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The ARRL Contest Update
March 31, 2010
Editor: Ward Silver, NØAX


Why not take your newly acquired HF contest skills up to two meters and try the VHF Spring Sprint on the evening of April 12th? This would be a good opportunity to put that all-band multi-mode rig to work on the "weak signal" frequencies.


Caveo aprilis primoris!


Coffee-ologist Alan N9AZR wrote to point out that French Roast coffee is actually LESS caffeinated than regular because of the extra roasting time. For all of you trying to stay awake on the dreaded "second night", that is definitely good information to have!


Complete information for all contests follows the Conversation section

Apr 3-4

  • Lighthouse Spring Lites QSO Party (Apr 1 to Apr 11)
  • LZ Open 40 Meter Contest--CW
  • QRP ARCI Spring QSO Party--CW
  • SP DX Contest
  • EA RTTY Contest
  • Missouri QSO Party
  • Low Power Spring Sprint--CW

Apr 10-11

  • Montana QSO Party (Apr 9 to Apr 11)
  • EU Spring Sprints--CW
  • Japan International DX Contest --CW
  • PSK31 Flavors Contest
  • QCWA Spring QSO Party
  • Georgia QSO Party
  • Yuri Gagarin DX Contest--CW
  • International Vintage Contest
  • VHF Spring Sprints - 144 MHz (Apr 12)

Welcome to the ARRL 10 Meter Contest, amigos and amigas! Effective with the 2010 event, the multiplier list has been expanded to include all of the Mexican states, replacing the single multiplier for the DXCC entity of XE. The island of Revillagigedo (XF4) will remain a multiplier based on its status as a separate DXCC entity. This is a net increase of 31 multipliers. A list of names and abbreviations for each state is posted on the ARRL Contest Branch log. This change does NOT apply to any other ARRL contest, only the 10 Meter Contest. One can only wonder if there will be QRP entries from the state of Quintana Roo (QRO)?

As expected, there are changes as the first running of the ARRL Rookie Roundup approaches. As of the end of March, no major logging programs yet support real-time QSO submission. (They will eventually, but not for this first event.) Therefore, we are simplifying how information will be submitted to the Web server. The first method is to submit a scoring summary (score, QSOs, multipliers) using the existing getscores Universal Score Uploader. The second way is to submit individual QSOs using the new online Web browser logging interface (the URL for this interface will be announced shortly). To use the Web-browser interface, your call sign will be registered using the common technique of an emailed password that allows you to log on to the interface. The interface is used like a regular logging program while you are operating. Alternately, you can log on paper (a logging form will be provided) and enter your QSOs intermittently or after the contest using that same Web page. More complete information will be posted on the Rookie Roundup Blog and on the getscores Rookie Roundup FAQ in the next few days.

Technical papers are being solicited for presentation at the 29th Annual ARRL and TAPR Digital Communications Conference to be held September 24-26, 2010 in Vancouver, Washington (across the Columbia River from Portland, Oregon). These papers will also be published in the Conference Proceedings (you do NOT need to attend the conference to have your paper included in the Proceedings). The submission deadline is July 31, 2010. Please send papers to: Maty Weinberg, ARRL, 225 Main St, Newington, CT 06111 or to Papers will be published exactly as submitted and authors will retain all rights. (Thanks, Steve Ford WB8IMY)

Mighty-Mites, take heart! The QRP ARCI has created a brand new Multioperator category for QRP ARCI contests. This is effectively immediately and includes the upcoming Spring QSO Party, QRP-dom's biggest contest of the year. There is also a Team category for up to five members with the caveat that the team's members must be registered before the event. (Thanks, QRP ARCI Contest Manager, Jeff VA3JFF)

QBS Enterprises announced the release of this handy USB to LSB adapter. For those of you operating on the low bands, this is a great way to update your shack!

Steve XE1UFO-6H1UFO-KA5SUT-and-now-4B1UFO writes noting, "We just received notice from the Mexican Federation that we are allowed to use the 4B prefix during 2010, in commemoration of Mexico's 200-year anniversary of independence from Spain, and 100-year anniversary of the Mexican revolution!" You no doubt encountered some 4B prefixes during last week's WPX SSB contest. Continue to expect a swarm of 4B's throughout the year and make sure your CTY files are up to date!

