July 21, 2010Editor: Ward Silver, NØAX
IN THIS ISSUE
NEW HF OPERATORS - THINGS TO DO
The call of islands is strong to DXers and contesters - you'll find the Islands On The Air contest to be a whole lot of fun as you imagine "endless waves at the end of your day"!
There are no bulletins in this issue.
A golden issue last time!
Complete information for all contests follows the Conversation section
July 31-Aug 1
In a hotly-contested photo finish, the final WRTC-2010 results were announced on July 12th after intense log-checking and scrutiny of the recorded operations. With a margin of victory only 0.325%, the closest WRTC finish ever, the gold-medal winners were RW1AC and RA1AIP, using the call sign R32F, teammates from the big RU1A multi-operator station near St Petersburg. This was the first winning team from outside North America! In second with the silver were Estonians ES5TV and ES2RR, operating as R33A. Bringing home bronze to the West Coast of the United States were N6MJ and KL9A whom you worked as R33M.
Along with the medalists, other prizes were also awarded. The top SSB score also went to Team Estonia and the top CW score was compiled by Canadians VE3DX and VE3XB. (At least 35% of the score had to be on the alternate mode to qualify.) ES5TV and ES2RR also turned in the highest total of multipliers (countries and zones) with 389. You can see all of the WRTC scores, including log-checking results, radios used, and the teams' logging software online. How loud were all those R3 stations? By using the Reverse Beacon Network, Martin LU5DX has published a signal strength analysis of the WRTC teams. I'd say the "level playing field" has been acheived.
There were also prizes awarded for the IARU contest participants who worked the WRTC teams and sent a log to the WRTC-2010 committee in support of the competition's log checking. In the Single Operator category, US plaques were awarded to the high CW (AA1V), SSB (NN1N), and Mixed Mode (K3WW) scorers and from Canada, VE3OM (CW), VE3KZ (SSB), and VE3FU (Mixed-Mode). In Multi-Operator, the US winners were CW (K5KG), SSB (N4VV), and Mixed Mode (KM3T). A complete table of winners is online for your enjoyment.
Where does WRTC go next? We thought you'd never ask! The WRTC Sanctioning Committee reports that it has received two letters of intent to sponsor WRTC - one from New England, the other from Bulgaria. Regardless of where it's held, the WRTC-2010 committee has set the standard to the highest point ever!
Now, back to Earth and regular contesting!
Joining the ranks of the State QSO Parties is Connecticut! Contest Manager, Bob W1IG writes to announce the first-ever CT QSO Party on September 18th. With this being the inaugural edition, you might be able to fill in some of those blank "Records" tables!
State QSO parties are also excellent opportunities to fill in your grid map for awards like the ARRL's VUCC and the CQ DX Grid Field. To that end, the 15 July edition of the Amateur Radio Newsline informs us of the freeware program WorkedGrids - a Windows application that displays a map showing grid squares contacted and logged in near real-time while using a third-party logging program. The app was developed by VE2ZAZ, and uses colors to display information on a per-band basis.
Microham announced the new DigiKeyer II at the recent Freiderichschafen hamfest. It replaces the current DigiKeyer and adds the K1EL WinKey keyer, an auxiliary CI-V output and PTT input (for amp control with VOX operation), and soundcard support for the micro2R two radio interface. (Thanks, Joe W4TV)
If you need to read a Web page that is not in your native language, Google's Translate service is a handy tool. Paste URL into the translate window, check to be sure the from and to languages are correct, then click "Translate".
Michigan region hams might be interested in the upcoming Maker Faire Detroit from July 31 - August 1, 2010, at The Henry Ford, Dearborn, Mich. Tickets are available online and the Maker Faires have been growing in popularity with all the different hands-on displays and demonstrations. The Ford Amateur Radio League K8UTT, will be showing off ham radio - the Web site features a complete list of the exhibitors. Take a hands-on kid or just go and have fun yourself!
