2014 IOTA Contest – Good ones logged with Map!

Starting Saturday morning East Coast time in the US was the 24 hour IOTA contest where anyone can work anyone else, but it’s really best to work stations that have an IOTA associated with them as they are worth 15 pts vs 2 pts.  You can have an IOTA number if you’re on an island which might not seem as exotic as it might sound. Yes, there are islands such as Reunion Island or the South Cook Islands that come to mind, but Long Island counts as an island too.

The contest started out slow for me with few signals and those I heard were weak. I logged some Qs and then all of a sudden I could tell the noise was back that I experienced last week. I immediately got up and asked my neighbor if he just turned something on and he said he just opened the garage and put the lights on. I asked him to shut off the lights and the noise was gone – turn on the lights and the noise was back. They installed some high output T5 fluorescent lights in their new garage and they are noisy. With both on I get about a S5-S7 when I turn the antenna to them. With one disconnected as a test, the noise was 1/2 so it’s not one particular light that was the problem. We’ll have to figure out what to do but at least the source was identified.

I spent the day going back and forth to the radio working stations here and there. It remained pretty slow to mid afternoon when the signals got stronger and I could hear and contact more stations. It continued strong through the evening so I spent time at the radio. I worked SSB (phone) for most of the contest until I saw a station spotted on CW that I wanted to work so I did some CW too, putting me in the Low Power Single Operator Assisted Mixed Mode category. The spot I saw was for Dodecanese on 20m and I was able to work him.  I saw E51AND in South Cook Islands spotted on 20m at 10pm local time and it took me 2 straight hours to get him logged right at midnight local time. He had a huge pileup  but it started to thin out a bit as it got later in the evening.

After logging the E5-S station I took a quick listen and logged 2 ZLs and a VK station on 20m CW followed by FR4NT on Reunion Island who was coming in very strong on 20m SSB.  I was pretty tired so I exported my log from N1MM, loaded it into DXKeeper and sent it off to the contest robot, Clublog, eQSL and LoTW.  I already have the SV5 Dodecanese contact confirmed on LoTW.

It looks like I worked 46 different DXCCs including Dodecanese, South Cook Island, Reunion Island, Crete, Saudi Arabia, New Zealand & Australia.

Here’s a map of the contacts made in the IOTA contest using ADIF2Map (click to enlarge):


Here’s my N1MM score summary:

 Band  Mode  QSOs    Pts  IOTA
    7  CW       5     49     3
    7  LSB      2     30     2
   14  CW      23    241    13
   14  USB     86    807    29
   21  USB      6     77     4
Total  Both   122   1204    51

Score : 61,404


73 & Good DX,


2014 NAQP RTTY & DMC RTTY & CQ WW VHF Contests

This weekend I participated in 3 different contests with most of the effort in the NAQP RTTY.

Before the NAQP fired up the DMC RTTY contest started. It starts before the NAQP, runs during the NAQP, and continues after the NAQP ends. I worked just 36 stations on 15m & 20m. Conditions didn’t seem good for me, but it killed some time.

Here’s a map of the contacts (click to enlarge):
Here’s the N1MM score summary:

 Band    QSOs    Pts  DXCC   Area   Cont
   14      20     20    10      0     0
   21      16     16     9      3     4
Total      36     36    19      3     4
Score : 3,168

At 2pm local time, the NAQP fired up. It was confusing at the start since there were stations working the DMC RTTY contest that was going on and stations now working the NAQP contest that just started. It didn’t take long but it seemed to me that most of the DMC stations took a break for a while or moved to other bands less used by the NA stations. I turned the hexbeam to the west since I’m mostly working stations to the west of NJ and I heard S5 noise on 15m and 20m. I switched to the G5RV and I heard the same noise. If I point the beam to the south, the noise goes completely away. I dealt with it throughout most of the contest but it definitely impacted my ability to hear stations. A local ham was working stations I couldn’t even hear or see in the waterfall. You can tell from the low count in the 15m totals how challenging it was.

10m was quiet for both noise and unfortunately RTTY signals. I switched to 10m a few times but there wasn’t any activity. Late in the afternoon I switched to 40m and there were a few stations active. After working them I parked myself on an open frequency, called CQ and worked a bunch of stations. I switched back to the higher bands and the noise had disappeared so I worked some stations I probably couldn’t hear with the noise. As the sun started to get low in the sky I was back on 40m where there was a lot of activity both in S&P and CQing.