Responding to the needs of the burgeoning digital community, beginning with the April 1st edition in 2015, the Contest Update will be distributed as raw HTML code using a reverse-shifted Feld-Hell AFSK mode.

Did you know that there are power restrictions on operation in the 70 cm band based on your location? This might be important for VHF+ contesters, especially rovers. The rule is stated in Part 97.313(f) and cites this footnote of CFR 2.106 - The restriction applies in areas such as those near military bases that use 420-450 MHz communications. (Thanks, Joel WU8Y)

WFWL could change from "Work 'Em First, Worry Later" to "Work 'Em First, Cause They'll Be Wet Later"! In the case of this Slashdot item about Moore Island in the Sunderban group in the Bay of Bengal, rising sea levels have effectively ended an ownership dispute between India and Bangladesh. IOTA Contest fans may have to revise their directories if this keeps up!

Web Site of the Week - This very useful reference about that famous ham radio critter, the QSL Burro, was passed along by Jack WAØRJY. That Jack, he's certainly a card!


Tubing and Pipe Size - sooner or later, antenna builders will be tripped up by diameter measurements. Pipe is measured by ID (inside diameter), tubing by OD (outside diameter). There will be considerable variation in the outside diameter of a piece of pipe, depending on wall thickness. If you plan on doing a lot of antenna building, check out K7LXC's "Up The Tower" - there is a whole chapter on this topic.


What would happen if you bounced Beethoven's "Moonlight Sonata" off said orb? Katie Patterson decided to find out by translating the sonata from the keys of the piano keys to those of Morse, sending the resulting dots dashing in a lunarly direction, receiving the reflected re-Morse, and combobulating it back into pianissimo pieces and fortissimo fragments. (Thanks, Doug K1DG)

John Troster W6ISQ is the author of many memorable and humorous QST articles that inspired your editor to put pen to paper, such as his initial and timeless piece "Plan Ahead" from Nov 1960, available to ARRL members through ARRL's QST on-line archives. (Photo by N6TV)

Part of the new solar cycle, a large solar prominence was photographed on Mar 16 by Alan Friedman. It's featured in the online Astronomy Picture Of the Day for Mar 23rd.

Back in the days of paper tape and teleprinters, the alphanumeric art form reached its zenith, as shown in this 1968 animation from Russia. It certainly took some effort - hundreds of separate images - and I'll bet the bag of punch chads was mighty full when this was done. (Thanks to Slashdot for the link)

As long as we're on the subject of paper tape, the other famous data-related application for that media is the Turing Machine. Somebody finally built one as originally envisioned by Turing. It's almost as much fun to watch as a teleprinter in action! I love the eraser, don't you?

Continuing with cosmic conundra, would a lava lamp work on Jupiter? See what happens when you try it! There is a fine line between curiousity and insanity. (Thanks, Alan AD6E)


ARRL Contest Branch Manager, Sean KX9X reports that electronic log submission continues to soar with more than 3000 logs received so far for the ARRL International DX SSB Contest - excellent! (The CQ WPX SSB Logs Received page shows more than 2100 logs received less than 48 hours after the event.) The ARRL DX CW contest page shows 3923 electronic logs in the hopper. Gee, do you think this electronic log thing is catching on? Sean also reports that Sweepstakes participation pins and much-anticipated Clean Sweep mugs will be shipped beginning Monday, April 5th.

