ARRL RTTY Roundup
Class: Single Op HP
QTH: New Mexico
Operating Time (hrs): 9:33
Total: 533 State/Prov = 54 Countries = 35 Total Score = 47,437
I had nearly the same number of mults as 2009, when the Roundup and the NAQP CW
were on different weekends. Operating both events this year showed me that
stamina is getting harder and harder to come by!
Beginning the weekend as a CW op, I dreaded a jam-packed 40 meter band with
collisions between the two contest modes. Happy to say, that never happened!
The PSK subband appeared to be a natural demarcation between the two modes,
save for a handful of CW ops who squeezed into digi space. These two contests
should be on separate weekends for the next decade-plus. By then, who knows
what the contesting modes will be...
The Roundup corraled a spectrum of operating styles and abilities. There's a
growing number of ops who could benefit from some RTTY (and
contesting)Elmering. Such opportunities include:
1. the advantages of zero-beating the running station;
2. constructing short and streamlined exchanges that omit the "fluff" (one
chap terminated every transmission with the time-of-day!);
3. the advantages of QRX when the running op is working a different station;
4. understanding "Figs" and "Ltrs" shift, and how they are still present in the
Baudot Code (thus, sending things like "5NN" and ".....K7IA..." make no sense,
because the hidden shift characters only increase the probability of
"upside-down" shift from QRN/QRM-induced garbles);
There are some excellent websites that explain and illustrate both the history
and the mechanics of the "green keys" Baudot RTTY teleprinters. RTTY
enthusiasts will find fascinating how the mechanical geniuses of yesteryear got
around the problem of sending and printing 26 letters, 10 numerals, common
punctuation (plus a bell-ringer)--all with "five level" Baudot code, which has
only 32 distinct combinations.
Before the "glass teletype" that we are so used to these days came along,
amateur RTTY ops well knew that any mistake on the sending end would inevitably
cost his friend at the receiving end a lot of paper, ribbon, and ink! And a
contest like today's Roundup would not be simple, nor would it sport four-digit
I urge readers at all levels to take a look at the Baudot RTTY websites and try
to imagine what RTTY life was like in the old days before "unshift on space" and
automatic line feed after each carriage return. What you won't get,
unfortunately, is the sight, sound, and fragrance of a Model 15 or a torn paper
tape holding your station "brag!"
Thanks for the QSOs and for the fun!
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