Hans van de Groenendaal ZS6AKV describes the important mission of the upcoming South Africa AMSAT CubeSat. It will measure the HF noise levels over South Africa and report these measurements back to a ground station for analysis and action to reduce these unwanted signals. The information from the tiny satellite will identify the areas where the HF frequency polluters are situated and will help in reducing or eliminating the source. The CubeSat will also pack in a linear transponder and an APRS beacon. (From AMSAT Bulletin ANS-192)
NCDXF Vice President, Glenn WØGJ reports that, "A newly designed Northern California DX Foundation Web site is now on line! We hope this new interactive website will tell our story, provide resources for DXers, and enable everyone to follow past and future DXpeditions that NCDXF has sponsored." Check out the NCDXF world-wide beacon system while you're there!
Lance W7GJ wants us all to know about his favorite voice keyer, the new VoiceKey Deluxe program. Lance has used VoiceKey for a number of years for transmitting SSB during VHF+ contests and band openings. He reports that it is especially useful for VHF, since you can use the automatic sequencing and timing options for meteor scatter or even during just normal Es searches on 6 meters.
Web Site of the Week - Dennis K1YPP is the author of "Three Hundred Zeroes" - the story of his trip along the Appalachian Trail accompanied by his QRP rig. The book was a finalist in the 2010 Next Generation Indie Book Contest. You may have seen Dennis' photo on the trail in Chapter 1 of the 2010 ARRL Handbook.
WORD TO THE WISE
R - No, not the CW abbreviation for "Received", but "radix point". It's the Morse code equivalent of the decimal point in a number. The period (didahdidahdidah) is also used, of course, but in the middle of a numeric value, R might crop up. This is quite common in electronic component values, too. Be aware and be prepared!
K5ZD and W2SC put the recordings of their WRTC-2010 R34P audio online if you want to hear what it was like to be a referee. Their complete log is also available as a libretto. Randy says, "Don't listen to the first 5 minutes of the contest. We sounded like lids." Yes, but extremely capable lids!
A whole collection of photos is available from Bob N6TV:
Wednesday - Arrival, Tour of Atlas Park Hotel Grounds, Demo Station, Arriving Guests
Thursday - Meeting folks at the Atlas Park Hotel
Friday - Breakfast, Opening Ceremony, Team Meeting
Saturday - Early morning bus ride to the fields, arrival at Site 303
Monday #1 - Tour of Red Square, Moscow River. Lunch in Moscow.
Monday #2 - Awards banquet, closing ceremony.
And for those of us that stayed home, why rotate your antennas? Just mount them on the house and rotate that! From the YCCC reflector comes this thought-provoking video. I can hear the wheels turning!
WPX Contest Manager, Randy K5ZD reports that the raw claimed scores for the 2010 WPX CW Contest are now available online. There are 3,520 logs represented. This includes all but 10-15 paper logs that are still in the hand-entry process. Scores can be sorted by continent and category, along with a search function so you can quickly locate a particular score.
Radio-sport.net relays news of several "red and yellow cards" being handed out by the CQ WW committee for infractions during the 2009 CQ WW SSB contest. This policy was announced last year and these are the first stations to feel its sting.
The K8GP Grid Pirates have really gone all-out to write up their 2010 ARRL June VHF QSO Party efforts. You can read and see it all online with lots of photos and a detailed blow-by-blow of the contest. (Thanks, Grid Pirates)
The Oceania DX Contest Committee is pleased to announce that the results of the 2009 OCDX Contest have been published. Brian ZL1AZE reports, "a fantastic turnout for the 2009 event. A total of 999 logs were processed which sets a new record for participation in the contest. This is a big step up from the previous record of 783 logs in 2008. Participation from some of the rarer Oceania entities was up and a new all-time Single-Operator score was posted by VK6AA operated by Bernd VK2IA."