As things were rolling along on nicely on 40m when my wife told me it was time to head out to a friend’s party. A couple hours later we got home and I got back on 40m and 80m to make some contacts before calling it a night and heading to bed. I missed logged 7 states with most of those in the immediate area since I wasn’t on 80m until the very end.

Here’s the summary of contacts by band for the NAQP contest:

 Band    QSOs    Pts   Sec
  3.5      26     26    16
    7     119    119    41
   14     118    118    38
   21      24     24    13
   28       3      3     3
Total     290    290   111
Score : 32,190

On Sunday I decided to clean up things for outstanding QSL cards I needed to send, most in reply to those that sent them to me asking for a QSL in return. While I was doing that I had the radio on, flipped to 6m, and heard one of my club members a town away calling CQ. I realized it was the CQ WW VHF contest so I fired up N1MM, worked him and then on and off worked a station here or there. The stations ended up being local such as NJ, NY or CT and then FL with a lone LA (Louisiana) station.

I worked 12 stations in 9 different grids. I did end up getting everything done I needed with QSL cards. I’ll write about that next.

All scores sent in and also uploaded to LoTW, eQSL and ClubLog.


2014 DLDX RTTY Contest

I have some catching up to do as I’ve fallen behind in my short write ups. On July 4th weekend was the DLDX RTTY contest which runs for 24 hours. There were activities going on but I got some time on the air and was able to work 176 Qs.  As you can see from the breakout, most activity was on 15m & 20m which is when I was able to be at the radio.

You get more points for DX (outside the US) contacts but US contacts still get points and are multipliers.

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


Here’s the score summary from N1MM:

 Band    QSOs    Pts  DXCC   Area
  3.5       5     30     2     4
    7      18    150     6     7
   14      66    935    28     8
   21      84   1150    32    10
   28       3     25     2     2
Total     176   2290    70    31

Score : 231,290


2014 Field Day

Field Day has been over for a week and I’m just getting around to posting about it. After missing 2 Field Day’s in a row due to my daughters having back to back years of high school graduations that landed on FD weekend, it was nice to be back. BARA, our active local radio club, now operates Field Day on a large field in a town in our county that provides plenty of area to work with and huge lights for the field we can string up antennas between.  There’s also a covered pavilion and bathroom facilities next to the field.

One group met where we store our equipment and loaded up a few cars and trailers with tables, chairs, coax, tents, etc. The other team was at the field shooting rope up for the antennas. This is the first FD I’ve had with the club where we didn’t try and setup a tower or two and it sure made setup much easier. When we arrived at the field all the lines were ready for us to start stringing antennas and setting up the stations. We had 3 stations that would get tents and the other 2 stations would operate under the pavilion. One one of the field we had the 40m station that strung wire antennas across the field and parallel to the field. We had the 80m station at the opposite end with OCF wire antenna. We had the 20m station on the opposite side of the field with a double extended zep. We had as 10m station/ 160m station and that used a wire antenna for 10m and a vertical for 160m. The 15m station had a wire antenna that wasn’t working well and we switched to a G5RV we had hung up between poles.

Instead of running up to the last minute in getting everything setup, we were done with 2 hours to spare before the contest (or event if you don’t want to call it a contest) started. All stations had notebooks with WiFI that communicated with each other via a router and wifi antenna that was centrally located. It worked well and I didn’t hear of a single issue with the computers. Most but not all computers were hooked up to the notebooks so they were synced for band, freq and mode. All stations ran off a total of 4 Honda generators that used very little gas over the course of the event.

We started out with all stations ready to go and the 80m station focused on 40m phone while the 40m station worked CW. I walked around and made sure things were working well everywhere and hopped on the 15m station. Conditions for us weren’t very good on 10m and 15m so it was slow going on both those stations. 40m was good the entire time and 20m was good well into the evening.  In the evening we switched the 10m station to 160m and a couple works ended up working a good number of stations using the vertical that had a boatload of radials. Once it got later the 40m SSB station switched to 80m SSB and started calling CQ to some mini pileups.

