Team W4AAW pulled out a top ten finish in both ARRL DX contests for 2016!
In the CW leg of the ARRL DX, remote operators W4AAW, N1RM, K4XD, K6CT, W3UL, K3TN, KJ0D, W4TMO and KU1CW racked up 5,518,584 points and finished seventh in the US & Canada.
Operator(s): KJØD N6NC W2UP W3UL W4AAW
Class: Multi-Op HP
Operating Time (hrs): 16
Summary: Compare Scores
Total: 700 Sections 83 Total Score 116,200
Club: Potomac Valley Radio Club
Comments: [email] 2016-11-07 04:59:42
Totally Remote operation. Operator locations as follows:
KJ0D Missouri *** = PVRC Member
Welcome to Barry, W2UP who joined us for the first time. He made an impressive
Tom-K6CT/HP1XT, holder of the W4YY call, attempted to join in from Shanghai,
China but the BA folks block VPNs, so no joy in respect of what would have been
a remote contesting milestone.
Special thanks to the VY1AAA ops. Thanks also, to the League for sponsoring
this popular contest.
We will be back, in force for the WAE RTTY, CQWW CW and other contests, totally
W4AAW appreciates not having to buy beer or having to clean up the shack; one
of the upsides to not having any operators in his shack! HI
SCC RTTY Championship 2016
Operator(s): AA5AU N1MGO W3UL W4AAW W4TMO W6IHG WS7I
Class: Multi-Op HP
Operating Time (hrs): 24
Band QSOs Mults
80: 33 22
40: 215 69
20: 274 67
15: 138 53
Total: 660 211 Total Score = 375,580
What a challenging set of conditions! The Sun seems know just when to play
tricks on us. This, too, shall pass!
In a ground-breaking effort, Don-AA5AU operated the first two hours as SO2R,
and did it REMOTELY from Louisiana. So far as we know, Don is the first
Amateur to operate SO2R remotely. It was dizzying to watch the screen(s) as
Don masterfully controlled TWO stations from half-a-continent away.
Operators and their remote operating locations:
W4TMO North Carolina
WS7I Washington State
Great variances in conditions from hour to hour made for some highly
frustrating stretches of time. 20M and 40M were, for us, the money bands. At
times, 15M sounded good but it seemed many EU operators avoided any temptation
to swing yagis northwestward.
Many, many thanks for all the Qs and mults. Our Totally Remote Contesting Team
looks forward to working you in the CQ WW RTTY 'test next month, with nobody in
by Mike W4AAW North American QSO Party, RTTY - July Call: W4AAW Operator(s): AA5AU K4XD W3UL W4TMO W7RIV W3AAW Station: W4AAW Class: M/2 LP QTH: VA Operating Time (hrs): 12 Remote Operation Summary: Band QSOs Mults ------------------- 80: 57 29 40: 226 49 20: 310 51 15: 58 25 10: 3 3 ------------------- Total: 654 157 Total Score = 102,678 Club: Potomac Valley Radio Club Team: Comments: Kudos to Don-AA5AU and Bryon-W7RIV. Don led the way with BIC-time and QSOs, making more than half of all Qs. Bryon, newest member of the W4AAW team braved being thrown into the deep end of the pool. Thanks also to Jim-W4TMO for his kind Elmering. Very high noise levels greeted us at the start, along with highly aggravating QSB. Then, Mother Nature layed on a two-hour long, severe thunderstorm. After the storm passed, it felt like it does when you quit banging your head against the wall. Remote operators were located as follows: (* indicates PVRC membership) AA5AU Louisiana W7RIV Utah W4TMO (*) North Carolina K4XD (*) North Carolina W3UL (*) Maryland W4AAW (*) was in the shack for this one. Additional thanks go to AA5AU for sharing his vast RTTY experience and setting up the operating positions with two and even three decoders (MMTTY, GRITTY & 2Tone). Big improvement. Rowland, K4XD has done a masterful job at setting up our scheduling. People showed up! (Ninety percent of success is just showing up! ..Woody Allen) We planned this as a "practice" contest in order to deal with the unfamiliarity some ops feel in remote operating. Our two audio apps performed flawlessly as did the web connections and the Asus VPN router. Special thanks to Rick-N1RM and his VPN Update App. No more system/network bogging down. Finally, and sincerely, thanks to all for the mults and Qs. There would not be a contest without you. For more information on Totally Remote Contesting, visit www.remotecontesting.com 73 Mike W4AAW
I had a blast as part of the W0NA(@W4AAW) NAQP CW operation - I hope everyone else did, too.
