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Contest Update Issues

The ARRL Contest Update
November 10, 2010
Editor: Ward Silver, NØAX


If you have been thinking about RTTY contesting and would like to see how it plays for DX contacts, the Worked All Europe (WAE) Digital contest is this coming weekend. Check out the interesting QTC feature of this contest, too. And the following weekend - join the excitement of ARRL Sweepstake's "second half" on phone.


Your editor is currently out of his office and pestering the inhabitants of ARRL HQ in theirs during a bi-annual visit to Newington. This cuts down on the available time for collecting and editing newsletter material, so this issue is a bit attenuated. Besides, don't you have antenna work to finish up?

Don't forget that both ARRL Sweepstakes and CQ WW have moved the log due date earlier than in past years! ARRL SS logs are due 15 days after the contest (23 Nov for CW Sweepstakes) and CQ WW SSB logs are due on Nov 21.


No reported bugs or "unintended features" in the last issue!


Complete information for all contests follows the Conversation section

Nov 13-14

  • CWops Mini-CWT Test (Nov 10)
  • Worked All Europe DX Contest--Digital
  • Japan International DX Contest--Phone
  • OK-OM DX Contest--CW
  • Kentucky QSO Party
  • CQ WE (Western Electric)
  • Straight Key Weekend Sprint

Nov 20-21

  • ARRL November Sweepstakes--Phone
  • Collegiate ARC Championship--Phone
  • Mongolia DX Contest
  • LZ DX Contest
  • All Austria 160 Meter Contest--CW
  • RSGB 1.8MHz Contest--CW
  • Homebrew and Oldtime Contest--CW
  • Run For the Bacon--CW (Nov 22)

Having received a number of comments about "missing calls" during last weekend's CW Sweepstakes, the ARRL Contest Branch would like to make it clear that the Sweepstakes exchange MUST contain the call sign of the transmitting station. Yes, you have to send your call along with the serial number, precedence (your category abbreviation), check and section. It is not necessary to send the call sign of the receiving station before the exchange, but it is good practice to do so when stations are very close together and it might be unclear who is the intended recipient. This will be clarified in the contest rules.

Of course, a monster station doesn't HURT, either! Wayyy up on top of that Azores hill, you can just make out the big antenna farm that Jeff N5TJ used at CR2X to make the leading SO-HP claimed score in this year's CQ WW SSB. (Photo by N5TJ)

Lest you think a monster station is required to make a big Sweepstakes score, Ralph N5RZ's CW Sweepstakes log of 1421 QSOs and 79 sections was made using a TH6DXX tribander at 50', a 2-element tri-band delta loop at 50', an 80 meter inverted vee at 50', and a ground-mounted Butternut vertical. The most important part of any contest station is between the ears!

The next issue of the Finnish contesting magazine PileUP! will see daylight on Jan 2, 2011. Compiled by volunteers, the editors are looking for your contributions on propagation, antennas, station accessories, international contest coordination, contesting history, your thoughts on this year's fall contest season, and humor! Contact the editors with your ideas - contributions are due by 31 Dec. (Thanks, Pileup! Editor Ilkka OH1WZ)

Mark AG9A made a stop near Amana, Iowa on his way home after putting up a big score from NØNI during CW SS - a great find on a better ham radio weekend! (Photo by AG9A)

Another couple of post-Sweepstakes reports have appeared that folks are sending around emails trying to confirm a QSO or some part of the exchange. Um, the contest was over at 0300Z on Sunday, fellas. "Log scrubbing", in which you go back and change the log to what you think you "should" have logged, isn't OK. The time between the end of the contest - when you put your metaphorical pencils down - and the log due date is to make sure your log file is properly constructed, that you have the right category of submission and operator information, and to resolve any computer file issues - NOT to go back and change the logged information. The proper response to any such fishing for information is that you'll be glad to discuss it after the log submission deadline. Check out the ARRL's "HF Contesting Guidelines" for more information.

Web Site of the Week - For a bowl full of bite-sized reading fun, try Dink N7WA's collection of the current 3830 SS CW soapbox comments from 3830 score postings. You'll find comments from Sweepstakes and other major contests, too! While you're at it, don't forget to post your photos and stories on the ARRL Soapbox page, too.


"I can copy 45 wpm. Unfortunately I can only remember 10 wpm." (Thanks, Bill W9OL)


After last weekend's head-banger of a CW Sweepstakes, the contest helmet imagined by Jeff K1NSS of Dashtoons will surely make total sense!

Have you ever wondered what Sweepstakes sounds like overseas? Nick VK2DX (aka VK1AA) provides this nice snapshot of SS contest signals on the 40 meter band in urban Sydney, VK2. This was gray line propagation to the US East Coast, an hour before local sunset. WX3B (at W3LPL) and W9RE were the strongest signals, peaking well over S9. Here's another snapshot an hour after sunset. All the above signals are 12,000-15,000 km from VK2!

