Saturday morning through Sunday morning was the RSGB IOTA (Islands On The Air) ham radio contest. I figured I’d pop in from time to time throughout Saturday to make a contact here and there and that’s how things ended up. Saturday was extremely hot out with the temperatures in the upper 90′s and approaching 100F.
I got on the air a couple of hours after the contest had begun and made a few 20m SSB contacts before checking 20m CW but I didn’t hear much activity there so I flipped back to SSB. I checked 15m from time to time but it was dead quiet again for me like it was during the NAQP RTTY contest. Since I was on the radio during daylight hours only there wasn’t much 40m activity either though I did log a couple of Q’s there. Late in the afternoon, the EU stations started coming in louder then the US stations and they were easier to log later in the day.
My wife and I had plans to go to dinner with a bunch of folks so before dusk we left for dinner. When we got back late in the evening about 5 hours later, I put the radio on and worked 3 stations (2 IOTA + 1 non-IOTA) before working Hawaii and Australia (Tazmania) to end things before shutting down. Always nice to end with a nice contact to Australia at a bit of 10k miles from my location.
Almost half the contacts I made were with IOTA stations worth 15 points each vs the non-IOTA stations worth 3 points each. Not that I was shooting for any big score, but you can see how big a difference there is. Logs have been uploaded to eQSL, LoTW and sent in to the contest. There is an interesting 2 step confirmation process to submitting your logs for this contest where you need to go online, add some additional information and confirm your submission.
Here’s a screenshot of the contacts made which you can click to enlarge:
Here’s the score summary:
Band Mode QSOs Pts Sec
7 LSB 2 18 1
14 CW 6 42 2
14 USB 58 486 24
Total Both 66 546 27
Score : 14,742
Saturday was the 2010 July NAQP RTTY contest where a single op can operate 10 of the 12 hours. I picked the first 10 hours so I operated local time 2pm to midnight. I started out on 20m calling CQ for the first hour and did ok. I then switched to S&P for 1 hour going up/down 20m getting all the other CQ’ers as well as checking 15m and 10m. 10m was completely dead and 15m wasn’t much better. I made a total of 6 contacts on 15m and they were all in that second hour of the contest. Whenever I switched back to check a quick listen, I heard nothing. I even called CQ a bit later and not 1 station responded.
I stayed on 20m switching between CQing and S&Ping when CQing responses dropped off. As the sun started to set I switched to 40m and worked stations there and called CQ a bit switching back to 20m to catch anyone new. I wasn’t seeing the action on 40m that I saw in last years contest where I logged 20% more 40m contacts then 20m contacts. I need 40m and 80m to work the closer states and to give the state multipliers for the other bands, but that wasn’t working out well tonight.
I switched to 80m and it was solid noise. Not wall to wall ham radio operators but loud S7-S9 noise. What the heck is going on? I thought it might be something at my location, but a ham about 7-8 miles away said the exact same thing. 80m was completely unusable except for the strongest stations. I was hoping the conditions would improve, but every time I switched back, it was still bad. I switched back to 20m late in the contest to see if I could find a Hawaii station or one from NE, SD or UT but no such luck.
Last year I had 210 contacts and 77 mults on 40m & 80m. This year the conditions were rough and I only was able to manage 133 Q’s and 51 mults on 40m & 80m. I ended up with 14 more total Q’s this year but with the conditions/activity on 40m and 80m I was down a combined total of 14 multipliers so my total score was less. If 80m was usable I would have likely blown past last years effort. Logs have been uploaded to eQSL, LoTW and sent in to the contest sponsor. Here’s hoping for less noise and more Q’s in the upcoming contests.
Band QSOs Pts Sec NA
3.5 27 27 15 0
7 106 106 36 0
14 198 198 43 2
21 6 6 6 0
Total 337 337 100 2
I was off from work on Friday and ended up doing a lot of driving. The main reason is my parents were up visiting my brother (lives outside of Philly) for the weekend and we wanted to get everyone together. With what was already planned for this weekend, Fri night dinner was really the only reasonable option.
The first trip of the day was to meet my sister-in-law halfway between our houses to pick up 1 of my daughters who spent the week with her and her kids. Later in the afternoon one daughter, my wife and I set out to head south to Pt Pleasant Beach to pick up my older daughter that was there with a friend and her family. It should have taken closer to 1 hour but with all the traffic it was 2 hours. After picking her up we headed west for 1 hour to Princeton to meet up with my brothers family and my parents for dinner.
After dinner and a great cupcake it was time to take my older daughter back to Pt Pleasant for the remainder of the weekend. After dropping her off, we set off for home and without any traffic it took the appropriate amount of time. For the day I put 312 miles on the car. Below is a track from aprs.fi for the day. The route was pretty much the same going and coming. APRS coverage was pretty thorough along the routes. I didn’t hear much on simplex other then 1 or 2 short conversations but I was able to hear many of the repeaters I already had programmed into my Kenwood TH-D7A other then along the route between Pt Pleasant and Princeton. APRS.fi’s data showed packets being received up to 79 miles from me with a couple over 50 miles away. There could be more, but only the 1st station that logs the transmitted packet is recorded.
The things we do so the grandparents can see their grandkids! It was nice to see my parents too, even if for just a couple of hours.
