FOC Marathon 2020 - OE9TXF, Vorarlberg, Austria
The 2020 FOC Marathon was operated from near the Lake of Constance, Bregenz, Austria, using the recently issued callsign : OE9TXF.
Thanks to Günter OE9HGV and to Holger OE9GHV, the 2020 FOC Marathon operation was from the OE9XRV Club Station at the Mehrerau located on the edge of the Lake of Constance. The take-off over the lake is ideal for the FOC Marathon because it is clear to the north-west towards to the USA and the UK.

Even though the OE9XRV Club Station has a well equiped shack, I brought along my own Elecraft K3S and KPA-500 amplifier for the contest. The club's antennas are located on a 60ft crank-up tower, with a nice clear shot over a flat field towards the lake. The main antenna at OE9XRV is a 2el yagi for 40m as seen in the photo. Above it there is a LPA that covers from 20m to 10m. Just prior to the contest Günter OE9HGV and Holger OE9GHV kindly arranged for two simple l/4 slopers to be available for 80m. The water-logged ground was probably what made these simple antennas so effective on 80m.

Unlike at my home QTH where all the LF bands are just hopelessly buried in local "noise", at the OE9XRV Club Station the noise level even on 80m was relatively low. The scoring system in the FOC Marathon incentivises QSOs made with the same club member on both five bands and six bands.

As there was no antenna for 160m, I completely ignored Top-Band on the first night. During the day several stations had asked if I could be on 160m, but I replied "sri, no 160m". However on the second night I thought I'd at least try to see if I could get the 80m antenna to work on 160m. Thanks to the highly adaptable KAT-500 ATU I was able to get some sort of match, even though the SWR on the antenna feeder was well over 3:1. Much to my surprise some 70 QSOs were made on Top-Band (using the 80m antenna!), the best 160m QSOs being with Willy UA9BA and Chris A45XR. In total 795 Marathon QSOs were made with 327 different FOC members. Only QSO on 10m was a six-bander: Frank DL2CC.

This was the first time that I had used my new Austrian callsign : OE9TXF. Thanks again to the Mehrerau Club for letting me do the 2020 FOC Marathon from their lake-side station.
The 60ft Versatower with the antennas at Club Station OE9XRV: Contest Call OE9R. The Lake of Constance (Bodensee) can just be seen through the trees.
Club members Rainer OE9RIR, Günter OE9HGV and Holger OE9GHV in the club station : often active in contests as OE9R. A night-time shot of the antennas which shows the LPA for 20m-10m perched above the 2el 40m yagi on the 60ft Versatower.
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