2021-01-12 I participated in the UBA PSK63 contest 2021 6 days ago
The contest that started radio contests in digital modes for me was again last weekend: the UBA PSK63 Prefix Contest. This is the 7th year in a row that I participated in that contest. Conditions weren't very good. Especially Saturday the 20 meter band 'dried up' as soon as it got a bit dark and later in the evening I stopped trying on the 40 meter band and decided to call it a night. Sunday morning after I woke up I tried again and got a good number of new stations both on 20 and 40 meters. In the end I made 78 contacts.
2021-01-06 I participated in the ARRL RTTY Roundup 2020 1 week ago
Last weekend was the ARRL RTTY Roundup 2020 and I participated. I made sure beforehand to have a separate logging file for just this contest, with the plan to be able to switch from RTTY in fldigi to FT8/FT4 in wsjt-x and back. Propagation on the 40 meter band during the dark hours wasn't very good, I never got outside of Europe on that band. On Sunday afternoon I tried the 20 meter band for a while with not much better results. I switched back to 40 meter and worked some new stations. I did switch back to the 20 meter band just before sunset and got one US station in the log: W0PR which also sounds like a reference to the WarGames movie (to me). I did switch to wsjt-x on Sunday evening. I saw absolutely no calls for the contest on 40 meter FT8, and only a few on 40 meter FT4 so I tried making those contacts. I saw several US stations calling but none heard my answer. In the end I made 89 contacts. I did transpant the log from fldigi to wsjt-x but wsjt-x did not see the earlier contest contacts so I increased the outgoing serial counter to start at 86. I've had better years in the ARRL RTTY Roundup.
2021-01-01 Closing 2020 in amateur radio with a plot of the number of contacts and a review 2 weeks ago
Time to plot the number of contacts in 2020 and a review. I made no specific resolutions for 2020 but looking back there were positive developments.Read the rest of Closing 2020 in amateur radio with a plot of the number of contacts and a review
Plans for 2021:
- The Kenwood TS480-SAT is at a remote location with good antennas for most of the HF bands. This enabled me to work new countries and get more voice and morse contacts in the log.
- I was active on amateur satellites a few times, including from Austria.
- The morse speed improved and I got on the air more with morse. Including a few morse contests.
- I tried to follow the Bulgarian Saints 2020 stations and I had at least one contact with one of the stations in 10 out of the 12 months of 2020. In 8 months I had at least one contact in morse with the station of that month. So I earned the Bulgarian Saints diploma 2020.
- In general I made more contacts in this year than in any other year. The endfed antenna is now mounted outside in such a way I can leave it there, which makes getting on the radio for a few contacts easier. There were also more special event stations active this year.
- I had radio contacts with several new countries.
- The box with outgoing QSL cards is now empty!
- I'm active as QSL manager for my local club, this is fun and my part of keeping the club running.
- Keep practising morse, try to pass the morse exam.
- More satellite contacts. Weather permitting...
- Morse and phone in contests.
- Order new QSL cards and keep on sending them.
2020-12-21 Contests can help other things, and other DX updates 4 weeks ago
I like participating in radio contests. Not to win them, but to improve my own score and have the fun of making a high number of structured radio contacts in a short time. There is also the factor that radio contests bring out participants in places that are normally hard to reach for radio amateurs. Last weekend I was tuning on the 20 meter band looking for phone contacts and I heard a Canadian station giving out the abbreviation Quebec Charly (QC) as an exchange. I looked it up and found out the RAC Canada Winter contest was running. I made the contacts and spun the dial looking for other Canadian stations, because I never had a confirmed voice contact with a Canadian station. That doesn't mean I haven't talked to Canadians over amateur radio, I had a really nice chat with a Canadian who knows the area where I grew up a few months ago. That's totally different from a contest contact and also very nice to have. In total I got 3 different Canadian stations in the log and I entered my log. It won't be the winner in the DX category, but I appreciate the fact that the Radio Amateurs of/du Canada organize this so I do my part in making the scoring possible. And yes the first LoTW confirmation already came in, so I now have Canada confirmed on phone. Other DX update: Patience helps, I now have the earlier contact with Cuba confirmed.
2020-11-30 I participated in the CQWW CW contest 2020 1 month ago
Past weekend was the CQWW CW contest and I participated for a while. Not many contacts because I had a lot of trouble decoding the morse, even with help from the RX-morse smartphone app. I made 8 contacts. On the 15 meter band, using the remote radio. Four to Russia, one to the Ukraine and three to the United States. That does add the United States to the list of countries I had morse contacts with. A bit of explanation: CW stands for "continuous wave" and is another term for morse since morse is switching a continuous wave on and off. Update 2020-12-05: And the first confirmation of a United States morse contact is in. Raw score before log checking: 84 points. Ranking in the category "assisted low power 15 meters" is #133 (out of 133) for world, #70 (out of 70) for Europe and #2 (out of 2) for the Netherlands. So the lowest score!
