Contester's Rate Sheet for January 14, 2004
*********************** Contester's Rate Sheet 14 January 2004 *********************** Edited by Ward Silver, N0AX Echoing the much more significant initial 1923 transatlantic QSO, "Hey, Mr. Printer. How many exclamation points you got? We're gonna need 'em all, cause we got across!" Across the 10,000 subscriber barrier, that is. The Rate Sheet distribution for the 30 Dec 2003 issue was 10,054! Keep spreading the word! SUMMARY o CQ 160 and January VHF Sweepstakes - pick the 7-10 split on Jan 24 - 26! o No log too small for Cabrillo - ARRL announces Web-based applet for log entry o CT version 10 released and N3JFP releases enhancements and new programs o Sweepstakes Logs-Received Web lists available o Useful freeware and parts-and-circuits Web pages o Silly Amplifiers BULLETINS o The January VHF Sweepstakes dates are 24 - 26 Jan, not 17 - 19 Jan as reported in QST's "Contest Corral." Please spread the word! o Don't forget that the CW Sprint has been moved to 1 Feb (the evening of 31 Jan). See http://www.ncjweb.com/ for complete details. BUSTED QSOS o NAQP Log due dates are all now 14 days after the contest, not 30 as originally reported. ANNOUNCEMENT & NOTICES FOR 14 JANUARY TO 27 JANUARY 2004 Logs are due for the following contests: January 14 - ARRL 10-Meter Contest, email to: firstname.lastname@example.org, paper logs and diskettes to: 10 Meter Contest, ARRL, 225 Main Street, Newington, CT 06111, USA January 15 - CQ Worldwide DX Contest, CW, email to: email@example.com, paper logs and diskettes to: CQWW CW, CQ Magazine, 25 Newbridge Road, Hicksville, NY 11801, USA January 15 - OK DX RTTY Contest, email to: firstname.lastname@example.org, paper logs and diskettes to: Czech Radio Club, OK DX RTTY Contest, P.O. Box 69, 113 27 Praha 1, Czech Republic January 17 - Great Colorado Snowshoe Run, email to: email@example.com, paper logs and diskettes to: Snowshoe, c/o CQC, P.O. Box 17174, Golden, CO 80402-6019, USA January 18 - Russian 160-Meter Contest, email to: firstname.lastname@example.org, paper logs and diskettes to: Radio Magazine, Seliverstov per. 10, Moscow 107045, Russia January 18 - AGCW VHF/UHF Contest, email to: email@example.com, paper logs and diskettes to: Manfred Busch, DK7ZH, Carl-von-Ossietzky-Weg 6, D-63069 Offenbach/Main, Germany January 20 - Croatian CW Contest, email to: firstname.lastname@example.org, paper logs and diskettes to: Hrvatski Radioamaterski Savez, for Croatian CW Contest, PO Box 149, 10002 Zagreb, Croatia January 22 - AGB NYSB Contest, email to: email@example.com, paper logs and diskettes to: Igor "Harry" Getmann, EU1EU, PO Box 143, Minsk, 220005, Belarus 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 HF CONTESTS North American QSO Party--Phone, sponsored by the National Contest Journal from 1800Z Jan 10 - 0600Z Jan 18. Frequencies: 160 - 10-meters. Categories: SOAB and M2, 100 W power limit, operate a maximum of 10 hours (off times must be at least 30 min and M2 entries may operate the entire contest). Exchange: Name and S/P/C. Score: QSOs x States + Provinces + NA DXCC countries (count each once per band). For more information: http://www.ncjweb.com/naqprules.php. Logs due Feb 1 to firstname.lastname@example.org or Bruce Horn, WA7BNM, 4225 Farmdale Avenue, Studio City, CA 91604. The same mailing address is used for both modes of this contest. MI QRP Club January CW Sprint--1200Z Jan 18 - 2400Z Jan 19. Frequencies: 160 - 6-meters. Categories: SOAB with classes A (<250 mW), B (<1 W), C (<5 W), D (>5W). Exchange: RST, S/P/C, and MI-QRP number or power output. QSO Points: MI-QRP members--5 pts, non-member W/VE--2 pts, DX--4 pts. Score: QSO points x S/P/C counted once per band. If homebrew RX or TX, multiply by 1.25. If both RX and TX are homebrew, multiply by 1.5. For information: http://www.qsl.net/miqrpclub. Logs to email@example.com or L. T. Switzer, N8CQA, 427 Jeffrey Ave., Royal Oak, MI 48073-2521, USA LZ Open Championship--CW, sponsored by the LZ1KPP Radio Club from 1200Z - 2000Z Jan 17. Frequencies: 3.5 and 7 MHz. Categories: MS, SO, and SO-QRP. Exchange: 6-digits, serial