This weekend there where multiple contests to choose from. To optimize my score I picked out the Melee Tara RTTY contest on Saturday and the ARRL RTTY 10 Meter contest on Sunday.
I started off with a well prepped N1MM. Loaded with call history file and a fresh master.dta and country file. FSK was working (plenty of practice on Saturday). But since 10 meters doesn’t open up until sunrise I did have breakfast with the family first. Then I climb up the roof to put some extra’s on for 10 meter. My Fritzel FD-3 can do 10 meter of course, but it’s not ideal. I put up my Buddipole and trimmed it for 10 meter. I found an old Solarcon Antron 99A vertical in the shed which (if I remember correctly) can be used for 10 meter too. Everything is functioning and a cup of hot coffee I went in the shack.
The Buddipole did a great job in the early morning hours! In the afternoon the vertical seemed to work better then the dipole. Q’s where running low, but that’s only logical for a single 10 meter band contest. I did manage to squeeze out 100 Q’s.
It was already dark when I put down the Buddipole. The vertical I left up for now. Maybe it’s handy for coming contests?
Last Saturday I entered the Melee Tara RTTY contest. I woke up early at 5:30 AM and eat breakfast in the shack. I did want to make a flying start and score some early Q’s.
But unfortunately I did not prepare so N1MM was in CW modus since the last contest.
I didn’t get FSK operational for at least half a hour when finally found the option: [Enable both Hardware & Software PTT]. That did the trick. Full throttle at 40m, but there were only about 4 stations to work…. Well, let’s call CQ then. Also no luck. After 1,5 hour I had 6 Q’s in the log. OK, Tara RTTY isn’t a CQ World Wide of course. I have to remember that. Propagation was just fine and I hopped from 40 to 20 to 15 and even made 5 Q’s on 10 meters. But at the end of the afternoon, when I wanted to get back to 40 meter, I got a phone call of one of my neighbors. He complained about “stripes” on his TFT-monitor and wanted to know if it was my “hobby” causing this interference. I went over to his place and put some ferrite clamps around the cables. Unfortunately his TFT is just a few meters away from my FD-3 wire. So no matter what I did (turning the output power low, click on 12 ferrite clamps etc) the stripes are there to stay.
Since he had a deadline to work to I decided to wait that evening until he quits his computer work. But when he did quit around 9:30 PM, 40 meter was almost empty again. So no decent score. Anyway, had fun working in RTTY again!
Got my full license early 2008 and still not worked 100 countries (confirmed). You could say I had a lot of off-air time. But since 2013 I participate in more then a few contests and my first DXCC-award (mixed) is appearing on the horizon. I do have a shoe box full of QSL-cards and mixed with my Logbook of The World confirms I do have 100 countries confirmed. I did look in to the process of having my cards checked and apply them for the award but I decided that’s too much hassle. In LoTW I have 96 confirmed countries, so four more and I can apply for DXCC mixed without even opening my QSL shoe box.
Sounds nice to me! Don get me wrong, I do like to receive paper QSL’s, especially from special stations or very remote locations. But for award checking it is far more convenient to have digitally confirmations.
Yes, my first CW-contest! This weekend I participated in the last big world wide contest of 2013 and in CW-modus none the less. OK I admit, my CW-skills are not yet at 25-30wpm so I had to rely on CW-skimmer for a lot of contacts. But it was the best CW-training I ever did! At the end of the weekend I started to copy calls at over 30 wpm.
I didn’t worked new countries this contest, but had great fun. Propagation was still good. Especially on 10 meters I made great contacts (even with New Zealand)! For this time of year I think that’s cool. I wonder how many months we can enjoy these good propagation at the top of the sun cycle.
Ending on Sunday night with 300 Q’s in the log and deep respect for my fellow amateurs who copy my call so quickly and error-less.
It was a great experience and I’m entering more CW-contests in the future. Maybe soon without CW-skimmer
As every weekday morning when I’m enjoying my breakfast around 6:00 am, I listen to our local repeater PI2NOS. For a while now this repeater has an Echolink connection. Amateurs who use this repeater almost every morning, driving to work and chatting with each other.
This morning a US-HAM, Jasper KK4UFD logged in the repeater via Echolink. It was 12 o’clock pm at his QTH and he was preparing for a night sleep. The dutch amateur was driving to work as every morning and they had a fun chat about HAM-licenses, the weather, and some other subjects.
It’s great to hear a 15 year old US-kid talk to a 51 year old Dutch guy and (besides the language differences) have a really nice conversation about HAM-related subjects.
We do have a GREAT hobby!
This weekend I entered the Work All European RTTY contest 2013. Saturday morning I was up early (5:30 am) to first switch on the radio. Of course the first band to enter this early is 40 meter. Unfortunately my set-up isn’t complete RFI-free on 40 meter. So when putting too much power out (around 60/65 watts) my keyboard is doing nasty stuff like put my computer in standby-modus or messing up N1MM. That’s a real pain because sometimes 60 watts is just a little short on power when a station hears you but keeps calling: “YOUR CALLSIGN? YOUR CALLSIGN??”. You know he will copy you when you’re able to power up to 100 watts.
But around the time the sun arise, I switched to 20 meter and on 20, 15 and 10 meter I can operate at full power.
I noticed quit quickly some “QTC-traffic”. Really no idea what it was (great preparation ;-)). I noticed the QTC-stations appear in green in N1MM. After working 2 of those stations who asked both if I wanted QTC and I passed, I googled what it meant. Found a great video from K8UT. After seeing this video I really want to give it a try. The first time exchanging QTC everything went OK. But the second time some lines broke up in transmission. I did panic a little ending up correct lines but then completely messed up the QTC exchange. Lessons learned: just click the lines that are ok, don’t think about touching those which are hosed! Just ask the hosed ones again. Check.
I think I did okay with my score. Propagation was good on 20 and 15 meters. 10 meters was so so. I heard a lot of DX on 10 meter but also extremely QSB which made it hard to work stations.
This weekend I was all prepared for the JARTS WW RTTY contest. Propagation is great at the moment, around 9 am 10 meters is wide open. Saturday morning around 5:30 I was in the shack making QSO’s. Balancing between family time and contesting the whole weekend, Sunday evening at 10 o-clock I was done with it. With 303 QSO’s in the log the contest was done for me. Finally I’ve worked a great deal of Japanese stations (even on 15 meters were my FD-3 isn’t resonant) and some other new DXCC’s like Hong Kong, United Arabic Emirates and a few I didn’t have yet.
My set-up works great on 20, 15 and 10 meters. On 40 meters I must power down to around 20 watts to not have too much RFI in the shack. My homemade FSK-cable is not working at higher power levels and my keyboard is going nuts causing N1MM doing all kind of crazy things.
I think the shack is a little too close under the antenna. The fact that I don’t have a earthed wall outlet in my shack don’t help either I guess.
I’ve got to find out how to fix this before the next contest (coming weekend, CQ WW SSB). Nice quest for this week!