Monthly Archives: September 2008

CQ WW RTTY Contest

Here’s a quick post while I finish getting things cleaned up and processed from the contest. This was my first solo heavy duty contest and it was a blast!

Here’s my stats from N1MM and SH5 (a free sort of stats program that reads N1MMs database):

519 QSOs
250,740 points

Those numbers far exceeded my expectations before I started. I’m still blown away I can get that many contacts on 100watts and a wire strung across my yard. Before the contest, since I’ve started on HF, I’ve had less then 1200 total contacts, including those I’ve had in other smaller contests. So in 1 weekend I did near the equivalent of ½ of all my previous QSOs combined.

QSO breakdown by band:
80m | 144 QSOs | 70 mults
40m | 98 QSOs   | 72 mults
20m | 277 QSOs | 110 mults

My online time showed as 36 hours in N1MM. I’m not sure if it uses just how long the program is running or some other method for deterring that time. I specifically closed N1MM whenever I stepped away in case that was the case and everyone asks me how much time I spent participating. It’s a pain so if there’s some “switch” in N1MM vs closing it to say I’m not actively contesting, it would be good to know. Of the 12 non-operating hoursI slept a total of 7 of those 12 “off” hours.

I got Alaska (AL1G in Anchorage) for the first time during the contest. When I finished, I ended up with QSOs for 47 of the 50 states (almost WAS in 1 weekend), missing only Vermont, Montana & Wyoming. I saw VT during the contest but never calling CQ or coming back to me when I called CQ.

I got QSOs in 21 CQ zones 1-11, 13-17, 20-21, 31-33 and 38.  SH5 shows a total DXCC count of 68 for the weekend. I got New Zealand again (ZL2BR) and South Africa for the first time (ZS2EZ) who is about as South East as you can get in Africa.

I can’t wait for the next contest!!!

73, K2DSL

CIS RTTY Contest

There was a 24 hour RTTY contest from Sat morning through Sun morning. I forced myself to use N1MM and MMTTY for the whole contest in preparation for next weeks big CQ RTTY contest. I think I’ve gotten the hang of how to best use the combination while searching around for contacts. Staying in 1 place calling CQ worked fine from the start, but I needed to figure out how to work with MMTTY moving around the bands and I think I’m all set now. I still rather use DM780, but until there’s a viable way to do so with N1MM I need to use MMTTY.

I had a bunch of breaks I needed to take throughout the contest and of course a bunch of hours for sleep, but when I was on the air, I did pretty well. I made a total of 85 contacts with 56 on 20m, 23 on 40m and 6 on 80m.  The point total was 7,215 which was helped with a few, but not a lot, of CIS contacts that really help with the points.

The big highlight of the contest for me was my first contact on any band/mode with Japan. It was easy and got through answering his call on the first shot and exchanged reports also on the first shot. Amazing for 100w into a wire antenna strung across my yard!! So thanks to Mitsui – JM1XCW for the QSO.  36 contacts were in the US and 7 were in Canada. The other 42 were primarily towards Europe and Russia with notables in Iceland and Argentina in South America.  Nothing else in South America though except for the 1 station in the very South of the continent. Also OE9R in Austria was contacted on 80m. OE9R is my first 80m contact to date outside North America with the exception of FM5CD in Martinique.

I’m becoming familiar with many of the call signs of folks that I’ve now frequently made contact with in other SSB and RTTY contests.  5C5W/CN8KD from Morocco, some of the folks in the US I always seem to contact in any contest I participate in, SP3GXH in Poland, and on and on.

Can’t wait for next weeks RTTY fest!!!

73, K2DSL

VHF Contest and WAE Contest

This past weekend was a big ARRL VHF contest that the club (Bergen Amateur Radio Assoc – BARA) I’m a member participates. It was actually 1 year ago with this particular one that I experienced my first contest. The club usually sets up on a mountain top not too long a drive from where we live and operate for 2 days on generator power from this hill top. The weather forecast called for thunderstorms so the club decided to cancel the mountain top event. In the end, no thunderstorms.

So instead, as we did in the early summer contest, we went to K2AMI’s house and operated with the club call sign of K2BAR. The conditions weren’t good and the contact count was down just a little, but the grid square count (used in VHF contests) was down a lot compared to a similar contact count a few months early. So the bands didn’t cooperate, but the contesting was still fun.

Saturday and Sunday was also the WAE (Worked all Europe) SSB contest. Before I went over to help out with the VHF contest I made a bunch of contacts. You only contact European stations when outside Europe and inside Europe they can only contact DX stations. It was fun and not too crowded so getting through on my 100w and dipole wasn’t too much work. I made a total of 57 contacts with most being Sat before leaving for the day. A few more Sat night and a few on Sunday, but it was primarily the same group of stations calling CQ most of the contest. Nothing exotic for me with the exception of a contact in Iceland which I think is my 1st contact there.

