ARRL

Contest Update Issues

Preview
The ARRL Contest Update
April 25, 2012
Editor: Ward Silver, NØAX
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IN THIS ISSUE

NEW HF OPERATORS - THINGS TO DO

There are several "targeted" contests coming up that are excellent opportunities for new HF operators. In the DX arena you'll find the Helvetia (Swiss), SP DX RTTY (Polish), and ARI International (Italian) contests. Here in the US you can operate in two regional (New England and 7th District) and two state (Nebraska and Florida) QSO parties. Get your logging software configured and have fun!

BULLETINS

The ARRL Programs and Services Committee has approved a rule change for ARRL VHF+ contests effective beginning in 2013 (not this year) to create a Single-Op FM-only category (100 W max, 50/144/222/440 MHz) and a three-band Single-Op category (100 W PEP on 50 and 144 MHz, 50 W PEP on 432 MHz). These changes will apply to the January, June, and September contests - again, beginning with the 2013 January VHF Sweepstakes.

BUSTED QSOS

Info on the 7QP came from K4XU/N7XU which your editor comingulated to K7XU. The proprietor of RF Technology International is K9AY, not K9AG. But do check out the magazine, regardless! (Thanks, Pete N4ZR and Tom K1KI)

CONTEST SUMMARY

Complete information for all contests follows the Conversation section

April 28-29

  • VHF Spring Sprints--432 MHz (Apr 25)
  • Worldwide EME Contest
  • Ten-Ten Spring Digital Contest
  • Nebraska QSO Party
  • SP DX RTTY Contest
  • Helvetia Contest
  • QRP To The Field--CW
  • Florida QSO Party
  • BARTG 75 Sprint

May 5-6

  • 2 GHz and Up World Wide Contest
  • Microwave Spring Sprint
  • Ten-Ten Spring CW Contest
  • 7th Area QSO Party
  • Indiana QSO Party
  • Radio Club of America QSO Party--Phone
  • ARI International DX Contest
  • New England QSO Party
  • ARS Spartan Sprint--CW (May 8)
  • OK1WC Memorial Contest (May 8)

A reminder - check out the online contest calendars of WA7BNM and SM3CER. They often have additional contests to those listed here, including links to the sponsoring websites.

NEWS, PRESS RELEASES, AND GENERAL INTEREST

WRTC 2014, Inc., host of the 2014 World Radiosport Team Championship, is pleased to announce the first two tent sponsors from Europe - the Contest Club of Finland (sponsor of WRTC 2002) and Contest University (CTU) Italy 2012. WRTC 2014 provides each of the 59 teams a complete operating location including tent, tower, antenna, generator, etc. Tent sponsorships of $1,000 from clubs and other groups help to provide the funding for this equipment. Here in the US, the Northern California Contest Club, Potomac Valley Radio Club, Society of Midwest Contesters, and Yankee Clipper Contest Club have each sponsored two or more tents.

Dan N6MJ is the winner of this year's Jim Maxwell Memorial Award trophy for contributions to the NCCC Sweepstakes score. (Photo by N6TV)

Dave W9ZRX is making his first and LAST call for VHF Contest Logs for the 2012 Super Check Partial (SCP) Database. Due to some upcoming surgery, the June release will be the only release in 2012. Please do continue to send Dave your 2012 Contest logs for the remainder of the year - they will be archived for the 2013 release.

Ed WA3WSJ has released a new Kindle book "Amateur Radio and the Great Outdoors" on the joys of operating "out and about." 300 pages long, it covers all sorts of topics associated with portable operation - antennas, power sources, hiking, safety, and more. This is a companion to Ed's "Amateur Radio Pedestrian Mobile" book.

European Sprint Manager, Dave G4BUO writes, "Unfortunately we have had a number of problems with the European Sprint and a new email address for logs was not ready in time. If you get a bounce message from the published address for logs please email your log directly to me at sprint@g4buo.com. I want to give thanks publicly to Dima, RW3FO who has been working very hard to keep the EU Sprint show on the road, including spending many hours processing the logs from the autumn contest, after our new checking software became unavailable."