We made some solar contacts as well as some satellite contacts on 2 different passes. I really enjoy watching the satellite guys work. There were some ISS passes on Saturday and they were heard, but not worked.

We had lunch and dinner served by one of the club members who did a great job with burgers/dogs for lunch and pasta/pork chops for dinner. No one was hungry and there was always coffee available. I decided to head home for a quick nap around 1am ET (0500z) and have a shower in the morning before heading back to the site.

I got back on Sunday morning around 7:30am ET (1130z) and all stations except 10m & 15m were making contacts. 10m and 15m picked up a little on Sunday but still nothing exciting. Folks worked all the stations, sometimes teamed up in pairs with one on the radio and the other logging. I prefer doing both but some rather pair up. We worked all stations right until the end before we shut them down and started to tear down.

Here are the totals for our weekend:

There were 21 Qs on 160m, 450 on 80m, 1098 on 40m (ignore the USB as they were LSB), 552 on 20m, and just 71 on 15m and 7 on 10m.

I’m glad I was able to participate in FD again after a 2 year absence as I certainly had a lot of fun!


2014 CQ WPX CW Dabbling

I haven’t been on the air much lately as evidenced by my lack of posts here. A lot of family obligations and work has curtailed my on air activities. This weekend, after flying in from Arizona after a week long business trip, we had a club hamfest Saturday which got me up very early. Weather wasn’t great but the turnout was and it was good to see folks I haven’t seen in a while.

Sunday after doing some errands I corrected the hex beam and powered everything up for a little CW contesting. I started on 10m but it was pretty quiet with only a few contacts. In many cases I needed to resend my serial number, likely because it was so low as I was just starting out, and the other ops wanted to confirm they got the complete exchange. I switched to 15m which was much more active and was able to tune up the band and work many stations. Once I got above 10 Qs the requests for resending my serial number stopped. I was many working EU stations though a US or South America station would get in the log from time to time.

I spent a short time on 20m before switching back to 15m and pointing the NA4RR hexbeam westward. Though I have a few Qs with China, it is still exciting to get them in the log, so I was glad to work BY5CD. I finished up not shortly after that contact with China.

I ended up with 135 calls logged, most on 15m add you can see below in the summary from N1MM:

  Band QSOs WPX
    14   31  19
    21   97  92
    28    6   6
 Total  134 117

Score : 43,524

Here is a map of contacts produced with ADIF2MAP (click to enlarge):


I was glad to see all my equipment was working fine after an extended period of inactivity. We have the VHF contest and Field Day weekends with the club coming up in June so, weather permitting, I should be active with the club those weekends. I have more travel for work coming up the next couple weeks so I don’t expect to get on the air much before the VHF contest.


2014 NAQP SSB Contest

Yesterday (Saturday) was a short phone contest with the goal to work as many North America stations as possible. It started early afternoon and runs until after midnight but you can just work a total of 10 hours. Each state/province is a multiplier on each band. The exchange remains consistent throughout the contest – Name and State. What a persistent exchange means is once you work a station, they already know your exchange if they grab your call on another band. Not having to negotiate an exchange on the noisier bands normally moves things along quicker on subsequent contacts with the same station.

Got started right at the beginning of the contest pointed west on 10m and worked some stations but there wasn’t a huge amount of activity on 10m. I switched to 15m and then 20m back and forth throughout the afternoon checking 10m for anything new that popped up. After dark, 40m was very active and stations were coming in strong. With operating many RTTY and CW contests, you don’t get to speak with the operator at the other end so it’s nice to actually hear the voice of someone you might work in 10+ contests over the course of a year. Everyone is pleasant and takes a moment out for a more personal touch vs the non-phone contests. I really enjoy hearing “hey buddy”, “nice to hear you”, “there’s a familiar call”, etc.

Around 7:30pm ET (0030 GMT) I needed to stop as friends were coming over for the evening. I might have logged 1 or 2 stations on 80m before shutting things down. After they left about 4 hours later I got back on and worked some stations on 80m before calling it a night. I imported the contacts from N1MM into DXLabs and then uploaded them to LoTW, eQSL and sent into the ARRL. Looks like I missed logging  6 states (SD, RI, HI, AK, ID, WY) & 7 Canadian sections.

Checking out some of the posted scores for the contest, folks were logging QSOs like gangbusters!

