AA8IA Amateur Radio

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4th Quarter 2011 Contests

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Usually I post contest summaries after every contest. But, as you can see, I haven’t posted much at all lately. Blogging is a burden, especially if you don’t have anything of interest to post. I typically post my contest results for the sole purpose of having my own online record of the contests I have worked. However, the 3830 reflector does a better job of archiving that kind of information than I could ever hope to.

The contests I’ve operated in [since WAG 2011] are:

  • 10/15/2011 Iowa QSO Party
  • 10/15/2011 New York QSO Party
  • 10/29/2011 CQ WW SSB
  • 11/05/2011 ARRL Sweepstakes – CW
  • 11/12/2011 Worked All Europe – RTTY
  • 11/12/2011 Kentucky QSO Party
  • 11/19/2011 ARRL Sweepstakes – SSB
  • 11/26/2011 CQ WW DX – CW
  • 12/03/2011 Tara RTTY Melee
  • 12/03/2011 ARRL 160 Meter Contest
  • 12/04/2011 10-Meter RTTY Contest
  • 12/10/2011 ARRL 10-Meter Contest
  • 12/17/2011 Croatian CW Contest
  • 12/17/2011 RAC Winter Contest

I have submitted all of those to 3830 except for the Croatian CW Contest and the RAC Winter Contest. I submitted checklogs to the sponsors for those two. Why? I was in it just for fun and didn’t want to worry about what the rules said. I just worked what I heard.

Written by Mike

December 27th, 2011 at 1:02 pm

Scandinavian Activity Contest SSB 2011 Summary

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Saturday morning I awoke and finished preparing for the PaQP. 10m has been great lately, so at about an hour before the PaQP was to start, I went to 10m to see what I’d hear. Lo and behold the Scandinavian countries [and other EU] were very strong on the band. I couldn’t pass up the opportunity. I had a little time to play, so I fired up N1MM and I answered some CQs. It was really great to work some SSB so easily across the pond, and I was glad to hand out some Qs. In the end I managed 34 contacts in about an hour of casual operating. Heck, that’s a better rate than I usually get in a contest where I’m actually working hard at making Qs.

Even better, a lot of those stations seem to be on Logbook of the World, and so I’ve got many 10m confirmations from those Qs. Thanks to the SAC sponsors and stations for putting on a great test. Now that I think about it, I sure wish the PaQP would have started a few hours later. I really wanted to make some more SAC contacts on 10m through 20m.

Scandinavian Activity Contest, SSB
1200Z, Oct 8 to 1200Z, Oct 9

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

Class: SOAB LP
QTH: Toronto OH EN90ql
Operating Time (hrs): 1:07

Summary:
Band QSOs Mults
——————-
80:
40:
20:
15: 8 7
10: 26 17
——————-
Total: 34 24 Total Score = 816

Club: Mad River Radio Club

Written by Mike

October 11th, 2011 at 9:59 am

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NA Sprint SSB Contest Sept 2011 Summary

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The last thing I wanted to do was operate in an SSB sprint. But, I heard
someone making it plain and clear that he was looking for anyone, anywhere…
sounding kind of desperate. So I threw out my call.

After that I sat and listened a while to see if I could get the idea of what to
do. I tried to answer a CQ and then send a CQ, and for the most part I did
that. I forget all of the terms you sprint guys use for this stuff. At any
rate, it was fun. But then I got gunshy because I remembered reading that i
ought to give my call at the beginning [or end] depending upon whether I was
giving my exchange as part of my answer to a CQ vs giving my exchange after
someone answered my CQ. Oh well. It was fun, but only because the bands
weren’t packed like I thought they would be.

NA Sprint SSB Contest – September

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

Class: Single Op LP
QTH: Toronto OH EN90ql
Operating Time (hrs): 3:07

Summary:
Band QSOs Op Time
———————
80:
40: 8 4
20: 20 7
———————
Total: 28 Mults = 11 Total Score = 308

Club: Mad River Radio Club

Written by Mike

September 20th, 2011 at 12:03 am

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NAQP SSB 2011 Summary

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Didn’t spend much time on this one, but it was definitely more fun than I had expected. Wish I could have put more of an effort in.

