ARRL

Contest Update Issues

Preview
The ARRL Contest Update
August 4, 2010
Editor: Ward Silver, NØAX
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IN THIS ISSUE

NEW HF OPERATORS - THINGS TO DO

This weekend's CW version of the North American QSO Party is a great way to beat the heat on a sultry summer Saturday. It's a 12-hour, low power contest in which you can make a lot of progress towards your 5BWAS award, too! On the following weekend, check out the ARRL Rookie Roundup - specially designed for hams licensed in the past three years. New ways to submit your score and on-line resources are described on the contest's Web page.

BULLETINS

Two different dates have been published for the August edition of the ARRL Rookie Roundup. The correct date is August 15th.

BUSTED QSOS

A yellow card for the Contest Update! WRTC-2010 competitor VE3DZ's call was given as VE3DX - I guess my typing fingers have a mind of their own! (Thanks, Hank N8XX)

The upcoming Connecticut QSO Party is not the first one ever - the Candlewood ARA sponsored a Connecticut QSO Party in the past. The new contest is the first one for the new sponsor, but not the first ever. (Thanks, Mark K1RO)

CONTEST SUMMARY

Complete information for all contests follows the Conversation section

Aug 7-8

  • ARRL UHF Contest
  • NS Weekly Sprint--CW (Aug 6)
  • TARA Grid Dip Contest--Digital
  • 10-10 Summer Phone QSO Party
  • North American QSO Party--CW
  • Straight Key Weekend Sprint

Aug 14-15

  • ARRL Rookie Roundup--Phone
  • CWops Mini-CWT Test (Aug 11)
  • Worked All Europe--CW
  • Keymen's Club of Japan Contest--CW
  • Maryland-DC QSO Party
  • Feld-Hell Monthly Sprint
NEWS, PRESS RELEASES, AND GENERAL INTEREST

Summer is travel season and Canada is a popular destination - what about an American operating a ham radio in Canada? Since 1952, a reciprocal operating permission has been in place between our countries and all that is required is to carry a copy of your license, identify properly, and operate by the host country's rules. Append the appropriate suffix to your call - such as NØAX/VE7. For further information on US/Canadian operation, visit the Radio Amateurs of Canada (RAC) Web site. (Thanks, Majdi NØRMZ)

There is no surer sign of a new solar cycle than big 10 meter Yagis going up at contest stations! This 8-element beauty is going up at K3LR - now I know why they call it a "boom!" (Photo by K3LR)

While the 2011 Dayton DX Dinner has been moved to the Dayton Marriott on Patterson Blvd, contest activities during the Dayton Hamvention remain at the Crowne Plaza. This includes the Contest Dinner, Contest University, and Contest Super Suites. There are no plans to change locations for 2011. (Thanks, Tim K3LR)

A new Pennsylvania FM Sprint has been announced by the Holmesburg Amateur Radio Club (HARC). It will run on Saturday, February 26, 2011 from 7 - 11 PM using FM simplex frequencies on 50, 144, 222, and 432 MHz. The first statewide FM contest in the country, Pennsylvania is leading the way in this activity - an excellent way to introduce VHF FM hams to contesting and long-distance communications. (Thanks, Bob WA3PZO)

Have you grown weary of interminable email "threads" (topics) on your favorite email reflectors? If you use the gmail service, open the message on the unwanted thread, press the "m" key , and gmail will "mute" the conversation and not place future messages on the thread in your Inbox. (Thanks, David K2DBK)

Veteran all-night contester, Fred K1VR relays the link to a Havard Magazine article on lost sleep. "This article tells you that you will have a higher rate, with greater accuracy, from 3 PM to 7 PM, and a lower rate, with lower accuracy, from 3 AM to 7 AM. Quelle surprise!" At least you now have an excuse.

