
Z32ID, HA1CA/Z38C and Z32ZM/Mome in the hotel.
Mazsi (say: Mazhi), daughter of HA1RS/Laci, was with us on the tour.
Our Contest QTH (Peren, 1326m) on the top. 3 mobile towers (T-Mobile, Cosmofon, VIP) next to each other. Guess, how many mobile operators does MK have? (Gigantoman politics...3 operators for 2mio inhabitants, where the average salary is 250EUR and unemployment is >36%)
The last 5km with stone road.
We didn't presume anything...
FRI 13:00 (MK time) The tyre of Suzuki deflated. [Bad luck nr. 2] We could not find the key to disassemble the tyre in Suzuki [Bad luck nr. 3] ... nor in Toyota [Bad luck nr. 4] ... nor in Lada [Bad news nr. 5]. By the way, we were in the middle of nowhere.
Mazsi and Jan. We called also the 4th car (Ford Focus) to bring key for the tyre. HA5OV came until the end of bitumen road (about 2km from the place). It turned out that HA5OV's key had irregular size, it did not fit for the tyre. [Bad luck nr. 6] After 2 hours, we could replace the tyre with an ordinary socket-wrench... But...something went dead the battery. [Bad luck nr. 7] We had no other solution than to go back to Kumanovo and look for a tie cable between 2 cars' battery. Extra 3 hours trip.
The last 1km.
Before tyre repair, we hurried up the top with the other 2 jeeps. Immediately started to install the tents.
Tents were installed to save our equipment. But it is already FRI 15:00 (MK time). We would not be able to finish installation on Friday. 2 antennas of 2m system should have been repaired due to high SWR, plus one of the rotator died - changing G2800 to PST61D - all left for Saturday.
Z32ID/Igor quickly installed 6m antenna (5el. YAGI) and tested with the radio.
Igor still testing 6m.
L-R: East and West antenna group for 2m. Our original plan was to istall 70cm group on the top of the tower, but we run out of time.
Due to time pressure, we gave up to install 70cm on the top of the tower. So we dismantled the 6m YAGI, and installed 70cm on the mast of 6m antenna. (In timing, it was after 23cm installation)
Installing 23cm. We planned hand rotation for 23cm, so the mast was installed in the tent.
SAT 10:45 (MK time) 2m shack still nowhere.
We tested that 23cm mast will be OK, so we can start installing antenna on the H-holder.
In progress.
SAT 14:23 (MK time) 23cm was ready.
SAT 11:00 (MK time) Igor assembled the 2m YAGIs. System was 1:1.1. We could not find the fault for 1 antenna - SWR was 1:1.4 - but could go with it.
Antenna was repaired, but the rotator was still not replaced.
SAT 11:00 (MK time) Status of the 2m shack.
2m DK7ZB antennas had contact problem in reflector due to rust. We re-produced the contact in Skopje, and Jan final-assembled on the spot.
SAT 11:15 (MK time) Igor dismantling the wrong G2800 rotator.
SAT 13:20 (MK time) We started to install the new PST61D. But the vertical tube was longer than needed. We relocated the rotator + rotator platform 2 times... [over 40kg.] Finally cured with cutting about 10cm from the vertical pipe.
Some relaxing.
South and North.
For changing the rotator, we needed 3 persons in the tower. So, besides Igor and Zoli, Laci should have come... 3 times... [since we tried 3 places for the rotator platform, before cutting]
SAT 14:00 (MK time) Coming... just having a rest.
Pastramalija - Macedonian special meal.
This would be 70cm shack. We planned 2 cable system due to 1kW PA. But...Preamp Control Box went dead. We had to decrease the PWR. [Bad luck nr. 8] After it, the relay did not work (soldering problem for PTT cable, so we had to bypass the relay [Bad luck nr. 9] - 1 cable system w/o preamp :-( but we can use high power now :-).
Good news for 23cm: no 70cm operation = no disturbance.
23cm and 70cm were in the same tent.
Tent for UHF/SHF operation and the 4x51 el. YAGI group for 23cm.
The camp.
HA1RS Laci worked on 70cm.
HA7PL Laci was on 23cm.
SAT 18:48 (16:48 GMT) We started 2m operation. After 1 hour we had to stop due to RX problem. The signal was stronger w/o preamp. [After the contest it turned out that the Javornik jumper was not set correctly, so we made 34 QSOs with about 2cm long wire]. But, again, came the rain and after darkness. [Bad luck nr. 10] We stopped our 2m operation until dawn. The pic. shows the 2 rotator control boxes + FT1000MP + Javornik.
Down: driver PA with low level of drive on 160W (GI46B - 550W max.) - hybrid ring splitter - RX filter. On the table: 2x1kW PA - 1 for the West and 1 for the East antenna group.
SUN 07:35 (05:35 GMT) In the morning, HA1CA disconnected the preamps, relays - changed to 1 cable system. Back up plan: TXing and RXing on the 2x4x6 el. YAGI simultaniously ... but pointing into 2 different directions. This suboptimal solution increased a bit the RX noise - but no big signal in 100km circle...
SUN 20:00 (MK time) After dismantling everything. Finally, we made 162 QSOs on 2m (new Z3 record), 5 QSOs on 70cm and 3 QSOs on 23cm (1st 23cm Z3 contest activity).
L-R: OM5XX, Z32ID, HA7PL, HA5OV, HA1RS, HA1CA, Mazhi.
Local beer brand - Skopsko.
Sunday night.
Sunday night.
Sunday night.
After I uploaded the pictures, Peter sent me some additional nice pictures. I added them at the end from here.
23cm 4x51 el YAGI.
HA1CA/Z38C Zoli at 2m shack.
Z32ID Igor, too.
The team.
OM-Z3 friendship.
Jan Laci Mome Peter Laci


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