North American QSO Party, SSB – August
1800Z, Aug 20 to 0600Z, Aug 21, 2011

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

Class: Single Op LP
QTH: Toronto OH EN90ql
Operating Time (hrs): 1:47

Summary:
Band QSOs Mults
——————-
160:
80:
40: 9 9
20: 38 19
15: 15 5
10:
——————-
Total: 62 33 Total Score = 2,046

Club: Mad River Radio Club

Written by Mike

August 21st, 2011 at 6:41 pm

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Upcoming Operating Events

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Below are some of the upcoming operating events I am interested in. For full details on any of these [and many others], check out the WA7BNM Contest Calendar

CWops Mini-CWT Test
1300Z-1400Z Wed, Aug 10
1900Z-2000Z Wed, Aug 10
0300Z-0400Z Thu, Aug 11

Hard for me to find time midweek for these short ones, but they sure are fun and help break up the monotony between the weekend tests.

WAE DX Contest, CW
0000Z Sat, Aug 13 to 2359Z Sun, Aug 14

Single-op stations can operate up to 36 hours, multi-op up to 48 hours. I forgot all about this one. I had a blast last year, but I struggled learning the whole QTC thing. I don’t think I’ll be any better off in that regard this year. The EU ops are brilliant, patient, and eager to take QTCs.

Maryland-DC QSO Party
1600Z Sat, Aug 13 to 0400Z Sun, Aug 14
1600Z-2400Z Sun, Aug 14

Two time periods. I want to make some Qs in this one since MD-DC is “just down the road” from me and they make contacts in the OhQP for us.

SARTG WW RTTY Contest
0000Z-0800Z Sat, Aug 20
1600Z-2400Z Sat, Aug 20
0800Z-1600Z Sun, Aug 21

This same weekend is the CW Ops Open inaugural and the NAQP SSB. I will have to sit out the SARTG WW this year.

CWOps CW Open
1200Z-1559Z Sat, Aug 20
2000Z-2359Z Sat, Aug 20
0400Z-0759Z Sun, Aug 21

I’m looking forward to this one. I’ve only operated once or twice in the mini tests, and they are great. I want to be there with bells on for this event.

Three separate four-hour tests. Work any or all three slots.

North American QSO Party, SSB
1800Z Sat, Aug 20 to 0600Z Sun, Aug 21

Single-op stations work 10 of 12 hours, Multi-op work all 12 hours.

SSB typically isn’t my game. Mediocre stations make poor SSB contesting stations. However, this is a domestic constest and is limited to 100w, so there will be lots of mediocre stations just like mine operating. I’ll play in this one.

Written by Mike

August 8th, 2011 at 1:13 am

Posted in Contesting,QSO Parties

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ARRL SS SSB 2010 Summary

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ARRL Diamond Logo
SSB contesting isn’t fun. Listening to multiple SSB signals mixing in close proximity is simply monotonous. Trying to find a place to park and call CQ, especially when you have a very modest station and aren’t running an amp, isn’t easy. Compared to CW where you could potentially have 5+ stations in a kilohertz of bandwidth and be able to copy those stations with a 100-200 hz filter, it’s very difficult to filter out ~2.5 Khz SSB signals in close proximity. There were many times that I wanted to call CQ but couldn’t find a spot. Sure, I could find a spot where I could manage to filter out enough adjacent signal damage to be able to call CQ, but my TX signal would have been wide enough that it would create a lot of problem for those adjacent stations if they weren’t able to equally filter out my signal. Besides that, I have no reason to believe my signal was narrow or pleasant. I was running the audio EQ and speech processing, although I didn’t have my mic gain up any further than 25. Most of the time I couldn’t bring myself to park in between two stations knowing that some part of my signal was really going to cause problems for them. I know, the rules are different for contesting and part of contesting is learning to cope with signals covering up what you are trying to copy.

