Articles written and submitted by Wes Jennings, WL7F
Wednesday, February 17, 2016
WL7CXP Skinny Dicks Contest Club
CQ WPX RTTY Contest
Well this contest is in the bag. Had WL7BDO Carl and WL7F myself Wes as operators for this one and broke the 1 million point mark. Of course this was 100W max so it was under Multi Operator Low Power Radio Teletype. Radio used was a FT 857D with a USBIII interface and laptop. Antennas were a HiGain TH6 up 50 feet for the high bands and Phased ground mounted verticals on 40 meters.
This was the first time using the callsign for the club and seemed to work well for RTTY. Had just gotten the callsign on Thursday and decided to use this one. I started the contest out on 15 meters and Carl ended it on 20 meters. We used the OPON feature in N1MM and it was very successful as it one saves the window layout for each operator and is good for statistics and a bit of friendly competition during the contest and after.
The info from N1MM and some of the information that can be gleaned this way.
Band QSOs Pts WPX
7 86 408 32
14 260 663 176
21 525 1293 219
28 8 17 2
Total 879 2381 429
1 Mult = 2.0 Q’s
Total Time Off 02:44 (164 mins)
Total Time On 45:16 (2716 mins)
WPX RTTY – 2016-02-13 0000Z to 2016-02-15 0000Z – 886 QSOs
WL7CXP Max Rates:
2016-02-14 2131Z – 3.0 per minute (1 minute(s)), 180 per hour by WL7BDO
2016-02-14 0132Z – 1.6 per minute (10 minute(s)), 96 per hour by WL7BDO
2016-02-14 0134Z – 1.3 per minute (60 minute(s)), 75 per hour by WL7F
WPX RTTY – 2016-02-13 0000Z to 2016-02-15 0000Z – 886 QSOs
WL7CXP Runs >10 QSOs:
2016-02-13 0033 – 0113Z, 21116 kHz, 43 Qs, 64.1/hr WL7F
2016-02-13 0130 – 0154Z, 21097 kHz, 27 Qs, 65.4/hr WL7F
2016-02-13 0242 – 0309Z, 14100 kHz, 16 Qs, 34.7/hr WL7F
2016-02-13 1927 – 2113Z, 21100 kHz, 73 Qs, 41.6/hr WL7BDO
2016-02-13 2150 – 2217Z, 21108 kHz, 14 Qs, 30.6/hr WL7BDO
2016-02-13 2232 – 2339Z, 14106 kHz, 57 Qs, 51.5/hr WL7BDO
2016-02-14 0005 – 0146Z, 21104 kHz, 111 Qs, 66.0/hr WL7BDO
2016-02-14 1958 – 2020Z, 21117 kHz, 11 Qs, 29.6/hr WL7BDO
2016-02-14 2114 – 2139Z, 21105 kHz, 34 Qs, 80.1/hr WL7BDO
2016-02-14 2147 – 2220Z, 21096 kHz, 41 Qs, 73.2/hr WL7BDO
2016-02-14 2228 – 2301Z, 21114 kHz, 33 Qs, 61.1/hr WL7BDO
Early on the gremlins showed their face as the radio was just not putting out the power as noticed the power down to 9V coming into the radio on transmit but was showing 12v on receive and the power out was a lot lower. Figured the batteries were low so went out and started the generator and then looked at the power and same thing happening. I grabbed the power cord going into the radio and it was hot so wiggled the wires and walla full power once again. Swapped the power cable out with the backup one and inspected the cord and noticed the solder had melted arggggggg least it is a quick fix and shows the duty cycle of RTTY. New cable went the rest of the contest without a hitch, and much cooler.
I woke up for the early morning shift on Sunday to see Carl in his coat and saying the fire went out. Started a fire and warmed the place up and Carl went to get his sleep in after working both 20 meter Europe opening and some Japan on 40 meters.