2020-10-26 I participated in the CQWW DX SSB Contest this weekend 2 months ago
This weekend was the CQWW DX SSB contest, which is one of the bigger contests on the amateur radio calendar. I had planned to participate, I made sure to get my contest software TLF completely configured and tested before the contest. But I didn't get around much to it most of Saturday. I only started Saturday evening to make some contacts on 40 meters which wasn't very successful from my home station. Sunday afternoon things got a lot better when I tried the 20 meter and 10 meter amateur bands. Yes, 10 meter was open during the contest. This wasn't completely surprising as I made a number of 10 meter FT8 contacts earlier in the week. The claimed results:Band 160 80 40 20 15 10 QSO's 0 0 5 31 0 25 Cty 0 0 4 16 0 15 Zone 0 0 3 4 0 3 Pts: 61 Mul: 45 Score: 2745The raw scores in the "Assisted low all bands" category put me at rankings #862 (of 997) for world, #510 (out of 566) for Europe and #46 (out of 54). Not bad for the time I had available.
2020-09-29 I participated in the CQWW RTTY Contest 2020 3 months ago
I was wondering until the last moment whether to do it or not but eventually I did participate in the CQWW RTTY Contest in the last weekend. Seeing other radio amateurs get ready on social media helped me decide and jump in. I made 165 contacts on the 20 and 40 meter band. No new countries! I was seeing decodes from a station from Thailand but he did not decode my replies. It was also interesting to see how some stations that couldn't hear me at one time were almost easy to contact at other times. But not the one from Thailand, that one never came back. I only worked search and pounce, looking for other stations available for contacts. Some stations had major pile-ups but coming back later helped. Getting my log in a format that I could upload was a bit of an issue. I selected the CQWW-RTTY contest in the contest setup of fldigi, and it logged the CQ zone numbers and state in the right windows. But on the export to cabrillo there is no option to export those values. Workaround: select the right adif part of the log and use the CQ WW RTTY DX Contest ADIF to Cabrillo Convertor. I did have to fix my one US contact since the state wasn't exported correctly. Update 2020-10-04: My raw score before log checking is 22579 points according to 2020 CQ WW RTTY Contest raw scores.
2020-07-12 I participated in the IARU HF contest this weekend 6 months ago
Again this year one of the important radiocontests for me: the IARU HF contest was this weekend. I made both SSB and CW contacts on several bands. I made 22 contacts in morse. I concentrated on SSB during the day, aiming to get some nice contacts in the log. There were good 10 and 15 meter openings which is always nice in a contest. I haven't done a lot of contesting on those bands so those enabled me to get more multipliers and a higher score. In the end I made 159 contacts, with a claimed score of 343 qso points * 74 multipliers = 25382.
2020-06-03 I participated in the Dutch PACC 2020 in February 7 months ago
But I forgot to write about it, because I made a very minimal number of contacts: 6. I wanted to get the Veron A08 contest group using call PA0AA in the log and added some others. And on submitting the log I didn't set the category to 'checklog' so there is a result with a ranking. I got reminded today because our friendly mail delivery person brought an envelope with the token of merit (het vaantje) which is very special for this contest. The good part is all 6 contacts were valid, so 6 contacts, 6 points, 3 multipliers making a stunning score of 18, and not the last in my category! Ranking 117 (out of 122) in single operator all band low power ssb only.
2020-06-01 I participated in the CQ WPX CW contest 2020 7 months agoItems with tag radiocontesting before 2020-06-01
After a number of recent morse contacts with special event stations I decided to participate in the CQ WPX CW contest during the weekend. Not for getting a big score, but to get experience with morse contesting. Morse speeds in a contest like this are 25-30 words per minute which I can't decode, so I used fldigi to decode most of the morse. This means I have to enter my results as 'assisted'. And 'most' of the morse is the correct description because the important detail to decode are callsigns and serial numbers. The signal report is always 599 or 5NN which is usually sent faster than the rest of the conversation because it's a specific pattern a trained morse operator hears anyway. I really didn't participate very long and still made 65 contacts. I'm not sure they all went correct, but it's a start. If I make 10 errors each of those is only 1 error for the other station. It's interesting how this approach to morse contesting gets me 65 contacts when serious participation in a digital mode contest will get me about 120 contacts. But high numbers of contacts are quite normal in a morse contest. I have received serial numbers over 2000. Logs are processed and the first confirmations via ARRL Logbook of the world are already coming in.