The results for the 2010 March NA RTTY Sprint are now posted. The full article and results will be in the May-June issue of NCJ. Request your LCR (Log Check Report) from (Thanks, NA RTTY Sprint Manager, Ed WØYK)

The 2009 MM All America Contest results are published in English on the CWJF Web site. There were 314 South American and 808 North American participants. (Thanks, Luc PT7AG)

A bit of an extended discussion about the Alabama FM Simplex Contest results is contributed by Les N1LF. Run as a "contest within a contest", the event is intended to attract new VHF+ contesters. "This was the third such FM-Sprint event that we incorporated within the larger ARRL VHF Contests. Participation this year included 31 logs submitted, and over 100 unique call signs who participated across the state...Our event runs for four hours during the late afternoon on take advantage of a normally slow period of a contest when local contacts have been made, and evening enhancement hasn't quite started. Our hope is that weak signal operators would switch to FM during this time, and log some new QSO's and hand out some long range contacts to get newcomers excited. That part of the plan seems to be working...We have five basic categories; Fixed stations, Portable, Mobile, HT, and EMCOMM Group. We encourage our ARES Emergency Coordinators to involve their members, and also award certificates to EC's who turn in the highest score per county. Runner-ups get wallpaper too to further encourage folks to give it a try...Many stations reported working four or more grids on 2 Meter FM, with our longest QSO being over 300 miles...Promoting FM contesting likely isn't the answer to growing our ranks, but it does help over time. This is only our third event, and each one has produced at least one casual weak-signal operator and now a new "hard-core" VHF Man." Perhaps your contest club could set up a similar event encouraging participation by ARES and other emcomm groups?

There's no need to seek the grail because K1DG has it! And will have it forevermore - see the Poisson d'Avril rules at left.

In another groundbreaking, some might say sod-busting or even clod-flinging, advance the Poisson d'Avril contest has set a new record for promptness by publishing the results BEFORE the contest is even run, compressing the traditional, hidebound, fuddy-duddy sequence of "announce-operate-check-publish" to just "publish". The rules, such as they are and as if they mattered, are published in several popular tongues (eww) and the usual suspects are properly disqualified. Congratulations to the winner...some Doug guy.


Two new forms of cut numbers have come to the attention of your editor. Perhaps you'll encounter them on the air! The first is an old friend - Roman numerals. Using this handy format, 599 becomes VIXIX and should become particularly popular in RTTY contests since it avoids the FIGS/LTRS shift entirely. In ARRL DX contests, sending power levels as C (100) or M (1000) watts could save time in Morse. The second method is another adaptation - tally marks! A dit would represent a tally and the slash mark a group of five, so one would be sent as a single dit, two sent as two dits, until five is sent as dah-di-di-dah-dit. The date April 1st would be sent as IV/I or di-di-di-di-dah-di-di-dah-di-dit. Simple, no?


In the category of "We Can Dream, Can't We?" comes this Science Daily story on using special "metamaterials" to cause antennas to act as if they were electrically larger than their physical size. Can that rooftop 6-over-6-over-6 stack be far away? (Thanks, Doug N6RT)

How fast does your rig generate RF after you close the mike PTT switch or tap the key? Larry WØQE measured several radios and lists the results along with a detailed description of the control signals. Note the wide variation in radios, including a couple that release the transmitting indication signal before the RF output is finished. Jim VE7RF and Roy K6XK also contributed to this list:

  • Elecraft K3 - 8ms
  • ICOM IC-706 - 15ms
  • ICOM IC-7000 - 10ms
  • Kenwood TS-480/2000 - 10ms
  • TenTec Orion/OmniVII - 15ms
  • Yaesu FT-1000MP MKV - 5ms
  • Yaesu FT-2000 - 15ms
  • Orion - 15 ms

Jim K9YC has published another excellent tutorial, this time on Coaxial Cable and Stubs. This tutorial is in FAQ format and would be particularly good for contesters that are beginning to optimize or expand their stations. This is the first draft of the tutorial and will likely expand over time.

Gee, does this story about technology changing a sport sound familiar? A recent issue of Computerworld describes how top F1 racing teams run their IT systems. Each car transmits data from approximately 100 sensors back to the pit crew - up to 20 Gbytes per race! It takes about week to set up the full system.

The 40673 dual-gate MOSFET was a common part in preamps and mixers built designed in the 1970's and 1980's. It's no longer manufactured, but if you are trying to replace it during a repair, the NTE222 is a direct replacement. Another substitute is the 3N201. (Thanks, Steve AIØW and Leon G1HSM)

In Wyoming they know how to properly arrange ham radio reading material for a traveling ham visitor - y'all come back now!

Can there be an Earth ground on Mars? Just thinking...

