While I won’t call it memorable, I will call it a great time. As chance would have it I called in AB-109 (day off) to work last Friday to take Saturday off because my son was sick. I just happen to go out to the shack that Friday and realized there was the CQWW DX – RTTY this (last) weekend. While I have yet to make any serious attempt at any contest yet, this being my second year, first full year in contesting I decided to set up the station for the RTTY contest.
Currently running using a loaner rig, FT-1000MP, the same rig I use and my new SteppIR BigIR I was curious to see just what I could do. I had some issues configuring Win-Test 4, the contesting software I use. I thought I had it all worked out, ran some tests and figured I was ready to go come Friday at 0000z. As radios go, it did not work when I sat down and started participating. Still not quite sure why.
So I decided I would still participate, in part for our overall club score, doing what I could. I used my everyday logging software, AC Log and Ham Radio Deluxe (yes, I know there is a logging program in there) and played from the start until 0400z. It was rather cumbersome, but I collected a fair amount of contacts on 20M, as well on 40. In fact I even recorded 3 QSOs on 80m before the XYL put a stop to that. Seems when I would key up it would knock out the ATT Uverse modem. Yet another reoccurring problem. Damn that RF!
Saturday was a very good day, as we seemed to have some modest propagation, compared to the past few weeks. I played nearly all day on Saturday, on and off as I was taking care of my son. The Alpha 76PA was a solid performer and seemed to work as expected. I was putting out between 900-1500w all day long. Yet looking at my signal on DM780 it seemed as if it was not a good signal, but a strong signal. My guess is I have loss in the line or the 50 ohm match is not close to 50 ohm. I ran most of the contest with the internal tuner off.
I ended up with 172 contacts for 47,765 points. I made many EU contacts, something I had not really done prior to this contest. I logged a total of 40 countries, which was a new high for me, as well as 32 states. I was shooting for 250 contacts but ran out of time and the way I was working was cumbersome.
I plan on putting time into the station the next few days in order to work out the rest of the these problems. I might even look at selling the West Mountain RIGblaster Pro and set up with a Micro Keyer. The problem is a configuration issues and it’s just a matter of where do I start? There are enough Yahoo Groups (FT1000, Rigblaster and MMTTY) I subscribe to that help will be plentiful.
I hope to have the station is good working order by next weekend as the California QSO Party will be on the air. While I won’t be participating at N6RO, I will hopefully put in my time from the home station. This will be the first time I will have participated in this sort of contest where I will be handing out points and calling CQ.