Dick K6KAL has created a Frequency Display add-on for N1MM that shows main VFO and secondary VFO frequencies in a variable window and font size, variable font size, type, and color to make the information easier to see. (Thanks, Larry N6NC)

AMSAT is closing in on the $6500 needed to purchase the special high-efficiency, space-rated solar panels for its new Fox-1 Cube-Sat that will act as a temporary replacement for AO-51, lost to battery failure. Five additional Cube-Sats from Japan, Vietnam, and the United States are in final preparation for launch to the ISS in July in a Japanese re-supply mission. If your Field Day group is planning on obtaining the bonus points for a satellite QSO, not having AO-51 means a lot of congestion on the FM-only AO-27 and ISS space-borne repeaters. Check out the AMSAT Field Day operational rules before making your final plans - you might want to try the birds featuring linear transponders that can handle more signals on CW and SSB.

The DXCoffee website has published an interview on DX operating with contester and DXpeditioner, Bill N7OU. Bill traded a home station for 100% expeditioning some years again and is thoroughly enjoying himself. (Thanks, Christian IX1CKN)

Here's a good reason to go to conventions. Knut DK5AD (left) and Franz DK1II hadn't seen each other since their university days and didn't know the other was coming to Visalia until they both sat down at the same lunch table! (Photo by NØAX)

Technical papers are being solicited for presentation at the 31st Annual ARRL and TAPR Digital Communications Conference on September 21-23, 2012 in Atlanta, Georgia. Please send papers to: Maty Weinberg, ARRL, 225 Main St., Newington, CT 06111 or via e-mail to: maty@arrl.org.

Web Site of the Week - Along with remembering the Titanic in this centennial year of its sinking, there is an elevated interest in early radio. The IEEE Spectrum discusses the Titanic's role in radio reform and Doug K1DG tips us to the Communications Act of 1912 that led Amateur Radio into the "200 meters and down" wilderness (see Section 15) with all that came next. Imagine what a shock it must have been in those days to discover that the short waves were open during the day! If that paragraph had been absent, so would have modern ham radio. A BBC Titanic "special broadcast" converts the wireless telegraphy to voice, including losing the signal as the ship sunk. Tim K3LR recommends the portions from 4:43 - 23:00 and after 26:28 as the best parts of the nearly hour-long program.

WORD TO THE WISE

Brag tape - a pre-programmed message describing a station's equipment and accomplishments. The word "tape" recalls the long-gone days when RTTY teleprinters used punched paper tape to store messages.

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SIGHTS AND SOUNDS

This looks like the ultimate transmitter - don't you think everyone should have one? (Thanks, Jim K7WA)

Here's another reason to go to conventions - where else would you see a giant, stilt-wearing Elvis with a call sign badge? (aka - Noel AG6KA) No longer was Jeff WK6I one of the tallest in the room as he signs ELV1S' first-time attendee card. (Photo by NØAX)

Photos from the Visalia International DX Convention have been published by Bob N6TV and Hector XE2K. You'll recognize a lot of the call signs - and there are lots of smiling faces, too.

Top-scoring Rookie Roundup participant Ashley K6NAA was captured on video making a couple of contacts by station host and contest Elmer, Bob N6TV.

RESULTS AND RECORDS

Expanded results for the 2011 ARRL Phone and CW Sweepstakes, including excellent in-depth articles by Steve London N2IC and Kelly Taylor VE4XT, results databases and Log-Checking reports, are now online. Also on-line as of today is the extended version of Gary K9AY's 160 Meter Contest report. Results for the April 15th Rookie Roundup have been released today, too. (Thanks, ARRL Contest Branch Manager, Sean KX9X)

What do these guys have in common? On the left is Mark NN7SS - the 2011 ARRL SS QRP Phone winner. On the right is Pat N9RV - the 2011 ARRL SS HP Phone winner. What do they also have in common? They didn't work each other! (Photos by NØAX)

Looking for the line scores of ARRL contests? "Full line scores for all ARRL contests are already available on-line. Select your favorite contest, and select "Printable Line Scores". (Thanks, Steve N2IC)

WRTC-2014 standings have been updated to include the official results from CQ WPX CW, All Asia DX CW and SSB, WAE CW and SSB, and ARRL Sweepstakes CW. Team Selection Direction, Dan K1TO is getting excited - "22 down, 33 to go! Once again, the standings show a number of new leaders in their Selection Areas. CQ WPX CW next month is the 35th qualifying event out of the 55 total events so there are still 21 events left to operate!"

