I enjoy RTTY contesting because it’s fast-paced and I can easily contact many stations from a wide geographical area in a single contest. That’s not to say that I don’t enjoy a good ragchew but sometimes I just want to rack up the contacts. As I write this I am calling CQ in the CQ WW DX RTTY Contest and have worked three European countries and a few stateside stations in the last five minutes.Unlike other digital modes you can run a bit of power on RTTY and reach a wider audience; other digital modes like PSK will splatter if you use too much power. In the contest today I am running about 400 watts.
It is easy to get started in RTTY even if you don’t want to participate in contests. RTTY signal is easily generated from the sound card in your computer or an external sound card in a device like the SignaLink (TM) by Tigertronics. I have used both and was pleased with their performance. You will also need software to tell the sound card or device the precise sounds to generate. A few free programs are available, but I purchased Ham Radio Deluxe because it has a ton of other digital modes included as well as good logging capability. RTTY programs are available for Linux, Android and Windows environments.
RTTY contesting has adopted several informal rules about how to exchange information during contests, especially sprints. FYI, contests advertised as sprints have a QSY rule that keeps a station from staying on a frequency for a long time and applies to SSB and CW sprints as well. Back to the informal RTTY exchange rules… The sprints are where the informal rules started to develop so that the stations could lessen the effect of the QSY policy. If you are really interested in the sprint-type of exchanges you can visit http://www.ncccsprint.com/ for more information. Since today’s contest is not a sprint I am not too worried about format. In fact I find sprints less enjoyable than other contests and don’t bother with them.
73 from KE5PRL