ARRL

Contest Update Issues

Preview
The ARRL Contest Update
June 24, 2009
Editor: Ward Silver, NØAX
Ad
IN THIS ISSUE

NEW HF OPERATORS - THINGS TO DO

What else but Field Day? There is no better opportunity to find out about HF operating than this smorgasbord of radio fun. If you don't know where to find a Field Day operation, use the ARRL Field Day locator and join up!

BULLETINS

No bulletins in this issue.

BUSTED QSOS

Those weren't really "medication" roofing filter kits mentioned last time, but they do make one's receiver feel a little better. (Thanks, Jim AD1C) Also, Joe W4TV pointed out that the call sign suffixes of Australian Foundation-class licensees begin with 'F', such as "FABC" or "FZZZ".

CONTEST SUMMARY

Complete information for all contests follows the Conversation section

June 27-28

  • His Majesty King of Spain--Phone
  • ARRL Field Day
  • QRP ARCI Milliwatt Field Day

July 4-5

  • Canada Day Contest
  • 070 Club Firecracker PSK31 Sprint--Digital
  • Venezuelan Indep Day Contest
  • DARC 10-Meter Digital "Corona"--Digital
  • DL DX RTTY Contest--Digital
  • MI QRP July 4th Sprint--CW
  • DARC 10-Meter Digital Corona--Digital
NEWS, PRESS RELEASES, AND GENERAL INTEREST

National Contest Journal News - by Al Dewey KØAD, NCJ Editor - Plenty of contest results will highlight the Jul/Aug issue of NCJ: Results for the January 2009 CW and SSB NAQP, the February 2009 CW and SSB Sprints, and the February RTTY NAQP are all included. Speaking of NAQP, WA7BNM has posted some very helpful hints for eliminating problems in your NAQP log. If you've always wanted a better signal on 80, check out "A 3-Wire Reversible Wire Yagi for 80 Meters" by K6AM also in this issue. Rounding things out are an informative article on "Selecting an HF Radio for Serious Contesting" by KØMD as well as an interesting piece by N4ZR on what has happened with CW Skimmer during its first year.

Watch for these past and future WRTC competitors (left to right) KL9A, KU0DM, and K0DXC shown here soaking up the Contest Suites experience at the Dayton Hamvention. (Photo - K8CX)

WRTC-2010 Committee member, Harry RA3AUU writes about an upcoming Russian championship that will be very similar to the 2010 edition of WRTC. "The Russian Radiosport Team Championship (RRTC) is an annual head-to-head Field Day style competition organized by the Russian Amateur Radio Union (Soyuz Radiolyubitelei Rossii - SRR), originating in the USSR in 1980. On July 18, 2009 with rules very similar to WRTC-2010, twenty teams from many different Russian regions will participate in RRTC. Two-op teams with R33AA-R33FZ call signs will be competing in the fields near the city of Domodedovo which is about 30-50 km to the South of Moscow. The same flat rural area fields will be used for WRTC-2010 competition." This is a great opportunity to get a feel for summer propagation from UA3 from "the other side."

At the Dayton Hamvention RSGB booth, I picked up a neat book for anyone considering becoming a contest-peditioner; World Licensing & Operating Directory by Steve Telenuis-Lowe 9M6DXX. Released in 2008, it begins with a discussion of DXpeditioning and follows up with extensive licensing information from more than 200 locations and a rental station directory, too.

No matter whether you're a contest-peditioner or not, you'll definitely enjoy the latest from Roger Western G3SXW, DX Delights - Tales of Travels with my Radio. If you've ever enjoyed a conversation with Roger, you learn to treasure his many anecdotes. This book is pure anecdotes - and tremendously enjoyable, spanning the Pacific to Afghanistan, Gough Island to Svalbard, with emphasis on Africa. You can get the book directly from Roger. His earlier titles published by Idiom Press, are excellent reads, as well.

More and more countries are opening the 7.100-7.200 MHz spectrum to hams. The latest is South Africa, which is also permitting access to 14.225-14.350 MHz. Congratulations to SARL for a successful conclusion to lengthy negotiations their member's behalf.

