ARRL

Contest Update Issues

Preview
The ARRL Contest Update
October 13, 2010
Editor: Ward Silver, NØAX
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IN THIS ISSUE

NEW HF OPERATORS - THINGS TO DO

Limber up for the fall's major CW contests with the monthly CWops Mini-CWT Test, the QRP ARCI Fall QSO Party, make a Run for the Bacon, or see what's up on ten meters with the 10-10 Fall CW QSO Party. All of these feature more relaxed CW and are a good way to build confidence and CW savoir faire!

BULLETINS

The Stew Perry Top Band Distance Challenge Warm-Up contest is on the weekend before CQ WW SSB - October 23rd and 24th. The preceding weekend was erroneously given as the dates of the contest, but you will be lonely if you operate then. Plaque manager W7EW reports that prizes will soon be distributed for the 2009 contest, as well. (Thanks, Tree N6TR)

BUSTED QSOS

The ARRL EME Contest was listed as Oct 9/10 when it really was on Oct 2/3. The dates for Oct 30/31 are correct.

CONTEST SUMMARY

Complete information for all contests follows the Conversation section

October 16-17

  • CWops Mini-CWT Test (Oct 13)
  • Fall VHF Sprints (Oct 16, 902 MHz)
  • Great Pumpkin Sprint--Digital (Oct 16)
  • Arucaria VHF Contest
  • JARTS WW RTTY Contest
  • QRP ARCI Fall QSO Party--CW
  • Iowa QSO Party
  • New York QSO Party
  • Worked All Germany
  • Spooky Feld-Hell Sprint
  • Asia-Pacific Sprint--CW
  • Illinois QSO Party
  • Run For the Bacon--CW

October 23-24

  • Stew Perry Warmup Contest
  • School Club Roundup (Oct 18-22)
  • FOC QSO Party--CW
  • 10-10 Fall CW QSO Party
  • Scandinavian YLRA Contest
  • W/VE Islands QSO Party
NEWS, PRESS RELEASES, AND GENERAL INTEREST

WRTC is over, let WRTC begin! The Team Selection Criteria for WRTC2014 have been released, the work of a committee led by three-time WRTC champ, Dan K1TO. Fifty Team Leaders will be selected by using their 12 best scores in up to 49 qualifying events, beginning with the upcoming CW World Wide SSB Contest and continuing through ARRL DX Phone in March of 2013. A Youth Team will also be selected from applicants under age 25, WRTC2010 champs RW1AC and RA1AIP earn an automatic berth, and wild card teams will be available for special invitation. Selection areas have been adjusted from past WRTC events, but if you have been following WRTC for a while, the rules are a further refinement of the qualification process initially created by the Brazilian WRTC2006 team and adapted for WRTC2010 by the Russian sponsors.

Are you a search-and-pounce specialist? Roger K8RI's cat Stealth sure is - he's looking for the mouse-iplier, RØDENT, hiding out at the top end of the band! CQ! (Thanks, Roger K8RI)

CQ WPX Director, Randy K5ZD has been busy taking the pulse of his participants. "Everyone who submitted a log for the WPX RTTY, SSB, and CW contests this year was invited to participate in a survey about the contest. 4555 people from around the world representing all levels of experience completed the survey." You can now find parts 1 and 2 of the results online - "Should Single-Op and Single-Op Assisted by combined into one category?" and "Should Logs and Log Checking Reports be public?" among other topics.

Another online score analysis tool has been announced by Jim W7EJ, better-known as CN2R during contest season. LogQSO is a new Web application that allows you to view and analyze your CQ WW contest logs against those of the competition. Made possible by public logs, you can select up to three calls and compare the logs graphically with a number of useful filters. This should be a great strategy planning tool! I compared my score to the competition and decided I should just go to ZD8.

