For technical and personal reasons, we had to cancel the May contest on very short notice. Fortunately the problems could be solved in time for the July competition. As many people were on vacation, we planned 70 cm only - in fact the setup that we wanted to try in May already. The only addition was a test of the SSPA that burned 2 years ago. We wanted to give the parts that survived another chance...
Luckily Jens DF5HC decided shortly before the contest to be available, so that we could add 23 cm as the second band. The 2 m station was not available yet, but 70 cm and 23 cm seemed like a good compromise for our small team.
The equipment consisted of the usual three 6x9 Ele yagi groups, this time also powered by the SSPA. The transverter was rebuilt, it was made of parts of a rather old design with several tinned boxes - everything separate, RX and TX, good filtering... Technology from the 80s but still going strong. It was enhanced by additional filters on the output, isolators etc., and the LO was tied to a 10 MHz PLVCXO to keep it stable.
23cm was our "standard" equipment with SSPA and two yagi groups of 6x23 Ele Tonna and the two long quados antennas. The other new equipment in use this time was the new internet connection, which proved to be very good.
We could install the majority of the setup on Friday already and stopped after finishing the 23 cm antennas. Unfortunately the weather on Saturday morning was bad - it was raining heavily. As we did not have to do much, we tried to wait until the rain stopped. But as the beginning of the contest got closer and closer, we finally had to finish the antenna mast - despite getting soaked. But that's life.
The contest itself started well on 23cm, especially the activity from UK was good and almost all skeds went into the log on first try. Airscout and the new reliable internet connection really paid off. 70 cm was not well, we had lots of interference and noise, so we could not even use our standard frequency of 432.292 but had to look for a quieter one.
In the evening the number of callers went down a bit - Germany played against Italy in the Euro 2016. Believe it or not: at 1000 m asl no DVB-T reception possible. But thanks to the good internet connection, Jens, Alexander and Martin could watch the penalty kick on video stream... And: time to celebrate! - Martin found some nice bottles of Grand Cru red wine in his cellar - 2003. Delicious, but not good, if you want to win a contest. We stopped at 2 pm, on 23 cm because there was almost no acitivty and on 70 cm because the interference got unbearable.
Next morning, we replaced the 70 cm transverter with another rig - and no interference anymore. The problem was home made... a quick check identified the LO as the culprit - after realigning the transverter finally worked and no interference anymore.
We tried hard to score and do the QSOs on Sunday we could not finish before due to the noise, but in the end, our result was not competitive. The only good news on 70 cm is that the SSPA worked. The blown transistor from 2014 must have been a bad coincidence, the design is ok.
On 23 cm we did very well. Many long distance QSOs into 9A, many nice AS contacts.
Deinstalling the antennas and equipment went smooth and quick. Poor Martin did not want to waste time on the power cables and took them all at once.