News items for tag radiocontesting - Koos van den Hout

2022-07-10 I participated in the IARU HF contest
CW contest filling the bands on a websdr This weekend was the IARU HF World Championship contest and I participated after fully planning this in advance. I made sure my contest logger was set up and communicating with the remote radio and its morse keyer in advance.

I participated on the 10, 15 and 20 meter bands. The original plan was to also include 40 and maybe 80 but there was enough to contact on 10 and 15 on Saturday evening, so I only got around to the 20 meter band on sunday. In total 182 contacts: 20 in SSB (speech) and 162 in CW (morse).
Band   160   80   40   20   15   10
QSO's    0    0    0   58   83   41
Mult     0    0    0   24   33   16
                                   
Pts: 586  Mul: 73 Score: 42778     
I managed to make a few contacts outside Europe, not a lot of real DX.

Calculation when entering the log: Raw Score: 453 Qpts x 73 Mults = 33,069 (181 QSOs) so there is a difference in opinion between TLF and the ARRL contest website. The difference in number of contacts is due to one duplicate. The difference in Qpts (QSO points) is due to a difference in the scoring rules. As the ARRL contest website is up to date with the current rules I think they are right and I need to have a look at the TLF ruleset.

Hearing and understanding the morse went ok, I don't think I have a high number of errors.

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2022-05-30 I participated in the CQ WPX CW contest
CW contest filling the bands on a websdr Last weekend was the CQ World Wide WPX Contest CW organized by CQ Amateur Radio magazine. The term 'WPX' stands for 'Worked All Prefixes'. The objective of this contest is to get contacts and exchange information with as many different other radio amateurs using morse code. Points are awarded for each contact, based on which amateur band and whether they are in the same or different continents. Multipliers are calculated from the number of different prefixes contacted. The prefix of my callsign PE4KH is PE4 which is a different prefix from for example PE3. This is a 48-hour contest.

A good reason for me to participate was to practise my morse in contesting skills. Those skills still need work as I had trouble understanding the serial numbers. But with a bit of asking for a retransmission or guessing from the previous/next serial it sort of worked out for me. I felt like I had a lot more trouble understanding the serial numbers compared to a week ago in the King of Spain CW contest.

I guess my call PE4KH is now in the list(s) of regular contest calls. When my callsign is repeated completely, it's never a PE4KS. In morse, an H is four dots .... and an S is three dots .... In the first few contests I had to correct PE4KS a few times, or ended in the log with the wrong call, so this feels to me like my call is now more familiair.

I got 102 contacts in the log. I operated Saturday afternoon and parts of the evening, and late Sunday evening, wrapped around things like sleeping and other things in the weekend. I got one new country in the log: Mongolia. And I made my first morse contacts to Japan, China and Malta. The score table:
Band   160   80   40   20   15   10
QSO's    0    0   31   71    0    0

Pts: 144  Mul: 84 Score: 12096

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2022-05-23 I participated in the King of Spain CW contest
CW contest filling the bands on a websdr Since I have been learning morse code and passed the morse exam I notice I get more enjoyment out of contacts in morse code than out of contacts in digital modes. In digital modes (FT8) it is the computer doing hard work decoding and there isn't much variation, in morse I do the decoding and contacts can be from very simple confirmations of callsigns to longer chats about things.

This also means I like chances to make morse contacts. One of the simple ways to make more morse contacts is to get involved in an amateur radio contest with morse. Last weekend was the His Majesty The King of Spain CW Contest and I participated. Before the contest I tried to build a contest scoring file for TLF Linux contest software. During the contest I found out the file wasn't correct as the score wasn't calculated correctly but I will debug that later.

I participated Saturday evening and I made 41 contacts: 37 on the 20 meter band, 3 on the 10 meter band and 1 on the 40 meter band.

That's 41 in total, which is not a lot: the minimum number to get a digital certificate in PDF format is 50 or 100 contacts. But I'm not doing this to win anything, I'm doing this to get more experience in morse and morse contesting.

I still have trouble decoding morse at 'contest speed' so I use a morse decoder on the computer. There are moments it's a lot better at decoding a callsign at speed than I am, but sometimes I decode a serial number better than the computer does.