That first step is a long one - here are the feet of ARRL Membership and Volunteer Programs Manager, Dave NN1N on top of his rotating tower! (Photo by NN1N)

George K5TR has posted a number of interesting high-rate contest audio recordings online. For example, during a 359 contact hour, he has posted WAV files of the fastest 10 minutes and the entire hour. Here's an MP3 of a 179 contact clock hour in ARRL Phone Sweepstakes. Jose CT1BOH has some very cool recordings of him doing some CW contests, including a few from P4ØE. (He is using two radios, so you will hear the audio from both.) And if you have ever wondered what it sounds like to be on the other end of one of those big DXpedition pileups, here is 9V1YC operating on 20 meters from VP8GEO. The wideband noise you hear in this recording is the 20 meter SSB station's phase noise.


ARRL Contest Branch Manager, Sean KX9X, announces that Field Day results are online and the extended online version of the August UHF report by John K9JK will be posted on the ARRL Contest results Web page in the next few days when supporting items such as Log Checking Reports are finished. Certificates for the 2009 ARRL 160 Meter Contest have been mailed and should be appearing in mailboxes across the land.

Here's the operator behind some of the Top Band QSOs at K3LR in the CQ WW SSB - John N2NC. Note the proper placement of the multiplier bell! (Photo by K3LR)

Nearly seven days after loading the 9482-QSO CQ WW SSB K3LR log into the ARRL's Logbook Of the World, eQSL, and the CQ WW email robot, what's the result? LOTW confirmations totaled 1743 confirmations or 18.9% based on net QSOs, with eQSL confirmations at 1356 or 14.7%. With international postage approaching $1, plus return postage, the card itself, and an envelope, the savings are substantial, to say nothing of the time savings. "Very cool," says Tim.


With the long exchange of Phone Sweepstakes coming up - remember to breathe! Before giving your exchange, inhale so that you can say it all smoothly without interruption. Leave out the unnecessary and time-consuming phrases ("please copy" and "you are" come to mind) and give out the information in the same order every time. A regular breathing rhythm actually has a calming effect, helps minimize confusion, and fights off the dreaded "Uh..." panic attacks. Sound calm, cool, and collected like a veteran! (And don't forget to give your call in the exchange as required.)


From the online QST "Way-back machine" of searchable archives, Brad AA1IP contributed this outstanding example of the ham's proclivity for reuse in the July 1965 issue. "Try using the lid from a toothpaste tube as an attractive knob. Select a rubber grommet with an outside diameter that will fit tightly inside the toothpaste lid and at the same time will fit tightly over the control shaft, so that the combination will not slip. There are many styles, shapes and colors of toothpaste lids available." Brad wonders if that would still work on equipment containing a cavity magnetron. Arnie CO2KK chimed in with the observation that the wheels from broken toy cars and trucks also make great controls!

This is an HC8N weather station - "If you can't see the towers, it's raining. If you can see the towers, it's going to rain!" (Photo and wisdom by N5KO)

The daily LF through 6 meter propagation forecasts by Thomas NZ4O are back after a ten month period of illness. Welcome back, Thomas!

The popular software package of calculators HAMCALC by George VE3ERP cannot drive printers connected to computer USB ports, but there is a solution in the form of DOS2USB. The trial version can be used for 15 days for free and converted to a permanent license for a small fee.

Technical Web Site of the Week - With the 160 meter contest season looming, dreams of full-size verticals supported by balloons take shape in the minds of the antenna-challenged. Brian N9ADG has done just that and shares his pictures thereof - give it a try!


Sights for Sore Eyes

This is the operating location for the B7P multiop station in CQ WW WWB. (Thanks, Nelson VR2AAW)

Due to the nature of this busy-ness trip, you're spared from my editorial ramblings this time and get to view some extra photos of contest activity around the bands in recent weeks. Enjoy!

73, Ward NØAX


10 Nov through 23 Nov

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.


The W1AW CW Sweepstakes team (L-R) of Sean KX9X, Ward NØAX, Mike W5MPC, and Our Founder and Permanent Op - Hiram W1AW. (Photo by KX9X)

CWops Mini-CWT Test--CW, from Nov 10, 1100Z to Nov 11, 0400Z. Bands (MHz): 3.5-14. Frequencies: Monthly on the second Wednesday, 18 to 28 kHz above band edge, multiple operating periods. Exchange: Name and member number or S/P/C. Logs due: 2 days. Rules

Worked All Europe DX Contest--Digital, from Nov 13, 0000Z to Nov 14, 2400Z. Bands (MHz): 3.5-28. Exchange: RST and serial (see Web for QTC rules). Logs due: Nov 29. Rules

This is the low-band antenna farm at OHØV - in this forest of towers are wire antennas for 160 and 80 meters and five 40 meter beams! (Photo by OH6LI)

