Monthly Archives: October 2009

8R1PY Guyana DXpedition Contact

After watching a movie on TV I turned on the radio and noticed the DXpedition team in Guyana South America was active on 40m and I could hear them fine. The operator was calling by the numbers and had just moved to 3’s so I had a bit of a wait. I looked at some spots and noticed a strong Brazil station PR7DZ coming in also on 40m and that was an easy contact.I also listed on 80m CW where 8R1PY was spotted but I wasn’t hearing anything.

I went back and listened on 7.140 to 8R1PY. He was listening up 10 on 7.150. I switched to listen on 7.150 and the other operators who’s number didn’t match what 8R1PY was requesting kept putting out there call. Why, I have no idea. After each contact the 8R1PY op said what number call area, yet the other ops didn’t listen.Don’t they realize that they are just prolonging the amount of time it will take the 8R1PY op to get the call for a station they keep QRMing? The 8R1PY op could handle 2x or 3x the number of contacts of the ops just listened.

When he came back around to 2’s, I put my call out, and listened after each time to see if he was coming back to me or another op. If I didn’t hear anything, I did it again. He picked up a couple of PY2’s and some XE2’s and then he came back with K2? I put out my call twice and he said K2D? I then put my call out a few more times and he came back with K2DSL! I gave him a good 59 and thanked him. QRZ doesn’t have a maidenhead grid square locator listed so using http://www.levinecentral.com/ham/grid_square.php?Address=Lethem,Guyana I get a grid square of GJ03ci which should be pretty close.

I have 2 other Guyana contacts logged but neither are confirmed yet. I’ll decide if I want to send this one out direct to PY2WAS who is listed as their QSL manager or if I’ll send the QSL card out via the bureau. I am confident though that I’ll get a QSL back on this contact to confirm Guyana as a new DXCC.

73,
K2DSL

2009 CQ WW SSB Summary

This past weekend was the big CQ WW SSB contest. I had other obligations Friday night, during the late day & evening on Saturday and almost all afternoon and evening on Sunday. But despite limited time, the contest was a blast.  I had a sore throat all week and had nearly lost my voice, so it was a bit rough starting out on Fri and getting going on Sat & Sun mornings, but it didn’t bother me too much once I was warmed up.

We had horrible weather too on Saturday with downpours during the afternoon and evening. It just never let up. But despite the weather, the conditions during the contest were good. 80m and 40m were typical during the twilight and evening hour.  I made a combined 23 contacts on those bands because which more then anything helped with multipliers.

On Saturday, 20m was wall to wall. With a G5RV wire antenna, the signals are coming in from all directions, so there’s a tremendous amount of noise/splatter during a phone contest. I started making contacts on 20m and then switched to 15m to see what was going on. I was able to make a good number of contacts on 15m and at one point I had more 15m contacts then 20m. That was never the case for me before this contest. 15m is just so much quieter then 20m that it is a pleasure to work that band. I switched back and forth during the day between 15m and 20m.

On Sunday I could only work the contest during the morning and very early afternoon hours and I again switched between 15m and 20m tuning up and down the bands and then switching to another band, doing the same S&P and switching back.  I ended up with 175 total contacts which isn’t a large number, even for me, but I was pleased with it for the amount of time I could spend on the radio. I was also really happy I was able to make so many 15m contacts.

When I got home from work on Monday I checked the logs and I ended up with contacts to 66 DXCC entities. None of them were new, but I already have some new 15m confirmations showing up in LoTW for entities I hadn’t received confirmations for in that band.  I spent Monday evening taking the log from N1MM and importing it into Ham Radio Deluxe. I sent off the logs to the contest sponsor on Monday or Tuesday morning.

Thanks to all the ops for pulling my little 100w signal out of the air and a special thanks for all the ops that took a moment to say hello along with their report. In a phone contest it’s nice to speak with folks that I’ve made many contacts during RTTY or CW contests and we’re just running macros.  And my call is becoming familiar enough with some ops that if they catch DSL they say something like it must be K2DSL. I guess the SCP helps out with that too.

