Monthly Archives: October 2011

2011 CQ WW SSB Summary

This past weekend was the CQ WW SSB ham radio contest and the conditions leading up to this weekend pointed at good conditions and that certainly seemed to be the case.  Because it is still football season and add in Halloween weekend, there were a lot of other activities to deal with. We also had a freak October snowstorm that caused a lot of damage and power outages that are still ongoing. But when I was on the air, it was a blast.

Friday night I went straight from work to the last home high school game of the season so I wasn’t back home until 9:45pm ET (0145z)  and spent 1 hour on 20m making some contacts including a JA and Hawaii station, a bunch of Caribbean stations and some European stations. I called it an early night spending a little time with the family before heading to bed.

Saturday was going to be the day I could spend the most time on the radio. I got on just before 9am  and scanned 20m for a few contacts and spent the next 1 hour on 15m. Most contacts were to Europe and the Caribbean. I switched to 10m around 10:00am (1400z) and for the next 2.5 hours made a bunch of S&P contacts to Europe and the Caribbean. Nice strong signals from both areas. I needed to take a break and got back in a couple hours and 10m was still going strong.

By this time, we were getting an early snow storm. It wasn’t supposed to start snowing until later in the day or early evening but before noon the heavy wet snow was coming down. The problem is the trees all have most of their leaves on them and that was going to be a big concern that turned into a serious problem. As the snow continued non-stop for hours, branches with leaves and heavy wet snow started to snap. I lost a bunch of very large branches that didn’t cause any damage to my house or vehicles, but others weren’t so lucky. The largest limb fell on the power/phone lines from the street to our house but with a neighbor we were able to push it away from the wires. We had sporadic power outages but they didn’t last too long. Others in town have been out of power since Saturday with the possibility it could be a week before all power is restored. At one point we were standing on our porch and every 15 seconds you could hear the crack and see a new branch fall from someone’s tree. It snowed from late morning through the night for what seems to be the largest Oct snowfall since they started keeping records in the 1800’s. Lucky for me, the branches holding my wire antennas held up and even branches which hit the antennas and ropes didn’t take them down.

As I dealt with the snow during Saturday afternoon I intermittently got on the radio. My wire antennas were drooping from the weight of the snow and I could tell at one point my 3 band fan dipole was touching the roof, I was able to make contacts.  Around 6:30pm (2230z) I made my first VK Australian contact on 10m and got him on the first the call followed by 2 Hawaii stations. There were probably 5 or so intermittent blackouts during the afternoon that put me off the air. By 7:30pm (2330z) I needed to shut down and head to a couple of Halloween parties in town. We had to deal with multiple detours as roads were closed from downed trees and power lines. The roads were a mess but the parties were fun. When I got home around 1:00am (0500z) my wife asked if I was getting back on the radio but I decided to head to bed.

Sunday morning was a home Giants NFL football game so I was off early to go to the game. It was warming up and sunny without a cloud in the sky – great weather to watch a football game. I got home from the game, moved branches around, pulled one down that was leaning on the house, and turned the radio on  at 5:15pm (2115z) and went right to 10m. Just after 6pm (2200z) I started to hear JA stations and was able to work two JA stations back to back on 10m. I even worked one JA station on 3 bands – 10, 15 & 20m.  I popped over to 15m and worked a few more stations and after a quick bite for dinner popped over to 20m for the remainder of the contest working AL9A as my last contact.

I ended up logging 9 different JA stations in 12 contacts, 5 different AK stations in 6 contacts with 4 on 10m, 5 different HI stations in 6 contacts also with 4 on 10m. I also logged the 3XY1D Guinea dxpedition, the C5A Gambia dxpedition and Turkey on 10m for the first time. In total worked 65 different DXCCs. Had a nice short chat with a few different operators including Derek J39BS who I seem to find in most contests as well as KL7AF who recalled sending my QSL request from over 2 years ago.

Here’s my score summary for the time I was able to spend on the air:

 Band    QSOs    Pts  Zone DXCC
   14      43    108   17   27
   21      67    180   17   36
   28     142    385   17   51
Total     252    673   51  114

Score : 111,045

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

73 and thanks for the fun!

Random contacts on a good weekend

No contest this weekend but with conditions being so good it was easy to make some contacts to new places on new bands. Since I’ve only been licensed since 2007 and the conditions have been poor, having the bands open like this is a real treat.

Over the weekend I worked random stations mostly on 10m and 12m for a total of 42 contacts to a total of 30 different DXCCs. I worked stations on RTTY, SSB, CW and even a couple of long distance 10m FM contacts.

Some of the more interesting contacts were location in: South Africa, India, Israel, Marquesas Island DXpedition, New Zealand,  DXpedition to Guernsey, and Cyprus along with many others. Even had a couple of short chats with some ops that recognized my call from contesting and and hope to work each other in coming contests.

Great fun!


NA RTTY Sprint Results

The preliminary results for the recent 2011 NA RTTY Sprint that took place have been posted and it looks like I just squeaked out coming in first in the 2nd call area. I had a 8 contacts removed from the score I posted that I’d be interested in trying to figure out how I blew them. I have the LCR (Log Checking Report) and need to compare it to what the MMTTY log

I ended up coming in 4th overall in the Low Power category and 11th overall regardless of power. A fun short sprint!


