Shack in 2014

The last three NAQP RTTY contests I’ve entered in the QRP category. In February 2014 I managed to place first in that category with 230 QSOs, mostly because the real competition, Mark K6UFO, wasn’t running. In July 2014, I completed 151 QSOs and finished second to Mark’s result. This year I managed 144 QSOs. Not a bad effort at five watts output into an MA6V vertical.

During the contest, which I operated around 8 hours of the 10 allowed, I worked 10 and 15 meters well. Most could hear my call and copy my exchange. On 20 meters it became more difficult to be heard, plus the crowding on the band covered up my signal. Even so, I was able to work quite a few stations. On 40 meters, where I was able to get the MA6V to tune up, I heard lots of stations but they couldn’t hear me. Perhaps my antenna was an effective dummy load. I miss the HF2V 80/40/30 antenna that I took down and sold. I need to look at setting up a temporary dipole or inverted-L for some of these contests.

I did run into a snag with N1MM that caused a few exchange bobbles. What I found, and from the mailing lists a few others found the same thing, is that if I had a previous QSO with the station on another band, N1MM being helpful would prefill the state after I clicked on the name. Should I then click on the state, it would replace the name and completely botch the exchange. Once I figured out what was happening I was either able to recover or avoid it. Still, it felt a bit quirky for much of the contest.

Another highlight of the week was working with Ray Novak, N9JA, from Icom America. He was in town to meet with the BSA about amateur radio and Scouting. I attended as well and feel that together we initiated a number of fun projects for the years ahead.

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Jim-K5ND

Freelance writer and active Scouting volunteer. Retired publishing and communication executive who writes for fun and to finance his hobby, amateur radio.

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