Here’s my score summary from N1MM:

 Band    QSOs   Sec  Mt2
  3.5      35    22    1
    7      50    23    1
   14      87    31    3
   21      45    18    3
   28      23    10    3
Total     240   104   11

Score : 27,600


2014 RTTY Roundup

I’m about 1 week late in posting this, but it’s a been a busy week at work and I have time now to get a quick update online.

The RTTY RoundUp is a great start to the year in an anyone-can-work-anyone RTTY contest. I got started just a little late after picking up one of my daughters from NYC. Conditions were ok but not a huge amount of DX so I turned the antenna back across the US and worked a lot of NA stations. I started out on 10m and worked my way down to 15m and 20m. 15m was very good working US stations as well as DX stations without having to point to EU.  After dark I moved to 40m and it was very active being able to work much of the US without issue and even some easy DX. Later I went to 80m and there was a also lot of activity. Working 80m gave me a much of state multipliers in the surrounding states I hadn’t yet worked.  I called it a night with 400 Qs in the log .

After waking up Sunday morning, I got back on and worked a good number of new NA stations on 40m before hitting the higher bands. Conditions seemed good on Sunday morning and I was pointing at Europe working stations on 10, 15 & 20m with ease.  By the end of the morning I needed to call it quits. I had 100 Qs on all bands except 10m.

The log showed 564 stations worked with 52 of the 63 states/provinces accounted for. In the US I didn’t log Rhode Island, DC, Arkansas, Mississippi and Utah. The other 6 that were missed were Canadian Provinces. Looks like across the bands there were 41 unique DXCCs logged. 375 unique stations were worked.

N1MM Summary:

 Band    QSOs    Pts  Sec  DXCC
  3.5     109    109    1    0
    7     142    142   10    4
   14     110    110   12    8
   21     132    132   22   13
   28      71     71    7   13
Total     564    564   52   38

Score : 50,760


DARC Radio Amateurs World Atlas – A good DXCC/prefix reference

I had limited time in the month of December to operate and just dabbled in a couple of contests when I had some time. In the 10M RTTY contest I made 109 contacts and during the ARRL 10m contest I worked 89 SSB contacts.

One of the gifts I requested this year was the DARC produced Radio Amateurs World Atlas. I saw this 23 page reference in it’s previous version and really wanted my own copy. It just happens that the latest edition was just released so if you are interested, you want the August 2013 printing that has a purple cover with a multi-color world image on it.  The older version is a yellow cover with black text . My copy, for $13, was purchased from Universal Radio at http://www.universal-radio.com/catalog/books/6082.html

Inside, the Radio Amateurs World Atlas contains full color maps of the world showing Continental boundaries, DX Zone boundaries and Prefix boundaries. As an example of prefix boundaries, for Japan, it shows what area represents JA0, JA1, …, JA9 prefix calls. For anyone, myself included, that doesn’t have every DXCC’s “zones” memorized and likes to look at maps, this reference is a good one. Maybe there are similar maps online, but I haven’t run into them.

Here’s an image of one of the pages of the map (click to see larger view):

Radio Amateur World Atlas

Happy New Year everyone!


2013 CQ WW CW with Map – 10m Fun

I wasn’t planning on operating much this past weekend on the CQ WW CW contest. I didn’t get on Fri evening and first got on Sat morning for a bit before running some errands. The bands, specifically 10m was good, and there was a lot of activity. I was able to quickly work many DXCC entities in a short amount of time.

Saturday afternoon I got back on and things were still hot so I worked 10m trying to get new DXCC entities I hadn’t worked or new ones on 10m. I was running assisted so I could see what was showing up without having to tune and then listen for each call. There were some pretty good pileups going for many of the rarer stations but if you could get there quickly before the crowd showed up, you had a shot. Otherwise, you needed to use your brain and time things right. As a last resort, tune to a different station and come back later or tomorrow. Most stations were operating the entire weekend and if conditions remained the same, they should be around on Sunday too.

As Saturday wore on, I started to really accumulate entities on 10m. As the day/evening wore on, I also worked 15m and 20m. As it got darked I worked some stations on 40m and 80m. I was just looking for entities I hadn’t worked yet vs logging too many for the same entities. On Saturday evening I was hoping to see/hear Alaska on 80m as that is the last state I need for 5BWAS but I didn’t see them spotted. On Sunday morning I saw some spots for KL7′s but it was well past I was asleep.

