Monday, November 12, 2012

Dabbled in the Diddle and then Hit the Club!

WAE RTTY Contest - 2012
This past weekend was the WAE DX RTTY Contest. Another popular contest for this past weekend was the Japan International DX Contest. These obviously were not the only contest activities planned for this past weekend but both normally yield lots of activity world wide. The JIDX Contest was a SSB or voice contest and when I flipped the contesting coin on Friday to determine which contest I was going to operate in, of course, the RTTY contest won.

WAE RTTY Contest Breakdown
It was another busy weekend around our house so I did not have lots of time to dedicate to working the contest. No matter how busy the schedule, if I'm at home, I will always try to squeeze in a few hours anyhow. This weekend was no exception. I wanted to focus again on 10 meters with a side of 15 meters for the bulk of my activity. I know that I'm still missing Hawaii, South Dakota and Maine for my RTTY Worked All States (WAS) on 10 meters. I was hoping to once again attempt to snag those last needed states which upload to LOTW. I'm hoping to wrap that WAS band/mode up this winter. I have worked and confirmed all 50 States on 15 meter RTTY so I'm good there.

The band conditions were pretty fair. Lots of QSB on 10 meters in my neck of the woods. With some of the longer exchanges, that led to me asking for repeats, especially on Sunday. I think Saturday was much better, propagationally speaking. I did encounter a few problems with my older version of N1MM when it came to accepting QTC's from a few stations. The DX station was sending QTC's to me, which in the Ham Radio world references the passing of traffic, such as telegrams. I had specific problems with RA7A and RQ5D as N1MM kept telling me those exchanges were bad. I ended up having to save those QSO's with a temporary callsign and then go back and edit with the correct. Back in the day, (and still used today, even with modern technology) passing of messages was very popular.  QTC's are made up of receiving or sending already completed contacts from ones contest logbook. A successful QTC exchange would be me sending or receiving a previous contact consisting of the time of that contact, the callsign of the station worked and the serial number of that contact. 

For years I avoided the QTC exchange and little did I realize until a few years ago, how easy modern contest software makes exchanging QTC information. I only use N1MM for digital contests but the program is pretty darn smart. You can exchange QTC's with those outside of your continent. It's smart enough to know if I attempt to exchange QTC's with another station, let's say in North America, it would not even allow me to pull up the QTC screen. But, if I wanted to send or receive QTC's from anyone else, a simple use of CTL-Z brings up the QTC receive screen and another click of those same keys brings up the QTC send screen. If one was receiving QTC's, all you need to do is click on the received lines and the information is automatically populated into the log. If there is an error, the program will more than likely let you know this as well and even tell you which lines to repeat. That's a simple explanation but trust me, it's pretty easy and sure adds to the points score. For that which I used to avoid, I now embrace. :0)

Club Log 
 Inspired by Larry, N1TX who has used Club Log for several years, I had decided to give it a try. I must say, I'm once again impressed with hams and their software. Club Log allows an account holder to upload their log and will make available a very nice search feature so others can see if they are in your logbook. There is also some great statistical data available to you, once you upload your logbook. I found that HRD (Ham Radio Deluxe) had incorrectly populated the wrong entity into a handful of my contacts and Club Log identified those and sent me an email telling me! Anyhow, Club Log is my new best friend. If you have not tried it, I could recommend it. 

As we have several inches of snow on the ground and have dipped well below zero on temperatures recently, I have a new source of QRN that has reared it's ugly head. My noise blanker does work in limiting electrical interference  I'm hearing but at least with my Icom, using a NB during a crowded CW contest leads to more "splatter" and reduces the efficiency of the CW filters, making it harder to copy weaker stations. So, I guess it's time to drag my trusty portable AM radio outdoors and take a walk. With the BIG contest looming beginning on the 23rd (actually 24th in UTC time) of November, this is one thing I would like to find and resolve. Our electric company (GVEA) has been awesome to work with regarding power line noise. 

It's heard to believe the holiday season is upon us! I'm not sure where this year went and time sure does feel like it goes faster the older I get. I have CQ World Wide CW and the ARRL 10 Meter Contest in my sights! December involves the first day of winter and our shortest day, yielding approximately 5 hours or less of daylight. Our temperatures will be dropping well below zero and staying there, except during the occasional Chinook that blows through. Ham Radio is my savior when it comes to mentally surviving Alaskan winters. I enjoy contest season almost as much as the summer season here in Alaska. Almost... 

1 comment:

  1. Hi Phil, TU fer the contact in WAE RTTY, I just recently signed up with club log, will let you how it goes, thanks again, I enjoy your bolgs.

    73 de Joe KJ8O