Some of my club members at UBA-KTK wanted to gain some experience using digital modes. So what’s the best way to achieve that? Of course, participate in a contest.
I made a few calls and soon I found 7 operators (ON7USB, ON5HC, ON7TS, ON8AZ, ON4KB, ON4TOP and myself) to do the DL-DX RTTY from the ON6CK-clubstation. There was only one small problem… I was the only one of this crew who ever did a digi contest and some of the crew didn’t even know the difference between a PSK31 and a RTTY signal 🙂
I organised a meeting a few nights before the contest and I gave my friends an introduction in some of the ‘secrets’ of the digi-modes:
- what are the differences between RTTY and PSK31/63?
- Why can’t I sometimes decode an RTTY signal even when it’s very strong? (Reverse)?
- How can I put out a digital signal without being distorted?
- N1MM + Fldigi
Our clubstation is fine but it is only a pretty average contest station! This is the setup we used:
- 3 elt tribander
- dipoles 40 and 80
- 2 transceivers + 2 amplifiers
- 2 sets of bandpassfilters
- 3 networked PC’s running N1MM and FLDIGI
- 2 Signalink USB interfaces between the computers and transceivers
Why we chose to run this contest in Multi/Multi? Easy answer: with this setup and with this crew we did not stand a chance to win any category so we could as well try to maximise our fun!
What did we learn?
- As our 3-bander only has one feedline we couldn’t use 15m and 20m at the same time. Solution: use the 40m dipole + a tuner for 15m (SWR about 2.5/1)
- One 16 Amp fuse is not enough to run this setup
- On our dx-cluster you only get spots on 10-15-20m if the filters are setup correctly 😉
- Even when PSK31 and 63 are allowed in the contest rules only RTTY seems to be used (we only made one PSK QSO)
We’re pretty happy with the results. Our claimed score is 723 QSO = 8211 Pts x 196 Mults = 1609356. Moreover, the majority of the crew seems to be hooked for the digital modes and this certainly was not our last digi-contest!