AA8IA Amateur Radio

Archive for July, 2011

NAQP RTTY 2011 Summary

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Didn’t plan on operating this test — my focus was on CQ VHF WW. But, after
experiencing poor propogation there, I figured I needed a fix. So I jumped on
RTTY for a short while.

15m was bust. 20m wasn’t great when I was on. 40m was nice with quiet band
conditions. I didn’t have my doublet up for this contest, so I didn’t want to
put in serious time on 80/40.

Was good to work a lot of the usual RTTY stations. Been a while since I
worked RTTY.

North American QSO Party, RTTY – July
1800Z July 16 to 0600Z July 17, 2011

Call: AA8IA
Operator(s): AA8IA
Station: AA8IA

Class: Single Op LP
QTH: Toronto OH EN90QL
Operating Time (hrs): 1:34

Band QSOs Mults
40: 33 21
20: 17 5
15: 1 1
Total: 51 27 Total Score = 1,377

Club: Mad River Radio Club

Written by Mike

July 27th, 2011 at 12:22 pm

Posted in Contesting,RTTY

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CQ VHF Worldwide 2011 — A major bust

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I started this contest with the plan of operating exclusively on 6m and making a couple hundred Qs. Of course, I had made the assumption that propagation would be at least as favorable, if no more favorable, than it was for the ARRL June VHF test.

I put the Moxon up the night before and configured N1MM. I had gotten plenty of sleep. I had made plans for operating from 2pm til whenever the band shut down Saturday evening and then to work a little bit Sunday morning and then later Sunday afternoon.

The contest started and there was nothing at all happening. I checked the spotting networks, and there wasn’t any sporadic-E reported anywhere into / out of Ohio. I spent most of my time CQing since I was hearing very little [except for W3BD and W3SO].

All day Saturday it was a struggle to make a Q. Given the lack of Es, the only grids I worked were EM89, EM99, EN80, EN81, EN82, EN90, EN91, FM18, FM19, FN00, FN19 and FN21. I gave up at 2300z.

Sunday I fired up the radio just before 1600z and it was more of the same… nothing. I did work EN73 for a new closer grid. From about 1650z to around 1927z I took a break to spend time with the family. When I got back on, I actually noticed that the band had opened a little bit to the south. From 1927z to 2037z I made 30 contacts, mostly down into Florida and vicinity. I did manage to work CO2WF, XE2S and 9Y4D, my only “DX”.

I turned the radio off at that point, figuring the last 27 minutes wouldn’t yield anything new. Based upon VHFDX.Info emails to me and reports I’ve heard from others, the band opened up to many places right after the end of contest.

It was brutal waiting for the propagation that never happened for most of the contest. I was glad to make as many contacts as I did in grids close to EN90, but I really ended this contest feeling shortchanged. Mother Nature be damned.

Oh well, there is always next year. I took the Moxon down Sunday evening right after I ended the contest, and wouldn’t you know it there was some nice activity later in the evening. And, already this morning there is a very nice opening as I write this. I won’t bother raising the Moxon for it though.

CQ Worldwide VHF Contest
1600z July 16 to 2100z July 17 2011
Call: AA8IA
Operator(s): AA8IA
Station: AA8IA

Class: SOSB/6 LP
QTH: Toronto OH EN90QL
Operating Time (hrs): 4:03

Band QSOs Mults
6: 63 31
Total: 63 31 Total Score = 1,953

Club: Mad River Radio Club

Written by Mike

July 18th, 2011 at 11:31 am

Posted in Contesting,VHF_UHF

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CQ VHF Worldwide Contest this weekend

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I had a lot of fun working 6m in the ARRL June test. I’ve been paying attention to Sporadic-E / F2 skip on 6m the past week, and the conditions seem to be pretty good. Hopefully the conditions will be ripe this weekend for a lot of contacts.

CQ VHF WorldWide 2011
1800z Saturday, Jul 16 to 2100z Sunday, Jul 17
contest rules

This contest is not VHF/UHF but rather just 6m and 2m, and all modes are allowed. So if you have 6m/2m capabilities, especially SSB/CW and horizontal antennas, jump on the bands and see what you can work. You might be surprised.

I’ll be on 6m only, and I hope to work a lot of folks this weekend!

Written by Mike

July 15th, 2011 at 12:19 pm

Posted in Contesting,VHF_UHF

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IARU HF Championship 2011 Summary


ARRL Diamond Logo
First off, to all of the ops that worked me, especially those who worked me on multiple bands and modes and who also let me know when they were active on another band so I could work them. It was a pleasure to work you all.

As far as I’m concerned, band conditions were lousy. I invested a lot of time and energy into this contest. I certainly wish I could have worked more DX, but I did manage more time in the chair and was able to increase my raw score by a factor of 3.2 over last year and increase my mults by a factory of 1.6. Although some of my score increase is related to more operating time, it is due more to better preparation and learning from all of the other contests in which I’ve participated over the past year. I still have a long way to go.

