Monthly Archives: July 2011

2011 NAQP RTTY QSO Party

What more can a fellow ask for – a 10 hour RTTY ham radio contest with everyone running 100w. Even with others having stacked arrays I feel like there’s a shot at me getting into run mode, calling CQ and not getting squashed between 2 high power stations. The NAQP runs for 12 hours but single ops can operate for up to 10 hours. It started Saturday at 2pm ET (18:00z) and I was all ready with anything I needed to get done completed well before start time. The night before I was setting everything up to make sure it was working and noticed an issue with N1MM and call stacking where you can work more than 1 station without calling CQ as long as you get multiple calls on your last one. After thinking it was a config issue on my end, I downgraded and the problem stopped and it reappeared if I upgraded N1MM to the latest release, so I left it at an earlier release and notified the N1MM development team there might be a problem.

Sat afternoon came and I was in the chair at 2pm ready to go. 20m was fine with maybe a slow start as folks might not have been rushing to get fired up the second the contest started. I spent all afternoon on 20m popping over to 15m many times to find absolutely nothing happening there. I logged a total of 7 stations on 15m which is sad. I noticed lots of western US stations active throughout the contest but didn’t hear/find a lot of western Canadian stations. In fact there was relatively little Canadian activity that I came across though there were still those same stations I often work during contests. So 20m was the day band and though I checked 10m two or three times, if it’s even possible, it was more dead than 15m. I figured maybe I’d get lucky and copy 1 station but nothing was heard.

I would alternate a lot between finding a run frequency and doing S&P. When running I had a few European stations call which is nice. The ones that called me were all coming in nice and strong and an easy copy. There were even a few EU stations that were running and calling CQ and it’ll be interesting to see how many Q’s the DX stations logged when the results are compiled. Running worked for a while but eventually got to transmitting CQ on repeat without anyone coming back so I’d switch to S&P and find some new ones. Infrequently early in the afternoon I’d check 40m and log 1 or 2 stations but most folks were on 20m until later in the day.

As the afternoon wore on there was more 40m activity and I’d bounce back and forth between 40m & 20m. 20m had activity the entire contest or at least the 10 hours I was on which is good because I hadn’t heard and logged a Hawaii station until 0330z (11:30pm) and it was the only Hawaii station I heard. As darkness came (sounds so ominous) I spent more time on 40m again running and S&Ping. Noise wasn’t bad at all and signals were very strong. Though I have dipoles for 10/15/20 I use the G5RV for 40m & 80m and it was working well. I don’t think there was a station for the entire contest that I could get any copy on that I couldn’t get into the log. The Q’s and mults on 40m went up pretty quickly.

Activity on 80m started late and maybe if it started earlier I would have logged more contacts and multipliers. Something to consider next time is to start 1 hour later or take a 1 hour break and work an additional hour from midnight to 1am ET to try and get some additional time on 80m to gather more mults. Of course if everyone works the 1st 10 hours that wouldn’t help things either. 80m had strong signals and because the exchange is constant, once someone worked you on another band, they know your exchange so 100% copy becomes less important and repeats aren’t necessary. As long as the 2 stations that previously worked can copy the callsign, it’s usually a good contact and that makes 40m and 80m contacts go quickly regardless of noise or less than optimal conditions.

In the middle of the contest I noticed an email from one of the N1MM developers with a patched version that should correct the issue I encountered. I downloaded it knowing I could always re-install the version I was using, ran a couple of quick tests and it seemed to resolve the issue. I let the developer know and used it for the remainder of the contest without encountering any difficulty. Amazing support and such a fine piece of software being developed by a skilled group of volunteers.

It was good to see some calls I hadn’t seen in a while and particularly that of WA5ZUP. I was actually getting concerned that something might be wrong since I hadn’t seen John in a while. I ended up missing the 4 states of MT, RI, ME & MD where MT would be a 20m or 40m contact and the 3 east coast stations 80m and maybe 40m contacts. On the Canadian side I didn’t log 7 Providences. I guess it’s a “close to WAS in 10 hours” type of contest for me.

