Take more than 150 of the world's top contesters. Put them in one place on the outskirts of Moscow at 48 near-identical locations. Add a handful of Russian hospitality and a generous dollop of great weather. Fold all ingredients into an Amateur Radio competition among 48 two-person teams from 26 countries, coinciding with the IARU HF World Championship. Allow to marinate for 24 hours. It all adds up to recipe for lots of fun and international goodwill. Read on!
World Radiosport Team Championship 2010 took the WRTC concept full circle. The first WRTC, in Seattle in 1990, was organized in connection with the Goodwill Games, bringing together competitors from Russia and the US is a unique way. There was therefore a particular poignancy to having Russia host WRTC 2010.
It was obvious from the moment in Brazil in 2006 when the Russians offered to host the 2010 WRTC that this year's event would be special. The hosts were quite clearly determined to make it so. In addition there was the promise of a new and challenging format, based on a formula in use for some years for the internal Russian Radio Team Championship (RRTC) event (see "To Russia with RF," by Roger Western, G3SXW, Nov/Dec 2009 NCJ).
The RRTC format translated well to the WRTC, establishing as nearly as possible a level playing field among teams. Despite the best efforts of previous organizers, however, there has inevitably been some station-to-station variation, by virtue of location (terrain, nearby noise sources, etc.). In Brazil, for example, WRTC stations were scattered over a rather wide area, with some on the coast, some inland on high ground, some in rural areas and some in urban locations. The Brazilian organizers did a fantastic job of finding more than 50 willing hosts and erecting identical antenna installations at every one of them, but compromises were inevitable.
The WRTC 2010 concept called for setting up Field Day-style stations in relatively close proximity in the Domodedevo region of Moscow. Domodedevo is fortunate in having a ham as its mayor - not just a ham, but an active contester, Leonid Kovalevskiy, RZ3DU. Because of this, Domoddedevo has become the hame radio capital of Russia, hosting the RRTC events and an annual convention.
My own WRTC experience was as a referee in Brazil for WRTC 2006. My plan this year was to travel to Moscow in the same role, having been nominated by the Cyprus team (Marios, 5B4WN/G0WWW, is an old friend who helps MM0BQI and me to run the popular Islands on the Air contest). Roger, G3SXW, an old hand at WRTC, had to cancel his travel plans, however, and I was asked to take his place as one of the judges, an honor indeed (Roger remained available via the Internet as a source of wisdom and experience). This gave me a great opportunity to observe the workings of WRTC from the inside and to have extensive access to the various teams.
Every WRTC has a new and unique flavor, and WRTC 2010 in Russia was no different. In Brazil, for example - given the location and time of year - competitors for the first time were allowed to use linear amplifiers and provided with a 40 meter Yagi. The primary twist in Russia was the Field Day style of operating already noted. Russian volunteers (some traveled great distances, from the far reaches of UA9/0) had set up 50 comparable sites, consisting of an 11 meter (approximately 36 feet) mast, with a tribander (think Force 12 C3 - two full-sized elements on each band, with a single feed point) and inverted Vs for 40 and 80. Each operating location had an operating tent (with tables), latrine tent and generator. The locations were spread around nine large fields over an area of approximately 150 square miles. Organizers made an effort to check aspects such as site elevation, to ensure the locations were as similar as possible.
Stations were sited at least 500 meters apart,and each field had a "captain" and support crew available to deal with any logistical problems, such as a faulty generator. At each location was a small team of volunteers to take care of the operators, whether with setting up equipment, calling for outside help if needed and keeping the generator fueled throughout the 24 hours of the contest.
For the complete version of this article, with corrections of the version published in the NCJ, view the pdf version.