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Report from Thailand

World Radiosport Team Championship
WRTC 2022 (2023) Bologna, Italy, 4-11 July 2023

Champ C. Muangamphun, E21EIC

World Radiosport Team Championship (WRTC) is the Olympics of Ham radio. The Championship is held every 4 years and brings together top contesters from all over the World. WRTC is a dream for many HAM operators worldwide. The first WRTC was conducted in 1990 in Seattle at the same time as the Goodwill Games, then later in San Francisco USA in 1996, Slovenia in 2000, Finland in 2002, Brazil in 2006, Russia in 2010, Boston USA in 2014, Germany in 2018, and this latest one 2022(2023) in Italy.

Figure 1. Champ E21EIC checking his equipment set-ups for WRTC2022(2023) at Aunt Marita’s house (DJ9ZB's XYL) in Ettenheim.

WRTC is a 24-hour contest that is held concurrently with the IARU HF World Championship. There are a total 58 teams of two-competitors, using a 7el Tribander (20m-15m-10m) at 10mH and Dipoles for 40m and 80m bands. The contest stations are positioned in the same general location within approximately 160km2 to minimize any geographical variation that would give any team an unfair advantage. The power output is limited to 100W for all teams. The teams compete under Multi-Two category. WRTC focuses on experience, skills and strategy of the operators. Whichever team has the best combination of these three factors will be crowned the winner, and without a doubt the best contesters in the world.

Figure 2. Our journey from Ettenheim to Bologna with Uli DL1HUH/HS0ZON

WRTC2022(2023) was held in Bologna, Italy, on 4-11th July 2023. Due to the spread of COVID-19, the WRTC Organising Committee had no choice but to delay the Championship from 2022 to 2023. There was a total of 58 teams from around the world, splitting into:

  • ●45 Qualifying teams : 3 from Africa, 7 from Asia, 1 from Canada, 16 from Europe, 11 from North America, 3 from Oceania, and 4 from South America.
  • ●3 Wildcard teams
  • ●5 Youth teams
  • ●5 Donor teams

Figure 3. (Top Left) Referees in the orange shirts at the Opening Ceremony on 5th July 2023, (Bottom Left) Competitors in the yellow shirts at the Opening Ceremony, (Top Right, from L-R) Champ E21EIC, Rusty W6OAT, JC E20NKB, (Bottom Right) Champ E21EIC, Benji DJ5BK/HS6SSE, JC E20NKB, Uli DL1HUH/HS0ZON, Ralf DF6RK/HS0ZET.

I myself qualified as a Team Leader for one of the six teams from Asia. This will be my third time at WRTC: the first time in 2006 in Brazil, the second time in 2018 in Germany, and now in Italy. The three of us, Bun E25KAE, JC E20NKB, and myself E21EIC, left Thailand with our equipment for the competition on 21st June 2023. We travelled 2 weeks before the start of the event in order to prepare ourselves physically and mentally, and took the opportunity to attend Friedrichshafen 2023 whilst we are it. We were also joined by our support team in Germany which included Ralf DF6RK/HS0ZET, Benji DJ5BK/HS6SSE, and Uli DL1HUH/HS0ZON. Our team also received the support from ICOM (Europe) GmbH who have kindly lent us 2x ICOM IC-7610 for use in the competition.

Figure 4. Pictures of AS#6 Team and their support crew after the Opening Ceremony on 5th July 2023: Mew E29TGW (TM), Champ E21EIC (TL), JC E20NKB, Bun E25KAE, Ralf DF6RK/HS0ZET, Benji DJ5BK/HS6SSE, and Uli DL1HUH/HS0ZON

I spent the time after Friedrichshafen 2023 staying at Aunt Marita’s house (DJ9ZB’s XYL) in Ettenheim for one week. Aunt Marita was a superb host. There, I test out all the equipment including the band pass filters and 6x2 switch system with the 2x IC-7610 transceivers. Everything went smoothly and no interference was detected between the two radios when transmitting on different bands and modes.