number and serial number received in previous QSO. E.g. - the first QSO exchange is '001 000'. A station can be worked once every 30 minutes. QSO Points: same entity--1 pt, different entity--2 pts. Score: total QSO points. For more information: http://www.qsl.net/lz1fw/lzopen/index.html. Logs due 30 days after the contest to firstname.lastname@example.org or LZ1KPP--Radioclub, PO Box 79, Sofia 1606, Bulgaria. HA DX Contest--CW, sponsored by the Hungarian DX Club from 1200Z Jan 17 - 1200Z Jan 18. Frequencies: 160 - 10-meter bands. Categories: SOAB, SOSB, MS, MM, and SWL. Exchange: RST and serial number, HA stations send county or HADXC member number. QSO Points: Own DXCC entity--1pt, same continent--1 pt, different cont--3 pts, HA stations--6 pts. Score: QSO points x HA counties and members on each band. For more information: http://www.mrasz.hu/engver/mraszen.html. Logs due 30 days after the contest to email@example.com or MTTOSZ, Gyôr Városi Rádióclub, 9200 Gyôr, PO Box 79, Hungary. 070 PSKFest--sponsored by the Penn/OH DX Society (PODXS) from 0000Z - 2400Z Jan 18. Frequencies: 80 - 10-meters. Categories: SOSB-QRP, SOAB-QRP, - MP (<50W), -HP. Exchange: RST and S/P/C. QSO Points: 1 pt/QSO. Score: QSO points x S/P/C counted only once. For more information: http://www.podxs.com/html/pskfest.html. Logs due Feb 17 to PSKFest@podxs.com or firstname.lastname@example.org or Brad Robertson, 53 E. Robert Weist Ave, Cloverdale IN 46120. CQ WW 160-Meter Contest--CW, sponsored by CQ Magazine from 0000Z Jan 24 - 2359Z Jan 25 (Phone is Feb 21 - 22). Exchange: RST and S/P/C. Categories: SO-QRP (<5 W) -LP(<150 W) -HP, MO categories. The DX window 1.830 - 1.835 MHz has been restored. Enter as MO if packet or spotting nets are used. QSO Points: own entity--2 pts, same continent--5 pts, diff. cont.--10 pts, /MM stations count 5 points, but no multiplier. Score: QSO points x states + VE call areas (VY0 added this year) + DXCC entities (KH6 and KL7 count as DXCC only). For more information: http://www.cq-amateur-radio.com/infoc.html. Logs due by Feb 28 to email@example.com (Cabrillo format only) or CQ 160 Contest, 25 Newbridge Rd, Hicksville, NY 11801. REF French Contest--CW, sponsored by the Reseau des Emetteurs Francais, 0600Z Jan 24 - 1800Z Jan 25 (Phone is Feb 21 - 22). Contact French stations including Corsica, Overseas Territories, and EU Council station TP2CE. Frequencies: 80 - 10-meters. Categories: SOAB, MS, and SWL. Exchange: non-French stations send RST and serial number, French send RST and department number or prefix. QSO Points: different continent--3 pts, 1 pt otherwise. Score: QSO points x departments and prefixes counted once per band. For more information: http://www.ref-union.org/concours/. Logs are due Mar 15 (CW) or April 15 (SSB) to firstname.lastname@example.org (SSB - email@example.com) or Reseau des Emetteurs Francais, REF Contest, BP 7429, 37074 Tours Cedex, France. BARTG RTTY Sprint--sponsored by the British Amateur Radio Teletype Group from 1200Z Jan 24--1200Z Jan 25. Frequencies: 80 - 10-meters. Categories: SO-Expert, SOAB, MO, and SWL. Operators with a Top Ten log in the past three years must enter as an Expert. Exchange: serial number only. QSO Points: 1 pt/QSO. Score: QSO points x DXCC entities + W/VE/JA/VK call areas + continents counted only once. For more information: http://www.bartg.demon.co.uk/. Logs in Cabrillo format due 1 Mar to firstname.lastname@example.org with the call and entry class in the subject line and the log included as an attachment or by mail to John Barber GW4SKA, PO Box 611, Cardiff, CF24 4UN, Wales (only logs with 50 or fewer QSOs may be submitted as printed logs). VHF CONTESTS ARRL January VHF Sweepstakes - 1900Z Jan 24 - 0400Z Jan 26. Frequencies: all bands above 6-meters. Categories: SO --LP/-HP/-Portable, Rover, MO, Limited MO. Exchange: Grid Square. QSO Points: 50/144 MHz -- 1 pt, 222/440 MHz -- 2 pts, 902/1296 MHz -- 4 pts, 2.3 GHz and above -- 8 pts. Score: QSO Points x Grid Squares (counted once per band), Rovers count Grid Squares from which they were able to complete a QSO. For more information: