ARRL

Contest Update Issues

Preview
The ARRL Contest Update
September 28, 2011
Editor: Ward Silver, NØAX
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IN THIS ISSUE

NEW HF OPERATORS - THINGS TO DO

If you enjoyed the Texas QSO Party last weekend, the California QSO Party or CQP is another great warm-up for contest season (as are all of the big state and regional QSO parties) and provides for a lot of county-hunting fun. All 58 counties will be active to one degree or another including some that are hard to work. The Pennsylvania and Arizona QSO parties follow hot on California's heels, too. Or turn your beam towards the South Pacific for some Oceania DX Contest fun!

BULLETINS

There are no bulletins in this issue.

BUSTED QSOS

No tarnish has been reported on the previous issue.

CONTEST SUMMARY

Complete information for all contests follows the Conversation section

Oct 1-2

  • PSK Rumble - The Fall Classic
  • EPC Russia DX Contest--Digital
  • Oceania DX Phone Contest--Phone
  • Worked All Britain HF Contest--Phone
  • California QSO Party
  • EU Autumn Sprint--Phone
  • RSGB 21/28 MHz Contest
  • ARS Spartan Sprint--CW (Oct 4)
  • Fall VHF Sprints--432 MHz (Oct 5)

Oct 7-8

  • SNS and NS Weekly Sprints--CW (Oct 7)
  • DX/NA YLRL Anniversary Party (Oct 7)
  • Makrothen RTTY Contest
  • Oceania DX CW Contest
  • Scandinavian Activity Contest--Phone
  • Arizona QSO Party
  • EU Autumn Sprint--CW
  • Pennsylvania QSO Party
  • FISTS Fall Sprint--CW
  • North American RTTY Sprint
  • SKCC Weekend Sprintathon--CW
  • 10-10 Sprint (Oct 10)
NEWS, PRESS RELEASES, AND GENERAL INTEREST

Kirk K4RO must be checking out a new ride for that bicycle mobile entry he's planning for next year's Tennesee QSO Party. (Photo by NØAX)

There are new fingertips at the editorial helm of the National Contest Journal as Kirk Pickering K4RO takes command from Al Dewey, KØAD. Kirk has written the popular "Contesting 101" column for several years and brings years of contest experience to the job. He's also the current president of the Tennessee Contest Group and is a regular high-scorer in major contests. Kirk also plays a number of instruments and is a founding member of the Spurious Emissions.

A new record for solar flux (a GOOD record) in sunspot cycle 24 was reached at 2000 UTC on Sep 24 according to the Penticton observatory. Tomas NW7US observes, "(the) Last time the radio flux was at this level was 2003-Nov-02. That's over eight years ago!"

The CQ Worldwide Contest's "Xtreme" category will have a new entrant this year from the KP2B team of WP3A, KP2BH, KP4TR, K2DER, WP3C, and KP4WW. You can learn more about their plans as they develop from the website. Perhaps your club could put together an "xtreme team"! (Thanks, Jaime WP3A)

It's not just us - everybody likes to build things! In the furniture business, it's referred to as the IKEA Effect by which people value their own home-assembled pieces more than ready-built. I'm sure that kit owners feel the same way.

HamJam 2011 kicks off again this year on October 22nd. Held in Roswell, the one-day event features a great lineup of speakers and leaves plenty of time for enjoying the area and socializing.

NASA reports that solar flares (like the one that happened on Monday) may affect Earth even more than previously thought! The secret is in the extreme UV data showing a large amount of energy being emitted well after the main event. Here is a video showing a big flare at many different high-energy wavelengths - I don't think sunblock lotion would be of much help! (Thanks, Tom K1KI and Tim K3LR)

The editorial staff of Pileup! magazine take their dimensional analysis quite seriously!