On 80m, I spent a lot of time tuning… and if I went up past 3650 I really couldn’t tune at all. It was potluck above 3650 with high SWR and much of my power lost. I still made contacts up there though. At one point on Saturday night I did CQ on 3610 late at night and was fairly successful. Certainly not the rate of a true contester, but I had a long string of contacts. I probably could have repeated this Sunday if i had wanted to.

I always have a lot that I”m thinking about during a contest, much of which may be interesting if I were to write it down. By the time I am ready to post on here, it is all nearly forgotten.

It was great to put a voice to many of the ops I’ve worked in previous CW contests. It was also nice when quite a few of them recognized my call and took a moment to say hi. The 7-land guys are a friendly bunch, notably K7IA (and yes, IA calls are the best) and KI7MT. Took a nice break on 80m when Bill, KB3LIX, called in and we shot the shit for a few minutes. Bill runs a similar setup to me, so if we both put in the same amount of time and effort we often seem to find ourselves close in score. Of course, he obviously has more stamina and ambition than me, because I typically have the lower score!

SSB was also annoying because of all of the pre-recorded messages. In at least one case the pre-recorded CQ was a YL and then when I threw out my call an OM answered. A lot of people set up a pre-recorded macro for P CALL CK SEC, and they most did a great job of verbalizing their SN and then hitting the exchange macro to auto the rest of it without losing the rhythm. I only had my CQ pre-recorded, and I ended up not using it because it sounded so much different than my live voice did.

There were a couple of occasions where people were acting like jackasses. I’ll omit the callsigns, but let’s just say that I heard an exchange between a 0-call OM and a 6-call YL where the OM was ranting to the YL about her splattering and was lecturing her in the middle of the contest on spectral purity. She had moved up the band after his initial complaint, but apparently that wasn’t far enough for him because he could still hear her. So he challenged her to stay on the frequency she moved to and see what happens. She did, throwing out a CQ. Instantly he started CQing every time she did and was pissing and moaning for 5+ minutes about how she needs to move farther away from him “or else.” The only word that comes to mind for this performance is “asshole.” The YL eventually relinquished that part of spectrum to the OM. My suggestion to the OM is to relax, take a deep breath, step away for a minute. Way to serious, when it requires you to become a jackass towards other ops. Incidentally, the OM was using someone else’s station. Me thinketh he should be banished to his own basement station for a few contests until he learns to be cordial. He was a pisspoor representation of an amateur radio op on that day.

Overall I had fun. However, I only worked about 12 hours of the contest and definitely was tired of listening to the SSB — and my voice was fading fast. I eventually just decided that I’d spend the Sunday time with the family, which I ended up enjoying much more.

BTW, if you ever hear me on SSB and I sound like shit, let me know. I don’t know of an easy way to make sure my SSB is sounding decent. Mic Gain was set at 24, but I was using audio EQ and the speech processor. It seems that without using EQ and the speech processor, people were hearing a 2 or 3 when I was saying an 8. Anyway, if my signal sounds bad, let me know.

I got to work some MRRCers, which was nice. Although, I heard many more than I worked.

Thankfully CQWW CW is this coming weekend, so I can recover from the SSB insanity of this past weekend.

My Results:

ARRL Sweepstakes Contest, SSB

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

Class: Single Op LP
QTH: Toronto OH EN90QL
Operating Time (hrs): 11.5

Summary:
Band QSOs
————
160: 0
80: 195
40: 47
20: 30
15: 48
10: 0
————
Total: 320 Sections = 76 Total Score = 48,640

Club: Mad River Radio Club

Written by Mike

November 23rd, 2010 at 1:12 pm

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CQ WW DX SSB 2010 – Summary

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My Results:

CQ Worldwide DX Contest, SSB

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

Class: SOAB(A) LP
QTH: Toronto OH
Operating Time (hrs): 11

Summary:
Band QSOs Zones Countries
——————————
160:
80: 16 3 2
40: 9 5 6
20: 45 14 29
15: 82 17 47
10: 33 8 10
——————————
Total: 185 47 94 Total Score = 65,001

Club: Mad River Radio Club

Comments:

Only put in about 1/4 the time. Ran assisted to take advantage of spotting
since I wasn’t going to be competitive anyway. Low wires and no power really
can’t compete with directional stacks and high power on SSB. Don’t get me
wrong – I had fun, especially on 15m. 10m opened a bit on Sunday to South
America [and perhaps elsewhere for the big stations]. It was a fleeting few
hours during the afternoon when I saw 10m perk up, and I stuck around and
worked all I could.

