Contester's Rate Sheet for December 4, 2002
*********************** Contester's Rate Sheet 4 December 2002 *********************** Edited by Ward Silver, N0AX SUMMARY o Top Band contests this month -- ARRL 160-Meter, Top Band Sprint, Stew Perry Top Band Distance Challenge o Bob White, W1CW -- SK o ARRL June VHF QSO Party results available o Copperweld Rasslin' and Grounding references o Dualing Operating Systems and the 9 MHz Filter BULLETINS o SS Logs due immediately!! CW logs are due on 4 Dec and the SSB logs will be due on the date of the next issue, 18 Dec. BUSTED QSOS o Bob N5NJ found an error in the URL listing tower sites for sale. An extra "s" crept into the address somehow -- the correct site is http://www.americantower.com. It's not too late to ask Santa... ANNOUNCEMENT & NOTICES FOR 4 DECEMBER TO 17 DECEMBER 2002 Logs are due for the following contests: o December 4, 2002 - ARRL Sweepstakes Contest, CW - email to: SSCW@arrl.org, paper logs to: November SS CW, ARRL, 225 Main St., Newington, CT 06111, USA o December 4, 2002 - NA Collegiate ARC Championship, CW - email to: firstname.lastname@example.org, paper logs to: Collegiate Championship, c/o Ken Harker WM5R, 927 East 46th Street, Apt 102, Austin, TX 78751, USA o December 4, 2002 - ARCI Running of the QRP Bulls - Use ARCI on-line reporting form at http://personal.palouse.net/rfoltz/arci/bulls.htm. o December 10, 2002 - Arkansas QSO Party - email to: email@example.com, paper logs to: Bill Smith, K1ARK, 2164 Magnolia Drive, Fayetteville, AR 72703, USA o December 15, 2002 - High Speed Club CW Contest - email to: (none), paper logs to: Contest Manager, Lutz Schoer, DL3BZZ, Am Niederfeld 6, D-35066 Frankenberg, Germany o December 15, 2002 - WAE DX Contest, RTTY - email to: firstname.lastname@example.org, paper logs to: WAEDC Contest Manager, Bernhard Buettner, DL6RAI, Schmidweg 17, D-85609 Dornach, Germany o December 15, 2002 - OK/OM DX Contest, CW - email to: email@example.com, paper logs to: Martin Huml, OK1FUA, Radioamater Magazine, Vlastina 23, 16 101 Praha 6, Czech Republic o December 17, 2002 - LZ DX Contest, CW - email to: firstname.lastname@example.org, paper logs to: BFRA, P.O. Box 830, 1000 Sofia, Bulgaria The following contests are scheduled: Note that the following abbreviations are used to condense the contest rules summaries: SO - Single-Op; M2 - Multiop - 2 Transmitters; MO - Multi-Op; MS - Multi-Op, Single Transmitter; MM - Multi-Op, Multiple Transmitters; AB - All Band; SB - Single Band; S/P/C - State/Province/DXCC Entity; HP - High Power; LP - Low Power; Entity - DXCC Entity Top Band Sprint - CW/SSB, sponsored by QRP ARCI, 1800 local time Dec 4 - 0600 local Dec 5 (note local time, not Z). Frequencies: 160-meters only. SO-CW, SO-SSB, SO Mixed-Mode categories, no time limit. Exchange: RST, SPC and Pwr or QRP ARCI number - work stations once per mode. QSO Points: members - 5 pts, non-members/different continent - 4 pts, non-members/same cont. - 2 pts. Score: QSO points x total SPC x power mult (<250mW x 15, 250mW - 1W x 10, 1 - 5W x7, 5W x 1). For more information -- http://personal.palouse.net/rfoltz/arci/top.htm. Logs due 30 days after the contest to email@example.com or Randy Foltz, K7TQ, Attn: Top Band Sprint, 809 Leith St, Moscow, ID 83843. ARRL 160-Meter Contest -- CW -- from 2200Z Dec 6 - 1600Z Dec 8. Work US/VE only, no DX-to-DX QSOs, and reserve 1.830 -- 1.835 MHz for intercontinental QSOs. Categories: SO-QRP/LP/HP, MS. Exchange: RST and ARRL/RAC section or ITU region for maritime mobiles (DX sends RST only). QSO Points: US/VE -- 2 pts, DX -- 5 pts. Score: QSO points x ARRL/RAC sections + DXCC entities. For more information - http://www.arrl.org/contests/announcements/rules-160m.html. Logs due 8 Jan to firstname.lastname@example.org or 160-Meter Contest, ARRL, 225 Main St, Newington, CT 06111. Winter 6-Meter Contest - CW/Phone, sponsored by the Six Club, 2300Z Dec 6 - 0300Z Dec 9. Exchange: RST and grid square. QSO Points: same entity - 1 pt, DX (incl. KL7 and KH6) - 2 pts. Score: QSO points x grids. For more information -- http://6mt.com/contest.htm. Logs due 15 Jan to email@example.com or Sixclub, PO Box 307, Hatfield, Arkansas 71945. TARA RTTY Sprint - sponsored by the Troy