The bands were alive for the 24 hours of the 2012 IARU HF Championship, as an active sun even brought 10 meters alive, though propagation was once more a bit spotty for ham radio contesters around the world.
“Experts tell us we have been at the top of the cycle for around 12 months now yet in that time I have commented on strange cndx for about every contest I have entered and this was no different,” wrote Brian 5B4AIZ/C4Z, who compared the bands to “a stage magicians show ‘Now you see it – Now you don’t’.”
Making things even more uncertain was a solar flare that was headed for earth as the contest began at 1200z on Saturday – but it seemed to take longer than expected to arrive.
“We anticipated the solar flare to disrupt things at any moment but that didn’t happen until 6-7 hours before the end of the contest when all we could work was US stations,” wrote Rich K1CC on 3830, who helped run the K1ZD/WRTC test site.
“Despite the very poor conditions caused by the big solar flare, there seemed to be a lot of activity,” said Bob Wilson N6TV.
“I’m glad I entered as CW only. Phone must have been awful this weekend,” he added on 3830.
“Up here in the Aurora Belt, when the local K-index hits 8 and VY2ZM on 20m is a silent whisper that doesn’t lift the S-meter, you know you’re screwed,” wrote Kim OH6KZP, who was at OH0X; he said after the solar flare hit, it was more of a “EU QSO Party” than anything else.
But even with the low expectations and tough conditions in some areas, IARU 2012 was not a total loss at all.
“The event itself was quite fun,” said Rich NN3W, who led a multi-op team at N3HBX which suffered damage in a major storm that hit the Washington, D.C. area on June 30.
“Ten meters was disappointing but all other bands had good activity,” wrote Steve VK3TDX. “Great long path 20 meter openings for many hours.”
“I initially thought that the solar flare would kill the contest,” wrote Will AA4NC, “so I planned a laid back effort…was pleasantly surprised when the bands just kept on playing, even better than they had been in the weeks leading up to the contest.”
N6TR Levels Cheating Accusations
The post-IARU contest chatter was dominated – as unfortunately many contests have been in recent years – by allegations of cheating, this time by Larry “Tree” Tyree N6TR, who operated from 9V1YC.
On 3830, Tree wrote that “our station observed one very well known multi-single station who was not using an interlock and had two independant stations running people on each end of the band” – in other words, there were two signals on the air at the same time, which would violate the rules.
“In truth – it appears that the top multi-single stations in the IARU pretty much routinely ignore the one signal requirement. They seem to think that “if you can get away with it – then it is okay,” N6TR wrote.
Despite calls for him to reveal the callsign of the station, Tree refused, instead relaying the information to ARRL officials for possible review.
“Sorry – I will not name names here on this forum,” Tree wrote in another post on 3830.
Tyree added that the ARRL “has been notified of what we heard – and they are working the issue to collect more data.”