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Contest Update Issues

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The ARRL Contest Update
September 15, 2010
Editor: Ward Silver, NØAX
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IN THIS ISSUE

NEW HF OPERATORS - THINGS TO DO

One of the largest RTTY contests takes place on Sep 25-26 - the CQ WW RTTY Contest. With participation growing rapidly, this would be a good one to try. There are also four state QSO parties (CT, WA, SC, TX) in the works. Fall HF propagation is getting better and better every day!

BULLETINS

If the email log robot is rejecting your submission for the ARRL September VHF Contest, the ARRL ISP's spam filter was flagging log submissions as spam, adding "Possible UCE" to the email subject line. This caused the rejection because the robot expects to see a call sign (and only a call sign) in the subject. A fix by the ISP has been requested, but if you are still unable to submit your log, email ARRL Contest Branch Manager KX9X (kx9x@arrl.org) for assistance.

Similarly, there was a problem with the Hornucopia Web-to-Cabrillo Web page for CW Sprint submissions for about 12 hours after the contest. This has been fixed, so try to resubmit if you had trouble the first time or email your log to cwsprint@ncjweb.com directly. Check the Logs Received page if you're not sure if your log was accepted - the deadline is this coming Sunday. (Thanks, Tree N6TR)

BUSTED QSOS

Apparently another golden issue last time!

CONTEST SUMMARY

Complete information for all contests follows the Conversation section

September 18-19

  • ARRL 10 GHz Cumulative Contest
  • Connecticut QSO Party
  • Scandinavian Activity Contest--CW
  • CIS DX Contest--Digital
  • South Carolina QSO Party
  • Washington State Salmon Run
  • Feld-Hell Monthly Sprint
  • QCWA Fall QSO Party
  • North American Sprint--Phone
  • Classic Exchange--Phone
  • BARTG Sprint 75--Digital
  • Fall VHF Sprint (Sep 20)

September 25-26

  • CQ WW RTTY Contest
  • Texas QSO Party
  • Fall VHF Sprint (Sep 28)
  • Fall QRP Homebrewer Sprint--CW (Sep 28)
NEWS, PRESS RELEASES, AND GENERAL INTEREST

The DX world is buzzing about the upcoming change of status for several Caribbean entities that will be formerly known as the Netherland Antilles beginning Oct 10th - Curacao, Bonaire, Saba, St Eustasius, and Sint Maarten. Watch the DX bulletins (ARRL DX Bulletin, Daily DX, QRZ DX, OP DX Bulletin, and others) for the latest word on changes in award status. Oh, and then make sure you have the latest CTY country file so your logging software counts all of your multipliers correctly!

Here's VHF+ contester Sean KX9X rock, rock, rocking atop New England's Pinnacle Rock in last weekend's ARRL September VHF Contest. (Photo from KX9X)

The Northern California Contest Club is having a party and you're all invited! This year marks 40 years of excellence in amateur radio contesting for NCCC and to share our excitement, we're having a special on-air celebration. It's the NCCC 40th Anniversary Party -- a two week event taking place from September 18 to October 1, 2010, and open to all amateurs worldwide. Check out the Web site for details about special calls and awards. (Thanks, Chris N6WM)

The New York QSO Party has instituted a new entry class for operators that have received their Amateur Radio ticket since January 1, 2007. The Rookie Operator Award will feature a NYQP plaque to the operator with the best NYQP score for 2010. (Thanks, Rick W1TY/W2RTY)

RW2L has kindly provided a guide to the new Russian prefixes on his QRZ.com page. UA6 and UA7 with the same initial suffix letter indicate the same location. For example, any UA7A** is now just the same as UA6A**. The same holds true for UA3/5 and UA8/9. UA2/3 is the same with the exception being that calls with a '2' in the prefix and F or K beginning the suffix are Kaliningrad. (Thanks, Larry N7DF, Dave NN1N, and Doug K1DG)

Answering a similar question from China, Dave KH2/N2NL sends this breakdown of Chinese license classes and privileges:

5th class: SWL only
4th class: BG, BH, BI, 15 W PEP above 29.2 MHz
3rd class: BH, BH, BI, 25 W PEP but not 30, 20, 17, 12 meters
2nd class: BD, 100 W PEP on all bands
1st class: BA, 1 kW PEP all bands

While you are contemplating the possibility of adding all those 3rd-class Chinese call signs to your log, as noted on the ARRL's license total Web site it's also time to start that radio club pool as to when the 700,000th US ham license will be issued! Not bad for a "dying" hobby.

