2017!!

A New Year has started and no real resolution has been made. I honestly don’t like new year resolutions or similar stuff but I understand why many people do. The only one I would like to give myself is: Play radio and have fun doing it, in all of its aspects.

I will likely move from my beloved SOAB QRP category for quite some contest this year. It is a mix of different things that make me do so. As a very first thing I can say that “running” QRP in a “minor” contest with current solar condition is a mixture of masochism and frustration. I will definitely enjoy limited operating with QRP especially outside of contesting but I won’t do all the minor ones in QRP. The second reason I am giving up such a category is cheating. I got really pissed off by lots of things. I got pissed off from the way some contest are run and from the way some contest assess cheating even if they have been warned in advance of probable illicit operations. Well, seems like lots of things go undetected and lots of people wins and sets records without deserving it. I’m full of this, I’m pissed off.

I will probably enter the Low Power or even High Power (without having the means) categories so I will feel like being more respected and that my result is more fair.

And so I did. I took part for some time during the WW PMC Contest last weekend (with an 80W maximum power) and I submitted my result in the SOAB HP Mix category.

I might enter some contest QRP as well, maybe some CQWW in the Single Band entry. Whether low bands should be the future I feel like sticking with 15m. I love that band and I want to keep it active somehow. Let’s see what times as well as other duties will allow.

I will come up with a sentence to add to my 3830 score report. Something like “An HP entry with a LP station if fairer than a LP station in a QRP entry” but I need to tweak it out to make it better. And, by the way, I know almost no one reads my 3830.

That said I will keep experimenting with remoting my station as well as with SDR applications.

I don’t think I will be much active outside contesting. No huge DXCC hunting and so on. Just as usual, playing contests and trying to have fun.

Happy 2017

 

                   RAEM Contest

Call: IZ3NVR
Operator(s): IZ3NVR
Station: IZ3NVR

Class: SOSB/15 HP
QTH: JN65ep
Operating Time (hrs): 2

Summary:
 Band  QSOs
------------
   80:    
   40:    
   20:  22
   15:  24
   10:    
------------
Total:  46  Total Score = 2,379

Club: Worldwide Young Contesters

Comments:

Pretty hard to take part to this one being in the Christmas day but did a couple
of hours while waiting for the relatives to show up for the Xmas lunch.

Poor band conditions but I love 15m so wanted to send the log in for this
category. Nice to work RA0LQ/MM and browsing on Google where he was located :)

Last contest (and likely contacts) for 2016. Wish you all the best and hope to
work you all during 2017, HNY!!

Stefano IZ3NVR
FT-950 @ 80W
vertical

9A CW 2016

Croatian CW Contest

Call: IZ3NVR
Operator(s): IZ3NVR
Station: IZ3NVR

Class: SOSB/80 HP
QTH: JN65
Operating Time (hrs): 2

Summary:
 Band  QSOs  Mults
-------------------
  160:
   80:  139    33
   40:
   20:
   15:
   10:
-------------------
Total:  139    33  Total Score = 14,586

Club: Worldwide Young Contesters

Comments:

Fun contest as usual. Very limited time to take part but nice to see my
"ugly" inverted L is working fine.

Operated with 80W from the FT-950 into a homemade inverted L with 15 radials.
Sometimes I peeked into 160m to work some station in the Stew Perry too.

Decided to send the log in into the HP category because at least I am sure
people are definitely using more than 100W (food for thought)

Merry Christmas and Happy 2017
Stefano IZ3NVR

score

CQWW SSB 2016 – The Analysis

Before starting this post let me be clear. Conditions really sucked. It was much more difficult to hear usually loud stations (K3LR, W3LPL …) but the contest was fun indeed. Score is down, as well as the number of DXCCs and Zones. I could hear some “new” DXCCs on the air but they were damn too weak and/or they had an heavy pileup or they just CQed in my face over and over.

The final score is down 11.5% while the on air time is a bit higher than last year. Unfortunately N1MM counts on air time in a “still not known to me” way so all the time I was online just waiting my turn to work a DX or calling CQ hopelessly (yes, by frustration I did that too) was likely not counted.