I definitely need a tribander for next year — too much fun on 20-10m.

Looking forward to CW next month. Thanks to all who gave me Qs.

Written by Mike

November 3rd, 2010 at 9:43 pm

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Ohio QSO Party 2010 – Summary

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(subliminal message – If you operated the OhQP this year, and especially if you were an Ohio station, please upload your logs to Logbook of the World (LOTW) and eQSL. Many people worked this contest in the hopes of getting a rare Ohio county confirmation. Do your part and upload your logs. It’s not difficult. If you want to know more about LOTW and eQSL, click on the link at the top of this page)

I put a tremendous amount of thought into OhQP 2010 operations from my home this year. That’s not to say that I put enough effort into optimizing my antenna system. I did not. However, I did manage to at least get the 80m dipole up in inverted-V fashion. It sure is a good thing, because I actually made more Qs on 80m than anywhere else.

80m was rocking, both on CW and SSB. Unfortunate for me is the fact that I didn’t take into account how important SSB operations would be if i wanted to reach as many stations as possible. My 80m Vee tuned fine on CW but would not tune on SSB. I could not resist the temptation to operate [at reduced power levels] on 80m SSB even though I couldn’t come anywhere close to tuning the SSB portion. I made quite a few 80m SSB Qs, all things considered. But, next year I will be sure to have an antenna that easily tunes on 80m CW and SSB. Even with my situation on 80m SSB, stations seemed to copy me without a problem.

40m was a bust band for me. Apparently I didn’t know when the right time was to get on 40m. I made some 40m CW QSOs, but I didn’t make any 40m SSB Qs. And I see that a lot of other Ohio stations made significantly higher numbers of Qs on 40m. So I was definitely doing something wrong there. There were RTTY contests going on, and 40m CW was a hard place to operate. I heard some CW mixed in with the RTTY, but in the cases where I did I tried to avoid making a contact. I wanted to be friendly to the RTTY contesting guys. Too bad there was a RTTY contest on the same day as the OhQP though. This did affect things.

20m was alright. On only operated CW on 20m. Not sure why I didn’t bother to seek out SSB contacts.

I made 1 QSO on 15m. 15m/10m were pretty much deader than a doornail.

  1. There were a ton of Ohio stations on the air. Kenny [K2KW] did an excellent job with PR for this event.
  2. Weather was beautiful in all of Ohio for the contest
  3. QRN was at a minimum [at least for me] in Ohio

    I did a lot of CQing. It was effective. The problem is that I obviously didn’t know when to quit. Well, I knew there were many times when I should quit, but I didn’t. At those times I either should have checked other bands or SSB, or I should have QSY’d to a fresh frequency. Failing to adjust when rates were really low was a fatal flaw for me.

    Another fatal flaw of mine was that I didn’t choose the right band for the right time in order to maximize my Qs on all the workable bands.

    I also failed to look for the mobiles until the very end. This meant that I didn’t get a chance to work any of the mobiles/rovers when they were moving around East Ohio. The exception is K8RYU — Ralph did a fantastic job and I was able to work 3 counties on 80m with him. The mobile ops are all fantastic. They can copy fast/slow, without the need for repeats. In the end I was able to pick up a couple of county mults from the mobiles. If I had been on the ball, I’d probably have been able to snag K8MR and KC8YJJ on one or more bands/modes while they were in BELM / CARR / HARR / COLU / TUSC.

    Lastly, I failed to think ahead regarding the significant amount of SSB activity that would be occurring. This is probably because I usually run CW-only and because I usually have a piss poor setup for SSB. As it turns out though, low power aside, I actually have a good SSB setup now. I definitely need to get the 80m Vee to work on 80m SSB.

