2014 Makrothen RTTY Contest

The Makrothen RTTY contest has a couple of interesting twists. First, the contest has 3 different 8 hour sessions – 1 on Friday, 1 on Saturday and 1 on Sunday. Second, the points are based on distance between the 2 stations with a bonus on 40m and 80m. It really causes your score to skyrocket compared to contests with a few points per QSO.

I was exhausted on Friday night and after just 31 QSOs, I was falling asleep at the radio and called it a night. I wouldn’t have stayed up too late anyway as our club had a hamfest in the morning and my alarm was already set for 5am.

Saturday I got home from the hamfest about 3 hours after the 2nd session started and got on the radio. Bands weren’t great with no signals on 10m. Even 15m was light with signals so most of the time was spent on 20m. 40m allowed a bit of DX for big points. Ended up at the end of session 2 with 142 Qs and 500k points.

Sunday, with 3 hours of the final session gone while I slept, I got a cup of coffee and fired things up around 7am local time. 15m had signals this morning though 10m was still barren. After making some contacts on 20m and with 3 hours left in the contest I checked 10m right at 9am / 1300z and could hear some signals and then some more. 10m was open and stations were flocking to the band. I spent the rest of the contest on 10m and 15m before time ran out and I had 286 QSOs logged with 1.4M points. 42 different DXCC entities were worked.

Here’s the score summary from N1MM+:

 Band    QSOs     Pts  
  3.5       8      8592
    7      37     84360
   14     105    530476
   21      76    412010
   28      60    384206
Total     286   1419644

Score : 1,419,644

Here’s a map of the contacts made this weekend created with ADIF2MAP (click to enlarge):


Fun contest and I’m glad 10m opened up for a portion of it.


2014 CQ WW RTTY – Maps and Stats

Coming into the CQ WW RTTY contest, I knew I could only participate on Friday and Saturday as I was heading out of town on Sunday for a business trip. Fired the radio and N1MM+ up just before 8:00pm ET (0000z) and was ready to go. I started on 15m with the hex beam pointed to EU and the first station I hear and work is a JA station. I’m hearing west coast US stations too and work a few of them right at the start.  Moved to 20m for a bit and found stations to work but nothing exotic. 40m had some good activity with NA stations and western EU stations coming in strong. After just 66 Qs logged, I called it a night. It was a very long week at work and I wanted to just lie down and fall asleep.

Saturday morning I started on 20m and moved to 15m which was very active. 9am ET I took a quick check on 10m and could work some EU stations. 10m is such a great band and when it’s open during a contest it makes the event even better. I’m not going to say every time, but most stations would get my call the first time I sent it and our exchange would be as clear as a text message – no noise, no repeats, just a perfect exchange.  I needed to run some errands in preparation for being away for a week but with 10m open I had a hard time stepping away.

Saturday afternoon I was able to get back on and spend a good part of the remainder of the day on the air. 10m was open and active all afternoon and I spent most of my time there, dropping down to 15m for a spin up and down the band for any new stations I hadn’t yet worked.  I’d flip back to 10m, work any new stations, and then switched to 20m to work up and down the band there.

Late Saturday afternoon with antenna pointing west I looked on 10m and quickly got KH7. After scanning the band I heard a ZL3 and after a couple calls got them in the log. On 20m I worked VK3 with the hex beam pointing east. He was very strong and got my call and report on the first try.

I didn’t switch to 40m until 9:30pm (0130z) and like the night before, EU signals were coming in strong. For the first time in the contest I went to 80m and worked NA stations in the US, Canada and Caribbean. Not a lot of points but most were multipliers which pumps up the overall score.

At the end of the night before shutting down I took a quick look on 20m and came across KC4AAA in Antarctica. He had a good pile going so I’d give it a couple calls and then try and work another station elsewhere on the band before trying again. I was going to head to bed but spent 10 more minutes before I snuck my call in and he came back to me and I got Antarctica in the log for my 30th zone. I ended the night with 465 Qs and figured that might be all I worked in the contest since I had to travel the next day.

Sunday morning I got things ready for my trip and helped clean things up around the house. I was ready to head to the airport with 90 mins to spare so I fired things up and spent 90 mins Sunday morning on 10m having a blast. I even got a ZD8 (Ascension Island) station in the log. I was able to add another 48 Qs into the log for a total of 513.

Score Summary from N1MM+:

 Band QSOs  Pts  ZN  Cty  SP
  3.5   22   24   3    3  14
    7   63  113  11   22  24
   14  122  267  22   43  30
   21  140  349  18   50  19
   28  166  462  20   56   8
Total  513 1215  74  174  95

Score : 416,745

Below is a map created using ADIF2MAP showing the contacts made (click to enlarge):

Antarctica was worked but is out of the picture.