I always like to do a "Lessons Learned" after every contest and try to figure out what I could have done better. Of course, part of the allure of HF contesting is that every contest is different - conditions and participation change so that nothing is ever exactly the same. But, in every contest I still find "coulda/shoudas" that would have improved my score.
Sometimes "more Butt in Chair" was the major issue, but that is always driven by lots of other factors. In general, I contest for fun and if it is too nice out to sit in the basement all day, my BIC time is driven by that, or the usual other obligations, etc. With Multi-2, there are only 2 chairs and we had them fully scheduled in advance with butts...
So, usually my lessons learned focus on how could my rate/hour been better. Here is the chart of our rates during the NAQP CW:
All rates discussed here are from SH5, which tells the true story - the N1MM rate meters tend to exaggerate actual rates in multi-op contests unless you look at the 100 QSO rates. People tend to look at the 10 minute rate meter too much...
In order to reach 1600 Qs, we needed to average 150/hour (or 75/hour/station) for 12 hours. To do that, obviously need hours above 150 to offset those that will be below, and usually the first 3-4 hours and 7,8,9 and 10 are the hours to "collect those acorns" like the squirrels do for the lean winter months...
We started slow, probably spending too much time on 10 and not enough on 15m. I followed my usual plan for NAQP/SS and quickly swept 10m for multipliers at the start and then went to my scheduled band, 20M and started running. Eric was scheduled for 15M but couldn't get anything going on that band, so he spent a good deal of time on 10/15 but we never had higher than a 40 hour on either band. I'll leave Eric to add his lessons learned.
For the first 2 hours running on 20, my rates were 78 and 71, not stellar. 20 minutes in I settled in on 14.042 and started running on what seemed like a pretty clean frequency. By 1906 it felt slow enough that I started picking off mults using the MultAvail window and ALT-Q - the run rate should have been higher. I think 15M and 10M were good enough for the West Cost/Midwest that many single out there were slower to come to 20.
By hour 3 it was slow enough that I took an early look at 40, but it was too early - went back to 20, found a good run freq at 14.022 and had an 89 hour that was OK for that time. After those two hour shifts, Rowland picked up the K3 position - I'll let him add his lessons learned.
My Lessons Learned Hours 1-4: Slow starts are killers in short contests, I should have either started earlier picking off additional QSOs with ALT-Q, or abandoned 14.042 and tried a different run frequency instead of making that early trip to 40. In SS, going to 40 2 hours in makes sense, but NAQP starts 3 hours earlier!
I came back on at 0000z and was originally scheduled for 40M but Bill was doing a good job of running there so I started up on 80 early - which turned out to be a lot of fun. I started with an 89 hour, followed by 79 and 85. That's pretty good for 80 that early in the evening.
By the third hour it slowed down so I took a quick trip to 160M, then came back and found a run frequency at 3525. While the first hour was good, I probably should have tried for a higher in the band frequency, maybe slowed the speed down (I usually CQ at 30 wpm in domestic contests and slow down to match callers) since I was "exposed" low in the band on .36 for the first long run period.
I augmented the slow 4th hour (59Qs 0300-0400) with another quick trip to 160 but I probably cost us some Qs on 80M. I did pick up a lot of QSOs with the ALT-Q approach.
My Lessons Learned Hours 7-10: I think I did pretty well during this segment, but I should have planned for find a run freq higher in the band to see if the rate went up. In NAQP and SS, there are part time CW ops who stay away from the lower end of the bands.
