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Contest Update Issues

The ARRL Contest Update
January 20, 2010
Editor: Ward Silver, NØAX


If you are in the process of improving your CW and don't feel quite ready to tackle a major contest, give the North American QRP CW Club's monthly straight-key sprint a try? Once a month, you can give your fist a workout and improve your Morse methods - it's a great way to get "up to speed." Watch for other monthly contests in Contest Corral, as well.


While it doesn't seem like there is much traffic coming out of Haiti on the ham bands, that could change at any time due to the needs of relief teams or from unforeseeable circumstances. Remember to keep the active emcomm frequencies (3977, 3985, 7265, 7290, 14265, and 14300 kHz) clear during contests. Even if YOU don't hear anything, that doesn't mean that there isn't some local communications there that would hear your signals. If you do have a high-performance station and some emcomm experience, you may be able to help as a relay or net control station, as N3HBX was able to do on the Salvation Army Emergency Net last week. After all, this is why we have contests in the first place - to build operating skill and station capabilities.


  • A couple of our sharp-eyed readers pointed out that lead is also absent from plumbing solder because it was banned to prevent it slowly leaching out into the drinking water. (Thanks, Steve K7AWB and Jake K9WN)
  • Rich K1HTV corrects the call of the W3LPL operator identified as W3RZ to WR3Z .


Complete information for all contests follows the Conversation section

January 23-24

  • ARRL January VHF Sweepstakes
  • Linc Cundall Memorial CW Contest
  • Locust QSO Party--CW
  • NAQCC Monthly Straight Key Sprint
  • YLISSB QSO Party--Phone
  • BARTG RTTY Sprint

January 30-31

  • CQ WW 160 Meter Contest--CW
  • REF French Contest--CW
  • UBA Contest--Phone
  • Winter Field Day
  • WAB Top Band Phone Contest
  • WSJT Sprint
  • Classic Exchange--CW

The GACW - CW Group of Argentina has announced the 2009 GACW LU and DX Contesters Of the Year Certificates of Excellence. From Argentina, Sergio Landoni LU7YS is recognized for his long contribution to the amateur radio contester's community. From the DX contesters, Fabian Kurz DJ1YFK is recognized for his amateur radio community contribution and contester skills. Well done, Sergio and Fabian! (Thanks Hector LU6UO, Guillermo LW1EXU, and Gabriel LU5FZ)

News comes from BY4AA about a big Chinese hamfest held for the first time in 2009. The Shanghai Radio Administration Bureau (SRAB), SRSA, Chinese Wireless Association - MTTI Of P.R.CHINA and Shanghai Tarsus Hope Exhibition Co., Ltd., are sponsoring the China (Shanghai) International HAM Radio Expo & Festival on April 3-5, 2010 at INDEXEN Shanghai." There is plenty of information for visitors and exhibitors on the Web site. Perhaps CHINA HAM will become another stop on the Grand Tour of Dayton, Frederichschafen, and Tokyo!

When he's not writing doggerel for the Contest Update, Jeff VE3FRX, does a bit of work aloft. Here he is disguised as VE6GJ working on the Big Aluminum at VE6AO. (Photo courtesy VE3FRX)

Bill W5WVO has posted news of the 2010 WSJTGroup Sprint series, to be held on the last Saturday morning of the month, beginning on January 30th. Subsequent sprints will be held on February 27th, March 27th, and April 24th. Results are due in Bill's Inbox by the following Saturday! There is more discussion on the WSJT Yahoogroup reflector.

A late change in the Locust QSO Party is also afoot - the contest will start at 0200Z on Jan 21 (6 PM PST Wednesday evening, Jan 20) instead of the 0100Z (5 PM PST) reported originally. (Thanks, Eric K6VVA)

The North Coast Contesters are proud to announce that tickets are on sale for the 18th Annual Dayton Contest Dinner in the downtown Dayton Crowne Plaza hotel on Saturday night, May 15, 2010 at 6:30 PM. MC'ed by John K1AR, 2010 CQ Contest Hall of Fame Inductions will be announced and there will be a keynote speaker to be announced later.

