I’m not into RTTY. But in fact it is the only digimode I have ever tried. There’s a contest happening and I had a few moments to spare so why not? Activity on the bands is important and we (I?) must show that not everyone has been probed up the wazoo by aliens from planet FT8.
I was pleasantly surprised that everything worked right away. That has been different in the past. Windows seemed to screw up the audio settings for MMTTY. But not this time. I used the second K3 as it has been idling for too long without any SO2R activity. And this rig drives the KPA500 so I left the big amp off and let the semiconductors do the working. That’s 400W RYRYRY and the antennas were nested down so I wasn’t putting out a big signal.
After five contacts I got bored – already! Boy this is a slow happening. I like that snappy CW thing where you get an answer as soon as the TX makes way for the RX. Why do RTTY operators wait so long to reply? A pause of several seconds is not an exception. In that time frame you can make another QSO in CW! Yes I know: CW this CW that. But CW is the only mode I love.
Nevertheless I kept on calling CQ. My RBN footprint was pathetic. But somehow I managed to draw the attention of a JA station. Woohoo! I took a glance at the RBN window and sure enough: a trace from my QTH to Japan. As usual that JA pile up I always dream of didn’t happen. One JA and that’s it. This was Sunday morning.
I returned in the early evening to catch some USA on 20. Some were loud, some were weak. The rate was slow. But I can’t compare, maybe it’s normal for RTTY contesting with ‘only’ 400W and the tribander at only eight meters above the ground? Yes that’s just too low with current solar conditions.
Things went better on 40. Loud EU with the dipole so low. Late in the evening (2200 utc) I worked a bunch of Americans and Canadians. Again: some were loud, others were weak. I quit around 23.30 utc with 229 QSO in the log, split evenly between 40m and 20m. That’s almost as much RTTY as the last six years added up! I didn’t make a single RTTY contact in 2015 and 2013. I went ballistic on RTTY in 2017 with the crazy total of four (4!) RTTY contacts. I’m good for now. Isn’t there some CW action scheduled in the near future?