ARRL

Contest Update Issues

Preview
The ARRL Contest Update
September 17, 2008
Editor: Ward Silver, NØAX
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IN THIS ISSUE

NEW HF OPERATORS - THINGS TO DO

Phone contests are good opportunities for operators new on the HF bands to get some experience using their receiver's sensitivity and selectivity controls. Observe the effect on intelligibility of received signals from changing the settings of your attenuator, RF gain, noise blanker, preamp, passband control and filter selection or width adjust.

BULLETINS

A reminder during hurricane season that emergency nets can spring to life on a moment's notice. Keep an eye on the links posted at the top of the ARRL home page to see where emergency communications might be taking place - then listen carefully before transmitting.

BUSTED QSOS

  • Contest Corral for October mistakenly omitted 1.8 MHz from the CQ WW SSB contest bands. Rest assured that Top Band are still part of CQ WW contests.
  • The reference to "a US station calls" in last week's Operating Tip was intended to apply to any "in-country, zero-point callers" in case there was any confusion on the part of our non-US readers. (Thanks, Jim AD1C)
CONTEST SUMMARY

Rules follow Commentary section

September 20-21

  • ARRL 10 GHz Cumulative Contest
  • ARRL EME Contest
  • YLRL Howdy Days (18-20 Sep)
  • Colorado QSO Party
  • Scandinavian Activity Contest (CW)
  • South Carolina QSO Party
  • Washington State Salmon Run
  • SE DX Club 50th Anniversary
  • QCWA Fall QSO Party
  • Feld-Hell Monthly Sprint
  • Classic Exchange (Phone)

September 27-28

  • Bavarian Contest Club QSO Party (25 Sep)
  • CQ WW RTTY
  • CIS DX Contest (CW & Digital)
  • Scandinavian Activity Contest (Phone)
  • Texas QSO Party
  • Fall VHF Sprint - 222 MHz (30 Sep)
  • Fall QRP Homebrewer CW Sprint (30 Sep)
NEWS, PRESS RELEASES, AND GENERAL INTEREST

The new HTML format for the newsletter seems to have attracted a new group of subscribers as total circulation for the Contest Update passed 19,000 with the last issue. Or maybe it's just the great content that the current readers provide and others contribute online? Whichever it may be, thanks for making this newsletter a success--tell your friends about this free ARRL member service.

Nice crane work getting ready to top-out the WR7HLN repeater on MacDonald Pass on Hwy 12 west of Helena, MT. The site elevation is 7155'. (Photo - owner Tom WR7AGT)

Tom K1KI clarifies the process and availability of ARRL contest results online: "What is posted on the ARRL Contest Branch Web site for anyone to view is the full QST article plus a listing of all scores. The article is sometimes posted in two phases - the initial one available is only for members and may not include the score details. After QST is available to members, sometimes a couple of weeks later, the full article and score listings are posted. The database of scores is only available to members. Log Checking Reports (LCR) are available to DX stations who are not ARRL members. There is currently no automated way to get them as there is for ARRL members. DX stations that want a copy of their LCR report can send an e-mail message to Contest Manager Sean Kutzko KX9X (kx9x@arrl.org) and request them. He has to handle these requests manually, so give him a little time to handle your request."

Contest Club Finland's PileUP! magazine is available for download - all 44 PDF pages! Along with information on the Scandinavian Activity Contest (SAC), there are stories and pictures from the CQ WPX CW and WAE contests, CCF humor, SO3M-station descriptions for RTTY, information about the effect trees have on our antennas, a computer-system for pileup competitions at hamfests, and more. The next issue will be available in mid-November. (Thanks, Ilkka OH1WZ)

2008 is the 60th anniversary of the "Worked All Europe" award. To commemorate the anniversary, the WAE60 Marathon is under way, having begun with the WAE CW Contest in August. The marathon finally comes to an end with the WAE DX Contest SSB. (Thanks, Joerg DL8WPX)

Amplifier manufacturer Command Technologies, recently sold to AN Wireless, is on the move again as reported by Pete K4OM.