Here’s my contest summary from N1MM:

Band    QSOs     Pts  Cty   ZN
 3.5      13      25    6    5
   7      10      18    7    4
  14      93     247   53   15
  21      59     157   37   14
 Total:  175     447  103   38

 Score : 63,027

73,
K2DSL

E21YDP LoTW QSL – Thailand confirmed

I made a RTTY contact with E21YDP in last weekends JARTS RTTY contest. I checked after the contest and it appeared that Dej hadn’t ever uploaded any contacts to LoTW so I sent him a QSL card direct and a couple green stamps for return postage. I looked tonight after making some CQ WW SSB contacts and he must have uploaded his logs as it shows Thailand  confirmed  in LoTW for a new DXCC for me. A good start to the weekend!

73,
K2DSL

2009 JART RTTY Contest Age Analysis

I did some quick analysis on the contacts I made in the 2009 JARTS RTTY contest this past weekend. Because the contest exchange is the age of the operator, and assuming the age provided in the exchange is accurate, you can do some simple calculations on that age. There are 2 exceptions to the age sent and they are 00 for YLs/XYLs and 99 for multi-op stations. I excluded those values from the below calculations.

There were 348 total contacts  with 306 unique stations.  Of those 306 unique stations, 7 had an age of 00 and 6 had an age of 99 and weren’t counted in the below stats. As for myself, I’m 46 years old.

All (306 unique contacts):
Average Age:   57.9
Median Age: 59
Youngest Age: 30 (2)
Oldest Age: 84 (2)

US Only (119 unique contacts):
Average Age: 60.0
Median Age: 61
Youngest Age: 34
Oldest Age: 84

Non-US Only (132 unique contacts):
Average Age: 54.3
Median Age: 53
Youngest Age: 30
Oldest Age: 78

Canadian Only (16 unique contacts):
Average Age: 53.5
Median Age: 64
Youngest Age: 44
Oldest Age: 76

Here is a chart of the distribution of contacts by age:
2009_JARTS_RTTY_Age_Distribution

73,
K2DSL

348 contacts / 7 zero age / 6 ninety-nie age /
All (335 contacts)
Average without 0/99: 57.94242
Median without 0/00: 59
Youngest 30 (2)
Oldest 84 (2)
US Only (137 contacts):
Average without 0/99: 60.05224
Median without 0/00: 61
Youngest 34
Oldest 84
Non-US Only (151 contacts):
Average without 0/99: 54.35099
Median without 0/00: 53
Youngest 30
Oldest 78

After a ham radio contest – what needs to be done?

After spending as much time as you can in 48 hours over a weekend to participate in a ham radio contest, there is plenty to do when the clock hits 0000z and the contest comes to an end. I use N1MM for contest logging and I use Ham Radio Deluxe as my general logging program and where I import all contacts into if logged in N1MM.

Here’s what I do after the contest ends. Depending on the number of contacts made, the initial wrap up takes about 30 mins for a small contest to 2 hours or so for a larger contest, not counting writing out paper QSL cards.

Within N1MM:
1) Rescore the current contest to make sure everything is up to date.
2) File / Export the contacts in a ADIF file.
3) File / Export the Cabrillo log file.
4) File / Export the Score Summary sheet.
5) Go to http://www.hornucopia.com/3830score/ , select the contest at the top, and submit my claimed score using the details within the N1MM Score Summary sheet.

Loading contacts into Ham Radio Deluxe:
1) Create a new logbook (database)in Ham Radio Deluxe to import the contest contacts into.
2) Logbook / Import the ADIF file exported from N1MM.
3) Bulk edit the data to remove the Name which might have been imported as well as the [Grid] Locator. Info from QRZ is better then what I might have cached in N1MM from previous contests.

Updating the imported data:
1) Using Ham Radio Deluxe Utilities (HRDU) by WD5EAE, I update My Station data using the info pulled from my default logbook.
2) Using HRDU, I then update all the imported records based on the QRZ data that matches that call sign. You need to have a QRZ  subscription which covers their XML access. It populats the name, location info, QSL info and locator if provided on the QRZ.com site.
3) Change mode from SSB to LSB/USB based on band.
4) I then run a SQL script in MS Access to compare the main Ham Radio Deluxe (HRD) database to the contest one to see if there’s any stations I don’t have a grid locator for that I previously found one for. I update those in the contest database.
5) For all remaining contacts that don’t have a grid locator, I use a page I wrote at http://www.levinecentral.com/ham/grid_square.php and enter in the callsign of a station and it grabs address info from QRZ and using Google Maps geocoding determines the latitude/longitude of the location and plots it on a map along with displaying the 6 character maidenhead grid square locator.
6) For any record which didn’t find a match on QRZ.com, I use other sources such as Hamcall.net or Google searches to try and find info.