The CQ WPX Contest's "official" high claimed scores just went online. The 5,264 logs submitted so far is a new record for the contest. Scores are calculated by the log checking software and before any reductions. (Logs submitted as check logs are not included in the claimed scores.) Please check that your log has been placed in the correct category. Any feedback or corrections should be made to k5zd@cqwpx.com. Even though 10 meters didn't open as much as everyone had hoped, we still had a number of record scores and stations across the US are seen in the Top Ten. (Thanks, CQ WPX Director, Randy K5ZD)

Here's a Rookie who grew up to be "the best Elmer ever!" according to Rookie Roundup op Ashley K6NAA. Who could this be? Why, it's Bob N6TV sporting the call WA6TLV in 1975 - strong work, OM! (Photo by NØAX)

Barry W5GN reports that direct mailing of the US, Canadian, and Mexican certificates for the CQ WPX 2011 CW Contest was completed on Saturday. 43 envelopes were found to have been mis-addressed and have been re-mailed - it is not necessary to return or re-mail the certificates.

The 2011 Florida QSO Party results are complete and have been posted! (Thanks, Ron WD4AHZ)

OPERATING TIP

During the recent April ARRL Rookie Roundup there was a bit of confusion about call signs and identification requirements. A Technician call sign cannot be used on the HF phone bands (other than 10 meters) without adding the control operator's call. For example, a Technician such as KE7VDA working 20 meter phone at her station with control operator K6UFO would have to sign KE7VDA/K6UFO to show that the control operator is authorized for those frequencies, or simply use the control operator's call sign. (See FCC ยง97.119) For non-Rookie operators, should you encounter an operator identifying with a call sign not authorized for that frequency, politely inform them of the problem, make sure there isn't some mistake, and then suggest the correct procedure as you would like to be informed of a problem with your operating - no need to get upset as we all make mistakes.

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TECHNICAL TOPICS AND INFORMATION

If you are putting in a tower base that will place significant tension on the anchor bolts, follow US Tower's lead and use a large, straight bolt with two nuts on the concrete end. With the two nuts on the bolt, spoil the threads below the lower nut (smash them with a hammer and chisel, for example) to prevent the nuts from working loose before the concrete sets. (Thanks, Steve K7LXC and Hank KR7X)

John K6MM provided a great overview of log analysis tools in his Visalia International DX Convention presentation, "Post-Contest Log Analyzers". You can learn a lot about your log and use that information for doing better in the next contest!

"Does Anyone Repair Electronics Any More?" Electronic Design magazine answered that question in a blog entry of the same name by Lou Frenzel.

What's the deal on Arduino? Howduino! But you can find out in this Make magazine online introduction to the growing family of Arduino microprocessor development boards.

Aloha! Here's a popular call in the pileups - Lloyd KH6LC was suitably attired at the Visalia Int'l DX Convention (Photo by NØAX)

Portable contest operators - such as for Field Day, roving, and run-and-gun adventures - will find a lot of good information on the use and care of telescoping poles about half way down the page. (Thanks, Steve NU7T)

The May edition of the Potomac Valley Radio Club (PVRC) newsletter has a good article by Tom K3AJ on raising small towers with a tow truck. There is also a good article on Samuel Morse by John K3TN.

Contesters drill through walls quite a bit - hanging plaques and certificates, no doubt. Make cleanup a little easier with this idea for using coffee filters from Make magazine's online tip collection.

Technical Web Site of the Week - Have you ever wondered where the digital mode character codes come from? Wonder no more after reading Tom Jennings' history of character codes unearthed by Bob N7RDP. The WPS website is full of fascinating articles and information.