The crew of VK9DWX wants to invite two young hams who have a passion for ham radio, DXing and contesting to take part in the DXpedition to Willis Island in October this year. Applicants can reside in any country in the world, must hold a valid amateur radio license in your country, have some experience in working pileups, and be between the ages of 18 and 29. A 500-word essay is required--for more information email Fabian DJ1YFK at contact@vk9dwx.de or visit Fabian's Web site. (Thanks, Dave N2NL)

"SCV Notes", a new book by LB Cebik, W4RNL (Silent Key), is available from antennex. SCV (Self-Contained Verticals) is a term coined by the author for the family of antennas covered in this 300-page book including 182 of modeling files and hundreds of illustrations. SCVs are vertically polarized antennas, usually constructed from copper wire for upper MF and lower HF use. Several other new titles have also been released recently and are described on the site.

The Lewis County (Washington) Board of County Commissioners has designated September as "NOAA Weather Radio Month" to encourage local residents in preparing themselves for the winter storm season by purchasing and using a NOAA Weather Radio. If your handheld radio features "extended" or "wideband" receiving capabilities, these channels are within its range. Why not take a moment to be sure you have these important emcomm and personal disaster preparedness information sources programmed in? (Thanks, Jim K7CEX, WWA SM)

Web Site of the Week - Hams were prominent in the work of the MIT Radiation Lab during and after WWII. One of the volumes (#24, "Threshold Signals") in the famous "Rad Lab" series of technical reference books was coauthored by the late James Lawson, W2PV, who was well known in contesting. A full listing of all 28 Rad Lab volumes can be found online. (Thanks, John W1FV and Mark K1RX)

WORD TO THE WISE

Assisted - under current contest rules, this category title applies ONLY to the use of spots (frequency, call sign, and time) from the various spotting networks or packet systems. It has nothing to do with "assistance" that may be rendered by another person.

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SIGHTS AND SOUNDS

A new service for ARRL members was announced recently--all issues of QST from the beginning to 2004 are now available online! The full story can be found in this ARRL News item. Some articles that were continued to pages in the back of the magazine may not have been completely scanned in, but those will eventually be noted, scanned, and added to the collection.

At a recent NCCC dinner, left to right are K6UFO, N6TV, N6XI, NQ4I, N6DE, K9YC, and K6VVA. No word if The Locust (aka K6VVA) lived up to his nickname! (Thanks, N6TV)

Online reprints seem to be popping up all over. The "Carl And Jerry" stories from Popular Electronics can now be downloaded, as well. Plenty of historic and nostalgic material is online and more is coming every day. (Thanks, Doug N6TQS)

RESULTS AND RECORDS

Much of ARRL Contest Branch Manager Sean Kutko KX9X's time has recently been taken up with assisting ARRL HQ efforts for supporting emcomm operations resulting from recent hurricanes. His primary task? Keeping lists of active emergency frequencies and getting them out to SMs, Directors, SECs, and others. He'll be continuing in these support roles until the need no longer exists. Hats off to all of the amateur emcomm volunteers around the country during this challenging season.

The ARRL Contest Branch has received 198 logs for the August UHF contest--on par with the last two years. 2007 ARRL September VHF QSO Party contest certificates were all out the door as of September 9. Plaques for this event have been ordered and should ship soon. 2007 ARRL November Sweepstakes plaques have been ordered and should ship in the next few weeks.

Speaking of Sweepstakes, Ken K5KA, Contest Manager for Sweepstakes, encourages those who log with a pencil and paper to try computer logging. While the ARRL will still accept paper logs, reducing the number of paper logs received also reduces the considerable amount of volunteer and staff time required to manually enter all the QSO data.

Results for the 2007 CQ WW CW contest have been published in the latest edition of CQ Magazine and scores for the 2008 CQ WPX RTTY Contest are now available, as well. (Thanks, Randy K5ZD)

A favorite multiplier station has to have their own mult bell - here is one of the HC8N ringers from N5OT's visit to Radio Galapagos. (Photo N5OT)

The UBA contest results for 2008 are now available online through the efforts of ON6LY. Click "HF", then "Contest Results". (Thanks, Marc ON7SS)

The W1VE/K1TTT real-time scoreboard is set up for the for the CQWW RTTY contest on September 27-28. Other supported upcoming contests include CQ WW SSB, SS SSB, WAE RTTY, SS CW, CQ WW CW, ARRL 160 Meter, and ARRL 10 Meter. The site also includes information about sending your scores to the scoreboard. (Thanks, Dave K1TTT)

Francesco IK0XBX has published the SP DX RTTY 2008 results sorted by country.