Not Indiana Jones, but globetrotting Steve Wright VE7CT, VP of the new Orca DXCC, shown here on Kure Atoll in 2005. (Photo by NØAX/KH7K)

EI8IC's "Mapability" Web site offers a way to tell the location of a Chinese station from the call sign. From the Ham Maps page, select "Prefix Maps 2" and then "China-Interactive". You can also take a close look at the cty_wt_mod.dat file your logging software uses. (Thanks, Jim AD1C)

A new DX and contest club has been born in British Columbia - welcome the Orca DX and Contest Club. Officers of the new club are President, Dave VE7VR; Vice President, Steve VE7CT; Secretary, John VA7JW; Treasurer, David VA7AM; and Membership Chair, Ralph VE7XF. Look for this club for VE7 multipliers in your log this fall. (Thanks, Dave VE7VR)

Learn more on the OrcaDXCC home page.

This will be confusing to the plastic owl facing True North at the top of your tower, but the constellations will be greatly different in 50,000 years! This Discovery News article featuring the work of NASA astronomer Robert Hurt shows how five famous constellations will look five myriads from now. Oops! It looks like Ursa Major sat on the Big Dipper and broke Orion's shield - that had to hurt - I wonder if ol' Ursa saw stars?

Web Site of the Week - The 53rd annual Jamboree On The Air (JOTA) takes place this weekend. If you can, host a scout or two at your amazing contest station for some world-wide fun. Or just get on and look for scouts making contacts across the bands - support interest in ham radio by these young adventurers! One of the featured exercises this year is Vuvuzela Morse Code - does that sound like fun, or what? There's more about JOTA on this ARRL Web page and don't forget JOTA's civilian sibling, the ARRL School Club Roundup from Oct 18-22!

WORD TO THE WISE

Beta: a Greek word meaning "still doesn't work." (Thanks, Bill W9OL)

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SIGHTS AND SOUNDS

N6AA and N6ZZ worked the CQ WW contest from all forty zones, but here's a contester putting zones in the log by bike. Thomas OZ1AA is pedaling his way from Denmark to Sydney, Australia! Currently as far as Wroclaw, Poland, Thomas is logging a lot of km - you can follow his progress on his blog, "Cycling the Globe".

You can follow OZ1AA along his amazing bike route, shown in this Google Maps graphic.

If you are feeling insignificant or maybe a little big for your britches, this Web site on the scale of things about us should be entertaining in either direction. (Thanks, Al AD6E)

RESULTS AND RECORDS

Extended results for the 2010 ARRL June VHF Contest are in the process of being posted to the ARRL Contest Branch Web site. The PDF package by results author, Rick K1DS, expands coverage that will be appearing in the December issue of QST. Printable line scores and the searchable database are also open. (Thanks, Sean KX9X)

Results for the 2010 Canada Day Contest have been compiled and posted online earlier than usual as a consequence of changes in the RAC printed publications policy. (Thanks, Bart VE5CPU, RAC Canada Day Contest Manager)

OPERATING TIP

The ARRL November Sweepstakes is a common first contest for new HF operators since even small stations can make a lot of contacts around the US and Canada. For those new contesters, it can be a challenge to navigate the rules and log submission process. To address those needs, the ARRL has released a first version at getting all the rules - contest-specific, general, and HF - into one convenient package. It's available on the Sweepstakes Web page as an "Operating Guide" and includes a "how to play" overview, a number of references to contest operating information, log sheets and entry forms, and examples of known-good Cabrillo headers for each operating category. Eventually, there will be one of these for each ARRL contest.

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TECHNICAL TOPICS AND INFORMATION

As VHF+ operators know, sporadic E propagation (Es) has a distinctly cyclic characteristic. Thanks to the PSK31 PropNET community, Art KA5DWI has documented cyclical-Es phenomena in a study published on the PropNET Web site. This is a great example of "advancing the radio art". (Thanks, Ev W2EV)

The Battery - by Henry Schlesinger

I just finished a very interesting book titled, "The Battery - How Portable Power Sparked a Technological Revolution" by Henry Schlesinger. If you've ever wondered about the origins and evolution of our cell-ular companions, "The Battery" will fill you in. The book starts at the beginning - static electricity - and works its way to the present day. I guarantee some surprising revelations during the journey. The book doesn't attempt to be a detailed analysis of battery technology, succeeding at offering an engaging treatment of the subject that will spur additional investigation. Amateur radio makes an appearance towards the later chapters, too - no fair skipping ahead! The book is good as a fast-charge day's read or as a chapter-at-bedtime trickle-charge. Highly recommended.

