I found a load of RTTY on 80m band on Sunday night (1/7/2018). I tuned to 3580 kHz and found a particularly strong signal, so I hooked up my USB soundcard to my laptop, fired up fldigi and made attempts to reply, but I guess my QRP setup didn’t get heard in all the pileup chatter.
Turns out, January 6-7 was “ARRL RTTY Roundup“, a nationwide contest to make contacts in the digital format, so it was easy to catch the conversations on almost all HF bands.
I found the CQ‘s in this format a bit odd, and didn’t really know how to format my responses or how to call CQ myself. I saw things like: TEST N6JJ N6JJ CQ (not real callsign), or CQ RU N6JK CQ.
I went with the way I new how to call CQ, which was: CQ CQ DE AD6DM PSE K. (meaning: Calling any station from AD6DM please reply). No replies.
There were a lot of transmissions like: W7KJ N6JK 599 5NN TU 73.
I took these to mean an acknowledgement, a signal report, thank you, best regards.
RTTY is a very quick format. It’s like a drive-by greeting that is over before you know it. It’s probably how hams did contest contact-gathering before the more modern semi-automated FT8 format.
In any case, I want to get out there on RTTY and give it more of a try.