ARRL Sweepstakes 2015 SSB – Soap Box


Contest season is still going strong for me. I decided to play in Sweepstakes SSB this weekend because  my local club is putting in a group effort and wanted to add to the collective.

Getting Ready

After the horrors of getting a late start during WAE RTTY, I wanted to make sure it didn’t happen again. Checked the antennas, made sure the software was up to date and pre-recorded my messages into the digital voice keyer (DVK). I also made sure N1MM software was in working order.

My goals for the contest were to get a clean sweep. Never participated in sweeps until this year and I at least want to work all the ARRL sections. I also set a goal of 50,000 or more to help out my club effort.

And we’re off!

Since I wanted a clean sweep, I decided to use assistance from the cluster/network to find those needed callsigns. I started off running search and pounce looking for needed stations. Once I contacted all the needed stations, I just kept tuning around waiting to hear a CQ.

I’ve always heard about the long exchange which is what kept me from participating but doing SS on CW has somewhat prepared me for this. However I didn’t know exactly how people were going to say it. After a dozen or so contacts I got into a groove and started calling CQ.

Born to run

I rarely call CQ because with my station, It’s difficult to maintain a frequency. I am always being pushed out by the big guns. I’ve only ran during the New England QSO party because I’m the wanted station and it’s not really a big contest so real estate is much more available.

Since this contest is for North American operators (US/Canada), I  was able to hold a frequency and call CQ. I have a blast when operators line up to make contact with me. Western Massachusetts (WMA) isn’t considered rare since there are a few contesting stations on the air in the area but It was still fun. Some operators were excited they got WMA and were thanking me for a late multiplier.

Thanks to the almighty DVK

I am not a fan of talking to computers on the phone, why should I be a fan of talking to them on the radio? Some people are down right nasty when it comes to people using a Digital Voice Keyer and I can see their points but the DVK is what saves me and makes it more enjoyable. I used it call CQ and used it to help with every other exchange. Even with the help my voice is almost non exisitant after. I couldn’t imaging doing everything with the DVK. I guess I have respect for those ops with over 1000 contacts that are not using a DVK.


I didn’t spend much time on the air on Saturday. I saved my efforts for Sunday morning and afternoon. Honestly I didn’t think I was going to get a clean sweep due to 40/80 being somewhat closed during the day.  At around noon I needed 8 sections so I was bent on getting them. I had to fight in a pileups for AK and HI but the last three needed sections were WV, RI and GTA. I would not be able to reach them skywave so I hopped on 40 before it became popular and thankfully WV and RI responded to my calls. I was hearing GTA on others bands but it was just too close and my signal was going over them.  I stayed on 40 and sat around for any VE station. Finally around 3pm local I heard someone very loud say GTA. And thankfully they were calling CQ. He responded on my first attempt and jumped for joy


It’s very nice to see all the ARRL sections blue. Never happened before and was quite happy to do all 83 sections.

Trying Something New

I’ve always wanted to record my contests but never wanted to take the extra steps. Steve Cole (GW4BLE) from Wales records his contests and makes his contacts searchable. It’s enjoyable to see how you sound on the other side of the pond. I wanted have the exact same thing but I found people weren’t really forthcoming about the details.

There is a 3rd party application for N1MM+ called “qsorder” which will records the contest and will make seperate MP3’s for each contact. It listens to the UDP stream from N1MM and triggers the buffer to record 22 seconds before and after I hit the button to log the contact.

I wanted to find a way to display them like how GW4BLE does it or even the same as the wtQsoPlayer used in Wintest. I ended up making a directory listing, converted to CSV spreadsheet and modified it to link to the files. It’s 5min of work but after the deadline, I will make it available for others to search in the near future.

Claimed Scores


After making a clean sweep, I shifted my focus onto making as many contacts as possible. I wanted to pass 50k and did so right before I had to leave for other obligations.  I ended up with 307 contacts which yielded 50,962 points. I was happy about my results. After looking other claimed results, I guess I did ok.

Lessons learned

I have to look into ways to improve my rates. After looking at the claimed scores form the top of my class in my area, there is no way I would be able to compete unless I moved to a higher location and put up some more aluminum. Either I need to spend more time on the air (have yet to do a contest entirely) or learn how the spin the dial faster, make faster contacts or something.

Thanks for reading,
Jeff (NT1K)

ARRL Sweepstakes Recordings

Here are all the MP3s.

For now, press CTRL-F and search for your call. They are sorted in alphabetical order. I am working on ways to make all my contests recordings searchable.