Three new state-of-the-art 7-element Yagi antenna designs have been published by Derek G4CQM. These were optimized for satellite operation, but would no doubt perform well in terrestrial applications. The interesting clamp fixtures at the end of the article might also be of interest in other antenna-building applications. (Thanks, AMSAT Bulletin ANS-283.10)

Just in case you don't get all of the antenna work done in time, it's nice to know this Norman, OK business is ready to help! (Photo by K3LR/5)

We all know the solar wind has a lot to do with ionospheric conditions - for example, a southward tack of the solar wind's Bz component bodes ill for HF propagation. Even though tenuous, the breeze flowing past the Earth still carries a lot of energy. How about putting a giant sail in space to tap some of it? And we could shunt-feed the tether, too!

More low-cost or free drawing programs surfaced this week. The first is the Open Source inkscape - the Web site hosts tutorials and forums. Google Documents includes the Drawing program and all of your files are stored on the Google servers - a good thing if you travel and want to access those drawings from any computer. GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program) is highly recommended, as well. (Thanks, Chris KG6OMK and Barry KF5GC)

If you're looking at your tiny yard as contest season gets underway and sighing in dismay, take a look at these HF antennas for limited space by Jim K9YC. The accompanying file of presentation slides sheds additional light on the subject. For domestic contests low antennas are effective and if you take steps to make them efficient, you'll be surprised at the results.

Technical Web Site of the Week - A good introduction to power supplies is available from National Semiconductor as Application Note 556 (AN-556), "Introduction to Power Supplies". It covers linear and switching power supplies, highlighting the primary differences and concerns for each type. Additional resources include:
"Power Supply Handbook" by John Fielding, ZS5JF
"Switching Regulators for Poets" by Jim Williams, Linear Technology AN-25
"Linear and Switching Voltage Regulator Fundamentals", Part 1 and Part 2, by Chester Simpson
"Power Supply Design Basics" by P. Antoniazzi
"Linear & Switching Voltage Regulator Handbook", HB206/D from On Semi (formerly Motorola)
Introductory information on Astron power supplies from the Repeater Builder Web site
(Thanks, Michael VE3TIX)

CONVERSATION

Hope Springs Eternal

Or should that be "Falling In Love Again"? I am referring, of course, to the beginning of contest season as autumn brushes broad its palette across the hills and valleys of North America. If baseball is in the post-season, can CQ Worldwide and ARRL Sweepstakes be far away? I think not.

Here and there, last-minute antenna projects are taking shape in increasing haste as the afternoon shadows lengthen earlier and fingers get a little stiffer in the cooler evenings of fall. The HF bands have vivified a bit and the Top Banders are agog from a good start to the trans-oceanic months, too. October seasons every State, Province, and Country with pinches of prestidigitation for the radio amateur.

The 10 meter tower at K3LR looks ready and able at his Pennsylvania QTH, don't you think? (Photo by K3LR)

Take a few minutes to savor those outdoor hours, whether you are launching a line upwards or resting comfortably in your harness after a climb up the tower. In the warm, yellow light, the bravura of colorful hillsides and thickets make for a memorable view. I have been known to ascend a ways just to get up above the ground and listen to the wind and the rustle of dry leaves that before the hurricane will surely fly, even once surprising a passing flock of geese descending to a landing on their journey south.

You can almost feel the signals in an autumnal antenna, so full of promise and anticipation! I don't know what it is, but the soldering is done a little more thoroughly, the knots tied a bit more ship-shape, and the U-bolts snugged up just right between Labor Day and Halloween. It's a well-known secret fable that volts are just a little juicier after the equinox! Even the electrons know, don't they?

