Sunday, October 7. 2012
Somewhat belatedly, here's the quick write up on my CQ WW RTTY entry.
After last year's excellent propagation, I was looking forward to this year's running of the CQ WW RTTY contest. Last year I managed to set the VE5 low power record with a score of 484,410. I was pretty pleased with that result, but I still hadn't managed to make over 1000 QSOs during a single contest. I wanted that to change, so I set my goal at 1000 QSOs and 1 million points.
Band QSOs Pts ZN Cty St/PrContinue reading "CQ WW RTTY "
Monday, September 17. 2012
Well, looks like fall has finally arrived. The leaves are turning yellow and there was frost this morning. Good thing I've been working on getting the antenna system ready, as it's almost contest season!
I've added a couple antennas over the last month or so, bringing the antenna total up to two antennas per contest band. This is in preparation for working on my SO2R skills this winter.
Continue reading "New antennas!"
Wednesday, September 5. 2012
Yet again, I realize how I've neglected this poor blog. It's not that I don't have anything to say, as you'll see below, but that I have been very busy at work and with projects, so less time to update.
Over the last month, I've done several contests including NAQP CW (just a bit), SCC RTTY, and the Hawaii QSO Party. No serious entries in any of them, but it's kept me sharpened up a bit.
The bigger change has been the antenna work. So far I've added 3 new antennas and am doing some other work as well.
- 40m Rotatable Dipole up at 53 ft or so. Still a bit to do with this, as it interacts with 15m on the KT34. I plan to have it rotated 90 degrees and raised up a bit if possible.
- Hustler 6BTV (in process of installing) to act as an omni/multiplier hunting antenna. It's not a beam, but I don't have space for another tower!
- 70cm CP antenna installed on EME array. This allows me to operate satellite using the EME array for 2m and the new beam for 70cm. The feedline I was planning to use was contaminated, though, so I'm waiting for its replacement.
That's the short version. I hope to post more detailed info on each of these at a later date!
73 for now,
Tuesday, July 24. 2012
Just a quick update with my NAQP score. I did a fairly intensive entry, trying to beat my previous score from the February running. I managed to beat the earlier score and QSO count, but fell short of the multipliers.
I sure hope conditions on the upper HF bands improve soon, it's been tough slugging the last little while!
Band QSOs Pts Sec DX
Monday, July 2. 2012
Well, another July 1st has come and gone, and as always I made an entry in the RAC Canada Day contest.
This year I brought a bunch of fresh contesting experience to the table, unlike last year where the contest was just a little over a month after my tower issues were resolved and I was allowed back on the air. This time, I decided to run as much as possible. This strategy paid off and I hit my stretch goal of 600 QSOs, but only just. Final score was 92,608. Things were split fairly evenly between CW and Phone, with a slightly larger number of phone QSOs... the rate was just too good to give up!
One big difference this year was the lousy band conditions. Not much hay was made above 14 MHz... 15 yielded a few contacts, but 10 was completely silent. Perhaps next year.
I wasn't able to concentrate fully on the test, since my daughter is much more demanding of time, being about to hit 17 months old. Still, I had a good time and had a great reason to break open a bottle of Last Mountain Distillery's Rye Whisky I happened to buy Saturday morning.
Band Mode QSOs Pts Sec
See you in the IARU HF Championship!
Thursday, June 7. 2012
A few weeks ago, I entered the CQ WPX CW contest. During that experience, I discovered my CW left a bit to be desired. I am able to copy well in good conditions, but if something unexpected comes at me I fall apart quite quickly. In order to help resolve this deficiency, I decided to get regular practice.
To achieve this, I set a goal of making at least one CW contact every day for the month of June. Hence the title of this post. So far it has been coming quite nicely, with at least one contact every night no matter how busy I am. It's really helping with copying more random code than the contests tend to throw at you, though the speeds tend to be slower, around the 18-22wpm marks for most of them, and sometimes less. That said, I've made a number of contacts that inspired me to write out a QSL card on the spot.
Probably my favourite QSO so far was with Peter, NO2D, on 30m. Conditions were good and we had a nice long chat. I have the QSO logged at 23 minutes, so while not a record, it's something that doesn't happen to me often.
Last night, I had a nice contact with Joe, WO8J, again on 30m. Joe was running a few watts (3, I think) from a KX1, while I was QROing up the place with my 100 watts of power. I ended up losing Joe before the contact was properly done, but it was still quite fun.
Tomorrow my wife and I will be heading out to go camping at Greenwater Lake Provincial Park for a couple nights. I'll be taking along my Buddipole, K2, and FT-817. I hope to make a few more QSOs from my campsite and have a bit of portable fun. I'm taking the FT-817 in addition to the K2, since it's the ARRL June VHF contest... hopefully I can hand out the DO82 grid to a few lucky contesters, propagation permitting. Here's hoping for some sporadic-E!