CONVERSATION

To See Things for Yourself

I continue to find many parallels between the amateur astronomy community and Amateur Radio. Perhaps it is because we both use sensitive instruments to discern the signals from distant and wonderful places? As such, a special premium is often awarded for using one's own senses to perform as much of the detection and understanding as possible.

The "Focal Point" column by Thomas Watson in the May issue of Sky & Telescope discussed why this is so through the eyes of an astronomer. The question for his community of stargazers revolves around the use of astroimaging technology - once film cameras and now CCD detectors - as opposed to peering through the eyepiece yourself.

Initially, he states, "The best picture postcard of the Grand Canyon will never replace standing on the rim and gazing into it with your own eyes." I do love visiting the Astronomy Picture of the Day web site and often follow the links describing the picture and the technology used to acquire it. Similarly, I thrill to see deep-space objects imaged by the Hubble Space Telescope and other magnificent instruments. I'll never confuse those views, however, with lining up my own dim and wavering view of a Messier object through my small reflector - astronomy's DXCC.

Later in the column Watson arrives at the crux, writing, "The depth and beauty of the universe gain a new level of meaning when you take the time to see things for yourself." Replace "see" with "hear" and you can easily understand the parallels between those of us who experience the universe through our radios and those who use telescopes. Those two are very much the same - collectors and concentrators of photons - although of quite different wavelengths.

Not explicitly stated in Part 97.1's Basis and Purpose but underlying it all the same, the ability to experience the natural world one-on-one through the magic of radio is Amateur Radio's great reservoir of strength. Some may prefer to copy CW like free climbers gripping a granite face with fingers and toes and rosin. Other may prefer to pull signals swimming deep in and ocean of noise to the surface through coding wizardry. Yet we all share the same fundamental spirit of adventure and discovery, educing beauty in the diminutive and ephemeral electromagnetic vibrations of space and time--to see it for ourselves.

73, Ward NØAX

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CONTESTS

25 April through 8 May

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

Ten-Ten Spring Digital Contest--Digital, from Apr 28, 0001Z to Apr 29, 2359Z. Bands (MHz): 28. Exchange: Call, name, county & S/P/C, 10-10 number. Logs due: 15 days. Rules

Nebraska QSO Party--Phone,CW,Digital, from Apr 28, 1100Z to Apr 29, 1700Z . Bands (MHz): 1.8-28, 50, 144, Frequencies: CW: 1.805 and 35 kHz above band edge,Nov/Tech--10 kHz above band edge; Phone--1.915, 3.865, 7.265, 14.265, 21.365, 28.465, 146.460. Exchange: RS(T), NE county or S/P/C. Logs due: May 31. Rules

SP DX RTTY Contest--Digital, from Apr 28, 1200Z to Apr 29, 1200Z . Bands (MHz): 3.5-28. Exchange: RST, serial, SP province. Logs due: May 24. Rules

Helvetia Contest--Phone,CW,Digital, from Apr 28, 1300Z to Apr 29, 1259Z . Bands (MHz): 1.8-28. Exchange: RS(T), serial or Swiss canton. Logs due: 15 days. Rules

QRP To The Field--CW, from Apr 28, 1500Z to Apr 29, 0300Z. Bands (MHz): 7-28. Exchange: RST, S/P/C. Logs due: Jun 1. Rules

Florida QSO Party--Phone,CW, from Apr 28, 1600Z to Apr 29, 0159Z and Apr 29, 1200Z to Apr 29, 2159Z . Multiple operating periods. Bands (MHz): 7-28. Frequencies: see website. Exchange: RS(T), FL county or S/P/C. Logs due: 30 days. Rules

BARTG 75 Sprint--Digital, from Apr 29, 1700Z to Apr 29, 2100Z. Bands (MHz): 3.5-28. Exchange: Serial. Logs due: Jun 1. Rules

Ten-Ten Spring CW Contest--CW, from May 5, 0001Z to May 6, 2359Z. Bands (MHz): 28. Exchange: Call sign, name, 10-10 number, state. Logs due: 15 days. Rules