Callsign Mode Date Time Band Link
AA1HK LSB 20151122 200238Z 7MHz Listen
AA2VK LSB 20151122 203045Z 7MHz Listen
AA7V USB 20151121 215817Z 21MHz Listen
AB1J LSB 20151122 174711Z 7MHz Listen
AB1WQ LSB 20151122 175440Z 7MHz Listen
AC2MT LSB 20151122 143124Z 7MHz Listen
AD0H USB 20151122 192449Z 21MHz Listen
AD5XD USB 20151121 212557Z 21MHz Listen
AD6NR USB 20151121 222657Z 21MHz Listen
AE0EE USB 20151121 220709Z 21MHz Listen
AK3V LSB 20151122 143304Z 7MHz Listen
K0BBB USB 20151121 220648Z 21MHz Listen
K0BUD USB 20151122 165747Z 21MHz Listen
K0CN USB 20151122 162320Z 21MHz Listen
K0EJ USB 20151122 161312Z 14MHz Listen
K0EU USB 20151122 163418Z 14MHz Listen
K0FD USB 20151121 220041Z 21MHz Listen
K0GND USB 20151122 180904Z 21MHz Listen
K0HC USB 20151122 172539Z 21MHz Listen
K0OB USB 20151122 172114Z 21MHz Listen
K0OU USB 20151121 210446Z 21MHz Listen
K0RJW USB 20151122 164506Z 21MHz Listen
K0TT USB 20151122 154747Z 21MHz Listen
K0VXU USB 20151122 194252Z 21MHz Listen
K0ZL USB 20151121 224506Z 21MHz Listen
K1DCT LSB 20151122 141426Z 7MHz Listen
K1DQV LSB 20151122 143040Z 7MHz Listen
K1JB LSB 20151122 200151Z 7MHz Listen
K1KG LSB 20151122 144341Z 7MHz Listen
K1NSS LSB 20151122 200800Z 7MHz Listen
K1RX LSB 20151122 140943Z 7MHz Listen
K2DBK LSB 20151122 200819Z 7MHz Listen
K2PO USB 20151122 162249Z 21MHz Listen
K2RQ LSB 20151122 140616Z 7MHz Listen
K2WJL LSB 20151122 201802Z 7MHz Listen
K2ZR LSB 20151122 174206Z 7MHz Listen
K3CWF LSB 20151122 142852Z 7MHz Listen
K3TW USB 20151121 215552Z 21MHz Listen
K4GAA LSB 20151122 202956Z 7MHz Listen
K4HPS LSB 20151122 143510Z 7MHz Listen
K4MTI USB 20151121 215634Z 21MHz Listen
K4NM USB 20151122 164226Z 21MHz Listen
K4ORD LSB 20151122 143815Z 7MHz Listen
K4OV LSB 20151122 201725Z 7MHz Listen
K4PV USB 20151121 210337Z 21MHz Listen
K4XD USB 20151122 163714Z 14MHz Listen
K4ZIN USB 20151121 214806Z 21MHz Listen
K5LLA USB 20151122 153719Z 21MHz Listen
K5TA USB 20151122 161753Z 21MHz Listen
K5TR USB 20151122 153825Z 21MHz Listen
K5VIP LSB 20151122 142442Z 7MHz Listen
K5XU USB 20151121 214925Z 21MHz Listen
K5YAB USB 20151122 192520Z 21MHz Listen
K6DN USB 20151121 215655Z 21MHz Listen
K6HRU USB 20151122 191204Z 14MHz Listen
K6LA USB 20151121 214346Z 21MHz Listen
K6LL USB 20151122 204113Z 21MHz Listen
K6NO USB 20151121 220827Z 21MHz Listen
K6TD USB 20151122 173051Z 21MHz Listen
K7CF USB 20151122 161432Z 14MHz Listen
K7IR USB 20151122 170518Z 14MHz Listen
K7RI USB 20151122 193922Z 21MHz Listen
K7SS USB 20151121 222227Z 21MHz Listen
K7SV LSB 20151122 143009Z 7MHz Listen
K7UT USB 20151122 163325Z 21MHz Listen
K8GU LSB 20151122 143906Z 7MHz Listen
K9BGL USB 20151121 213825Z 21MHz Listen
K9CT USB 20151121 213909Z 21MHz Listen
K9FRO USB 20151122 150910Z 14MHz Listen
K9JF USB 20151122 154413Z 21MHz Listen
K9JM USB 20151121 220907Z 21MHz Listen
K9NSE USB 20151122 165044Z 21MHz Listen
K9UQN USB 20151122 191103Z 14MHz Listen
K9WZB USB 20151122 171850Z 14MHz Listen
K9ZO USB 20151122 145001Z 14MHz Listen
KA1IOR LSB 20151122 141021Z 7MHz Listen
KA2BKG LSB 20151122 141250Z 7MHz Listen
KA3YJM LSB 20151122 142223Z 7MHz Listen
KA9PCU USB 20151121 213401Z 21MHz Listen
KB0DNP USB 20151122 150358Z 14MHz Listen
KB1GKN LSB 20151122 201931Z 7MHz Listen
KB1JJX LSB 20151122 175403Z 7MHz Listen
KB1JL LSB 20151122 200736Z 7MHz Listen
KB3DC LSB 20151122 201707Z 7MHz Listen
KB8O LSB 20151122 174102Z 7MHz Listen
KC0W USB 20151122 204513Z 21MHz Listen
KC1CBL LSB 20151122 174623Z 7MHz Listen
KC2IXN LSB 20151122 202216Z 7MHz Listen
KC3DIG LSB 20151122 144500Z 7MHz Listen
KC5CMX USB 20151122 150732Z 14MHz Listen
KC5RPF USB 20151122 164617Z 21MHz Listen
KC8AZB USB 20151122 165625Z 21MHz Listen
KC8HQS USB 20151122 170153Z 14MHz Listen
KD1O LSB 20151122 175057Z 7MHz Listen
KD4D LSB 20151122 140157Z 7MHz Listen
KD5LNO USB 20151121 220513Z 21MHz Listen
KD7RUS USB 20151121 211107Z 21MHz Listen
KD8MQ LSB 20151122 202708Z 7MHz Listen
KD8RYP USB 20151122 190551Z 14MHz Listen
KD8SWT USB 20151122 150550Z 14MHz Listen
KD9MS USB 20151121 215116Z 21MHz Listen
KD9ST USB 20151121 214458Z 21MHz Listen
KE7X USB 20151122 162554Z 21MHz Listen
KF3N LSB 20151122 203019Z 7MHz Listen
KF4WEX USB 20151122 164921Z 21MHz Listen
KF4ZZ USB 20151122 194559Z 21MHz Listen
KG4TEI USB 20151121 215043Z 21MHz Listen
KG7LKI USB 20151121 214838Z 21MHz Listen
KH6LC USB 20151122 171156Z 14MHz Listen
KJ0P USB 20151122 165857Z 21MHz Listen
KJ8O LSB 20151122 143644Z 7MHz Listen
KK4PUX USB 20151122 151006Z 14MHz Listen
KK4QOE USB 20151121 215951Z 21MHz Listen
KK4R LSB 20151122 201955Z 7MHz Listen
KL7JRC USB 20151122 190208Z 14MHz Listen
KN1FE USB 20151122 165517Z 21MHz Listen
KO4PM USB 20151122 154606Z 21MHz Listen
KO7SS USB 20151122 154940Z 21MHz Listen
KP2XX USB 20151122 173437Z 21MHz Listen
KR4YO LSB 20151122 203431Z 7MHz Listen
KS7T USB 20151122 171630Z 14MHz Listen
KT4ZB LSB 20151122 202831Z 7MHz Listen
KT7AZ USB 20151122 164552Z 21MHz Listen
KU1N LSB 20151122 143835Z 7MHz Listen
KU2M LSB 20151122 140335Z 7MHz Listen
KU7K USB 20151121 211415Z 21MHz Listen
KV2R LSB 20151122 144428Z 7MHz Listen
KV4JK LSB 20151122 141358Z 7MHz Listen
KV7N USB 20151122 180955Z 21MHz Listen
KW4CR LSB 20151122 144029Z 7MHz Listen
KW8N LSB 20151122 175212Z 7MHz Listen
KX7YT USB 20151121 220443Z 21MHz Listen
KY7M USB 20151121 213027Z 21MHz Listen
N0AKF USB 20151122 164528Z 21MHz Listen
N0BUI USB 20151122 150203Z 14MHz Listen
N0ECK USB 20151121 215906Z 21MHz Listen
N0KK USB 20151122 151857Z 14MHz Listen
N0MA USB 20151122 194110Z 21MHz Listen
N0XR USB 20151122 163759Z 14MHz Listen
N1CC USB 20151121 215755Z 21MHz Listen
N1DID LSB 20151122 141750Z 7MHz Listen
N1IXF USB 20151122 153644Z 21MHz Listen
N1LN USB 20151122 150840Z 14MHz Listen
N1MLO LSB 20151122 142820Z 7MHz Listen
N1RLR LSB 20151122 142705Z 7MHz Listen
N2CU LSB 20151122 174646Z 7MHz Listen
N2DM LSB 20151122 142755Z 7MHz Listen
N2ED LSB 20151122 143102Z 7MHz Listen
N2IC USB 20151122 195617Z 28MHz Listen
N2MUN LSB 20151122 140656Z 7MHz Listen
N2WK LSB 20151122 143421Z 7MHz Listen
N3FJP LSB 20151122 174316Z 7MHz Listen
N3FM LSB 20151122 142529Z 7MHz Listen
