All posts by felodden

2022 Trans Tasman contest

The operations space during the contest
Searching the band

A crew of contesters competed in the 2022 Trans Tasman contest from the Robertson contest site. This contest was held on Saturday the 16th of July 2022.
We used the WARS club’s contest callsign VK2W.
We competed for the full 6 hours of the contest duration, from the start time at 1800 local time on Saturday evening, to 1159 Saturday.

In attendance were –
Skip Hodgson VK2ALR
Erik Housman VK2EJH
Sam Cannell VK2HAU
Bob Gilchrist VK2HH
Barrie Egerton VK2IBE
Chris Jacobs VK2ICJ
Bob Christie VK2NRC
Raffy Shammay VK2RF
Stephen Rapley VK2RH
Fred Lodden VK2WS

The plan was to perform all antenna and rig infrastructure installation during the day on the Saturday and then compete in the evening.
Upon arrival on site we worked to set up the dipoles for the three permissible bands, 160m, 80m and 40m, and set up the additional rigs in the shack along with networking them together so that we had three operational stations. We also set up a second 40m dipole antenna oriented at 90 degrees to the first one to provide some directional diversity.
We intended to utilise all three possible modes, SSB, CW and digital (RTTY).
We have three laptops set up as logging computers running N1MM+ and these were networked to permit the consistent handing out of sequence numbers per band, as per the rules, identify potential duplicate contacts and to permit easy band/mode changeovers. The importance of the networked logging computers cannot be understated when trying to prevent duplicate contacts in this environment of multiple operators and successive 2 hour blocks.

The contest is organised in 2 hour blocks and it essentially becomes 3, 2 hour, contests run consecutively. So, you can work a station once in each 2 hour block, and in each of those two hour blocks you can work that same station once on each of the possible modes.

We started operating on all three possible bands on all three modes. Given the number of operators, we changed the operator at each station every 30 minutes so that everyone could have some time operating in each 2 hour block.
Since we had three stations and there are three available bands, each station was connected to just one band. We had originally anticipated that we would need to swap around the rigs and bands to allow us to work RTTY mode contacts. Just two of the three rigs were RTTY capable and we would need to allow each of the RTTY rigs to work whatever RTTY was available on each band.
It turned out that there was very little RTTY traffic that we could see – perhaps just one signal. Because of this we did not need to swap around the antennas onto the rigs that could do RTTY and so each station remained connected to one antenna for the whole duration of the contest.

After 6 hours, at the conclusion of operations, we had 209 contacts in the log.
Total QSO: 209
160m 19 CW 41 SSB x25 multipliers
80m 1 CW 110 SSB x35 multipliers
40m 13 CW 25 SSB x25 multipliers
Total: 17,935 points

I compare this with the last time the WARS club competed in the Trans Tasman Contest in 2016, which was from the Rose Bay site, where the results were –
Total QSO: 121
160m: 2 CW, x 2 multipliers
80m: 33 CW, 74 SSB, x26 multipliers
40m: 5 CW, 7 SSB, x 6 multipliers

The greater number of multipliers (prefixes) in 2022 can be partly explained by Australia now having VJ and VL prefixes along with the traditional VK prefix. Many contesting stations are using these new callsigns.

Interestingly, on the RBN during the contest period, WK2W CQ calls were spotted 264 times at 36 reporting nodes. A few of the highest spot counts were from nodes in North America.

At the conclusion of the contest at midnight some operators stayed overnight and camped out, some slept in cars and some bedded down in the back storage room of the shack.
On Sunday morning we disassembled the antennas and radio equipment and packed things up before returning home.

Many thanks to all that came along. Thanks to Barrie for hosting us and providing the lunch catering as well as doing the run to the local pizza shop. It is very much appreciated.

73 Fred VK2WS

2022 CQ WPX RTTY

A crew of contesters competed in the 2022 CQ WPX RTTY contest from the Robertson contest site. This contest was held over the weekend of the 12th and 13th of February.
We used the WARS club’s contest callsign VK2W.
We competed from the contest start time of 1100 local time on Saturday morning to around 0130 on Sunday morning, took a break, and then resumed operations at daybreak on the Sunday and continued to 1530 on Sunday afternoon.

In attendance were –
Skip VK2ALR
Barrie VK2IBE
Stephen VK2RH
Erik VK2EJH
Nick VK2MYK
Bob VK2NRC
Fred VK2WS

Upon arrival on Saturday we initially worked to erect a dipole for 10m and later (when the rain eased off) another dipole for 20m. These antennas supplemented the permanently installed 15m and 40 dipoles.
The mast and 10m antenna erection activities occurred in persistent drizzling rain and it wasn’t long before we were very wet despite wearing rain gear.

