ARRL

Contest Update Issues

Preview
The ARRL Contest Update
August 6, 2008
Editor: Ward Silver, NØAX
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IN THIS ISSUE

NEW HF OPERATORS - THINGS TO DO

See if you can break loose a Saturday to participate in the North American QSO Party's summer Phone contest. All stations are limited to low power, the exchange is a friendly and simple name and state, you can work stations again on all bands. Surprise yourself!

BULLETINS

There are no bulletins in this issue.

BUSTED QSOS

A golden issue last time!

CONTEST SUMMARY

Rules follow Commentary section

August 9-10

  • Worked All Europe, CW
  • Maryland-DC QSO Party

August 16-17

  • ARRL 10 GHz and Up
  • SARTG WW RTTY
  • Keymen's Club of Japan Contest
  • Russian District Award Contest
  • Silent Key Memorial Sprint, CW
  • North American QSO Party, Phone
  • New Jersey QSO Party
NEWS, PRESS RELEASES, AND GENERAL INTEREST

Coming to your mailbox in late September, the theme of October's QST will be "Radiosport" for the first time. Feature articles include one on becoming a VHF+ Rover, an interview with multi-multi maven Tim Duffy K3LR, and a history of how contesting became an important part of amateur radio. There will be a special pullout as well, similar to the Field Day section in the June issue. (Thanks, ARRL Contest Branch Manager, Sean KX9X)

The ARRL Board has voted to create a "Triple Play Award". This new award, set to be implemented by January 2009, will be given to those amateurs who achieve Worked All States (WAS) on voice, CW and digital modes. All 150 contacts must be confirmed exclusively via Logbook of The World (LoTW). Only those contacts made after the awards start date will be eligible. (from the minutes of the July 2007 ARRL Board of Directors meeting)

The ARRL Programs and Services Committee has officially tasked the Contest Advisory Committee with the considering the use of CW Skimmer and similar technologies in ARRL contests. A short-term recommendation for the 2008 Sweepstakes will be made shortly.

The microHAM Station Master is now available. The complete manual is available for downloading so that you can evaluate its complete feature set and all of its capabilities. microHAM has developed a lot of good gear for the "wired" operator. (Thanks, Joe W4TV)

The ARRL's August UHF Contest was last weekend, how did the Northern Lights Radio Society "Rovermania" turn out? Keep an eye on the site for this year's writeup and while you're waiting, there's plenty of education and inspiration to get you roving, maybe for the ARRL September VHF QSO Party. It's fun reading for mobile and fixed stations, alike. (Thanks, Todd KC9BQA)

VE3NEA's Faros program gives you a bird's-eye view of how the bands are doing by tracking the NCDXF beacons. Cool!

CW Skimmer is not the only neat software package that Alex VE3NEA has produced. Take a look at Faros, a program to monitor the network of NCDXF beacon stations on 20, 17, 15, 12, and 10 meters. A scrolling display shows just where the bands are open and to what stations. To run the software, you'll need a computer with sound card, an omnidirectional antenna, and a computer-controlled CW/SSB transceiver. (Thanks, Rich KL7RA)

Toby DH1TW gave a presentation entitled "SDR & Contesting", at this year's Friedrichshafen hamfest. The presentation also shows alternative products that might make more satisfactory "human-machine interface" (HMI) devices for the needs of an SO2R operator. For example, Toby suggests the Herkules DJ-Console as something to try. His objective is to keep in mind that with the many available interface technologies and data interfaces, there are no limitations regarding HMI for a software defined radio!

Web Site of the Week - We all seem to have the DXCC Entity List memorized...or do we? K0RC relayed news of this interesting new Web challenge that exercises your ability to come up with a lot of country names in a hurry! Crack those knuckles and get to it - this would be a great club challenge! It's a lot of fun, says your editor.

WORD TO THE WISE

BIP/BOP - "Both In Phase/Both Out of Phase". A type of switching arrangement for a stack of beams that provides some control over the vertical angle of the array's main radiation angle. With both antennas in-phase (the usual arrangement), the main lobe is low and most suitable for low-angle signals. Switching to out-of-phase raises the vertical angle for high-angle signals, such as during the peak of an opening or for short-skip and domestic QSOs.

