Monday, September 28, 2009

2009 CQ World Wide RTTY Contest

2009 CQ World Wide RTTY Contest

RTTY: September 26-27, 2009
Starts 0000 GMT Saturday   Ends 2400 GMT Sunday

What is RTTY? It stands for radioteletype, nowadays a modernized way of communication utilizing a computer to digitize the message and to then send it to the radio for transmission and vice-versa for reception. I can see each signal on my screen, appearing like a waterfall, two lines with separation. In busy times there can be many such lines on my screen and I use the mouse to cursor to the one I want to have decoded. I can also peek at the others simultaneously.  I can also hear each signal, as they each have a distinctive sound and between the visual and the auditory signals, I can time my transmission so it comes out when the other station is not transmitting and hopefully listening. The purpose of the contest is to make as many contacts as possible with stations in other continents, other countries and even other states or provinces. These are called multipliers and they are used to multiply your score by the factor they are given. While it "pays" more to have as many contacts as possible with other countries, it takes more time and amassing more local calls is just as important, as they are easier to make. Well, I hope I did not distort things too much here.

I was mostly at home this weekend and and could spend quite a lot of time contesting.  I did take quite a few breaks, had dinner both on Friday and Saturday night with family, slept well at night, so it certainly was not an all-out effort. Just having fun there. I did not even look at my few previous contesting scores, I just did what I could and was happy with the results. I talked to a few Canadian provinces I've never talked to before on HF, such as Newfoundland, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island. I talked to many states, including several QSOs to Alaska and one to Hawaii. I also talked to about 32 different countries among then two new ones, Latvia and Andorra. I was lucky enough to get through to the C37URE DXpedition there and they very graciously took my call. Thank you, this is a rare gem! I also want to thank JJ1ZEJ for taking my call. This is the fist time since May of 2007 that I manage to have a QSO with Japan. Thank you also  to all 181 station that took my calls and/or responded to mine. You all made it fun anad I hope you had fun too. And finally, thank you too to the CQ organization for making this contest possible.

This is my second RTTY contest. When I checked this morning, last year I had 39 calls I logged. So I did much better this year. More experience, better utilization of my logging program, Ham Radio Deluxe v.5.0. This time, I learned to use a separate log for the contest and I also set the other logs I had so there won't be a lookup there, and this way any duplicate call that showed up was from the contest only. By now, I also had good macros pre-programmed and I did modify them a bit to even make them better. As the contest went along, I also used good macros I saw from others to set my own CQ calls and replies. This made things so much simpler. I also started calling CQ several times. I may not have been patient enough as I got only a few calls back, but hopefully next contest, I'll do better in this department too. So now, I already have a new good reason to want participate in next year's contest!

Actually, I had set my goal to achieve at least 150 calls logged in the contest. I ended up with 181, so that by itself is rewarding. But when I checked my contest entries, it turns out that 181 beats my best score which was 165 with was in the 2009 CQ WPX SSB contest. These scores are raw scores, my log entry, not what was formally accepted. Am I earning awards, certificates or plaques? No, not yet, but placing well and doing better each time is what I'm after. I can't complain about my station, but I'm certainly not a "Big Gun", just utilizing my 100 watts as well as my antennas allow me to. So I'm competing against myself mostly, and I'm happy with the progress.

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