Here are the 81 entities & 30 zones worked in the contest:


Some interesting stats… Worked 379 unique stations but just one station (NR5M) on just all 5 bands. If I was able to work on Sunday maybe that could have been more stations. I did work 8 stations on 4 bands including SV9CVY, Michael on Crete. Michael was very strong on all 4 bands.


2014 WAE SSB – Part time but full QTCs

This past weekend was the annual WAE SSB contest here non-EU stations can only work EU stations.

The WAE contests support QTCs which is an exchange of up to 10 other contacts (time, call and serial number) that were made. Each previous contact can only be sent once and a max of 10 QTCs can be sent to any station during the contest. QTCs add points but not multipliers and its a quick way to potentially double the number of points made.

An example exchange might be me working a DL9ZZ station and then he asking if I have QTCs…

K2DSL TU 59 456
DL9ZZ TU 59 123
YES – BATCH 9/10
0823 DL1AA 100
0823 DL2HQ 233
0825 9A2EU 76

0840 GW4BLE 433

I made the QSO with DL9ZZ which is a point and possible mult and then I get 10 more points for the QTCs exchanged.

I worked a little while on Friday evening when the contest started but most of the contacts were made on Saturday starting later in the morning. Most activity was on 15m & 20m as you can see from the summary below. It’s pretty easy when you just leave your antenna pointed at Europe vs rotating it throughout the contest. For my 40m and 80m contacts it’s the wire that hangs between the trees in my yard – no rotation needed.

My local club was planning on a group VHF contest gathering but the weather was rainy on Saturday so we decided to cancel it. That gave me more time to work the WAE contest.

There was no shortage of stations that wanted QTCs and often I didn’t have a full bucket of 10 to send but they wanted what I had. If I sent them a partial number (less then 10) I might stop by if I heard them later and could send them more. I even came back to some loud stations where I previously made a QSO with but didn’t have any QTCs to send and just sent them QTCs when I had them available.

Sunday was a NY Giants NFL football home game and I was going with the family to it. I was gone most of the day (8+ hours) and after coming back home I got on and tried to make more contacts. I should have stayed home instead of going to the football game since I got sunburned and they played poorly and lost. I might have had more fun making contacts, though hanging out with the family was really enjoyable. Sunday late in the day with just a couple hours left, I was hearing lots of EU stations but I worked them already. I probably should have found a frequency on 20m and started calling CQ but by the time I got home from the game I was pretty beat so I just spun the dial.

I ended up giving out the same number of QTCs as QSOs that I made which is as optimal as you can get in this particular contest. No lack of folks that asked for them and wanted as many or as few as you could send.

Below is my score which shows the QSOs and QTCs per band.

 Band  QSOs  QTCs  Mults
   80:    1           4
   40:   16     6    21
   20:  105    98    58
   15:   96   115    48
   10:    1           2
Total:  219   219   133  
Total Score = 58,254


More original K2DSL – 1950’s QSLs

Back in 2009 I wrote a post and was in contact with Merceda aka “Bunny” the original holder of K2DSL in the 1950s.  After a contest a few weeks ago where K2DSW (Bob now in Iowa) and I, K2DSL were often following each other making contacts, I sent Bob an email, In our exchange he asked me about the original K2DSL as he had made contact with her and sent me some QSL cards from his exchanges.  With Bob’s permission, I’m posting the QSL cards from his contacts with the original K2DSL back in the 1950s when Merceda was between the ages of 13 and 15 years old.

1954 – Age 13 (click images to enlarge):

K2DSL_1954_a K2DSL_1954_b

1955 – Age 13 (click images to enlarge):


1956 – Age 14 (click images to enlarge):


1957 – Age 15 (click images to enlarge):

K2DSL_1957_a K2DSL_1957_b


Bob also sent along a scanned copy of a reprint from a CQ Magazine article on Young YLs. I’ve included the snippet on K2DSL which includes a picture of Merceda (aka “Bunny”). Again, click for a larger more readable view:



I’ll have to check in with Bob and see if he was able to get in contact with Merceda using the email address I had from 2009. Interesting look back into the past. Thanks again Bob for the great scans on those cards from the 50s.


2014 SCC RTTY Summary & Stats

Now that I posted about the SARTG & NAQP contests from a couple weekends ago, I can get to this weekends summary.  Starting Saturday morning on the East Coast is the 24 hour SCC RTTY contest that last for 24 hours. The exchange to send between stations is the year the operator was first licensed so I send 2007. Each unique year on each band counts as a multiplier for your final score.

