Monday, January 6, 2014

WQ6X & N6GEO operate RTTY RU Contest as WQ6X/WP2

This is the current KP2M location
Well.... the purpose of George (N6GEO) and I coming to St. Croix has officially been met.  Less than 2 hours ago the 2014 ARRL RTTY Round came to an end; altho ironically, there were still stations handing out RTTY-RU exchanges a good 5 minutes after the contest was officially over.  Because we were running the PowerSDR software to control the FLEX-1500 radios, it was interesting to watch the "waterfall" display at 23:59:30 FULL of signals slowly..... fade..... away...... until the above mentioned stations were all that was left; which is why they stood out as much as they did.

WQ6X from above
N6GEO running 10-Meters for 2 hours
As a team, George and I amassed 1,094 QSOs w/110 multipliers - all states except North Dakota, along with over 50 countries in the log - 1/2 DXCC.  With all of the contacts I have been making outside the contest period, I easily have WAS (Worked all States), WAC (Worked All Continents) & most likely DXCC (100+ countries).  For me, the curiousity is how many bands I have managed WAS on from the KP2M QTH.  WAC on all bands is harder here because we have not heard many stations from Oceana; altho this morning I heard George working a VK6 (Austrailia) on 20 meter Ssb - good show mate!  (Note:  On Monday K3TN shared his experience of working Asia from this location.  His recommendation is to point the yagi south of Asia more towards the equator to create a zig-zag bounce into Asia.  I'm gonna try that.)

While we both bring different assets to our contest activities, the use of SDR radios to run a Rtty contest was completely George's idea, which made complete sense to me from the day he mentioned the idea.  Using software defined radios allows Rtty operators to completely leverage the many advantages that operating Rtty has.  Altho we encountered a number of "blue screens" (the worst was when Windoze crashed JUST as I was about to click on the ONLY Vermont station in the contest), overall everything performed in tandem with no glarring "Ooooooooopppssss" except for not packing an amplifier control cable for the secondary FLEX-1500.

Operationally, we ran the 5 watts from the main Flex-1500 radio into an intermediate Tokyo
HyPower HL-45b amp giving enough driving power to push an Alpha 89 amplifier
(capable of 1.5kw+) to a whopping 149.49 watts keeping us under the 150-watt limit for the low power
contest category.  As it turns out, Rtty operations don't really need a lot of power to effortlessly communicate world wide; demonstrated by the 200+ QSOs George pulled off in 2 hours on 10-meters.

Running N1MM for contest logging, the keyboard macros allowed us to pick off
stations with rapid ease.  When the operator is in synch with running a frequency, the GRAB button & F11-Now key can maximize efficiency at "cruising-attitude".  In several cases we managed to keep a line of stations going for 20 minutes or more. Unfortunately,because of band-crowding, stations on either side of our operating frequency would eventually squeeeeeeeze us out.

Speaking of crowded bands, only in Rtty contests, do stations move to higher and
higher spots in a band, virtually up to the end of their corresponding operating segments.  On 20-meters we were working stations as high as 14.132; on 15-meters, as high as 21.145.  The spectrum above 14.1 & 21.1 doesn't get enough use, so for contest periods this is simply maximizing an available resource.  On 40 meters where 7.075 - 7.100 is also shared with Ssb stations in global Regions 1 & 3, the only way to go is DOWN - into the Cw section - in counter-balance to the fact that Cw contests expand UP the band squishing Rtty operations against the 7.100 "wall".

Overall, the 2014 RTTY RU was an AWEsome experience altho I would not mind having
another 18 hours of operating time (like CQ WW RTTY) and the ability to run as a Multi-2.
As Multi-2 we could have REALLY leveraged the KP2M station location. 
Maybe one day the ARRL contest guys will finally add Multi-2 to their contests. 
Until then we simply need to be creative in how we leverage our OP time.

Did you work the RTTY RU contest?
If so, did you snag WP2/WQ6X?

5 comments:

  1. Thus far, it looks as tho we will end up in 5th place world-wide - not bad considering what we had to work with. You can see our standing at: http://www.3830scores.com/editionscores.php?arg=kTaXzOffcaE

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  2. You can view our 3830-score submission at: http://www.3830scores.com/showrumor.php?arg=6RapzlfffgmiE

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  3. As it turns out Wp2/WQ6X took FIRST PLACE for DX - can ya' believe THAT?

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  4. Our RTTY operation was also listed at:
    http://www.rttycontesting.com/records/arrlru/

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  5. This past weekend a pair of RTTY RU plaques made their way to my P.O. Box - whut a surprise.

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