Nonetheless here is my score:

score

All in all is not that bad, conditions considered, but I already saw an enourmous score (1.7 Million) declared by a station from Cyprus so I expect other huge scores, especially from OK2FD, RA0AY and other well known well equipped contesters.

Anyway I had some spare time today so I decided to run a log analysis taking into consideration last year log and this year one. Here the highlights:

cattura1

22 less QSOs, not a huge issue but still less points. This year I did a wiser use of the cluster. Devoted more time on some double mult. Worked on quality other than quantity. Maybe I finally understood how to play “Assisted”, better later than never 😉

cattura

cattura2

QSO per band is scary. A huge yay for 160m and 80m tallies this year (my super ugly Inv-L did a good job and I already added more radials for the CW part) but 10m and 15m were horrible. Not only the number of QSOs is down, also the quality. Last year, zone 5 (most common US zone) netted 53 contacts, this year only 35. Zone 17 (Asiatic Russia mostly) netted 120 contacts while this year exactly half of them. That means way less point per QSO. On the contrary the number of short skip QSOs improved a lot with a huge number of Zone 14 contacts as well as Zone 20. Lukily I’m in Europe, who knows what has happened in the US, especially the central part and the Western part.

No JA worked and no OC worked either. Actually, not many DXes, almost like a “local” contest but participation, at least, was huge. Honestly that more-than-million point startles me but hey, that’s the game. I just hope to finish among the top ten at least even though i honestly doubt it.

See you in the CQWW CW, likely SOAB LP but still to decide honestly.

Maybe you can find me in some casual contest operation before the WW too, to test the low band antenna before the real shake-down.

CQ TEST 🙂

 

A New Toy – FT-950

There it goes, a new toy enters my shack. A pretty large one too.

img-20161029-wa0012

I recently acquired a second handed FT-950. An HF-50MHz 100W base RTX that is a slightely upgrade from the FT-450 electronic wise but a huge upgrade ergonomically wise.

I have it for a week now and had very limited time to make adjustments and play with it except for the CQWW SSB I did last weekend. Playing in a major contest with an “unknown” rig is for sure a silly thing to do but I was sort of self confident that being a Yaesu I could already do all I needed without main troubles.

More or less that was it. But the story of the CQWW will enter into another post I will publish in a couple of days.

Back to the 950. The main tuning knob is amazing, especially if you come from a small tuning knob of the FT-450. The received audio is really enjoyable to listen to. The two selectable antennas are a great feature as well. You don’t need an external switch if you only have two (nice for my current Two Radio setup actually, but that will be my main radio ).

Among the bad things I found in such a radio I can for sure mention the fact that the “Select” knob is a bit “sloppy” and has too many functions but not an interesting one. On the FT-450 the “DSP/SEL” knob was used to move across the band in KHz steps, pretty useful if you wanted to sweep the band quickly to listen to weak signals. The 950 select knob doesn’t do that, and no knob actually does that so you can just use the main VFO one and go with the pre-setted Hz steps. Not a huge issue, but a matter of habits I think.

What really interests me is the fact that you can mod it and extract the 69MHz IF in order to build a “poor man” panadapter. This definitely intrigues me as I really think that having the spectrum display helps a lot in S&P contesting activities. I would have gone on an SDR if the lack of an “old style” user interface (knobs…knobs….moaaar knobs 🙂 ) didn’t frighten me.

All in all, a great radio. Hope to have more time to play with it for a more in depth “review”, so far so good 🙂

CQWW RTTY 2016

Just 2 hours on Sunday night before the end of the contest. Been out all the weekend with my girlfriend so didn’t really play anyhting serious. Decided to enter the SOSB 80m QRP Classic as no cluster or second radio was used. Of course op time was less than the 24 hours required by the rules 😉

wwtty16

wwtty16_1

30Qs and a bit more than 1000 points. A couple of interesting stations (MD/DL7VEE) as well as some quick fun in a couple of CQs that, once skimmered, got me a big gun rate of 5 stations 😀

See you next contest

WSPR

While working on other non-ham things at the computer I decided to give WSPR receiving a go. This is the result of a few hours of RX this morning with the FT-450 and a multiband vertical.

wspr

It was awesome to see the trace of ZL3DMH and VK2EFM right there. Quite some miles.