OPERATING TIP

Motivation is important, particularly at times of relatively poor conditions. Setting reasonable goals is part of staying motivated throughout the contest. Even hourly goals ("I can make sixty QSOs before 4 o'clock!") can keep the blood pumping and, more effectively, keeping your butt in the chair!

TECHNICAL TOPICS AND INFORMATION

Kenny K2KW has recommends this Web site for information on NVIS (Near-Vertical Incidence Skywave) antennas--a potent domestic contest tool. "I started looking at NVIS antennas after operating in the Ohio QSO Party, and realized the 80 meter 4-square I was using was not the best antenna for working in-state guys. I was in the SW corner of Ohio, and the farthest point in-state was about 230 miles, with most stations far closer. Compared to the 4-square at QTH I was using, the NVIS antenna should be 5-20 dB stronger for in-state and nearby stations."

George K0FF has published an eham.net article about his Beverage "hub" box that switches one feed line between several antennas. It's nicely built, and while there's no schematic with the article, the point is to illustrate the idea and get you started thinking about designing one for your unique receiving antenna system.

David G4FTC reports, "It's still reassuring that the new Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN uses tetrodes." The homebrewers and amplifier builders among us may be interested in the full LHC design report! I wonder what happens when CW, RTTY, and Phone contest signals collide at full power?

Judging the Austin Summerfest 2008 pileup contest results are (l to r) K5TR, W5ZL, WM5R, and N6TV. In the foreground, K5KVH appears to be in recovery following the test. (Photo N6TV)

Several bits of wisdom from the inhabitants of the Towertalk reflector for the station managers among us:

  • Richards Rule: If you fix something long enough, eventually, you will break it.
  • Hoppman's Law: The more you leave it alone the better it works.
  • Zimmerman's Law: If, while repairing something, it starts working again, and you don't know what you did, then you didn't repair it.

And, of course:

  • Green's Rule: If it's not broken, you're not trying!

Seab AA1MY, relays that office supply stores carry inexpensive aluminum box clipboards, well-suited to be an enclosure for tools, test equipment, or even an entire QRP station! If the latter, a magnetic-based mini-paddle (also useful in mobile contesting or while roving) can be attached by gluing a small piece of sheet steel (even pieces of plumber's iron) to the inside of the moveable lid. Rich KC8AON spotted several similarly-repurposeable metal boxes in a local hobby store - about the same size as a lunchbox, nicely painted, and with a sturdy latch. The higher volume of hobby, craft, and office supply stores often results in big savings for the same equipment at an electronic specialty outlet.

Some very handy and inexpensive guy rope tensioners were discovered by Dave G4GED. They're suitable for lightweight tubular verticals such as the Titanex series and similar antennas. The tensioners handle 2 - 5mm guy ropes. They're called Clamcleat Line-Loks. This type of gadget makes "straightening up" even the noodle-iest vertical much easier.

N4GG delivered a good slideshow presentation to the Southeast DX Club on the K9AY receiving loops for the low bands. (Thanks, Tim K3LR)

Technical Web Site of the Week - Wow! Everything you wanted to know about tower foundations is summarized in this IEEE document. This presentation (the URL provided by Bob W5LT) is aimed at the power line engineer, but many of the same concerns apply to ham radio towers. A great overview to keep handy.

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CONVERSATION

Year Of the State QSO Party

By now, most of the readers should have gotten the October issue of QST with its focus on Radiosport. There are three feature articles and an eight-page "pullout" section of resources and references, in addition to the regular editorial content. This is a nice vote of confidence for contesting as an activity that encourages operating and the advancement of one's personal skills and station capabilities. Is the ARRL trying "kill off contesting"--a comment heard now and then? I don't think so.

In the pullout is an announcement of the Year Of the State QSO Party during 2009. There is a nice certificate that can be downloaded and soon there will be another image for a sheet of self-adhesive labels to be printed with all of the 50 state flags. These stickers can be affixed to the certificate when each state is worked during its QSO party, either by state or region. For those states without a QSO party, a contact during an ARRL contest will suffice.

As of this issue, there are a few states for which no QSO Party exists: North and South Dakota, New York(!), Iowa, Alaska, and Kansas. Would your club like to sponsor a QSO Party for your state just this one time? Perhaps the sponsors of a neighboring state might want to run a "two-stater" this year, or make a state QSO Party into a Regional QSO Party. If you do decide to do so, let your editor or ARRL Contest Branch Manager Sean Kutzko KX9X know so that we can let everybody know. We can also put you in touch with other similar sponsors for advice on rules and log handling. Remember that the deadline for your contest to make the QST version of Contest Corral is two months prior to the month of the contest. (i.e. - for a September contest, the deadline for QST to receive information is 1 July)

What is the point of the YOSQP? It's to introduce more hams, particularly those new to HF, to contesting in a low-key and casual way and give them a nice incentive, to boot. Careful readers of the award rules will note that it is a requirement to not only make the contact, but to send in a log to the contest sponsors. We hope this little exercise will also encourage these same operators to get involved with "the majors" and send in a log there, too. Along the way, they'll find that contesting is fun and submitting a score is not difficult.

And you Big Gun veterans out there--this should be fun for you, too! Haven't you gotten enough plaques and certificates on the wall from those massive contests? Wouldn't you like something a little different to set them off properly? Of course you would! I know I hear K4BAI racking up the QSOs in just about every state QSO Party. I'll bet John's already made a spot on his Georgia wall for this new certificate! When you jump in to the world of State QSO Parties, you'll find interesting rules, mobiles in interesting locations to spot, neat prizes and certificates, and most importantly, a new challenge.

The YOSQP will hopefully be a winner for everybody--the sponsors with more participation, the entrants advancing WAS or the YOSQP certificate progress, and the regular contesters that might start hearing some new calls in the pileups. After a year of chasing states, perhaps we will see more stations sending Sweepstakes checks from the past few years in 2009. After all, contesting is a bit addictive, isn't it? With apologies to the Lay's Potato Chip folks, once you start, nobody can work just one!

73, Ward N0AX

CONTESTS

17 September through 30 September 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

YLRL Howdy Days--Phone,CW, from 18 Sep 1400Z to 20 Sep 0200Z. Bands (MHz): 7-28. Exchange: YLRL member or non-member. Logs due: 20 Oct. Rules

Colorado QSO Party--Phone,CW,Digital, from 20 Sep 1000Z to 21 Sep 0400Z. Bands (MHz):1.8-28, 50+ Exchange: Call sign, name, and county or S/P/C. Logs due: 20 Oct. Rules

Scandinavian Activity Contest--CW, from 20 Sep 1200Z to 21 Sep 1200Z. Bands (MHz):3.5-28. Exchange: RST and serial. Logs due: 31 Oct. Rules

South Carolina QSO Party--Phone,CW,Digital, from 20 Sep 1300Z to 21 Sep 2100Z. Bands (MHz):3.5-28, 50+, CW-1.805 and 50 kHz from band edge, Phone-1.845, 3.86, 7.26, 14.27, 21.37, 28.37, 50.125, 144.2, 146.58, 223.5, 446. Exchange: RS(T) and county or S/P/C. Logs due: 22 Oct. Rules

Washington State Salmon Run--Phone,CW,Digital, from 20 Sep 1600Z to 21 Sep 2400Z. Bands (MHz):3.5-28 CW-1.85, 3.55, 7.045, 14.05, 21.05, 28.05, 50.095; Phone-1.85, 3.925, 7.26, 14.28, 21.38, 28.380, 50.13 . Exchange: RS(T) and county or S/P/C. Logs due: 31 Oct. Rules

SE DX Club 50th Anniversary--Phone,CW,Digital, from 20 Sep 1800Z to 21 Sep 0200Z. Bands (MHz):1.8-28, 50 Exchange: RS(T), name, serial (non-member). Logs due: 1 Oct. Rules

QCWA Fall QSO Party--Phone,CW,Digital, from 20 Sep 1800Z to 21 Sep 1800Z. Bands (MHz):1.8-28, 50+ CW-1.81, 3.54, 7.035, 14,04, 21.05, 28.05 SSB - 1.845, 3.810, 7.244, 14.262, 21.365, 28.325. Exchange: Call sign, year lic'd, name, chptr or S/P/C. Logs due: 30 days. Rules