The next PileUP! on-line magazine will have as its theme, "The Last Blast". You can see the editors busily preparing the issue in the photograph! All contributions are welcome in any dimension - except time as the deadline is 15 December. (Thanks, Ilkka OH1WZ)

Another changing of the guard was announced for the QRP ARCI as long-time contest manager, Jeff VA3JFF turns over the reins to Jim K9JWV. The QRP ARCI contest program is a great way for new contesters to get started. (Thanks, Jim K9JWV)

A little Sweepstakes history - the oldest domestic contest, beginning in January 1930, it was called "The All-Section Sweepstakes Contest". It was truly a relay contest with 1 point for sending a complete message with at least 10 words of text in correct message format and 1 point for receiving a similar message. Most stations worked were not in the contest and had to be schooled (on the air) on the desired info exchange. 68 sections were possible and 48 sections participated. The contest ran for 14 days on 80, 40, and 20 meters - mostly CW but some phone entries. The first winner was W1ADW with a whopping 153 QSOs in 43 sections - when did he have time to sleep? (Thanks, SS Manager, Larry K5OT)

For those of you up too late and for whom a reckoning of rambling ruminants has not produced the desired result, Bill K2TT recommends this document of Federal procedures related to RF spectrum allocation.

Curious minds want to know - what is the name of the clever combinations of phonetics that makes a phrase out of a ham call sign? For example, WJ1B (ARRL COO, Harold Kramer) becomes "Works Just One Band". Harold suggests "hamonym" and there is no obvious other "-nym word" but perhaps your editor is just a big nymcompoop.

Web Site of the Week - The annual Jamboree On The Air (JOTA) happens this year on October 15 and 16. During this annual event Scouts and Guides all over the world speak to each other over Amateur Radio. Most Scout stations depend on local volunteer efforts of hams. You can help set up a station, volunteer your own station, or just answer calls on the air from scout stations. Help demonstrate Amateur Radio to Scouts from either end of the contact!

WORD TO THE WISE

Shunt - as in "shunt-fed tower", means a component connected in a parallel circuit so that current can bypass some other component or connection. Shunt connections are often from an energized conductor to ground. To "shunt-feed" means to use an impedance-matching circuit connected between an antenna's feed point and a ground system.

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SIGHTS AND SOUNDS

You may remember "Come and Join Us on the Airwaves" by Andrew-John OZ5E and his wife Lissa who were filmed singing at various heights on a tower with the beautiful Danish countryside in the background. They've just updated the video to HD and you can view it here! (Thanks, Bill WA6ITF)

No, it's not the vortex of a time machine - but you're close! It's the inside view of NN1N's tower with some new elements attached at the top! (Photo by NN1N)

Al AD6E recommends the videos of obsolete technology from the Museum of Obsolete Objects, particularly the rotary telephone and abacus. The telegraph key is listed as having been made obsolete in 2007 but that would be news to the hams I'm listening to on 10 meters at the moment!

What's the latest with K1JSS' Dash, the Dog-faced Ham? There's always something interesting with Dash such as his trendy new radio and the Giant Opera Lady Antenna at the North Pole.

RESULTS AND RECORDS

Dink N7WA has just published the Soapbox comments from the CQ Worldwide RTTY and Texas QSO Party contests. What's the post-contest scene? Find out from these compilations of scores submitted via the 3830 claimed-score reporting web site.

The preliminary results of the July 2011 NAQP RTTY contest are posted online. Congratulations to AA5AU for top Single-Op and W6YX for top Multi-Two scores. (Thanks, NAQP RTTY Manager, Mark K6UFO)

The preliminary results for the recent North American CW Sprint can be found on the NCJ website. Congrats to Steve, N2IC/5, on his victory. (Thanks, NA CW Sprint Manager, Tree N6TR)

The eleventh USA ARDF Championships and sixth IARU Region 2 ARDF Championships have just wrapped up in Albuquerque, New Mexico. You can learn about the competitions on the Homing In website, maintained by Joe KØOV.