SIGHTS AND SOUNDS

More photos of the renovated LZ9W station and QTH are on-line, including the new look of Hotel "Bardoto". The Web site includes information about the LZ9W antennas, equipment, and local setting. (Thanks, Wally LZ2CJ)

NASA's Deep Impact spacecraft has created a Quicktime video of the moon transiting (passing in front of) Earth as seen from the spacecraft's point of view 31 million miles (50 million kilometers away. (From the 20 July edition of AMSAT News Service Bulletin)

Lloyd NA4D thought the view of K1KI's foot reminded him of something. How about W4LJM's foot on the tower for the Central Kentucky Amateur Radio Club repeater in Adair County in South Central Kentucky. The antenna is on an old abandoned television station transmission tower at around 850 feet.

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RESULTS AND RECORDS

ARRL Contest Branch Manager, Sean KX9X reports that, "More than 2800 logs have been received via email for the IARU contest with only about 100 paper logs in the mix. The submission deadline is only two weeks away! Certificates for the 2007 August UHF, 10 GHz, and EME contests have been processed and mailed out. A new certificate design for the IARU HF contest has slowed the distribution of the 2007 certificates. It is our intention for the certificates of a contest to be in the hands of the winner before the next running of the event, so there will be extra effort for improvement in this area for next year." Look for Sean and ARRL Emergency Communications Manager, Dennis Dura K2DCD, at the Dakota Division Convention this weekend!

Speaking of Oklahoma, Trey N5KO and Ken K5KA are shown putting a whole bunch of QSOs in the K5KA log during last weekend's CW NA QSO Party. (Photo K5KA)

The 2008 Oklahoma QSO Party scores are now online. Click the "QSO Party" button to find them. (Thanks, Jerry K5YAA)

The West Coast Regional Radio Sport Team Championship results were posted on CQ-Contest along with some nice commentary from each team. Run during the IARU, just as the WRTC competitions are, two-operator teams tackle the contest from similar stations. If it looks like fun, why not give this a try in your own club to stimulate activity when conditions aren't so hot? (Thanks, John K6AM)

OPERATING TIP

During these periods of low solar flux, don't miss the frequent sporadic-E openings on the higher HF bands! For example, you're operating on 20 and a scan of 15 meters doesn't show much activity so why bother to check 10? Because a sporadic-E opening may not extend to 15. During the past weekend's NAQP CW contest, all sorts of QSOs were made despite poor predictions for F-layer propagation.

TECHNICAL TOPICS AND INFORMATION

John K0IO writes to note, "an interesting site for the NASA's THEMIS (Time HIstory of Events and Microscale Interactions during Substorms) Project whose mission is "Resolving the mystery of when, where, and how auroral eruptions start." Lately there seems to have been an outpouring of interesting research that expands our knowledge of the ionosphere and its effects on propagation.

The mechanical consequences and effects of guying a tower is discussed in a presentation posted on the Yankee Clipper Contest Club Web site. It covers elevated guy anchors, star guying, and more. (Thanks, Roger K8RI)

In the previous issue, the old mnemonic "Never Saddle A Dead Horse" was presented to help remember how to attach guy clamps. A couple of readers asked, "Which piece of the clamp is the saddle?" and "Why should the saddle be on the live guy wire?" Great questions! Next question? Seriously, if you hold a clamp with the U-bolt part down, it looks a bit like a saddle cinch strap and the sliding part looks a bit like a saddle. Steve K7LXC confirms that the saddle part of the clamp has much better holding power than the U-bolt. Saddling that dead horse causes the clamp to lose about 40% of its holding force!

Doug NH6ZA and Mark K6UFO are obviously having a lot of fun mousing around in a recent RTTY contest as NN7SS. (Photo NH6ZA)

While a chimney seems pretty substantial, several Towertalk reflector denizens noted that it's not a good idea to use a brick-and-mortar chimney as a mount for antennas. First, the usually-unreinforced masonry is not strong enough to hold an antenna of any size. Strong winds might not only blow the antenna over, but the chimney, too! And regardless of the mechanical considerations, the combustion products that come out of chimneys cause corrosion - not what we want or need! There are plenty of solutions for mounting a support structure on the roof and the frame of the house.

