The July NAQP RTTY ham radio contest was Saturday. Format is a 12 hour contest that a single operator can work 10 total hours in. The exchange is consistent giving Name and State (or Canadian Province). I worked, as I have done in past NAQP contests, the names Dopey and Bambi during this contest.
I reviewed the NAQP July posting from last year that I wrote and recall that the first hour was slow and I might want to consider delaying the start and working a bit later into the evening. So I started about 40 mins after the official start of the contest. I was hoping 15m and 10m would provide some activity but they were pretty quiet with little activity. I spent the first part on 20m and switching back to 15m & 10m hoping for conditions/activity to improve, but instead conditions seemed to get worse. So with around 77 Qs in the log, I decided to burn a 30 min break and see if things would improve.
After taking a 30 min break (the minimum time allowed between contacts to not count as operating time), I came back and things did seem to improve a little with my first contact after the break being KL7RA in Alaska on 15m. At least they didn’t get worse. With my delayed start and the 30 min break, I could work up through 15 mins before the end of the contest.
Before the contest on the RTTY reflector (mailing list) there was a posting about special event station VE7TUB being in the contest. I found and worked them on 20m.
Conditions were challenging for me throughout the entire contest. 20m became wall to wall with it being the only band seeing much activity, at least as far as I was concerned. Stations that were strong on 20m telling me they were also listening (QRV) at a specific 15m frequency resulting in no signal being heard.
There was also the DMC RTTY contest going on at the same time so there were different stations calling CQ for different contests. Most of the DX stations calling CQ were in the DMC contest, but I did have some DX stations come back to me and send both a serial number (DMC) and their name (NAQP) in their exchange. It’s always nice when you are running 100w into a dipole and Greece, Slovenia & Czech stations call you.
I switched to 40m just after 0000z (8pm ET) and there was a fair amount of activity already on the band. I guess with 15m not cooperating, you need to move somewhere and 40m is where folks went. The bands weren’t noisy and I didn’t notice any local noise so that wasn’t an issue. I popped back onto 20m from time to time the remainder of the evening to see if any new stations showed up to work. I hit 80m just before 0300z (11pm ET) where at the time I had no 1 call area stations in the log. Noise wasn’t too bad on 80m either.
I surpassed last years score at 0439z (12:39am) with KH6ZM on 40m. 338 Qs this year vs 366 last year made possible by more multipliers – 121 vs 111 at the same score from 2011. I had 1 hour to go when I passed last years score. The last hour was tough as it was getting late and folks were dropping off, even if they were working the entire 10 hours. The last 15 mins of my time I found very little to work and calling CQ resulted in very little activity. Next year, it makes sense to wait 30 mins after the start, but maybe not take a 30 min break, even if conditions seem poor. The last 30 mins of the contest (0530z – 0600z) are pretty dead and not worth holding out for any activity there. Maybe different if you are working 80m on the West Coast.
I finished up with 367 Qs in the log but one was a dup that called me so I have 366 Qs with points which exactly matches last years QSO count. I ended up with 126 multipliers this year vs 111 last year which results in a score increase of 5,490 points on the same number of contacts logged. I worked 45 of the 50 States and 7 of the 13 Canadian Provinces.
Here’s the score summary from N1MM:
My log has been submitted to the contest, eQSL & LoTW.