Final results for the 2010 Ontario QSO Party are available, according to Don VE3XD. Scores are listed by Ontario county, US state, and by country. Plaque and certificate winners are listed on a separate page. Certificate winners may download their certificate from this page.
Mel KJ9C reports that scores for the 2010 Indiana QSO Party have been posted. The plaque supplier has already shipped plaques for the 14 categories and those for Indiana stations will be awarded at an upcoming meeting of Hooser DX and Contest Club. The contest had a record number of entries and all 92 counties were well represented
Results for the 2010 Wisconsin QSO Party are now available on the contest's Web site. (Thanks, Lynn K9KR and Tom K9BTQ)
Tom AB5XZ describes how his contest club, the South Texas DX and Contest Club, uses the ARRL Contest Corral monthly contest listings. This helps members learn about interesting contests, discuss questions about the rules and appropriate operating strategies. As Tom says, "It gives me an agenda for the next month's operating and reminds me of the great opportunities and the good memories."
Phil AD5X has published articles on both a 40-10 meter travel vertical, and a 40-10 meter travel dipole in the set of antenna pages in the "Articles" section of his Web site. Both are easy to build, and very compact.
So you record the contest into one massive MP3 file - how do you break it into manageable pieces? Dave KM3T recommends the MP3SPLT tool. It doesn't need to decode the file, saving time and memory.
Here's an neat Web page with a design for 50 MHz power dividers for Yagi stacks that uses custom transmission lines made from tubing to create the necessary impedances.
For really long runs of feed line for which hardline is not available, consider using open-wire line with impedance transformers at each end. For example, 9:1 transformers make it easy to use low-loss 450-ohm line connected to 50-ohm sources and loads. For getting the line from here to there, consider using the inexpensive insulating electric fence posts sold by Tractor Supply Company or other farm stores. (Thanks, Jim VE7RF, Rick N6RK, and Mike K1MK)
The W6NL 40 Meter Moxon antenna design is getting some good ratings from Tim K3LR. The design, "is pretty simple (no matching components) and it is a 50-ohm feed. The VSWR never gets over 1.4:1 from 7 to 7.3 MHz." Tim's 40 meter scores speak well for this antenna - he uses a stack of two of them along with a full-sized 4-element OWA design.
Pete N4ZR reported a sudden increase in noise levels from a source radiating at multiples of 48 kHz. This was recognized as a common sound-card sampling rate by Jim K9YC and, sure enough, something in the card had changed to cause the RFI. Changing the sound card solved the problem. This may be a clue if you are trying to find a noise source that peaks at regular frequency intervals across the bands.
"It seems that studying bicycle design may tell us something about antenna design," says Rick N6RK. This Web site is about comparing materials used to build bicycles and other human-powered vehicles (HPV).
Technical Web Site of the Week - Those of you with a Simpson 260-series analog VOM on your workbenches (and you know who you are) will appreciate the Design News "Gadget Freak" clock developed by Alan Parekh in the June 2010 issue. Did you know time could be measured in meters? Two more ticks are touted by Tree in the form of bar code and Morse code!
Smells Like Ham Spirit
From thousands of miles away, the bouquet of Ham Spirit at WRTC-2010 was piquant and refreshing. With myriad tasks to be completed, the hosts "made it look easy", according to more than one attendee. Volunteers streamed in from all corners of Russia, one from as far away as Siberia's Bratsk, near Lake Baikul. There was no job too small or too big for them and they put in long hours to make sure everything went according to plan.
Organizers of the many events here in North America, I'm sure, are tipping their caps towards Moscow in recognition of a job well done. From staffing a kitchen exam session to putting on a major convention or contest with thousands of participants, the value of volunteer efforts is incalculable. Amateur Radio depends on volunteers around the world to keep the wheels turning - on the air and on the ground.
With the event complete, I'm sure the WRTC-2010 committee is relieved to be re-acquainting themselves with friends and family neglected for the past few weeks. I know from personal experience the acceleration of days, hours, and minutes as the extravaganza looms large then flies past in a blur. The next time you attend a hamfest or a convention, take a moment to drink deeply of the Ham Spirit freely offered. The repayment? Your recognition and thanks. That's Ham Spirit.