It sure is fun being radio-active!
Sunday, May 27. 2012
This weekend was the CQ WPX CW contest. I had high hopes going into this one, but ended up settling for a much lower level of performance than I had hoped. Friday started off well enough, with great band conditions on 15 and 20m. I tried getting a run going, but was having issues with local noise. This limited my ability to copy and I eventually gave up and went back to S&P.
After working a few hours on the higher bands, I dropped to 40m which had extremely strong signals, some of the strongest I've ever seen with a few approaching the top limit of my meter (S9+60)! Unfortunately, the strong propagation also propagated strong QRN, up to S9 static crashes. Still, the strong signals made for a good time on 40. The inverted-V is working so much better than the old sloper, even with DX stations. It's just so much quieter, you can actually hear the other station. That helps a lot.
Saturday, I woke up feeling awful. I did my usual family run to the farmer's market and a local diner for breakfast, but when I got home I was feeling extremely tired. So rather than get on the radio, I went to sleep for 4 hours, waking up around 2pm. I got back on the radio, but was having trouble staying motivated. Still felt like crap, I suspect that had a lot to do with it. By the end of the day, I was only sitting around 350 QSOs and not feeling great about the whole thing.
Sunday morning I got up and felt a bit better. Still not great. Got on the radio around 9:30, but again had that distracted feeling. Worked mostly S&P with frequent breaks. Around 1pm, I got a run going on 15m working about 60 QSOs in 45 minutes. Nothing to write home about, but enough to get me motivated to keep on working. I planned to stop around 400 QSOs, just due to the way I was feeling, but the run got me energized and put me around 450 when it was done. I went on and kept going, ending up with 558 QSOs. I stopped a little early, for dinner. I just broke the 600k mark. I know I will get murdered in the log checking process, but I definitely improved my CW copy a lot, so it's not too bad all told.
Given the incredible conditions, I think I may have had a real shot at breaking the 1M barrier if I had been doing a RTTY test. I'm just so much more comfortable with that mode. Guess I'll be entering more CW tests over the next few months. Gotta be in better shape for SS!
Here's the pre-check numbers:
Band QSOs Pts WPX
Until next time!
Friday, May 25. 2012
Website additions and WPX weekend Posted by VA5LF in Contesting at 10:23
I recently got around to looking at SH5, a contest log analyzer that outputs nice analysis from Cabrillo log files for various contests. The unregistered version only processes 200 QSOs per log, but it was enough to see that it was something I'd be interested in. I bought the program and just ran my first "real" logfile through it. Neat stuff!
I think I'll be adding a section to the website as a result, showing the nitty-gritty details of each contest I enter. The first one is available now for ARRL RTTY RoundUp 2012. More will be forthcoming!
Apparently, though, some people take exception to such log analysis if it's posted before the log submission deadline. So I'll refrain from putting anything up until after the deadlines.
This weekend is the CQ WPX CW contest. Last year, I wasn't much use as I got permission to operate my station again on the Friday night of the contest... I had far too much work to do to get things in shape as my station had been idle for 7 months. Not to mention my brain! CW was quite challenging.
This time around I have a well tuned station that's working quite nicely, as well as a lot more QRO. I plan to enter the HP category this time, probably running 500W or so. May go 750, which is the legal limit for CW in Canada. Hard to know yet. I also have a new inverted-V antenna for 40m, which I hope will improve my score on that band over the sloper I was using previously. The V has a lot lower noise than the old sloper, which should help quite a bit.
In addition to the station improvements, I've had a lot more time to get into the correct head-space for a major CW test. I've been practicing on and off with MorseRunner, a great program that simulates this exact contest. Hopefully that will make a difference and I'll be able to run at least part of the contest. My confidence in my CW is probably quite a bit less than my ability, so I'm hoping that this contest will improve things quite a bit in that regard. I'd like to get comfortable enough with CW to be able to run in the ARRL Sweepstakes this fall. That's where the real challenge lies!
Hope to hear you on the bands!
Sunday, March 25. 2012
CQ WPX SSB is now finished, and I didn't do nearly what I had hoped originally.
Friday night started out pretty strong, with good signals on 15 and 20 well into the evening. Lots of central Asia, Russia and so on with nice clean signals, no signs of AU at all. I worked 4 separate stations in Kazakhstan, quite nice to see propagation like that!
