ARRL

Contest Update Issues

Preview
The ARRL Contest Update
September 29, 2010
Editor: Ward Silver, NØAX
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IN THIS ISSUE

NEW HF OPERATORS - THINGS TO DO

This weekend's California QSO Party is the biggest of the state contests - with terrific participation, world-wide. Check out the list of prizes for domestic winners and have at it! This is one contest for which super-high antennas aren't necessary and may even be a drawback, depending on your location.

BULLETINS

There are no bulletins in this issue.

BUSTED QSOS

In the last issue's item about Chinese license classes, the first prefix in the 3rd-Class list should be BG. (Thanks, Steve W3HF)

CONTEST SUMMARY

Complete information for all contests follows the Conversation section

October 2-3

  • ARRL EME Contest (date corrected from original publication)
  • PSK Rumble - The Fall Classic
  • EPC Russia DX Contest--Digital
  • Oceania DX Phone Contest
  • EU Autumn Sprint--Phone
  • California QSO Party
  • RSGB 21/28 MHz Contest
  • ARS Spartan Sprint--CW (Oct 5)
  • Fall VHF Sprints--432 MHz (Oct 6)
  • NS Weekly Sprint--CW (Oct 8)
  • DX/NA YLRL Anniversary Party--CW (Oct 8)

October 9-10

  • Makrothen RTTY Contest
  • Oceania DX CW Contest
  • Scandinavian Activity Contest--Phone
  • Worked All Britain HF Contest--Phone
  • EU Autumn Sprint--CW
  • Pennsylvania QSO Party
  • Arizona QSO Party
  • FISTS Fall Sprint--CW
  • North American RTTY Sprint
  • Straight Key Weekend Sprint
  • 10-10 Sprint
  • SKCC Monthly Weekend Sprint--CW (Oct 11)
  • CWops Mini-CWT Test (Oct 13)
NEWS, PRESS RELEASES, AND GENERAL INTEREST

CQ World Wide DX Contest manager, Bob K3EST, notes some changes for the 2010 contests. "The CQ WW Contest Committee will be expanding the award system for the Assisted category...All low power and QRP Assisted entrants will be specifically listed and eligible for awards as is already the case for unassisted entries. A band-by-band breakdown for All-band Assisted World, Europe and USA will be provided within the 2010 results. Lastly, we will increase the number of plaques available to Assisted entrants to include Europe All-band and World Single-band." Bob also reminds Multi-Single entrants, "to declare, for each QSO in your log, which transmitter makes the QSO: run or multiplier station." As noted in the previous issue, log submission deadlines have been moved, as well: SSB - Nov 21 and CW - Dec 15.

A new email reflector has been established to facilitate communication among everyone interested in WRTC2014. (Thanks, Doug K1DG)

Here's a pair of guys you've worked many times - (L) Ralph, VE7XF and host (R) Roger, W7VV. So far, theirs is the top score in the WA Salmon Run QSO Party. (Photo by NØAX)

QSOs made with Northern California Contest Club members in the California QSO Party do count towards the special NCCC 40th Anniversary award, even though they will not be signing /40 during the contest. (Thanks, Bob N6TV)

The 2011 WØ DX Convention will be held just west of Kansas City, Kansas on July 23rd, 2011. The Convention is hosted by the Kansas City DX Club and co-sponsored by the Missouri DX/Contest Club and the Lebanon ARC. Numerous vendors will be there along with a star-studded lineup of speakers and the world-famous KCDXC CW Pile-up Contest. (Thanks, Ron K4SX)

In the recent Colorado wildfires, one of the victims who lost a home was well-known contester and station builder, John WØUN. (The fire was determined to be one of several arsons, set nearby and which burned about 1000 acres before it was controlled.) John expresses his thanks to all those that offered help and sympathy. He would also like to note that although he used Phillystran guy cable on his towers, the lower sections were steel and thus flame- and vandal resistant.

The "Hams With Class" column by Carole WB2MGP in the October 2010 issue of World Radio Online leads with a nice feature on Contest University that includes a photo of KØDXC and K3LR. Good stuff about the things that get young hams going! Another feather in the K3LR cap is Tim's receiving the Barry Goldwater Award from the Radio Club of America. The award is given for long service to the public through Amateur Radio.