So, here's to those of you out there in the back yard, on the rooftop, and at the top rung, wrestling wire or armstronging aluminum against the coming winter - and to our southern siblings just now entering their vernal season - I toast you with a cup of apple cider, inhaling the tang of fallen leaves and squinting skyward at the antenna farm festooning the trees and towers. Is it big enough and high enough? Of course not, but it's ready - and so am I. See you on the bands!

73, Ward NØAX

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CONTESTS

13 October through 26 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

CWops Mini-CWT Test--CW, from Oct 13, 1100Z to Oct 14, 0400Z. Bands (MHz): 3.5-14. Frequencies: 18 to 28 kHz above band edge. Exchange: Name and member number or S/P/C. Logs due: 2 days. Rules

Great Pumpkin Sprint--Digital, from Oct 16, 8 PM to Oct 17, 2 AM. Bands (MHz): 1.8. Exchange: RST and S/P/C. Logs due: Nov 16. Rules

JARTS WW RTTY Contest--Digital, from Oct 16, 0000Z to Oct 17, 2400Z. Bands (MHz): 3.5-28. Exchange: RST and age (YL may send '00'). Logs due: Nov 30. Rules

QRP ARCI Fall QSO Party--CW, from Oct 16, 1200Z to Oct 17, 2400Z. Bands (MHz): 1.8-28. Exchange: RS(T), S/P/C, QRP ARCI number or pwr. Logs due: Nov 18. Rules

Iowa QSO Party--Phone,CW,Digital, from Oct 16, 1400Z to Oct 16, 2300Z. Bands (MHz): 1.8-28, 50+. Exchange: RS(T) and IA county, state/prov, or "DX". Logs due: Nov 9. Rules

New York QSO Party--Phone,CW,Digital, from Oct 16, 1400Z to Oct 17, 0200Z. Bands (MHz): 1.8-28, 50+, Frequencies: CW--1.820, 3.550, 7.050, 14.050, 21.050, 28.050; Phone--1.870, 3.825, 7.200, 14.290, 21.350, 28.400. Exchange: RS(T), NY county, state/prov, or "DX". Logs due: 14 days. Rules

Worked All Germany--Phone,CW, from Oct 16, 1500Z to Oct 17, 1459Z. Bands (MHz): 3.5-28. Exchange: RS(T) and serial or DOK code. Logs due: 14 days. Rules

Spooky Feld-Hell Sprint--Digital, from Oct 16, 2000Z to Oct 16, 2200Z. Bands (MHz): 3.5-7,21-28. Exchange: RST, Feld-Hell nr, S/P/C, and 10-10 nr. Logs due: 2 weeks. Rules

Asia-Pacific Sprint--CW, from Oct 17, 0000Z to Oct 17, 0200Z. Bands (MHz): 14-21. Exchange: RST and serial. Logs due: 7 days. Rules http://jsfc.org/apsprint/aprule.txt

Illinois QSO Party--Phone,CW, from Oct 17, 1700Z to Oct 18, 0100Z. Bands (MHz): 1.8-28, 50,144. Exchange: RS(T) and IL county or S/P/C. Logs due: Nov 18. Rules

Run For the Bacon--CW, from Oct 18, 0200Z to Oct 18, 0400Z. Bands (MHz): 1.8-28. Frequencies: Monthly on the third Sunday local time. Exchange: RST, S/P/C, Flying Pig nr or power. Rules

School Club Roundup--Phone,CW,Digital, from Oct 18, 1300Z to Oct 22, 2400Z. Bands (MHz): 1.8-28, 50+. Exchange: RST, class and S/P/C. Logs due: 30 days. Rules

Stew Perry Warmup Contest--CW, from Oct 23, 1500Z to Oct 24, 1500Z. Bands (MHz): 1.8. Exchange: 4-char grid square. Logs due: Nov 18. Rules