You speed demons can copy "5NN" at 50 wpm, but how about something a little less predictable? The W1AW Qualifying Runs are a great way to find out and you can pick up a nice Code Proficiency Certificate, too. The July events are about one month away - put a bit of code copying on the calendar by checking the latest schedule.

The solar cycle is at a frenzy! I am referring, of course, to news reports about sunspots. There is apparently an inverse relationship between the number of news items and the sunspots themselves. The big news this week is the "surfacing jet-stream" report from NASA. CQ Propagation Editor, Tomas NW7US asks the entirely reasonable question, since so many predictions were wrong, why pay so much attention to new ones? And the sun may be making the question moot - Spaceweather reports two new Cycle 24 spots today! (Thanks, Doug N6RT and others)

If you're patient, maybe you could use this micropower-harvesting mobile phone to save up enough charge to make an alternative-powered Field Day QSO and pick up those bonus points! (Thanks, Brent W5WW and Hector XE2K)

If you happen to notice that on packet someone has posted a notice of a new sunspot, would that be a spot spot spot?

If you're trying to figure out where to point that 23-element, 70 cm Yagi, maybe the program Distance and Bearing by N9YH would help. This program calculates distance, 6-digit Maidenhead Grid Square, and bearing (both directions) based on US city and state, Zip Code, latitude and longitude, and grid square. No Internet connection required!

With all the chatter about the new CQ World-Wide Xtreme category, here's an alternate perspective on it!

Here's a QSL, showing the Archduke at work operating his "secret radio station" in the 1938 ARRL DX Contest. (Thanks, Danny K7SS)

Web Site of the Week - If you think you're a focused contester, how about the Archduke of Austria, OE3AH? As the Third Reich absorbed Austria, Archduke Anton was busy pounding brass as seen in the photo at right and racking up a big score in the ARRL DX Contest! This unusual turn of events was further discussed by Clinton DeSoto in his 1941 book Calling CQ. (Thanks, Danny K7SS)

WORD TO THE WISE

BIC - an abbreviation for the most potent contest winning technique ever discovered; Butt In Chair. With plenty of BIC, all things are possible. Without it, you're toast. Key to a big BIC billet is staying alert addressed by "How To Sleep Your Way To the Top" - gotta love the title of this article about sleep management, a topic near and dear to the hearts of contesters. (Thanks, Randy K5ZD)

Ad
SIGHTS AND SOUNDS

Is your antenna so big you can see it from space? The 16 June Earth Observatory email brought a photo of the Very Large Array in New Mexico, a radio telescope composed of large dishes that can be moved along railroad tracks to form different configurations.

Here is a video from Jukka OH6LI hunting the wily power-line noise source! Jukka is behind the camera and OH2RA holds the DF equipment. Jukka also notes, "Most of the bad electrical line insulators emit ultrasound when emitting QRN for HF." Very true, making the ultrasonic receiver mentioned in the previous issue and in the June QST a possible tool for tracking down sources of line noise.

Wow! Look at all those great old cards at the International Foundation QSL Collection! You could spend hours clicking your way through the QSL cards - many from Deleted countries. Very cool!

RESULTS AND RECORDS

The expanded online writeup of the ARRL VHF Sweepstakes by Jan K5MA is now online. Over 700 logs have been received for the June VHF QSO Party, already! (Thanks, ARRL Contest Branch Manager, Sean Kutzko KX9X)

Here's the W5ZN June VHF QSO Party team (left-to-right) ARRL President and station host W5ZN, ARRL Membership and Volunteer Program Manager NN1N, and ARRL Contest Branch Manager KX9X. It must be post-contest, since they're a little blurry! (Photo - W5ZN)

Setting another high mark for quick results turnaround, results from the 2009 7th District QSO Party are now posted. The 386 logs submitted were an increase of 17.5% over last year. 203 of our 259 counties were apparently activated and 137 confirmed by submitted logs. Check out N7SCL's video of K7EAR's not-so-typical county expedition! (Thanks, Bill K2DI)

OPERATING TIP

Use a free audio-to-disc program such as Audacity to record contest audio to a PC. Convert it to MP3 format and you can play it back on a music player for practice and observation on your way to work. Hint, we all sound like incompetents when listening to our own contest audio, so don't be discouraged by it!

