Monthly Archives: November 2008

K2DSL is now an Extra class operator

I studied diligently for a month using the Gordon West Extra Class book and audio CDs and then flash cards at and tonight I passed the Extra exam with flying colors. It felt good to go into the exam confident and still be confident when handing the exam to the VE’s for grading.

The VE’s are from the Bergen Amateur Radio Association (BARA) club which I’m a member of. It was nice when they took the exam, put the answer sheet overlay on my test and I heard them say “This will be an easy one to grade”. They all congratulated me and I thanked them each for all the info and encouragement and their enthusiasm that is making the hobby exciting and fun. The Bergen Amateur Radio Association (BARA) in Northern NJ is a tremendous group of folks that make a terrific hobby even that much better.

So I can now breathe a little sigh of relief and relax by cruising the extra class portion of the bands. I left shortly after they handed me my CSCE because my daughter was getting her first Varsity letter as a freshman and I wanted to get there in time for that. When I left, there were 3 other folks testing and I think 2 of them passed their tech and the 3rd was finishing up his general exam and I hope he passed as well.

Now, to learn CW ;-)


ARRL Sweepstakes Phone Contest

This past weekend was the ARRL Sweepstakes Phone Contest. I couldn’t dedicate a large portion of the weekend to the contest with obligations on Saturday and the Giants football game from 10am-6pm on Sunday. So during the time I could get on the radio, I had a lot of fun.

Band   QSOs  Pts   Sec
3.5    103   206   29
7       62   124   19
14      40    80   19
Total: 205   410   67
Score : 27,470

I had 2 phone contacts with Alaska and I logged contacts with 47 of the 50 states, just missing Kentucky, South Carolina and Oklahoma.  As the stats above show, I logged a contact with 67 of the 80 sections. One frustrating missing section was Southern NJ. A whopping 50 miles or so south of me I couldn’t make a contact on 20, 40 or 80 meters.  if I was around when 20m was open to the West Coast I probably could have gotten some of the missing sections in the US and in Canada.

What was nice, even though I’ve only just started contesting, is there were a couple of operators that recognized my call and said hello when we were making the exchange.  Comments like “Nice to speak with you on phone, hope to see you in the next RTTY contest.”.

I’m going to take the Extra Class test on Friday. Would have been nice to have been an Extra during the contest so I could have slipped down into the Extra portion of the bands for additional sections (multipliers) and QSOs.  But a lot of fun for a phone contest. I found it a bit more enjoyable and relaxing then one where your contacts are all international.



Before the WAE RTTY contest this past weekend my LOTW stats showed 2,400 QSOs submitted and 869 confirmed QSLs. As of this morning it shows 2,821 QSOs and 1,071 QSLs. DXCC’s confirmed in LOTW was at 65 before this past weekend and now I’m at 68 confirmed entities with Crete, Serbia and Greenland being added.


WAE RTTY Contest

This past weekend was the WAE RTTY contest. Since Daylight Savings Time ended here, 0000z is 1 hour earlier. The contest started at 7pm ET Friday night and ended 7pm ET Sunday evening. I was able to spend a good amount of waking time working the contest. I didn’t stay up later then I would have to put in extra hours. I’ll need to check what N1MM reports but I think I put in maybe 4 hours Friday and then 12-14 each day on Saturday and Sunday.

This was the first time I used QTCs and it was interesting. QTCs are more about the score and not about the contacts so I didn’t push hard asking to send/receive them. I asked a few times and whenever someone asked me, as long as I was getting a good copy on them, I took them. Probably easier to send then receive, but I’m sure I’m a weaker signal to them then they are to me. But next time, I’ll push QTCs more.

My summary looks like 420 contacts in total with 173,888 points. Remember last nights quick analysis, it consisted of 50 DXCC entities, 3 of which are the US, Alaska and Hawaii. I like the ability to make US contacts and not just international ones. Makes for more action for us little guys. I think there were 2 new DXCCs out of those 50 which were Greenland and Gabon in Africa. In a quick review once I imported the log and ran it against QRZ, it looks like I made contacts in 41 of the 50 states.

A lot of the contacts were ones I made previously. If I knock those out and all the US/Canada QSOs, there’s less then 75 new contacts in my log. I’ll go through this week and see which I might send a paper QSL card to. LOTW and eQSL were already updated. LOTW now shows me with 2,821 records uploaded and it’s jumped to over 1,007 confirmed QSLs, which should rise further over the next week as folks submit their logs to LOTW. The RTTY contesters are the best at sending to LOTW. I looked and I’m not showing any new DXCCs confirmed in LOTW yet so it is still showing 65. Maybe some of the contacts in DXCCs that previously didn’t upload their logs will do so, so even though I only contacted 2 new DXCCs, there could be contacts with ops in DXCCs that I previously contacted but don’t have confirmed yet on LOTW.

So tonight when I get home from work I’ll mess around with the data and run some reports against the data to see how things are shaking out. RTTY is so much fun!!



This was my first CQ WW SSB contest. It turned out to be a very different experience then other contests I’ve participated in so far. First, the digital contests seem to be much easier to work and make contacts. That could be because there’s less people participating as well as that a digital contact is easier then a phone (voice) contact. The second reason is that with 100w and a dipole, you aren’t busting through any pileups. But overall, I’m happy with how things turned out. In this contest, other then to add a new multiplier, all contacts had to be DX so I there was no US-to-US contacts on then to grab a multiplier.

I ended up over the 2 days with 158 contacts. Almost all except 8 were on 20 meters with the 8 being on 40 meters. I ended up, combined with the bands, 84 countries and 25 zones with a combined score of 46,523 points. There were 11 new DXCC entities in my logbook at the end of the contest.

I was able to make my first voice contact with Alaska after a few previous RTTY contacts so that was neat. Other then Japan and countries like China and others in that area along with Austrailia, I think I was able to make a contact with all the countries I saw spotted on the band. I could actually hear Japan fairly strong but they couldn’t hear me. It wasn’t because of a pileup either as 2 strong stations were calling CQ over and over and just not able to hear me. Oh well, maybe next time.

I used my Heil Proset 5 for the first time and it worked extremely well. Even though it is light, it does make your neck a bit tired and your ears a bit sore, but taking just a min break every once in a while helps. So it was a good purchase to add to my equipment. I didn’t use the new voice keyer I purchased yet. I’ll save that for a rainy day.

There seemed to be a fair amount of activity on 15 meters but I couldn’t tune up the G5RV antenna with the Kenwood TS-2000 to put out a full 100 watts. I’d guess an external antenna tuner might do better then the internal tuner or of course a more appropriate 15m antenna would work. I’ll ponder what to do about that one.

When a new entity popped up on the band, if you weren’t quick enough, a big pileup started. For me, the most effective way is to either wait until there’s a pause after most stations put out their call and before the CQing op came back, or to just come back later. I think in almost all cases, I was able to make the contact.

I also noticed there’s a much less percentage of SSB folks which are using LOTW then RTTY folks. Within a day or two of a RTTY contest, a significant number of operators have uploaded their logs. Comparing that to this SSB contest almost a week later only 19 of the 158 contacts are confirmed on LOTW. I really wish folks used that more. I know I’d have DXCC confirmed since I have around 112 DXCC entities contacted in my log book.

So that’s my summary of my first CQ WW SSB contest. All fun!