Friday night was a complete wreck, with my wife's medical issues and child care taking the forefront. Spent much of the night acting as a trampoline, with the little one up from about 2am to 6am. Finally got to sleep around 6:30 which wrecked my plans for getting up and at things early Saturday morning. Instead I slept until about 1pm. When I finally got up, I was still quite tired, and didn't have the will to get on the radio. Spent the rest of the day playing Skyrim.
Saturday night I got a decent sleep, so Sunday morning I was able to get on the radio, but not until after noon. Loads of EU stations pouring in on 20 and 15. Worked S&P for a while, then tried to find a good spot to run. I was never really able to, even with my AL-1500 putting out about 700W. Did get some action on 15, but nothing to write home about. I gave up after a while and spent time tuning around to see who I could work to get the last couple countries I need for 20m DXCC. Ended up adding a bunch of new ones, including V55V, 7Z1SA, C4W, P33W, YM7KA, and HU0A. Hopefully this will help push me over the top to 100 countries confirmed on 20m LoTW.
Until next time, good DX!
Sunday, March 18. 2012
I had high hopes going into the BARTG contest. The station is really humming and getting whipped into shape, so I set an early goal of 600 QSOs, depending of course on whether or not I was needed for child care. Well, that turned out OK in that my daughter spend most of Saturday at her grandparents' place and my wife got enough sleep on Sunday. What was not so great was the conditions. Band conditions really left the contest feeling slow and it was difficult to maintain the motivation to keep the butt in chair long enough to eke out those contacts. Instead I would come down and work a bunch of stations then call CQ with no takers for 10 minutes. But that's contesting.
Continue reading "BARTG Spring RTTY Contest"
Sunday, March 4. 2012
ARRL DX SSB has come and gone. I didn't do a major entry in the contest this weekend, since my setup is sub-optimal for phone contesting as well as a busy weekend family wise. I did manage to get on for a few hours to tool around and seek out new DX stations to work, but there wasn't too much exotic to report this time.
I was surprised to see how late 20m stayed open. I was working into the Carribbean and South America quite late on Friday night. Yet again, my poor antenna situation on 40m and down did impact my performance once the high bands closed; just a few QSOs worked on 40m period, even though I was running the AL-811HD for the contest at about 500W output. 20 and up were much more productive. Good thing I'm planning an antenna for 40m this summer, I need better performance after dark!
Here's the results:
See you in the British Commonwealth Contest next weekend, I'm part of Team S'toon. Yes, we managed to get 5 people together from just Saskatoon for the contest! Exciting!
73 for now,
Wednesday, February 29. 2012
It seems it has been some time since I last updated. Since I've been remiss in keeping my blog up to date, I provide the following summary of goings-on here at the VA5LF shack.
Continue reading "Busy, Busy"
Thursday, January 12. 2012
The ARRL's annual RTTY extravaganza, the RTTY Roundup, has long been one of my favourite contests. It's a great contest for those with smaller stations as it is a domestic and a DX contest all at the same time. My first RU was run back in 2009 with a pretty pathetic indoor loop antenna, and yet I managed to make 132 QSOs and make 5,371 points. I've made a point to be active in every one since, with the exception of the 2011 running when my previous regulatory trouble over my antenna prevented me from taking part.
This year I decided to make up for missing last years contest. It's a lot harder to get the time to do serious contesting now that I've got a little one (11 months old now!), but I cleared things with the boss and went all in. I received my new amplifier the Friday before the contest, so I set it up with plans of running 400 or so watts. Unfortunately, the amplifier didn't work and so I entered the contest as a low power entry. I'm currently waiting a replacement which I hope to use in the WPX RTTY contest.
I spent a total of 16:43 in this contest and spent a lot of time running. The results were spectacular! Here's the score summary:
This score was enough to shatter the previous section record, held by VE5SF since 1999, of 54,145. Needless to say, I'm quite happy with the result!
My biggest problem this time was mostly me... I had intended to do a 24 hour stint, but for some reason I thought the contest was 36 hours rather than 30, so I missed some good operating time. Also, I failed to set my alarm to get out of bed and get back at it. If I had I may well have broken 100K! At least I have something for next year.
73 and good DX!
Friday, December 2. 2011
Been a while since I updated. A couple weeks ago, the ARRL EME contest (2nd weekend) was held. I decided to get active for a bit of it, though not as a contest participant.
Things went pretty well, working off the JT65 logger as well as calling CQ. Stations worked:
EA2AGZ initial, new DXCC
JR3REX initial, new DXCC
In addition to working F6FHP, I now stand at 15 DXCC worked on 2m. Need to get on the moon more often, and work towards that DXCC.
73 for now!
Thursday, November 17. 2011
It's happened! I have finally gotten the last confirmation I need for DXCC in Logbook of the World! I guess Christmas came early this year.
Many thanks to TK5KP for uploading the last needed entry.
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