Mathew (DJ2HD) and a small group of operators, mainly Wolfgang (DH3WO), Ewald (DJ2BQ), Harald (DD3IA), Falk (DG0UFA) and Dirk (DL8UA) began with the amateur radio operation on the VHF bands in 1999. At that time many portable operations took place from different places in the country, always evaluating the best radio location. One of our favourite locations was the garden of a ham friend whose tower is used by us up to today.
We participated in many contests, sometimes with more and sometimes with less success. The home-brewing of equipment like power amplifiers, preamplifiers and power splitters was of importance as well. Last but not least we have also built the antennas by ourselves.
After some years of active contesting the team had the wish for a common group call sign which everybody could identify with. Up to that time different club calls signs were used or we utilized our personal call signs. This fact led Mathew to think about a call sign for the contest group. The group discussed diverse alternatives and came up with a solution. Finally we received the desired call sign: DR2W (Delta Radio Two Whiskey).
In the course of time new interested hams joined the group, but some also left it again, due to QRL or other personal reasons. Nevertheless, we still have success. Over the years the interests of the group have changed a little bit. Contest activities on VHF were reduced while the participation in shortwave contests came to the fore.
In 2006 Mathew, Wolfgang and Ewald started looking for a contest location which mainly would be well-suited for short wave contesting. Furthermore it had to be in a reachable range from our home locations. After more than two years of unsuccessful search, mostly due to non availability of electric power or because of an inadequate size of the location respectively the location being unsuitable for HF operation, we gave up at last.
But as it often is in life, if one door is closing another one is opening up, i.e. we got an unexpected chance.
Wolfgang changed his QRL and started his job at the University of Applied Sciences (UAS) in Karlsruhe. Ulmar (DK1CE) is a member of the same radio club which Wolfgang, Mathew and Ewald belong to. He reported about an existing club station at the UAS. Because Wolfgang was working at the UAS we decided to inspect this club station which had been active with the still existing call sign some years ago. An appointment was made shortly. Ulmar opened the shack door, but oops, what kind of equipment was standing around here ?
A small, elderly Yaesu FT 890 was leading a lonely existence. Furthermore some homemade boxes stood around, but nobody knew what they were good for. So far, so good, now it was time to have a look at the heart of any radio station, the antenna system. Unfortunately that did not look any better. We discovered a lot of old cables and obviously even older antennas which did not look trustworthy any more. These antennas had to be replaced immediately, likewise the cables.
Well, and there was a beam. This old Sommer beam seemed to be still ok by visual inspection. Even the rotator was turning after some startup problems. Mathew discovered a picture which showed this beam on the tower remarkably higher up in the air compared to the actual position. This had to be investigated. Ulmar was on the spot and explained that for sure it would be possible to crank up the mast which was sliding into an old chimney. One attempt, and the antenna was up in the air twice as high as before. After this success it was clear: we wanted to bring this station back to life ! But how?
For this Ulmar had to check different subjects with the UAS administration. He received the ok without any problems. And so the conversion respectively the reconstruction began in 2008. The first step was finished in 2009. Every crew member lend own equipment, and so we could participate in a contest for the first time. “CQ WPX contest de DR2W”. We were proud to have done it. And of course we were curious about the result. In spite of Murphy being with us we were satisfied: 2nd place in Germany.
Within a short time frame we had set up a contest station by teamwork which was big fun from the beginning on. Then also Ulmar joined our team. But as always in amateur radio, you are never satisfied with the actual state.. So the shack was completely re-arranged a second time. The aim was to achieve a better atmosphere and to have a setup more suitable for contest needs. Therefore lots of equipment was bought by the team members in the following years. Finally, in 2013, the old Sommer beam, which had been modified and shortened to fit on this location, was replaced.
We decided to use an Optibeam. Why? Mathew had experience with this brand since 2004. He had started with an OB 9-5, followed by an OB 12-6 and nowadays he is using an OB 18-6. So quickly we were sure, an Optibeam would be the optimum for our station. We bought an OB11-5 which just fit on the mast regarding its size and which offered all bands from 10m to 20m.
The installation was realized during typical German weather: rain. But this could not stop us. Finally mounted and connected to the station it was used for the first transmission. What a feeling, switch on and go…
A reasonable transceiver and power amplifier were missing now. It was just a question of time until also this was arranged. Also this investment was privately done by the team members, and the equipment is available for all of them. We made big progress.
Meanwhile we have increased our team. Winfried (DK9IP) is integrated in the team since the beginning of 2014 and he is an excellent addition. Every member has his fixed tasks in the team. One is responsible for the IT, the other for the antenna setup, another for optimizations and general infrastructure, as well there is someone responsible for media and someone for the QSL service. Additionally we have OMs from neighbour clubs who help with advice and support.
During our contests we are regularly joined by guest operators from different radio clubs in our region. Our motto: guest operators who have a strong interest in contesting are always welcome.
The station of DR2W is also used by Ulmar and Wolfgang in terms of the acquisition of new radio amateurs as well as to present amateur radio at “open days” at the UAS (Univerity of Applied Sciences). We are very sorry to tell you that we lost our very good ham friend Hinrich. We are really sad and shocked as well. Thanks for your help and the nice unforgettable time with you RIP Hinrich de DR2W Crew
We, the DR2W team, hope that herewith we were able to give a short overview about how all began, about our activities during the last couple of years and that we can inspire other HAMs for contesting.
Many DX and see you in the next contest …
73 de DR2W Crew