Merging the logs in Ham Radio Deluxe:
1) Within the contest logbook in Ham Radio Deluxe (HRD), File / Export all records in ADIF/HRD format to an ADIF file.
2) Open the main logbook and File / Import the ADIF file to consolidate the contest info into the main logbook.

QSLing:
1) Filter all records in the main (merged) logbook for any records where LotW Sent = No and that shows all new records just imported.
2) Select every record in Ham Radio Deluxe (HRD) and send to eQSL.
3) Select every record and send to Hamlog.net.
4) I set the US and Canada contacts to QSL Sent = Ignore. I will respond to any that come in but I don’t normally send paper QSLs to US or Canadian contacts.
5) I run another QSL script in MS Access to list out any stations contacted in the contest for which I’ve previously logged (listed in the main logbook) and I set those QSL Sent = Ignore.
6) I scan through the QSL Via field of the remaining records and see if any say Direct Only or LoTW only, etc and if I don’t need to confirm them for a new entity, I set the QSL Sent = Ignore.
7) I run Ham Radio Deluxe Utilities and have it upload all new contacts to LoTW.
8) Filter records in the logbook for QSL Sent= No and those are the ones I likely write out paper QSL cards for. Writing out the paper QSL cards takes a few evenings to get done.
9) After the contest and usually every day, I launch HRDU and import in any new LoTW QSLs which updates the status in HRD.

Final steps:
1) Review the specific log submission requirements in the contest rules and submit the log to the contact sponsor.
2) Send off the score summary info to my club’s newsletter editor for the info to be posted in the next monthly issue.
3) Write a blog entry about the contest.
4) Take a nap.

73,
K2DSL

NY QSO Party results and a reunion

Saturday night, in a lull during the JARTS RTTY contest, i made a dozen contacts in the NY QSO Party. 10 contacts were on SSB/phone and 2 were on RTTY. Nothing fabulous here but it gave me something to do while I waited for some other stations to show up in the RTTY contest.

As I made contacts, if I didn’t see the station already listed in the cluster, I spotted the station.  I noticed an announcement show up a short while later on the cluster and it said:

WQ3X - K2DSL tks WB2KLD spot. Was one of my 1st QSOs back in 1964!

Russell, WQ3X, was a young teenager back in 1964 according to his profile on QRZ and had the callsign WN2QJI. Tom, WB2KLD was also a teenager. I hope they had a good reunion.

73,
K2DSL

2009 JARTS RTTY Contest

I had an obligation on Friday evening at the start of the contest so I got on the air a couple hours after the start and was on for just over 1 hour before I turned the radio off. 20m had no activity when I got on so I went to 40m and made some contacts before heading to 80m. I made a total of 28 contacts in that hour with all but 2 being North American contacts.  The weather on Friday was rainy and unseasonably cold and that was for the forecast for the entire weekend.

Saturday morning, after dropping off my oldest daughter to take her PSATs (poor kid) I fired up the rig on 20m at 1200z. At least there’s some DX active on 20m that I can hear and they can hear me. Made a bunch of contacts in S&P mode and as I moved up the band I heard E21YDP in Thailand calling CQ with no one coming back to him. I had heard him for a short time last weekend during the Makrothen RTTY contest but couldn’t get through before I could no longer hear him. I put out my call and he immediately came back to me. After sending my info he confirmed the exchanged and I just logged my first contact of any kind with Thailand! I then watched him make a few more contacts with 100% copy on my screen before moving on. 20m was fine but 15m seemed empty every time I popped over to see if I could get any mults. Right around 2100z both days the JA stations came onto 20m and I think I worked each one I heard/saw spotted for a total of 8 JA contacts over the weekend. I am sure there were more then 8 JA stations but I didn’t hear any others. I also worked Barry in South Africa – same as last year. 40m ws so-so late on Saturday and 80m wasn’t so hot. I made ten NY QSO Party contacts on SSB and 2 on RTTY when it was real slow in the evening.

