There’s no substitute for being there, and for elite contester and WRTC 2018 participant Tim Duffy, K3LR, and other competitors, this meant traveling to Germany, where WRTC 2018 will take place in 1 year, in part to prepare for the big show. Duffy said getting on the air from Germany during the International Amateur Radio Union (IARU) HF Championship this past weekend provided an opportunity to test the waters, so to speak, by making sure that equipment works as it should, that propagation from Europe is understood, and that he and his team mate Sandy Raeker, DL1QQ/N0QQ, have a good shot at winning.
“I have operated in four past WRTCs, but I have never prepared to this detail in the past,” Duffy told ARRL. “So, taking a page from the K3LR multi-multi book (constant preparations), I am preparing with DL1QQ as never before.” He and Raeker will be the first male-female team in the history of the WRTC. During the IARU, he and Raeker operated as DR8A with 100 W in Multioperator, Two Transmitter (M2) category during the IARU contest. M2 is not a WRTC category.
“The operating experience here in Germany is much different than in the USA,” Duffy said. “Band conditions are very different, and operating patterns from participants as well. Having this contest under our belt, we have many changes now to make, to prepare for the ‘big event’ next year.”
Several other teams also took advantage of the 2017 IARU event to operate from Germany in preparation for WRTC 2018. Other active call signs of WRTC 2018 prep teams included DM2M, operated by Dan Craig, N6MJ, and Chris Hurlbut, KL9A, and DR5F, operated by John Crovelli, W2GD, and Bud Trench, AA3B. The three on-site teams plan will submit their logs to the IARU HF Championship as check logs.
AA3B said he and Crovelli were the guests of the DARC OV H20 Piene Club. “They set up a station that was very similar to the design for WRTC 2018,” he said. “We fully exercised our station design and operating plans. We learned a lot about propagation from Europe, which was somewhat different than we expected, particularly with respect to the timing of openings to various parts of the world.”
Some other remote IARU operations, as well as contest tests by the LY, ZL, and other DL teams, also were conducted. Nate Moreschi, N4YDU, is reported to have operated from Hungary.
WRTC 2018 will be prominent during Ham Radio 2017 in Friedrichshafen, Germany, this weekend (July 14-16). WRTC 2018 team member Chris Janssen, DL1MGB, will speak at Ham Radio’s official opening. Inside the fairgrounds facility, they will have a booth as well as a WRTC-style portable station in the courtyard. A “Meet the WRTC” event at Ham Radio will feature competitors from the last 30 years, as well as sponsors and organizers.
Duffy called the WRTC an “amazing radio contesting event,” but said many factors play a part in the final results. “Some of the very best operators in the world will assemble in person next summer here in Germany to compete on as a level playing field as possible at WRTC 2018,” he said. “Every one of the operators at a WRTC is good enough to finish with a medal — so scores will be very close and logging accuracy is a very important part as log checking is very detailed. The most efficient operators — that work together as a team — will likely have their scores at or near the top.” — Thanks to Tim Duffy, K3LR; The ARRL Contest Update