As a side note I was pretty happy to see that my station was one of the few Europeans to pick it up at that time. Same thing happened with the VK2EFM. Quite an accomplishment for me.

zl3dmh

 

WRTC Rebooted

wrtc2018-jpg

When you think about contesting you think about a big radio game, a radio sport. If you parallel contesting to another well known sport you find, indeed, quite some differences.

wrtc-2010-russiaThe playing field is not leveled, people with lots of power is competing with people with way less power (just speaking of legal national limits without factoring cheating) and so on. As if it were not enough, cheating is widespreaded too. Out of band transmitting, multiple signals, log padding, power cheating. All of these can go undetected fr the fact that all the competitors are not playing in the same field at the same time under the careful watch of a referee or a judge.

WRTC, World Radiosport Team Championship, is what gets closer to an olimpic game and a real sporting competition being all competitors on the same place at the same time with the same type of equipment.

The real issue is that only a few luky ones are allowed to take part to WRTC given the result of a set of qualifying events held during the years before the WRTC itself. The point is: Qualifying events should be fairer as there might be lots of deserving contesters that should be allowed to take part to such an event but, due to many constraints, can not.

This summer, while sunbathing at the seaside with my girlfriend, I came up with a few lines of a possible “better” (let’s call it different) qualifying criteria that could be used for the upcoming WRTCs.

WRTC 2014 FA

WRTC (since Russian’s 2010) format require a field day station (antennas/radio installed for the competition only), a common antenna type (single threebander and wires for 40-80m) and a 100W max output power. Obviously, if you check the current WRTC2018 Qualification Standings the names of the top contesters, those that will likely become Team Leaders and qualify, uses way better stations’ setups than those that will be used in the field at WRTC. That, in my opinion, doesn’t make much sense. It’s like qualifying for the world’s most important running marathon using the bus or a car.

Qualifying events should be in a leveled playing field and under the same circumstances. How can that be done when the competitors willing to take part to WRTC comes from every area of the world?

The following is a rough idea of how WRTC qualifying should work.

Station type: field day style. threebander/wires for low bands. 100W maximum (cluster can be permitted IMHO)

Qualifying events: IARU HF World Championship

Year 1: local (same region/state/call area among a DXCC) competition. Top regional stations will enter the national event the next year.

Year 2: National (DXCC) event where the top regional winners of the wualifying year 1 will be qualified for the qualification area event.

Year 3: Top 2 for each DXCC will enter the qualification area event and the winners will be qualified for WRTC.

Year 4: WRTC !!!

Doing so there are way less contests to qualify, competition can be wider since even the “little pistols” can feel the possibility to qualify and, at least, compete in a WRTC style event at a regional and/or national event. The selected contest is the IARU HF Championship due to the fact that its the contest used to run WRTC every four years.

The ideal thing is that each competing station should have an on site judge to oversee the contester’s activity and field station to prevent cheating and such. Maybe the various clubs might provide it. Audio/Video proof can be a viable alternative to on site referees in case a judge cannot be appointed for a number of reasons.

On the CQ Contest reflector there has been a massive discussion on the “team” aspect. Being WRTC a team competition (2 operators per each station in a sort of M/S) it should be fair if both of the team actually qualify in order to compete and not that the Team Mate is chosen among the friends of the qualified Team Leader. Obviously the best thing would be to decide the team before entering the qualification period and enter all the qualifying events with the same team mate in order to qualify “as a team” for the WRTC event.

In my opinion this way more contesters are granted the possibility to join the WRTC and even if they can’t get till the last step, the real competition, they can compare themselves with other contesters in a leveled playing field and could be a rewarding experience for anyone.

Comments? Ideas?

I would really like to see such a format to be used for the upcoming WRTCs, even using Field Day or other contests as qualifying events to widen then number of qualifying events.