Many of us have the voluminous Web site bookmarked for its encyclopedic lists of links to everything ham radio. Since Rod's passing two years ago, the call sign reassignment clock has been ticking, but fear not! Recently, Rod's son Jeff - previously licensed as a Technician - realized the gravity of the situation and hit the books for a licensing blitz. Jeff is now the Amateur Extra class licensee AC6V! Nice to see the call stay "in the family" and good work, Jeff! (Thanks, Dennis N6KI)

Bob KØRC reports that he has moved his Contest Visualizer utilities to a new Web host. Using previous URLs navigates to the disorganized remnants of the previous site.

Maybe the sprint sponsors are on to something? The British Journal of Sports Medicine reports that too much sitting - "prolonged bouts of immobility" -- can be as bad for you as too little exercise. Perhaps we'd better swap out the shack chair for a rowing machine!

After a long decline in favor of GPS and other radionavigation systems, LORAN-C finally goes dark in the US. Although LORAN was once a dominant and primary presence on 160 meters, a story on the Inside GNSS Web site quotes the US Coast Guard as planning for decommission of the stations beginning February 8 and transmissions ceasing entirely by October 1, 2010. This apparently also closes the effort to create a backup "eLORAN" system. (Thanks, George K5TR)

In the previous issue's Creative Compendium, Barry W6YE posed a paddle-pounding puzzle to ponder - "The name of what food has the most consecutive dits in Continental Morse code?" The answer is found in the dairy case - CHEESE! (eleven straight dits) And if someone asks you which foods you like best and you're in a hurry, a good answer would be CHEESIEST with a sweet stream of sixteen in a row!

Web Site of the Week - Here we are in 2010, the year of the next WRTC, to be held in Russia this time. It would be great to learn a bit of Russian, whether you're attending in person or not, and Eric K9GY gets the ball rolling with this set of introductory Russian words and phrases.


Full Calls - Every so often, it's important to remind folks, particularly beginning contesters, to give your full call in pileups. I know, with everybody else giving out those four-character short calls, a king-sized six-character call seems slow, but that's fifty-percent more characters for the station you're calling to have a chance at recognizing and your suffix just might be the one heard after the faster calls are done. Giving a full call is more effective for everyone in the pileup.


Guy, N7UN enjoyed this two-part set of YouTube videos (Part 1 and Part 2) by the Marconi Radio Club (W1AA) of the 100th anniversary of the first wireless message sent between the USA and Europe from Cape Cod Massachusetts. There is a lot of historical footage, still photos, and audio to support the "Ken Burns-like" video production! Marconi's daughter, Electra, even used a microphone to make contact with the International Space Station! Guy also sent a link to some great still photos of Marconi Beach in the Cape Cod National Seashore park.

Here's another of the North American WRTC-2010 teams - Canada Team #1. Left to right are Yuri VE3XB, Alex VE3NEA (inventor of the CW Skimmer and other great software), and Yuri VE3DZ. (Photo courtesy VE3DZ)

Did you notice the VHF/UHF Yagi array on page 48 of the August 2009 issue of National Geographic? A reader noticed the array and wrote a letter to the editor, published in the December 2009 issue. Can anyone identify the owner of that station?

If you like a challenge, the Where In the Universe site will definitely keep your memory banks busy. Every day brings another astronomical photo - some well-known and some obscure - for you to identify. Great fun!

In March 1941, nine months before Pearl Harbor, hams in the US were thinking about war-time operations. This Popular Mechanics article about amateur radio begins with a practice exercise as follows - ""Simulate destruction of your main transmitter. Rig up your emergency equipment and report back on the air as soon as you can!" Now that's a Field Day! (Thanks, Tim W7TRH)


While the ARRL Web site conversion is underway (see Conversation section), some of the online contest results will find temporary homes in other quarters. Watch ARRL Contest Manager Sean KX9X's blog for announcements when writeups for the September VHF QSO Party, 10 GHz and Up, and IARU HF Championship are online. The accelerated Sweepstakes score publication will likely be handled in the same way.