Who invented what when and what did it lead to? This map of modern science begins in the 15th century and winds its way through the ways of wonder all the way to the present day. Another connection between disparate domains involves one of contesting's favorite DX multipliers - Ascension Island ZD8 and terraforming on Mars as described in this online article from "the Beeb", the BBC.

Speaking of emergency services - shouldn't this important sign be prominently displayed at your station?

Roger K8RI discovered this useful emergency services Web site. Enter an address and the site identifies the emergency resources available in your area, such as hospitals and fire houses, and routes to/from a work site for each service. While nobody expects an accident (or the Spanish Inquisition, for that matter) during a work party, this could be very handy information to have on hand.

A recent Slashdot article notes that the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) will begin looking for technology that will "let wireless communications work through the most extreme interference by developing advanced interference suppression and avoidance technologies." They should try it during ham radio phone contests!

"The Good Old Times" issue of the Contest Club Finland's PileUP! journal has been released. The 68-page journal (plus an appendix from 1976) is a downloadable PDF file. A total of 28 hams contributed in the talkoo-spirit with the oldest material going back to 1948. (Thanks, Ilkka OH1WZ)

The Lost Island DX Society is sponsoring the first annual Talk Like A Pirate Radio-Sport Contest to coincide with the annual Talk Like A Pirate Day, September 19. While it sounds a little barmey in the crumpet, don't be a knot-brained dabberlack and heave hearty! (A right and proper thankee to Randy K5ZD)

Web Site of the Week - As noted in this ARRL Web story, a number of Sweepstakes plaques remain unsponsored. While the ARRL is grateful to Icom America for covering the costs of delivering all unsponsored plaques, Sweepstakes Manager, Dan K1TO, says, "I am encouraging all of Sweepstakes' many friends to consider sponsoring a plaque in their Division, for an unsponsored "overall" plaque, or even in creating their own custom plaque for a special result. Plaques can be sponsored in honor of a deserving individual, as well. What better way to remember a Silent Key or honor exceptional service?" Sponsoring a plaque is simple. Select one of the unsponsored plaques (click "Available Plaques To Sponsor") or define a special plaque. Then contact ARRL Contest Branch Manager, Sean Kutzko KX9X at mailto:contest@arrl.org or 860-594-0232. Sponsoring a plaque costs $75 - the ARRL will take care of ordering and shipping the plaque to the winner.

WORD TO THE WISE

Gigabyte - I used a sentence that I never expected to use the other day - "My mom needs another gigabyte of RAM"

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SIGHTS AND SOUNDS

The next in the series of PVRC Webinars is "A Look at the CQ WW RTTY Contest" with the contest director, Ed Muns, WØYK on Sunday, September 19 at 19:00 UTC. Register first or view the Webinar later from the archives. (Thanks, Ken K4ZW)

Randy K5ZD has posted a WRTC-2010 presentation file to his Web site - follow the link under Other Articles. The file is 33 Mbyte and may take some time to download. Randy is also the Co-Chair of WRTC-2014 as described in the Conversation section.

From Spaceweather, you can watch the spectacular September 8th eruption of sunspot 1105 and learn about the excellent opportunities to watch a fly-over of the International Space Station and the USAF X-37B space plane. Find out when to elevate your gaze on the Simple Flybys or Heavens-Above Web sites.

RESULTS AND RECORDS

The meaning of the inscrutable photo in the last issue? Well, there are five chairs and one is empty. Both N7MQ and KB7HDX are named Mark. That makes the sequence, left to right, space-mark-mark-mark-mark. Baudot enthusiasts will recognize that as the BEL character - ring-a-ding-ding! Each Mark holds a pear and there are four, so that would be...(drumroll, please)...even parity. Thanks to Mark and Mark for assisting with the shenanigans and to N2NL for the photo editing and combining.

Meet Sam, K9SD - a gracious and hard-working host for multi-ops in the St Louis area and my recent foray into the CW Sprint. (Photo by NØAX)

There are a few updates to the ARRL DX Phone writeup article - the Top Ten multi-single score for T46A was omitted in the QST table and is properly noted on-line. A corrupted W/VE SOA Top Ten table has also been repaired thanks to the sharp eye of readers.

