I survived the W1AW/4 experience (Day 1)

Taking the edge off with a cold 807.

Taking the edge off with a cold 807.

I was recently asked by a friend if I might be interested in operating as W1AW/4 for South Carolina’s second go-round for the ARRL Centennial. I agreed, figuring this was a small, historical honor and it was at least something different to do. So, I signed up for a few two-hour slots to work RTTY.

Tonight, as W1AW/4 kicked off at 8 p.m., I had everything ready to go, or so I thought. Right off the bat I wasn’t hearing any RTTY signals from my computer, yet my rig was keying and transmitting a squealing tone. After verifying that all my software was talking to the proper interface, I took a jab of desperation at the data mode button on the rig, and noticed my radio was set to FSK instead of AFSK.

OK, so I placed the rig in test mode and verified ALC and so forth and so on. Then started calling CQ. Nothing. No responses. No spots. I should be getting slammed with stations. Remember I said I put the rig in test mode? Well damned if I didn’t forget to take it out of test mode. Hah! I’d been calling CQ and sending no RF into the air.

Two CQs later and the pile-up began. I got spotted several times on the cluster, and with every spot a new wave of stations called. For the next two hours I answered station after station, running in split mode. In short, I was busy, and there was never a dull moment. Huh, so THIS is what it’s like to “be the DX station.”

I logged 114 QSOs during my time slot. Which is nearly as many as I logged during the entirety of Field Day. I don’t think I had any remarkable long distance stations, but I did snag Hawaii, Russia, Italy, Chile, Norway, Guadeloupe, Canada, Venezuela, Portugal, Sweden and a few more.

Hopefully I’ve worked out all my software/hardware gremlins so I can hit the ground running on 40 meters Wednesday night.

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