CQ WW RTTY DX And Terminal Weirdness

I started the CQ WW RTTY DX contest saying I’d kill for a 100 watts. Problem is at 5 watts I could work everybody I could hear (and the only exception to that was a station in Indonesia who I could print (that’s what it’s called in RTTY) and who sent me a couple of ?? on Friday morning but couldn’t work) and 100 watts would be overkill.Sunspots-Oct18-2010

But that’s not to say I didn’t have my challenges and none of them had to do with power.

First my wireless keyboard function keys stopped working. Now that’s weird as it’s worked for a year without issue with Writelog.

Next my rotor stopped working. It is now pointed directly toward Saudi Arabia, which I worked at 5 watts, and is useless for working JAs or anything for that matter to the west. The California QSO Party is next weekend so this issue is way up the urgent and important list.

Finally Sunday morning I got port issues with the SDR interface to the computer. Have no idea what happened but had no xmit switching. Lots of receive and the transmitter worked but no switching from Writelog.

Vapourized the virtual ports and still nothing.

Then I got smart and reset the computer to a restore point back a day or so ago and Ta Da  everything is working again.

Finished the contest with over 200 Qs which is barely okay but good enough. Band conditions, especially on 15, were as good as I’ve heard in years (and years). Very quiet with lots of activity. 20 was good and there was even activity on 10 meters.History_of_solar_cycle_341px

Most of you are too new to remember the around-the-clock openings on 10 meters where a converted 5-watt CB set on AM could work the world. The sunspot cycles in the late 1950s and late 1970s and 80s were amazing. Cycle 24, the one we’re in now has been called the weakest in 100 years.

So while some may think they need a kilowatt or so to have fun, there’s still lots of fun to be had at 5 watts despite conditions which are unpredictable at best and lousy at worst.

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About Peter West

I am retired. I'm invested into bike riding, guitar playing, yoga and Ham Radio. I am a former photojournalist, newspaper and magazine editor and public relations practitioner with national, regional and local experience. A long-time member of Toastmasters International and an active Amateur Radio (Ham) operator here in Canada I am taking on new challenges.

One thought on “CQ WW RTTY DX And Terminal Weirdness

  1. Good morning,

    Inspite of your woes you posted a respectable score.

    Your posting last week prompted me to take the time to sort through N1MM logger and MMTTY. One of my struggles with digi mode contesting was getting the interface between the digi program whether it be FLDIGI or MMTTY and N1mm logger. I have tried using just FLDIGI and it was OK but it was still not a comfortable contest logging program and getting the logs from FLDIGI to cabrillo also made for some interesting frustrations.

    So, I set about to learn how to get MMTTY and N1MM logger to play nice together and passed on FLDIGI. Now, there is nothing wrong with FLDIGI but it did seem that more used MMTTY and that seemed the easier path to follow. After a few hours of fussing I had the two playing nicely together and it wasn’t long before I was in my comfort zone using both apps. Already being comfortable with N1MM made the learning curve not quite so steep.

    Conditions where good but I did not have an antenna on 20 or 80 meters this time around so was limited to 40, 15, and 10. Family was also busy all weekend so I had to be content with sneaking in a few hours here and there. All in all I did manage a few more than a 100 contacts including Cyprus on 15 and Hawaii on 40; almost had Japan on 40 as well near sunrise on Sunday; I printed him well but he did not copy well enough to make the contact.

    Soon I will have my other antennas up and will be able on 160 (hopefully) through 10 and am continually improving my logging and interfacing and will be better prepared for next time. I don’t have the room for gain antennas but my simple wire antennas at least get me on the air and operating.

    Whoever thinks you can’t work QRP RTTY doesn’t really have a good grasp on reality.

    cheers, Graham ve3gtc

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