Solder pots are handy for tinning component leads, stranded wire, coax center conductors, etc. But who wants a big cup of molten metal sloshing around on the workbench? Doug KI6DS has published a neat method of creating a miniature solder pot that's just right for these small jobs. It heats and cools quickly and costs little or nothing. It's on Doug's QRPkits Web page as the first item under "QRP Building Hints".

Technical Web Site of the Week - The RF Cafe Web site has a great selection of handy calculators, tables and references along with RF industry and science news articles. This is a good site to add to your list of bookmarks (Thanks, Bob W6TR)

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CONVERSATION

Time for a little summer fun - how about a minor "repurposing" of the Hollies' major hit, "Bus Stop"?

Broad Band
Downloaded from The Hollies "Bus Stop" by Dr. Beldar

Dial up, slow rate, she's mad, I say
Please share my connection
Broad band, Web flows, she stays, love grows
Sharing my connection

All that summer we enjoyed it
High speed surfing on-line
That connection, we employed it
By August, she was mine

Over lattes I would let her log in at the shop
We'd check the auction sites to see what we had bought
Many times we bid as if we were both quite insane
Soon my domain and hers are going to be the same

That's the way the whole thing started
Silly but it's true
Linkin' up a sweet romance with
Wireless 802

Cappucino, chocolate melting
Low security now
Nice to think how that connection
Led me to a vow

Over lattes I would let her log in at the shop
We'd check the auction sites to see what we had bought
Many times we bid as if we were both quite insane
Soon my domain and hers are going to be the same

Dial up, slow rate, she's sad, I say
Please share my connection
Broad band, Web flows, she stays, love grows
Sharing my connection

All that summer we enjoyed it
High speed surfing on-line
That connection, we employed it
By August, she was mine

73, Ward N0AX

CONTESTS

6 August though 19 August 2008

An expanded, downloadable version of QST's Contest Corral in PDF format is available. Check the sponsor's Web site for information on operating time restrictions and other instructions.

HF CONTESTS

Worked All Europe--CW, from Aug 9 0000Z to Aug 10 2359Z. Bands (MHz): 3.5-28. Exchange: RST and serial (see Web for QTC rules). Logs due: Sep 15. Web site

Maryland-DC QSO Party--Phone,CW,Digital, from Aug 9 1600Z to Aug 10 0400Z and Aug 10 1600Z to Aug 10 2359Z. Bands (MHz): 1.8-28, 50-440, CW-1.895, 3.643, 3.92, 7.06, 7.23, 14.06, 14.27, 21.06, 21.37, 28.035, 28.37 ,50.15, 52.525, 144.15, 146.55, 146.58, 432.15, 439.25, 446. Exchange: Maryland County/City or S/P/C. Logs due: Sep 15. Web site

SARTG WW RTTY Contest--Digital, from Aug 16 0000Z to Aug 16 0800Z and Aug 17 0800Z to Aug 17 1600Z. Bands (MHz): 3.5-28. Exchange: RST and serial. Logs due: Oct 7. Web site

Keymen's Club of Japan Contest--CW, from Aug 16 1200Z to Aug 17 1200Z. Bands (MHz): 1.8-28, 50. Exchange: RST and JA pref/dist or continent. Logs due: Sep 20. Web site

Russian District Award Contest--Phone,CW, from Aug 16 0800Z to Aug 17 0800Z. Bands (MHz): 1.8-28. Exchange: RS(T), serial or Russian district. Logs due: 30 days. Web site

Silent Key Memorial Sprint--CW, from Aug 16 1500Z to Aug 16 1800Z. Bands (MHz): 1.8-28. 1.810, 3.560, 7.030, 7.040, 14.060, 21.060, 28.060. Exchange: RST, S/P/C, QRP ARCI mbr nr or pwr. Logs due: Sep 16. Web site

North American QSO Party--Phone, from Aug 16 1800Z to Aug 17 0600Z. Bands (MHz): 1.8-28. Exchange: Name and state. Logs due: 14 days. Web site

New Jersey QSO Party--Phone,CW, from Aug 16 2000Z to Aug 17 0700Z and Aug 17 1300Z to Aug 18 0200Z. Bands (MHz): 1.8-28, 50,144, CW-1.810, 3.535, 7.035, 14.035, 21.100, 28.100, SSB-3.950, 7.235, 14.285, 21.355, 28.400. Exchange: Serial and NJ county or S/P/C. Logs due: Sep 13. Web site

