Monthly Archives: February 2011

2011 NAQP RTTY Sprint – February Edition

Saturday was the 2011 NAQP RTTY Sprint Winter run of this fun ham radio contest. It’s a 12 hour ham radio contest where single ops can operate for 10 hours total (30 hour min breaks if taken).  it started out 1pm local time here in NJ and I got onto 20m to start right at 1pm. The exchange is name and state (if not DX). I did a lot of S&Ping in the beginning and then bounced to 15m where I hit up stations I could hear there. After checking 15m about 45 mins into the contest I popped to 10m just for the heck of it and was able to work 2 Arizona stations that were coming in loud and clear – W6LL & W7WW. I checked 10m once more later in the day but didn’t hear any one else and I didn’t call CQ.

In the late afternoon I called CQ on 20m for a while working some DX stations (points but no multipliers) and had a couple of Alaska stations call me which is always great. I even had a Japan station send me their call but I had too much trouble pulling it in. I think the JA station was JH2FXK. Oh well, thanks for trying!!

I took a 30 min break to go and pick my two daughters up from returning from a week trip to Europe. They went with kids from their school and the bus bringing them home from the airport brought them all right into town. They had a fabulous trip and want to move to Barcelona. Because I took that 30 min break, I operated until 11:30pm local time, 10.5 hours after I started the contest.

I then started to focus on 40m popping back to 20m to see if anyone new came along that was calling CQ. Each time I’d find a few new stations and then switch back to 40m and then eventually 80m. The bands seemed to be in good shape and copying stations on any of the bands was not particularly difficult. As the day went along, working a station on another band is primarily just making sure you have the call correct as the exchange is the same (Name & State) so even a rougher copy is not a big deal and repeats aren’t usually necessary.

I ended up working all US states except Vermont and Hawaii. I didn’t run into any HI stations on 20m or 15m which are the likely bands for me and I didn’t hear any VT stations on 40m or 80m which is the likely band I’d work them on. So it was a close WAS-in-10-hours but not a complete one. I worked 1 WV and 1 MS station which always seem to be the troublesome ones for me to find in a US contest. SC is also sometimes a tough one for me but I worked 2 different SC stations in this NAQP as well as multiple RI and DE stations.

As I approached last years Feb NAQP

QSO count of 344, I had fewer multipliers, so my score was lower for the same number of Qs. It took a bunch more Q’s this year to surpass the 43,344 score from last year. The 77 additional Q’s in 2011 vs 2010 put my claimed score at 54,730 so it’s a good improvement in points and Q’s over last year.

I had a quick dinner break and spent most of the evening on 40m and 80m alternating between CQing and S&Ping when CQing slowed down. I was able to hold a frequency for as long as I wanted so having the other stations at 100w, even with much better antennas then my wire ones, helps in that regard.

Even when I finished up there were still stations active so either they were operating the full 12 hours or folks took more breaks or started later then the beginning of the contest. I didn’t hang around on the air much longer to see when activity seemed to really drop off.

I did notice 1 operator with a mis-typed name sending GEROGE instead of GEORGE. This situation occurred last fall in the same contest with TOM vs T0M (letter vs number zero) and depending on how (and if) George submits his log, there might be some folks that have GEORGE and some that have GEROGE. Hopefully the contest folks, as they did with TOM vs T0M, can handle this in their log checking.

Here’s my score summary. Thanks for all the contacts!!

 Band    QSOs    Pts  Sec   NA
  3.5     122    122   39    0
    7     107    107   39    3
   14     171    171   34    2
   21      19     19   10    2
   28       2      2    1    0
Total     421    421  123    7

Score : 54,730


2011 ARRL DX CW Contest Summary

I wasn’t able to spend a lot of time on the radio this weekend in the ARRL DX CW contest, but for the time I was on it was a lot of fun. Compared to the 2010 ARRL DX CW contest, I made a lot fewer contacts but that is because I was on the air much less.

I didn’t spend any time on 80m as I wasn’t around the radio at the times when 80m was worth tuning up so all my contacts are between 40m and 10m. Last year there at this time and for this contest the atmospheric conditions peaked and the same occurred this year. I hope the conditions remain favorable as it is the first time since I’ve been licensed that the conditions have been this good.

My score summary shows there wasn’t a lot of activity, but in the short time, I was able to log 39 contacts on 10m with the highlight being a 8000 mile 10m contact with ZS6RJ in South Africa. That is my longest 10m contact so far. Below is a map of all contacts followed by a map of just the 10m contacts.

Conditions during the day were fairly good though I felt 20m and 15m still had a fair amount of noise on them. I worked more contacts in the early to mid morning east coast time as that was when I was able to spend time on the radio. Sunday late in the day near the end of the contest, 40m was terrific with very little noise an strong signals coming from Europe. In the last 45 or so mins of the contest I was able to work about 30 contacts on 40m without any trouble including 4U1ITU that I worked for the first time.

Kudos to AY9F who sent his power as 5 watts. Great signal! I like the stations that send NN (99) as their power vs 100 or ATT. Maybe that will catch on for future contests. I worked 5 stations on the 4 bands I operated and 16 more on 3 bands. Of the 266 contacts made there were 190 unique stations logged. It looks like 72 different DXCCs worked with Brazil leading the way with 20 Qs followed by Italy with 13 and Germany with 12. I worked 18 different zones across all the bands and 8 different zones on 10m.