Amateur Radio Assn, 1800Z Dec 7 - 0200Z Dec 8. Categories: SOAB-HP, SOAB-LP, MOAB. Frequencies: 80 - 10 meters. Exchange: RS + State/Province or serial number for DX. Count 1 pt per QSO, multipliers are SPC from each band (US and VE only count as S/P). Score: QSO points x total multipliers. For more information - http://www.n2ty.org. Logs due 31 Dec to firstname.lastname@example.org or William J. Eddy NY2U, 2404 - 22nd Street, Troy, New York 12180-1901, USA. PSK31 Death Match, sponsored by the Michigan DX Association, 0000Z Dec 7 - 2400Z Dec 8. Frequencies: 80 - 6 meters. Categories: SO, Class 1 (<100W), Class 2 (<25W), Class 3 (<5W). Exchange: Name + SPC. QSO Points: 20 meters - 2 pts, other bands - 3 pts. Score: QSO Points x DXCC entities. For more information - http://www.geocities.com/mdxa1/deathmatch.html. Logs due 30 days after the contest to email@example.com (email only). TOPS Activity Contest 3.5 MHz - CW, sponsored by TOPS, 1800Z Dec 7 - 1800Z Dec 8. Frequencies: 3515-3560 kHz. Categories: SO, MO, and SO-QRP. Exchange: RST + serial number (plus TOPS number if a member). QSO Points: 1 pt same entity (JA, PY, U, VE, VK and W call areas count as separate entities), 2 pts same continent, 6 pts different cont. or /mm, add 2 pts for TOPS, TOPS-TOPS QSOs +6 pts, GB6AQ +10 pts. Score: QSO points x WPX prefixes, counted only once. Logs due 31 Jan to firstname.lastname@example.org or Helmut Klein, OE1TKW, Nauseagasse 24/26, A-1160 Wien, Austria. ARRL 10-Meter Contest -- CW/SSB - from 0000Z Dec 14 - 2400Z Dec 15, operate 36 hours max. Categories: SO-QRP/LP/HP in Mixed Mode/CW/SSB, MS (includes SO stations using any spotting assistance). Exchange: W/VE (incl. KH6 and KL7) send RST and state or province, DX sends RST and serial number, maritime mobile send RST and ITU region (1 -- 3). Novices and Technicians add '/N' or '/T' to their calls on CW for QSOs to score extra points. QSO Points: SSB -- 2 pts, CW -- 4 pts, CW with /N or /T -- 8 pts. Score: QSO points x SPC + ITU regions. Note that District of Columbia (DC) counts as a separate multiplier. For more information - http://www.arrl.org/contests/announcements/rules-10m.html. Logs due Jan 15 to email@example.com or 10-Meter Contest, ARRL, 225 Main St, Newington, CT 06111. 28 MHz SWL Contest - sponsored by Lambert Wijshake NL-10175, coincident with ARRL 10-Meter contest. SO-SSB and SO-CW categories, no packet. Log the ARRL 10-Meter multipliers and signal report at the SWL QTH, with a minimum RS/RST of 33/339 and a maximum of only three stations from each DXCC entity. QSO Points: The first station from a DXCC entity counts 5 points, the second 3 points, and the third 1 point. Score: QSO points x States and Provinces x DXCC entities. Logs due 31 Jan to firstname.lastname@example.org or Lambert Wijshake NL-10175, Kattedoorn 6, 8265-MJ Kampen, Netherlands. To receive the results, include 2 IRC or 1$. Great Colorado Snowshoe Run - CW, sponsored by the Colorado QRP Club from 0200Z - 0400Z Dec 15. Frequencies: 40-meters only. Categories: SO-QRP (Antenna classes of Wires, Verticals, or Beam) Exchange: RST + SPC + Antenna Class + CQC no. or Power. The same station may be worked up to three times, with 30 minutes between QSOs. QSO Points: 1st QSO with station - 3 pts, 2nd QSO - 2 pts, 3rd QSO - 1 pt. Score: QSO Points x SPC x CQC members. For more information - http://www.mtechnologies.com/cqc/contests/snow2002.htm. Logs due 17 Jan to email@example.com (ASCII only) or Snowshoe, c/o CQC, PO Box 371883, Denver, CO 80237-1883. DPX (Digital Prefix) Contest - digital modes, sponsored by the Penn-Ohio DX Society, 0000Z - 2400Z Dec 14. Frequencies: 160 - 6 meters. Categories: PSK, MFSK, RTTY, Hellschreiber, Throb, Packet, Multimode and SWL. Exchange: name, prefix and 070 Club member number or SPC. Score: QSOs x WPX prefixes x Power Multiplier (<100 watts x 1, <40 watts x 2, QRP x 3). For more information - http://www.qsl.net/wm2u/070_dpx.html. Logs due 13 Jan to firstname.lastname@example.org or via the online form at podxs.com/html/DPX_online_score.html. Note -- the ARRL 10-Meter Contest on Dec 14 and 15 is an excellent way to introduce new contesters to the sport -- almost the winter equivalent of Field Day. Be sure to