http://www.arrl.org/contests. Logs due Feb 25 to email@example.com or January VHF Sweepstakes, ARRL, 225 Main St., Newington, CT 06111. NEWS & PRESS RELEASES Yes! The ARRL Contest Branch announces a Web-based applet developed by Bruce Horn WA7BNM for participants to use in order to generate and email ARRL Contest logs in the required Cabrillo file format. The first ARRL Contest for which the applet is available is the recently completed 2004 RTTY Roundup. The applet, while intended for smaller log submissions, can be used for submissions of any size. It will be available for all ARRL events that require electronic logs in the Cabrillo file format. Take a look at the applet at http://b4h.net/cabforms. (Thanks, Dan N1ND and Bruce WA7BNM) Contest Hall of Fame software author Ken Wolff K1EA has released CT10 placed it on http://www.k1ea.com/ for download. The BIN file format has been changed to add additional information for each QSO. This allows support of NAQP and NA Sprint. Two new conversion utilities; 9TO10 and 10TO9 are provided to convert the program files between versions. Windows versions of these programs are packaged with CTWin and can be found in C:\Program Files\K1EA Software\CtWin. The MS-DOS versions have the same names and can be found in CT10_00.ZIP. Bugs still outstanding in version 9 will be fixed in version 10 only. (Thanks, Ken K1EA) Scott N3FJP reports enhancements and new programs in his extensive stable of contesting logging software at http://www.n3fjp.com/. Post-contest mode and several new playback options are available for all programs. The Field Day software logging features have been upgraded along with operator tracking. A new program for Kids Roundup (April 3-4) has been released, too. Can you imagine antennas made up of tiny elements thousands of times smaller than a human hair? University of Southern California professor Bart Kosko (yes, the Fuzzy Logic Bart Kosko) has been developing applications for carbon nanotubes. The antennas could also be "wired" to do signal processing right in the antenna. More information is available in an on-line article at the Science Daily, http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/12/031231082951.htm. (Thanks, Ed N4XY) At NASA's Earthobservatory Web site, there is a very interesting article on aurora observation from the International Space Station. The pictures are just stunning. No word on whether the astronauts were able to run Europe. http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Study/ISSAurora is the Web link. The 2004 edition of K1BV's definitive "DX Awards Directory" is fresh from the printers and ready to mail. There are more than 100 new awards this year and awards from 128 DXCC entities. Take a gander at http://www.dxawards.com/2004edition.htm to find out more. (Thanks, Ted K1BV) Don N5DD reports that the Texas DX Society (http://www.tdxs.org/) has elected the following new officers to serve in 2004: President - Mike Anderson, N5MV Vice-President - Don Daze, N5DD Secretary - Ed Gerber, W5GCX Treasurer - Dave Topp, W5BXX Long-time QRP ARCI Contest Manager Randy Foltz K7TQ has moved to take the reins of the contest department of the new American QRP Club (AmQRP). Randy will be responsible for adminstering and reporting on all AmQRP Contests, and will also tabulate and score the results. Ken Newman N2CQ, also publishes a QRP Contesting Calendar on the club Web site at http://www.amqrp.org/. (Thanks, Doug KI6DS) Lee Scott AA1YN reports that Joe Taylor K1JT 's WSJT program for weak-signal VHF work has proven to be quite popular. Lee maintains the WSJT register at http://www.aa1yn.com/wsjt which reached a milestone of 1000 registrations on Christmas Day. Lee's site also hosts the extensive VHF And UP register which offers the ability to list VHF beacons, as well. Pascal F5LEN reports that the originally published email addresses and Web URL for the French REF contest are outdated. CW logs should be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org and SSB to email@example.com. The Web site is http://www.ref-union.org/concours. RESULTS AND RECORDS The complete list of Logs