WOW! Over a billion QSOs entered into LOTW … that’s a mind-boggling number! Well, I’m responsible for 4,355 of those. That would have been a considerable expense if I was lickin’ and stickin’ postage on all of those QSLs. Thank you ARRL for making this possible!
I was just fiddling with numbers this afternoon and was surprised to find that my LOTW account shows a 68.42% confirmation rate. That’s a pretty good number, isn’t it? Had to recheck my cipherin’. I had no idea it was that good. If only the lottery had that kind of return, I could put up that 75-foot tower with multiple beams on it!!
A lot of those confirmations are due to digital modes. Lots of digital operators are uploading to LOTW in near real-time, as the QSO is ending, or very soon after. Logging programs make it so easy nowadays. The software does it for you.
I see WSJT-X 2.0 rc5 is now available. Joe says that it is pretty much what the final release on December 10th will look like. I haven’t had a LOT of luck working stations using the new 77-bit message format. Lots of people still hanging on to the older 75-bit messaging. Hopefully, they’ll move to the new format, but I expect it’ll take a while. Hams can be slow to change …
One incentive is the contesting mode that’s built-in and the ARRL RTTY Roundup on the radar in January. This’ll be the first time FT-8 has been a contest mode, and I’m looking forward to the challenge.
This afternoon on twenty, after I got home from work, I had a bit better luck running the new wsjt-x, which is not compatible with the older versions. I actually found some takers for my CQs. I suspect more people are downloading and trying the new flavor! For more details, see the WSJT-X website.
On another note, I worked a new country using version 1.9.1, the “stable” version. I worked 5T2AI in Mauritania. I’ll admit … I bumped the power up to around 75 watts! I had to take a quick look at the African map to orient myself. The country is out on the big western bulge of the continent. Snagged him on the first try! Not so much luck with Aruba, P4, though. Just couldn’t connect with him.
UPDATE: Also worked S01WS, western Sahara on 60 Meters FT8. That’s two new countries this evening! They’re out there. You just have to go get ’em!
I worked two new countries this evening, both on FT8 … Oman on 40 meters and the Falkland Islands on 30 meters. Yes, Virginia, there is life left in the ham bands.
I also went ahead and updated the firmware on my IC-7300 with no problems noted. I don’t know why so many people have difficulties with this … if you follow the manual step-by-step, it’s hard to mess it up. DO remember, however, to save your configuration before upgrading, unless you want to go menu diving and setting up your whole operating environment again.
I downloaded MMTTY and integrated it with N1MM+ in preparation for the RTTY contest tomorrow. I haven’t tested it live on the air yet, but it should work fine. Tomorrow will tell!
Wow … three posts today! Maybe I should have saved up and dribbled it out more slowly. Oh well, I hadn’t posted for a while so I guess this makes up for it.
There was a nice opening on 10 meters yesterday evening, and I was lucky enough to work a new one … Saint Pierre et Miquelon – FP. I worked FP/KV1J, Eric, on FT8 at 1920Z. He popped up calling CQ and I pounced! He’ll be on Miquelon Island through the 17th of this month and will be on for the IARU HF Contest this coming weekend. He’s operating SSB/RTTY/FT8 and satellite also. You can check him out on his web page here. Always exciting to catch a new one when you’re not expecting it.
Actually, I worked a dozen stations on 10/12/15 meters, all domestic except for Eric. All up and down the East Coast, with a few odd ones in the midwest. Ten meters has shown some interesting and exciting propagation lately. FT8 certainly seems to be the mode for making contacts, even on dead-appearing bands.
The cool weather continues here in coastal Virginia. The past couple of mornings, I’ve actually used the heat rather than the A/C on the way to work at 5:30 in the morning.