A man can only take but so much and I have gone well beyond that. I have figured out where I stand in the ham radio community, I am not a contester but rather a DX chaser. The CQ WW RTTY DX Contest goes for 48-hours and it is quite an event. I, however, could not possibly go for the entire time.
Here are my results from this weekend’s contest:
- Contacts: 240
- US States: 32
- Canadian Providences: 8
- DXCC Entities: 52
- Continents: 5
- CQ Zones: 17
- Total Multipliers: 109
- Claimed Score: 54064
I would like to mention a couple of notes that I wrote down during the event:
- I made six 10-meter contacts during the event. Three contacts with Argentina, one with the Galapagos Islands, one with Brazil, and one with Hungary. The Galapogos Islands were strongest on 10-meters with Brazil being the weakest.
- 6H1YYD’s QSL Manager is EA5KB
- The operators working 20m generally stayed within the bandplan provided by the ARRL (I’m sure this is an international agreement).
- The operators working 40m generally operated EVERYWHERE! The DX window is 7.040MHz and the RTTY operating band is 7.080 through 7.125. I listened and I usually couldn’t find anyone operating in the RTTY operating band but I could always find people from 7.025 through 7.060. That DX window was stretched wide open! The CW operators were displaced and took up space up in the RTTY operating area. Sorry guys (and gals).
- I noted that on the strongest RTTY signals there was an accompanying phantom signal. This phantom signal presented itself just lower (in frequency) of the actual signal and was wider than the traditional signal but could still be decoded. Not sure why this is.
That’s all I got for this subject. I’m still recovering and I think I need to go stand outside and get some… air.
Well, actually it is day one plus four hours or so. I haven’t been really “competing” but I have been grabbing the QSOs that I could. So far I’ve racked up 160 QSOs on 4 continents, 42 countries, 28 US states, 7 Canadian providences, and 16 CQ zones. Not bad for someone just sitting back working the lines.
I even worked Brazil and the Galapagos Islands on 10 meters! Who says the bands are dead! Heck, I worked the Galapagos Islands on 10m, 15m, 20m, and 40m and they were the loudest on 10m!
It is 0400z on 30 Sep right now and Europe is coming in very strong on 40m and are weak but there on 80m. I tried to work Italy and the Czech Republic but just couldn’t be heard over the racket of the Canadians. I think propagation is going over the north pole as many of the stations being worked by the Europeans are Canadians. Of course I could be wrong, just an observation.
Anyway, I’m worked everyone that can hear me and I’m continuously running into the same people over and over again. Think I’m going to lay down and take a nap and see if I can get back up around 0900z for the sunrise and the grey zone when 20m and 15m will hopefully come back to life.
BTW, propagation hasn’t been the best at all today. The SFI has hovered around 68 while the “A” value went from 17 to 26 and the “K” value went from 5 to a 3. I’m hoping for better conditions tomorrow. Maybe even an opening to Asia and Oceania would be nice.
Last night I put the final touches on the 20m vertical antenna I built the previous night. Looking over everything and checking it twice I thought I had everything taken care of. I looped a branch in a nearby tree and pulled the antenna skyward so that the base was just off the ground and I then spread out the ground wires at approximately 180 degrees of each other. Everything looked ready to go.
I came back into the shack and hooked up the coax to the rig and fired it up on 14.080Mc. Testing the standing way showed it to be high. It appears that the wire is too long. I may have over compensated so I’ll visit that again in the future.
Applying the tuner I made quick work of four stations, all of which I got on the first call and sometimes in a pileup. HR2DMR was my first victim. Picking up a new DXCC entity, Honduras, was a great feeling. He said he was having problems with the equipment on his end but that I was strong, real strong. Next came VE6EPK, Peter in Calgary, Alberta Canada. Again I got strong signal reports despite the occasional QSB from the solar event that hit us last night. As pleased as I was with the performance of the antenna I went out hunting DX. I cranked up the DX cluster and saw a spot for ZF2JO on 30m. I hadn’t tried the antenna on 10Mc yet but thought it was cut a little long so it would probably work well. Turns out I think the antenna is cut for around 11 or 12 Mc so I wasn’t really flat. That, however, didn’t seem to be a problem because 75 watts into a mismatched antenna grabbed the Caymen Islands on the first call in a pileup! Very cool.
After that I decided to QSY back up to 20m and clean up the shack. I heard Roger, KC0QJQ, calling CQ and worked him while he was at home in MN. Found out towards the end of the QSO that this was his first RTTY contact. Good sounding signal, Roger. I hope I print you later this weekend during the contest!
So what’s the verdict? A $15 (less the coax) antenna performing on 20m and 30m after dark and still grabbing DX. Not bad. I think I’ll keep it. This weekend is the CQ WW RTTY DX Contest so I’ll definitely give it a workout and see how well it works.
Ten days ago I reported on my blog that the ARRL wouldn’t recognize QSOs taking place via the ISS for DXCC or WAS. I got the response I was looking for today from Norm Fusaro, W3IZ. Thank you ARRL for letting this happen. Now I have QSOs to upload to the LoTW when I get home.
After review, ARRL will be permit contacts through the ISS (Earth – ISS – Earth) to be counted towards satellite endorsement for WAS and DXCC.
This applies to contacts made via the onboard repeater equipment provided that the equipment does not hold and re-transmit information.
Contacts with the ISS do not receive any award credit.
Further information will be available on the LoTW website.
Thank you for bringing this to light.
Norm Fusaro, W3IZ
Membership & Volunteer Programs Department
ARRL – The national association for Amateur Radio
225 Main St.
Newington, CT 06011
The CQ WW RTTY DX Contest will be this upcoming weekend (29-30 Sep 2007). This will be the first contest I will be participating in since moving into the new shack. I’m not expecting a lot of good DX results at the moment due to the past experiences with the antenna I have up right now. Another problem is that I’m stuck using a Rig Blaster soundcard device for my RTTY instead of my modem. For those that have not tried a modem and think I’m nuts because the soundcard devices are the best thing YOU’RE WRONG! Soundcard devices are nice because they are generally software based and will allow you to do any kind of digital mode under the sun. The problem is with the significantly lower sensitivity. My modem successfully decodes RTTY and PSK31 at significantly lower levels than my soundcard device. That means that DX stations that might not have a stellar signal won’t be decoded and the QSO won’t be had. Hopefully I’ll have my modem back up and running soon.
I’m also going to try to build a new 20m antenna for the contest. I’ll write about that later in the week once I get all my part and pieces together.
I’m going to build a new antenna I found in the 2003 edition of the ARRL Handbook. This antenna was originally published by the ARRL in their September 1984 edition of QST in which Chuck Hutchinson, K8CH, explains his “Tree-Mounted HF Groundplane Antenna”.
I will be building the 20m version just in time for the CQ WW RTTY DX Contest. Hopefully it will be up and functioning in time. Hope to hear you on the air!