N3LT LSB 20151122 142027Z 7MHz Listen
N3MWQ LSB 20151122 144107Z 7MHz Listen
N3RR LSB 20151122 142328Z 7MHz Listen
N3UA LSB 20151122 174902Z 7MHz Listen
N3UR LSB 20151122 144313Z 7MHz Listen
N3VYZ LSB 20151122 175028Z 7MHz Listen
N4BP USB 20151122 153106Z 21MHz Listen
N4FX USB 20151122 150822Z 14MHz Listen
N4OX USB 20151122 144937Z 14MHz Listen
N4PN USB 20151122 194350Z 21MHz Listen
N4SVC USB 20151122 165305Z 21MHz Listen
N5DO USB 20151121 214240Z 21MHz Listen
N5JR USB 20151122 153501Z 21MHz Listen
N5KAE USB 20151121 224300Z 21MHz Listen
N5LFE USB 20151122 154511Z 21MHz Listen
N5UM USB 20151121 220413Z 21MHz Listen
N5ZC USB 20151121 210554Z 21MHz Listen
N6JV USB 20151121 215524Z 21MHz Listen
N6LB USB 20151121 220759Z 21MHz Listen
N6NF USB 20151122 192553Z 21MHz Listen
N6RK USB 20151122 151516Z 14MHz Listen
N6WM USB 20151122 152833Z 14MHz Listen
N6WS USB 20151121 220243Z 21MHz Listen
N6ZFO USB 20151122 193020Z 21MHz Listen
N7WY USB 20151121 221112Z 21MHz Listen
N8FU LSB 20151122 142941Z 7MHz Listen
N8KAM LSB 20151122 202926Z 7MHz Listen
N8OO USB 20151122 204630Z 21MHz Listen
N8PPF LSB 20151122 203205Z 7MHz Listen
N8RMA LSB 20151122 183651Z 7MHz Listen
N8VV LSB 20151122 202505Z 7MHz Listen
N8WS LSB 20151122 203318Z 7MHz Listen
N9CK USB 20151122 150933Z 14MHz Listen
N9DR USB 20151122 190754Z 14MHz Listen
N9QWV USB 20151121 220016Z 21MHz Listen
N9RV USB 20151122 151444Z 14MHz Listen
N9WKW USB 20151122 150255Z 14MHz Listen
NC1I LSB 20151122 140417Z 7MHz Listen
NC8N USB 20151122 191031Z 14MHz Listen
NJ1F LSB 20151122 140503Z 7MHz Listen
NJ8M USB 20151122 180619Z 21MHz Listen
NK7J USB 20151122 193651Z 21MHz Listen
NL7V USB 20151122 195011Z 21MHz Listen
NN5T USB 20151121 220548Z 21MHz Listen
NN5V USB 20151122 195735Z 28MHz Listen
NP4G USB 20151122 162718Z 21MHz Listen
NR4N USB 20151122 164824Z 21MHz Listen
NR5M USB 20151122 153905Z 21MHz Listen
NT5V USB 20151122 153554Z 21MHz Listen
NU4X USB 20151122 152924Z 14MHz Listen
NX6T USB 20151122 153224Z 21MHz Listen
VA3SWG LSB 20151122 201152Z 7MHz Listen
VA3ZV USB 20151122 195138Z 14MHz Listen
VA6SP USB 20151121 220328Z 21MHz Listen
VA7JW USB 20151122 192750Z 21MHz Listen
VA7RR USB 20151122 192349Z 21MHz Listen
VA7ST USB 20151122 160345Z 14MHz Listen
VA7VF USB 20151122 165403Z 21MHz Listen
VE2OCH LSB 20151122 142116Z 7MHz Listen
VE2UZ LSB 20151122 143733Z 7MHz Listen
VE3CX USB 20151122 151550Z 14MHz Listen
VE3FCT LSB 20151122 201855Z 7MHz Listen
VE3LJQ LSB 20151122 142632Z 7MHz Listen
VE3SD LSB 20151122 142144Z 7MHz Listen
VE3WRL LSB 20151122 195941Z 7MHz Listen
VE4DXR USB 20151122 173000Z 21MHz Listen
VE4VT USB 20151122 151828Z 14MHz Listen
VE5SF USB 20151122 155332Z 21MHz Listen
VE6EX USB 20151122 190933Z 14MHz Listen
VE6SV USB 20151122 145226Z 14MHz Listen
VE8EV USB 20151121 212728Z 21MHz Listen
VO1BQ USB 20151122 162430Z 21MHz Listen
VO1MP USB 20151122 155755Z 21MHz Listen
VY1MAB USB 20151122 204346Z 21MHz Listen
VY1MB USB 20151121 223209Z 21MHz Listen
VY2ZM USB 20151122 145526Z 14MHz Listen
W0CN LSB 20151122 140255Z 7MHz Listen
W0EAR USB 20151121 211839Z 21MHz Listen
W0ERP USB 20151122 162513Z 21MHz Listen
W0MN USB 20151122 165237Z 21MHz Listen
W0NO USB 20151122 204702Z 21MHz Listen
W0OR USB 20151122 190833Z 14MHz Listen
W0YJT USB 20151121 220620Z 21MHz Listen
W1HY LSB 20151122 202413Z 7MHz Listen
W1PR USB 20151122 172201Z 21MHz Listen
W1SJ USB 20151122 145432Z 14MHz Listen
W1S LSB 20151122 200359Z 7MHz Listen
W1TO LSB 20151122 183718Z 7MHz Listen
W1WMU LSB 20151122 142050Z 7MHz Listen
W1YV USB 20151122 165929Z 21MHz Listen
W2DZ LSB 20151122 141326Z 7MHz Listen
W2EFI LSB 20151122 174732Z 7MHz Listen
W2ID LSB 20151122 144132Z 7MHz Listen
W2LK LSB 20151122 143929Z 7MHz Listen
W2PV LSB 20151122 143201Z 7MHz Listen
W2TZ LSB 20151122 140546Z 7MHz Listen
W3CB LSB 20151122 144231Z 7MHz Listen
W3GLL USB 20151122 150757Z 14MHz Listen
W3SO LSB 20151122 191828Z 7MHz Listen
W3UL LSB 20151122 140753Z 7MHz Listen
W4AQL USB 20151122 145559Z 14MHz Listen
W4CDA LSB 20151122 202531Z 7MHz Listen
W4GE USB 20151122 170723Z 14MHz Listen
W4NI USB 20151121 214722Z 21MHz Listen
W5GAD USB 20151121 213429Z 21MHz Listen
W5JJ USB 20151122 173204Z 21MHz Listen
W5KS USB 20151121 212457Z 21MHz Listen
W5RU USB 20151122 161536Z 14MHz Listen
W6AEA USB 20151122 193220Z 21MHz Listen
W6AFA USB 20151121 211231Z 21MHz Listen
W6BO USB 20151122 193512Z 21MHz Listen
W6JK USB 20151121 220848Z 21MHz Listen
W6NL USB 20151121 214039Z 21MHz Listen
W6PZ USB 20151121 210914Z 21MHz Listen
W6TA USB 20151122 193334Z 21MHz Listen
W6US USB 20151122 165135Z 21MHz Listen
W6YI USB 20151122 181201Z 21MHz Listen
W7VJ USB 20151122 203738Z 21MHz Listen
W7WA USB 20151122 145110Z 14MHz Listen
W7WW USB 20151122 182825Z 21MHz Listen
W7ZRC USB 20151122 191136Z 14MHz Listen
W8PS LSB 20151122 175318Z 7MHz Listen
W9DKB USB 20151121 211907Z 21MHz Listen
WA0CSL USB 20151122 162110Z 21MHz Listen
WA0N USB 20151121 212301Z 21MHz Listen
WA1ABC LSB 20151122 200935Z 7MHz Listen
WA1FXK LSB 20151122 143956Z 7MHz Listen
WA1T LSB 20151122 200716Z 7MHz Listen
WA2RXS LSB 20151122 143238Z 7MHz Listen
WA4YJB USB 20151122 151207Z 14MHz Listen
WA6FGV USB 20151121 211724Z 21MHz Listen
WA6ZTY USB 20151122 154858Z 21MHz Listen
WA7GVT USB 20151122 165015Z 21MHz Listen
WB0N USB 20151121 211536Z 21MHz Listen
WB2HRK LSB 20151122 175251Z 7MHz Listen
WB2NFL LSB 20151122 200538Z 7MHz Listen
WB2NVR LSB 20151122 141546Z 7MHz Listen
WB2ULR LSB 20151122 183741Z 7MHz Listen
WB2ZAB LSB 20151122 202603Z 7MHz Listen
WB4OMM USB 20151122 164433Z 21MHz Listen
WB8ULX USB 20151121 221002Z 21MHz Listen
WD0T USB 20151121 210644Z 21MHz Listen
WD5HJF USB 20151122 154536Z 21MHz Listen
WD5K USB 20151121 222846Z 21MHz Listen
WG3J LSB 20151122 141055Z 7MHz Listen
WH7W USB 20151122 180220Z 21MHz Listen
WJ8Y LSB 20151122 203115Z 7MHz Listen
WL7F USB 20151122 182619Z 21MHz Listen
WM6H USB 20151121 213449Z 21MHz Listen
WN3N LSB 20151122 142243Z 7MHz Listen
WP2B USB 20151122 181051Z 21MHz Listen
WX4G USB 20151121 221213Z 21MHz Listen
WX6V USB 20151121 222940Z 21MHz Listen
WY7SS USB 20151122 152717Z 14MHz Listen