Preliminary results of last month's Worked All Europe DX CW Contest can now be found online. (Thanks, WAE DX Contest Manager, Joerg HB9/DL8WPX)

Who's the fastest operator? Has anyone ever run a 300-hour on CW? Or a 500-hour on Phone? You can find out on the top rate list maintained by OH1NOA. This list includes CW and SSB rates calculated both by clock hour and from "best 60 minutes". (Thanks, Jim AD1C)

WRTC teammates Al N5UM (left) and Tim K3LR help Skylar AE5RP (front) and Joseph AE5ZF during Field Day at K5EOK - 3A in Edmond, OK. The boys had quite a time running stations on 6 meters! (Photo from K3LR)

If you are wondering about the overall history of contest scores, browse on over to the K5TR Contest Score database. George K5TR and a team of volunteers have entered hundreds of thousands of line scores from many major contests dating back into the 1970's in some cases. Of course, you'll enter your own call first - we all do - but this is a very useful search tool for all sorts of purposes. There are many more contest scores to be entered! If you would like to volunteer or just find out what's involved, email George.

OPERATING TIP

Today's tip from new Sweepstakes Manager, Larry K5OT works not only for Sweepstakes but for many domestic contests in which even a Little Pistol can be plenty loud. "If you are new contester or if it's been a while since your last one, don't spend all of your time searching and pouncing to find stations to work. Find a clear frequency high in the band and call CQ! Keep it short - like a 1-by-2 : CQ SS KAY FIVE TANGO RADIO, KAY FIVE TANGO RADIO CONTEST. If someone answers, work them and call CQ again. If you get a 'THIS FREQUENCY IS BUSY' or 'QRL', don't be upset. Spin the dial and find another spot to land. Keep the transmissions brief and frequent, and you will be surprised at how many stations will find you."

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TECHNICAL TOPICS AND INFORMATION

The best gorilla hooks Dave AB7E knows about "are extremely strong (check the specs) and very light weight (only one pound each). I use three of them ... two on the end of climbing straps so that I am never disconnected from the tower while climbing, and a third one on my belt so that I can cinch myself up close to the tower while working." Dave particularly likes them because, "The throat opening is large enough to get around the cross braces on my AN Wireless heavy duty tower, and also around the 2-inch diameter mast when I get to the top of the tower."

A better and less expensive choice than carbon composition resistor for most applications that require high peak surge capacity and low inductance is the Ohmite "OY" series of ceramic composition resistors. These can be used as antenna or transmission line terminations or static discharge resistors. (Thanks, Paul, W9AC)

Tony K1KP recommends a delta loop as a low-band antenna with vertical polarization but that does not need a good ground. "An equilateral triangle, apex up, fed ΒΌ-wavelength from the top, will give vertical polarization. The bottom leg of the delta loop can be only a few feet off the ground and it provides the 'ground return' for the antenna. The impedance of a single loop is around 100 ohms and can be matched with an electrical quarter wave of 75-ohm coax."

Dick N4ARO wasn't expecting a literal "tip of the cap" from the AB4KE group as he pursued his 5BWAS during Field Day! (Photo by N4ARO)

Here's a topic that I know we all wrestle with from time to time - wires. More accurately, the large number of wires involved with "wireless" and their management. This problem has been multiplied by the addition of computers to the station, so listen in as the Slashdot crowd discusses the problem from the network point-of-view.

Ramsey Kits has updated their venerable 555 timer kits - these are useful for all sorts of timing jobs and are easily modified or adapted to custom jobs. These new kits use terminal blocks for connections which is more convenient than having to solder directly to the board. There are both through-hole and SMT versions.

Nuts and Volts sells a kit for a small bench-type supply that supplies +5 V and +/-12 V. This supply is a very useful item for testing and breadboarding analog and digital circuits.

When your radial field is limited to short distances from the base of the antenna, a roll of mesh is equivalent to a large number of individual radials - with the further advantage that you can roll them all up at once. You can read NCØB's Ham Radio article in which he compared several different layouts for a given amount of mesh. (Thanks, Ian GM3SEK)

Here's a link to a Microsoft blog that announces release of a new app that allows a single mouse to be used with multiple Windows computers. Pat W5VY thinks this may have potential for use in SO2R (Single-Op, Two Radio) stations.