Received, including both paper and electronic submissions, for the 2003 ARRL November CW and Phone Sweepstakes has been posted at http://www.arrl.org/contests/claimed. If you find an error in your information, or you hold a numbered receipt and your score does not show up on the report, please contact N1ND at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 860-594-0232. (Thanks, Dan N1ND) TECHNICAL & TECHNIQUE If you are wondering which modes are supported by Logbook of The World, there is an online FAQ with the details at https://www.arrl.org/lotw/faq#modes. (Thanks, Tom K1KI) Diane NH6HE contributes this very cool site on the early history of radio - http://earlyradiohistory.us/. Rus K2UA sends this short book review for all of us would-be shack re-wire-ers. "Taunton Press has a fantastic book called "Wiring a House", by Rex Cauldwell (ISBN 1561585270). This book is very readable, full of good advice, and really helps avoid pitfalls with code issues like box fill, derating and wire selection. I highly recommend this book in combination with the National Electrical Code (NEC)." Climbing safety is discussed in an article in Occupational Health & Safety magazine, Vol. 27, No. 3, pages 86-90, March 2003 by Weems and Bishop, titled "Will Your Safety Harness Kill You?" It describes possible post-fall trauma that can cause death in minutes and precautions and actions to take to lessen the risks of post-fall trauma. Every climber and potential rescuer (that's all of us!) should read and remember the article's plain English principles posted at http://www.cdc.gov/elcosh/docs/d0500/d000568/d000568.html. There is also a PDF file version. (Thanks, Bob AA0CY and others) Tired of playing surface-mount tiddly winks and shooting those tiny parts off into the dust bunnies? Try cutting the pointed tip off a wooden toothpick to the size desired and use a very small bit of plumber's putty on the tip. Press it onto the SMD device and it will hold the item stable while you solder with your other hand. Be sure to clean both the PCB and metal leads with alcohol to remove traces of oils. The small amount of putty comes right off with alcohol along with the flux. (Thanks, Ed AL7EB) David N9KT contributes links to three useful freeware programs. Master.dta (http://www.netvampire.com/ham) is an editor to view and edit the Master Callsign Database file used in many contesting programs, import and export callsigns, auto-download announced DX operations. Audacity (http://audacity.sourceforge.net/) is an audio editor that handles recording and editing of WAV, AIFF, MP3 files and more. David uses it to produce files for my DVK. QuickMix (http://www.msaxon.com/quickmix/) allows you to store all or part of the current state of your audio mixer controls in a settings file, and to restore the mixer to that state whenever you want. Very useful if you are using a sound card DVK or RTTY, PSK31, or SSTV programs. Ed N4XY contributed a note about this incredibly jam-packed site for looking up component data sheets and circuits - http://users.otenet.gr/~athsam/index.htm. "Sam Electronic Circuits" lists are over 400 component datasheets and circuits. The data sheets are all useful, common parts of the type you're likely to use regularly if you are a builder. Tom W8JI has done some extensive comparison testing of various baluns; air-wound coax, ferrite bead "current," and voltage baluns. The results can be seen on Tom's Web site at http://www.w8ji.com/Baluns/balun_test.htm. Everybody needs right-angle 8-pin right microphone connectors. Turns out they are Philmore part T700RA (http://www.philmore-datak.com/Page%2055.pdf) or Buxcomm C8R (http://www.buxcomm.com/page1/bccpage1.htm). If the regular right-angle phone plugs scratch up your rig, the Radio Shack 274-902 is a kinder-gentler right angle adapter. Two of those in series fold back alongside the radio to get the cables out of the way. (Thanks, Dave K1TTT) SWL sites worth bookmarking include http://www.hfradio.org/swl with lots of useful links and http://www.hard-core-dx.com/ which also has a lot of technical discussion, including low-band