Monthly Archives: November 2009

2009 CQ WW CW Contest Summary – 3 New DXCCs

This past weekend was the very popular CQ Worldwide CW contest. As I’m still getting up to speed on morse code, I use DM780 to help decode the incoming morse code not unlike a RTTY signal. It works extremely well and allows me to participate.

I got a bit of a late start on Friday after attending a local ham radio auction.  I made 33 contacts in just under 2 hours on 40m and some local 80m contacts to add as multipliers.

On Saturday I got up and started on 20m working mostly Europe.  After a couple hours I checked 15m and worked some Europe and Caribbean / South American stations. I’m weak on 15m with my G5RV but in most cases if I can hear a station, they can hear me.  I even checked 10m and made a contact with HI3A in the Dominican Republic and NQ4I in Georgia. I also worked V5VQ on 10m with the other couple being US stations for multipliers. The rest of Saturday was spent on 20m and 15m until I left at 2100z (4pm ET) to a party for a few hours. When I got back home I got on the air for 1 hour on 40m making contact with European and Caribbean/South America stations.

Sunday morning when I turned the radio on I was still on 40m from the night before and the station on the frequency was a Hawaii station that I was able to make contact with. 1 Mhz away was VK6AA in Australia booming in on 40m and was able to make a contact on just the first or second call. After a couple more 40m contacts I switched to 20m and then 15m throughout the day before hitting 40m & 80m at the end of the contest.

New DXCCs logged in the 2 days leading up to the event were with Faroe Island, Botswanna and Somoa. During CQ WW I logged contacts with 3 additional new DXCCs in Madagascar, Guernsey and Zambia.

I logged 25 CQ zones with all but 1 on 20m which was the Australian station logged on just 40m. I wasn’t able to copy any Asian stations such as those in Japan, etc. Zone 5 I worked on 5 bands of 10m-80m and zones 14 & 33 I worked on 4 bands of 15m-80m.  I had the most Q’s to zones 15 & 14 followed by zones 8 & 5.

I worked a total of 86 DXCC’s with 5 on 80m, 44 on 40m, 71 on 20m, 39 on 15m and 3 on 10m. The 366 contacts were made with 286 distinct stations., 18 of which I worked on 3 bands.  Canada had the most Q’s followed by Germany and Spain. I logged 13 US contacts all for multipliers as US stations provide no points to me.

I am truly amazed at the ability for operators to decode morse code at the speed it is sent as well as the multiple signals (seems like a hundred at a time) coming at them and even the weak signals. It’s really fascinating that they can do it is so well.

Here’s my score summary:

 Band  QSOs     Pts  Cty   ZN
 3.5     10      21    5    4
 7       79     203   45   16
 14     210     589   72   24
 21      62     159   39   15
 28       5       4    3    3
 Total  366     976  164   62

 Score : 220,576

Log has been sent in as well as uploaded to LoTW, eQSL, and The QSLs are already coming in on eQSL and LoTW. Now to fill out the paper QSLs!


Samoa (5W0KH) logged for new DXCC

Following on yesterdays nice contacts resulting in 2 new ham radio DXCCs logged, I was able to work 5W0KH on RTTY today. I saw Karl (DL2FAG)  spotted on the cluster and fired up DM780 and after a few attempts was able to log him on his DXpedition to Samoa, an island a bit more then halfway between the west coast of the US and Austrlia and about 7,250 miles from me in NJ.

This was my first contact with a ham radio operator on Samoa so that makes 3 new DXCCs logged in the past 2 days. It’s probably all due to a lot of activity and testing of stations before the CQ WW contest gets underway in a couple of hours.

Thanks for a new one Karl – my QSL card is on its way to your home call.


A CW Thanksgiving – 2 new DXCCs logged

Today was Thanksgiving in the US, so as we got ready for our feast today (I’m stuffed full as I type this), I did some CW. It started out with logging a new DXCC with a contact with Faroe Island on 20m.  I then logged 16 more contacts on CW across different bands. I’m guessing a bunch of folks are just getting warmed up for CQ WW coming up this weekend, but it was great. In most cases it was nothing more then a single call to get each one logged.  The contacts for today were:

1) OY2J – Faroe Island – 20m * New DXCC *
2) P49V – Aruba – 17m
3) YS4/W0OR – El Salvador – 15m
4) CT3NT – Madeira Island – 15m
5) PJ2/WI9WI – Bonaire, Curacao – 17m
6) EA8/DK9TN – Canary Island – 15m
7) YS4/N0STL – El Salvador – 20m
8) V31WV – Belize – 20m
9) P40A – Aruba – 15m
10) 5N7M – Nigeria – 20m [Can’t find info on this call]
11) ZS6BQI – South Africa – 20m
12) FM/D6ARC – Martinique – 17m
13) PJ4/K4BAI – Bonaire, Curacao – 15m
14) VP5/W5CW – Turks & Caicos – 15m
15) HI3A – Dominican Republic – 30m
16) A25NW – Botswana – 20m * New DXCC *
17) J79WE – Dominica – 30m

A lot to be thankful for!


