Contesting -- RTTY Tips
very best place to start your RTTY contesting preparation is Don
Hill AA5AU's RTTY "How
to Get Started" website. You will find information for
beginners and old hands alike.
your station is set up, you'll want to get on the air and work stations.
After operating about 140 RTTY contests over the past few years,
I've gathered a handful of tips to share. None are novel or originate
with me, but all bear frequent refresher visits (by me, if not everyone):
If you are answering a CQ, don't send your
contest exchange until you've received an exchange from the CQ station.
When you copy the CQing station's exchange first, you know they
are paying attention to YOU, not some other caller who was louder
or quicker on the draw. Mostly I ignore callers sending their exchange
without first having the sense to see if I can hear them.
new operators may think they are saving everyone time by sending
their exchange without being asked for it. It doesn't save time
-- it throws off the smooth cadence of a good CQ run, and usually
results in senseless QRM as the offending station transmits an unwanted
exchange on top of other calling statoins. A smart operator
sends his exchange ONLY after receiving one from the CQing station.
just send your serial number as "2" -- send it as "002"
because it's just easier to see in the clutter, and easier to click
on in the received text.
send your serial number MORE THAN one time. Send
it as "002 002 002". You could just send it twice, but
I send three times, because if the first two numbers don't match,
the third is the tie-breaker confirmation.
send RST more than once. I hear some guys sending "599 599
599 4" and I wondered why they would only send the important
info once, but the unimportant info three times. Flip that and send
the serial number a few times and the RST just once. I know the
RST, but not your number.
send RST as "599" not "5NN" -- that's CW shorthand,
and doesn't save a thing in RTTY mode.
and Searching & Pouncing
you're calling CQ, add "CQ" to the end of your
CQ message, that way we don't have to wait around till
your next CQ to see if you are inviting callers or answering one.
you're answering a CQ, don't send my callsign at
the start and end of each transmission. Once is plenty
for me to know who I am and who you're trying to contact. If you
are CQing, it's good to send the other station's call at the start
of the QSO to confirm just who the guy (or gal) is that's getting
keep at it. Send me your call a couple more times if I don't come
back to you right away or send "QRZ?" (but only if nobody
else is calling me at the same time... I, for one, am not good at
splitting out multiple RTTY signals).
turn off ATC and AFC if you have it on and are searching and pouncing
on CQing stations. I would rather not have to chase your transmitted
signal around my waterfall display or tune you in from 4 khz away.
jump in when you hear a RTTY contest on. It's your contest too,
and we all want (and need) you there!
to point your antennas
(and I am sure most knowledgeable RTTY contesters will agree with
me on this), always point your antenna towards the U.S. Pacific
Northwest/VE7 region and leave it there. Actually, just a shade
north of W7 is perfect. It just works better that way.
I am only kidding around on that last one. It actually applies to
any mode, not just RTTY.
Contest Score Rumors
The latest claimed scores submitted by participants in most of the
major contests. Super place to find out how the "other guys"
A comprehensive list of contests, organized by month. Includes links
to past results, the most recent rules, and contest sponsor Web
Radio Propagation Alerts
Don't be surprised by radio conditions. NW7US keeps us informed
about solar conditions and their expected impact on radio propagation.
Be sure to sign up for the e-mail bulletin service!
This is the contest logging software I have come to depend on most.
Covers just about all the major contests for CW and RTTY. Many use
its digital voice keying (DVK) features for SSB contesting, too.
The program is very powerful, it's supported by an amazing team
of programmers, and it's free. Now that's a nice set of