Good runs both Friday and Saturday into Japan and great openings into Africa and Europe. 15 meters opened into Europe sometime in the am on Sunday as when I checked it at 0600 local time it was already going hot and heavy, now this was not over the pole but rather pointed at the lower 48 was hoping to work some east coast and was quite surprised. S9 signals from Europe. Now toward the end of the contest it was a nail biter to reach 1 million point mark and bantering between Carl and I was non stop along with the math flying as to how many more q’s were needed. 20 minutes left in the contest and we hit that mark.
Upgrades that are simple is a movable base for the faceplate to the FT857. As Carl liked to have it in one position and I liked it in another. Making the base for it so that it is semi mounted would make life easier.
Contesting with 100 watts.
Hello there now this is a subject that a lot of the contesters have very strong feelings
about. This is not article to bash or even look down on those that run legal limit power but rather to
show how one can be successful running 100w.
To be successful at running contests at lower power one must understand some basics.
First you are not normally gona break into that pileup and work that rare station the first time
calling even if the station is S9. Another thing is seeing as how you are not running power ya need
to make sure the antenna system is the best you can possibly put up, create, or even buy. Now you
can be successful running just wires as I have done in past but ya have to make sure they are high
enough to give you good take off angles, the swr is as low as possible without a tuner in line as
you want every watt going to that antenna. Better antennas are two fold as they are better on
receive as well as transmit, ya can’t work em if ya can’t hear them.
Transmitter/Receiver/Transceiver now these are basicly your preference given your
operating style. A good 300hz filter is invaluable for cw work as well as rtty, a good sideband filter
will help you also. A bandscope on the radio will be another feature that is very helpful. A voice
keyer another feature that is nice to have. If you have not noticed I have not said these things are
needed with the radio but are helpful, As the whole idea is to get on the air and opperate!!!
Now the most important thing is glue. Ya say glue? Yes glue as ya need to stay on the air
even when the bands are slowing down or ya get a bit frustrated ( yes I have been guilty of this).
You can’t work a station if you are not there to work them nor are you gona get that rare multiplier
if they all of a sudden appear on the band if you are not there. If you are doing a single band then
know when that band dies and know when it might come open again take the break during that
time and show up before it might come open again as it might surprise you that it opens before. So
yes butt glue is exactly what is needed.
Find a local ham or a friend to compete against it will give you even more incentive to
stay there and work the bands. After all ya don’t want them to really stomp your butt if they do by
chance … strange fluke ….. wild possibility beat you. Set goals high and if ya meet them then set
even higher goals during it.
Learn to contest in all modes you will find that some will be a mode that works well from
your location and that you truly enjoy working. Learning CW is not as hard as most think it is.
Anymore a technician has more hf privileges then a novice and technician had on HF as they have
the same privileges as a general on the cw bands that a technician can use.
Now some tips I have learned and work for me during a contest.
you to be heard and worked.
hams that don’t get involved because of all the fast code and when they hear the slower cw will
1. if you are going to be calling cq
find a spot on the band normally up high that is totally clear as that will allow
If you are doing CW don’t be worried about doing slow code as there are other
come and work you.
right next to me and if so move just a bit to get away and in the clear.
2 During search and pounce
and callsign and come back to it. The newer software does this for you.
software then go back to working them .. the problem here is they might have moved on.
This does two things it shows you what the band is looking like and if it is even worth staying on
or moving to another band. And it will show you where your signal is directed twards.
Something that has helped me is opening the filter up and seeing if someone is
Pay attention to rates and when ya drop below a rate you set go into search and
if you call a couple of times and no response remember or write down the freq
Another option is to just go up and down the band populating the band map in the
Now these are just a few pieces to the puzzle and if you would like to hear a few more just ask and
if I actually get some response I will go over some of them. Something to remember is this… just
because someone says ya can’t or it don’t work try it you might be a bit surprised that it does work
for you. I use to get told that contesting as a novice in the novice bands would not work .. guess
what it does work and at 5wpm you will get contacts (not the quantity ya will get later) but it will
keep you busy and competing.