The results for the 2009 Canada Day Contest have been published on the Radio Amateurs of Canada Web site. Plaques and certificates will be going out in the next 30 days. Plaques will be mailed as in previous years and the certificates will be emailed out as PDF files suitable for printing. (Thanks, Bart VE5CPU, RAC Canada Day Contest Manager)

The rules for the CQ WPX Contest are now available in 12 languages! Translation has been performed for the following languages: French by F6BEE, Spanish by EA4KD, German by DK9VZ, Russian by UA2FM, Japanese by JK3GAD, Bulgarian by LZ2CJ, Czech by OK1DSZ, Dutch by PA3AAV, Greek by SV1DPI, Portuguese by PY2WS, and Finnish by OH6LI. CQ WPX Contest Director Randy, K5ZD thanks all of these volunteers and is looking for someone to translate the rules into Chinese, as well. Regarding the WPX SSB contest - the results should be hitting your mailboxes shortly -- log checking reports are available for all submitted logs. Email Randy ( with the call sign you used during the contest to receive a copy.

The salmon have been cleaned and smoked - results for the 2009 Washington Salmon Run QSO Party have been posted on the WWDXC Web site. A record 269 logs were received, 91 from Washington State stations and a whopping 178 from out of state. (Thanks, WWDXC Salmon Run Committee)

The QRP ARCI contest results Web site on has been updated with the final results for all the closed 2009 contests, the claimed scores for the 2009 Holiday Spirits Homebrew Contest and the claimed scores for the 2010 Pet Rock Celebration. Contest results dating back to the Spring QSO Party in 2005 are now available, as well! (Thanks, QRP ARCI Contest Manager, Jeff VA3JFF)


No nutation is good nutation! Nutation - loosely meaning an involuntary rocking, swaying, or nodding, is a bad thing if it's you doing the nutating while trying to stay awake during a late-night contest adventure. If your nutation detector starts firing, it's time to change something in the shack - stand up, change the temperature, try another chair, or even...go take a nap!


What's at the center of a Bird wattmeter element? Read the detailed "Photo Tour of a Bird Wattmeter Element" by Robert WA1MIK and find out! The accompanying text shows how the author repaired a "dead bird" and performed a hamshack calibration on the revivified element. (Thanks, Pete N6ZE)

The WRTC-2010 technical team has updated and added rules regarding Station Setup (paragraph 16) and Radio Operating Rules (paragraph 17). In addition, a compilation of questions and answers discussed on the WRTC-2010 email reflector has been published on the "Rules FAQ" page. Having been associated with the WRTC events since the beginning, it is always fascinating to watch the definition of the events evolve along with the technology that top operators now employ. (Thanks, Dmitri RW3FO)

Here's another photo of W3LPL's antenna farm - this time without all the avian loading. The view is to the west from Frank's Maryland QTH. (Photo by K1HTV)

Codrut , YO3DMU has released a new version of his amazingly flexible PstRotator program. It works with a wide variety of rotators, tracks the Moon, and supports multi-user remote operation over the Internet. The user interface offers quite a selection of methods for pointing and display, as well.

While you have lots of options to choose from, Paul AA9GG recommends the Teko enclosures for building projects. He reports success using the TEKAL 3 boxes, in particular.

What IS that noise, anyway? Well, now that he is retired from being ARRL President, Joel W5ZN relaxes by listening to these recordings of various common noise sources! Seriously, perhaps one of these MP3 files will clue you in to the QRN bedeviling your operation. Knowing the nature of the noise source is an important clue in isolating and fixing the problem.

Mobile noise can be a real problem, so it's nice to have some manufacturer support. DX Engineering provided a link to Ford's EMC guidelines on mobile radios. Some of the material is specific to Ford vehicles, but most of the directives apply just as well to any car or truck. (Thanks, Dave WA3GIN)

Having caught up on my reading, I have a few recommended articles from November 2009 magazines:

Nuts and Volts included "Computer to Computer Link Using Laser Pointers", by Ed Ringell who may also be AA1WZ. The project uses the popular Arduino microcontroller, some inexpensive electronics, and a 5 mW red laser pointer to build a 4800-baud data link that could easily be adapted to laser QSOs for VHF+ contests and other experimentation.