To speed your search for a suitable ac line filter, here is a page reference from the Mouser Electronics on-line catalog summarizing common parts from Qualtek. Mouser also carries Corcom filters and other well-known brands of EMI control items, such as Murata-Erie and TDK. (Thanks, Peter N5UWY)

More on filters, this time band-pass receiving filters. David K1NQ has designed a six-band switchable filter package. This would be quite useful in a multi-op station or at Field Day. A receiving filter can't remove in-band noise generated by a nearby transmitter, but it can greatly reduce out-of-band signal strength and prevent overload.

We all know the various "Scents Of Approaching Doom" for our various electronic gadgets...Eau de Eauverleauded Transformer, Bouqet of Baked Resistor, and so forth. Apparently, having a nose for troubleshooting is useful in the Web server business, too, as this PC Pro story illustrates.

Technical Web Site of the Week - Thanks to Jim K9YC and Paul W9AC, here's a mother-lode of information about surge suppression and suppressors from the SurgeX Company. There are papers about how surge suppressors work, voltage charts, and information on power wiring and grounding. Excellent stuff! Jim W6RMK recommends Standler's "Protection of Electronic Circuits from Overvoltages" as an authoritative reference, as well.


Please humor Dr Beldar. He only gets out now and then - around the first of April is when he's usually heard from.

73, Ward NØAX

Poachin' Eyes
Plucked by Dr Beldar from "Lyin' Eyes" by the Eagles

Some operators seem to find out early
How to find a spot and start a pile
An amp and beam and he won't have to worry
He's soon accustomed to the Top Ten style

Late at night the frequency gets lonely
Every form of winning has its price
Missing contacts drives him nuts, if only
He could pad his score it would be nice

So he tells himself he'll log on for the evening
He'll only watch the flux go up or down
But he knows where he's goin' as he's reading
He's headed for the poachin' side of town

You can't hide your poachin' eyes
Single op's a thin disguise
Thought by now you'd realize
There ain't no way to hide your poachin' eyes

Over broadband Internet the cluster's waiting
With juicy mults for anyone to steal
He loads the latest spots anticipating
'Cause it makes him feel the way he needs to feel

He browses down and works the stations listed
He whispers that it's only for awhile
He swears he'll start submitting as Assisted
But he calls each one and logs them with a smile


He zero beats and bags another strong one
Bouncing off the layers in the sky
The morning run is gonna be a long one
A call pops up and he clicks to QSY

He wonders how it ever got this crazy
He thinks about his club years back at school
Did he get smart or did he just get lazy?
He's too far gone to care about the rules

My, oh my, you sure know how to arrange things
You hid your tracks so well, so carefully
Ain't it funny how the fake call didn't change things
You connected from your local ISP

You can't hide your poachin' eyes
Single op's a thin disguise
Thought by now you'd realize
There ain't no way to hide your poachin' eyes
There ain't no way to hide your poachin' eyes
Cheater, you can't hide your poachin' eyes


31 March through 13 April 2010

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.


Lighthouse Spring Lites QSO Party--Phone,CW,Digital, from Apr 1, 0001Z to Apr 11, 2359Z. Bands (MHz): 1.8-28. Exchange: ARLHS number or serial, name, S/P/C. Logs due: 12 days. Rules

LZ Open 40 Meter Contest--CW, from Apr 3, 0400Z to Apr 3, 0800Z. Bands (MHz): 3.5, 7. Exchange: 6-digit serial and serial from previous QSO. Logs due: 30 days. Rules

QRP ARCI Spring QSO Party--CW, from Apr 3, 1200Z to Apr 4, 2400Z . Bands (MHz): 1.8-28. Frequencies: QRP calling frequencies. Exchange: RST, S/P/C, power or QRP ARCI number. Logs due: 30 days. Rules

SP DX Contest--Phone,CW, from Apr 3, 1500Z to Apr 4, 1500Z . Bands (MHz): 1.8-28. Exchange: RS(T), serial or SP province. Logs due: Apr 30. Rules

EA RTTY Contest--Digital, from Apr 3, 1600Z to Apr 4, 1600Z . Bands (MHz): 3.5-28. Exchange: RST, serial or EA province. Logs due: Apr 24. Rules