We initially started operating on 10m. We made 21 contacts before the waterfall became rather blank. So, we switched to 15m and continued.
Towards evening we switched to 40m.
Over the weekend we tried 20m several times however there were no RTTY signals to be found on that band. In fact the whole band appeared rather quiet for signals of any type. We suspected the antenna may have a fault, so we replaced it. We had an extra dipole for 20m already tuned and was quite simple to drop the original and install the new one (and it wasn’t raining). However, the 20m band remained rather dead to us.
We repeated the pattern of using 10m and 15m on Sunday. On Sunday afternoon, many of the stations that we could copy were duplicates as we already had them in the log. So our QSO rate dropped off.
At the conclusion of operations we had 141 RTTY contacts in the log.
Interestingly the RBN had 22 nodes report receiving the VK2W RTTY CQ calls, with a total of 205 RBN reception reports.

With people needing to return to Sydney at a reasonable time on Sunday we took down the temporarily installed mast and antennas and departed the contest site at 4pm.
Many thanks to all that came along. Thanks to Barrie for hosting us and providing the catering. It is much appreciated.

73 Fred VK2WS

VK2RH watching the decode window to see if anyone new answers our CQ
The team

2022 ARRL RTTY Roundup


On Sunday the 9th of January, VK2IBE, VK2ALR and myself, VK2WS, competed in this year’s ARRL RTTY Roundup from the Robertson contesting site.
We used the Waverley club’s VK2W contesting callsign.
We spent Saturday fixing up two dipoles (well, one didn’t really require fixing at all, we just needed to select the correct (mislabelled) feedline and getting the MMTTY digital mode software plugin to work with the N1MM logging program.
Since this RTTY activity was a first time experiment for us, we aimed to work the contest during more ‘normal’ daylight hours and were targetting 0900 – 1500 local time. The contest runs for 30 hours, but we just wanted to see how we would go.
As it turns out our period of operations meant that 40m was not really working for DX. While there were a number of local nets happening on SSB as well as a WIA broadcast, there were no RTTY signals. We eventually switched to 15m (our other dipole antenna) and there we found some stations. Initially we got half a dozen QSOs with US stations (California, Oregon, Washington and one from Virginia) but after that it was only stations around the Pacific.
We got 19 QSOs in the log. All QSOs were on 15m. Having a 20m antenna might have been fruitful – perhaps next time.
We had fun working out and refining operational practices with the software and the mode. It was quite a learning experience.
The log is below:
FREQ MODE DATE TIME CALL EXCH CALL EXCH STATE
21101 RY 2022-01-08 2355 VK2W 599 2 K9YC 599 CA
21102 RY 2022-01-09 0006 VK2W 599 3 KA6BIM 599 OR
21105 RY 2022-01-09 0011 VK2W 599 4 K6XX 599 CA
21094 RY 2022-01-09 0044 VK2W 599 5 W1SRD 599 CA
21094 RY 2022-01-09 0048 VK2W 599 6 K7RU 599 WA
21098 RY 2022-01-09 0101 VK2W 599 7 W6BB 599 VA
21098 RY 2022-01-09 0104 VK2W 599 8 ZL3VZ 599 0006
21084 RY 2022-01-09 0137 VK2W 599 9 RA0FLP 599 0120
21085 RY 2022-01-09 0139 VK2W 599 10 ZL3P 599 0131
21096 RY 2022-01-09 0159 VK2W 599 11 JA1BJI 599 0128
21095 RY 2022-01-09 0239 VK2W 599 12 VJ4T 599 0033
21098 RY 2022-01-09 0244 VK2W 599 13 JA7ZP 599 0014
21098 RY 2022-01-09 0246 VK2W 599 14 KH6ZM 599 0441
21092 RY 2022-01-09 0256 VK2W 599 15 BD3CB 599 0073
21098 RY 2022-01-09 0302 VK2W 599 16 JA1WSK 599 0104
21095 RY 2022-01-09 0303 VK2W 599 17 VK4SN 599 0042
21091 RY 2022-01-09 0309 VK2W 599 18 VK4SE 599 0001
21092 RY 2022-01-09 0334 VK2W 599 19 JA1IAZ 599 0035
21092 RY 2022-01-09 0335 VK2W 599 20 VK7BO 599 0014
73 Fred VK2WS

Results
When the results were published in June 2022, and with VK2W entered in the multi operator, single transmitter, high power category, globally we came 8th. (Disclosure – there were just eight entries in this category 🙂 ).
Additionally, in our region of Oceania, we came 1st. (Disclosure – there was just one entry in this category and it was VK2W 🙂 ).
Still, we got in there and gave it our best shot.
73 Fred VK2WS