encourage your local club members to be active, particularly the Tech Plus licensees that may be a little nervous about exercising those HF privileges. Explain that not only will there be lots of stations to work, but that the band will likely be open in directions and at times that they've never heard before. N6BZA wrote a fine short article about the contest which is available at http://www.eham.net/articles/740. The propagation URL published there is incorrect -- it should be http://dx.qsl.net/propagation/index.html -- and is really worth a spot in your Web bookmarks. NEWS & PRESS RELEASES Bob White W1CW, SK -- another legend passes from the scene. Bob brought the DXCC program into the modern era and was an active CW contester behind the oft-heard K4OJ call held by his son, Jim. An excellent tribute to Bob was posted by Jim at http://www.contesting.com/articles/362 and is well worth a visit. Lew W7EW is in charge of lining up plaque donors for the upcoming Stew Perry Top Band Distance Challenge (coming up on Dec 28 and 29). This contest is notable for a very interesting slate of awards. If you'd like to sponsor a plaque and create your own category, send Lew an email at email@example.com. For example, N0TT is sponsoring a plaque for the Top Score from a Single-Op entry whoes age is less than 21 and who make more than 50 QSOs. Take a look at http://jzap.com/k7rat/stew.html for more information. "Certificates for the 2001 CQ VHF Contest have been prepared and mailed with the exception of a few non-US participants whose addresses we need to find. They should be arriving imminently if they have not already arrived." Thanks, Gene W3ZZ. RESULTS AND RECORDS The results of the ARRL June VHF QSO Party are now available at http://www.arrl.org/contests/results/index.html. There are both PDF and HTML versions, along with the nifty sortable-scores. (If you'd like to download the results for your own analysis, you can also download the data as a comma-delimited (CSV format) or tab-delimited file.) This includes all the usual boxes - top Qs/band, top mults/band, top Regional scores, etc. The web report is by Ned AA7A and much richer than the space-restricted version that is published in the magazine. There are additional tables, graphics and numerous interesting pictures. (Thanks, Gene W3ZZ) These aren't strictly contest results, but I do so enjoy reading the Letters of Enforcement on the ARRL Web site at http://www.arrl.org/news/enforcement_logs/2002/1116.html?nc=1. They're almost as good as reading your arch-rival's log-checking report. TECHNICAL & TECHNIQUE Copperweld Rasslin' -- is there anything that strikes quicker terror into the hearts of hams? ("Just shinny up that mast," comes to mind, but I digress.) The ability of the stuff to stay coiled is legendary and has ambushed many a wire-hanger. Tom NU7J, contributes the following idea for getting it straight right off the spool. "The trick is to build a straightening die. Drive eight 4-inch nails into a plank so that the nails hold the spool in place. Four nails guide the inside of the spool and four guide the outside. I used a 2X8 that's approx. five feet long and heavy enough to prevent the board from sliding when you pull the wire through the die. Drive three additional nails into the plank so that the wire coming off the spool is fed through the 3 nails in an "S" pattern (opposing the natural curve of the wire -- Ed). The first nail should be four inches from the spool. The second nail is 1-7/8 inches from the first, and offset 3/8 inches. The third nail is 3-3/4 inches from and in line with the first nail. Hold one end of the wire firmly and steadily pull the wire from the spool through the nail pattern. It also helps to hold one foot on the end of the board, when pulling the wire. The resulting straight wire is a pleasure to work with." Grounding is always of interest. The following references on grounding and bonding were contributed on the Towertalk reflector (http://lists.contesting.com/_towertalk/) by Reggie W6ZAP and Chuck W1HIS: o National Electrical Code (NEC): Article 250 -- Grounding, Article 810 - Radio and Television Equipment o The ARRL Antenna Book - 19th Edition: Chapter 1 - Safety First, Chapter 3 - The Effects of Ground, Chapter 27 - Antenna and Transmission-Line Measurements o The ARRL Handbook for Radio Amateurs 2001 - 78th Edition: Chapter 9 -- Safety, Chapter 20 - Antennas & Projects, Chapter 22 - Station Setup and Accessory Projects, Chapter 28 - Electromagnetic Interference (EMI) o The ARRL RFI Book - 1st Edition: Chapter 2 - EMC Fundamentals o Lightning Protection and Grounding Solutions for Communication Sites - First Edition, January 2000, Published by: PolyPhaser Corporation, available from Talley Communications, Hayward, CA,1-800-223-4949, Catalog No. LPGS (cost is around $25). o MIL-HDBK-419A - Grounding, Bonding, and Shielding for Electronic Equipments and Facilities: An excellent 812 pages reference on all aspects of grounding, bonding, and shielding. Available as a PDF file at http://astimage.daps.dla.mil/quicksearch/. Search for Document Id: MIL-HDBK-419A and click on: Document ID: MIL-HDBK-419A Jim W6EU contributes the following helpful suggestion for improving your technique on phone. "In the name of efficiency, can we begin to train ourselves to replace the phrase "Please copy..." with the other station's callsign? Instead of answering my exchange with "Please copy number 580B W6YXZ 58 SF" say instead, "W6EU 580B W6XYZ 58 SF". This also confirms that you are indeed talking to the intended station. It's a good habit to have." Very true -- listening to the top operators, one immediately notices a minimum of extra verbiage like "you are", "over", "uh", etc. Another good thing to work on is breath control, particularly for contests with a long exchange like Sweepstakes. Take a deep breath as the other operator completes the exchange, then give them the info in one long exhalation. You won't have to pause and pant for breath in the middle. Looking for a good stripper? A coax stripper, of course...what were you thinking? AES sells an RG-8/RG-213 stripper for about $30. Cable Experts (http://www.cablexperts.com) also sells them. If you regularly make cables, these make the job a lot easier. (Thanks, Jon NA9D) With the ability to "boot to DOS" rapidly disappearing from the PC world, many of the standard contest logging programs are finding their operating system platform threatened. Do we need to have two PC's -- one for Windows and the other for MS-DOS-based programs? Ed W0YK contributes this fine overview of how you can have both new and old programs on one machine. "I've been running dual boot OS's (MS-DOS 6.22 and Windows 2000 or XP) for three years. I first use FDISK on a clean hard drive to make a 2GB partition with FAT16 formatting and install MS-DOS 6.22. Then, I install Windows 2000 or XP, making the rest of the HDD a second partition formatted with NTFS. Windows sets up a boot menu that allows you to choose which OS gets booted at boot time. One of them is a default so if you don't make a choice within a (user-) specified time, the default is loaded. If you already have Windows installed and don't want to clean your HDD, then you can use software like Partition Magic to create a FAT16 partition in some free space on your disk. Install MS-DOS and you have the same setup. I can run PED or RUFZ or TR-Log simulator on the airplane AND do email and other business work. I can use Windows to manage my files in the DOS partition and only go to DOS to run the DOS programs. If I only want to look at my log and do edits on the way home from an expedition, I often just use a DOS window in Windows because keying, radio control, TNC, packet, etc. are not needed." Ed has posted a greatly expanded description at http://www.k1ea.com under "CT Hints and Kinks". Thanks, Ed W0YK for the post and Jim AD1C for the host. This technique is also discussed in the article "One Computer Running DOS and Windows" by W5BAK in the September-October 2002 issue of National Contest Journal. A personal discovery worth passing on is Atlas work gloves. These are cloth gloves with a super-tough textured rubber coating on the fingers and palms. I have found these to be terrific for outdoors tower work in cold or wet weather. They're particularly good for climbing. Climbing without gloves leaves your hands frozen by the time to get to the top and I dislike the cloth and