RTTY Software and Contesting


RTTY – radio teletype – is a fun digital mode.  I became active in the hobby when I learned about FLDIGI software and PSK31 and Domino.  Andy AF3I suggested I’d like RTTY and gave it a try.  I think I actually have more RTTY contacts in the log than PSK31 contacts.  RTTY unfortunately seems to be used more often as a contesting mode and less often for casual conversations.


The ARRL promotes a few RTTY contests each year as does CQ magazine.  The last full weekend in September is the CQ World Wide RTTY contest.  That was September 26 and 27, 2020.  I normally have other things to do, but I played around in the contest a bit.  Band conditions were horrible, and while I saw a few stations I suspect were running a lot of power making QSOs, my 100 watt station didn’t do so well.  I also found it interesting that most of the US call signs I saw were 1×2 and 2×1 (K3FM and AF3I would be examples). Not sure why that was. 


Not sure I passed this tip along, but FT8 can be a good predictor of the band conditions.  I am finding if there is a lot of FT8 activity and the noise levels are conducive to FT8, other modes may work.  But if FT8 is essentially dead, or all you are seeing are -15 and worse reports, other modes like RTTY, and Olivia will not do so well.  PSK31 is a toss-up.


I spent most of the time comparing RTTY software packages.  For more information follow the trail below to the Know-How Resources tab to read the full article. https://www.radioclub-carc.com/resources/


See ‘ya down the log.

Frank KB3PQT