Radio-sport.net has published a story on the numerous stations disqualified from the 2009 CQ World-Wide CW DX contest. This follows a report of DQs in the SSB WW portion of the contest, as well. Reader reaction is solidly in favor of the more aggressive and public DQ stance by the CQ WW Committee. (Thanks, Steve N2IC)

How do you turn a pumpkin into a vegetable? Throw it up in the air and it comes down squash! Since contesters appreciate smashing records, you'll be pleased to learn that the one-mile barrier for pumpkin-flinging has finally fallen.

OPERATING TIP

Note that CQ WW Contest log due dates have been moved up this year - Nov 21st for the SSB contest and Dec 21st for the CW contest. Don't be surprised!

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TECHNICAL TOPICS AND INFORMATION

Scott N7SS wonders about this new liquid antenna technology, "Would you need to point it upwind or downwind when underway? I suppose rain would detune your antenna. I'm envisioning a ship with 80 of these antennas driven by a dedicated diesel pump arcing over the side as it steams along." You could operate and water the garden at the same time! (Also thanks to Mark K6UFO)

Bob W5OV gives reliable advice on packing something like a radio in a way that it cannot get damaged during shipping. "This usually requires double-boxing and lots of extra bubble-pack and/or styrofoam peanuts. The final shipping carton should be 2 to 3x the size of the radio if you want to insure that it does not get damaged. When you ship something like radio equipment, think of it literally being dropped hard to the ground from several feet in elevation. This will happen to it on its journey." When receiving such a package, if there is any evidence of the box being dropped, be sure to note that when signing for receipt and then take pictures as the box is unwrapped to help with a claim in case of damage.

Les N1LF sends word of the beta release of a major update to the WSJT weak-signal communications software suite from K1JT. There are two new modes, FSK441 is enhanced, and the user interface is improved, among other changes. The details can be found in the WSJT 9.0 Supplement to User's Guide.

Despite my editorial in the last issue, I want to let you know that there is a place for politics in ham radio! Corrugated plastic yard signs make terrific building material for small projects - the material is sturdy, cuts easily with a utility knife, can be "drilled" with a scratch awl, and as well all know, it's fairly UV-resistant. Wait until the election is over before "harvesting" your crop, but do your part to clean up afterwards!

There is more than one use for an infra-red remote control and the August 2010 Design News "Gadget Freak" column "IR Remote Control Toggles Appliances" shows how. You can turn on and off four individual relay circuits with this project and I'm sure the enterprising readers of this newsletter can do more than that!

Fred K1VR recommends this article by John Bisset on grounding -- the right way! The article shows how and why grounds for lightning protection should always be welded or Cad-welded because of the high currents involved.

Be sure to take cover under your operating desk, as well!

Screw heads and terminal blocks exposed to the weather need protection. Jon W4ABC recommends Electroshield or UV-resistant Krylon coatings as having provided years of corrosion resistance.

Gene AD3F has some good advice about assembling antenna elements with multiple rivets in a single junction. "When you assemble the elements, put all...pop rivets into the holes before you pop any of them with the tool. If you insert one at a time and pop it, the last one might be difficult to insert." Also, when cleaning an element joint with a scrubbing pad, use separate pads for cleaning and applying anti-oxidation compound. If you use a single pad, dirt from the initial cleaning will be reapplied with the compound.

Technical Web Site of the Week - Thomas NZ4O's great propagation Web site continues to evolve. Make sure this one is on your list of bookmarked sites to visit. (Thanks, Craig K1QX)

CONVERSATION

WRTC-2014 Returns to North America

It has been quite a while since the last North American WRTC - 1996 in San Francisco. I remember contesters overflowing a somewhat-overwhelmed Motel 6 south of San Francisco, stations spread out around the Bay Area, parties hosted by our JA friends and the soon-to-be-hosts from S5, and discovering that the sprinkler system automatically activated at 2 AM even if there was a lawn party going on! Following the designation by the WRTC Sanctioning Committee of the New England team as the hosts of WRTC-2014, the event will have made an 18-year journey between the hemispheres, north and south, east and west. Welcome home! I yield the floor to WRTC-2014 Chairman, Doug K1DG...73, Ward NØAX

On behalf of the New England WRTC Organizing Committee, I would like to thank the WRTC Sanctioning Committee for awarding us hosting rights to WRTC2014. We consider this a great honor, and will work hard to make the event enjoyable and memorable for everyone involved. The Russian group that hosted WRTC2010 this year set a new standard for competition fairness and we hope to follow in their path of continuous improvement.