Japan International DX Contest--Phone, from Nov 13, 0700Z to Nov 14, 1300Z. Bands (MHz): 3.5-28. Exchange: RST and JA prefecture or CQ Zone. Logs due: Dec 31. Rules

OK-OM DX Contest--CW, from Nov 13, 1200Z to Nov 14, 1200Z. Bands (MHz): 1.8-28. Exchange: RST and serial or OK/OM district. Logs due: Dec 1. Rules

Kentucky QSO Party--Phone,CW, from Nov 13, 1400Z to Nov 14, 0200Z. Bands (MHz): 1.8-28, 50, Frequencies: CW--1.815, 3.550, 7.050, 14.050, 21.050, 28.050, 50.090; SSB--1.855, 3.820, 7.240, 14.280, 21.390, 28.390, 50.190. Exchange: RST and KY county or S/P/C. Logs due: Dec 31. Rules

K3LR may not be a barefoot station, but that doesn't restrict the operators! Here's Andy N2NT on his way to nearly 3000 QSOs on 20 meters in the CQ WW SSB. (Photo by K3LR)

CQ WE (Western Electric)--Phone,CW,Digital, from Nov 13, 1900Z to Nov 15, 0500Z. Bands (MHz): 1.8-28, 50-440. Exchange: Call, name, Bell QTH, yrs of svc (see Web). Logs due: Dec 1. Rules

Straight Key Weekend Sprint--CW, from Nov 14, 0000Z to Nov 14, 2359Z. Bands (MHz): 3.5-28. Frequencies: Monthly on the second Sunday. Exchange: RST, S/P/C, SKCC nr or power. Logs due: 5 days. Rules

Homebrew and Oldtime Contest--CW, from Nov 21, 1300Z to Nov 21, 1700Z. Bands (MHz): 3.5-7. Exchange: RST, serial, and category. Logs due: Dec 21. Rules

Mongolia DX Contest--Phone,CW, from Nov 20, 0000Z to Nov 21, 2359Z. Bands (MHz): 1.8-28. Exchange: RS(T) and CQ Zone. Logs due: Dec 31.

Nutrition or Incentive? Obviously the latter as you can see - Sean KX9X is consuming a well-deserved, performance enhancing treat at W1AW in CW SS. (Photo by NØAX)

LZ DX Contest--Phone,CW, from Nov 20, 1200Z to Nov 21, 1200Z. Bands (MHz): 3.5-28. Exchange: RST and ITU Zone or LZ district. Logs due: 30 days. Rules

All Austria 160 Meter Contest--CW, from Nov 20, 1600Z to Nov 21, 0700Z. Bands (MHz): 1.8. Exchange: RST, serial, OE district. Logs due: Dec 31. Rules

ARRL November Sweepstakes--Phone, from Nov 20, 2100Z to Nov 22, 0300Z. Bands (MHz): 1.8-28. Exchange: Serial, category, call, check, ARRL sec. Logs due: Dec 8. Rules

Collegiate ARC Championship--Phone, from Nov 20, 2100Z to Nov 22, 0300Z. Bands (MHz): 1.8-28. Exchange: See ARRL Sweepstakes. Logs due: Dec 8. Rules

And here is your editor at the helm of the flagship ARRL HQ station, W1AW, during last weekend's CW SS. (Photo by W5MPC)

RSGB 1.8MHz Contest--CW, from Nov 20, 2100Z to Nov 21, 0100Z. Bands (MHz): 1.8. Exchange: RST, serial, UK district. Logs due: 16 days. Rules

Run For the Bacon--CW, from Nov 22, 0200Z to Nov 22, 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


Kentucky QSO Party--Phone,CW, from Nov 13, 1400Z to Nov 14, 0200Z. Bands (MHz): 1.8-28, 50, Frequencies: CW--1.815, 3.550, 7.050, 14.050, 21.050, 28.050, 50.090; SSB--1.855, 3.820, 7.240, 14.280, 21.390, 28.390, 50.190. Exchange: RST and KY county or S/P/C. Logs due: Dec 31. Rules


10 Nov through 23 Nov

November 10 - Oceania DX Contest, CW

November 10 - CQ SA SSB Contest

November 15 - 10-10 Int. Fall Contest, Digital

November 15 - Pennsylvania QSO Party

November 15 - Makrothen RTTY Contest

November 16 - PODXS 070 Club 160m Great Pumpkin Sprint

November 16 - Microwave Fall Sprint

November 17 - ARCI Fall QSO Party

November 18 - Illinois QSO Party

November 21 - CQ Worldwide DX Contest, SSB

November 21 - ARRL School Club Roundup

November 23 - Stew Perry Topband Challenge

November 23 - ARRL Sweepstakes Contest, CW

November 23 - NA Collegiate ARC Championship, CW

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




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