I was off for the last two hours, will let Eric and Rick add their lessons learned.
[Rowland K4XD] - 2200 - 0000, Hours 4-6
Thanks for the blog post John, I think this is a great way for us to learn from each other and improve.
I started up running on 40M at 2200, and as John points out, I was somewhat seduced by and repulsed by the 10 Minute Rate counter in N1MM+'s info window. It started quite high, in the 90's, and then after about 20 minutes it dropped to 60. The band was full of untapped Q's ("blue ones" on the band map) and a couple of mults, so I went into S&P mode. The 10 minute rate shot up, which made me feel like that was a better mode for now. Mistake! Although I averaged around 60 Q's/hour for my shift, with John's "Run, Pounce and Alt-Q" approach I'm pretty sure I would have done better. Next time...
We had the beams turned West and left them there. I did work a fair number of 1's and 2's with that orientation, but many were weak, and in retrospect, I probably would have worked a lot more by spending some time with the beam pointed more Northerly - maybe at least 330? I'd like to hear thoughts on that from the gang. Maybe swing the beam to another population area once the rate drops, and alternate between the densest areas.
In my last half hour I finished up the S&P on 40 and saw a band map full on 80 so went there and had plenty of S&P action. Again, probably would have done better with a run + pick off mults approach.
There was little to no moving mults going on to my knowledge - that's another area where I feel I should do better, and as a team, it would increase our score. I need to get my eyes used to focusing on the "needed on band X" notes from N1MM and program a key to let the caller know we are "also on 14.024" or whatever the current run freq is.
[Rick N1RM] - 0400 - 0600, Hours 11-12
As an "evolving" CW operator, this was an appropriate shift for me to develop skills without hurting the score too much. I spent about 6 hours during the day working a single op effort from my home station. By the rule, that was unassisted so I became glued to the P3 large screen display for S&P operation. When I switched over to remote operation at Mike's station, the first thing I missed was that display. I was dismayed to look at the available mults/Qs display for my assigned 80M band and notice that there were 1 mult and 6 Qs available. I did probably the worst thing - I went into "spin & grin" S&P mode tuning to each signal long enough to see it was a dupe. I kept at that for quite a while. That was also a mistake, but there were MANY stations calling CQ that we had not worked. I think I only picked up one or two mults, neither of which were the one listed on the spots. I suspect there was something wrong with the spots.
After about 40 minutes of that, I took Lady Macbeth's advice and "screwed my courage to the sticking place", calling CQ for the first time in any contest (other than Field Day). It was a gentle introduction to the art as the rates remained at about 35/hr - about what it was for S&P. There were only a couple of times where more than one person called me at the same time and I was able to get everything with almost no repeat requests. I guess all those hours with Morse Runner are paying off. It was a great confidence builder.
The only time I had any real difficulty is when someone came back to me at a very slow sounding 22 wpm and just as he was replying I started getting what John has christened "the blippies". For some reason the network started dropping lots of packets. I noticed when this started happening that it was about the time position 1 switched from run to S&P. I was actually looking for that to see if we can correlate it with increase VNC activity, which happens during S&P on position 1. I'm not sure there's a correlation there, because position 1 was still doing S&P after the problem went away, about 5 very frustrating minutes later. Anyway, when I asked for repeats, the other station naturally slowed down even more which actually made things worse. It actually got to the point where the intermittent dropouts were affecting every element he sent. It would have been better if he had sped up so that an occasional character could have gotten through in between dropouts. We finally finished the QSO, with him probably wondering when the FCC started issuing novice licenses again.
Other than that understandable difficulty, running went well, but unproductive. It's probably my lowest QSO count of any contest since starting with the K4VV/W4AAW team. But I'm now confident that I can copy stations nearly 100% at 30 WPM, so I'm ready to keep improving. I'll start trying the Run, Pounce and Alt-Q method next time around.