21 July through 3 August
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.
IOTA Contest--Phone,CW, from Jul 24, 1200Z to Jul 25, 1200Z. Bands (MHz): 3.5-28. Exchange: RS(T), serial, IOTA number if island. Logs due: 3 weeks. Rules
Flight of the Bumblebees--CW, from Jul 25, 1700Z to Jul 25, 2100Z. Bands (MHz): 7-28. Exchange: RST, S/P/C, Bumblebee nr or power. Logs due: 8 days. Rules
European HF Championship--Phone,CW, from Aug 1, 1200Z to Aug 1, 2359Z. Bands (MHz): 1.8-28. Exchange: RS(T), last two digits of 1st year licensed. Logs due: Aug 31. Rules
South Africa DX Contest--Phone, from Aug 1, 1300Z to Aug 1, 1630Z. Bands (MHz): 3.5-14. Exchange: RS and serial. Logs due: 15 days. Rules
ARS Spartan Sprint--CW, from Aug 2, 0200Z to Aug 2, 0400Z. Bands (MHz): 3.5-28. Frequencies (MHz): Monthly on the first Monday evening. Exchange: RST, S/P/C, and power. Logs due: 2 days. Rules
LOG DUE DATES
21 July through 3 August
July 27 - ARCI Milliwatt Field Day, E-, paper logs and diskettes to: email@example.com, paper logs and diskettes to: Milliwatt Field Day, c/o Jeff Hetherington, VA3JFF, 139 Elizabeth St. W., Welland, Ontario L3C 4M3, Canada. Rules
July 30 - Manchester Mineira All America CW Contest, E-, paper logs and diskettes to: firstname.lastname@example.org, paper logs and diskettes to: CWJF Contest Committee, P.O. Box 410, Juiz de Fora - MG 36001-970, Brazil. Rules
July 31 - North American QSO Party, RTTY, E-, paper logs and diskettes to: (see rules, web upload preferred), upload log at: http://www.ncjweb.com/naqplogsubmit.php, paper logs and diskettes to: Shelby Summerville, K4WW, 6506 Lantana Ct., Louisville, KY 40229-1544, USA. Rules
July 31 - SEANET Contest, E-, paper logs and diskettes to: email@example.com, paper logs and diskettes to: SEANET CONTEST 2010, C/O BA4EG MR. ZHENG FENG, 618-11-602 HUAN LIN XI LU, SHANGHAI 200123, CHINA. Rules
July 31 - RAC Canada Day Contest, E-, paper logs and diskettes to: firstname.lastname@example.org, paper logs and diskettes to: Radio Amateurs of Canada, 720 Belfast Road, Suite 217, Ottawa, Ontario K1G 0Z5, Canada. Rules
August 1 - Feld Hell Sprint, E-, paper logs and diskettes to: (none), post log at: http://sites.google.com/site/feldhellclub/Home/contests, paper logs and diskettes to: (none). Rules
August 1 - WLOTA Contest, E-, paper logs and diskettes to: email@example.com, paper logs and diskettes to: WLH Award, 18 Allee Roch-Bihen, 44510 Le Pouliguen, France. Rules http://www.wlota.com/rulec.htm
August 3 - PODXS 070 Club 40m Firecracker Sprint, E-, paper logs and diskettes to: firstname.lastname@example.org, paper logs and diskettes to: Eric Dallmann, K9VIC, 15707 S. River Rd., Plainfield, IL 60544, USA. Rules
August 3 - 10-10 Int. Spirit of 76 QSO Party, E-, paper logs and diskettes to: email@example.com, paper logs and diskettes to: Paul Hemby, WN4AMO, 40601 Thomas Boat Landing Rd., Umatilla, FL 32784, USA. Rules