Hams have club houses, the do-it-yourselfers have "hacker spaces". This should all look very familiar and attractive to hams. There is probably a hacker space near you if you live in a suburban or metropolitan area, such as LVL1 in Louisville, KY. (Thanks, George K5KG)

Technical Web Site of the Week - Tektronix veteran, Don W7WLL recommends the YouTube videos by W2AEW as really good tutorials on using an oscilloscope for ham radio measurements. He also has an excellent video at the same site titled "Scopes For Dopes" - it is an excellent tutorial for those who are daunted by the oscilloscope.

CONVERSATION

Elmer Tried

It's the start of the northern hemisphere's season of major contests and that occasionally leads some of our more competitive peers to leave the straight and narrow. Doctor Beldar decided a song was in order and here is his degradation of Merle Haggard's famous, "Mama Tried".

73, Ward NØAX

The first thing I remember knowing,
Was the filaments a-glowing,
And a Novice dream of Yagis way up high.
Seeking plaques of walnut brown,
In my ham shack hunkered down,
No-one could change my mind but Elmer tried.

Once a contest wonder child,
From a ham club, meek and mild:
My Elmer seemed to know what lay in store.
Despite all my license learning,
Towards DQ, I kept on turning.
'Til Elmer couldn't hold me anymore.

And I turned twenty-one unlicensed, ticket down the toilet bowl.
No-one could steer me right but Elmer tried, Elmer tried.
Elmer tried to show me better, but his teaching, I denied.
That leaves only me to blame 'cause Elmer tried.

That old Heathkit, rest its soul,
Couldn't take the contest load;
So I replaced it with some three-hole shoes.

Logging spots with calls I guessed
Rubber-clocking all the rest
Elmer tried to raise me right but I refused.

And I turned twenty-one unlicensed, ticket down the toilet bowl.
No-one could steer me right but Elmer tried, Elmer tried.
Elmer tried to show me better, but his teaching, I denied.
That leaves only me to blame 'cause Elmer tried.

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CONTESTS

28 September through 11 October 2011

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

PSK Rumble - The Fall Classic--Digital, from Oct 1, 0000Z to Oct 1, 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 1, 0400Z to Oct 2, 0359Z . Bands (MHz): 1.8-28. Exchange: EPC member nr or serial and grid square. Logs due: Oct 17. Rules

Oceania DX Phone Contest--Phone, from Oct 1, 0800Z to Oct 2, 0800Z. Bands (MHz): 1.8-28. Exchange: RS and serial. Logs due: Nov 7. Rules

Worked All Britain HF Contest--Phone, from Oct 1, 1200Z to Oct 2, 1200Z. Bands (MHz): 14-28. Exchange: RS, serial, DXCC entity or WAB area. Logs due: Oct 23. Rules

California QSO Party--Phone,CW, from Oct 1, 1600Z to Oct 2, 2200Z. Bands (MHz): 1.8-28, 50,144. Exchange: Serial and state/prov/"DX" or CA county. Logs due: Oct 31. Rules

EU Autumn Sprint--Phone, from Oct 1, 1600Z to Oct 1, 1959Z. Bands (MHz): 3.5-14. Exchange: Both call signs, serial, name. Logs due: 15 days. Rules

RSGB 21/28 MHz Contest--Phone,CW, from Oct 2, 0700Z to Oct 2, 1900Z. Bands (MHz): 21,28. Exchange: Serial and UK district. Logs due: Oct 17. Rules

ARS Spartan Sprint--CW, from Oct 4, 0200Z to Oct 4, 0400Z. Bands (MHz): 3.5-28. Monthly on the first Monday evening local time. Exchange: RST, S/P/C, and power. Logs due: 2 days. Rules