FOC QSO Party--CW, from Oct 23, 0000Z to Oct 23, 2359Z. Bands (MHz): 1.8-28, 50,144. Exchange: RST, name, and FOC number if member. Logs due: Oct 30. Rules

10-10 Fall CW QSO Party--CW, from Oct 23, 0001Z to Oct 24, 2359Z. Bands (MHz): 28. Exchange: Call, name, 10-10 number, S/P/C. Logs due: Nov 8. Rules

Scandinavian YLRA Contest--Phone,CW,Digital, from Oct 23, 1000Z to Oct 24, 1000Z. Bands (MHz): 3.5-28. Frequencies: See Web site. Exchange: RS(T) and "88" (YLs) or "73" (OMs). Logs due: Nov 30. Rules

W/VE Islands QSO Party--Phone,CW,Digital, from Oct 23, 1600Z to Oct 24, 2359Z. Bands (MHz): 1.8-28, 50. Exchange: RS(T) and S/P/C or island designator. Logs due: Nov 30. Rules

VHF+ CONTESTS

Fall VHF Sprints--Phone,CW,Digital, from Oct 16, 6 AM to Oct 16, 12 PM. Bands (MHz): 902+. Exchange: 6-char grid locator. Logs due: 4 weeks. Rules

Arucaria VHF Contest--Phone,CW, from Oct 16, 0000Z to Oct 17, 1600Z. Bands (MHz): 50,144. Exchange: RS(T) and 4-char grid square. Logs due: 10 days. Rules

Iowa QSO Party--Phone,CW,Digital, from Oct 16, 1400Z to Oct 16, 2300Z. Bands (MHz): 1.8-28, 50+. Exchange: RS(T) and IA county, state/prov, or "DX". Logs due: Nov 9. Rules

New York QSO Party--Phone,CW,Digital, from Oct 16, 1400Z to Oct 17, 0200Z. Bands (MHz): 1.8-28, 50+, Frequencies: CW--1.820, 3.550, 7.050, 14.050, 21.050, 28.050; Phone--1.870, 3.825, 7.200, 14.290, 21.350, 28.400. Exchange: RS(T), NY county, state/prov, or "DX". Logs due: 14 days. Rules

Illinois QSO Party--Phone,CW, from Oct 17, 1700Z to Oct 18, 0100Z. Bands (MHz): 1.8-28, 50,144. Exchange: RS(T) and IL county or S/P/C. Logs due: Nov 18. Rules

School Club Roundup--Phone,CW,Digital, from Oct 18, 1300Z to Oct 22, 2400Z. Bands (MHz): 1.8-28, 50+. Exchange: RST, class and S/P/C. Logs due: 30 days. Rules

FOC QSO Party--CW, from Oct 23, 0000Z to Oct 23, 2359Z. Bands (MHz): 1.8-28, 50,144. Exchange: RST, name, and FOC number if member. Logs due: Oct 30. Rules

W/VE Islands QSO Party--Phone,CW,Digital, from Oct 23, 1600Z to Oct 24, 2359Z. Bands (MHz): 1.8-28, 50. Exchange: RS(T) and S/P/C or island designator. Logs due: Nov 30. Rules

LOG DUE DATES

13 October through 26 October

October 13 - ARRL September VHF QSO Party

October 15 - SKCC Weekend Sprint

October 16 - North American Sprint, RTTY

October 17 - EU Autumn Sprint, SSB

October 17 - International HELL-Contest

October 17 - UBA ON Contest, 6m

October 18 - RSGB 21/28 MHz Contest

October 18 - EPC Russia DX Contest

October 18 - Connecticut QSO Party

October 19 - ARRL 10 GHz and Up Contest

October 19 - QCWA Fall QSO Party

October 19 - Scandinavian Activity Contest, CW

October 20 - South Carolina QSO Party

October 20 - 144 MHz Fall Sprint

October 20 - QRP Afield

October 22 - SARL 80m QSO Party

October 24 - EU Autumn Sprint, CW

October 24 - UBA ON Contest, SSB

October 25 - 10-10 Int. 10-10 Day Sprint

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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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