Feld-Hell Monthly Sprint--Digital, from 20 Sep 2200Z to 20 Sep 2400Z. Bands (MHz):1.8-28 1.804, 3.574, 7.084, 14.074, 21.074, 28.074. Exchange: RST, S/P/C, Feld-Hell member number. Rules

Classic Exchange--Phone, from 21 Sep 1300Z to 22 Sep 0700Z. Bands (MHz):1.8-28, 50,144 Exchange: Name, RS, S/P/C, type of equipment. Logs due: 90 days. Rules

BCC QSO Party--Phone,CW, from 25 Sep 1700Z to 25 Sep 1900Z. Bands (MHz):1.8-7 Exchange: RS(T) and "BCC" (if member) or serial. Logs due: 14 days. Rules

CQ WW RTTY Contest--Digital, from 27 Sep 0000Z to 28 Sep 2400Z. Bands (MHz):3.5-28 Exchange: RST, CQ zone and State/VE area (US/VE). Logs due: 26 Oct. Rules

CIS DX Contest--CW,Digital, from 27 Sep 1200Z to 28 Sep 1200Z. Bands (MHz):1.8-28 Exchange: RST and CIS area code or serial. Logs due: 30 days. Rules

Scandinavian Activity Contest--Phone, from 27 Sep 1200Z to 28 Sep 1200Z. Bands (MHz):3.5-28 Exchange: RS and serial. Logs due: 31 Oct. Rules

Texas QSO Party--Phone,CW,Digital, from 27 Sep 1400Z to 28 Sep 2000Z. Bands (MHz):1.8-28, 50, 144 CW - 20-60 kHz above band edge; Phone - 25 kHz above edge of Gen'l segment; 50.200, 144.200. Exchange: RS(T), county or S/P/C. Logs due: 31 Oct. Rules

Fall QRP Homebrewer Sprint--CW, from 30 Sep 0000Z to 30 Sep 0400Z. Bands (MHz):3.5-28 Exchange: RST, S/P/C, and power. Logs due: 30 days. Rules

VHF+ CONTESTS

ARRL 10 GHz Cumulative Contest--Phone,CW,Digital, from 20 Sep 6 AM to 21 Sep 12 Mid. Bands (MHz): 10G+. Exchange: 6-char grid locator. Logs due: 21 Oct. Rules http://www.arrl.org/contests

ARRL EME Contest--Phone,CW,Digital, from 20 Sep 0000Z to 21 Sep 2400Z. Bands (MHz):2.3G+ Exchange: Call signs, signal rpt, acknowledgment. Rules

Colorado QSO Party--Phone,CW,Digital, from 20 Sep 1000Z to 21 Sep 0400Z. Bands (MHz):1.8-28, 50+ Exchange: Call sign, name, and county or S/P/C. Logs due: 20 Oct. Rules

South Carolina QSO Party--Phone,CW,Digital, from 20 Sep 1300Z to 21 Sep 2100Z. Bands (MHz):3.5-28, 50+ CW-1.805 and 50 kHz from band edge,Phone-1.845, 3.86, 7.26, 14.27, 21.37, 28.37, 50.125, 144.2, 146.58, 223.5, 446. Exchange: RS(T) and county or S/P/C. Logs due: 22 Oct. Rules

Washington State Salmon Run--Phone,CW,Digital, from 20 Sep 1600Z to 21 Sep 2400Z. Bands (MHz):3.5-28 CW-1.85, 3.55, 7.045, 14.05, 21.05, 28.05, 50.095; Phone-1.85, 3.925, 7.26, 14.28, 21.38, 28.380, 50.13 . Exchange: RS(T) and county or S/P/C. Logs due: 31 Oct. Rules

SE DX Club 50th Anniversary--Phone,CW,Digital, from 20 Sep 1800Z to 21 Sep 0200Z. Bands (MHz):1.8-28, 50 Exchange: RS(T), name, serial (non-member). Logs due: 1 Oct. Rules http://www.sedxc.org/50thcontest