I decided to use spotting this time. In long contests i get bored. It’s nice to see a populated bandmap in N1MM. Don’t get me wrong, I do take advantage of the spots from time to time, but I don’t use it to chase mults. I never purposefully QSY to a mult frequency, except if a station requests that I do [see below]. Instead, I use the spotting to fill the bandmap in order to make me aware of stations I should be or may be hearing as I move up and down the band. I’m quite certain that my use of spotting did not significantly increase my QSO count or mults, but it did make things more enjoyable.

In their infinite wisdom, the ARRL folks responsible for setting rules have failed miserably in this one — There is no Single-Op Assisted category! Thus, if you want to use spotting assistance, you must enter the Multi-Op Single-Transmitter (MS) category.

  • 4.1. Single Operator
  • 4.1.3. Use of spotting nets, packet, or multi-channel decoders (such as CW Skimmer) is not permitted. Single-operator stations that use spotting nets, packet or multi-channel decoders will be reclassified to the Multi-operator, Single Transmitter category.

I don’t have a problem at all with there being category separators for Assisted and Unassisted. I do have a problem with being punished by being forced into a category intended for the “big guns” when I’m not a big gun by any stretch of the imagination. I neither have a big gun station nor the contesting skills of a big gun.

  • 4.2. Multi Operator, Single Transmitter, Mixed Mode only
  • 4.2.1. Must remain on a band and mode for at least 10 minutes before changing bands or modes.
  • 4.2.4. Violation of the band change rules will reclassify the entry as a checklog.

This means that if a station wants you to QSY to another band to work them, you have to be sure that you’ve already spent at least ten minutes on the first band and that you spend at least ten minutes on the second band before returning back to the first one.

This happened to me at least once, when I worked NU1AW/5 on 15m CW and then QSY’d immediately to 20m to work them. This didn’t break me, but what happened next did…

QSO: 15m CW 2011-07-09 1352 AA8IA NU1AW/5
QSO: 20m CW 2011-07-09 1353 AA8IA NU1AW/5
QSO: 15m CW 2011-07-09 1400 AA8IA WT9U
QSO: 15m CW 2011-07-09 1402 AA8IA W9OA
QSO: 20m CW 2011-07-09 1403 AA8IA NS9I

As you can see, I was on 15m [and had been for some time], worked NU1AW/5, and then switched to 20m to work NU1AW/5 again. No harm, no foul. But, after I worked them, I instantly went back to 15m. Even worse, after I went back to 15m but barely spent ten minutes there. So, quite possibly the QSY from 15m to 20m at 1402-1403Z would be considered a violation of the band change rule even if the QSY from 20m to 15m after 1353z hadn’t been.

It was a real buzzkill moment when I realized I had done this at least once, possibly more. I never have intentions of running Multi-Op Single Transmitter, but I realized that if I wanted to be honest I needed to get out of the Single-Op category if I was going to use spotting. I really didn’t pay close attention to the Multi-Op rules. I was aware that there was a band change rule, but it just didn’t stick in my head during the contest.

At any rate, not only were the band conditions poor compared to last year, but I was forced into the Multi-Op Single Transmitter category simply because I wanted to use spotting and then was finally forced out of competition by a band change rule that should never have applied to me in the first place.

What the hell? I’ve got a parallel dipole up 20′, an inverted-V doublet up 38′ at the apex, and I don’t use an amp. How the hell is there justice in adding additional insult to a “little pistol” station by forcing them into a “big gun” category?

I have absolutely no desire to turn in a log, but I will because logs are needed not only to verify my QSOs but to verify the QSOs of those I worked. So I’ll be a good little boy and turn one in. Then I’ll wait patiently for the royal spanking that the ARRL will give me. I’m not sure how they will notify me. I guess I’ll just have to learn of my fate once the 2011 official scores are made available and I’m not listed [indicating a checklog].

Just so we’re clear here, I have no problem with the Multi-Op rules, and I also have no problem with people using assistance having to be in a separate category from those who don’t. The problem I have is that there is no Single-Op Assisted category.

A Single-Op Assisted category is even more important because there are those who won’t submit a Multi-Op Single Transmitter entry when they use spotting. They’ll simply fly under the radar. After all, if you use spotting but you never personally spot somebody and your logs don’t reflect that you’ve jumped around the band specifically working spotted multipliers, you can easily cheat by using assistance in Single-Op. Without a Single-Op Assisted category, there will be those people who can’t bring themselves to submit as an MS entry. Had their been an SO(A) category, they’d be more likely to submit in that category rather than cheat.

IARU HF World Championship
1200Z July 9 to 1200Z July 10, 2011

Call: AA8IA
Operator(s): AA8IA
Station: AA8IA

Class: M/S LP
QTH: Toronto, OH EN90QL
Operating Time (hrs): 17:07

Band CW Qs Ph Qs Zones HQ Mults
80: 73 1 9 4
40: 127 37 16 19
20: 199 48 23 32
15: 71 10 11 13
10: 30 1 5 4
Total: 500 97 64 72 Total Score = 203,048

Club: Mad River Radio Club

Written by Mike

July 11th, 2011 at 12:07 am

IARU HF World Championship this weekend

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ARRL Diamond Logo
The IARU HF World Championship is this weekend, from Saturday, Jul 9, 1200Z to Sunday, Jul 10, 1200Z. I entered this contest last year as SOCW LP and made around 312 Qs in 12 hours. I only managed 42 ITU zones and 48 HQ mults. “Piss poor” is what comes to mind. Looking at past scores, another Ohioan managed 376 Qs, 76 ITU zones and 93 HQ mults, but he was also running high power and likely had at least one yagi. At any rate, I’d sure like to manage something more than 42 zones and 312 Qs.