The WAE contest also uses QTCs which I need to read up on. I *think* I just give 10 previous contacts to the other station and you get points for it. I ignored them during the contest but want to read up on them in case other contests start to use them or when the next WAE contest rolls around.

Looking at the contest calendar, there’s a lot of different contests coming up this weekend. There’s multiple QSO parties and a Scottish/Russian RTTY contest.  Running multiple QSO party contests could be pretty darn confusing. Looks like 2 of the 3 QSO contests are RS(T) + State but one uses a serial number. Would be nice if they were the same. Then maybe you could log in one N1MM instance and split things up after the contest.

73, K2DSL

Russian RTTY & Tennessee QSO Party

There were 2 smaller contests this past weekend – Russian Radio RTTY contest & the Tennessee QSO Party

The Russian Radio RTTY contest started Fri 8pm ET (Sat 00:00 GMT) and ran for 24 hours. I made a total of 134 contacts and accumulated 40000 points. I went to bed overnight and missed the final couple hours because of a family obligation. I started out forcing myself to use N1MM and MMTTY that is integrated but I still am not comfortable with that combo. The MMTTY portion is just so clunky compared to DM780 and so less productive. About halfway through I switched back to using DM780 and duplicate entry into N1MM. I need to find a better way. I’d like to just use DM780 but the log export stinks for importing into N1MM which I need to do to calculate the proper score and generate the Cabrillo log. I can see the N1MM/MMTTY combo working well if calling CQ, but searching out stations and ‘tuning’ in the digital window is just so unproductive. It isn’t selecting and pulling in the signal, though DM780 still provides a better UI, but having to wait and see if I already logged the station is worse. DM780 buffers while MMTTY is only showing what is selected at that moment.

As for contacts, I got the same New Zealand station as I did during the SARTG contest. I also got a bunch in Wales and western Canada had a bunch.

On Sunday the Tennessee QSO Party took place.  Outside of Tennessee you can only log Tennessee stations and need to note their county. 20m wasn’t getting me anything so I popped up to 40m and made most of my contacts. During the time of the contest I had dinner and then our monthly club meeting so I missed 3 prime hours of the 9 hours it lasted. When I got back from the meeting it was still going on with a few more contacts made on 40m and 80m. 20m was active by the time I got home but didn’t hear any TN stations calling CQ.

The QSO parties are fun and the folks seem so appreciative when you make contact with them.  Even though this was a small “contest”, N1MM is great for phone.  If I can only feel the same for RTTY contests. One of the contacts I made after I got back from the club meeting recognized my call from the RTTY contest. It is a small community of folks. Even heard a couple of familiar stations calling CQ but they weren’t in TN so only TN stations can come back to them. Not sure how effective that is – maybe I’ll emal one of them.

Fun small contests this past weekend. I’m up to just under 1000 total contacts in my log. I should do some quick analysis this week on the log entries so far and see what it shows. Next weekend is a big VHF contest if the weather permits and if not, another QSO party in Arkansas.

73, K2DSL

SCC RTTY Contest

Saturday from 8am ET to Sunday 8am ET was the SCC RTTY Contest. I participated most of Saturday, went to bed for 6 hours, and woke up Sunday morning and was on the air for another 1.5 hours. In total I made 201 contacts across 20, 40 and 80m bands with 98 multipliers and a score of 47,628 if all contacts are good. If I compare my score with those submitted for the same contest last year, I’d be right about #50 in the single op low power all bands category.

The breakdown by band was:
80m – 4 QSOs
40m – 70 QSOs
20m – 127 QSOs

By location the breakdown was:
United States: 90
Canada: 10
Others: 101

Some interesting countries for me were Armenia, ZC4LI in Cyprus, Grenada and 4 stations in Latvia.

All 80m contacts were in the US and 3/4 of the 40m contacts were US. 1/4 of the 40m contacts were DX stations with the most distant being in Russia just over 5,000 miles based on grid locations.

Interesting to start to see familiar calls in RTTY and non-RTTY contests. For some I immediately recognize the call and location.

I tried using N1MM and MMTTY but after 30 mins of struggling with MMTTY within N1MM, I fell back to DM780 and double entered the contacts into N1MM. I need to get comfortable with MMTTY so I can just use that combination during contests. Practice, practice, practice. The end of Sept is the big RTTY contest and I will hopefully be more comfortable.

73, K2DSL