Saturday morning through Sunday morning was the 24 hour IARU HF ham radio contest. It ran in conjunction with the WRTC competition. I started about 1 hour after the contest got underway (1300z) and I finished just after midnight local time (0413z). In between I had a few errands to run and other family items to do so I was off for a few hours during that time. The contest allows for SSB and CW contacts. Because I used the cluster, I am classified in the multi-one category. This category also requires you to stay on a band/mode for 10 mins before switching.
Points to stations in my same ITU call area are worth 1 point, but other ITU call areas in the US are worth 3 points. DX contacts are worth 5 points. HQ stations are worth only 1 point. Overall, conditions weren’t very good. 10m was quiet and 15m wasn’t very strong either. I was hoping 15m would be better as it would allow for a lot more contacts during the daylight hours but 15m only gave me US contacts and South America contacts. 20m was the best band for me this weekend both on CW and on SSB. When i switched to CW I was able to do a nice sweep up the band and log contacts quickly.
I did notice what seemed to be less then normal number of European stations on. I worked the following number of unique stations which seems very low – 1 Spain, 2 France, 2 England, 5 Germany & 5 Italy. Just before 0100z I was able to work 4 Asiatic Russian stations on 20m that were coming in strong along with a Hawaiian station. I then switched to 40m and then 80m to work as many stations there as I could. I then switched back to 20m and just before 0315z I worked a New Zealand station on phone and then at 0350 I worked another ZL station on CW. I finished the night up just after midnight local time with 311 contacts.
Some notables beyond what was mentioned above is I worked W1AW/8 a total of 8 times working then on SSB on 10m, 15m, 20m, 40m & 80m and on CW on 20m, 40m & 80m. W1AW/8 was operated by the Southwest Ohio DX Assoc. I worked NU1AW 3 times which I think was operated out of W1AW in CT. 40m and 80m were very noisy. We were supposed to have a bad weather day for the entire day but it wasn’t really bad at all, at least on the ground. The noise on 40m and 80m was high and I cranked the RF down on 80m until I could only hear the CW and my S meter was showing a 9. CW works through the noise much better then SSB. The log shows 53 different DXCC’s worked for the day’s effort.
The logs have been sent in to the WRTC competition for them to use and the IARU for my contest log submission. They have also been uploaded to LoTW and eQSL and I’ve even written out the QSL cards for those I wanted to send out. I finished up the QSL cards this afternoon after I returned from the largest hamfest in the area (about 1 hour away). Below is my score summary followed by a map of the contacts based on grid locators.
Next up is the NAQP RTTY contest that starts Sat afternoon and goes through Sat night. You can work 10 of the 12 hours that the contest is on so I’ll probably run it from 2pm local to midnight local time. Get on and hand out some Q’s.
Band Mode QSOs Pts Zon HQ
3.5 CW 11 13 0 1
3.5 LSB 5 7 2 2
7 CW 21 45 4 1
7 LSB 15 31 5 5
14 CW 90 212 2 7
14 USB 139 361 21 22
21 USB 28 60 5 1
28 USB 2 2 1 1
Total Both 311 731 40 40
One leg of my G5RV antenna had come down earlier in the week after the rope holding 1 end finally broke after 2 years, so on Friday I got it back up where it needs to go. My daughters helped me too negotiate getting it up quicker then I could do by myself especially having to be on the roof of the house.
As this is a holiday weekend in the US, I didn’t think I’d get on the air much or but nothing was going on Saturday so in the early afternoon I decided to pop into the DL-DX RTTY amateur radio contest. The category I was entering was about as targeted a match for me as I could imagine. I was going to operate for 6 hours using nothing more then a dipole and a single radio running at low power. That would be my exact setup. I got on the air around 16:30z (12:30pm EDT) on 20m and started to work stations getting mults from US stations and then some DX stations as well. I took 3 breaks of just over 1 hour whenever things started to slow down a bit.
It wasn’t hard to call CQ so whenever I finished scanning the bands for new stations I’d find a spot and call CQ which usually resulted in a bunch of contacts both from US/Canadian stations and later in the day from DX stations. I checked 15m a couple times but it was dead, even if I spent a few mins calling CQ. Didn’t hear a soul the entire time.
In the first time slot I was on the air for about 2 hours I was able to log another contact with TA2ZF in Turkey for my 3rd contact with that op. After taking a break and getting back on around 20:00z (4:00pm EDT) I heard A61BK from the United Arab Emirates. I’ve heard Khalid before but was never able to work him until today when I got him in the log for a new one! When I looked this morning I see we matched on eQSL which gave me a big smile so I’ll send off a QSL card to his US QSL manager. I also worked a Japan station which was the only one I heard. I also worked FO8RZ again on Tahiti Island in the French Polynesia.
I starting switching to 40m around 00:00z (8:00pm EDT) and logging stations there, though switching back to 20m often yielded another station or two I hadn’t previously logged. I finished up the end of the 6 hours by calling CQ on 40m for about 7 or 8 mins and getting over a dozen stations logged including 2 from Argentina. I ended up with 184 logged Q’s of which 1 was a dup. Not a bad few hours of ham radio RTTY fun I didn’t expect to have!
Here’s my score summary from the contest. The cabrillo log was sent in last night as well as all contacts loaded to LoTW and eQSL.
Band QSOs Pts Cty Sec
7 31 275 6 9
14 152 1300 28 15
Total 183 1575 34 24
Score : 91,350
Here’s a picture of the contacts made during the 6 hours ham radio contest: