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…