On Sunday I started out in the morning on 20m and made DX contacts until late in the morning and the US stations on the western half were awake when I made more US contacts. I continued to work stations until around 1700z when football started. It wasn’t a good game but I watched most of it. I got back on the radio, but it was harder to find stations I hadn’t worked. 15m was still quiet, at least for me. When I went into run mode, it wasn’t as productive as S&Ping as I could call for 10 mins and get just a few stations coming back to me. It was probably the contest that was easiest to find a spot to call CQ as it wasn’t wall to wall.  Late in the day there was again some activity on 40m but not what I would have expected and 80m had no one on it.

Maybe it was the multiple QSO Parties and the Worked all Germany contest that occupied folks that go on the air this weekend or maybe it was the upcoming CQ WW SSB contest and folks were resting up, but it seemed less active then I would have expected.  Once all the results are in, I guess I might be able to compare the overall activity. Comparing my score to last year I was down 37 contacts and 6,709 points.

2009 JARTS RTTY Score Summary:

Band    QSOs     Pts  Cty   Sec
 3.5      34      69    1   11
   7      54     118   10   14
  14     258     664   43   17
  21       2       5    1    1
 Total   348     856   55   43

 Score : 83,888

73,
K2DSL

10,000 logged contacts

With the 183 contacts logged in this past weekends Makrothen RTTY contest I have over 10,000 contacts logged. Ham Radio Deluxe is showing 10,093 contacts covering 151 different DXCC entities with 4,493 distinct stations. My first logged HF contact is on June 15, 2008 so it took just under 16 months to hit 10,000 contacts, many of which were made during contests.

LoTW shows 5,028 confirmed QSLs and eQSL shows 2,610 confirmed. Ham Radio Deluxe shows 297 paper QSL cards received.

Thank you to all those almost 4,500 operators that have made this hobby so much fun. Here’s to the next 10,000 !

73,
K2DSL

2009 Makrothen RTTY Contest Summary

I had a lot of non-contesting activities this weekend so I had a very part time effort in this years Makrothen RTTY contest. It is a 24 hour contest broken up into three 8 hour sessions over the course of the weekend. I put in a couple hours on Fri night and a few hours on Saturday in the late afternoon / early evening after my local clubs hamfest all morning and a high school football game in the afternoon. I was able to get on the air for just 1 hour on Sunday morning before heading out to the NY Giants football game.

What is neat about this contest is the points for each contact are based on distance as calculated between my grid square and the other operators grid square which is part of the exchange. In addition, contacts on 40m are worth a 50% bonus and contacts on 80m are worth a 100% bonus. It’s also why the scores are so high in this contest.

For the most part I operated S&P but I went into Run mode a couple times and was surprised to have many DX stations call me including South Africa which was my longest contact in the contest at over 8100 miles. I also had an Alaska station call me and then spot me which gave me a nice run of station after station for a few minutes.  I also had a contact with a station in Panama. I don’t have Panama confirmed for DXCC yet so I sent a QSL card off to the US based QSL manager for the station and I hope to get a reply to have that one confirmed.

Below is my score summary:

Band    QSOs    Pts
 3.5      15   35610
 7        38  147108
 14      129  531984
 Total   182  714702

 Score : 714,702

QSL cards have already been written for new contacts made and ready to be sent out via the bureau.

73,
K2DSL

California QSO Party (CQP) Summary

This past weekend I didn’t think I’d be doing any contesting, but as things ended up, I had the afternoon and early evening free on Saturday and the California QSO Party was in full swing, so I started making contacts.  I ended up making about 120 contacts on Saturday. On Sunday before the football games began I made more contacts and ended up with 186 total contacts. There are 58 counties in California and I was able to make contact with 55 of them. This QSO Party was tremendous fun and the ops were fantastic. I’ll definitely try and catch this QSO Party next year.

I’d like to note a nice contact with Budd, W3FF, of Buddipole fame. Though I don’t have one, I do follow the Buddipole Yahoo group. Budd made a point of having a brief chat with anyone he made contact with during this contest. This was my 2nd contact with Budd with the earlier contact being in Feb 2009 where he was golf cart mobile near Orlando.

Here’s my score summary:

Band   Mode  QSOs    Pts  Sec
  7    LSB      4      8    0
 14    CW      46    138    6
 14    USB    121    242   49
 21    CW       1      3    0
 21    USB     14     28    0
 Total Both   186    419   55

 Score : 23,045

73,
K2DSL