NASA is developing a super-sized antenna launcher! Well, it could be an antenna launcher. The more likely use is to accelerate spacecraft down a horizontal track, hitting Mach 10 on the way to orbit...and beyond! I'll bet it would clear the trees in my back yard easily.

This 30-900 MHz wideband SDR by Full Spectrum was a point of intense interest at the recent MicroHams Digital Conference in Bellevue, WA. (Photo by NØAX)

The birthplace of the laser printer and the graphical user interface for computers that presaged the Macintosh, Xerox's Palo Alto Research Center (PARC) is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year. One of the nation's premier research facilities, PARC is responsible for many innovations that we now take for granted as standard features.

EU Sprint Manager, Dave G4BUO reports problems with the European Sprint Web site, "so we have set up a new site at www.eu-sprint.com. At present this just contains the rules but we are working to migrate the full site if we cannot get the old site back."

The Canadian Space Agency has just set up a camera in Yellowknife to broadcast the aurora borealis to the general public. It's part of a 5-year educational initiative to raise awareness of space weather and the sun's influence on Earth. (Thanks, Jerry VE6CPP)

Web Site of the Week - In the "We Can Dream, Can't We?" department, this story recounts the lure of technology too strong for a contester to resist. Tom N6BT has described a similar experience of hooking up a radio to a shortwave broadcasting dipole array with more than 20 dBi of gain. Can you hear me now?

WORD TO THE WISE

Duty factor - the decimal equivalent of duty cycle which is given in percent. For example, a duty factor of 0.5 is the same as a duty cycle of 50%. Otherwise the two terms are completely equivalent in meaning.

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SIGHTS AND SOUNDS

The video of a tower worker "free climbing" at heights over 1700 feet has been making the rounds despite the best efforts of its originator to expunge it. (Free-climbing is a violation of safety and workplace rules.) Nevertheless, hams are agog over it and if there is one benefit, the ensuing discussion reinforces the attitude of "safety first" and emphasizes the need for proper climbing gear, such as a fall-arrest harness and being attached to the tower 100% of the time.

While we're on the subject of climbing about, Chris KF7P posted a link to videos about Fred Dibnah the famous British chimney climber and steeplejack. For another "first-person climber" video, here's one from John KØIO about erecting a 1500-foot tower through the eyes of a rigger.

Sep 22nd turned out to be an exciting day for our nearest star, featuring a solar flare, coronal mass ejection, and magnetic filaments lifting off into space. Sounds like spring break in Florida! All of these events were captured by NASA spacecraft and can be reviewed on the Spaceweather Web site.

The Akihabara district of Tokyo is legendary for its electronics emporia all stacked together like so many surface-mount resistors in a muffin tin. Tokyo Hackerspace has published a video guide to the district - check out the Rocket Radio video to browse the district's largest ham radio store.

RESULTS AND RECORDS

September's final North American CW Sprint scores have been published. Congratulations to Trey, N5KO on his second consecutive victory. Steve, N9CK racked up another Low Power win and KA9FOX held off K1DG (operating at N1LI) in the QRP category. The Ad Hoc team won the team competition, followed by the NCCC #1 team. (Thanks, CW Sprint Manager, Tree N6TR)

The US team brought home three medals in the recent ARDF (Amateur Radio Direction-Finding) Championships held recently in Croatia. Very popular outside the US (and gaining some attention here), ARDF has a sizeable youth contingent and is a great entry activity to ham radio.

The results of the 2010 SP DX Contest have been posted online and were announced at the annual SP DX Club Convention. (Thanks, Romeo S52RU)

OPERATING TIP

Make it hard to mis-connect things, especially during the contest. Heed this example, overheard during the 2010 EME conference and reprinted in the Packrats "Cheese Bits" newsletter: ""He placed the wrong filter on the 432 amp and in short time destroyed the amp, proving that my filter worked fine."

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TECHNICAL TOPICS AND INFORMATION

Sporadic E (Es) propagation was a major feature of the summer VHF contests this year. With more hams active on 6 meters, we are learning more and more about Es propagation patterns. Dean N6BV recommends this paper on the subject as good reading. Note that sporadic E on 6 meters often means 10 meters is open, as well - hint, hint!

