Saturday was the February version of the North America QSO Party RTTY contest. The contest lasts 12 hours and a single op can work 10 hours of the contest. Max power is 100w which makes it a bit easier for folks like me without an amplifier. Conditions here in Northern NJ were very windy so my wire antennas were blowing around. It stayed very windy the entire contest.
For the exchange in this contest, it’s your name and state/province (or just name if you are outside NA). I configured my exchange macro to just send my name and state once and I had 5 or less repeats the entire contest. Conditions seemed to be good enough that I was coming in loud and clear, so just sending TU DAVID NJ K2DSL was all that was needed. Also in this contest, after the 1st contact with a station, they have your exchange since it doesn’t change, so that helps with repeats too.
I got on at the start (1800z – 1pm ET) and the going was a bit slow at first. I would have expected for activity right from the start, but it took about 1 hour or so before activity picked up. Started on 20m scanning S&P and then hit 15m and 10m S&P. 15m wasn’t very active either but that seemed to pick up about 2 hours later and 15m was loud and wall to wall stations. 20m activity also picked up too but 10m wasn’t very productive any time I checked, which you can tell from my score summary with just 27 contacts. I always hope for more 10m activity, though it could be me with just a dipole vs a nice 10m or tribander beam.
I first switched to 40m at 7pm (oo0oz) and had a straight hour of S&P averaging 1 contact per minute. I checked out 80m for the 1st time at 9:30pm (0230z) and in 30 mins again average 1 contact per minute. I tried a couple of runs earlier on 15m and 20m but it was more productive to just tune around the bands and work stations. I was averaging about the same rate when doing S&P or when I was calling CQ. Finished up the night bouncing back and forth between 40m and 80m.
Maybe some folks waited 1 hour at the start and got on a little later and stayed on later. 40m and 80m was certainly busy at the end of the first 10 hours so maybe that’s a strategy to consider for next time… or waiting 30 mins or taking a 30 min break in the middle and taking advantage of 40m and 80m later in the evening.
I noticed that somewhere around 390 Qs I had surpassed last years score with 31 less contacts logged. The reason, though I didn’t look very closely when I happened to notice, is that the multipliers on 15m and 10m this year was 38 vs those same bands last year producing just 13 multipliers. I surpassed last years total QSOs with about 35 mins left for me to operate.My goal is typically to improve on my previous best for any particular contest.
I ended up working 15 stations on 4 bands and another 31 stations on 3 bands including V31RR (op AA4NC) in Belize who had an excellent signal. I didn’t work any stations in ND, ME, VT, DE or WV in the US and 6 provinces in Canada. I did work many regulars (WA5ZUP, N2BJ, AA5AU and others) along with KX9X who is the ARRL Contest Branch Manager. Log was submitted right after the contest and uploaded to LoTW and eQSL.
Here’s the score summary from N1MM:
Band QSOs Sec DX 3.5 52 26 0 7 134 41 2 14 159 42 4 21 78 23 2 28 27 10 3 Total 450 142 11 Score : 68,850
Here’s a map of the contacts made using http://levinecentral.com/adif2map
Next contest is the ARRL DX SSB that starts Friday and I’ll only be able to operate Fri night if I get on the air as I’ll be travelling next weekend with one of my daughters.
See you on the bands,