Sunday, February 24, 2013

WQ6X does the NAQP RTTY Contest

This weekend found me playing in the NAQP RTTY Contest.

This was another ad-hoc operation running the ICOM 7000 into a pair of hamsticks 5mh.
I was amazed to be able to work all areas of the U.S. & Canada, as well as KH6 & JA from that pair of rods.  90 QSOs may not seem like a lot, but using only those rods, it is fantastic.
While I've been getting more involved in RTTY contests in the last 6 mos., the NAQP RTTY GiG is a first for me.  Originally, because there were a couple of state QSO parties happening as well, I considered playing both.
Instead I decided to just play RTTY alone - it was more than enough to keep track of.
Although this was a RTTY contest, I encountered many of the same problems encountered in SSB & Cw contests:
  • Listening is the key to successful contesting.  Pausing 1/2 second before calling another CQ is hardly good operating technique.  Sometimes it takes me 1 second or more to send a reply.  So my reply occurs simultaneously with your next CQ, keeping us BOTH out of synch and NO qsos are made.  Likewise waiting 10 seconds between CQs leads S&P operators to believe that you disappeared.
  • When you start a QSO - FINISH IT.  Many times, a station will send my callsign and an exchange and then momentarily not hear me (or I get walked on by an inconsiderate operator)Rather than ask me for a repeat they move on to another callsign (sometimes the guy who walked all over me).  Now, I don't know if I am in his log or not.  Yes we are in a hurry, however courtesy is a BiG part of ethical operating.  Slow down and complete EACH Qso before moving onto the next.
  • With RTTY contests we have an interesting situation.  We operate at the higher end of the "Cw" portions of the band that are also shared by other services, such as BEACONS.  This weekend I sometimes had difficulty hearing the beacons on 14.100 because they were being QRM'd by contest RTTY stations - K6TU being an obvious offender who should know better.  These beacons exist to assist us in making propagation determinations.  The LEAST we can do is give them a bit of room to provide their signals QRM free; otherwise, what good are they? 
I am finding RTTY contests to be as enjoyable as Cw GiGs.  
I look forward to further events.  Having YOUR callsign in my log will be good for all of us.
When are you going to come and play RTTY with me?


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