MO QSO Party--Phone,CW, from Apr 3, 1800Z to Apr 4, 0500Z and Apr 5, 1800Z to Apr 5, 2359Z. Bands (MHz): 1.8-28. Frequencies (MHz): CW 1.820 and 40 kHz from band edge; Phone--1.880, 3.825, 7.220, 14.250, 21.380, 28.350. Exchange: RS(T), serial, MO county or S/P/C. Logs due: May 4. Rules

Low Power Spring Sprint--CW, from Apr 5, 1400Z to Apr 5, 2000Z . Bands (MHz): 1.8-28. Exchange: RST, grid square, category. Logs due: 30 days. Rules

Montana QSO Party--Phone,CW,Digital, from Apr 9, 0000Z to Apr 11, 0000Z. Bands (MHz): 1.8-28, 50-432, Frequencies (MHz): 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: RS(T), S/P/C or MT county. Logs due: May 31. Rules

EU Spring Sprints--CW, from Apr 10, 1600Z to Apr 10, 1959Z . Bands (MHz): 3.5-14. Frequencies (MHz): 3.550, 7.025, 14.040. Exchange: Both call signs, serial, name. Logs due: 15 days. Rules

Japan International DX Contest --CW, from Apr 10, 0700Z to Apr 11, 1300Z . Bands (MHz): 1.8-28. Exchange: RST, JA prefecture or CQ Zone. Logs due: May 31. Rules

PSK31 Flavors Contest--Digital, from Apr 10, 12 Noon to Apr 10, 6 PM. Bands (MHz): 14. Frequencies (MHz): 14.070-14.080. Exchange: S/P/C and name or 070 number. Logs due: May 10. Rules

QCWA Spring QSO Party--Phone,CW,Digital, from Apr 10, 1800Z to Apr 11, 1800Z . Bands (MHz): 1.8-28, 50+. Exchange: Call,year lic'd,name,QCWA chap or S/P/C. Logs due: 30 days. Rules

GA QSO Party--Phone,CW, from Apr 10, 1800Z to Apr 11, 0359Z and Apr 11, 1400Z to Apr 11, 2359Z . Bands (MHz): 1.8-28, 50, Frequencies (MHz): CW 1.815, 3.545, 7.045, 14.045, 21.045, 28.045, 50.095; Phone 1.865, 3.810, 7.225, 14.250, 21.300, 28.450, 50.135. Exchange: RS(T), S/P/C or GA county. Logs due: May 15. Rules

Yuri Gagarin DX Contest--CW, from Apr 10, 2100Z to Apr 11, 2100Z . Bands (MHz): 1.8-28. Exchange: RST, ITU Zone. Logs due: May 7. Rules

International Vintage Contest--Phone,CW, from Apr 11, 0800Z to Apr 11, 1200Z and Apr 11, 1400Z to Apr 18, 1800Z. Bands (MHz): 7,14. Exchange: RS(T), grid square. Logs due: May 30. Rules

VHF Spring Sprints--Phone,CW,Digital, from Apr 12, 7 PM to Apr 12, 11 PM. Bands (MHz): 144. Exchange: Grid Square (6-character preferred). Logs due: 14 days. Rules


VHF Spring Sprints--Phone,CW,Digital, from Apr 12, 7 PM to Apr 12, 11 PM. Bands (MHz): 144. Exchange: Grid Square (6-character preferred). Logs due: 14 days. Rules

QCWA Spring QSO Party--Phone,CW,Digital, from Apr 10, 1800Z to Apr 11, 1800Z . Bands (MHz): 1.8-28, 50+. Exchange: Call,year lic'd,name,QCWA chap or S/P/C. Logs due: 30 days. Rules

GA QSO Party--Phone,CW, from Apr 10, 1800Z to Apr 11, 0359Z and Apr 11, 1400Z to Apr 11, 2359Z . Bands (MHz): 1.8-28, 50, Frequencies (MHz): CW 1.815, 3.545, 7.045, 14.045, 21.045, 28.045, 50.095; Phone 1.865, 3.810, 7.225, 14.250, 21.300, 28.450, 50.135. Exchange: RS(T), S/P/C or GA county. Logs due: May 15. Rules


