Tuesday, March 19, 2013

WQ6X Survives the BARTG RTTY Contest

Despite a massive solar CME event and having to spend most of Sunday doing client work, I managed some operating time in the BARTG RTTY contest.  This was my first entry into this British Amateur Radio Teledata Group sponsored contest.
A CME event hit planet dirtball sometime late Sunday morning, rendering 20, 15 & 10 meters all but useless.  I put out numerous 5 minute CQ BARTG calls with no response.  At first I thought it was equipment problems or that my little hamstick antenna fell out of the tree; both ruled out.  Then, out of nowhere I would hear (and work) a station half way across the country, sounding as loud as I would expect - go figure.
Nevertheless, I found this contest to be a LOT of fun.
The exchange for this contest is a signal report (always 599) followed by a Serial # and rounded out by sending the UTC time of day.  Using N1MM with the MMTTY RTTY overlay made entering data into the log nothing more than clicking on the proper data in the receive window, which was then transferred to the next data entry box in the log window.  When its all in synch, it works great; when I got out of synch it would result in a momentary confusion.
I have enjoyed RTTY contests so much this year that I recently mused that the November Sweepstakes should have a RTTY event on the weekend BETWEEN the Cw and SSB events, or maybe during an "off" weekend in October or December  Yes, in November it would be in competition with the JIDX SSB event, but die-hard contesters (like me) would find a way to make BOTH events happen.
What are your views on this?  
If an SS-RTTY event were proposed, would you join in the fun?


Saturday, March 9, 2013

ARRL DxPhone - DiD it REALLY Happen?

Last weekend's Dx contest turned out to be a disappointment world wide.
The solar flux was low, the A-Index hovered near 27 and the K-Index was 3-4.  
For me, combine that with a setup using only a pair of hamsticks, in location full of streetlight RFI and you have the worst ARRL Dx contest I've ever experienced.

Touching base with several contest participants in California confirms that the conditions were down worldwide.  This year, work-related events kept me from joining the crew at NX6T in Fallbrook.  In comparison to their Step_IR's @70' my hamsticks probably rated worse than a mobile whip.
Nevertheless, there were some exotic stations operating during the contest.  
Who is the TX8W station I heard?  Even N1MM didn't know who that was.

Did you catch  TX5K on Clipperton?
They are scheduled to leave tomorrow at 11am.
My hamsticks have yet to get thru.
I've heard them on 40, 30, 20, 17, 15 & 12.
On 30 meters I hear them easily  but they always seem to be calling for EU only (on BOTH Cw & RTTY) so my window of opportunities do me no good.  Oh well maybe next Dx-pedition. 

According to my calendar, this weekend sports the Wisconsin and Idaho QSO parties.
Look for me to make a few QSOs in each and submit a log - which is now easy to do in QSO parties.  Who knows, you might get a certificate like I did from the Hawaiian QSO Party for making a WHOPPING 2 QSOs.
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