7th Area QSO Party--Phone,CW,Digital, from May 5, 1300Z to May 6, 0700Z. Bands (MHz): 1.8-28, 50, 144, Frequencies: CW--40 kHz above band edge; SSB--1.845, 3.855, 7.235, 14.255, 21.355, 28.455. Exchange: RS(T)+S/P or 7th-area county code. Logs due: Jun 2. Rules

Indiana QSO Party--Phone,CW, from May 5, 1600Z to May 6, 0400Z. Bands (MHz): 1.8-28. Frequencies: CW--1.805 and 40 kHz above the band edge on 80-10 meters, SSB--1.845, 3.820, 7.190, 14.250, 21.300, 28.400. Exchange: RS(T) + S/P or IN county, DX RS(T) only. Logs due: Jun 15. Rules

Radio Club of America QSO Party--Phone, from May 5, 1700Z to May 6, 0459Z. Bands (MHz): 3.5-21. Exchange: RS, QTH, name, equipment. Rules

ARI International DX Contest--Phone,CW,Digital, from May 5, 2000Z to May 6, 1959Z. Bands (MHz): 1.8-28. Exchange: RS(T), serial or Italian province. Logs due: 30 days. Rules

New England QSO Party--Phone,CW,Digital, from May 5, 2000Z to May 6, 0500Z and May 6, 1300Z to May 6, 2400Z. Multiple operating periods. Bands (MHz): 3.5-28. Frequencies: CW--3.540, 7.035, 14.040, 21.040, 28.040; SSB--3.850, 7.180/280, 14.280, 21.380, 28.380. Exchange: RS(T) and S/P or New England county. Logs due: 30 days. Rules

ARS Spartan Sprint--CW, from May 8, 0200Z to May 8, 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

OK1WC Memorial Contest--Phone,CW, from May 8, 1600Z to May 8, 1659Z, first through fourth Monday of each month. Bands (MHz): 3.5, 50, 144, Frequencies: see website for bands. Exchange: RS(T) and serial. Logs due: 7 days. Rules

VHF+ CONTESTS

VHF Spring Sprints--Phone,CW,Digital, from Apr 25, 7 PM to Apr 25, 11 PM. Bands (MHz): 432. Exchange: Grid square (6-character preferred). Logs due: 14 days. Rules

Worldwide EME Contest--Phone,CW, from Apr 28, 0000Z to Apr 29, 2400Z. Bands (MHz): 2.3G. Exchange: TMO/RS(T) and "R". Logs due: Jun 25. Rules

Nebraska QSO Party--Phone,CW,Digital, from Apr 28, 1100Z to Apr 29, 1700Z . Bands (MHz): 1.8-28, 50, 144, Frequencies: CW: 1.805 and 35 kHz above band edge,Nov/Tech--10 kHz above band edge; Phone--1.915, 3.865, 7.265, 14.265, 21.365, 28.465, 146.460. Exchange: RS(T), NE county or S/P/C. Logs due: May 31. Rules

2 GHz and Up World Wide Contest--Phone,CW,Digital, from May 5, 6 AM to May 6, 8 PM. Bands (MHz): 2.3G+. Exchange: 6-char grid locator. Logs due: 60 days. Rules

Microwave Spring Sprint--Phone,CW,Digital, from May 5, 6 AM to May 5, 1 PM. Bands (MHz): 902+. Exchange: Grid square (6-character preferred). Logs due: 14 days. Rules

7th Area QSO Party--Phone,CW,Digital, from May 5, 1300Z to May 6, 0700Z. Bands (MHz): 1.8-28, 50, 144, Frequencies: CW--40 kHz above band edge; SSB--1.845, 3.855, 7.235, 14.255, 21.355, 28.455. Exchange: RS(T)+S/P or 7th-area county code. Logs due: Jun 2. Rules

Indiana QSO Party--Phone,CW, from May 5, 1600Z to May 6, 0400Z. Bands (MHz): 1.8-28. Frequencies: CW--1.805 and 40 kHz above the band edge on 80-10 meters, SSB--1.845, 3.820, 7.190, 14.250, 21.300, 28.400. Exchange: RS(T) + S/P or IN county, DX RS(T) only. Logs due: Jun 15. Rules

LOG DUE DATES

25 April through 8 May

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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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