Contesting to the limits – D4C Contest Station, Cape Verde – Africa
D4C Monteverde Contest Team
…. a group of Ham-radio that loves to compete in contest. After many attempts in many different places, in 2001 we finally found our new way to live and feel contest competition by approaching to Cape Verde.
D44TC and D44TD stations belong to the past and they are still very present in our good memories.
In 2006 we decided to get into a new, hard and ambitious, project, started from the scratch of the previously existing D4B station build by 4L5A Alex.
So, if you tune up the bands during the main HF contest of the year, you probably had the chance to copy and work “Delta four Charlie” callsign on all bands.
D4C callsign is used to identify a team specifically born for contesting: The “Monteverde Contest Team” which started the activity in November 2007 when D4C was on-the-air during CQWW DX CW as M/2.
The core team is composed at the moment by 6 members (in alphabetical order): HB9DUR Andrea, I4UFH Fabio, I4YSS Vic, IK2NCJ Luca, IZ4DPV Max and YL2KL Girts
The station is located on the Island of Sao Vicente, one of the ten islands that make up the archipelago of Cape Verde with 500’000 inhabitants in total.
Monteverde is the name of the mountain where the station has been established and means Green Mountain.
It is 710m high (2300 ft), without any city building and this give the chance of exploiting a very quiet place with very low “take-off” angles on any direction.
Like all the medals even here there is a flip side, not very pleasant, due to very high daily wind (speed around 35Mph) and high humidity that very often change in terrible fog.
All this make a very harsh and stressful environment for both humans and hardware.
The shack is 120 m2 (1200 square feet) inside a property of about 8’000 m2 (86000 square feet) in which there is a house with 2 bedrooms, 1 bathroom and a large open space where all 6 bands positions can take space together with the kitchen.
Outside 8 towers from 45 to 120 feet high are covering the entire area, which also includes a small garage that protects a 60kVA power generator.
Because everything was erected from scratch from D4B activity (the previous owner), we had the possibility to design a specific hardware according to the location.
First thing we wanted to eliminate all rotators. It is easy to imagine how long they can resist in such an environment.
All antennas are fixed, 4 yagis on each band from 10m to 20m, 2 yagis on 40m and Inv-V dipoles on 80m.
For top-band we use a quarter wave vertical with 60 radials and the HI-Z 4 square+ beverages for RX on low bands.
To control all the hardware we don’t use any commercial device. All the automatic switching system has been designed and realized by ourselves. This includes a 6×4 antenna switch (6 bands antennas shared automatically in 4 positions), band-decoders and antenna switches.
Underground we put about 500 m of ½” coaxial cable and about 100 m of 7/8” coax plus several thousands of feet of electrical cables for services.
About 6 tons of materials have been shipped from Europe from 2007 till now to allow us to turn into reality what was first designed on paper.
THE ANTENNA PARK (all antennas are in fixed directions)
|Tower 1||28 Mhz||4 X 5 el||NA, EU, SA, AF|
|Tower 2||21 MHz||4 el – 4 el||NA – SA|
|Tower 3||21 MHz / 50 MHz||4 el – 4 el / 5 el – 5 el||EU – AF / NA – EU|
|Tower 4||14 MHz / 50 MHz||4 el – 4 el / 5 el||NA – SA / SA|
|Tower 5||14 MHz||4 el – 4 el||EU – AF|
|Tower 6||7 MHz – 3.5 MHz||3 el Wire Yagi + DIPOLE||NA|
|Tower 7||7 MHz – 3.5 MHz||3 el Wire Yagi + DIPOLE||EU|
|Tower 8||1.8 MHz||¼ lambda Vertical with 100 radials||Omnidirectional|
D4C has been active in all modes from 160 to 2 meters collecting 300’000 qso’s till the end on 2015.
There are 6m, 2m, 70cm and 23cm CW beacons running 24/7. The one on 6 meters is often spotted as the only signal on band. Due to our position this often happens also on the 10m-band during contests.
We are generally active in Multi OP category, from M/S to M/2 but we started ins CQWW CW 2012 to join M/M category and this has been replied on 2013 both SSB and CW.
Since October 2015 the station owns the D4Z callsign as well.
|D4C Number of QSO per Band||D4Z Number of QSO per Band|
We confirm qso via LoTW, E-QSL, via Bureau and via direct with a personalized stamp.
Without the help of some people such a project would never have been possible.
We must thank our technical partners and friends:
- Momobeam antennas for scoring the antennas on our project
- IT9GCG Enzolog for being flexible in providing the log and QSLing management
- To the 35+ guest operators that allow the team to reach top scores.
- To to all of you that constantly call us during any contest.
- Here a list of our supporter
Online Store www.shop.d4c.cc
Snail Mail Monteverde Contest Club, 6963 PREGASSONA, SWITZERLAND