Friday, March 16, 2018

WQ6X reminisces about RTTY

While I LOVE formulating WQ6X Contest BLOG entries, it is easy to get caught up in writing about WHAT happened, in lieu of making the NEXT event happen. This evening (March 9th) while planning the next two contest weekends, I looked at this year's BLOG work and noticed that February slipped by with nary a BLOG entry from WQ6X.  HORRORS!  Let's Fix that.

It's no secret that I am falling in love with RTTY contests.
It's now 4+ years ago that with N6GEO, WP2/WQ6X took 1st place (worldwide) for the 2014 ARRL RTTY RU GiG. Here are the write-ups
for that event:

I SO much enjoy the RTTY RU contest that WQ6X Software will once again sponsor an award plaque for the 2018 RTTY RU contest. If the plaques are as cool looking as 2014, the recipient will be as pleased as I was when the surprise box one day appeared at my P.O. Box.

For RTTY RU 2018, my 654 QSOs
most likely earned a 1st place win for San Diego section.

The preliminary results are out and WQ6X is not listed for any major category wins; altho the section results will be published in a few weeks.

With the RTTY RU ancient history, the next RTTY GiG for WQ6X to dabble in was the Mexican RTTY contest (in early February), along with the WPX RTTY contest the following weekend.

Because N6KI & WQ6X were hyper-focused on the CQ 160 contest, I never found time for the NAQP RTTY GiG the end of the month - look for WQ6X next year.

Even though audio filters on the remote end are not useful for RTTY contests (altho they are AWEsome for CW work), I used this weekend as an opportunity to test-drive cascading an MFJ 752-B and JPS NIR-12 for the left ear and another MFJ 752-C for the right ear.
The NIR-12 sports a decent DSP-notch filter which helps knockout annoying tuner-uppers without affecting the actual RTTY decoding
on the NX6T end.

For the Feb 3rd weekend, I began operations with the F.O.C. CW contest allowing me to test-drive the NX6T STN-1 remote operation. Then, after some DEEP sleep I managed to start the XE-RTTY
contest right at 12:00z working a couple hours here and an hour there.

For heat reasons when I ran a frequency, the ACOM 2000 amplifier was dialed back to 550-650 watts, while S&P contacts were made running approx. 1350 watts - into a C-31 Yagi, a 2-element "shorty
40" and 80-meter inverted vee all up only 13mh; altho the station is 900' above sea level. Because the SFI was so low, 40 and then 80 opened way earlier than I am used to. That made up for NO signals heard on 15 & 10 meters. It was nice to see many XE states on the
air, altho I was hoping for more.

An advantage of the SFI being so low is that 40 meters currently opens to the east most days by mid-afternoon; with EA5HYJ calling
in @23:58z Saturday afternoon - NICE! That evening a huge CHUNK of spectrum was occupied by a CW PILEUP for the recently activated Z60 station in Kosovo. Luckily 80 meters was available as a refuge. Later, on 7.039 mhz the M & K Russian military beacons were heard, about the same time an opening to JA materialized - at least those intrusive beacons are good for SOMETHING.

Saturday morning, at 18:26z I received a STRANGE transmission (w/o callsign ID) saying "TEST is OVER". Every time I called CQ XE RTTY he would repeat that message; I guess the IDIOT didn't realize the XE RTTY is a 36 HOUR affair, not 30 hours like the RTTY RU in January. When I pointed this out to him he Quietly disappeared.

From 18:00z to 18:22z I had 23 stations call on my run frequency, before it all of a sudden became real quiet. I must admit, for a brief moment I visualized this BOGUS station sending "contest over" message all over the band, effectively convincing unaware
operators to shut it all down. 

By 18:34 stations were again calling; I guess, like me, they checked the contest rules on the website rediscovering the fact that we had 6 more hours of frustrating fun. Client commitments co-opted two hours of OP time, with WQ6X returning to 20 meters at 21:15z, eventually moving down to 40 meters (@23:00z) for the last hour of the contest.

After submitting the score to the 3830 Scores website it would seem that WQ6X took 21st place worldwide, 18th-place for NA, 17th-place for USA and 1st-place for W6.  Not BaD for just screwing around, learning new remote operation techniques.

Did YOU work the 2018 Mexican RTTY Contest?

Is WQ6X in YOUR Log?

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