Congratulations to all the winners in the 2016 Oceania DX (OCDX) Contest, and thank you to everyone who participated, even if only to make one or two QSOs.
The PHONE section was tough going this year with the solar flux down to 81 and Planetary A index as high as 15. VK3NCC summed it up by suggesting that ‘Someone has built a Faraday Cage around Australia!’ Only a few QSOs were made on 10M in the PHONE section and most of these were limited to within Oceania and with Asia. The conditions also had an unusually severe impact on 20M activity, with the number of QSOs on
20M being significantly less than 15M. This suggests that some of usual openings to Oceania on 20M did not eventuate or were only marginal over the PHONE weekend.
The CW section enjoyed more favorable conditions, with the solar flux up to 104 and more settled geomagnetic activity. This resulted in more QSOs being made on the higher bands, including a number of 10M QSOs with Asian, North American and European stations.
A total of 1192 logs were received for the 2016 contest, made up of 626 PHONE logs and 566 CW logs. This is 2% more than the number received in 2015 and a good outcome considering the difficult conditions experienced over the PHONE weekend. The number of PHONE logs decreased by 5% but this was more than offset by a 10% increase in the number of CW logs.
The reduced number of PHONE logs was mainly due to a decrease in participation from European stations. Making QSOs between Oceania and European stations can be challenging at any time, but it was clearly more challenging than usual with the adverse conditions during the PHONE weekend and this appears to have negatively impacted participation from Europe.
The good news is that participation from Oceania and Asian stations increased. New records were set for the number of logs received from these regions. Compared to 2015, the number of Oceania logs increased by 17% and the number of Asian logs by 19%. Most of the growth in Oceania activity was due to increased participation by Indonesian stations. The ongoing efforts of YB0NDT, the YB Land DX Club and other YB amateurs to promote the contest are clearly continuing to have a positive impact in attracting new participation from Indonesian amateurs. It was also pleasing to see an increase in the level of participation from stations in the Philippines, East Malaysia and Hawaii. This ongoing upward trend in participation from Oceania stations is very encouraging, considering that Oceania participation is essential for attracting more participation from stations outside Oceania and continuing to grow the contest.
As well as the more common Oceania entities (such as KH6, VK, YB and ZL) the 2016 contest saw activity from rarer Oceania prefixes such as 9M6, A35, DU, KH0, KH2, V85, and VK9. The activity from these rarer prefixes is appreciated as it makes the contest more interesting and attractive for participants, especially for stations outside Oceania.
It is also pleasing to see an increase in the number of entries in the multi-operator categories, up from 33 in 2015 to 44 in 2016. Multi-operator entries tend to have better equipped stations so they are helpful for driving activity in the contest. They can also be a useful learning environment for introducing newcomers to the contest and contesting more generally.
Here are a few of the soapbox comments received:
- “It is hard to work with VK or ZL with low power and wire vertical on the balcony. Fortunately, there were a few stations with big antennas able to read even my weak signals!” DD5KG
- “Beautiful and fascinating contest, but absence of propagation. Made a handful of QSOs. Making an appointment for the next edition of the contest and hope for good propagation and better score. Thanks to all those who had the patience to connect.” IZ8GUQ
- “Conditions getting bad but I enjoyed the contest” JA1WWO
- “Very fun contest. I want to spend much longer period next year. Thank you” JG1TUC
- “Many thanks to all who were patient with me pulling calls. Every QSO is appreciated.” JK7DWD
- “Propagation was the pits! I’m reluctant to submit a score like this but “it is what it is”.” N0OK
- “Unbelievable ears of Gary, ZL2IFB aka ZM4G. After my several calls he catched me on 40M … magic! Nice opening in the morning on 20M to kangaroo mates.” OK1RP
- “Band conditions were poor to Oceania from here. I had fun with 2 vintage Yaesu radios.” VE7BGP
- “Conditions pretty dreadful with no openings at all on 10m. 20m also very poor. 40m was the best band. Went to bed after the first 4 hours for a few hours sleep – big mistake. When I got back, everybody was well ahead and then the bands went dead.” VK2BJ (OCDX phone)
- “What a difference a week makes! Conditions were much better generally than the SSB contest the week before. However, 160m and 80m were unusable for a large part of the contest due to extreme static. 40m and 15m were the bands to be on for points and multipliers.” VK2BJ (OCDX CW)
- “More interested in the pizza and a chat than playing radios but we did have a fun night all the same.” VK3ER
- “Despite setbacks it was a lot of fun and I look forward to a more successful entry next year!” VK3MI
- “Someone built a Faraday Cage around Australia…. and the S8 QRN/M was unbelievable. Hoping for better conditions next year. Thanks for all the efforts that go in to make the event possible.” VK3NCC
- “Coronal holes provided enhanced geomagnetic activity in the week prior and up to the OCDX phone and with sunspots falling to zero over the weekend (SFI 78.8) so conditions were not great at all.” VK4LAT
- “Just back from UK on Saturday afternoon. Definitely suffering jet lag! Any errors are purely mine as I struggled to concentrate for a complete QSO HiHi!” VK7GN
- “First DX contest, enjoyed it very much, even though I could only do a couple hours on the last night. Found the contest website instructions very easy to follow with great info. Many thanks.” ZL1DCO
- “Horrendous QRN on the lower bands, and below average conditions as well made it quite challenging, but fun as always. Roll on next year!” ZL2AGY
- “Condx not great, but everyone in the same boat!!!” ZL4AD
There were many notable achievements in the 2016 contest including the setting of 26 new continent records and 144 new country records. A summary of the new continent records is provided in Table 1 below and a
detailed list of all continent and country records is published on the contest web site. Here are some stations that deserve special mention for their achievements in the 2016 contest:
• Vladimir Lyakhov R4HCM for beating the adverse conditions and setting a new record in the Europe PHONE SO ALL QRP category.