receiving of interest to 160 and 80-meter operation. "Passport to World-Band Radio" is an excellent bookshelf reference and there is a supporting Web site at http://www.passband.com/. CONVERSATION Silly Amplifiers In the course of technology's relentless march, occasionally devices and services will appear that greatly expand our innate ability to perform publically in ways only describable as "silly." Most advances of the radio art enhance our capacity to communicate, but as with most silver clouds, there is a darker lining. An early Silly Amplifier was the so-called "automatic key," or "bug" to its aficionados. It was definitely possible to send ever-so-much faster with a bug. And with really, um, unusual code weighting. Lake Erie Swing was the term for those long, drawling dashes and busy, numerous dits, needed or not. At least one could copy Lake Erie Swing. Some operators, intoxicated with the bug's ability to send 50 wpm dits, forgot that their coordination extended only to about 25 wpm and the result was extraordinary, not unlike a spastic jackhammer being electrocuted. Very silly. Oh, for those innocent days of yore! The Silly Amplifier of the 1960's and 1970's was the microphone. Freed from the burdensome yoke of Morse Code, operators flocked to the phone bands and talked about...nothing. It turned out that the average thought process was well-suited to the 20-25 wpm of a good Morse ragchew, but when accelerated to the rate of speech, data content was still mired at the old rate. Tuning the bands, it is clear that many operators are using a wide bandwidth mode to transmit low bandwidth information. No cure has ever been found for this silly behavior. With the introduction of Tubes of Serious Power, the next Silly Amplifier on the scene was...the Amplifer! The saying "It's better to be thought a fool, than to open your mouth and remove all doubt" was never so true as when modified to say, "open your mouth into a full gallon." Now, instead of just irritating the guys across town, silliness was flung far and wide around the globe. JA and ZS alike could experience our silliness and we theirs. World-wide silliness, indeed! In the 1990's, contesters discovered the F1 key and found that it enabled massive silliness, but which pales in comparison to the Silly Amplifier of the Current Propagational Slump--packet spotting. Oh, what silliness this enables! The Busted Callsign, once only an occasional error, is now raised to an art form. Listen? Who listens anymore? That's so-o-o-o twentieth century. Point, click, call, log, click. Ready, fire, aim! It's a log checker's delight, my silly friends. Some of the casual operators from rarer climes now avoid getting on and "handing out a few QSOs." They know they will be set upon by a ravenous horde in a "packet pileup," beset by bad manners and rude behavior. Better to just answer CQ's instead, which leaves the search-and-pouncing Little Pistol out of the picture. Some just leave the radio dark, a loss to all. This silliness is having a measurable negative impact. At the frontier of silliness, with one foot into stupid, are the packet cheaters. These are Very Silliest Operators. They think--get this--that we don't know they are cheating! Oh, how silly they look as they pop in and out of pileups with the network spots, yet still submit their logs as unassisted. With a little on-line detective work, self-spotters have become transparently obvious. They will look even sillier when they make that exclusive Disqualification listing. Will they make the Silly Hall of Fame? Now, I don't hold myself to be immune from the siren signal of the Silly Amplifier. Every new trinket or program has the power to lure me onto the rocks of Silliness unless I keep myself lashed to the mast, steering a true course. I'm not one for New Year's resolutions, but perhaps I can redouble my resolve to stay within the spirit of the rules, whether or not a loophole to silliness beckons. To not do so would be...silly. 73, Ward N0AX 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/ Windows and MS-DOS are trademarks of the Microsoft Corporation.