Figure 5. (Top Left) Team and Referee assignment on 6th July 2023, (Bottom Left) Competitors meeting in the afternoon, (Top Right, L-R) Champ E21EIC, JC E20NKB, Jorge CX6VM – our referee, and Bun E25KAE, (Bottom Right) The Thai crew with our referee Jorge CX6VM holding the Site Sponsorship banner – dedicated to Fred Laun K3ZO (SK)

Our little trio set off to Bologna, Italy, on Tuesday 4th July 2023, by car. Uli DL1HUH kindly help drove us with our radios and equipment from Ettenheim, through Switzerland, then Milan in Italy and finally reaching Bologna, or more specifically, a little town called Castel San Pietro Terme. The journey took 9 hours in total. We met so many friends upon arriving at Anusca Palace Hotel which served as the headquarter for the WRTC Organizing Committee. After registration, we visited the WRTC commercial sponsors at their booths including ICOM, M&P Messi & Paoloni Coaxial Cable & Connectors, and FlexRadio.

On the same evening, we joined the Welcome Dinner with the other participants at the assigned hotels. The dinner was a simple get together with no formal introduction or ceremony. Those were saved for the Opening Ceremony the next day.

Wednesday 5th July 2023 was a free day for both competitors and referees. Many of us joined organise tours, visited the Marconi Museum – which was only opened for pre-arranged guided tours, and travelled to the city of Bologna. Everybody then returned for the official Opening Ceremony at 18:00 where the following introductions and presentations were given:

  • - Tine Brajnik S50A (WRTC Sanctioning Committee President) opened the ceremony and welcome all competitors
  • - Gianluca Mazzini IK4LZH (WRTC2022 Organizing Committee President): WRTC event presentation
  • - Fabio Schettino I4UFH (WRTC2022 Organizing Committee Vice President): Participant Presentation
  • - Giovanni Emanuele Corazza (Guglielmo Marconi Foundation President): Marconi and Creativity
  • - Alessio Sacchi IZ4EFN (Associazione Radioamatori Italiani (ARI) President): New paths in ARI
  • - Gianluca Tigretti (Authorization and Monitoring Responsible MIMIT): Italian Callsign
  • - Fausto Tinti (Major of Castel San Pietro Terme): View of Territories

Figure 6. (Top Left) Cindy NN9JA, Bun E25KAE, and Ray N9JA, (Bottom Left) Champ E21EIC, Tim K3LR, Sandy DL1QQ, and Nodir EY8MM, (Bottom right) Yuri VE3DZ/UT4UZ, JC E20NKB, Champ E21EIC, and Yarik UW7LL

On Thursday 6th July 2023, the real action started to take place. In the morning, Fabio I4UFH led the Team and Referee assignment using randomly matched generator, and the teams get to meet their respective referee for the first time. Our team was matched up with Jorge Furest, CX6VM, a referee from Uruguay.

In the afternoon, the competitors were gathered for a Competitors Meeting which was a Q&A session where we discussed about rules, what was allowed, what was not, the band plan, how the spotting system would work, the new technology used to automatically spot SSB stations after 3 QSOs have been made on a particular frequency, how any cheerleading would be detected and potentially penalised etc. A Referees Meeting was conducted afterwards in the late afternoon before the day draw to a close.

Figure 7. (Top Left) Bun E25KAE enjoying a quick operation on CW under I/AD8FJ from Ralf’s DF6RK camping car, (Bottom Left, L-R) Johannes 5T5PA (PA5X), Dima RA9USU, Bun E25KAE, JC E20NKB, Dr.Hrane YT1AD and Champ E21EIC, (Top Right) JC E20NKB, Chris KL9A, Dan N6MJ, and Bun E25KAE, (Bottom right) Champ E21EIC, Fabian LU1AEE, JC E20NKB, Roberto CE3CT, Oms PY5EG, Bun E25KAE, and Mew E29TGW

On Friday 7th July 2023, the most important activity of the day was the Site and Callsign Drawing. This is particularly important as even though the WRTC organizers will always strive to level out the playing field as much as possible, but no two sites can be exactly the same. Some will have advantages over others. Some may be closer to the beach or higher up on the terrain leading to better propagation, whilst others might be located near buildings with QRM from powerlines and LED lights for example.