SNS and NS Weekly Sprints--CW, from Oct 7, 0200Z to Oct 7, 0300Z. Bands (MHz): 1.8-14. Weekly on Thursday evenings local time. Exchange: Serial, name, and S/P/C. Logs due: 2 days. Rules

DX/NA YLRL Anniversary Party--Phone,CW,Digital, from Oct 7, 1400Z to Oct 9, 0200Z. Bands (MHz): 1.8-28. Exchange: Serial, RST, and section/province/country. Logs due: 30 days. Rules

Makrothen RTTY Contest--Digital, from Oct 8, 0000Z to Oct 9, 1600Z. Bands (MHz): 3.5-28. Multiple operating periods. Exchange: 4-character grid square. Logs due: Nov 14. Rules

Oceania DX CW Contest--CW, from Oct 8, 0800Z to Oct 9, 0800Z. Bands (MHz): 1.8-28. Exchange: RST and serial. Logs due: Nov 7. Rules

Scandinavian Activity Contest--Phone, from Oct 8, 1200Z to Oct 9, 1200Z. Bands (MHz): 3.5-28. Exchange: RS and serial. Logs due: Oct 23. Rules

Arizona QSO Party--Phone,CW,Digital, from Oct 8, 1600Z to Oct 9, 0600Z and Oct 9, 1400Z to Oct 9, 2359Z. Bands (MHz): 3.5-28, 50,144. Multiple operating periods - See website for frequencies. Exchange: RS(T) and AZ county or S/P/C. Logs due: Oct 31. Rules

EU Autumn Sprint--CW, from Oct 8, 1600Z to Oct 8, 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 8, 1600Z to Oct 8, 0500Z and Oct 10, 1300Z to Oct 10, 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 14. Rules

FISTS Fall Sprint--CW, from Oct 8, 1700Z to Oct 8, 2100Z. Bands (MHz): 3.5-28. Exchange: RST, S/P/C, name, FISTS number or pwr. Logs due: 30 days. Rules http://www.fists.org

North American RTTY Sprint--Digital, from Oct 9, 0000Z to Oct 9, 0400Z. Bands (MHz): 3.5-14. Exchange: Both call signs, serial, QTH, name. Logs due: 7 days. Rules

SKCC Weekend Sprintathon--CW, from Oct 9, 0000Z to Oct 9, 2359Z. Bands (MHz): 1.8-28, 50. Monthly on the second Sunday local time. Exchange: RST, QTH, name, SKCC nr or "none". 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

VHF+ CONTESTS

Fall VHF Sprints--Phone,CW,Digital, from Oct 5, 7 PM to Oct 5, 11 PM. Bands (MHz): 432. Exchange: 4-character grid square. Logs due: 4 weeks. Rules

PSK Rumble - The Fall Classic--Digital, from Oct 1, 0000Z to Oct 1, 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 1, 1600Z to Oct 2, 2200Z. Bands (MHz): 1.8-28, 50,144. Exchange: Serial and state/prov/"DX" or CA county. Logs due: Oct 31. Rules

Arizona QSO Party--Phone,CW,Digital, from Oct 8, 1600Z to Oct 9, 0600Z and Oct 9, 1400Z to Oct 9, 2359Z. Bands (MHz): 3.5-28, 50,144. Multiple operating periods - See website for frequencies. Exchange: RS(T) and AZ county or S/P/C. Logs due: Oct 31. Rules

Pennsylvania QSO Party--Phone,CW,Digital, from Oct 8, 1600Z to Oct 8, 0500Z and Oct 10, 1300Z to Oct 10, 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 14. Rules

SKCC Weekend Sprintathon--CW, from Oct 9, 0000Z to Oct 9, 2359Z. Bands (MHz): 1.8-28, 50. Monthly on the second Sunday local time. Exchange: RST, QTH, name, SKCC nr or "none". Logs due: 5 days. Rules

LOG DUE DATES

28 September through 11 October 2011

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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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