Honey, I shrunk the hams! Well, that 40 meter behemoth does put Chris KL9A (L) and Pat N9RV (R) in perspective. Pat's getting ready for contest season - can you tell? (Photo by N9RV)

If the Dutch can reclaim land from the sea, why not this interesting idea for taking what's already in the sea and making land out of it? Slightly far-fetched, but then, the good ideas always are. The hard part is telling which ones aren't too far out there before actually trying them! (Thanks, Brent W5WW)

Web Site of the Week - Don VE6JY made several recordings during the first day of WPX SSB and then again during IARU. Recordings were made with the Perseus SDR and cover 80, 40, and 20 meters at various times. The links point to cq-contest reflector posts Don made describing the files and how to play them back. Take a listen to see how you sound in Edmonton, Alberta! At some point, we'll be able to log on and retrieve spectrum recordings of ANY time and date, not just during contests. Do you like the idea of playing back a great long path opening? How about listening to yourself work DXCC all over again? It's coming and this is just beginning!

WORD TO THE WISE

DQ - in this case, NOT a purveyor of tasty ice-cream treats! DQ means disqualification and that you've been caught intentionally violating the contest rules. As the recent stories on radio-sport.net relate, contest sponsors, armed with more sophisticated detection algorithms, are becoming more aggressive in flagging down and ticketing offenders for a variety of transgressions. If you're new to contesting - take some time to read the contest rules. If you're unclear as to the meaning of a rule, drop a note to the contest sponsor. They will be glad you asked and are always happy to explain their rules - no sponsor is anxious to DQ anyone!

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SIGHTS AND SOUNDS

Another in the outstanding series of Potomac Valley Radio Club Webinars, "A Look at the 2010 WRTC Competition" with North American teams N6MJ/KL9A, K5ZD/W2SC, and N2NT/K3LR is coming up next Sunday, August 8 at 1900Z. The Webinar is free, but registration is required. A second WRTC Webinar is in the works with three teams from outside North America. (Thanks, Ken K4ZW)

This is Bryce (L) and his grandpa, Garland W9AKW at the recent Central States VHF Conference. Bryce is studying for his Tech and I think we can all identify with his T-shirt - Every Great Idea I Have Gets Me In Trouble! (Photo by NØAX)

One of the loudest signals on the bands emanates from the NH QTH of KC1XX. Budding pilot Charlotte KQ1F flew over the station and has posted an album of photos for your enjoyment (and maybe a little envy?). (Thanks, Dave KM3T)

Jeff KU8E posted this great collection of Field Day photos from W4CVY featuring none other than John K4BAI at the controls along with a collection of happy young hams-in-training. (Thanks, Tim K3LR)

CW enthusiasts will enjoy the presentation "Morse Code, Keys, Keyers, Paddles and Things That Go Dit in the Night!" by Antique Wireless Association Curator Emeritus, Ed Gable K2MP. (Thanks Paul K2DB)

RESULTS AND RECORDS

Recent efforts by ARRL Contest Branch Manager, Sean KX9X have retrieved a lot of material from the "World Above 50 MHz" section of the previous ARRL Web site. The upper left-hand menu points to the old content, including V/U/SHF Clubs, WA50 Standings, 6 Meter Firsts, and Distance Records. The Grid Chase material is also on-line now. Standings are not currently being updated, but send updates to standings@arrl.org and eventually, those will be entered. Records will be updated as time permits, too. (Thanks, Gene W3ZZ)

CQ WW CW logs are now on-line for public viewing. They have also been parsed by the CQ WW Analyser - software written by Stan EI6DX/UA1OUT. The log database now contains almost 13 million QSOs from nearly 30,000 SSB and CW logs submitted in 2007, 2008 and 2009. Stan notes that 2009 activity was up 12.5% compared to 2008!

Wouldn't you like to have this 1955 QSL in your collection? (Thanks, Dan K7SS)

A CQ Worldwide RTTY searchable scores database is now on-line, containing the entire 23-year history of the contest. The rapid growth of digital contesting is reflected in a graph on the contest's statistics page. Records in virtually any category imaginable are also posted. Contest Director, Ed WØYK would like to thank Don AA5AU and Randy K5ZD for the creative, hard work that pulled it together.