The problem is that there is no way I’m going to run anywhere near 24 hours. I’m not even sure I can put in 8 hours. My antenna situation is no better than it was last year at this time either. Sure, I have an 80m doublet up now that wasn’t up before, but it’s not going to perform any better than the DX-EE performed last year on 10/15/20. And, on 40/80m neither antenna is a DX antenna. This would have been a perfect contest to try out a new yagi or hex beam — but I don’t own one!

Certainly I’ve learned a few things in the last year. One would hope I could improve upon last years’ score if all other things were the same (propogation, time in seat, antennas). All I know is that I really need to increase my DXCC count. I had spent most of this past year working on various WAS awards and have neglected DX for the most part. I just don’t feel like much of a contester, or amateur radio op for that matter, when I can’t manage to work outside of the US!

Final plans haven’t been decided, and won’t be until the very last minute. The early weather forecast predicts very nice weather [no storms] for the weekend. I’ll have both the doublet and the DX-EE up. But, I’m still trying to recuperate from FD. I predict a bad weekend as far as back pain goes.

I spent too much time on 10m last year with two little reward. Hopefully propogation is favorable for some 10m DX, and hopefully 15m will be booming. Upon looking at last years’ results, 15m/10m were dismal and 20m was the only band worthwhile for a station using low dipoles.

I’ve got a list of things to do to prepare for this one, but it’s all contingent upon my back pain not being too severe. We’ll see.

Written by Mike

July 6th, 2011 at 12:29 pm

Posted in Contesting,DX

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More Holiday Radio Fun

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I figured I’d check out 6m today. Didn’t see any sign of propogation in/out of Ohio on DX Summit or DX Sherlock. I did see that VP9/N0JK was active on 6m, so I “turned the beam” towards Bermuda… remember, I’m just using a Moxon so I’m not sure how much difference it makes. Lo and behold, N0JK was a pretty consistent S9+. I threw out my call and in no time had him in the log.

Later in the evening I tuned around and heard some activity from FL. Although my main interest today wasn’t southern states, I heard K8CQ and WB4VMH and figured I’d give them a call again since I had worked them before. Both sounded FB. Decided I’d turn out west since I was hearing N0LL/B pretty good a little earlier. I then worked K0JY in EN20 on CW, although he was pretty weak. I was unsure I copied the grid correctly, especially since it didn’t match his QRZ grid. Fortunately, later on I heard him on SSB and gave him a call, at which time I was able to confirm he was in EN20 at the time.

For the fun of it I checked out the RBN [ reversebeacon.net ] and said to myself, “why don’t you CQ for a minute or two and see if you get spotted by one of the RBN nodes?” So I did just that. Surprisingly, I saw that the N6EV node had spotted my CQ. I thought, “hmm, i don’t see any activity reported between the west coast and here, but the RBN isn’t going to lie.” So I CQ’d a few more times, and the next thing you know I had NW6R and AA6XV in the log. In an instant I became a believer in the RBN. Absolutely great stuff! The bottom line is this — If you know there is propogation between you and a specific area, start CQing. Things may seem dead, but you could waken things up all by yourself.

Site of the Day:

Thanks to the CA, IA, GA, FL, and VP9 stations that worked me today!

Written by Mike

July 3rd, 2011 at 11:55 pm

Posted in DX,VHF_UHF

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PJ6D 2011 6-meter Expedition


I managed to work PJ6D on both CW and SSB without fanfare. The fact that these guys have set a frequency that they would be on that helps a lot. CW, SSB, or beacon — you’ll know if they are on the air and workable.

I got ’em on CW first, and then on SSB yesterday afternoon. On SSB they worked a great split, 50.105 / 50.155 tx/rx. I set the VFO and called six times while they were calling CQ with no answers. They were S7-S9 and I couldn’t figure for the life of me why they were not hearing me. I investigated and discovered I was on LSB instead of USB. Flipped to USB, threw out my call, and bang they were in the log.

They upload to LOTW, and my two QSOs are already confirmed:

  • AA8IA PJ6D 2011-07-01 17:30:00 6M SSB 50.155000 SABA & ST EUSTATIUS
  • AA8IA PJ6D 2011-07-01 00:32:00 6M CW 50.106000 SABA & ST EUSTATIUS

Of course this made my day. Any 6m contacts I make are very satisfying. PJ-land isn’t far away, but it’s another DXCC on 6m and it’s “exotic” in my book.

Thanks to the guys for working me!

You can check out the latest news at the following website:

PJ6D 2011 6-meter DXpedition

Written by Mike

July 2nd, 2011 at 12:20 pm

Posted in DX,VHF_UHF

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