Ad
TECHNICAL TOPICS AND INFORMATION

The Flexradio booth didn't slow down for a minute - a big crowd showed interest in SDR even on Sunday of the Hamvention. (Photo - N0AX)

Software-defined radio (SDR) is growing by leaps and bounds in amateur radio with big implications for top-of-the-line contesting equipment. As an example of the interest level, the Flexradio booth at the Dayton Hamvention was busy from start to finish. The High-Performance SDR Web site takes a group-development, open-source approach to SDR development. Both the Flexradio Support resources and the HPSDR group are full of helpful resources to learn about and follow the development of SDR.

OK - you won that online auction or you've found a great deal in the classified listing. But that material is a long way off - how do you get it if it's too big or heavy for one of the usual shipping services? Blake KD4RME recommends FreightQuote - a company that finds the best shipping rate from competing alternatives. So maybe you can snap up that big roll of surplus hardline after all!

The Contesting Compendium Wiki is growing by leaps and bounds. First, there's a brand-new Table of Contents to help you find your way. Technical material is also making an appearance. Here's a report from the Federal Government on materials used in electrical and electronic equipment. (Thanks, Pete N4ZR)

Electronics-intensive activities like ham radio can generate a lot of dead batteries. Even rechargeables wear out, so how to dispose of them properly? You can find nearby battery drop-off sites at this national battery recycling directory - just enter your Zip Code!

Students in Electrical Engineering at Virginia Tech begin their careers with a "Lab In A Box" - a collection of useful pieces and parts to jumpstart the tinkering urge. The kit includes a digital multimeter, a powered circuit trainer and breadboard, wire, connectors, receivers, various tools, and a software oscilloscope program. This would make a good package for any budding electronic-er! (Thanks, Tom N4WBS)

I can think of several instances in which this technique would have come in handy - how to retrieve something from a drain without a wrench - from the Family Hack Web site. The time the screwdriver fell in the conduit, or maybe the screw that got sucked into the amplifier blower fan housing, or the tuning tool in the waveguide...don't ask me how I know these things. The June 22nd tip on using a flashlight to find things (like small hardware) that have fallen on the floor is also quite apropos! (Thanks, Ken KØPP)

Who says nobody builds anything any more? Here's Jim K9DAG holding his 432 MHz inter-digital homebrew filter. Even the enclosure is homebrew! (Photo - N0AX)

Technical Web Site of the Week - From the June 11 Instructables Weekender email comes this neat introduction to the LTSPICE simulator software package, available at no cost from Linear Technology. There's no better time to try circuit simulation!

CONVERSATION

Keeping The Door Open

We are all interested in recruiting new contesters, particularly on VHF+, and what better way to make a "lifer" out of a tentative new ham than the fun of radiosport? Many new hams have taken the emcomm path to ham radio - there are plenty of opportunities for them to join the radiosport fun and further their training at the same time.

John Lindholm W1XX, CQ WW VHF Director, has a suggestion: "In emergency situations, repeaters may be down, necessitating simplex operation. My state of Rhode Island has an effective 2-meter simplex plan in effect for just such a situation. Determining simplex coverage for a local area can be very useful information. And, contest experienced operators make better emergency communicators.

"Encouraging 2-meter FM simplex contesting is the goal of the Ocean State 2-Meter FM Simplex Challenge - a chance to learn the basics of contest operating in a low pressure friendly manner. It runs concurrent with the CQWW VHF Contest, July 18 - 19, with "focus hours" to concentrate activity. This was initially reported by N1HRA in February CQ with the 2008 contest results. Details of the 2009 Challenge can be found on www.wa1rr.org. It is not an original idea. Milwaukee and the Twin Cities have run similar events. KC9BQA has a wonderful Web site in which he promotes this concept.

"It's not too late for your club to sponsor such a recruitment event, concurrent with the CQWW VHF contest or some other time. Please feel free to borrow any ideas from the Ocean State contest. You'll not only help make more QSOs for everyone, you'll have the satisfaction of having Elmered someone to be a more proficient operator."