Worked All Europe (WAE) RTTY Contest 2015 – Soapbox

Another weekend another contest. This time it’s the Worked All Europe RTTY Contest. I have never done much RTTY, let alone a RTTY contest. It’s going to be interesting.  It’s a 48 hour contest which they only allow 30hrs of operating. I set my goals to participate  for at least 5 hours. That’s it… I didn’t care about points, DXCC or anything else. I just wanted to try it out

Getting Ready For RTTY

Since I never really done RTTY, I wanted to make sure I got about doing it the correct way. Thankfully a fellow operator Frank (KG6EYC) was looking to make an FSK unit for his radio so I tagged along and I ended up making a neat unit using an MCU and some optoisolators. That will be for another article.  I got it working with N1MM+ (or so I thought) and I figured I was set for the contest. So far so good

Problems right out of the gate

I should have made some contacts before the contest but dum dum me figured I would have no problem. Well… soon as 0:00z rolled around, I get on the air to seeing nothing coming across my screen. I couldn’t decode any of the signals but I could transmit. After talking with Frank about the FSK project, I didn’t read where I had to use a different RTTY engine in N1MM+. Instead of MMTTY, I had to use a program called 2Tone that would allow me to use my soundcard to decode RTTY but use the MCU to send FSK emulating a TNC. After setting up 2Tone, I was now able to decode stations!

In attempt to  make some points,  I tried contacting stations and no one is replying. If I did get a reply I got “Agn? Agn?”. This means something is wrong. I switched to the dummy load and loaded up another receiver and I know for a fact that I am transmitting a signal. It didn’t appear to be distorted. Then I recalled reading something about signal polarity in my radio’s manual about FSK. I changed the polarity and was able to now make exchanges.

This is why it’s important to make sure your station, software and everything else used in the contest is in running condition BEFORE it starts. But I didn’t beat myself up over it because I wasn’t taking this contest seriously.

First Thoughts About RTTY

I honestly thought I was going to be making blazing fast contacts since it’s a “Digital” mode. Nope… RTTY contacts are much longer than CW or SSB.  Even more so if you are trying to decode a weak signal or trying to decode a pileup.
Working weaker stations means you will be sending out the same messages multiple times.  It appears if there is a pileup or more than one strong operator on frequency, the software will have a very hard time decoding. At least with SSB, you could pull a phonetic out here and there. However it’s still a great mode. Much faster than many other digital modes out there. I was just expecting something else.

It makes for a Busy Screen


I entered as Single Operator, Low power (un-assisted). I don’t think my amplifier would have been able to handle the duty cycle nor did I want to use the cluster. This contest isn’t as popular so I was able to get in call CQ often.  I also used my Panadapter to hunt down signals. It helped out a lot in this contest.

Bands Were… Meh

10m was just dead. Multiple times throughout the contest there was nothing on 10 so I focused on 15 because I have trouble with CW/Data because my beam is adjusted for SSB. It works well on 15 and the upper parts of the CW/Data portion on 20.  For 40m I used my Vertical and for 80 I used  my G5RV. Nothing spectacular when compared to CQWW SSB just a couple weeks ago.

It was a wake up call that I need to work on better antennas for 40, 80 and 160

Dealing with QTCs

This contest uses QTCs where operators can exchange their recent contacts for points. Usually you send or receive the logs of up to 10 contacts from that you or the other operator made. My first run in with QTCs were during WAE SSB as part of a multi-op. I didn’t want to do it at first due to very long exchange but after the first couple QTC exchanges, it wasn’t so bad. For RTTY, it’s much easier with N1MM. Just press CTRL-Z and click on your fills. However I wouldn’t attempt to send or receive QTCs with weak stations. You’ll end up sending over and over.

I had a great time

Even though the RTTY tones give me a bit of a headache, I had a great time. During WAE for SSB and CW, contacts with those in the same continent don’t count for points but in RTTY it does. I used this contest as a way to fill missing Digital spots for the WAS triple play award. At the time of writing, it has paid off. I now only have to make 16 more RTTY/CW confirmations. Hopefully CQWW CW will get me Alaska and Hawaii on CW

Claimed Total


Overall I did 67.5K points in my 9 hours of operating. If I participate in WAE RTTY in the future, my goal is now set. I doubt I will win any awards from this but we’ll see.