As for the callsigns, the WRTC Organizing Committee managed to gather 69 unique callsigns specifically for this event with the format I4(number)(letter). Likewise, some callsigns will be more favourable than others when operating on CW or SSB. The callsigns were drawn by Team Leaders in front of the referee in a sealed envelope, but each team will not know their callsigns until 15 minutes before the competition starts. The teams are also prohibited from revealing their callsigns to anybody, or behave in a way that would allow outsiders to associate their callsigns with their identity, during the entire contest to prevent cheerleading.

Figure 8. At the Closing Ceremony. (Top Left, L-R) Champ E21EIC, JC E20NKB, Michael KC7V, and Bun E25KAE, (Bottom Left) Bun E25KAE, JC E20NKB, John W2GD, and Champ E21EIC, (Top Right) Champ E21EIC, JC E20NKB, Tine S50A, Bun E25KAE, and Ash KF5EYY (3V8SS), (Bottom Right) Adrian KO8SCA and Dima RA9USU

As soon as the Site and Callsign Drawing was completed, each team along with their referee and perhaps a site manager, travelled to their assigned site to set up their station. For our AS#6 Team which consisted of Champ E21EIC and Mew E29TGW, the randomly generated system assigned site “FE13” to us. FE13 turned out to be La Lepre Bianca Agriturismo Biologica in Cento/Ferrara.

Situated 73km from the WRTC HQ, La Lepre is a rustic renovated farmhouse that sits in the midst of an organic apple orchard. Our tower and antennas were pre-installed in the back garden just before the orchard with a view of a private swimming pool where small families come to enjoy their holiday. The host was excellent and the food was divine – a whole platter of salami, roast rabbits and organic pear puree. We were spoilt. Thank you Uncle Fred Laun K3ZO/HS0ZAR (SK) for our site sponsorship.

Figure 9. A signed WRTC2022 (2023) banner by all attendees, in memory of Ben DL6RAI who tragically passed away on 18th May 2023 from a tower accident.

We spent the entire afternoon setting up the radios, band pass filters, and syncing the contest laptops together. Many troubleshooting sessions were involved as the coaxial cable for the 80m dipole were damaged and had a failed connector, the coaxial and rotator cables were too short to reach the station as they had to cross a parking space, the 6x2 switch system was unwilling to cooperate after having blown through 3 fuses and we were down to the last one, the 80m dipole had an accessory part missing that would allow us to switch the wire length to better suit CW or SSB, and the third IC-7610 brought over from Thailand did not have access to the full spectrum on 80m as per Thai’s law. Luckily, we had 2x IC-7610 rigs from ICOM (Europe) GmbH so ended using both of them. One very positive note for our site was that we did not have any problems with QRM unlike some other stations who were less fortunate.

Test QSOs were done under I4/home callsign or I4/US callsign in the early evening. Only then did we find out that the primary laptop was stalling every 2 minutes as the system was being overloaded with the task of uploading the data to the online scoring platform. Oh no… This is not good! Not if we were in the middle of a pile-up! We worked until midnight, and then again, the following day until 2 hours before the competition starts to switch the primary laptop over to the other one and re-sync everything with the WRTC server – this proved to be quite troublesome, but once it was up and running, it worked flawlessly.

Figure 10. AS#6 was assigned to La Lepre Bianca Agriturismo Biologica in Cento/Ferrara for WRTC2022(2023). (Top Left) The tower and antennas: 7el Tribander (20-15-10m), 40m and 80m dipoles, (Bottom Left and Top Right) Trouble shooting sessions led by Ralf DF6RK/HS0ZET, (Bottom Right) The contest equipment setups by Team AS#6 in honor of Fred Laun K3ZO (SK). Fred’s paddle key can be seen on the shelf display next to “Butti” our rescued fox mascot.

15 minutes before the contest start, Jorge CX6VM handed over the little envelope to E21EIC (Team Leader) which contained our secret callsign. Inside was a little card with the word “I43U”. This was to be the contest callsign for AS#6 for the next 24 hours. We quickly entered the callsign into our contest logging software, N1MM+, and soon the clock ticked 1200z (1400 local time) to mark the beginning of WRTC and IARU HF World Championship and we were on our way!

