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To: <3830@contesting.com>
Subject: [3830] VE7FO NA RTTY SPRINT
From: jimsmith@home.com (Jim Smith)
Date: Mon, 12 Mar 2001 20:54:29 -0800
3rd attempt.  Didn't get thru first or 2nd time

18 Qs x 14 mults = 252 points

Low Power


Was he ready? HA!  What a disaster!  

Paul, VA7NT, came over Friday to help me with my 40m dipole problem
which I referred to in my ARRL DX SSB submission to 3830.  The
difficulty arises from the fact that I am trying to feed 2 80m dipoles
and 2 40m dipoles, one of each cut for cw and the other of each cut for
phone, all in the same plane and all with the same coax.  The
interaction is fierce.  We did get them to the point where the MkV tuner
could load them, even though the SWR was way over 3:1.  Thanks for your
help, Paul.  

Another friend came over Saturday to see if we could get them any closer
to resonance.  After we had given up on that, as he is an ex ham, I
thought I would show off RTTY to him.  Well, my experience with modern
RTTY is limited to the time spent in the last WPX RTTY, but I actually
had a pretty good handle on it then.  After a few false starts I got
some RTTY printing on the screen.  The next step was to send some RTTY
so I could set up the Tx.  I just wanted to send something from the
keyboard but I had forgotten how.  Do you think I could find anything in
the logging program Help files to tell me how to do it?  No manual as,
of course, none is provided.  I had earlier printed a lot of the help
files and stuck them in a binder as I am a print person.  A lot of
fruitless scanning of the binder contents along with a rising sense of
panic, the start time being only an hour away.  I tried F10, hoping that
the program behaved like TRLog, but no.  My friend wryly observed as I
was hitting keys, that once I got it sending something, I wouldn't be
able to stop it.  I hit one of the F keys that had a canned message and
away it went, over and over and over until I finally hit the ESC key
with my friend saying all the while, "See, I told you so."  It turns out
that the canned messages kindly supplied by the program don't have the
%E they need at the end to shut them up.

After I got rid of my friend and quelled my panic by saying, "Screw it,
this contest needs me more than I need it", I had another look through
the binder and there, right in front, penned by my own hand in a set of
notes to myself, was the instruction to use ALT-K to enable the
keyboard.  In other programs I have used, ALT-K means KILL.  This would
have matched my mood perfectly.

OK, let's set up the logging program for RTTY Sprint.  It turns out the
logging program I bought specifically for RTTY contests doesn't know
about Sprint.  Sigh, check out the program reflector.  Here's how to do
it but you have to work out your score manually at the end.  Oh well, at
the rate I'm going that shouldn't be hard.  Way better than nothing. 
Thanks guys.  Don't even think about what I'm doing, just follow the
instructions.  While I'm doing it, turn on the rig.  There's WA9ALS
calling CQ SPRINT.  Aaarghh, it's started and I'm not there.  There's
W6/WA9ALS responding to the CQ.  Huh?  Don't think about it.  Program
those function keys.

Its 0230Z and everything seems to be working. Should I call CQ or
respond to one?  If I respond to one then I'll be expected to respond to
someone who calls me.  What if I haven't got the first guy logged yet
because I'm not familiar with the program while someone wastes their
time calling me over and over?  What to do?  What to do?

Its 0235Z.  I decide to call CQ.  Oh no, someone answered.  Its XE1YYD. 
Quick, look at my list of function keys to see which one to push.  Oh
no, not CQ, not when he has a 20 over 9 signal.  He'll know I must have
heard him.  OK, he's calling again.  This time I push all the right
buttons and complete the QSO.  Whew.  I do this a few more times and
start to regain my composure.  Time to respond to a CQ.  Here's K3MM. 
Got him.  Now WA9ALS is calling me.  Why isn't he signing portable W6
now?  Don't think, work him and QSY.

Find someone else to call.  OK click on his call to get it into the log.
Find the key to dump in my call.  Wait, he's already working someone
else.  Not to worry, just click on the new call.  Now I got both calls
in the log on the same line.  Delete both of them.  Finally work the
fifth guy in line and quickly QSY before someone calls me.  In time this
all settles down and I start working people as if I knew what I was

Its 0335Z.  Maybe I should QSY to 40 to pick up some mults.  Tune up the
rig on 40 and the USB mouse promptly freezes.  Crawl under the desk,
unplug mouse from the back of the computer, plug it back in again and
its OK without rebooting.  This is clearly going to make my almost
non-existent rate even worse so back to 20.

Its 0400Z.  Thank God its over.  Look at the log.  Hmmm.... KD5DLL
didn't give me a serial number, his name seems to be 002 and he lives in
Mark.  What's this? 4 Qs in a row on the same frequency.  Sigh, I must
have tuned away, not found anyone and tuned back again.  Now I'm going
to suffer the ignominy of having the contest manager stating in print
that there were so many mistakes in my log that they threw it away.

Well guys, this time you were dealing with a true lid.  When you called
and I didn't answer for a long time it was because I was looking at my
cheat sheet to find the right function key or trying to get you into the
log.  I know I wasted a bunch of people's time and I apologize for
that.  Maybe the VE7 mult makes up for it.  If not, I hope you derived
some amusement from my little tale of woe.

Let's see now, BARTG RTTY is on next week.....  


Jim     VE7FO

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