We are working hard to get fully organized, with the initial activities of finalizing Team Selection criteria, launching our Web site and WRTC-2014 email reflector, and completing the incorporation formalities over the next few weeks. We will keep everyone informed on our progress.

One issue that has been raised by several people is whether the upcoming 2010 CQWW SSB and CW contests will count as qualifying events. The answer is YES! CQWW is the biggest contest, with the most participation and the most competition. It will carry the same level of importance in team selection as it did for WRTC2010. Category factors will be similar to those used for WRTC2010 (i.e., single-operator scores are weighted higher than multi-op scores, etc.).

The full Team Selection details, including point values for each contest, category factors, number of teams per continent etc. are still in development but will probably end up very similar to the WRTC2010 rules (which were very similar to the WRTC2006 rules). We will announce them as soon as they are finalized.

The New England WRTC2014 Organizing Committee is a newly-formed independent organization, and not part of any existing organization, national society, or club. We are counting on a lot of volunteers to help us with their talents and resources, primarily in the New England region (W1 call area, including Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont). We welcome financial support from contesters and clubs worldwide, and have some interesting sponsorship programs planned. Stay tuned.

So once more, thanks on behalf of the entire organization, and we'll see you all on the air or in person here in New England in 2014!

73,

Doug K1DG
Chairman, WRTC2014, Inc.
on behalf of WRTC2014 co-Chair K5ZD and Directors K1AR, K1KI, K1RX, K1TO, WC1M, N2NT, KM3T, N6TR and the 40+ Committee volunteers

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CONTESTS

15 September through 28 September

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

Connecticut QSO Party--Phone,CW,Digital, from Sep 18, 0000Z to Sep 18, 2359Z. Bands (MHz): 3.5-28. Frequencies: See Web site. Exchange: RS(T) and CT county or S/P/C. Logs due: 30 days. Rules

Scandinavian Activity Contest--CW, from Sep 18, 1200Z to Sep 19, 1200Z. Bands (MHz): 3.5-28. Exchange: RST and serial. Logs due: Oct 19. Rules

CIS DX Contest--Digital, from Sep 18, 1200Z to Sep 19, 1200Z. Bands (MHz): 1.8-28. Exchange: RST and CIS area code or serial. Logs due: 30 days. Rules

South Carolina QSO Party--Phone,CW,Digital, from Sep 18, 1300Z to Sep 19, 2100Z. Bands (MHz): 3.5-28, 50+, Frequencies: CW--1.805, 50 kHz above band edge; Phone--1.845, 3.86, 7.261, 14.27, 21.37, 28.37. Exchange: RS(T) and county or S/P/C. Logs due: Oct 20. Rules

Washington State Salmon Run--Phone,CW,Digital, from Sep 18, 1600Z to Sep 19, 2400Z. Bands (MHz): 1.8-28, 50, Frequencies: See Web site. Exchange: RS(T) and county or S/P/C. Logs due: Oct 31. Rules

Feld-Hell Monthly Sprint--Digital, from Sep 18, 1600Z to Sep 18, 1800Z. Bands (MHz): 1.8-28. Exchange: RST, S/P/C, Feld-Hell member nr or age. Rules

QCWA Fall QSO Party--Phone,CW,Digital, from Sep 18, 1800Z to Sep 19, 1800Z. Bands (MHz): 1.8-28, 50+. Exchange: Call sign, year lic'd, name, chptr or S/P/C. Logs due: 30 days. Rules

North American Sprint--Phone, from Sep 19, 0000Z to Sep 19, 0400Z. Bands (MHz): 3.5-14. Exchange: Call signs, serial, name, and state. Logs due: 7 days. Rules

Classic Exchange--Phone, from Sep 19, 1300Z to Sep 20, 0700Z. Bands (MHz): 1.8-28, 50,144, Frequencies: SSB--1.885, 3.87, 7.28, 14.27, 21.37, 28.39; AM--1.89, 3.88, 7.16, 7.29, 14.286, 21.42, 29.0. Exchange: Name, RS, S/P/C, type of equipment. Logs due: 60 days. Rules