Here's a different sort of results summary - the Antenna Gain winners from the Central States VHF Conference a couple of weeks ago. These are three of the winners:

144 MHz - WBØTEM - 11-element K1FO Yagi - 12.2 dBd
222 MHz - ABØRX - 15-element homebrew Yagi - 14.4 dBd
432 MHz - WAØARM - Two-stack of 15-element WØEYE Yagis - 16.4 dBd

The highest gain measured that day was 44.9 dBi for a 43 x 40" offset dish by KØMHC. For those of you signing along, that turns 1watt into 10 kW ERP. Stand clear! (Full results of the antenna gain and noise figure competitions will be posted eventually on the CSVHFS home page.)

Julius N2WN relays an idea for state QSO party managers - issue a state-shaped plaque (or certificate or sticker or ???) that is an appropriate scale to fit with all of the other states. Then see who could qualify first for all 50?

OPERATING TIP

CTY Files - most logging software uses the prefix-based cross-reference developed by Jim AD1C to link call signs and location. With so many special calls and prefixes in play these days, keeping your CTY files up to date should be on your pre-contest to-do list.

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TECHNICAL TOPICS AND INFORMATION

Rob K5UJ recommends this Radio World article on lightning protection as a source of good information on thinking about grounding as a means of handling a strike once it happens.

The perfect work glove hasn't yet been made, but we all keep looking. Pete N4KW uses sailing gloves for tower work. The tips of the fingers are cut out, making the glove great for handling hardware. They have extra leather padding in the palm and the entire top of the glove is made of a stretch nylon material. You can find them at a local marine store or online vendor.

While you're up there on the tower, how about taking care of your feet? Work boots such as the popular Red Wing brand are available with a steel shank, taking the load away from the tender arches of your feet. Mike K5WMG also notes that motorcycle boots are also available with instep plates that have similar benefits.

Another handy tip from the superstation of VE6JY - use blue or green paint masking tape for labeling equipment. It adheres well, comes off without leaving a residue, is easy to write on, and easy to see!

Julius N2WN uses the software tool ADIF Master for working with big ADIF files. It can be used for editing and for finding specific contacts too:

Just how long was that QSO anyway? If you have the latitude and longitude of both stations, John AE5X sends word of a WGS-84, a program to calculate the distance between points. In fact, you can calculate it to the foot if you want!

Here's a face to go with a familiar call - this is Zack W9SZ making a tour of Gateway Electronics during lunch break at the Central States VHF Conference. (Photo by NØAX)

Here's another in a growing list of Android smart-phone applications - GPS Test. It's free and displays which satellites are being received, along with signal strengths for each, your speed of travel, GPS time, and a full six-character grid locator! There's more and a GPS Test Plus version, but you can find out more about the program on-line. This would be great for Rover stations and mobile operation. (Thanks, Les N1LF)

At the recent Central States VHF Conference, I happened upon the Wicks Aircraft Supply catalog. While it's aimed at aviators, there is a lot of neat hardware and gadgetry on display there, many items suitable for ham radio use.

For plumbing a tower use a string and weight. If the weight moves in the wind, try putting it in a bucket of water to damp the movement. (Thanks, Towertalkians and Steve K7LXC)

I know you all want to know about the physics of a rolling rubber band. The problem of what happens to the energy in a deformable object as it moves it actually pretty complicated - it's sure not a snap!

Technical Web Site of the Week - What ham shack, garage, or tool kit doesn't include a can (or two) of WD-40? You can smell it just thinking the name, can't you? Invented 57 years ago (!), its longevity is being celebrated as described by this article in the Wired Gadget Lab. Bonus points if you still have one of those original cans. Double bonus if you use it for the original intended purpose of displacing water! (Thanks, Tom K1KI)

CONVERSATION

Tuning Up

How about a little fun for the Dog Days of August, so named because of Sirius the Dog Star's appearance in the evening sky of the Northern Hemisphere. Andy N2NT has constructed a devilish quiz requiring you to take the call signs listed and turn them into the names of rock or pop musicians and musical groups. Answers will be given in the next issue, so you have two weeks - and one, two, one-two-three-four...