And with each passing issue, more prognostication on the upcoming (hopefully) solar cycle 24. This article is in the Depressing-Above-15-MHz column. I know the Top Band operators are secretly rejoicing over all of this, though! (Thanks, Roger W7VV)

A giant squid? A contorted contrail? How about the amazing mobile antenna of K6ITA spotted in the parking lot of the TAPR Digital Communications Conference? (Photo by NØAX)

Doug K1DG reports and others confirm that running antenna wire over small-diameter pulleys (1" or so) causes even stranded wires to break and may accelerate corrosion (which leads to breaks). He reports higher reliability using large-diameter (3-4") plastic pulley wheels and homemade brackets.

Steve KD1JV has some advice for parts/radios/junk hoarders not unlike himself, "Don't move! It is truly amazing at how much "stuff" we can accumulate and how difficult it is to part with much of it if you do have to move." I don't know any such individuals in ham radio, do you?

A single Google Earth file presents the entirety of the FCC broadcast license database - an interesting view of towers you may encounter. (Thanks, Daniel K7DGL)

The current and previous issues of QEX feature a two-part tutorial for the QuickSmith software that uses the Smith Chart to work out transmission line problems. (Thanks, Nick WA5BDU)

In a multi-rivet tubing joint, place the heads of all three rivets in the holes before beginning to pop the rivets. If popping a rivet causes the tubing to shift, getting the final rivets seated properly could be difficult.

Technical Web Site of the Week - Learn the technical details of digital video in Xiph's tutorial series, "Digital Video Primer For Geeks". The series begins with a basic explanation of digital audio and video fundamentals. With so much digital technology involved in contesting these days, particularly for remote station operation, this is pretty useful stuff.

CONVERSATION

About Five Years Before You Did

It's a common question to a more experienced ham, "What was the best time to get into ham radio?" Why is it that the answer always seems to be, "Oh, about five years before you did," or the equivalent? No matter what, there is always somebody who seems to have been around when the DXing was easier, the pileups more mannered, the bands open longer, and the homebrewing brew-ier. It never fails. (Just remember, young folks, they got the same jazz from their elders when they got started!)

Sometimes I think maybe we should have all just thrown our radios away after 1959 (or 1947 or 1932 or 1927 or...) since nothing could ever be that good again. After all, 10 meters was open 24 hours a day and you only had to sneeze into the microphone to fill your log with DX while running only 5 watts of AM from a 6L6 rig built from a kitchen bread pan and connected to a dipole in a tree. Sigh. (For the record, I got licensed in 1972.)

Who says there weren't any VE8's on the in Old Days? Looks like quite a few to me! (Thanks, Danny K7SS for the photo)

Pssst - here's a secret - every year is a golden year! I just got back from a couple of digital communications conferences and let me tell you that digital is exploding in any manner you care to evaluate; modulation, protocol, activity. For example, WØYK just checked in with a claimed score of 5024 QSOs from P49X in last weekend's CQ WW RTTY contest. A couple of years ago, the 5000-QSO level was considered fantasy for a single-op station.

Golden ages are not incremental - they stem from breakthroughs or sudden changes in the environment. The Internet and Solar Cycle 19 have a lot in common. We are seeing a dramatic convergence of technologies that are enabling an explosion of digital modes, fertilizing innovation and experimentation. The latest version of F6CTE's free multi-mode software, MultiPSK, has 87 different modes to choose from. That's a far cry from when I got into ham radio and it was pretty much RTTY, SSTV, and Fax warbling away around various calling frequencies.

A presentation by Bruce K6BP at this past weekend's TAPR Digital Communications Conference showcased the new Codec2 Open Source digital voice codec for low-bandwidth channels, such as HF ham radio. The primary developer is David Rowe, VK5DGR and his work is a significant advance in the communications state of the art, one aspect of Part 97.1's Basis and Purpose for Amateur Radio. While digital voice is not yet a contesting mode, that day will surely come.

So look around - somebody's having a golden age right now! Have you a computer with a sound card and a voice rig? You're in! Care to join the fun?