Thanks to John and all the other mentors in this group and especially Mike for the incredible hours he puts in so we can play.
Well, that was a blast - I hope all had as much fun as I did. Below is the 3830 writeup I submitted. We are currently sitting at 5th in M2 - obviously very early, but we should stay in the top ten.
We fell 101 Qs and 13 mults shy of breaking the NY3A@K4VV VA record and the same NY3A/WX3B team beat us this year from WX3B in MD. Here is a comparison:
They beat us handily on 80 and 15 and on mults on 10. We beat them on 160 and 20 and we were essentially tied on 40m. The difference works out to 9 Qs per hour and less than 3 mults per hour - give us a good target for the next one.
73 John K3TN
Class: M/2 LP
Operating Time (hrs): 12
|Summary: Compare Scores|
Club: Potomac Valley Radio Club
|Comments: [email] 2016-01-10 02:03:44|
|This was an almost completely remote Multi2 effort, with operators from MD (K3TN and W3UL), MO (KJ0D), NC (K4XD) and VA (N1RM). Station owner, sherpa and guru Mike W4AAW filled in locally when needed. We dedicated this operation to the memory of KL7RA - just didn't seem like an NAQP without hearing that call. The solar flare gods appeared to stay at home to watch the football playoffs, a good thing. 10 and 15 were our Achilles heel - conditions were not great and the bands seemed thin. 20 was its usual workhorse self, thought it went to bed early, while 80 and 40 were the gifts that just kept giving. 160M was its usual self, though towards the end a front and rain squalls moving through upped the noised level. Nice to work all the other RICHs, along with the CHACHOs. Seemed to be more TEDs than usual, maybe another memorial going on. 8P9NX was a nice surprise on a few bands. Also nice to work many new calls - NAQP is a great on-ramp for future CW contesters. The W4AAW station played flawlessly, though we had some scrambling immediately before the start to offer several reboots to the N1MM+ networking demons, who aren't very friendly to VPN-connected positions. The wireless Internet service at W4AAW was also well behaved - since in remote operation, the Internet is your paddle/headset/footswitch connection, that is a major plus...
SH5 Contest Stats
Stats from N1MM+
A great time was had by all. (Except for the terrible aurora effects.)
Jim-W4TMO, Bill-W3UL, Joe-NE3H and Mike-W4AAW teamed up for this effort. Conditions were pretty putrid. Space Weather says:
UN-DEAD SUNSPOT EXPLODES AGAIN: Sunspot AR2473, the source of the New Year's geomagnetic storm, appears to be in a state of advanced decay. It's not dead yet, though. During the early hours of Jan. 2nd it unleashed a strong M2-class solar flare. NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory recorded the explosion.
Despite it all, it looks like another top ten finish (NA). All scores were sharply down this year.
|K3MJW||1245||57||56||24||140,685||Skyview Radio Society|
Class: M/S HP
Operating Time (hrs): 22.5
|Summary: Compare Scores|
Club: Potomac Valley Radio Club
Comments: [email] 2016-01-03 16:52:41 All but a few QSOs were made by remote operators. These included: W3UL - Annapolis, MD, W4TMO - Raleigh, NC and NE3H - Camp Hill, PA The huge solar flare just after 00Z on Saturday had lasting effects throughout the contest. Although we did work EU, AF, SA, VK-ZL and JA, there were never large numbers of those usually-present stations to be heard. The aurora effects/multi-path distortion was so bad after 2000Z on 40M we thought something had gone wrong with our Digital Interface. Thanks for all the Qs and Mults. If this presages things to come for the rest of this year's contest season --- then, great patience and perseverance will be required. Team W4AAW To learn more, visit http:\remotecontesting.com
Band QSOs Pts Sec DXC
3.5 70 70 0 1
7 401 401 6 19
14 397 397 19 15
21 243 243 30 26
28 14 14 1 1
Total 1125 1125 56 62
1 Mult = 9.5 Q's
William (Bill) Rogers / W3UL
Annapolis, Maryland U.S.A.