Sunday came and I was only able to work until about 1pm ET (1800z) in between getting ready to go out for the day. 10m was still open so I continued to pick and choose new entities. As the time passed, it seemed like it might be possible to log 100 entities for just 10m and I was able to just sneak that in with 102 entities logged on 10m.

Some of the notable stations logged:

3D2R – RotumaIsland (15m) – New band 3DA0ET – Swaziland (10m & 20m) – New band
4U1ITU – ITU HQ (10m & 15m) – New bands 5H3EE – Tanzania (15m)
5R8IC – Madagascar (10m) – New band 9J3A – Zambia (10m)
9L1A – Sierra Leone (15m) 9X0NH – Rwanda (15m) – New DXCC
D3AA – Angola (15m) – New band DX1J – Philippines (20m)
NH2DX – Guam (15m) OY1CT – FaroeIsland (10m) – New band
TC0A – Turkey (10m) UP2L – Kazakhstan (40m) – New band
XT2FCJ – Burkina (10m, 15m & 20m) – New DXCC Z81R/Z81X – South Sudan (10m & 15m) – New DXCC
ZM4T – New Zealand (10m & 15m)  

It looks like I ended up logging 3 new DXCC entities, none of which took much effort during the contest. I worked 114 different entities during the contest and 102 on just 10m. 34 zones out of 40 total zones were worked across all the bands.

Here’s the score summary from N1MM:


Here’s a map of the contacts made using ADIF2MAP (click for a larger image):



Great fun over a few hours on a weekend. Logs uploaded to LoTW, eQSL, ClubLog and to the contest robot.


2013 WAE RTTY Contest with Map

I knew going into this weekend that I wouldn’t have a lot of time to operate in the WAE RTTY contest.

WAE is a fun set of contests with the RTTY contest my favorite. You get to exchange QTCs with ops on other continents. QTCs are a playback of up to 10 previous QSOs you made during the contest showing time, call and exchange. The software, at least with N1MM, makes this very easy, and it pumps up your score.

I didn’t operate Fri, Saturday night or most of the day on Sunday as I already had other plans. That left the morning and day on Saturday, a little of the morning on Sunday and a couple hours at the end on Sunday. Conditions on Saturday morning were good with DX open on 10m & 15m to EU. It wasn’t as great as the CQ WW weekend but it was good. My second contact on Sat morning was to Saudi Arabia on 10m. Before I even had 10 contacts logged where I could send a batch of QTCs, stations were sending me there QTCs and I started out almost immediately with more QTCs then QSOs made by me. Just under 1 hour after starting, I heard 4Z5UN in Israel on 10m and I was able to work him for my 1st 10m contact with Israel. About 2 hours after that I worked the same Israeli op on 15m.

Since 10m and 15m weren’t super good, I did spend time on 20m with a bunch of stations worked there. I called it quits on Saturday about 6:30pm local time / 2330z and was gone for the rest of the evening. I came home late and made 9 quick contacts on 40m and 80m.

Sunday morning I could only spend 3 hours on the air before leaving for a football game for the remainder of the day. 15m had stations on early, but 10m was pretty quiet with just a couple worked. Other than sporadic checks on 10m for a single new station or two, 10m was quiet. 15m was active as was 20m. It was good to find and work GU0SUP on 20m in Guernsey. I stopped mid morning and was gone until 2 hours before the contest ended where it was already dark out. There was still activity on 20m but not so much on the higher bands. I finished the 2 hours and the contest working 40m and 80m contacts, mostly local in the US and Canada with only a little DX.

Stats show 51 different DXCC entities worked. 4 stations worked on 4 bands and 10 additional stations worked on 3 bands. 227 different call signs were logged out of the 309 QSOs logged.

Here’s a map of the stations I logged over this past weekend produced by ADIF2MAP (click for a larger map):


Here’s a snapshot of the score summary for N1MM. The 2nd column indicates QSO for contacts I made, RQTC for QTCs I received from other stations & SQTC for QTCs I sent other stations.


I have family coming into town so I probably won’t operate much this weekend.

73 & good DX!