I decided to use the N1MM+ beta version that was released. Though it has been available for anyone to use for 2 weeks, last weekend I wasn’t home so this is the first weekend I could use it in an actual contest. For the most part it worked fantastic which just a glitch near the start where I was replicating an issue someone else had and caused my installation to become corrupt, but it wasn’t difficult to recover. Anything else I ran into wasn’t critical and never prevented me from making a QSO and logging the contact. The N1MM+ development team has put in a tremendous amount of time and they are positioned to have an updated environment to build upon for many years.

Conditions were pretty crummy for me, especially early on at 8am local time and the activity was pretty slow at times so I did other things (aka errands) while I went back and forth to the radio.  The advantage of it being somewhat slow was I could mess around with N1MM+ and especially some of the new features/options to see how they worked. On Sunday morning, though I woke up before the end of the contest, conditions weren’t much better and I didn’t locate anyone on 40m or 80m so I worked a handful of stations on 20m before the contest ended.

Looking at the license data that is sent as part of the exchange, the earliest license date I received from another op was 1946 (born 1928 based on his QRZ page)  which makes the operator licensed for 68 years now!  I didn’t log anyone licensed in 2014 and just 1 operator licensed in 2013. The median license year I logged across unique operators was 1979 and the most frequent wasn’t much different with 1978 being the year the most operators I worked were licensed.

Here’s my N1MM+ score summary results showing the 216 Qs made in the contest:

 Band QSOs  Pts Year (mult)
  3.5   16   32   14
    7   64  129   39
   14  124  340   52
   21   12   33   10
Total  216  534  115
Score : 61,410


As you can see, most activity was on 20m for me until the evening. I was hoping for more US stations to be on to work 40m and 80m but they must have been doing other things on a Saturday night of a holiday weekend. No 10m activity that I could find and nothing very exotic.


Here’s a screenshot of the contacts made using ADIF2Map (click to enlarge):



Now time to unplug the antennas as a series of thunderstorms are about to pass through.


2014 SARTG & NAQP SSB Recap

As I was going to post about this weekend’s SCC RTTY contest I realized I hadn’t posted about the last contests I participated in which is now 2 weekends ago.  Well, here goes what happened back during the weekend of  Aug 16th & 17th…

Earlier in the week I brought my older daughter down to Clemson in SC to start her 3rd year there and now it was time to move my younger daughter into her NYC apartment before she gets started on her 2nd year at LIM College. So there really wasn’t a lot of time to get on the air but I managed to squeeze in some contacts in both the SARTG RTTY contest and the NAQP SSB contest.

In the SARTG contest I caught a little bit of the 1st of the 3 sessions over the course of the weekend. Missed all of the 2nd session. On Sunday morning 20m was active for the 3rd SARTG session. Happened to hear 2 loud JA stations while pointing to EU and worked them both before I spotted them on the cluster. Worked a bunch of JAs on 20m. 15 m was open at 8am ET / 1200z. I ended up working more JA mults then Canadian mults in the contest. With 135 Qs in the SARTG my wife and I headed back into NYC on Sunday to finish up getting her straightened out in her apartment.

N1MM score summary for the SARTG RTTY contest:

 Band QSOs Pts  Area DXCC
  3.5    4   35   1     4
    7   16  170   4     8
   14   81 1080  30    18
   21   34  470  23     4
Total  135 1755  58    34
Score : 161,460

The NAQP SSB was also that weekend with most of the activity taking place during the day or early evening on Saturday while I was in my daughters apartment putting Ikea furniture together until my fingers were bleeding!  When we got home late in the day I sat in the chair and worked as much as I could before I just needed to get some sleep. You can tell from the summary below that I was on 40m & 80m mostly vs any daytime activity that would have occurred more on 20m and 15m . But I made some contacts and can’t complain at all.

N1MM score summary for the NAQP SSB contest:

 Band QSOs Sec DX
  3.5   21  11  0
    7   69  26  0
   14   37  13  1
Total  127  50  1
Score : 6,477

Not bad with 262 contacts made in a weekend I didn’t think I’d even be able to turn on the radio. Daughter moved in, QSOs made, logs sent to all services/sponsors, and I’m a happy fellow! Apologies again for the late post.





2014 WAE CW Contest

I was able to pop into the WAE CW contest over the weekend for a few hours each day. This contest allows a US station to only make contact with an European station to exchange a serial number. A twist in this contest is it also allows exchanging QTCs which is where we’d send a list of 10 contacts made – their time, call and serial number received from the other station. Each QTC equates to a “contact” from a points perspective so if you work 100 stations and make 100 actual QSOs, you can double the number of points by also sending 10 batches of 10 QSOs to 10 different stations you work. I’m not comfortable enough with CW to do QTCs so I declined. For CW, we’d send the info so it wouldn’t be that difficult so maybe next year I’ll consider sending CW QTCs. I have no issue with QTCs during the RTTY version of the contest where we can send and receive those with EU stations.