Circuit Cellar featured "Low-Distortion FSK Generation", by Dennis Seguine and based on Bell 202 modulation and a Cypress PSoC microcontroller. Why bother? Lower distortion FSK is easier to demodulate at lower signal-to-noise ratios and lowers the BER (bit error rate). The article explains how waveform construction works and minimizes harmonic distortion through the proper selection of digital waveforms. This technique could be useful for any FSK mode developer along with Dennis' September 2006 article, "Simplified FSK Signal Detection".

High Frequency Electronics included "Transmission Line and Lumped Element Quadrature Couplers", by Gary Breed K9AY. Quadrature couplers combine and divide power with 90-degree phase differences in both transmitting and receiving applications. This tutorial lays out the basic properties and design information.

Technical Web Site of the Week - ARRL Propagation Bulletin Editor, Tad K7RA recommends Carl K9LA's personal Web site for propagation resources. "He writes the excellent monthly propagation column for WorldRadio Online, with a new issue on the twentieth of each month.". Tad notes on the site also has links to back issues starting with February 2009.


The New ARRL Web Site - Almost Here!

Over the past year or so, you've heard bits and pieces about the "new ARRL Web site" that is being assembled. Now that it's almost here, I'm sure you're wondering what to expect! First, I think it's reasonable to ask, "What's wrong with the current site?" The simplest response is that like a once-small library whose collection is larger than its shelf space, we've simply outgrown the structure of the current site.

Watch for this logo - here comes the new ARRL Web site!

The ARRL site in its current form is very, very large - more than 40,000 individual pages of information. I'm sure you've noticed that navigating around those many pages can be difficult when you leave familiar territory. Trying to maintain that many pages is time-consuming, as well, to the point of overload for the ARRL's team of Webmeisters. Recognizing that problem, the ARRL initiated a project two years ago to develop a new architecture for the Web site. That process re-organized the material, made it easier to navigate and maintain, and gives the ARRL staff more direct abilities to generate and publish material. It's been re-done from the ground up!

When the new site "goes live", what you'll find is an attractive graphic layout that lets you quickly zoom in on your interests. The new organization is based on feedback from users of the current site and staff alike so that it more accurately represents the way you want to see and access to ARRL material.

Is the new site just a repackaged version of the old site? Not at all - nearly every page has been reworked and updated. Outdated and obsolete material has been eliminated. As the introduction approaches, the number of individual pages has been cut approximately in half. You should be able to get what you want easier and faster.

After you get used to the new site, you'll really begin to appreciate its capabilities over time. There will be more material coming directly from the authors and staff with less delay for manual formatting. The "machinery" making the Web site operate will enable more material to be presented "live" and not just as unchanging or "static" text.

How about contest information? Located in the "On The Air" section of the site, it will be easier for you to find information about ARRL contests, records, rules, calendars, and results. We're just beginning to take advantage of the new "machinery" and will be developing "one-button" contest packages to streamline how you retrieve information. The same can be said for every other part of the site - licensing, technology, awards.

While the new site is activated, the ARRL Webmeister team is busy making sure all the links link and the controls control what they are supposed to. That means updates to the current site won't be as frequent as they usually are, including contest results and other updates. The normal publication schedules will resume after the new site has taken flight.

So don't miss out on the big changes coming to ARRL on the Web very soon. Keep an eye on ARRL Web stories, your bulletins, and your newsletters for news, guidelines, and instructions to make your transition to the new site an easy one.

73, Ward NØAX


20 January to 2 February

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.


