Wednesday, March 21, 2018

WQ6X Plays Radiosport with Russians and RTTY

Each contest weekend is so uniquely different, thought must be given on how to integrate multiple modes into one weekend. Figuring this
out now will give me preparation for the 5 contest weekend, the 1st weekend in May - Cinco de Mayo.

WQ6X running remotely
For the March 17th weekend the goal was
to primarily work the BARTG RTTY GiG, followed by the Russian DX Contest (CW only), with the VAQP and LAQP QSO Parties thrown in
as a bonus.
Unfortunately, some bonuses are worth 0-Points as I heard NO Louisiana stations during the way-too-short contest period.

Having been up all night with the Russians on CW and the rest
of the world on RTTY, I need some sleep; but not if it means losing LAQP time.

Note to contest sponsor: I need more than JUST 12 hours to sniff out backwoods LA stations. How can we expect to turn in a winning score in your contest if your potential participants don't actually participate? Am I missing something?

While looking for Russians on 40 meters after 07:00z, because I generally point the shorty-40 yagi between 300 - 360 degrees I can rely on the Russian military beacons on 7.039 to give me a sense of propagation.

This is similar to what we do with the NCDXF beacons. For this GiG, the "K" beacon was heard @ 07:40z and the "M" (barely) @ 09:50z.
At 12:00z I was able to hear the "F", "K" & "M" beacons simultaneously and (I think) even the "R" beacon in the "background". That certainly confirms that 40 meters was WIDE-Open; even tho there were only
a FEW signals actually on the air - Bummer Dewd!

Sunday morning, after thorough searching and pouncing, it was time (10:30z) for stations
to come to me.

Parking the radio on 7017.17 kept me busy
for the last 90 minutes of the Russian DX contest.

Altho the BARTG RTTY contest was still raging on, in order to be effective, a few hours sleep was required.

This was one of the most fun BARTG GiGs I have run in years, even though it was sometimes the most frustrating. Contrary to other RTTY contests, not only do we get 48 hours to play, it begins and ends at 02:00z (7pm local time, after dinner). Unlike most contest efforts I
was ready to go in advance.

Tower-1 - Tower-2 - ACOM-2000a
Because of shack heat considerations when I ran a frequency,
the ACOM 2000 amplifier was dialed back to about 550 watts.
During S&P'ing, 1350 watts was the usual power level. If my
callsign suddenly JUMPED OUT at you, that is probably why.

Something unique to the BARTG contest is the requirement that we send OUR time of day to the receiving station (be it local time or UTC). Unfortunately, many stations added a COLON to the 4 digits (sending 13:36 instead of 1336) confusing the N1MM software. When I see a colon I type the time value in directly. Maybe one day a software fix
will be made to N1MM to fix this. Overall however, N1MM+ is an outstanding RTTY performer.

On the other end of the spectrum are the operators who have not read the rules and do not send the time at all.

Because it takes too long (and produces too much amplifier heat) to explain it, I just type it in UTC.

They will never send in a long anyway, so it really doesn't matter what I put in that field.

Another issue with me are the stations who reply to my CQ BARTG calls but WAY OFF FREQUENCY - Wassup with that? Because the RCForb has no provisions for R.I.T., I have to synch the VFO's and
run split mode so I can tune in the OFF FREQUENCY IDIOTS without shifting the run frequency. Running RTTY Remotely can be REAL Risky.

At 20:08z a station came on my run frequency with what sounded like Spotty CW; it then turned into RASPY RTTY with "VY0ERC" showing up on the decoder screen. I thought it was a joke but the logged the contact just in case it is legitimate - it WAS. Because of where VY0 is, magnetic polar action is more prevalent and literally "pokes holes"
into signals.

My BEEF for this contest were the high number of stations who chose to operate EXACTLY on the 14.100 NCDXF beacon frequency, as
well as the W1AW bulletins and code practice conducted at 048.5 khz into every major HF band. I ALWAYS give these frequencies plenty of room. Remember, we SHARE our slivers of electromagnetic spectrum with other services, as well as SWL listeners. Those beacons and bulletins are of interest to people worldwide.
Give them some breathing room.

In addition to Russians and RTTY I found time work a handful of VAQP stations on CW throughout the weekend - I never made time
to look for VA SSB stations; maybe next year.

Because the 2018 year 60 point score is 7X what I submitted in 2017 for the high California CW score, imagine what kind of placement I
will qualify for THIS year1

Now, while I opened these BLOG comments with a mention of Russians AND RTTY, unfortunately there were very FEW
Russians ON RTTY. While some Russians like to hack internet connections, they should apply those skills to winning the BARTG RTTY contest. After the Russian DX contest was over, there were
still 14 hours left to play RTTY.

Where were the Russians on RTTY?

Did YOU play with the Russians and/or on RTTY?

Is WQ6X in YOUR Log?

NEWS FLASH!!! - JUNE 25th 2018
This just in - WQ6X takes 2nd place for California in the VAQP.

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