Thanks for reading
Jeff (NT1K)


ARRL Sweepstakes CW – Soap Box

Another weekend, another contest. This time it was the ARRL Sweepstakes for CW. I’ve never participated in SS before so it was going to be interesting. Sweepstakes is a US/Canada contest where it’s known for having a long exchange. It consists of a  serial number, class, callsign, check (licensed year) and ARRL section. For this contest I would have to send “123 U NT1K 99 WMA”. That is much longer than the “599 5” sent in CQWW. The exchange is so long as it simulating sending traffic.

Going to try this without a decoder

I wanted to see how well I can do so I turned off the decoder in the K3 and I avoided any software aids. I entered using the unlimited class expecting that I was going to use the skimmer to at least help me get the callsign correct. After struggling with the first couple of contacts, I had enough and fired up decoder. It would take 5 or six contacts before I decided to throw my call out. I wanted to make sure that they didn’t have to do any additional work. Sometimes I would wait too long and the operator calling CQ would move on. Once the decoder was running, I would only search for loud stations.

Do not ever trust the skimmer/cluster

Depending on the contest, you can use the skimmer and/or cluster to make contesting a bit easier. It’s basically a network where other operators “spot” the callsigns and frequencies of people they just made contact with. If you are connected, it would alert you where other operators are. If you are configured correctly, you can just click on the callsign, your radio will tune to that station and your logbook is already partially filled out. It’s a great way to increase your score because you will be able to easily find multipliers and hopefully work them.  However there is a couple downsides. It will put you into a different class/category where it might be harder to win and the information going over the cluster might not be accurate.

During SSB contests, the cluster is being fed with information provided by the operator. If he/she didn’t hear the callsign correctly, they could easily spot a wrong callsign. Most times it’s an honest mistake but there are times I’ve seen people purposely throw out false spots to laugh at those who blindly follow the cluster. There are some anti-skimmer/cluster contesters who think it’s cheating.

With CW contesting, it’s a different story. There is now software called “skimmers” that will listen to entire CW sections of bands and decode any CW and post it to the network. This almost takes out the human error factor but as I found out this weekend many times, information on skimmer could be just as bad. Things like signal to noise ratio (SNR), QRM, band changes, overdriven signals and even horrible spacing or sending from the operator can confuse the skimmer into giving a bad spot.

There has been many times this weekend where I would see multiple spots on the same frequency with different but similar callsigns. It just goes to show that you should never believe what you see on the cluster! Confirm the call before contacting because it might be wrong call or a dupe.

This wasn’t a serious effort.

I barely know CW and there is no way I can predict the exchange. I guess that’s why some really like this contest. It’s difficult for the new CW operator.
At first I wanted to see what I can do without using the cluster. For every one contact I made, I had to listen to 6 contacts before I know the call and exchange they used. After about a couple contacts, I abandoned using my ear and fired up the decoding software.

I thought I would be relying on the skimmer for the contest but I’ve barely used it. You can’t tell you are working a multiplier until you hear the exchange being sent. What I ended up doing was turning off the skimmer/spotter and clearing out the band map. I would just spin the dial around until I heard a loud CQ. There was so many people on the air that I didn’t have to spin it much. If they acknowledge someone else or I caught it in mid-exchange, I would note the callsign down on my bandmap. If they are a multiplier or a State I needed for Triple play, I would wait. Otherwise I would move on and later go back.
I just spinning until I hear “Dah dit dah dit, dah dah dit dah  (CQ) or “dit dit dit, dit dit dit” (SS) or “Dah, dit dit dah” (TU).

Improvements from other CW contests

I have been practicing code more and more and I must say it showed. I didn’t have to depend on the decoder as much but I would like to do a contest where I didn’t have load it up. I would like to run for change.

Claimed score


Claiming 14,616 points. I wish I committed more time. I wanted to do a clean sweep and work multiple needed states for triple play.

It was a great time, the K3 and the serial keying worked without issue and now I can’t wait for CQWW CW contest.

Thanks for reading,
Jeff – NT1K


BAC Contest – SoapBox

This past weekend was The Gentleman’s Radio Society’s  BAC contest.
BAC stands for Blood Alcohol Content. This contest was centered around drinking and points are awarded if you are drinking a beverage that contains Alcohol. What makes this contest truly unique is that you can work the same operators again if you switched styles of drink (from beer to vodka for example). This contest takes place the week after CQWW and I consider it to be a fun and enjoyable contest.

Some of the members of The Gentleman’s Radio Society went up to contest station K1TTT to operate during the event as WA1J. I figured it would be fun to give it a try. Got myself some beers, went up to the shack thinking I was just going to contact WA1J but I ended up running on 20m.

I didn’t operate hardcore contest style. I was giving out honest reports, getting peoples names and even chatting it up a bit. I am not a fan of ragchewing but this contest was the perfect excuse to keep people moving along. Most of the contacts were unaware of the contest and they chuckled when told about it. I got a lot of “That’s my type of contest” from operators.

It was an interesting contest and hopefully it gains popularity.

My score ended up being… Not sure? I am not even sure how many contacts I’ve made.  I want to say around 50 or so. It doesn’t matter because it was a fun time talking with those around the US.

Maybe you will be on the air next year?

Thanks for reading,


CQWW SSB 2015 Extended SoapBox

CQ World Wide Contest for SSB was just this past weekend. For those who are unaware, it’s basically the largest Phone contest of the year and it’s the un-official kickoff to the contest season. Now that I have a beam, I wanted to play and put an honest effort in making as many contacts as possible. I want to put in a serious effort and help my local contesting club but the real motive is to get all time new DX contacts and increase my DXCC per band counts.

Getting Ready

If you want to do well with any contest, preparation is important. You want to make sure your station and antennas are in working order, you want to make sure all your software is working and up to date and you want to have a good idea of what band to be on and when throughout the contest.

In the weeks prior my CL-33 has not been behaving and I was seeing 7.0SWR across 10, 15, and 20. I am thinking water got into something because it happened right after a bad rain storm. I wanted to get on the roof to clean and reseal all the connections but now there is some mental block about getting on my own roof. Thankfully the SWR returned back to around 1.0 the week of the contest.

Thinking the beam was toast, I revisited my Butternut HF9V that I’ve basically never used. I switched between that and the G5RV using the heathkit SA-2060 tuner I had.  I never liked the butternut as the G5RV seemed to out perform it almost every time. I tried adding more radials during the summer and even tried re-tuning without much difference. I’ve been planning to add Inverted V antennas for 80 and 40, I purchase a used B&W Coaxial 5 position switch to replace the 2 position switch that was switching my beam or the tuner. I took the butternut off the SA-2060 and fed it directly to the new switch. There was a major difference to where the Butternut was just as good, if not better than the G5RV.

For this contest I will be using the CL-33, Butternut Vertical and my G5RV dipole.