This also mean I do all of this in 'search and pounce' mode, where I look for stations calling CQ TEST at a signal quality where I can decode the callsign with help from the computer, and I can hear whether they get my callsign correctly.
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2022-04-06 I participated in the EA RTTY contest 2022 last weekend
RTTY Contest on websdr Last weekend was the EA RTTY Contest 2022 edition. At the last moment I decided to participate because I appreciate the contests organized by the Unión de Radioaficionados Españoles.

Conditions were good: I made contacts on the 20 meter amateur band Saturday afternoon, on the 40 meter amateur band Saturday evening and even got contacts on the 10 meter amateur band on Sunday morning. Hasn't happened a lot in the last few years: contest contacts on the 10 meter band. Including a contact with a station in Brazil which was a bit remarkable: I had my first contact with Brazil on the 10 meter band only 2 weeks earlier! For most Dutch amateurs Brazil is 'easy' DX, but my antenna points mostly to the East / South.

In the end I made 135 contacts which is a nice score for this contest.
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2022-02-21 I participated in the ARRL DX CW contest 2022
CW contest filling the bands on a websdr As I'm trying to make more morse contacts the 'easy' way is to participate in contests in morse. Last weekend was the ARRL DX CW contest and I heard quite a bit of contest morse on the 20 meter band. I tried a few contacts and after two contacts got the reply 'USA ONLY'. So I looked up the ARRL DX contest rules and found out that indeed for non-US/Canada stations only contacts with US/Canada are valid. Since I didn't hear any stations from that area in the late afternoon I left it at that. But in the early evening after the sun goes down but before the propagation on 20 meters dies down completely it is possible to make contacts with North America. So on Saturday and Sunday evening I used that 'window' to get several stations in the log. If these get all confirmed I should get several new US states in morse.

It was also a good practise in decoding callsigns and return information in morse with noisy conditions.
Band   160   80   40   20   15   10
QSO's    0    0    0   30    0    0
Mult     0    0    0   16    0    0
Raw Score: 84 Qpts x 16 Mults = 1344.

The objective for this contest is to expand knowledge of DX propagation, so I already met that objective with fine-tuning my operating window to have a good opportunity to work US stations in morse.

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2022-02-16 Closing 2021 in amateur radio
QSO count plot up to December 2021 I noticed I didn't do a "Closing 2021 in amateur radio" post yet, so time to catch up. Looking back at the Review of 2020 in amateur radio with plans for 2021 I can say:
  • Practising morse has happened! Just no exam yet, but that is mainly due to the current circumstances
  • Satellite contacts: none.
  • Morse and phone in contest: yes!
  • New qsl cards ordered and in use
And the plans for 2022:
  • More and more morse, and that exam. There is an exam date now and it will be possible to get the wanted 'CW included' on my radio amateur identification
  • Again satellites
  • In contests: try to get more morse and phone contacts.
  • Use the better propagation to get contacts on different bands

More detailed statistics over 2021

And I had to check my own notes again how I got these numbers last year, so I'm adding the sql queries I typed at the mysql/mariadb client. With the database behind cqrlog available I can make all kinds of queries.

By month

The influence of months with (digital) contests isn't as strong as in previous years.
+-------+-----+
| month | cnt |
+-------+-----+
|     1 | 234 |
|     2 | 204 |
|     3 | 238 |
|     4 | 161 |
|     5 | 131 |
|     6 | 111 |
|     7 | 211 |
|     8 |  19 |
|     9 | 232 |
|    10 | 204 |
|    11 | 191 |
|    12 | 101 |
+-------+-----+
Query: select month(qsodate) as month,count(id_cqrlog_main) as cnt from cqrlog_main where year(qsodate)=2021 group by month order by month;

By band

No real surprises there. And the feeling that 10 meter was improving isn't showing in the statistics yet.
+------+-----+
| band | cnt |
+------+-----+
| 40M  | 699 |
| 20M  | 849 |
| 17M  | 151 |
| 15M  |  40 |
| 10M  | 243 |
| 2M   |  51 |
| 70CM |   4 |
+------+-----+
Query: select band,count(id_cqrlog_main) as cnt from cqrlog_main where year(qsodate)=2021 group by band order by freq;