Map of all contacts in the 2011 ARRL DX CW contest (click for larger view):

Map of 10m contacts in the 2011 ARRL DX CW contest (click for larger view):

Map of 40m contacts in the 2011 ARRL DX CW contest (click for larger view):

Here’s the score summary for the weekend:

 Band    QSOs    Pts  Cty
    7      55    165   33
   14     118    354   59
   21      54    162   34
   28      39    117   25
Total     266    798  151

Score : 120,498

73 & good Dx!

Frequency – Movie with heavy ham radio theme

Maybe I’m the last actual licensed ham radio operator to watch the movie Frequency, but I did so this morning. I was playing around with searching the TV guide the end of this past week and searched for ham radio and it showed this movie so I recorded it. My wife says we’ve seen it but I wasn’t a licensed ham yet. I didn’t remember it so I watched it again.

There’s a lot of ham radio in it. A few thinks not so real (other then the entire plot) was that they often talked without pressing the PTT button. And of course, the son wasn’t licensed, or at least they never said he was in the movie. Looking this up online the following is pointed out: The radio was a Heathkit SB301 which is only a receiver. The SB401 is the transmitter. He would need both to carry on a conversation.

The call sign of the dad played by Dennis Quaid is W2QYV and is currently the call sign of the Niagara Radio Club in NY State.

Anyway, this probably isn’t news to anyone reading this as I’m sure I’m the last ham to see the movie.


2011 CQ WPX RTTY Summary

In 2010 I had a very good performance in the CQ WPX RTTY amateur radio contest and it will be a tough one for me to beat. For a couple of weeks last February the conditions improved and making contacts came easy. This weekend it doesn’t seem like the conditions were as good and the contacts came a bit tougher.  The contest allows a single operator to be on for 30 hours out of the 48 hours a multi-op station can operate.

Started operating Friday night as the contest began and primarily worked 40 & 80 with some quick checks on 20m which showed some signs of light. About 2.5 hours in I worked RI1ANC in Antarctica. It was the first time I worked that particular Antarctica station. I ended Fri night with 176 Qs and 65,682 points @ 0533z logging 16 zones & 33 DXCC entities.

Got on Saturday morning after about a 6.5 hour sleep. I spun through 80m and 40m and then checked 15m to log a handful of stations before moving to 20m. I checked 10m late in the morning and ended up working about 8 DX stations on 10m which was pretty neat. At1948z I worked the S9DX Sao Tome DXpedition for a new entity for me. All stations were calling on top of each other over and over. As soon as they stopped I put my low power call out once and got them. Sometimes smart beats muscle! As it started to get later 40m was the place to be and I moved between 40 & 80 and checked 20m from time to time. Finished Sat night at 0446z (11:46pm) with 615 Q’s and 465,105 pts. Logged contacts in 25 zones & 65 DXCC entities. With that QSO count I was a little optimistic that I could approach last years total.

Sunday I had a conference call that started at 8:30 and lasted through to about 5:30. I left it on speaker phone and worked the contest in between having to be active on the call, which is a length of call that anyone would need to consider Business Phone deals for..  Activity, at least from my seat, slowed down drastically on Sunday. Most of the day was spent on 15 & 20m working anyone I could. A couple of checks on 10m resulted in just 2 additional stations heard/logged. Any station I could hear on 10m I worked easily on the first call. In the afternoon the JA stations were coming in strong and I was able to work a couple. I also heard and had perfect copy on B3C in China. It was the first time I copied a station in China but the pileup was huge and he was working west coast stations so after a few attempts I tuned around to work other stations. In the late afternoon I started checking 40m and was able to make some contacts there as the clock started to wind down on my 30 hours and at 2245z the last contact was made.

I ended up with just under 200 additional contacts on Sunday and came up short vs my 2010 score but it was a good weekend. I worked 25 out of the 40 CQ zones and 72 different DXCC entities. I logged 11 Alaska contacts with KL7RA being worked on 3 bands. I don’t think I worked that many Alaska stations in a single contest. I still haven’t worked an Alaska station on 80m. It’s the only state I haven’t worked on 80m. All the others are worked and confirmed on LoTW.

Here’s a map of the contacts made over the weekend (click to see a larger view):

Here’s the summary from N1MM:

 Band QSOs Pts WPX
  3.5     177     426   70
    7     183     558   96
   14     293     595  145
   21     146     333   61
 28 10 30 3
Total     809    1942  375

Score : 728,250

73 & good DX!

2011 Mexico XE RTTY Contest Summary

Spent a bit of on and off time in the Mexico XE RTTY contest yesterday into today. The contest runs for 24 hours and in between everything else going on yesterday I got on and made some contacts. Made less contacts this year then last year but I probably spent less time at the radio.

Did mostly S&P but called CQ a little on Sat and near the end of the contest on Sunday. It wasn’t very productive but there is just less activity for this one. Not sure if the contest sponsors even match up anything or just take what is submitted and report that. The latter seems to be the case, but I get on to have fun and make contacts to it doesn’t matter to me.

I guess everyone is resting up for the big one next week. I know I’m looking forward to the CQ WPX RTTY contest.

Here’s my score summary:

  Band    QSOs    Pts  Cty  Sec
   3.5      31     66    2    0
     7      16     38    3    2
    14      97    243   21   10
    21      11     30    4    2
 Total     155    377   30   14

 Score : 16,588

Time to watch the last football game for the year.


96 QSL Received Cards via Bureau

Came home today to a large package from the NJDXA, the 2 call area incoming QSL bureau. In the package were 96 QSL cards. I scanned through them while I counted and I don’t think any are for new DXCCs but possibly some new bands/modes. I’ll have to log them which will take a little time and figure out if there are any received which I haven’t yet already sent out a QSL card. Always fun getting a package of QSL cards!