73, Ward NØAX

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CONTESTS

29 September though 12 October

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

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

PSK Rumble - The Fall Classic--Digital, from Oct 2, 0000Z to Oct 2, 2400Z. Bands (MHz): 1.8-28, 50. Exchange: Name and call area (see Web site). Logs due: Oct 31. Rules

EPC Russia DX Contest--Digital, from Oct 2, 0400Z to Oct 3, 0359Z . Bands (MHz): 1.8-28. Exchange: EPC member nr or serial and grid square. Logs due: Sep 30. Rules

Oceania DX Phone Contest--Phone, from Oct 2, 0800Z to Oct 3, 0800Z. Bands (MHz): 1.8-28. Exchange: RS and serial. Logs due: Nov 8. Rules

EU Autumn Sprint--Phone, from Oct 2, 1600Z to Oct 2, 1959Z. Bands (MHz): 3.5-14. Exchange: Both call signs, serial, name. Logs due: 15 days. Rules

California QSO Party--Phone,CW, from Oct 2, 1600Z to Oct 3, 2200Z. Bands (MHz): 1.8-28, 50,144. Exchange: Serial and state/prov/"DX" or CA county. Logs due: Oct 31. Rules

RSGB 21/28 MHz Contest--Phone,CW, from Oct 3, 0700Z to Oct 3, 1900Z. Bands (MHz): 21,28. Exchange: Serial and UK district. Logs due: Oct 19. Rules

ARS Spartan Sprint--CW, from Oct 5, 0200Z to Oct 5, 0400Z. Bands (MHz): 3.5-28. Frequencies: Monthly on the first Monday evening local time. Exchange: RST, S/P/C, and power. Logs due: 2 days. Rules

NS Weekly Sprint--CW, from Oct 8, 0230Z to Oct 8, 0300Z. Bands (MHz): 1.8-14. Frequencies: Weekly on Thursday evenings local time. Exchange: Serial, name, and S/P/C. Logs due: 2 days. Rules

DX/NA YLRL Anniversary Party--CW, from Oct 8, 1400Z to Oct 10, 0200Z. Bands (MHz): 1.8-28. Exchange: Serial, RST, and section/province/country. Logs due: 30 days. Rules

Makrothen RTTY Contest--Digital, from Oct 9, 0000Z to Oct 10, 1600Z. Bands (MHz): 3.5-28. Frequencies: Multiple operating periods. Exchange: 4-char grid square. Logs due: 15 Nov. Rules

Oceania DX CW Contest--CW, from Oct 9, 0800Z to Oct 10, 0800Z. Bands (MHz): 1.8-28. Exchange: RST and serial. Logs due: Nov 8. Rules

Scandinavian Activity Contest--Phone, from Oct 9, 1200Z to Oct 10, 1200Z. Bands (MHz): 3.5-28. Exchange: RS and serial. Logs due: Nov 9. Rules

Worked All Britain HF Contest--Phone, from Oct 9, 1200Z to Oct 10, 1200Z. Bands (MHz): 14-28. Exchange: RS, serial, DXCC entity or WAB area. Logs due: Nov 1. Rules

EU Autumn Sprint--CW, from Oct 9, 1600Z to Oct 9, 2000Z. Bands (MHz): 3.5-14. Exchange: Both call signs, serial, name. Logs due: 15 days. Rules

Pennsylvania QSO Party--Phone,CW,Digital, from Oct 9, 1600Z to Oct 9, 0500Z and Oct 11, 1300Z to Oct 11, 2200Z. Bands (MHz): 1.8-28, 50,144, Frequencies: CW--40 kHz above band edge and 1.810; SSB--1.850, 3.825, 7.200, 14.280, 21.380, 28.480. Exchange: Serial and ARRL/RAC section. Logs due: Nov 15. Rules

Arizona QSO Party--Phone,CW,Digital, from Oct 9, 1600Z to Oct 10, 0600Z and Oct 10, 1400Z to Oct 10, 2359Z. Bands (MHz): 3.5-28, 50,144, Frequencies: Multiple operating periods - See Web site for frequencies. Exchange: RS(T) and AZ county or S/P/C. Logs due: Oct 31. Rules

FISTS Fall Sprint--CW, from Oct 9, 1700Z to Oct 9, 2100Z. Bands (MHz): 3.5-28. Exchange: RST, S/P/C, name, FISTS number or pwr. Logs due: 30 days. Rules