31 March through 13 April 2010

March 31 - British Columbia QSO Party, email logs to:, paper logs and diskettes to: Delta Amateur Radio Society, 1108-56 Street, Delta, BC V4L 2A3, Canada. Rules

March 31 - CQ 160-Meter Contest, SSB, email logs to:, paper logs and diskettes to: CQ 160-Meter Contest, 25 Newbridge Road, Hicksville, NY 11801, USA. Rules

March 31 - Mississippi QSO Party, email logs to: (none), paper logs and diskettes to: Vicksburg ARC, 64 Lake Circle Drive, Vicksburg, MS 39180, USA. Rules

March 31 - AGCW YL-CW Party, email logs to:, paper logs and diskettes to: Dr. Roswitha Otto, DL6KCR, St. Nikolaus Str. 26, D-52396 Heimbach, Germany. Rules

March 31 - AGCW QRP Contest, email logs to:, paper logs and diskettes to: Edmund Ramm, DK3UZ, Anderheitsallee 24, Bramfeld, D-22175 Hamburg, Germany. Rules

March 31 - EA PSK31 Contest, email logs to:, paper logs and diskettes to: (none). Rules

March 31 - New Hampshire QSO Party, email logs to:, paper logs and diskettes to: Dave LeDuc, 26 Tanglewood Dr., Newton, NH 03858, USA. Rules

April 1 - Feld Hell Sprint, email logs to: (none), post log summary at:, paper logs and diskettes to: (none). Rules

April 1 - North Carolina QSO Party, email logs to:, paper logs and diskettes to: NC QSO PARTY, c/o Henry Heidtmann W2DZO, 8812 Merry Hill Court, Lewisville, NC 27023, USA. Rules

April 3 - 10-10 Int. Mobile Contest, email logs to:, paper logs and diskettes to: Dan Morris, KZ3T, 131 Valencia Lane, Statesville, NC 28625, USA. Rules

April 4 - UBA Spring Contest, 6m, email logs to:, paper logs and diskettes to: Michel Gerits, ON4CAQ, Mommestraat 69, B-3550 Heusden Zolder, Belgium. Rules

April 5 - SARL VHF/UHF Analogue Contest, email logs to:, paper logs and diskettes to: The Contest Committee, PO Box 11198, Queenswood, 0121 Pretoria, South Africa. Rules

April 5 - ARRL International DX Contest, SSB, email logs to:, paper logs and diskettes to: ARRL Intl DX Contest, Phone, ARRL, 225 Main St., Newington, CT 06111, USA. Rules

April 6 - AGCW VHF/UHF Contest, email logs to:, paper logs and diskettes to: Manfred Busch, DK7ZH, Ebachstr. 13, D-35716 Dietzhoelztal-Mandeln, Germany. Rules

April 6 - DARC 10-Meter Digital Contest, email logs to:, paper logs and diskettes to: Werner Ludwig, DF5BX, P.O. Box 1270, 49110 Georgsmarienhuette, Germany. Rules

April 8 - Open Ukraine RTTY Championship, email logs to:, paper logs and diskettes to: George Ignatov (UT1HT), P.O. Box 87, Kremenchug-21 39621, UKRAINE. Rules

April 10 - Elecraft QSO Party, email logs to:, paper logs and diskettes to: (none). Rules

April 12 - SOC Marathon Sprint, email logs to:, paper logs and diskettes to: Bob Patten, N4BP, 2841 N.W. 112 Terrace, Plantation, FL 33323, USA. Rules

April 13 - ARCI HF Grid Square Sprint, email logs to:, paper logs and diskettes to: ARCI Spring QSO Party, c/o Jeff Hetherington, VA3JFF, 139 Elizabeth St. W., Welland, Ontario L3C 4M3, Canada. Rules

April 13 - Idaho QSO Party, email logs to:, paper logs and diskettes to: Edward Campbell, NX7TT, 157 N 3300 E, Rigby, ID 83442, USA. Rules


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




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