A couple days before the contest I went to VOACAP to get an idea of what band to be on and when. Since I now have a directional antenna, I have to also think about when and where I need to point it in order to utilize my rates.

Running as SOAB (A) HP

I decided to run SOAB (A) HP which means Single Operator, All band, (A)ssisted, High Power.  Depending on the contest, you have a choice which class you want to enter. Sometimes it’s wise to pick a class that the big guns won’t use or one that no one uses. I know for a fact that I won’t win ANY of the classes that I would try out for. Even though I think I have a great station, in this contest it’s menial compared to others in the area. I cared more about DX contacts than points so I wanted to use the amplifier and make use of the spotting network to assist me in making contacts.

Let the games begin!

Contest starts at 00:00z which is 8pm ET. I was able to help out my local club with a VE session and had enough time to get on when the contest starts. I didn’t follow my own advice and my station was not setup for contesting. I had to find and plug in the headset and configure N1MM+ for the new contest. I ended up starting late.

Problems right out of the gate

Soon as I transmitted on 20m, bye bye N1MM. RF is getting into my computer and it was nasty. Things were typing itself and my computer was making restart attempts. I immediately suspected the keyboard. I unplugged the keyboard and sure enough my computer RFI went away. My expensive (to me) DAS mechanical keyboard is not ham radio friendly. I plugged in my backup keyboard and sure enough, windows decided to take forever to install the driver. I ended up using a PS/2 keyboard and had to restart the computer.  I ended up starting almost an hour late. This is why you should prepare your station before the contest.

Things are getting better

Once my computer issues were fixed, I was back on the air.  10m was closed for me and 20 and 15m were meh. 40 meters seemed to have all the action so I was fighting the contest with the G5RV and vert. Not a good way to start but at least I am making contacts.


Here is a view of 40m about 2 hours into the contest. I have my SDR taping the IF stage of the K3 and I use it as a pan adapter. It gives me an idea of what the band is like. I can cycle through the bands and stop on the most active one for contacts.

I made as many contacts on 40m as possible. I decided to give 80m a try and wasn’t able to make many contacts. I can hear a lot of stations but even with 500w, they couldn’t hear me. I ended up giving up the fight and went to be around 1am ET (5z).

I ended the night with about 50,000pts.  I was sort of bummed out about it and I was thinking that I wasn’t going to break my 300k I made in 2011 before I lost power due to a really bad snow storm.

A New Day

After waking up, getting some much needed food and coffee in the system, I went back to station and thankfully the bands were open. I spent the morning working as many mults and double mults as possible and then circled the bands for contacts. I was depending more on the cluster but as time went on, I started to use the dial.


15 meters seem to be the place for me. I spent a good part of my day on 15 spinning to SA and EU and sometimes out West/North.

Night Time Asia

Up until now, I had a very hard time working ASIA. I almost NEVER hear anything in Asia. I would be lucky to hear Japan every once in awhile but this night was different. Not only did I make Japan contacts, I also made contact with China, Singapore, Asiatic Russia and even heard South Korea.  I was a very happy ham radio operator.

Things are looking better!

Even though I walked away to spend some time playing with the kids and doing some work around the house, I crushed my 2011 record. I was now in “contest mode” where that was all I thinking about. Once I started struggling on 40m, I went to bed hoping conditions will stay the same for sunday.

I went to bed with 700,000pts. I now had dreams of making my first ever 1,000,000pts from home.

10 Meters was alive and business was a booming

I missed grayline but after my Sunday Morning coffee and Bagel, I went back on the air to find 10, 15 and 20 booming with activity. 40m was booming but I was hearing mostly the big guns working people that I couldn’t even hear. After clearing out any possible mults I went to work at my rate. I was clicking and spinning as fast as I can. If I couldn’t establish contact in two tries, I moved on unless it was a multiplier or much needed DXCC entity.  Western Sahara (S0S) took a good hour to break.


10 meter was just amazing. People were complaining about 10m band conditions a week prior but by looking at the above spectrum, 700Khz were packed with stations. I spent a good part of my day on 10 and 15.

15m open to Japan

Towards the end of the contest, 15 meters opened up to Japan. When everyone was on 40, I was still on 15 working as many Japan Stations as possible. My rates suffered but I was having to much fun working areas I never worked before. I’ve exceeded my goals so now it’s just working mults and needed DX.

I will say that the K3 with the 1.8KHz filter worked like a charm. However the best option for the K3 was the Digital Voice Keyer. I control the DVK using CAT commands through N1MM and it made contesting much easier. I can still talk after the contest!

The fun must come to an end.

I went back to 40m for the last 5min of the contest and watched my pan adapter to see the entire spectrum that was alive with signals fade out to just a few. I am sure the ragchewers and net participants jumped for joy but I was also jumping with joy. It’s done. I can return to life.

Claimed Scores


I ended up with over 1.25 million points. I wanted to stop at 1 million but when I reached it, I had around 890 contacts and I started concentrating at making at least 1,000 contacts. Too bad I wasn’t focusing on countries worked because I would have pushed harder to get 3 or 4 band DXCC instead of putting around towards the end.

It felt great. I’ve broke many personal records and now I’ve set the bar high when it comes to future contests. I also felt like I am finally helping out the Yankee Clipper Contest Club (YCCC) in which I was logging for. I often feel intimidated by the YCCC members due to the massive score submissions and their station. Even though every point counts, 50k or even 100k appears to be small potatoes to them. I know I can run with the best of them on phone, but I don’t have station to prove it. This year was an improvement for sure.

Lessons learned

No matter what I do, I try to walk away with learning something. Even though I participated in many contests, I am still learning and being reminded about things I forgot about or don’t care about.  I need to work on antennas for 80, 40 and maybe even 160 meter. The solar cycle is not going to improve and if I want to maintain 1 million points, I need improve my antenna situation.

Due to my property size, I am looking at some options. I think I could get away with a double L antenna for 80/160. However I feel I might end up with inverted V dipoles. I also need to complete my 300′ receive beverage antenna that is looking at Europe. I may even upgrade to a reverse-able beverage so I can hear SA better as well.

I was reminded to make sure my station is in COMPLETE working order. CQ World Wide CW is a month away and I need to make sure my homebrew winkeyer can do the job. I

Overall thoughts

It was fun and thanks for reading my Soapbox. Scores have been submitted to CQ and YCCC and logs have been uploaded to LoTW and Clublog. Now I  get to see what LoTW confirmations come through. So far two new DXCC contacts and a ton of band confirmations. Well worth getting on the air.

  • Jeff (NT1K)

Op-Ed: My Open Letter To The FCC

Dear FCC,

Due to recent changes with vanity callsigns fees, There will be an increase of applications for cancelled 1X2 and 2X1 callsigns (N1ZZ NZ1Z for example) and other vanities now that it’s free to apply. It’s already difficult to obtain the short 1X2 or 2X1 callsigns. With the recent changes, it will make it much harder. Currently any licensed amateur with the appropriate class can apply for these short callsigns no matter what district they are located in. If multiple applications are submitted for a recently available call, the application is put in competition with the others and an application is chosen at random to receive the call. I would like to suggest that if there is a competition for a callsign, those who applied in the same district as the requested call have preference over those who are applying that reside outside the district.