North American RTTY Sprint--Digital, from Oct 10, 0000Z to Oct 10, 0400Z. Bands (MHz): 3.5-14. Exchange: Both call signs, serial, QTH, name. Logs due: 7 days. Rules

Straight Key Weekend Sprint--CW, from Oct 10, 0000Z to Oct 10, 2359Z. Bands (MHz): 1.8-28, 50, Frequencies: Monthly on the second Sunday local time. Exchange: RST, QTH, name, member number. Logs due: 5 days. Rules

10-10 Sprint--Phone,CW,Digital, from Oct 10, 0001Z to Oct 10, 2359Z. Bands (MHz): 28. Exchange: Call, name, 10-10 number, S/P/C. Logs due: Oct 25. Rules

SKCC Monthly Weekend Sprint--CW, from Oct 11, 0000Z to Oct 11, 2359Z. Bands (MHz): 3.5-28. Exchange: RST, S/P/C, SKCC nr or power. Rules

VHF+ CONTESTS

ARRL EME Contest--Phone,CW,Digital, from Oct 2, 0000Z to Oct 3, 2359Z. Bands (MHz): 50-1296. Exchange: Both call signs, signal report. Logs due: Nov 30. Rules (date corrected from original publication)

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

Fall VHF Sprints--Phone,CW,Digital, from Oct 6, 7 PM to Oct 6, 11 PM. Bands (MHz): 432. Exchange: 6-char grid locator. Logs due: 4 weeks. Rules

PSK Rumble - The Fall Classic--Digital, from Oct 2, 0000Z to Oct 2, 2400Z. Bands (MHz): 1.8-28, 50. Exchange: Name and call area (see Web site). Logs due: Oct 31. Rules

California QSO Party--Phone,CW, from Oct 2, 1600Z to Oct 3, 2200Z. Bands (MHz): 1.8-28, 50,144. Exchange: Serial and state/prov/"DX" or CA county. Logs due: Oct 31. Rules

Pennsylvania QSO Party--Phone,CW,Digital, from Oct 9, 1600Z to Oct 9, 0500Z and Oct 11, 1300Z to Oct 11, 2200Z. Bands (MHz): 1.8-28, 50,144, Frequencies: CW--40 kHz above band edge and 1.810; SSB--1.850, 3.825, 7.200, 14.280, 21.380, 28.480. Exchange: Serial and ARRL/RAC section. Logs due: Nov 15. Rules

Arizona QSO Party--Phone,CW,Digital, from Oct 9, 1600Z to Oct 10, 0600Z and Oct 10, 1400Z to Oct 10, 2359Z. Bands (MHz): 3.5-28, 50,144, Frequencies: Multiple operating periods - See Web site for frequencies. Exchange: RS(T) and AZ county or S/P/C. Logs due: Oct 31. Rules

Straight Key Weekend Sprint--CW, from Oct 10, 0000Z to Oct 10, 2359Z. Bands (MHz): 1.8-28, 50, Frequencies: Monthly on the second Sunday local time. Exchange: RST, QTH, name, member number. Logs due: 5 days. Rules

LOG DUE DATES

29 September though 12 October

September 29 - RSGB 80m Club Sprint, CW

September 30 - AGCW Straight Key Party

September 30 - Kansas QSO Party

September 30 - Hawaii QSO Party

September 30 - ALARA Contest

September 30 - Russian District Award Contest

October 1 - Feld Hell Sprint

October 4 - SARL VHF/UHF Analogue Contest

October 4 - Colorado QSO Party

October 4 - CIS DX QPSK63 Contest

October 4 - Russian RTTY WW Contest

October 5 - DARC 10-Meter Digital Contest

October 5 - International G3ZQS Memorial Straight Key Contest

October 6 - MI QRP Labor Day CW Sprint

October 8 - Tennessee QSO Party

October 8 - AGB NEMIGA Contest

October 10 - PODXS 070 Club Jay Hudak Memorial 80m Sprint

October 10 - SARTG WW RTTY Contest

October 11 - Ohio State Parks on the Air

October 11 - Swiss HTC QRP Sprint

October 12 - ARCI VHF Contest

October 12 - AGCW VHF/UHF Contest

October 12 - FISTS Get Your Feet Wet Weekend

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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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