We are sad to report that 2022 was the last OCDX contest for Fred K3ZO as he became a SK earlier in 2023. Fred has been a regular entrant in the contest over the past 40 years and was also leader from North America in the Phone and CW Single Operator High power categories on many occasions. His report on his experience on the 2022 contest is inspiring to say the least, and so the committee wanted to honor Fred’s memory by reproducing it here for all to read.
Farewell Fred – we will miss your big signal on the bands and in our contest logs.
What a difference rising solar flux has made in the Oceania SSB contest. In 2018-2021 for me it was mainly a 40 meter contest and I had to struggle to Make 100 QSOs. In 2019 I made exactly ONE QSO on 20 meters. This year (2022) 20 Meters was wide open to Australia and New Zealand at both the beginning and the end of the contest and I made exactly ONE HUNDRED QSOs on 20 meters and 220 QSOs overall.
Last year (2021) I made 27 QSOs on 15 and they were all KH6s, VKs or ZLs. This year I made 47 QSOs on 15 and the first 28 of those QSOs were Indonesians. Ten meters last year? Forget about it! This year 10 meters was good for 36 QSOs.
I did make some improvements to the 10 meter 4-el dual-driven Quad at 78 feet. Brand new coax and a dedicated in-line Ameritron antenna tuner so I can tune the quad for minimum SWR on either the SSB end of the band or the CW end of the band depending on the contest. I was able to run QSOs to a limited extent; one-third of those QSOs called me, I had to S&P the others.
What surprised me was how long the 10 meter band remained open to VK and ZL. My first QSOs were at just past 5 PM local time and the band was still wide open at 9 PM.
I was reminded about my good fortune in having bought W4QAW’s 8-element Telrex 15 meter Yagi when he tore his contest station down. At 155 feet it is my highest antenna, and after 10 meters closed it carried me along until 10 PM. I was able to work Indonesians up until that hour; even though they didn’t Move the S-meter at all they came right back to me when I called. The number of
YBs has expanded in recent years, and while they are tough to work on 40 even When they are loud — due to local QRM from other YBs on that narrow band – on 15 they seem to hear very well. While I was tuning through the 15 meter band looking for Oceania stations, I was hearing several of my friends from Thailand as well as plenty of JAs and the occasional BY, so the CQWW contests should be very interesting this year.