The amateur radio station DF0CG/DR1A was designed specifically for the participation in contests, both for domestic and global competitions. First in line are the contests run by the Deutscher Amateur Radio Club e.V. (DARC): Worked All Europe DX Contest (WAEDC), Worked All Germany Contest (WAG), DARC 10m Contest and the DARC Christmas contest. Participations from DF0CG/DR1A yielded top scores and several new records.
Within the DA0HQ team, DF0CG/DR1A represents the DARC e.V. in the HQ competition of the IARU HF Championship on 20m (SSB) and 15m (CW).
The four biggest team events of the year are the contests of the american CQ magazine: CQ WPX SSB (end of March), CQ WPX CW (end of May), CQ Worldwide DX Contest SSB (end of October) and CQ Worldwide DX Contest CW (end of November). DF0CG/DR1A participates in these contests in the "Multi/Multi" category, meaning that multiple operators (typically around 16 OPs from different countries) operate simultaneously on the six 'classic' amateur radio bands 160m, 80m, 40m, 20m, 15m and 10m.
Beyond being on the air, there is a multitude of other activities at DF0CG/DR1A which in total represent the appeal of our hobby. One the one hand there is hands-on work: Most towers, antennas and cables were acquired as surplus from commercial radio providers at low cost. Often, it was up to us to manage and fund the disassembly and transport of the material. Reconstruction of the systems on the DF0CG/DR1A premises required the active participation of many helpers who already invested thousands of work hours into the common project.
Besides the widely visible towers on the exterior of the station, six radio rooms ('shacks') were created on the inside of the leased building, one room for each of the six radio bands mentioned above. Several kilometers of coaxial cables and control wires connect the shacks with each other and with the antennas. A cafeteria as well as bathroom with shower, four small bedrooms with a current total of 10 beds allow for appropriate accomodation of the participants and for an enjoyable contest experience.
The development over time can be followed by the pictures in the the Gallery on this web site.
Another focal point of our activities is hardware and software development: Units such as our "4-TRX-Manager", "PTT-Collector", "PTT-Analyzer", "Electronic Rotor Control Units" cannot be bought off the shelf but had to be custom developed for our needs and built in small series in-house. This is the playing field of several team members who enjoy soldering iron and software development rather than sitting in front of a microphone or a morse key. Hats off to you guys! Without you we could not be on the leading edge!
Even if units could not be developed by ourselves, such as the recently acquired electronic power meters of U.S. company Wavenrode or the USB CW keyers of MicroHAM, there is always an integration effort which creates regular work for our IT administrators. The PC network at DF0CG/DR1A comprises of 13 PCs and 3 servers. Software updates are regular activites, such as Windows updates, Win-Test updates, updates of the MASTER.DTA and Country Files, etc.
Speaking of Win-Test: We would like to thank the french colleagues of Win-Test for their great response whenever we have suggestions for improvements and bug fixes of their software, where we support with qualified feature descriptions and bug reports! This friendly international cooperation is working well.
Another current project which is designed to support active contesters and DXers worldwide is the operation of our own Skimmer server on our premises. We are running a QuickSilver QS1R SDR receiver (tnx DL2OE) on a high-performance Quad-Core PC (tnx DL6FBL) using the Software "SkimmerServer 1.3" of VE3NEA. This allows monitoring and processing of the lower 192 kHz of up to seven ham radio bands. The software automatically decodes CW transmissions in these band segments and reports the decoded callsigns to the web platform "Reverse Beacon Network" (RBN), which is currently fed by some 50 receivers from all over the globe. Ham Radio operators and scientifically interested persons can obtain valuable real-time information on shortwave propagation and use it for their purposes. This way, DF0CG/DR1A provides some of its antenna receiving performance to the general ham radio public.
You can get more information about the current status and basic concept of the station on the following pages: