Monday, September 26, 2005

CQ Worldwide DX Contest, RTTY

The weekend condx: Even the NWRA SSNe based on Ionosondes did not reflect how good the condx have been...

CQ Worldwide DX Contest, RTTY
Call: F6IRF
Operator(s): F6IRF
Station: F6IRF
Class: SOAB(A) HP
Operating Time (hrs): 40
Radios: SO2R
Band QSOs Pts State/Prov DX Zones
80: 272 573 13 55 14
40: 379 900 34 68 22
20: 470 1205 48 82 31
15: 382 1038 41 67 28
10: 9 22 0 6 5
Total: 1512 3738 136 278 100 Total Score = 1,921,332

Rig: my "small" domestic stn (2elts@12m / dip80@20m / dip40@19m)
and F legal-limit power (500W)
Only change is: I separated the 40 and 80 dipoles...

New low bands dipole setup: only 1m separation but simultaneous 40/80 SO2R op is possible...

Great weekend !
I had 2 objectives 2M-points and the "weekend DXCC". Missed just a few Q's for the 1st one (bloody thunderstorm !!!), and wkd 103 counties, my first ever
"weekend DXCC" in RTTY. Conditions have been far better than expected; I had run many VOACAP simulations based on various sources "expected" data, but 28zones on 15m was kind of "impossible" according to the most optimistic projections...
OK, 10m remained marginal, but we are at y-1 of solar min !
Following is an "hour by hour" contest story in a pure AA5AU style and as a tribute to him !

Started 80/40 - 20m was still open, but dying...
First surprise at 00:53 : Don AA5AU called on 40- despite Katrina and Rita! this guy deserves a special award for giving out LA despite such adversity!
Found HC8N on 80 a 03:08 and they came back first call; kind of "routine" in this contest, but still "magic" with a simple inv-V. Remained calling on 80 after sunrise and wkd CN8KD, GU0SUP and PJ7/K7ZUM amongst latest q's of the 80m first session.
On 40 at sunrise ZL2AMI was there "easy to work, as usual". I heard KL7CQ , with a strong signal but he was S&Ping. Wkd HC8N on 20 at 06:37, just before working them on 40 a few mns later... incredible signal any time any band ! As I was calling on 40, S&P'ing of 20 was difficult (due to H2) so I moved quickly the S&P to 15m... Surprise! JA's were there already with good signs!
At 07:48 FK8HN called me on 21096... first FK on TTY (merci Didier !).
Took the first 30mn break at 10:20 just after working A61AJ on 28 for the 5th time (well done guys !) and VQ9LA, FR1HZ and VU3DXY on 15 ...
Back to op after lunch - first W on 15 was KA4RRU at 1151z quickly followed by many others! Not being sure that 15 would open agn on sunday, I put all efforts there (just keeping an hear on 10m with the 2nd radio on scan). KG4OX, HC8N (agn!), VP9/K9JY, FR5GS, HI3TEJ, 9M2CNC on 15, while on 10 only wkd F6KAR... 15m died quite early, so it was time for the 1st serious 20m session until 1750z for the 2nd 30mn break!
Back to work, managed to find a place around 7050, while S&P'ing on 14 had turned the 40m dipole for JA, but band was too hard with heavy EU-QRM including SAC SSB contest !). In fact the first AS-DX was 9M2CNC at 1956z, quickly followed by JH4UYB both for the "double mult". Kept the second radio on 20 until 2030z after working D44AC and quite a few W6/7...
The skip getting longer, 40m improved (tnx VR2BG for calling) but 80 remained "only EU" (no VK6HD this time!)... went to bed at 22z: had 950Q's for 21h of tfc. Not bad, but I knew that D2 was going to be harder ! Came back around 2z focusing on 80, tnx HI3TEJ and TF3HP for call and double mult. Finished the 80 session with VP9/K9JY PJ2B and KP2D, while working KH6ND
on 40m (great !). Started CQ'ing on 20 at 5:40z and on top of a few JA friends,
I got called by KH6ZM shortly followed by VK3KE. Moved to 21 around 650z and the band was again good to JA - Was keeping an hear on 28, and found UA9AYA Cq'ing... He had a good S3-S5 signal but for some reason he could not copy me (I must be too QRP!)
Finaly managed to get him around 0816z - he was 579 by then... did not hear any other UA9. In the afternoon wkd 4X6UU, LU1HF, LT2H and 4Z5AV with considerably lower signal, but all on first attempt... Could not hear any of the other spotted stations probably due to my poor south sector...
Bueno, pues... at 1000z was at 1200Q and took a 2hours lunch+nap break.
Everything started again slowly. Started having troubles to get a run going at decent rate, but insiting I managed to work quite a few new states, and DX's, so everything seemed to be OK for more than 2M-pts.
Everything except that around 1800z, having a look outside I started to see lightning toward south... It did not take more than 30mn before the thunderstorm was on us... I disconnected everything and started to turn like a rat in a cage... Tried a book, a magazine... nothing!

As usual, a good percentage of QSO's and mults were achieved with W-stations, including on 15 which was a kind of surprise !

Outside, it was hell, tropical rain, wind and lightning (the bigger T-storm we have seen this year)... was afraid of a long power cut (we already had 2 this year), but this time it did not happen, and finaly around 2030, I could connect a station and start again on 20m...
Things getting quieter I reconnected the second one and despite remaining QRN, I managed to work 100Q's more during the last 3.5 hours... 40m was heavily loaded from 025 to 60, and it was difficult to find a place. Thanks A45WD last mult on 40 and to UN3M last one on 80.
N1MM 5.9 worked great... just a bit of slowlyness when changing TX focus while "available mults" window is open. Also noted a few inacurate "color status", but in general the "double mult" green indication is a nice feature, and don't think WL users know what they are missing with all those new nice features... (just a joke for my friends at F6KAR !)
At the end did not manage much more Q's than last year (Was SO1R unassisted)...
Just a lot more mults (517 versus 457)... The gain in mults is, I think, mostly due to SO2R... On top of the rest and as Don, pointed out, operating 1 radio is too boring when you are used to operating 2... it really keeps active all the time!
IMHO, in RTTY the cluster does not provide a fantastic bonus (too many AFSK spotters who spot their TRX frequency !). I think I'll be back to "unassisted" next year !
Just 1 more about cluster: why so many stations on DX's within 1mn when a DX is spotted, and so few participants entering assisted ??? (strange isn't it?).
Anyway, thanks to all for the QSO's... And see you on the bands for the Makrothen (yes a strange name, but a vy nice contest!).

WAZ Missed ZN12 (as usual) ZN26 (hrd HS, but could not work) 29 (no VK6) and the
usual AF zones (Most AF-PU's unbreakable due to my poor South take-off).
WAS : just missed ND, WY and ID
DXCC: 2005, great millesime ! thanks to all DX'peditioners...

Detailled stats at

QSO and mults by hour - you may click to enlarge

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