QCWA Fall QSO Party--Phone,CW,Digital, from 20 Sep 1800Z to 21 Sep 1800Z. Bands (MHz):1.8-28, 50+ CW-1.81, 3.54, 7.035, 14,04, 21.05, 28.05 SSB - 1.845, 3.810, 7.244, 14.262, 21.365, 28.325. Exchange: Call sign, year lic'd, name, chptr or S/P/C. Logs due: 30 days. Rules

Classic Exchange--Phone, from 21 Sep 1300Z to 22 Sep 0700Z. Bands (MHz):1.8-28, 50, 144 Exchange: Name, RS, S/P/C, type of equipment. Logs due: 90 days. Rules

Fall VHF Sprint--Phone,CW,Digital, from 30 Sep 7 PM to 30 Sep 11 PM. Bands (MHz):222 Exchange: Grid square. Logs due: 4 weeks. Rules

Texas QSO Party--Phone,CW,Digital, from 27 Sep 1400Z to 28 Sep 2000Z. Bands (MHz):1.8-2850,144 CW - 20-60 kHz above band edge; Phone - 25 kHz above edge of Gen'l segment; 50.200, 144.200. Exchange: RS(T), county or S/P/C. Logs due: 31 Oct. Rules

LOG DUE DATES

17 September through 30 September 2008

September 17 - Russian District Award Contest, email logs to: rx3rc@rdaward.org, paper logs and diskettes to: Roman A. Novikov, PO Box 21, 392000 Tambov, Russia. Rules

September 18 - Keyman's Club of Japan Contest, email logs to: kcjlog@kcj−cw.com, paper logs and diskettes to: M. Namba, 1420-55 Kibara, Sammu-city, Chiba 289-1212, Japan. Rules

September 18 - RSGB 80m Club Sprint, SSB, email logs to: cwsprint.logs@rsgbhfcc.org, upload log at: http://www.vhfcc.org/cgi-bin/hfcover.pl, paper logs and diskettes to: (none). Rules

September 20 - North American Sprint, SSB, email logs to: (see rules, web upload preferred), upload log at: http://www.ncjweb.com/sprintlogsubmit.php, paper logs and diskettes to: Jim Stevens, K4MA, 6609 Vardon Ct., Fuquay-Varina, NC 27526, USA. Rules

September 21 - SKCC Weekend Sprintathon, post log summary at: http://www.skccgroup.com/sprint/wes/sf.html, paper logs and diskettes to: (none). Rules

September 22 - RSGB SSB Field Day, email logs to: ssbfd.logs@rsgbhfcc.org, paper logs and diskettes to: RSGB G3UFY, 77 Bensham Manor Road, Thornton Heath, Surrey CR7 7AF, England. Rules

September 22 - Ohio QSO Party, email logs to: logs@oqp.us, paper logs and diskettes to: Ohio QSO Party, c/o Jim Stahl, K8MR, 30499 Jackson Rd., Chagrin Falls, OH 44022-1730, USA. Rules

September 23 - Hawaii QSO Party, email logs to: kh6j@karc.us, paper logs and diskettes to: Hawaii QSO Party, PO Box 8960788, Wahiawa, HI 96786-0788, USA. Rules

September 30 - AGCW Straight Key Party, email logs to: htp@agcw.de, paper logs and diskettes to: Friedrich W. Fabri, DF1OY, Moselstrasse 17b, D-63322 Roedermark-Urberach, Germany. Rules

September 30 - ALARA Contest, email logs to: alaracontest@wia.org.au, paper logs and diskettes to: Mrs. Marilyn Syme, VK3DMS, 99 Magnolia Avenue, Mildura, VIC 3500, Australia. Rules

September 30 - YO DX HF Contest, email logs to: yodx_contest@hamradio.ro, paper logs and diskettes to: YO DX HF Contest, PO Box 22-50, Bucharest RO-014870, Romania. Rules

September 30 - IARU Region 1 Field Day, SSB, email logs to: (see your national society rules), paper logs and diskettes to: Your national society. See your national society Web site for rules and log submission information.

September 30 - MMMonVHF/DUBUS 144 MHz Meteorscatter Sprint Contest, email logs to: mssprint@mmmonvhf.de, paper logs and diskettes to: (none). Rules

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

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

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