What types of contests - even mini- and micro-contests - can you think of aimed at emcomm operators who might enjoy something to spice up the usual drill-and-train regimen? Accuracy and repeatability are key elements of good emcomm and good contesting. After all, one of the first contests - ARRL Sweepstakes - has an exchange built on the ARRL Radiogram header. If you do hold such an event, why not put a note on the Contest Compendium about it?

Many cities and regions sponsor Emergency Preparedness fairs or festivals, often attended by thousands of folks interested in helping their communities and themselves. While they may not have a ham radio license (yet), they probably have a pair of FRS handheld radios or would be interested in learning about them. Here's an opportunity for training and for introduction to ham radio by setting up a team or individual competition using the radios to pass simple messages. The same could be done in a training setting by a CERT or Red Cross group. If you were ever a Boy Scout, you may remember the "Camp-O-Rees" in which troops from far and wide met to compete at basic skills, including semaphore. Wouldn't something similar be fun?

The point is that we have a hugely fun and successful activity - radiosport - with attributes that are useful to emcomm training and as a way to present ham radio to the public. These are open doors through which new hams might join our sport and to potential hams that could join our hobby. Good ideas like simplex contests open the doors wide and keep them open - let's hear more!

73, Ward N0AX

Ad
CONTESTS

24 June to 8 July

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

His Majesty King of Spain--Phone, from Jun 27, 1200Z to Jun 28, 1200Z. Bands (MHz): 1.8-28. Exchange: RS, serial or EA province. Logs due: Jul 15. Rules

ARRL Field Day--Phone,CW,Digital, from Jun 27, 1800Z to Jun 28, 2100Z. Bands (MHz): 1.8-28, 50+. Exchange: Category, ARRL/RAC section or DX. Logs due: Jul 26. Rules

QRP ARCI Milliwatt Field Day--Phone,CW,Digital, from Jun 27, 1800Z to Jun 28, 2100Z. Bands (MHz): 1.8-28, 50+. Exchange: Category, ARRL/RAC section or DX. Logs due: Jul 26. Rules

Canada Day Contest--Phone,CW, from Jul 1, 0000Z to Jul 1, 2359Z. Bands (MHz): 1.8-28, 50-144. Exchange: RS(T), Province/Territory or serial. Logs due: Jul 31. Rules

070 Club Firecracker PSK31 Sprint--Digital, from Jul 4, 8 PM to Jul 5, 2 AM. Bands (MHz): 7. Exchange: RST and S/P/C. Logs due: Aug 4. Rules

Venezuelan Indep Day Contest--Phone,CW, from Jul 4, 0000Z to Jul 4, 2400Z. Bands (MHz): 1.8-28. Exchange: RS(T) and serial. Logs due: Aug 31. Rules

DARC 10-Meter Digital "Corona"--Digital, from Jul 4, 1100Z to Jul 4, 1700Z. Bands (MHz): 28. Exchange: RST and serial. Rules

DL DX RTTY Contest--Digital, from Jul 4, 1100Z to Jul 5, 1059Z. Bands (MHz): 3.5-28. Exchange: RST and serial. Logs due: Aug 10. Rules

MI QRP July 4th Sprint--CW, from Jul 4, 2300Z to Jul 5, 0300Z. Bands (MHz): 1.8-28, 50. Exchange: RST, S/P/C, and QRPMI number or power. Rules

DARC 10-Meter Digital Corona--Digital, from Jul 5, 1100Z to Jul 5, 1700Z. Bands (MHz): 28. Exchange: RST, serial. Logs due: 14 days. Rules

VHF+ CONTESTS

ARRL Field Day--Phone,CW,Digital, from Jun 27, 1800Z to Jun 28, 2100Z. Bands (MHz): 1.8-28, 50+. Exchange: Category, ARRL/RAC section or DX. Logs due: Jul 26. Rules

QRP ARCI Milliwatt Field Day--Phone,CW,Digital, from Jun 27, 1800Z to Jun 28, 2100Z. Bands (MHz): 1.8-28, 50+. Exchange: Category, ARRL/RAC section or DX. Logs due: Jul 26. Rules

Canada Day Contest--Phone,CW, from Jul 1, 0000Z to Jul 1, 2359Z. Bands (MHz): 1.8-28, 50-144. Exchange: RS(T), Province/Territory or serial. Logs due: Jul 31. Rules