Linc Cundall Memorial CW Contest--CW, from Jan 20, 2300Z to Jan 21, 2300Z and Jan 23, 2300Z to Jan 24, 2300Z. Bands (MHz): 1.8-7. Exchange: See Web site. Logs due: 30 days. Rules

Locust QSO Party--CW, from Jan 21, 0100Z to Jan 21, 0200Z. Bands (MHz): 3.5-7. Frequencies: 3.553, 7.053. Exchange: Name, state or province or 'DX'. Logs due: Jan 31. Rules

NAQCC Monthly Straight Key Sprint--CW, from Jan 21, 0130Z to Jan 21, 0330Z. Bands (MHz): 3.5-14. Frequencies: Monthly on 2nd or 3rd Wednesday. Exchange: RST, S/P/C, and NAQCC mbr nr or power. Logs due: 4 days. Rules

YLISSB QSO Party--Phone, from Jan 23, 0000Z to Jan 24, 2359Z. Bands (MHz): 1.8-28. Exchange: Call sign, RS(T), ISSB number. Logs due: Mar 19. Rules

BARTG RTTY Sprint--Digital, from Jan 23, 1200Z to Jan 24, 1200Z. Bands (MHz): 3.5-28. Exchange: Serial. Logs due: Mar 1. Rules

CQ WW 160 Meter Contest--CW, from Jan 29, 2200Z to Jan 31, 2200Z. Bands (MHz): 1.8. Exchange: RST and S/P/C. Logs due: Feb 28. Rules

REF French Contest--CW, from Jan 30, 0600Z to Jan 31, 1800Z. Bands (MHz): 3.5-28. Exchange: RST and serial or department ID. Logs due: 30 days. Rules

UBA Contest--Phone, from Jan 30, 1300Z to Jan 31, 1300Z. Bands (MHz): 3.5-28. Exchange: RS and serial. Logs due: 30 days. Rules

Winter Field Day--Phone, CW, Digital, from Jan 30, 1700Z to Jan 31, 1700Z. Bands (MHz): 1.8-28, 50+. Exchange: Call sign, RS(T), category, local temp. Logs due: Feb 28. Rules

WAB Top Band Phone Contest--Phone, from Jan 30, 1900Z to Jan 30, 2300Z. Bands (MHz): 1.8. Exchange: See Web site. Logs due: 21 days. Rules

Classic Exchange--CW, from Jan 31, 1400Z to Feb 1, 0800Z. Bands (MHz): 1.8-28, 50, 144, Frequencies: CW 1.810, 3.545, 7.045, 14.045, 21.135, 28.050, 50.100, 144.100 . Exchange: RST, QTH, model of rcvr and xmtr. Logs due: 30 days. Rules


ARRL January VHF Sweepstakes--Phone, CW, from Jan 23, 1900Z to Jan 25, 0400Z. Bands (MHz): 50+. Exchange: Grid square. Logs due: Feb 25. Rules

WSJT Sprint--Digital, from Jan 30, see Web to Jan 30, see Web. Bands (MHz): 50,144. Exchange: NA report or NA grid. Logs due: Next Sat. Rules

Winter Field Day--Phone, CW, Digital, from Jan 30, 1700Z to Jan 31, 1700Z. Bands (MHz): 1.8-28, 50+. Exchange: Call sign, RS(T), category, local temp. Logs due: Feb 28. Rules

Classic Exchange--CW, from Jan 31, 1400Z to Feb 1, 0800Z. Bands (MHz): 1.8-28, 50, 144, Frequencies: CW 1.810, 3.545, 7.045, 14.045, 21.135, 28.050, 50.100, 144.100 . Exchange: RST, QTH, model of rcvr and xmtr. Logs due: 30 days. Rules


20 January to 2 February

January 20, 2010 ARCI Holiday Spirits Homebrew Sprint, email logs to:, paper logs and diskettes to: ARCI Holiday Spirits, c/o Jeff Hetherington, VA3JFF, 139 Elizabeth St. W., Welland, Ontario L3C 4M3, Canada. Rules

January 20, 2010 RSGB 80m Club Championship, SSB, email logs to:, upload log at:, paper logs and diskettes to: (none). Rules

January 22, 2010 AGB New Year Snowball Contest, email logs to:, paper logs and diskettes to: Igor "Harry" Getmann, EU1EU, P.O.Box 143, Minsk 220005, BELARUS. Rules