Faroe Island – OY2J – New DXCC Logged

Saw a spot on the DX Cluster on 20m CW for Vietnam so I tuned to it but didn’t hear anything. I then tuned down a little bit and hear a loud station coming in and it was OY2J on Faroe Island. I put out my call and Johan came right back to me. After a couple more calls he was spotted on the cluster and had a good pileup going. It’s nice to find a station “in the wild” and make an easy contact with them especially for a new DXCC.

Faroe Island is located between Iceland and the UK so it’s not a tough contact for me on the east coast but it’s the first time I think I’ve heard a station on from there. Maybe they are prepping for the CQ WW contest this coming weekend. Looks like I need to send direct for a QSL card so time to fill one out.

This is a nice start on Thanksgiving for me!


2009 ARRL SSB Sweepstakes Contest Summary

This past weekend was the ARRL SSB Sweepstakes ham radio contest. I was able to put in time on Saturday evening, Sunday morning and later in the day on Sunday. In total it looks like I was on the radio about 17-18 hours total which is a pretty good amount.

I was able to make 362 total contacts across 72 of the 80 possible ARRL/RAC sections. 47 of the 50 states had a logged contact missing just Alaska, Mississippi (again like in the CW contest) and North Dakota. I didn’t hear any AK or MS stations but I did hear a ND station but he had a big pile up and I needed to leave to go to a NY Giants football game, just like in the 2008 SSB Sweepstakes


80m was the best band for me, especially since I wasn’t able to be on the radio during the prime 20m time on Sunday. There was very little noise on 80m on Saturday with some noise on Sunday but nothing bad at all. I mainly did S&P with a few shorter attempts in Run mode. I went into run mode later on Sunday and did well with about 40 calls logged in 30 mins with some spurts of 2 a min for a couple of minutes in a row. Though 80m was the best for number of logged Q’s, 20m provided the most sections but that could just be because I started on 20m so everything was a new section.

I didn’t work any QRP stations this time which is not too surprising since in SSB mode it’s harder for them to be in run mode and I was S&Ping. I did log 4 Schools based on their precedence.

The top 5 sections logged were MDC, VA, NC, EPA and ENY. The top 5 states logged were MD, VA, CA, NY & PA.

For the year first licensed in ham radio, the top responses in the exchange were 76, 77, 58, 59 & 62. Three of the oldest were 12 from W4CA and 22 from K2CC and W8FT. All 3 are clubs/schools and indicate when they were first operational.

It was nice to hear my name or a quick hello from other ops that I’ve worked many times in the past.  It’s easy to be a bit more personal in a phone contest then with the canned RTTY and CW exchanges sent by macros. I also received some good signal/audio reports. It was funny that not long after I got back on the air from returning from the Giants football game I got a great audio report. After yelling loudly for a few hours I would have figured a report of “you’re losing your voice” would have been more appropriate.

eQSL & LoTW have been updated and the log sent to the ARRL. Below is my log summary for the contest. It’s a lot of fun and I can’t wait for the next sweepstakes.

 Band   QSOs     Pts  Sec
 3.5     231     462   24
 7        51     102   14
 14       75     150   31
 21        5      10    3
 Total   362     724   72

 Score : 52,128


9G5TT in Ghana found calling CQ

Was just tuning around the ham radio bands before the ARRL Sweepstakes contest started and found 9G5TT on 14.210 calling CQ with no one coming back to him. Gave my call out once and he came right back to me. Great copy on him.

Looks like the maidenhead grid square for the 9G5TT DXpedition to Ghana is IJ94at and the QSL is direct only via I2YSB with $2 USD. Since this is a new DXCC logged for me, I will definitely be QSLing this contact.



How to Work All States (WAS) in a Weekend

This weekend starting Saturday afternoon (ET) and going into Sunday evening, you have a great opportunity to Work All States (WAS). WAS is popular ham radio award/accomplishment and with the ARRL Phone Sweepstakes this weekend, you can work all, or most all states. Rules at

2 weekends ago was the CW version of this same ARRL contest and I worked all states except Mississippi. I run 100w into a G5RV wire antenna so I’m running a modest setup. Also located on the east coast makes some states, specifically Alaska, a bit more difficult then those in the midwest and west coast, but Hawaii and Alaska are very doable during the right time of the day.

For those that already have WAS accomplished, the opportunity for getting states on different bands then you already have logged is another benefit of a contest like this.  I need a few more states on 80m and 2 more states on 20m to complete WAS on those bands.