73, Ward NØAX

Summer time is for having a little fun and your editor is not immune. Here's my lakeside Field Day station racking up a few QSOs with dipoles and swim trunks! (Photo by Ron Twillman)

EASY CATEGORY
K1AR + Mrs. K1AR
K2UA
W3LPL

Are you warmed up, now?

REQUIRES SOME THOUGHT

9V1YC + WB6ACU
N6AN + W2REH + K8AZ
W3LPL+K2MM
S5ØA+G3VTT
NN3W+K1ZZ
W7OM+K3MM
W2NSD + K2NT

Proceed, if you dare!

HIGH DEGREE OF DIFFICULTY

F6BEE+G3SXW+G3TXF
K1TO/m in Pittsburgh

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CONTESTS

4 August through 17 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.

HF CONTESTS

NS Weekly Sprint--CW, from Aug 6, 0230Z to Aug 6, 0300Z. Bands (MHz): 1.8-14. Exchange: Serial, name, and S/P/C. Logs due: 2 days. Rules

TARA Grid Dip Contest--Digital, from Aug 7, 0000Z to Aug 7, 2359Z. Bands (MHz): 160-28, 50. Exchange: Name and 4-char grid square. Logs due: Sep 4. Rules

10-10 Summer Phone QSO Party--Phone, from Aug 7, 0001Z to Aug 8, 2359Z. Bands (MHz): 28. Exchange: Call, name, 10-10 number, S/P/C. Logs due: Aug 23. Rules

North American QSO Party--CW, from Aug 7, 1800Z to Aug 8, 0600Z. Bands (MHz): 1.8-28. Exchange: Name and state. Logs due: 14 days. Rules

Straight Key Weekend Sprint--CW, from Aug 8, 0000Z to Aug 8, 2359Z. Bands (MHz): 1.8-28, 50, Frequencies (MHz): 1.82, 3.55, 7.055, 7.114, 14.05, 21.05, 28.05, 50.09. Exchange: RST, QTH, name, member number. Logs due: 5 days. Rules

CWops Mini-CWT Test--CW, from Aug 11, 1100Z to Aug 12, 1200Z. Bands (MHz): 3.5-14. Frequencies (MHz): 18 to 28 kHz above band edge; Multiple operating periods. Exchange: Name and member number or S/P/C. Logs due: 2 days. Rules

ARRL Rookie Roundup--Phone, from Aug 15, 1800Z to Aug 15, 2359Z. Bands (MHz): 3.5-28, 50. Exchange: Both calls, name, check, S/P/XE or "DX". Logs due: See Web. Rules

Worked All Europe--CW, from Aug 14, 0000Z to Aug 15, 2359Z. Bands (MHz): 3.5-28. Exchange: RST and serial (see Web for QTC rules). Logs due: 15 days. Rules

Keymen's Club of Japan Contest--CW, from Aug 14, 1200Z to Aug 15, 1200Z. Bands (MHz): 1.8-28, 50. Exchange: RST and JA pref/dist or continent. Logs due: Sep 15. Rules

Maryland-DC QSO Party--Phone,CW,Digital, from Aug 14, 1600Z to Aug 15, 0400Z and Aug 15, 1600Z to Aug 16, 0000Z. Bands (MHz): 1.8-28, 50-440, Frequencies (MHz): See Web site. Exchange: Maryland County/City or S/P/C. Logs due: Sep 14. Rules

Feld-Hell Monthly Sprint--Digital, from Aug 14, 2000Z to Aug 14, 2200Z. Bands (MHz): 1.8-28. Exchange: RST, Feld-Hell member nr or age, S/P/C. Logs due: 7 days. Rules