    In the end, I’m a bit disappointed with myself. Failure to pay attention caused me to not get any Qs for most of Eastern Ohio. I heard COSH and TUSC, but they weren’t CQing when I heard them and I never managed to catch up with them when they were CQing. Not even sure if they did CQ.

    I had a great time this year. I’m sure it is my best ever OhQP score. But even before the contest was over I new I made too many fatal mistakes and that had I given proper forethought to things I could have increased my score a bit and gotten the close counties. I also know there were some errors in my logs. I guarantine it won’t be a prisitine log, which is going to hurt my score.

    I saw the 3830 reports of quite a few out-of-state stations that did a phenomenal job, including working various OH mobiles 10-15 times.

    Thanks to all of the Ohio and out-of-state stations that worked me.

    My Results


    Ohio QSO Party

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

    Class: Single Op LP
    QTH: Toronto OH
    Operating Time (hrs): 12

    Summary:
    Band CW Qs Ph Qs
    --------------------
    80: 160 39
    40: 47 0
    20: 39 0
    15: 1 0
    10: 0 0
    --------------------
    Total: 247 39 CW Mults = 86 Ph Mults = 32 Total Score = 62,894

    What counties I did not work: ALLE , ASHT , BELM , BROW , CARR , COSH , DEFI , GREE , HARD , HARR , HIGH , HOCK , JACK , LAWR , MAHO , MARI , MIAM , MONR , MORG , MUSK , NOBL , PAUL , PERR , PIKE , PORT , STAR , TUSC , WYAN . 28 counties not worked! What the hell? Now, think about how many of those had mobile operations that I missed. I heard a station in BELM (probably mobile) but they were gone before I had a chance to throw out my call and find out their call. I heard [but did not work] COSH and MUSK.

    K9TM reports having not worked 8 counties. And out of those 8 counties he did not work, I worked 3 of them and heard 2 of them. That means that at the very least, there were operations in 85 of the 88 counties. So I missed at least 25 counties that I could have worked but didn’t.

    I worked 35 or 36 states. K9TM worked 47 states. So I wasn’t too far off. I didn’t do much on 40m or 20m. Had I put in more effort on CW/SSB on those bands, I probably could have picked up a few more states.

    I worked a few DX stations including IK2, G3, four DLs, HP9, OK2, and SP5.

    To sum it all up, I should have worked more 40m CW and I should have worked 40m SSB and 80m SSB. I should have made sure the Vee tuned on 80m SSB before the contest started and should have rectified that problem if it didn’t. I should have paid attention to the mobile routes / timelines so as to be able to catch some more mobiles in the “rare” counties.

Written by Mike

August 30th, 2010 at 10:21 am

NAQP SSB 2010 – the summary

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At about T-2.5 hours til the end of the contest I got back on the air. 80m was all QRN. Very unpleasant. Of course, without an actual efficient antenna on 80m I just wasn’t being heard over the QRN. Every contact was a struggle. Between 11:30 PM and 12:05 AM I managed 4 Qs on 20m and 7 Qs on 80m. On 40m there were only two stations to be found that I hadn’t contacted previously.

At 12:06 AM I shut it down, with nearly two hours of contest left. I simply felt that I exhausted any possibility of useful contacts. I don’t know where the ops were – Was I just not hearing them? Or did everyone give up early?

My Results


North American QSO Party, SSB - August

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

Class: Single Op LP
QTH: Toronto, OH
Operating Time (hrs): 4.2

Summary:
Band QSOs Mults
-------------------
160: 0 0
80: 7 5
40: 37 23
20: 44 13
15: 0 0
10: 0 0
-------------------
Total: 88 41 Total Score = 3,608

Club: Mad River Radio Club

Written by Mike

August 22nd, 2010 at 4:33 pm

Posted in Contesting,QSO Parties

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North American QSO Party 2010 – SSB

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The North American QSO Party SSB contest is this weekend (August 21st/22nd)

1800Z August 21 to 0600Z August 22, 2010 (Third full weekend in August)

Details and rules can be found at http://www.ncjweb.com/naqprules.php

I’m anticipating a lot of activity, and I plan to be active. Hope to see you on!

Written by Mike

August 19th, 2010 at 4:10 pm

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