Amateur radio provides a tremendous array of various areas to provide achievements and rewards in, and if this is one you’d like to try to accomplish, then contests, and specifically the ARRL Sweepstakes, is great for Worked All States.

73 and hope to work you this weekend!

Comparing scores after a contest

As mentioned in After a ham radio contest – what needs to be done?, there are many items to do after a contest finishes with one if them being the posting of your score to the 3830 reflector (mailing list). For a week or two after a contest, some folks take all the claimed scores that are posted to 3830, aggregate them by which classes people operated in, and then send out the info to the list.

I might never be on top, but what I do for those contests I participate in is compare what I did for number of contacts, number of multipliers and total score to what others in the same operating class posted. In particular I look to see if folks with less contacts then me posted a higher score which means they were likely able to log more multipliers then I did. I look and see for those in the same general count for total contacts how I compare. I like to see, for the claimed scores posted to 3830, that no one with a higher score in my class has less contacts then me and I like to see those with more contacts with me with a lower score. An example (calls removed) is the following:

Call                QSO   Pts   QTC  Mult    hr      Score
xx8xxx             239   239   190   254           108,966
xx3xxx             247   247   140   259     14    100,233
xx2xxx             286   286    30   302     17     95,432
K2DSL              158   348   190   163    5.5     56,724 
xx1xxx             162   247    85   226  11.25     55,822
xx6xxx             138   138     0   345      4     47,610
xx7xxx             206   206    40   172            42,312
xx7xxx             250     0     0     0      6     36,750

Looking at the above, my comparison to the others is what I’d like to see with the only glaring comparison being the bottom entry with 250 contacts in 6 hours vs my 158 in 5.5 hours. But I also pulled down 190 QTCs which takes some time but no where near the time to make those same number of contacts. I was only in Run mode a couple of times and for short periods of time.

Though not mandatory and certainly a bit more subjective, if an operator posts his time in the contest I look to see how those around me compare to the time I spent participating.  Of course without knowing the other operators setups and I’m using a G5RV wire antenna and he might have a 20m beam at 75 feet, it is all speculation. My location being on the east coast might also, for some contests, provide an advantage over someone on the west coast or midwest. In other contests, they have an advantage over me.

Depending on the size of the contest I check out other classes such as those in the high power (HP) class and see how my numbers match up with those around my score or number of contacts.

Its obviously only a comparison against those that post to 3830 and it is claimed scores vs actual results, but it gives me something to think about before next weekends contest. If there are folks in my club or that I know also participated in the contest I email them about what they did, what bands they found worked well, time of day, etc.

It all just adds more info to the noggin for possible use in the future.


2009 WAE RTTY Contest Summary

I was only able to spend a total of 5.5 hours on the radio this weekend of which the first hour was very late on Saturday evening making local (US) contacts. The 5.5 hours this year was much less then the 28-30 hours I was able to put into the 2008 WAE RTTY contest last year.That’s about 1/5th the amount of time on the radio.

This year I was much more comfortable with QTCs and N1MM makes QTCs simple as pie, so I was more then happy to receive or send QTCs to any European stations. Last year in 2008 I made 420 contacts and this year 158 contacts.  Last year I had 188 QTCs and this year 190 in a fraction of the time.

I didn’t make any contact with any new DXCCs and didn’t make any exotic contacts but it’s fun none the less and I still enjoy RTTY contesting the most of all. I only had a little over a dozen paper QSL cards to write out and they are already done. eQSL and LoTW have been uploaded and confirmations have already been made.

Here’s my score summary.

Band   Q/QTC  QSOs    Pts  Cty
 3.5    QSO    20      20   56
 7      QSO     9       9   15
 14     QSO   123     123   80
 14    RQTC   110     110    0
 14    SQTC    70      70    0
 21     QSO     6       6   12
 21    RQTC    10      10    0
 Total  All   348     348  163

 Score : 56,724

Hopefully next time I’ll be able to spend more time in the chair and on the air.


ARRL Sweepstakes contests – Finish up your Triple Play Award

This past week was ARRL the CW Sweepstakes and next weekend is the SSB Sweepstakes. I wonder if we’ll see a spike in TPA submissions in the coming weeks? Hopefully those that needed a state made the contact and the ops upload their contacts to LoTW.

The LoTW page shows 324 current Triple Play Award (TPA) winners so far. The last two look like they were just completed this week and could have been a result of the CW contest. We’ll see how it jumps up a bit this month.

For those with a few left that seem impossible to snag, check out the page at and select the LoTW link at the top. You’ll be able to see others that are viewing that chat page and where they are from. Don’t be shy and ask them to try and make a contact with you in a mode you need.

Here are my Triple Play Award related posts:

LoTW Triple Play Award completed !!!
LoTW Triple Play Award #243
Triple Play Award #234 Arrives !

Good luck getting yours!