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.

WAE DX CW and Wide Signals

I was not able to take part to WAE DX CW contest this weekend since I was chilling out on holidays in a wonderful and sunny place. I had internet and the computer with me for other purposes and I happened to check around the bands in a few “slow” moments while my girlfriend was busy with other duties before and after heading out to the seaside or heading to town for some tourist activities.

I connected to the well-known Twente University online SDR (a really nice one to listen around in the HF spectrum for both broadcasting, utility as well as hamradio signals). I’m rather new to SDRs and seeing the whole CW subband on the screen is always a thrill, especially in CW or when there are a number of signals active on the band. During WAE CW 40 20 and 15 were quite busy, also due to the rather good propagation.

Bandmap

It is nice to see so many signals and especially on CW (or digital modes) where all the traces are thin and closely spaced. Unfortunately what I saw was not exactly a perfect thing (perfect thing doesn’t exist but still…you can get close).

Lots of signals seems pretty wide and my head started thinking. Its not long ago since CQWW introduced the “clean signals policy” into its rules with the aim to limit the bad and distorted audios and signals during the competition. It is not that the bad signals are always wanted, let’s be clear, but still it gives a lot of issues to the nearby contesters that are splattered and disturbed by the wide and non-regulated nearby signals. A perfect “guide” is the one that you can find on the cqww.com website at the following link.

With a quick visual scan of the bands I could isolate some sort of wide CW signals that were for sure being an issue for the nearby competitors. I will not disclose callsigns for sake of “privacy” and because I do not like to name names but I definitely hope that someone reading this (I know I have less than the 25 readers of Manzoni) will double check its gear to make sure he is both compliant with the rules and a gentleman on the air.

One of the identified wide signals, notice the difference with the clean close by signals

One of the identified wide signals, notice the difference with the clean close by signals

At times when you have a noisy neighbour you might get noisy too…and you don’t notice yourself till someone makes you notices that.

Cattura1

Two wide signals quite close each other

Another wide one in a less crowded band

Another wide one in a less crowded band

Getting worse and worse

Getting worse and worse

Spectrum bully

Spectrum bully

How can you hold a run here?

How can you hold a run here?

As I said no callsign named (but I have my sort of black book with the calls well written). I spent quite some time listening to these signals during the weekend at different times and I have to admit most (but not all) were Europeans.  It is a real pity contest organizers do not look for such stations and ask for clarifications. I am not saying they are all doing it on purpose but I think contesting is a really technical part of our hobby and if you are able to build your own contest station, maybe even a multi op multi transmitter station, the engineering skills to try to reduce such a problem are at your hands and, if someone tells you “Your audio is distorted/Your signal is too wide” you should definitely backtrack the problem trying to solve it (or at least, do your best). Did you see/heard anything similar? want to share your opinion? let me know more about that in the comments, I will try to get back to all of you.

Thanks for reading till here.

EU HF Championship 2016

                    European HF Championship

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

Class: CW Only LP
QTH: 
Operating Time (hrs): 7
Remote Operation

Summary:
 Band  CW Qs  Ph Qs  Mults
---------------------------
  160:   10            10
   80:   70            34
   40:   83            38
   20:  137            50
   15:  133            49
   10:   86            42
---------------------------
Total:  519     0     223  Total Score = 115,737

Club: Worldwide Young Contesters

Comments:

Wow, that was fun. I was not sure to take part to it due to other duties but
finally gave it a go remotely using Teamviewer to access N1MM in my shack PC.

The lack of a "real knob" limited me to a simple click and pounce
technique and some CQs here and there. I got really lots of fun CQing, hope
some little delay didn't made me sound like a lid. Judging by the rates it
doesn't seem like (lots of run with rates >100Q/h with an Amazing top of a
213Q/h on 80m just before quitting).

Highlights:
- 10Qs on 160m on a run frequency!! WOW
- 100W really does the difference 
- final rush around 1AM local with a 213QSO/h rate on 80m. A pity I had to shut
down after a while.
- Nice virtual battle on cqcontest.net with IT9CLN :)
- Was fun to hear OQ5M (ON5ZO) slowing his rate to say hi to me, thanks Franki

Definitely want a better low band antenna. It is Amazing for working EU but I
need a more "DX" type antenna for the CQWWs.