BARTG Sprint 75--Digital, from Sep 19, 1700Z to Sep 19, 2100Z. Bands (MHz): 3.5-28. Exchange: Serial. Logs due: Nov 1. Rules

CQ WW RTTY Contest--Digital, from Sep 25, 0000Z to Sep 26, 2400Z. Bands (MHz): 3.5-28. Exchange: RST, CQ zone and State/VE area (US/VE). Logs due: Nov 1. Rules

Texas QSO Party--Phone,CW,Digital, from Sep 25, 1400Z to Sep 26, 0200Z and Sep 27, 1400Z to Sep 27, 2000Z. Bands (MHz): 1.8-28, 50,144, Frequencies: Multiple operating periods, CW--20 to 50 kHz above band edge; Phone--25 kHz above edge of General segment. Exchange: RS(T), county or S/P/C. Logs due: Oct 31. Rules

Fall QRP Homebrewer Sprint--CW, from Sep 28, 0000Z to Sep 28, 0400Z. Bands (MHz): 3.5-28. Exchange: RST, S/P/C, and power. Logs due: 30 days. Rules

VHF+ CONTESTS

ARRL 10 GHz Cumulative Contest--Phone,CW,Digital, from Sep 18, 6 AM to Sep 19, 12 Mid. Bands (MHz): 10G+. Exchange: 6-char grid locator. Logs due: Oct 19. Rules

South Carolina QSO Party--Phone,CW,Digital, from Sep 18, 1300Z to Sep 19, 2100Z. Bands (MHz): 3.5-28, 50+, Frequencies: CW--1.805, 50 kHz above band edge; Phone--1.845, 3.86, 7.261, 14.27, 21.37, 28.37. Exchange: RS(T) and county or S/P/C. Logs due: Oct 20. Rules

Washington State Salmon Run--Phone,CW,Digital, from Sep 18, 1600Z to Sep 19, 2400Z. Bands (MHz): 1.8-28, 50, Frequencies: See Web site. Exchange: RS(T) and county or S/P/C. Logs due: Oct 31. Rules

QCWA Fall QSO Party--Phone,CW,Digital, from Sep 18, 1800Z to Sep 19, 1800Z. Bands (MHz): 1.8-28, 50+. Exchange: Call sign, year lic'd, name, chptr or S/P/C. Logs due: 30 days. Rules

Classic Exchange--Phone, from Sep 19, 1300Z to Sep 20, 0700Z. Bands (MHz): 1.8-28, 50,144, Frequencies: SSB--1.885, 3.87, 7.28, 14.27, 21.37, 28.39; AM--1.89, 3.88, 7.16, 7.29, 14.286, 21.42, 29.0. Exchange: Name, RS, S/P/C, type of equipment. Logs due: 60 days. Rules

Fall VHF Sprint--Phone,CW,Digital, from Sep 20, 7 PM to Sep 20, 11 PM. Bands (MHz): 144. Exchange: 4-digit grid square. Logs due: 4 weeks. Rules

Texas QSO Party--Phone,CW,Digital, from Sep 25, 1400Z to Sep 26, 0200Z and Sep 27, 1400Z to Sep 27, 2000Z. Bands (MHz): 1.8-28, 50,144, Frequencies: Multiple operating periods, CW--20 to 50 kHz above band edge; Phone--25 kHz above edge of General segment. Exchange: RS(T), county or S/P/C. Logs due: Oct 31. Rules

Fall VHF Sprint--Phone,CW,Digital, from Sep 28, 7 PM to Sep 28, 11 PM. Bands (MHz): 222. Exchange: 4-digit grid square. Logs due: 4 weeks. Rules

LOG DUE DATES

15 September through 28 September

September 15 - Brazil Independence Day BPSK31 CDX Contest

September 15 - Keyman's Club of Japan Contest

September 15 - MMMonVHF/DUBUS 144 MHz Meteorscatter Sprint Contest

September 15 - SCC RTTY Championship

September 16 - RSGB 80m Club Sprint, SSB

September 17 - SKCC Weekend Sprint

September 18 - North American Sprint, CW

September 18 - New Jersey QSO Party

September 21 - ARCI Silent Key Memorial Sprint

September 21 - RSGB SSB Field Day

September 26 - WAB 144 MHz QRP Phone

September 27 - Ohio QSO Party

September 27 - WAE DX Contest, SSB

September 28 - YO DX HF Contest

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ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

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

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