January 23, 2010 North American QSO Party, CW, email logs to: (see rules, web upload preferred), upload log at:, paper logs and diskettes to: Bruce Horn, WA7BNM, 4225 Farmdale Avenue, Studio City, CA 91604, USA. Rules

January 24, 2010 Run for the Bacon QRP Contest, email logs to: (none), upload log at:, paper logs and diskettes to: (none). Rules

January 25, 2010 DARC 10-Meter Contest, email logs to:, paper logs and diskettes to: (none). Rules

January 26, 2010 RAEM Contest, email logs to:, paper logs and diskettes to: Alex Pashkov, P.O.Box 177, Novosibirsk 630032, Russia. Rules

January 26, 2010 LZ Open Contest, email logs to:, paper logs and diskettes to: (none). Rules

January 27, 2010 PODXS 070 Club QRP DX Scramble, email logs to:, paper logs and diskettes to: Jay Budzowski, N3DQU, 070 Club QRP DX Scramble, 109 S. Northview Ave., New Castle, PA 16102-1633, USA. Rules

January 28, 2010 South Dakota QSO Party, email logs to:, paper logs and diskettes to: SD QSO Party Entry, 10559 West Hwy 14, Spearfish, SD 57783, USA. Rules

January 30, 2010 North American QSO Party, SSB, email logs to: (see rules, web upload preferred), upload log at:, paper logs and diskettes to: Bruce Horn, WA7BNM, 4225 Farmdale Avenue, Studio City, CA 91604, USA. Rules

January 31, 2010 Stew Perry Topband Challenge, email logs to:, paper logs and diskettes to: BARC, 15125 SE Bartell Rd, Boring, OR 97009, USA. Rules

January 31, 2010 Lighthouse Christmas Lights QSO Party, email logs to: (none), paper logs and diskettes to: Dave Ruch, NF0J, P.O. Box 20696, Bloomington, MN 55420-0696, USA. Rules

January 31, 2010 RAC Winter Contest, email logs to:, paper logs and diskettes to: Radio Amateurs of Canada, 720 Belfast Road, Suite 217, Ottawa, Ontario K1G 0Z5, Canada. Rules

January 31, 2010 Original QRP Contest, email logs to:, paper logs and diskettes to: Lutz Gutheil, DL1RNN, Bergstrasse 17, 38446 Wolfsburg, Germany. Rules

January 31, 2010 AGCW Happy New Year Contest, email logs to:, paper logs and diskettes to: Daniel Schirmer, DL5SE, Am Teich 15, 25917 Stadum, Germany. Rules

January 31, 2010 NRAU-Baltic Contest, CW, email logs to:, paper logs and diskettes to: NRAU-Baltic Contest, Jan-Eric Rehn, Finstavagen 26, 7 tr., SE-863 31 Sundsbruk, Sweden. Rules

January 31, 2010 NRAU-Baltic Contest, SSB, email logs to:, paper logs and diskettes to: NRAU-Baltic Contest, Jan-Eric Rehn, Finstavagen 26, 7 tr., SE-863 31 Sundsbruk, Sweden. Rules

January 31, 2010 SARTG New Year RTTY Contest, email logs to:, paper logs and diskettes to: SARTG Contest Manager, Ewe Hakansson, SM7BHM, Pilspetsvagen 4, SE-291 66 KRISTIANSTAD, SWEDEN. Rules

February 1, 2010 International Naval Contest, email logs to:, paper logs and diskettes to: NRA - Nucleo Radioamadores da Armada, Attn: Contest Manager of NRA, International Naval Contest, ETNA - Base Naval de Lisboa - ALFEIT, 2810-001 Almada, Portugal. Rules

February 1, 2010 Feld Hell Sprint, email logs to: (none), Post log summary at:, paper logs and diskettes to: (none). Rules

February 2, 2010 Kid's Day Contest, email logs to: (none), paper logs and diskettes to: (see rules). Rules

February 2, 2010 ARRL RTTY Roundup, email logs to:, paper logs and diskettes to: RTTY Roundup, ARRL, 225 Main St., Newington, CT 06111, USA. Rules


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




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