Last week I received an email inviting me to RRTC, the Russian Team Championship contest. It’s a Russian fieldday style WRTC-like thing but of course the teams need people to work. So they pack their domestic contest in a IARU-format and invite everyone to play along. Clever!

My reaction to the invitation was: “Thanks, but no thanks”. Summer holidays here mean at least a few big projects in and around the house and I wanted to take a break from the heavy work on Saturday and finish some minor to do’s in the “dirty job but someone’s got to do it” category. The WX forecast was bad (rain and wind) so I didn’t want to mess with towers and antennas, especially low band wires. RRTC 2011 would pass along fine without me.

But Friday night late it started itching. What better way to relax than join a contest for fun? I remembered participating in one of these about two years ago. I had to browse through my own archives to find the ‘Hooray for Russian hams‘ post from three years ago. What, three years already? How time flies. I read the invitation mail diagonally and was pleased to read that the contest only runs on four bands, so no 80 or 160. No low band wires, only the tower would do, and only one level up is enough. Change of plans: casual contesting on Saturday – dirty jobs later.

I got up early on Saturday and consulted the online rain maps. A rain front would fly over in about an hour so I cranked up the tower one level. Then took breakfast and saw the rain falling. Off to the shack for some contesting. The rate was great: 122 + 114 = 236 QSO after two hours. In a lousy silly contest that is not even a real contest. Compare that to the big IARU last week where I only made 122 QSO in the first TWO hours. It must have been propagation, really. CR6K = CT1ILT kindly sent me his rate sheet from last week and he had great rates on bands that were dead here. In the third hour he made 119 QSO on 10m, a band that was DEAD here at that time. For IARU I note: propagation stank, ON = bad location. Case closed.

In RRTC I took some breaks to also do some of the minor jobs. If I did my share, the XYL could proceed to do her part of the work and so on. Late in the contest some unannounced visitors came by so I lost another 40 minutes. The last hour of the contest my plan was to go to 40m but that band was empty. So I stuck to 20m to sweat it out.

I mostly ran the bands and got called by some nice DX on 15m and 20m. Not too much but still: DX = DX. I looked for openings on 10m but there weren’t any in Belgium. Maybe in Portugal? 🙂  I also looked for the special R3 stations (R33A, R35C etc) which was the purpose of this contest but I didn’t find many. Their signals were light most of the time. And if I found one in S&P they were facing fierce packet pileups.

I ended the contest with 573 QSO’s in about 6 hours of operating time which approaches an 100/hr average. More than 50% of the calls were Russian. So once agan Hooray for Russian hams for their massive showing! Sunday morning I decided to send in the log and loooked up the address to send the Cabrillo to:

Achievement commemorative pennants will be awarded to those participants making at least 10 QSOs with RRTC competitors and submitting email logs to Logs must be submitted no later than 17:00 UTC, July 16th, 2011.

DRAT – there goes my commemorative pennant. For once I don’t read the rules, for once I don’t send in the log right away. Oops, come to think of it: still need to submit my IARU log too. ON5ZO is not on the case lately…

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