leather gloves for climbing because the grip doesn't feel secure. The Atlas gloves really grip well and are surprisingly flexible -- I can securely handle nuts and lockwashers with them on. The price is also a pleasant surprise -- just a few dollars. CONVERSATION Wayne N7NG relays the following report from the CQ WW CW PT5A operation. "We operated PT5A from Boa Vista, about 95 km west of Florianopolis in Southern Brazil. Flo is about 350 km south of Curitiba, the home of that famous contester Oms, PY5EG. Boa Vista is located in the mountains at about 1200 meters above sea level. It has a wonderful view of mountains all around, but it is often shrouded in fog. At times, it is not possible to see the uppermost antennas in the stacks. The PT5A station is owned by Sergio, PP5JR. Sergio is a doctor, and a really nice guy. The station has three towers at 40 meters, and several others to support wire beams and stacks on all bands. There is also a four-square for 80 as well as a full size vertical for Top Band. A number of Beverages complete the outside hardware. Southern Brazil is a great place for the Ten Meter contest. Last year, because of a robot-related communications error, Sergio's record-breaking 1.27 Mpoint score was lost. Despite his busy schedule as a pediatric heart surgeon, Sergio will try to fit in another operation as PP5JR in the upcoming ARRL Ten-Meter contest. Here's hoping Sergio can duplicate last year's winning effort." Have you ever wondered where the 9 MHz filter frequency comes from and where it went? This issue, I'm pleased to present Dr. Megacycle, a.k.a. Jim Duffy (not the W6EU Jim Duffy mentioned above) with an explanation of another ham radio mystery. "The 9.0 MHz IF goes back to the early days of SSB. With a 9.0 MHz IF and a 5.0-5.5 MHz VFO one could easily cover both 20 and 75-meters by only switching the input filter or preselector. One band was the image of the other. So, rather than worry about image rejection you used it to get a multiband rig. This also gave us the convention of LSB below 40-meters and USB above as the sideband gets flipped when going from one side of the IF to the other. When multiband rigs became popular, the 9 MHz IF was kept by many manufacturers (and ham builders) since they already had money invested in the filters. 9 MHz is not a bad choice for an IF even today and I believe that 9.0 MHz CW and SSB filters can be obtained at reasonable prices from the G-QRP club if you are a member. "With the widespread acceptance of color TV, 3.579 MHz color burst crystals became widely available cheap. With the even wider proliferation of microprocessors, cheap crystals at a wide variety of frequencies became available. Wes Hayward, W7ZOI, popularized the ladder filter as an easy way to use these crystals in simple IF filters. In particular, the Cohn filter, with all the crystals and capacitors of the same value, allowed hams to build quality filters with nothing more than a handful of precision capacitors and a way to measure crystal frequencies. A quality filter could be built for dollars rather than tens of dollars. Receiver building no longer required the large investment of a crystal filter. "The wide variety of crystal frequencies also gave receiver designers a vast choice of IF frequencies. Some could be rejected right away. Although 5.0 MHz or 10.0 MHz seems like a fine choice for an IF, WWV leak-through kills that idea quickly. Similar choices of integer IF frequencies and VFO frequencies result in other conflicts, either on the IF frequency or the image frequency. Other poor choices include IFs in ham bands, images in ham bands, or combinations of VFO and BFO harmonics and IF frequencies that fall in ham bands or SW bands. This natural selection process eventually favors weird IF frequencies, like the 4.915 MHz IF." (Thanks, Jim KK6MC) ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS The Contester's Rate Sheet wishes to acknowledge information from the following sources: WA7BNM's Contest Calendar Web page - http://www.hornucopia.com/contestcal/ ARRL Contest page - http://www.arrl.org/contests/ SM3CER's Web site - http://www.sk3bg.se/contest/ MS-DOS and Windows are trademarks of the Microsoft Corporation.