The contest exchange is name and state and my favorite was Dopey from Oregon. I logged a Bambi too which had me write in my 3830 submission: I don’t know about the rest of the Dwarves but I found Dopey in the contest. No Snow White but there was a Bambi. Maybe we should have a Disney themed RTTY contest?

A really enjoyable Saturday contest and can’t wait for the next one! Thanks for all the Q’s. Here’s my score summary from N1MM:

 Band  QSOs  Pts Mlt
  3.5    49   49  24
    7   129  129  41
   14   181  181  42
   21     7    7   4
Total   366  366 111
Score : 40,626

73,
K2DSL

C21YY – Nauru – Worked for a New One

Last night I was getting everything set up for Saturday’s NAQP RTTY contest and saw C21YY spotted in Nauru. Nauru is an 8 square mile island in the South Pacific with a population around 9300 . It is the worlds smallest island nation and 2nd least populated country after Vatican City. I don’t know about you, but I’ve never heard of it before. Lucky for me Pekka OH2YY from Finland has heard of it and is there operating as C21YY. He was on 17m phone running simplex when I made contact with him about 11:30pm ET (0330z) using my G5RV wire antenna and 100w from my Kenwood TS-2000. Logged in the books for a new one!

This morning I got on and saw C21YY spotted on 20m phone so I figured I’d try him again. He was working split in the Extra portion of the band which helped me with less of a pileup to contend with. After about 10 mins I was able to get an exchange through to him on 20m phone and log him on that band.

The snippet of info on the DXpedition shows HF SSB only from July 11th through the 20th and to QSL direct via his home call of OH2YY so he’ll be receiving a QSL card from me shortly. I’ll hold off until he’s wrapped up in case I get lucky and work him on another band.

Time to do some things before the NAQP gets going.

73,
K2DSL

2011 IARU Summary & a Busy Ham Sunday

There was the 24-hour IARU ham radio contest this weekend from Sat morning to Sun morning. I checked things out Sat morning and didn’t hear much and had plenty of other things to get done so I didn’t fire up N1MM and start logging. made a few contacts but there wasn’t much in the way of propagation so after about 25 contacts I took a break and did other things inside/outside.

I checked back around 2000z (4pm local time) and there was more activity so I fired up N1MM and started logging contacts. 10m and 15m had very little activity that I could hear so I spent most of the time on 20m. Worked about 1.5 hours, had 35 contacts and took about a 90 min break. Came back, conditions were better and I spent the next 2.5 hours operating finishing up with 121 contacts and hit the sack for the night for an early morning alarm. Nothing exotic in the log but some good contacts and a few stations contacted across 3 bands.

Score summary:

 Band    QSOs    Pts  Mlt   HQ
  3.5       3      3    0    3
    7      26     46    6   12
   14      88    246   11   25
   21       3      3    0    3
   28       1      1    0    1
Total     121    299   17   44

Score : 18,239

I got up early on Sunday morning, picked up N2CG and drove to the Sussex hamfest about 1 hour away. It’s the largest hamfest in the immediate area and up until this years trip to Dayton, it was the largest hamfest I had been to. Shortly after getting there I spotted a light duty Radio Shack rotator, control box and rotator cable that looked in excellent shape and picked it up for $25. Tested it at home and it seems to work well. Strolled around the rest of the day and just picked up some connectors. Saw lots of folks I know and chatted with some vendors. Weather was great if just a bit warm in the sun. I also watched NB2F, Dee, work some satellites from his portable station. I really enjoy the satellite contacts.

We also had our clubs monthly meeting Sun night where I won the 50-50 and about $30. I can’t complain about that – paid for my rotator from the hamfest! Since I usually am the guy going around hawking the tickets a couple of folks commented in jest, but I don’t pull the winning ticket. Also seems that we might look to create a contesting group within our club which could be a lot of fun.

Before heading to the club meeting I was doing a few things and noticed that Jan Mayden was spotted on 20m RTTY. I tuned in and had a light but mostly printable copy on them. I tried for a while sending my call out but had no luck. I needed to head to the club meeting for a while so I shut everything down. After I got home JX5O was calling CQ again and was a bit stronger so I put out my call after each CQ and after a bunch of attempts they came back to me as K2DSR. I resent K2DSL and he came back with the correct call for a 20m RTTY contact with them. Though I made a couple of previous contacts, this one contact alone covers my DXCC Mixed, 20m and RTTY awards.