Friday night about 1 hour after the contest started I got on and made 24 contacts all on 20m in just over 30 mins. I had family in from out of town so I spent time with them vs being on the radio. I checked 15m but there were no stations heard.

Saturday morning I started out on 20m but there was little activity and I moved to 15m where I made most of the contacts until early afternoon when 15m seemed to fade and all activity was on 20m. Somewhere on Sat I got pulled along to a pet store to check out new kittens to adopt so there was some furry things in the house as our previously adopted cat of 14 yrs had recently passed away. I wrapped up my radio time for the day around 3:30pm ET (1930z) and headed off with the entire family to a pre-season NY Giants football game. My daughters both leave for college starting this week so it was nice all of us got out together. Finished up on Saturday with 104 Q’s with EU stations logged in N1MM.

Sunday morning I got on and made some contacts again on 15m before moving to 20m. My local radio club family picnic was today so I drove over to the park where it was being held. We had about 50 people there when I took a quick headcount. It looked like there was enough food for 200 people so no one was going to leave hungry. After a couple hours I headed back home to make a few more contacts and help around the house as my girls are getting ready to leave. I was surprised at the end end to see I was able to make an additional 101 contacts on Sunday for a total of 205 Qs with EU stations.

There were a few times during the contest that I followed or might have been followed by K2DSW, an operator in Iowa. With our calls being so similar it was interesting to hear the delay, or not, between various operators when I sent my call just after they logged a contact with K2DSW. Some times I’d hear a pause and sometimes the EU operator wouldn’t miss a beat. I contacted K2DSW after the contest and we had a great exchange which I’ll follow-up on in another post soon.

Below is the summary from N1MM and it shows that 20m was a better band for me over the weekend for the times I was able to be on the air.  If I had sent QTCs, I would have doubled the number of points though the multipliers would have been the same so my score essentially would have doubled.

 Band   Q/QTC  QSOs   Mult
   14    QSO   142      68
   21    QSO    63      40
Total    All   205     108

Score : 22,140

I heard a bunch of non-EU stations on CW while I was in the contest, but since we can only work EU stations, there was no reason to call them. I heard at least two different stations in Turkey that were loud as well as familiar calls for some familiar and always loud stations int the middle east.


2014 NAQP CW & TARA Grid

I’ll start with the TARA Grid contest since that was quick. I ended up making just 15 contacts against 14 grids. It didn’t seem like there was much activity or I wasn’t on or listening where everyone was. Maybe what didn’t help was the NAQP CW contest started up during the 24 hours of this one? Anyway, at least I got in a couple contacts.

Saturday was the NAQP CW contest and that had much more activity. I didn’t do well on 15m and nothing on 10m but 20m was fine making contacts across the country from the south to the west coast. I was on and off throughout the day but off for 2 hours during peak 40m/80m activity when I went into NYC to pick up one of my daughters from work. I got back on for a bit after I got home around 11:45pm ET (0345z) to log some 80m contacts. Looks like I worked 39 states in those 213 Qs.

Here’s my score as reported by N1MM and submitted to the contest, 3830, LoTW, eQSL, Club Log, QRZ, etc.

 Band    QSOs    Sec   Mult2
  3.5      26     15     0
    7      67     31     0
   14     105     30     1
   21      15     10     0
Total     213     86     1

Score : 18,531

The Mult2 above was a nice strong ZF station in the Cayman Islands.

During the contest I popped away twice to work two different Bolivia (CP) stations that I was alerted to being on the air. One CPstation was on SSB and the other on RTTY. Since I have been on HF I’ve only logged two CP stations before and then I go and log two in modes I didn’t have in the span of under 2 hours.




Afghanistan Logged and Confirmed – TU T6T !!

I have seen T6T in Afghanistan (DXCC YA) on the cluster for a while but was either never able to hear him or not at the radio to even try. Well that changed today when I saw T6T spotted on 17m RTTY. I could just barely “print” him on and off for a few hours starting around 9AM ET (1300z) as I worked other stations and did some things around the house. About 2PM ET (1800z) I had a stronger copy on him and started sending my call again. It took a few shots but at 2:18PM ET (1818z) I was able to put T6T in the log!

The below RTTY copy might not look pretty but it looks fantastic to me. I’ve removed noise copied and kept the relevant exchange.

T6T: K2DSL EE T6 599 599 K2DS
K2DSL: TU 599 599 K2DSL TU TU


The QSO was made at 1818z and LoTW shows he uploaded his log and our QSL is confirmed at 1955z for a new DXCC confirmed.  Thank you Shuravi for working me from your station in Afghanistan with 100 watts (same as me) and a dipole on a bamboo mast.


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,