MI QRP July 4th Sprint--CW, from Jul 4, 2300Z to Jul 5, 0300Z. Bands (MHz): 1.8-28, 50. Exchange: RST, S/P/C, and QRPMI number or power. Rules

LOG DUE DATES

24 June to 8 July

June 25 - RSGB 80m Club Championship, SSB, email logs to: ccssb.logs@rsgbhfcc.org, upload log at: http://www.vhfcc.org/cgi-bin/hfenter.pl, paper logs and diskettes to: (none). Rules

June 25 - MI QRP Memorial Day CW Sprint, email logs to: n8xx@arrl.org, paper logs and diskettes to: Hank Greeb, N8XX, 5727 11 Mile Rd NE, Rockford, MI 49341, USA. Rules

June 28 - Run for the Bacon QRP Contest, email logs to: (none), upload log at: http://www.fpqrp.com/autolog.php, paper logs and diskettes to: (none). Rules

June 29 - Kids Roundup, email logs to: kidsroundup@w3vpr.org, paper logs and diskettes to: Kids Roundup, 7901 Pepperbox Lane, Pasadena, MD 21122-6328, USA. Rules

June 30 - ARCI Hootowl Sprint, email logs to: contest@qrparci.org, paper logs and diskettes to: ARCI Hoot Owl Sprint, c/o Jeff Hetherington, VA3JFF, 139 Elizabeth St. W., Welland, Ontario L3C 4M3, Canada. Rules

June 30 - EUCW Fraternizing CW QSO Party, email logs to: eucwfp@agcw.de, paper logs and diskettes to: Werner Jochem, DK7VW, Wendelsborn 34, D-66606 St.Wendel, Germany. Rules

June 30 - VOLTA WW RTTY Contest, email logs to: log2009@contestvolta.it, paper logs and diskettes to: Francesco Di Michele, I2DMI, P.O. Box 55, 22063 Cantu, Italy. Rules

June 30 - IARU Region 1 Field Day, CW, email logs to: (see your national society rules), paper logs and diskettes to: Your national society. Rules are on your national society web site

July 1 - Feld Hell Sprint, email logs to: (none), post log summary at: http://www.emailmeform.com/fid.php?formid=202397, paper logs and diskettes to: (none). Rules

July 1 - CQ WW WPX Contest, CW, email logs to: cw@cqwpx.com, paper logs and diskettes to: CW WPX Contest, CQ Magazine, 25 Newbridge Rd, Suite 405, Hicksville NY 11801, USA. Rules

July 1 - Baltic Contest, email logs to: lrsf@lrsf.lt, paper logs and diskettes to: Baltic Contest, P.O. Box 210, LT-44003Kaunas, Lithuania. Rules

July 1 - SARL Youth Day Sprint, email logs to: hfcontests@netactive.co.za, paper logs and diskettes to: Bloemfontein Radio Amateur Club, PO Box 12104, Brandhof 9324, South Africa. Rules

July 1 - UKSMG Summer Contest, email logs to: m5ade@uksmg.org, paper logs and diskettes to: Adrian Deane, M5ADE, 5 Osbourne Terrace, London Rd, Thrupp, Stroud, Glos., GL5 2BJ, UK. Rules

July 2 - SBMS 2 GHz and Up WW Club Contest, email logs to: (none), paper logs and diskettes to: William A. Burns, WA6QYR, 247 Rebel Road, Ridgecrest, CA 93555, USA. Rules

July 4 - VK/Trans-Tasman 160m Contest, Phone, 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, P.O. Box 21-363, Christchurch 8143, New Zealand. Rules

July 6 - AGCW VHF/UHF Contest, email logs to: vhf-uhf@agcw.de, paper logs and diskettes to: Manfred Busch, DK7ZH, Ebachstr. 13, D-35716 Dietzhoelztal-Mandeln, Germany. Rules

July 6 - Alabama QSO Party, email logs to: logs@alabamaqsoparty.org, paper logs and diskettes to: Jim Johnson, KC4HW, 6274 South CR 49, Slocomb, Al 36375-5528, USA. Rules

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

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

Ad
Ad
Ad
Ad
Ad
www.arrl.org

 

Join ARRL

Donate Now