News items for tag radiocontesting - Koos van den Hout

2022-11-28 I participated in the CQ World-Wide DX Contest CW
CW contest filling the bands on a websdr Last weekend was the CQ World-Wide DX Contest CW and I participated in that contest on parts of Saturday and Sunday. I ended with 189 contacts. Daytime I worked on the 10 and 15 meter bands and when those started to dry out I switched to the 20 meter and 40 meter amateur bands.

Most of the time I chased stations in search+pounce mode but I also called CQ on the 15 meter band on Sunday afternoon. I will need to practise more with calling CQ: stations came to me at higher speeds than I was used to with running PA900UTR and if I didn't decode the callsign and reacted immediately some give up fast.

But my morse is improving, even at contest speeds and I got a nice number of countries in the log. Even countries I didn't have in morse before: PJ2 Curacao, PJ4 Bonaire, CX Uruguay, 3B8 Mauritius, CN Morroco, SV9 Crete. Of those Mauritius is a completely new country in amateur radio for me.

I put in some extra effort to get those new countries in the log, with other stations that I know are confirmed countries I give up after a few tries and try to get another call in the log. Radio contesting is about the numbers: both number of contacts and the multipliers. In this contest the number of CQ zones and countries is the multiplier, so I optimise a bit for that number. And I suspect a lot of the other contestants do the same.

The overview of my single operator multi band effort:
Band   160   80   40   20   15   10
QSO's    0    0   28   33  108   20
Cty      0    0   18   22   31   10
Zone     0    0    5    8   11    6
Pts: 344  Mul: 111 Score: 38184
This was one of those contests where I had it all planned beforehand to participate, made sure everything was working optimally and had it marked in the family calendar. Normal things like weekend shopping still needed time, but the family wasn't surprised I spent a lot of time behind the radio.

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2022-11-20 I participated in the LZ-DX contest
CW contest filling the bands on a websdr I was planning to make some morse contacts this weekend but when I had time to turn on the radio on Saturday afternoon there was a lot of contest traffic on the morse parts of the bands. This turned out to be the LZ-DX contest.

This was a chance to get some CW contest practise done. This is a CW and SSB contest but I concentrate on CW contesting at the moment. I found out TLF the contest logger supports the LZ-DX contest out of the box so I could start fast.

Propagation wasn't cooperating very well but I did get contacts in the log. The final result:
Band     Qso    Cancelled  Dup  Point  ITU-Mult   LZ-Mult     Score
 80M       0            0    0      0         0         0
 40M      38            0    0    199         7        11
 20M      30            0    0    131         6         9
 15M       0            0    0      0         0         0
 10M       1            0    0      1         1         0
-------------------------------------------------------------------
          69            0    0    331        14        20     11254

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2022-11-09 Working on my morse skills
Since passing the morse exam I have continued working on my morse skills. As one of the reasons for wanting to learn morse was to be able to participate in morse radio contesting I still want to increase my speed and accuracy in copying callsigns.

Exercising with tools like lcwo.net and Morse Runner helps improve these skills.

But I'm also working on these skills 'on-air'. At the radio club I've done morse activations of special call PA900UTR a few times and that went ok. I don't get all the calls right the first time but it is a good experience and it's working out.

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2022-09-28 I participated in the CQWW RTTY 2022 contest
RTTY Contest on websdr Past weekend was the 2022 version of the CQ World Wide RTTY DX Contest and I participated. Not with any preparation: on Saturday after some other tasks I sat behind radio and computer and looked up which set of macros would work for this contest.

But propagation cooperated, especially on the 20 meter band. On Sunday evening after dark I got a nice set of stations in the USA and Canada in the log. I also saw a station from Brunei active but that station never managed to decode my callsign while I tried for a quarter of an hour as this would have been a new country in amateur radio for me.

I made 106 contacts in total: 70 on the 20 meter band and 36 on the 40 meter band.

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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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