By mode

Almost double the number of morse contacts compared to the previous year.
+-------+-----+
| mode  | cnt |
+-------+-----+
| JT65  |   2 |
| PSK31 |   3 |
| FM    |  19 |
| FT4   |  35 |
| PSK63 | 226 |
| CW    | 240 |
| SSB   | 267 |
| RTTY  | 386 |
| FT8   | 859 |
+-------+-----+
Query: select mode,count(id_cqrlog_main) as cnt from cqrlog_main where year(qsodate)=2021 group by mode order by cnt;

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2022-02-14 I participated in the CQ WPX RTTY 2022 contest
RTTY Contest on websdr Last weekend was the same as in 2021: the PACC and the CQ WPX RTTY contest in one weekend. Since the CQ WPX RTTY contest is 48 hours and the PACC contest is 24 hours I participated in both. Not for 48 hours, I had a normal weekend otherwise.

In the end I made 106 contacts in the CQ WPX RTTY contest. 50 contacts on the 40 meter band and 56 contacts on the 20 meter band.

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2022-02-14 I participated in the PACC 2022 contest
CW contest filling the bands on a websdr Last weekend was the weekend of the Dutch PACC contest, 'our' contest organized by the Veron. Open for radio amateurs from all over the world, making contacts with Dutch radio amateurs especially interesting.

I decided to only do morse in the PACC this year, to get the practice with contest-speed morse and maybe improve the number of countries with morse I have in the logs. In the end I made 43 contacts. The report:
Callsign: PE4KH
Category: SINGLE-OP ALL LOW CW

Band     Qso    Cancelled  Dup  Point  Penalty  Mult        Score
160M       0            0    0      0        0     0
 80M       0            0    0      0        0     0
 40M      38            0    0     38        0     6
 20M       5            0    0      5        0     4
 15M       0            0    0      0        0     0
 10M       0            0    0      0        0     0
-----------------------------------------------------------------
          43            0    0     43        0    10          430
I'm not going to be the winner in my category with this score but I'm happy with my amount of CW contacts.

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2022-01-17 I participated in the UBA PSK63 contest 2022
PSK63 contest in fldigi As the UBA PSK63 is the first radiocontest I participated in after the start of my HF career in 2015 I decided not to miss it this year and get some contacts going. My first article about the UBA PSK63 contest: Playing in a radio contest.

Last weekend was the 2022 edition of this contest and I participated on Saturday and Sunday. The bands didn't seem as full with PSK63 signals as I have seen them in other years. Most remarkably the PSK63 traffic seemed gone late Saturday evening. When I tried again Sunday end of the morning the traffic was back. Returned serial numbers suggested stations with more time and/or better reception could get enough contacts in the log.

In the end I made 74 contacts. I started on the 20 meter band on Saturday afternoon, switched to 40 meter after dark. Late in the evening I tried to make a few more contacts but saw only a few other stations on 40 meter. On Sunday I resumed in the 40 meter band and made a number of contacts there. In the last hour of the contest I switched back to 20 meter in the hope of finding a lot of new calls there but only one new call showed up, the rest was in the log already. So I squeezed out a last few contacts on 40 meter before the end of the contest. I may have switched back to 40 meters a bit too fast according to the rules of the contest, I'll see what happens.

Anyway, a good contest. I see a few things to improve in how I participate in digimode contests that aren't really huge: better timing, especially trying to get more contacts during daylight hours on higher bands.
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2021-11-29 I participated in the CQWW DX CW contest
Last weekend was the CQ Worldwide DX contest CW and I participated on Saturday and Sunday. Again a 48-hour contest so lots of chances to participate between other things in the weekend and getting a good sleep.

I was planning to get more contacts in the log but it was a busy weekend and I was tired. But in the end I made 98 contacts which is not too bad for a morse contest. Bands I used were 20 and 40. An overview:
Band   160   80   40   20   15   10
QSO's    0    0   62   36    0    0
Cty      0    0   26   12    0    0
Zone     0    0    9    6    0    0
Pts: 132  Mul: 53 Score: 6996
For as far as I can tell this has given me a few countries in CW I didn't have before: Corsica, Estonia, Kazakhstan, Moldova, North Macedonia, and two new US states: Delaware and Arkansas.
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