For example a 1×2 or 2×1 callsign that has a number 1 in call becomes available and multiple people apply for it. Currently someone located within the 6th district can apply and possibly obtain the call while someone who is located in the 1st district can lose out. I feel that it should be assigned to someone within the district since they are currently living within it. If there were no applications in competition from anyone within the district as the callsign became available, then it should be up for grabs by anyone regardless of district.

Thank you,
Jeffrey Bail – NT1K

Before I got NT1K, I applied for a couple 1X2 callsigns that are in my District, I also have fellow operators doing the same thing. However most applications are awarded to those outside of district. It was upsetting to find out that I lost out on a callsign to someone located in a different call area. It’s also upsetting to lose out on a callsign that was awarded to someone who already has a short callsign. It’s even more upsetting when they have a short callsign and live in different district. I’m just asking that those located within the call area or district have preference if there is competing applications.  If no one within the district applied than it go to whomever applies first.

This is just my opinion, I could be wrong.

Thanks for reading,


My Yaesu FT-840 “Project”

After the K3, I had no real intentions of obtaining another HF rig. But when a deal comes by, I couldn’t resist jumping on it. There was an SK estate sale that I found out through another ham. However the estate was not located near by so everything had to be shipped. Among the items, the Yaesu FT-840 stuck out at me as the perfect HF for someone who is getting involved in the hobby. The guy was asking for reasonable offers. I didn’t want some commercial seller to swipe it. Since I had no need for the radio, I put in a low bid and sure enough it was accepted.

The horrors of buying before trying

Since the price was so tempting, I made a foolish mistake of buying the radio without seeing a picture of the radio, without asking questions and placing my trust in people I don’t know. I’ve done this a couple times in the past and thankfully I never had a problem. This time wasn’t the case.

When I received the radio, it didn’t look good. Knobs were bent and there was a giant dent in the corner. The dented corner had some very shiny metal expose with no rust/oxidation. However the box it was shipped in was in excellent condition. It led me to believe that the radio was dropped just prior to shipment. There was also a missing part. I’ve contacted the middle man explaining what happened and that’s when I’ve learned that other shipments from the estate were just as bad, if not worse than my radio. According to the middle man, the handler of the estate didn’t seem to care and that I would have to take it up with the shipper’s insurance company. I wasn’t even close to being happy with the situation.


Mic Gain / PWR adjustment pots after some attempt at strightening. Still rubbed and was bent so I had to strip it to the chassis

I’ve learned from this though. I will never jump on anything until I am certain that I am getting what exactly I want. Even if the deal seems too good to be true, It’s better to pass up the unknown rather than getting stuck with an expensive brick. I guess I am keeping the radio

Fixing the unknown

Soon as I started tearing into the FT-840, It started to look promising. The front panel chassis was bent and thought I can strip it down and straighten everything out. I was able to do just that. While I was in there, I cleaned everything I could and replaced the internal battery. When I thought I was finished, everything went back together nicely and now all the knobs move smoothly. the VFO wasn’t sticking and it looked much better than when it came in. I thought I was done. But once again, I was wrong.

Who needs ALC?

While checking power output, I found that when I went the SSB modes, the ALC meter was showing  either almost nothing or full scale with only a minor adjustment to the pot. I thought something was wrong with the mic at first but it turned out to be okay. Once again I contacted the middle man and was informed that the seller was aware of the issue but didn’t think anything of it. So now on SSB, I will either be barely heard or my signal will be overdriven. It made me more angry knowing that seller was aware.

I ended up tracing it to the pot that controlled the mic gain being faulty. It was also the same pot / knob that was damaged during shipping. With a DMM I checked the resistance while adjusting the pot. There wasn’t a consistent change throughout the adjustment. The service manuals were online and I was able to find the part numbers of the pot

 The hunt for the dual pot

Pulling the number from the pot itself found many hits online. However the part sources didn’t have any in stock and were not planning to put them in stock unless there was a 10,000pc minimum order. I thought I was out of luck and called Yaesu USA in California and contacted their parts dept as a last resort. Sure enough they had them in stock. They had the pots and they had the sub assembly.  I must say that it was wonderful dealing with Yaesu. The parts were here in just a couple days.

It’s FIXED!!! YESSSS! Or so I thought.

The pot was easy to replace and I thought the radio was finally fixed. I turned on the radio and I am now able to adjust the mic gain to where I am no longer over driving the ALC while outputting the proper wattage. I was happy! Until I heard it.

What’s going on now? 

While playing around with the radio I noticed something weird. I would tune into a conversation and while I was listening, I would notice the conversation start to move around and sound off frequency. OH WHAT NOW!!! Now I am back to being angry. Thinking something was up with the oscillator, I left the radio on and took a walk with the family. Upon return I notice the drifting was no longer happening, That led me to believe that the changes in temperature both in the air and in the case caused the drifting to happen. It would drift up to 400hz. The new operator in me never had a radio without some kind of controlled LO so I never had to deal with drift.


Put a jacket on that LO!

Why should I care about a slight drift? Well if you are into digital modes. If you are into low noise modes like JT65 and WSPR, having a stable LO would be beneficial. There is an TCXO or Temperature controlled oscillator that would help keep drift at bay but it’s not easy to get due to the age of the radio. There are not many 10.48576Mhz TCXOs out there either. So the next best thing is to insulate the LO to keep it from changing temperature drastically. I’ve do stuff similar to icom rigs using cotton balls. It appears FT-840 owners used styrofoam. I guess I will follow suite and make a nice little foam block to protect the sensitive LO.

I took a nice little block of foam, placed it on top of the reference LO and press down a little bit. I would remove the box and hollow out the impression. I kept doing that until the block sat flushed with the PC board. The crystal and trimmer is now shielded from quick changes in temperature. I’ve also adjusted the reference trimmer using WWV to make sure it was close to being on frequency as possible.


Much improvement

The LO insulator is doing it’s job quite well. The radio doesn’t noticeably drift around anymore. Been able to make many contacts with it. Too bad I didn’t have a soundcard interface because I would like to try out WSPR to see what I was getting back from those who could hear.


I think it’s safe to say that the FT-840 is now back in working order. However I may not hang on to it long enough to enjoy it. But I sort of grown attached to it now.

Thanks for reading,
Jeff (NT1K)

SOTA Activation Report: Bare Mountain, Amherst MA (W1/CR-014)

The KX3 isn’t getting much use as I would like. So far I only used it one other time this year while camping in Vermont. I need to get out more so I took advantage of mild day and decided to go out and activate a local mountain. I decided on Bare Mountain located on the Amherst, South Hadley and Granby border here in Western Mass.