FT450AT @90W
10-15-20 Verticsl
40-80 Dipole
80-160 "ugly" Inv-L

                    IOTA Contest

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

Class: SO12Mixed LP
QTH: JN65EP
Operating Time (hrs): 11
Radios: SO2R

Summary:
 Band  CW Qs  CW Mults  Ph Qs  Ph Mults
----------------------------------------
   80:   10       6                 
   40:   40      12        6       6
   20:  104      41       69      27
   15:   56      31       32      17
   10:   10       6        2       2
----------------------------------------
Total:  220      96      109      52  Total Score = 526,436

Club: Worldwide Young Contesters

Comments:

Nice contest as usual. First "serious" attempt at Low Power SO2R so
forgive me if, especially in the early hours of sunday, I have been much of a
LID on 40CW while running, I was for sure busy with the second radio.

It is nice to leave the QRP category and compete among the "big guns"
and set in such a score. I know it is nothing special but still it's half a
million reached in a bit less than 12 hours.

The initial idea was to park a radio on 40m to work as many G/EI as possible
but that definitely didn't work and 40m netted way less QSOs than expected.

10m showed some life no matter the number of sunspots and the A and K indexes.
Lots of flutter and QSB everywhere none the less. I need to improve timing as
well as the technical part of the station. Won't be easy as lots of things are
happening. 

Found EI2KM on 10m SSB with a pretty good signal on saturday late afternoon
calling CQ with no breaks at all. A pity he went that way till the signal
faded. Could have been mult number 3 on 10m SSB.

Hard to hold a frequency on 20m CW, completely useless on SSB. Three times I
got zero beated by an Ukrainian station that came to my frequency and started
CQing (no matter I was there since the last 30 mins or so). Tried to battle a
bit but was useless, he was probably not even listening to me (hope so).

Total Qs (with dupes): 331
Radio 1 QSOs: 297 (89,5%)
Radio 2 QSOs: 35 (10,5%)

See you next year under hopefully better conditions.

FT-450 / FT-857
Vertical 10-15-20 / Fritzel FB33 rotative dipole
40-80m dipole

iota

IARU HF Championship 2016

Wow !!!! WOOOOOW!!!!

It was quite some time since my last serious contest and I dare say I enjoyed till the last second of it. I love contesting and you guys know that. I like those endless 48h marathons on CW or SSB and I like the little few hours occasional sprints. I love the thrill of working mults, I love the thrill of having a far away station looking for me or copying my Exchange.

I am a competitive guy generally speaking and contesting just fits me well.

I was in contest abstinence and I really wanted to play around with the big boys. IARU was my chance. All plans were aligned except for the fact that I didn’t really planned an operation in this contest but since I was alone at the station and all the major duties (both work and family wise) were ok I thought of giving it a go. Now the dilemma….SOAB LP or SOAB QRP?

Well, since the start of the solar minimum I got this dilemma going on. I’ve Always enjoyed playing QRP but things gets more and more difficult and there’s lots of bad habits in such a category (cheating?).

I personally know what I am doing and how much power I am using and I am compliant with the rules and all the results, may that be a nice one or a plain “hole in the water”, are my own and achieved within the rules. Seems like someone else does not think it that way, and there are a number of such people around…in all categories honestly.

For a period I went playing with the big boys in the High Power categories (I was using only 100W though since I don’t even own an amplifier). I got some nice results overall, mainly in Single Band entries on 40 or 80m. Entering a LP All Band was in my wish list but playing QRP has Always been nice to me so I went that way. I have no regrets !!

Propagation wise the contest was supposed to be really boring. With a really low SFI propagation never really opened towards DX zones (with the exception of a few quick openings at weird hours). Lots and lots and lots of EU stations active made the contest way far from being boring.

The final number of QSOs is one of my best.

iaru

I used a lot the second radio with an overall second radio QSO number of 12% more or less.

radio_nr

radio_hr

All in all a super contest. Poor DX propagation but the activity made up for it.

Next one? likely RSGB IOTA. This time I guess SOAB Mix Low Power 12 or 24 hours will be a fun category 😉