A very diverse ham radio weekend. Next weekend is the NAQP RTTY contest on Saturday afterrnoon and evening so you’ll know where I will be.

73,
K2DSL

2011 ARRL DX CW Log Check Report – No Errors

Many of the contests, specifically those by the ARRL and CQ Magazine, provide Log Check Reports (LCRs) after the results are all compiled and completed. The 2011 ARRL DX CW contest results were just posted and I opened up my LCR as it helps to point out areas to focus on. Well, I had no errors with 266 contacts. No call sign errors and no report errors.

Now, it might not be a huge number of contacts but it’s not just a handful either. As those that might follow my posts would remember, I don’t really know morse code well. Some might say I don’t know it at all. I do know CQ, my call, TU, 5NN, etc but I can’t yet decode call signs and exchanges so I use CW decoding software. In my case I usually use DM780 to decode the incoming signal and N1MM to send out my info and log the contact. I can tell by ear at most any speed if someone is coming back to me or if they misheard my call sign and sometimes even my report. It’s a start and I do have a desire to learn morse code but I don’t have the time right now to put in what is needed and I don’t feel it would be beneficial to do it half ass. So for now, this is what works, and apparently pretty well.

Yay for me!
K2DSL

Worked a new one – Jan Mayden – JX5O

I was excited to hear of a DXpedition to Jan Mayden because it is a new DXCC for me. I never had heard of it before so I did a bit of investigation. It’s a volcanic island in the Arctic that is part of Norway about 300 mi east of Greenland and 400 mi northeast of Iceland.

Operations really started today and I caught JX5O first on 17m SSB and it didn’t take long to work them. From here out it is gravy though I want to also work them on 20m and on RTTY to cover my primary DXCC awards that I have. I then caught them on 20m CW which wasn’t as strong a signal for me but I’m pretty confident he came back to me, I sent TU and he replied TU right back.

Once they are all done I’ll head to their QSL info page, make a nominal donation, and wait for the card. That’ll get me heading off for the evening with a smile on my face.

Update: After a local 2m net I noticed a spot on 20m SSB for OD5NH in Lebanon so I put out my call and Puzant came right back to me. Woohoo! Emailing him per his QRZ page before sending for a QSL card. Definitely a good night!

73,
K2DSL

Holiday Weekend – 2 small contests

Well, I don’t know if the ham radio contests themselves are small, but my participation in them this past long holiday weekend was rather small.

First was the RAC Canada Day Contest where though you can work anyone, it’s primarily a Canadian contact that gets the most points. It’s 24 hours and runs over their Canada Day which was July 1st (starting the evening of  June 30th). We had stuff going on at home but I was able to make a few contacts. I only operated SSB/phone and didn’t do any CW during this one. It was nice to chat with our neighbors just north of us. I didn’t hear anyone on 40m and didn’t work much at night when I would Here’s the score summary:

 Band    QSOs    Pts  Sec
  3.5       2     20    1
   14      55    466   11
Total      57    486   12
Score : 5,832

The other contest was the DLDX RTTY contest which occurs over 24 hours starting the morning of  July 2nd and finishing the morning of July 3rd. I didn’t have a lot of time to work this contest either but got in some time on and off during the day on July 2nd (my birthday). Like RAC contest where working Canadian stations gets you more points, the DLDX contest gets more points for working station in Germany. I didn’t have an easy time early in the morning but late in the afternoon things were easier and I could work stations on 1 call. Running wasn’t very productive except for short bursts so most time I was S&Ping the band. Didn’t hear much of anything on 15m.

Here’s the score summary for the DLDX RTTY contest:

 Band    QSOs   Pts  Are   DXC
 3.5       1     15    1    0
   7       8     50    2    5
  14      71    800   21    9
  21       2     15    2    2
 Total    82    880   26   16
Score : 36,960

Had a nice long weekend which means hopefully a short work week too before next weekend. This week starts the JX5O DXpedition to Jan Mayen Island about 400 miles NE of Iceland. Hopefully I can snag them on at least one band and hopefully a few band/modes will be possible.

73,
K2DSL

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