The differences between the scoring of WRTC2022(2023) and IARU HF World Championship were as follows:

Unlike the previous WRTCs, this WRTC2022(2023) placed more emphasis on SSB contacts than CW so each team had to adapt their strategy accordingly.

After multiple rounds of coffees and Red Bulls, the adrenaline rush finally subsided on Sunday at 1200z. Everything went according to plan throughout the competition, and unlike the last WRTC2018 in Germany, our antennas did not breakdown and we did not lose 5 hours of precious time – phewww!

Figure 11. Team AS#6 at the WRTC2022 contest site. (Left and Top Right, L-R) Mew E29TGW (TM), Jorge CX6VM (Referee), and Champ E21EIC, (Bottom Right) Champ E21EIC and Mew E29TGW

With all that was going on, our 2-man team, including the referee Jorge CX6VM and the support crew: JC E20NKB, Bun E25KAE, Ralf DF6RK/HS0ZET, Benji DJ5BK/HS6SSE, and Uli DL1HUH/HS0ZON stayed at the contest site from Friday right until the competition ended on Sunday 9th July. Dietmar DL3DXX/HS0ZFV also travelled over 1,000 km from Dresden to meet us at the site, offered to take JC and Bun to San Marino (T77) on Saturday, and came back to cheer us on until the end of the contest. Thank you Dietmar!

Team AS#6 made a total of 3,876 QSOs, 410 multipliers, and scoring 4,785,110 points in total. During the contest, we heard very few stations from Asia and believed that other contesting stations also had the same issue. Our I43U managed to make 3 QSOs with JA on 20m, and 30 QSOs with JA on 15m, thus a total of 33 QSOs. Arigato gozaimasu! For other Asian countries, we made 1 with HS (HS8KAY), 1 with YB (YB0AGW), 1 with 3W (3W1T), and 7 QSOs with BY.

When the competition ended, Dietmar DL3DXX help drove the team and referee back to the WRTC HQ to submit our log and audio files, whilst the ladies and support team stayed behind to disassemble the tower and antennas as they have been pre-bought by Uli DL1HUH/HS0ZON. This really was a great team effort.

Throughout Sunday evening and Monday 10th July 2023, the Judging Committee had some serious jobs to do and that was the Log Checking of all 58 teams. The Judging Committee included W6OAT, I4UFH, N6AA, N6TR, PY5EG, S50A, and UA9MA.

On Monday evening, all competitors, referees, esteemed guests and visitors gathered together at 18:00 for the closing ceremony where the final results were announced. The awards were as follow:

  WRTC 2022 Competition Winners
  1st Place: I44W (UW7LL and VE3DZ)
  2nd Place: I43C (DJ5MW and DL1IAO)
  3rd Place: I49D (9A7DX and 9A3LG)

  Phone: I43L (YU5EEA and 9A3SMS)
  CW: I47M (F8DBF and F1AKK)
  Multipliers: I44W (UW7LL and VE3DZ)
  Youth: I43O (YL3JA and UR5YKO)
  Accuracy: I43C (DJ5MW and DL1IAO) – at only 0.5%!

Big congratulations to all teams who have won the prizes.

Figure 12. (Top Left) Closing Ceremony and Awards Presentation, (Bottom Left, L-R) Champ E21EIC, Bun E25KAE, Dave K3ZJ, JC E20NKB, and K3ZJ XYL, (Top Right) The Thai team celebrating with the Ukrainian Winners (L-R) Yarik UW7LL, Bun E25KAE, Champ E21EIC, JC E20NKB, Yuri VE3DZ/UT4UZ, and the Youth Winner Artem UR5YKO, (Bottom Right) Champ E21EIC, Bun E25KAE, Alex KU1CW, Braco E77DX, and JC E20NKB

AS#6 ended up placing 44th out of 58 teams. It was interesting to see that the Asian teams all placed close together in the middle of the ranking table. This is most likely because our understanding of the band propagation from Europe was not as sharp as our European friends operating from their ‘home’ territory.

