News items for tag radiocontesting - Koos van den Hout

2021-05-31 I participated in the CQ WPX CW contest 2021 2 weeks ago
This weekend was the CQ WPX CW contest 2021 and on Saturday I had some time to participate between family things.

I started on the 10 meter band and stayed there: I managed to get 29 contacts in the log on that band, there were good signals across most of Europe.

I had fun and surprised myself by decoding some morse by ear better than my computer (yes, I consider this very assisted when I use both spotting networks and a morse decoder). I noted a serial number 246 that my computer completely did not decode so I wasn't very sure. The next serial number was indeed 247 so I got it right in one go!

Claimed score is 812 points. I'll see what happens when the logs are checked. At least contesting is good for other rankings: I now have Poland and Lithuania confirmed in morse.

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2021-04-05 I participated in the EA RTTY contest 2021 2 months ago
RTTY Contest on websdr Last weekend was the EA RTTY Contest 2021 edition. I decided to participate because I appreciate the contests organized by the Unión de Radioaficionados Españoles.

Participation time was somewhat limited due to other things happening in the easter weekend. In the end I made 79 contacts and entered my log in the 'SINGLE ALL LOW POWER DX' category. As 'low power' is defined as 'below 100 watts' and my RF amplifier isn't working at the moment this is the fitting category.

Update 2021-05-05: Results are in: 71 valid contacts, 117 qso points and 51 multipliers: rank #225 of the single operator multiband low power DX category.

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2021-03-14 I participated in the EA PSK63 Contest 2021 3 months ago
As a number of years before I participated in the EA PSK63 Contest 2021. This is a contest organized by the Spanish Amateur Radio Club Unión de Radioaficionados Españoles and I appreciate their work in this and other contests.

Contacts were made Saturday afternoon/evening and Sunday morning. I decided to go for both 20 and 40 meter band to improve my contest results.

In the end I made 148 contacts, 58 on the 20 meter band and 90 on the 40 meter band. To my surprise when I started Sunday morning there was very little activity on the 20 meter band, but the 40 meter band was already filled with noise, probably from nearby solar power installations. With a bit of timing and luck I could work around the noise peaks and make contacts with the stronger stations. Later in the morning there was a lot more activity on the 20 meter band and new stations rolled in.

It was good to see a lot of to me new Spanish callsigns in this contest. I guess amateur radio in general and contesting has grown in Spain.
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2021-02-15 I participated in the PACC 2021 contest and in the CQ WPX RTTY 2021 contest 4 months ago
A busy weekend with multiple radio contests going on. And a lot of other stuff in the weekend too so not much time to actually participate! I came to both contests fully unprepared and without much space in the weekend planning for butt in chair time.

First was the Dutch PACC contest where I participated Saturday afternoon and in the last 20 minutes of the contest Sunday morning. In this contest I made 21 contacts: 14 in morse and 7 in phone.

The second contest was the CQ WPX RTTY contest 2021 which is a 48 hour contest, which allowed me to start after I finished in the PACC and get stations in the log Sunday afternoon and evening. In this contest I made 70 contacts.

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2021-01-12 I participated in the UBA PSK63 contest 2021 5 months ago
PSK63 contest in fldigi 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.

Update 2021-03-14: Results are in: 74 valid contacts, 68 multipliers, 5032 points. Ranking number 154 in the single operator all band category.

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2021-01-06 I participated in the ARRL RTTY Roundup 2020 5 months ago
RTTY Contest on websdr 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.

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2021-01-01 Closing 2020 in amateur radio with a plot of the number of contacts and a review 5 months ago
QSO count plot up to December 2020 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.
  • 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.
Plans for 2021:
  • 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.
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2020-12-21 Contests can help other things, and other DX updates 5 months 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.

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2020-11-30 I participated in the CQWW CW contest 2020 6 months 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!

Update 2021-05-04: Final score is unchanged so I made no errors and all 8 other stations got my callsign correct. Ranking is now #129 world, #69 europe and #2 the Netherlands.

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2020-10-26 I participated in the CQWW DX SSB Contest this weekend 7 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: 2745       
The 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.
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