• Barry Simpson VK2BJ for taking the top position in the Oceania CW SO ALL HP category while also managing to edge in front of Alan Shannon VK4SN to win the Australia PHONE SO ALL HP category.
• The HS0ZIA team (HS0ZIA, HS1NIV, HS5SRH) which set new records for the Asia M2 category in both the PHONE and CW sections.
• Handiko Gesang Anugrah Sejati YD1SDL/2 for easily winning and setting new Oceania records for both the PHONE and CW SO 40M LP categories.
• The Geelong Amateur Radio Club for encouraging 14 of its members to make at least 50 QSOs in the contest and (again) winning the Australia Club Plaque.
The Australia Club plaque is awarded to the local club from Australia with the greatest number of member stations making at least 50 valid QSOs in the PHONE or CW sections in the contest. The Geelong Amateur Radio Club wins this plaque again (for the fourth year in a row in 2016) with a total of 17 eligible logs being submitted from members VK3ACG, VK3ALB, VK3AMI, VK3AMZ, VK3DJ, VK3FRJF, VK3HQ, VK3LIJ, VK3NX,
VK3PK, VK3PY, VK3VLA, VK3WK and VK3ZIB. Another great effort from this club!
The New Zealand Club Competition plaque is awarded to the local New Zealand NZART Branch, DX club, or contest group with the greatest number of members making at least 50 valid QSOs as a single operator in the PHONE or CW sections of the contest. This plaque is not being awarded for the 2016 contest as no New Zealand club had enough members submitting the required 3 or more eligible entries.
Plaques are awarded to the highest scoring newcomer from Oceania in the PHONE section and the highest scoring newcomer from Oceania in the CW section. The rules define a newcomer as an entrant who has not previously entered the relevant section (in any category) more than twice since the 2001 contest. Eligibility is limited to entrants who have not won any other plaques or trophies in the same section (either in a previous year or the current year). Congratulations to Jay Uy DU7JAY for winning the 2016 PHONE newcomer plaque and Xenia Berger ZL4YL for winning the 2016 CW newcomer plaque.
The ongoing sponsorship of plaques is important for maintaining and growing interest in the contest. New sponsorship offers are always welcome and anyone who is interested in becoming a sponsor should contact the Contest Committee. The cost of sponsoring a plaque is currently AUD 50.00 per annum, which covers the expenses associated with the manufacture and delivery of the plaques.
The successful running of the Oceania DX Contest is a large team effort involving contributions from around the world. The log reception, log checking and certificate production processes are largely automated but committee members still contribute many hours of effort per annum to manage these processes along with writing up and publishing of the annual results, administering the sponsorship and distribution of plaques, and promoting the contest.
The support of the following individuals and organisations is also acknowledged and greatly appreciated:
• NZART, WIA and the other sponsors of awards
• K1EA for the provision of the log checking software
• N5KO for hosting the email robot.
• K5TM for publishing the on-line certificates.
• WA7BNM for the provision of the on-line Cabrillo web form
• ZL1AXG for hosting the www.oceaniadxcontest.com web pages
Finally, and most importantly, thank you again to everyone who participated in the 2016 contest and made it such a success. We look forward to seeing you all again, along with new entrants, in the 2017 event. Hopefully conditions will be better than in 2016!
73 from the Oceania DX Contest Committee (ZL2IFB, ZL3GA, VK2HN, VK3GK, VK3MI/ZL1AZE, VK3TZ, VK7GN)
Entry category abbreviations: ALL = all bands, CK = check log, HP = high power (total output power greater than 100 Watts), LP = low power (total output power no more than 100 Watts), QRP = reduced power (total output power no more than 5W), M1 = multiple operators and single transmitter, M2 = multiple operators and two transmitters, MS = multi-single, MM = multiple operators and multiple transmitters, SO = single operator, and SWL = shortwave listener. Note: the M1 and M2 categories replaced the MS category in 2010, the LP and HP categories were introduced in 2010, and the QRP categories were introduced in 2014