Mt Holyoke Range State park had two SOTA summits on the property. I’ve chosen Bare over Mt. Norwottuck because it’s a faster hike even though it’s more rocky. It allowed me to get up the mountain with time to spare to setup the antennas

Bare mountain is approx 1018ft (309m) height in elevation

The Hike

Since I haven’t done any hiking in a long time, the hike up was not great. I was huffing and puffing. The last time I did Bare Mountain, it was covered with snow and ice. I can tell I am out of shape because I felt I hiked up much faster in the wintertime even with the trying to navigate through ice. I really need to get out. I managed to make the


View of the CT river from my operating position.


APRS Track of my activation. I used the Internet Gateway along with my phone to let people know I am at least moving around.

Getting on the air.

Soon as stopped huffing and puffing, I was up and running within a few minutes. I currently use an Elecraft KX3 with the internal Antenna Match, internal batteries and for the antenna I use a G5RV jr supported by a 31ft fiberglass pole. The antenna is setup in an invert V configurations. I secured the ends of the antennas to near-by trees using bungee cords.  The mast was also secured to a smaller tree with elastic cord as well. It allows for a quick setup and everything breaks down to fit into my pack with the exception of the mast that I use as a walking stick.


Once the stations was setup, I found what I thought was a clear frequency and posted it up on SOTAwatch. Sure enough, soon as I sent the spot, someone came on frequency. My QRP signal was not going to compete with a DX station constantly going “Ooooola, OOooooooola”. After a couple more frequencies, I found a nice spot and went on the air.

Here is a video I made of my SOTA experiance.

Contacts Made

Time Freq Callsign Sent Rcvd Notes
23:48 14.307 K4MF 59 56 FL
23:49 14.307 KC5CW 59 57.TX
23:50 14.307 NG6R 59 43 CA
23:50 14.307 K1MAZ 59 59 MA
23:50 14.307 KK1W 59 59 MA
23:51 14.307 KK4ASA 59 59 MA
23:52 14.307 K5IIK 59 59 AR
23:52 14.307 K5IIK 59 59 AR
23:55 7.198 KF7MQZ 59 59 NY
23:57 7.198 K2JB 59 59 NC
23:57 7.198 WW1X 59 57 GA

Since it’s 0:00z, it’s considered a new day so people get to work me again for an additonal point. However I won’t get credit for it since technically I already activated it the day before even though it was only a couple of minutes.

Time Freq Callsign Sent Rcvd Notes
00:01 7.198 KK1W 59 55 MA
00:01 7.198 WW1X 59 57 GA
00:02 7.198 K2JB 57 59 NC
00:02 7.198 K1MAZ 55 55 MA
00:03 14.307 KC5CW 59 44 TX
00:04 14.307 K4MF 59 57 FL
00:04 14.307 NG6R 59 32 CA
00:05 14.307 KG5EIU 57 33 TX
00:10 146.520 N1FTP 59 58 MA
00:11 146.520 N1TA 59 59 MA
00:15 146.520 N1IVT 59 59 MA
00:16 146.520 N1FDC 59 59 MA

Not too bad. This was all using AA’s in the KX3 so the power was around 5W. I started getting battery low alarms towards the end of my activation. I’ve since “blew up” my lipo pack so if I keep doing activations, I will get my hands on a battery pack so I can run up to a whopping 12 watts.

Hike Down


View of Hadley, Amherst and UMASS from the summit

There was twilight on top of the summit made me think I can navigate down the mountain before it gets too dark. I was very wrong due to the thick amount of trees that blocked out any possible light. I was almost pitch black with the exception of the street lights at the base of the mountain. However I knew this was possible and packed flashlights and headlamps that made the hike enjoyable. I also used my cheapie HT to talk to locals on the repeater that made the hike feel much faster.

Overall thoughts

I always to learn from anything I do. I’ve learned that I need to get out more (doi!) but I also see the importance of a “Go Bag”. I often don’t plan my SOTA adventures until the last second. Because of other vacations and other portable operations, all my gear was spread around in different places. I’m going to purchase a dedicated pack just for summits on the air. I’m not going to make the typical whacker go-box. I like to pack minimal so it will be just what I need to get on the air. I don’t need the kitchen sink. Funny thing is that I tend to make more QSO’s with the less gear I bring. However self spotting on SOTAwatch does make things a lot easier. I still want to try a SOTA activation without advertising it. I had an excellent time like usual.

Thanks for reading. Hope you like the youtube video.

– Jeff NT1K

This blog/website is 5 years old. Some changes will be made.

This week marks the 5th anniversary of my website. I’ve created this website when I upgraded my license to general as a way to show others my adventures in amateur radio from there. Anything that I’ve done that was worth sharing was put onto this site. That way if anyone asked or I started to brag, I can point them to my website for a more detailed explanation. If others happened to stumble upon it then I  considered it an added bonus.

According to my stats, I’ve received over 300,000 views. Not bad considering it’s a personal amateur radio related blog. However I also did some number crunching. I’ve spent quite a bit of money as well as a ton of time working on this website and it’s content. It was a wake up call that I am spending money on this with no benefit other than possibly helping out other hams. I don’t mind putting in the time but I would like to avoid any more out of pocket costs. There are ways to offset my spending. Don’t worry, I am not going to annoy you with kickstarter or gofundme campaigns nor will I beg for donations. But I have to do something.

There will be advertisements 

I have enabled advertisements on certain youtube videos to get an idea of how things would work. My videos are nothing special and really don’t get many views, I use them to mostly compliment articles on my website. So as expected, I am not seeing any income. Do I care? A little. Otherwise I wouldn’t really be mentioning it. I’ve decided to give advertising a try here on the site since it generates way more traffic. Unless you have adblock installed, you can take a look on the right side of the screen and you will see an advertisement. You will also see one at the end of every post. I am trying to make it as less intrusive as possible but yet still be visible. Even though I resorted to using banner ads, I won’t stoop lower by trying to trick you, split articles onto multiple pages or have annoying pop-ups. If you would like to support this site, all you would need to do is just enjoy and come back. If you are running some form of ad blocking program, consider adding this site to your white list.

The goal is to offset the costs. Not to profit but If I do, I am not going to complain.  It may make me work harder on the site.

Other Changes 

The website needs some slight changes. I’ve made a mistake with wordpress when I created and now I downloaded a theme and modified it to the point where trying apply updates would have made things worse. I should have made a child theme of a popular theme but I was very new to wordpress at the time. This site is no longer mobile friendly and since more and more people are using their phones and tablets, I think it’s time for a change to be more mobile friendly. You will see layout changes in the near future.

Thank You

So far it’s been a fun 5 years in the HF game. I thought I would never participate in the hobby again but upgrading to general and getting HF has changed me. I’ve accomplished so many things, met so many people and had a lot of good times. It’s also great to see people benefit from my articles even though they articles are nothing special. I haven’t re-invented the wheel or found some technological break-thru. A lot of what I write is already all over the web but they are mixed with my opinions. So I am grateful to those who visit and more so to those who follow me on here and other social media platforms such as twitter.  Thanks!

Thanks for reading!

– Jeff (NT1K)