Unlike the others I’ve posted so far, this was not from the 10-meter contest. Rather, this was my first contact on HF. I got the courage up to actually try transmitting and as luck would have it, my signal was received over 3,100 miles away.
Slight irony having both “virgin” and “first” in the title, I suppose.
I’m not the best contest-participant yet, I’m sure. I spent the first half hour realizing my RTTY setup wasn’t actually correct. When I monitored my own transmission, I just heard a piercing squeal, not the telltale RTTY sounds obvious from all the others in the contest. It took just a little searching around to find a webpage explaining how the MMTTY program is actually supposed to be configured. Sure enough, things were fixed and my signal sounded exactly as I would have expected.
I only managed to participate for just over 10 hours of the 24 hour maximum, but managed a 6,625 score (assuming I did the score right, I erred on the low side with DX countries) with 125 QSOs and a multiplier of 53. I seem to have a knack for a high density of multipliers, so maybe when I can get really invested in the contests my luck will hold out and I’ll have some higher scores.
For what it’s worth, here was my “strategy.” I started on 10-meters since DX worked well for me in the 10-meter contest. I scanned and looked for people parked on frequencies. It was interesting how long into the night I was still receiving signals. I was surprised at how fast the activity ended though, an hour or two after sundown while I went to get a snack, all activity died. I switched to 20-meters to see what propagation was there, and managed contacts for several hours. Once it was fairly late, I switched to 40-meters since my readings suggest it’s a “nighttime band.” The bulk of my contacts were on 40m.
Ultimately I got tied up with what progress I was making with the Worked All States award and decided to park on a frequency and see if people would come to me. I made over 30 contacts that way, most of them states I still needed! I don’t know yet how well 40m is supposed to perform on DX, but I managed to reach a handful of European countries, with Romania already confirmed on Logbook of the World.
All in all, I must say I’m a fan of RTTY contests. They may be too mechanical for some, but I’m a computer scientist so I’m possibly biased in favor of it. So my experience includes a phone contest and a data contest. Next stop, maybe I can manage some ragchews…