VHF+ CONTESTS

Maryland-DC QSO Party--Phone,CW,Digital, from Aug 9 1600Z to Aug 10 0400Z and Aug 10 1600Z to Aug 10 2359Z. Bands (MHz): 1.8-28, 50-440, CW-1.895, 3.643, 3.92, 7.06, 7.23, 14.06, 14.27, 21.06, 21.37, 28.035, 28.37 ,50.15, 52.525, 144.15, 146.55, 146.58, 432.15, 439.25, 446. Exchange: Maryland County/City or S/P/C. Logs due: Sep 15. Web site

ARRL 10 GHz and Up Contest--Phone,CW,Digital, from Aug 16 6 AM to Aug 17 12 AM. Bands (MHz): 10G+. Exchange: 6-character grid locator. Logs due: Oct 14. Web site

LOG DUE DATES

6 August though 19 August 2008

August 6, 2008 WLOTA Contest, email logs to: contest08@wlota.com, paper logs and diskettes to: WLH Award, 18 Allee Roch-Bihen, 44510 Le Pouliguen, France. Web site

August 10, 2008 DL-DX RTTY Contest, email logs to: logs@drcg.de, paper logs and diskettes to: (none). Web site

August 11, 2008 VK/Trans-Tasman 160m Contest, CW, email logs to: VK: vktasman@hotmail.com

ZL: vktasman@robglassey.com, paper logs and diskettes to: VK: VK/trans-Tasman Contest, 28 Crampton Crescent, Rosanna, VIC 3084, Australia. ZL: VK/trans-Tasman Contest, PO Box 21-363, Christchurch 8143, New Zealand. Web site

August 11, 2008 FISTS Summer Sprint, email logs to: W8PIG@yahoo.com, paper logs and diskettes to: Dan Shepherd, N8IE, 1900 Pittsfield St, Kettering, OH 45420, USA. Web site

August 12, 2008 IARU HF World Championship, email logs to: IARUHF@iaru.org, paper logs and diskettes to: IARU HF Championship, IARU International Secretariat, Box 310905, Newington, CT 06111, USA. Web site

August 13, 2008 ARCI Summer Homebrew Sprint, email logs to: contest@qrparci.org, paper logs and diskettes to: ARCI Summer Homebrew Spriint, c/o Jeff Hetherington, VA3JFF, 139 Elizabeth St W., Welland, Ontario L3C 4M3, Canada. Web site

August 14, 2008 DIE Contest, email logs to: ea5aen@ure.es, paper logs and diskettes to: EA5AEN, Apartado 9055 en, 46080 Valencia, Spain. Web site

August 16, 2008 North American QSO Party, CW, email logs to: (see rules, web upload preferred), Upload log at: http://www.ncjweb.com/naqplogsubmit.php, paper logs and diskettes to: Bruce Horn, WA7BNM, 4225 Farmdale Avenue, Studio City, CA 91604, USA. Web site

August 18, 2008 10-10 Int. Summer Contest, SSB, email logs to: (none), paper logs and diskettes to: Steve Rasmussen, N0WY, #68684, 312 N. 6th Street, Plattsmouth, NE 68048, USA. Web site

August 18, 2008 SARL HF Phone Contest, email logs to: hfcontests@netactive.co.za, paper logs and diskettes to: Bloemfontein Radio Amateur Club, Box 12104, Brandhof, 9324

South Africa. Web site

August 19, 2008 RSGB RoPoCo 2, email logs to: ropoco2.logs@rsgbhfcc.org, paper logs and diskettes to: RSGB G3UFY, 77 Bensham Manor Road, Thornton Heath, Surrey CR7 7AF, England. Web site

August 19, 2008 CQC Great Colorado Gold Rush, email logs to: ki0rb@arrl.net, paper logs and diskettes to: Colorado QRP Club, PO Box 17174, Golden, CO 80402-6019, USA. Web site

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

ARRL Contest Update wishes to acknowledge information from WA7BNM's Contest Calendar and SM3CER's Contest Calendar.

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