VHF+ CONTESTS

ARRL UHF Contest--Phone,CW,Digital, from Aug 7, 1800Z to Aug 8, 1800Z. Bands (MHz): 222+. Exchange: 4-char grid square. Logs due: Sep 7. Rules

TARA Grid Dip Contest--Digital, from Aug 7, 0000Z to Aug 7, 2359Z. Bands (MHz): 160-28, 50. Exchange: Name and 4-char grid square. Logs due: Sep 4. Rules

Straight Key Weekend Sprint--CW, from Aug 8, 0000Z to Aug 8, 2359Z. Bands (MHz): 1.8-28, 50, Frequencies (MHz): 1.82, 3.55, 7.055, 7.114, 14.05, 21.05, 28.05, 50.09. Exchange: RST, QTH, name, member number. Logs due: 5 days. Rules

ARRL Rookie Roundup--Phone, from Aug 15, 1800Z to Aug 15, 2359Z. Bands (MHz): 3.5-28, 50. Exchange: Both calls, name, check, S/P/XE or "DX". Logs due: See Web. Rules

Keymen's Club of Japan Contest--CW, from Aug 14, 1200Z to Aug 15, 1200Z. Bands (MHz): 1.8-28, 50. Exchange: RST and JA pref/dist or continent. Logs due: Sep 15. Rules

Maryland-DC QSO Party--Phone,CW,Digital, from Aug 14, 1600Z to Aug 15, 0400Z and Aug 15, 1600Z to Aug 16, 0000Z. Bands (MHz): 1.8-28, 50-440, Frequencies (MHz): See Web site. Exchange: Maryland County/City or S/P/C. Logs due: Sep 14. Rules

LOG DUE DATES

4 August through 17 August

August 5 - ARS Spartan Sprint, email logs to: spartansprint@yahoo.com, paper logs to:(none). Rules

August 8 - WAB 144 MHz QRO Phone, email logs to: aebbooks@ntlworld.com, paper logs to:Tony Beardsley, G3XKT, 14 York Avenue, Sandiacre, Nottingham NG10 5HB, United Kingdom. Rules

August 9 - FISTS Summer Sprint, email logs to: wa1lad@cox.net, paper logs to:Gil Woodside, WA1LAD, 30 Hilltop Ave., West Warwick, RI 02893-2825, USA. Rules

August 10 - DL-DX RTTY Contest, email logs to: logs@drcg.de, paper logs to: (none). Rules

August 10 - IARU HF World Championship, email logs to: IARUHF@iaru.org, paper logs to:IARU HF Championship, IARU International Secretariat, Box 310905, Newington, CT 06111, USA. Rules

August 11 - ARCI Summer Homebrew Sprint, email logs to: contest@qrparci.org, paper logs to:ARCI Summer Homebrew Sprint, c/o Jeff Hetherington, VA3JFF, 139 Elizabeth St. W., Welland, Ontario L3C 4M3, Canada. Rules

August 15 - RSGB IOTA Contest, email logs to: iota.logs@rsgbcc.org, paper logs to:RSGB IOTA Contest, Radio Society of Great Britain, 3 Abbey Court, Fraser Road, Priory Business Park, Bedford MK44 3WH, England. Rules

August 16 - SARL HF Phone Contest, email logs to: hfcontests@netactive.co.za, paper logs to:Bloemfontein Radio Amateur Club, Box 12104, Brandhof, 9324, South Africa. Rules

August 17 - RSGB RoPoCo 2, Upload log at: http://www.rsgbcc.org/cgi-bin/hfenter.pl, paper logs to:RSGB G3UFY, 77 Bensham Manor Road, Thornton Heath, Surrey CR7 7AF, England. Rules

August 17 - CQC Great Colorado Gold Rush, email logs to: ki0rb@arrl.net, paper logs 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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