2011 JARTS RTTY – All 10m

I had almost no available time to operate this weekend with other events (mostly football – high school, college and professional) going on Fri night, all day Saturday and most of the day Sunday. For a total of 1 hour operating, I made 27 contacts, all on 10m. I’m sure I could have switched bands, but I was having fun on 10m since it’s all “new” to me with the band being open.

Saturday morning I had 30 mins from when I was ready to leave before heading out of town for the entire day so I fired up the radio to see if I could hear anything on 10m and the JARTS RTTY ham radio contest was going on and I could hear some signals so I quickly configured N1MM for this contest and made a few quick contacts. The exchange is your age which is fun to see vs a sequential serial number. In the 30 mins I made 15 contacts all with stations in Europe. I needed to run so I shut things down and didn’t think I’d be on any more this weekend.

Sunday a bit after  7pm I was able to get back on during the last hour of the contest and figured I’d see if 10m had anything and boy I’m glad I did. The first contact on 10m was a strong JA station for my first JA station logged on 10m. I worked a total of 6 JA stations on 10m RTTY in 30 mins. To top it off I worked a VK4 station in Australia, again on 10m RTTY for yet another new DXCC worked on this band. I didn’t hear any European stations coming in but did hear some US West Coast ops.

If the reported ages sent in the exchange were accurate. 4 of the 27 operators worked were younger than me and one was my age (48). The youngest sent their age as 32. The oldest op worked skipping the 99 reported age for multis was 76. There were 3 ops over the age of 70.

All this with 100w and a dipole. What a lot of fun!  I don’t know how the bands were for the contest throughout the weekend but I’ll check out the reports on 3830 and see what folks have to say.


2011 Makrothen RTTY & NA RTTY Sprint Contests

This past weekend was the Makrothen RTTY ham radio contest and the NA RTTY Sprint. The Makrothen RTTY contest is three 8 hour sessions and the NA RTTY Sprint is 4 hours right after the 2nd Makrothen session ends.

The Makrothen contest exchange is grid square and the points are calculated based on distance. Also there’s a bonus for contacts on 40m and 80m but no other multipliers. The first Makrothen session was Friday night and the bands were very noisy for me and it was rough going and I only worked a bit of the time before calling it a night. I ended up with 74 Qs and 219,000 points when I set off for bed. Saturday’s session started at noon local time through 8pm and the bands were much quieter and the activity was up.  10m was open from time to time and worked ZS2 in South Africa on 10m. I was working S&P a lot but it wasn’t too hard to find spots and call CQ for a bit which I did on 15m and 20m.

I broke 1 million points with a contact on 15m with JM1CXW, a JA RTTY op I can always count on to hear my faint signal. I worked a few different JA ops and even had two 10m contacts to JAs on 10m which is a first for me. I noticed in the middle of the contest that KH2/N2NL was spotted on 12m CW and since I didn’t have Guam on any band/mode I switched to see and he was coming in loud. It didn’t take long at all to have my first contact with Guam. Starting around 6pm local time I was able to work Hawaii, Alaska and Japan all in the span of a couple of mins for nice long distance contacts. Around 6:20pm local time I passed last years score

 which is normally a goal I have in any contest. Just after 6:30pm I was able to work the two JAs on 10m. I ended up at the end of Saturday’s session with 281 Qs and 1.223 million for a score.

Right after the end of the 2nd Makrothen session is the start of the NA RTTY Sprint. I grabbed a quick dinner, got back on the radio, reconfigured N1MM for the Sprint and started that 4 hour contest. The Sprint is an odd format in that after you work a station, that operator relinquishes control of the frequency to you and he needs to QSY to another frequency. It is a little tricky at first but pretty easy once you get going. Because it’s very different, not all the ops that are participating in the contest understand the flow and continues to call CQ when he should QSY or the new station doesn’t take the frequency and call CQ. But it’s quick and fun. Because it’s all after dark, it’s mostly on 40m and 80m with a bit of 20m activity. Since you can only work a station once per band, there are points where I have worked anyone I could hear and calling CQ is sometimes futile. If there was more activity, the fun could last the whole 4 hours. I beat last years score but a good amount, but I also was able to put in more time. The score summary is below.

At midnight after the NA RTTY Sprint ended I went off to bed. Sunday morning I woke up with just a bit of time to operate while I get ready to head out to go tailgating for a football game. The bands weren’t very good early in the morning and getting to 300 Qs (from the 281 the night before) was going very slow. Most stations I could hear I had already worked, 40m was empty as was 10m so it was hunt and peck on 20m and 15m. Near 10am (1400z) when I needed to head out the bands seemed to getting better, but I needed to leave. Based on the outcome of the football game maybe I should have stayed and spent more time in the contest. As I shut things down I ended up the contest with 301 Qs and a score of 1,313,052.

Here are the score summaries from N1MM for both contests. Following the summary is a map screen shot of the contacts made in the Makrothen contest with some nice long distant contacts to South Africa, Japan and Asiatic Russia. All logs have been sent in and uploaded to LoTW and eQSL. Thanks to all the ops that made it another fun RTTY contest weekend!

Makrothen Summary:

Band    QSOs    Pts
 3.5      18   23302
   7      43  143750
  14     141  628130
  21      73  371162
  28      26  146708
Total     301 1313052

Score : 1,313,052

NA RTTY Sprint:

Band    QSOs    Pts  Mlt
 3.5      21     21    2
   7      51     51   18
  14      25     25   13
Total     97     97   33

Score : 3,201
Map of Makrothen RTTY contacts (click to enlarge):