For a full breakdown of the WRTC results, please see

After the celebration and dinner, the WRTC2022(2023) in Bologna drew to a close. All the competitors and referees had a great time with the contest, and everybody enjoyed meeting old friends and making new ones with those who share the same passion for radio and contesting. The Closing Ceremony ended with Tine S50A announcing that the next WRTC2026 will be held in the UK, specifically in East Anglia:

Figure 13. Visiting our dear friend Torsten DL8TV/HS0ZLV in Mainz, eating gelatos and enjoying some Thai/Vietnamese food for Dinner. (Top Right) Bun managed to operate SSB for an hour under DL/E25KAE from DL8TV station

On Tuesday 11th July 2023, our team consisting of Ralf DF6RK/HS0ZET, Benji DJ5BK/HS6SSE, Uli DL1HUH/HS0ZON, Bun E25KAE, JC E20NKB and Champ E21EIC left Bologna for Frankfurt in 2 separate cars; a distance of 1,000km and 15 hours of driving. We spent the remaining 3 days returning the ICOM IC-7610 to ICOM (Europe) GmbH in Bad Soden am Taunus, and meeting our friend DL8TV/HS0ZLV and his station in Mainz. We returned to Thailand on Friday 14th July 2023.

Figure 14. (Top Left, Top Right) The Thai team returning 2x ICOM IC-7610 back to Shinsuke san from ICOM (Europe) GmbH and to personally thank them for their assistance, (Bottom Right) Champ E21EIC, Bun E25KAE, JC E20NKB, Benji DJ5BK/HS6SSE and Ralf DF6RK/HS0ZET at Idstein

The most heart-touching moment for me during this entire trip was Dave K3ZJ hand-delivering Uncle Fred’s K3ZO (SK) paddle key to me at WRTC. I was utterly speechless, and tried so hard to hold back my tears. Uncle Fred was truly one of a kind, and even though he is no longer with us, I hope that with this WRTC2022, I have made him proud of how far Thai amateur radio has come. Thank you Dave for this little piece of Uncle Fred. Let us put his signal back on the air again where it belongs, in remembrance of all the legacy he left behind in the radio world. RIP Uncle Fred.

Figure 15. Dave K3ZJ presenting Champ E21EIC with Uncle Fred’s K3ZO (SK) paddle key at WRTC2022 in Castel San Pietro Terme, Italy.

Throughout this trip for WRTC2022(2023), I have so many people to thank. The primary sponsors including Rachar E23FXX, G. Simon Radio Co., Ltd. - the ICOM distributor in Thailand and S.E. Asia, ICOM (Europe) GmbH, SEISA-FGC, Bun’s E25KAE “Papa”, V-Kij Electronic, and many more who had helped to buy the shirts.

A special thanks to Jorge CX6VM for being such a great referee. He was up on the rocky ladder to see if our coaxial cable can go over the parking drive to avoid cars driving over them, and when that failed, he was on his hands and knees on the dirt and gravel to feed all the cables under the bush and fence. He walked back-and-forth carrying planks of woods to help us make cable protectors on the driveway. He was outside hammering our ground rod into the soil. He was jumping up and down to grab our dipole that had poor SWR readings. And he did all this with a swollen foot! We shared a very memorable experience together during the contest, and I hope I get to welcome him in Thailand someday.

Figure 16. The Thai Team spending their last 2 days in Frankfurt before returning back to Thailand. (Bottom Left, L-R) Enjoying traditional German food (deer!) cooked by Benji at their home: Benji DJ5BK/HS6SSE, Ralf DF6RK/HS0ZET, Bun E25KAE, JC E20NKB, and Champ E21EIC

Lastly, my sincerest appreciation to the amazing host, Aunt Marita (DJ9ZB’s XYL), and the incredible support team in Germany: Ralf DF6RK/HS0ZET, Benji DJ5BK/HS6SSE, and Uli DL1HUH/HS0ZON. Ralf DF6RK/HS0ZET was instrumental to this entire operation. From arranging the radios, testing all the cables and band pass filters, through to food and logistics, and making sure that everyone was on the right track and doing ok. Your support has been invaluable to me. We could not have done it without you. Thank you.

Until next time… in the UK for WRTC2026!

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