ARRL

Contest Update Issues

Preview
The ARRL Contest Update
June 20, 2012
Editor: Ward Silver, NØAX
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IN THIS ISSUE

NEW HF OPERATORS - THINGS TO DO

Field Days are like county fairs - there is often a little of everything ham radio and just about always something good to eat! Some are more of a rodeo and some are more like a picnic but you'll have fun, no matter what. Take the opportunity to invite a friend to come along and share your hobby, too!

BULLETINS

VE3 stations in this year's Field Day should ALL report "Ontario" as their section (ON or VE3 on CW and digital) The four new Ontario sections DO NOT go into effect until September 1, 2012. The first event that will use the new sections is the 2012 ARRL CW Sweepstakes. (The first edition of this issue erroneously stated the first contest to be the 2013 CW Sweepstakes.)

BUSTED QSOS

Minor discrepancies aside, nothing was seriously broken in the last issue.

CONTEST SUMMARY

Complete information for all contests follows the Conversation section

June 23-24

  • ARRL Field Day
  • SARL Top Band QSO Party (Jun 21)
  • NAQCC Milliwatt Sprint--CW (Jun 21)
  • Worldwide EME Contest
  • His Majesty King of Spain--Phone
  • Marconi Memorial HF Contest--CW

June 30-July 1

  • Canada Day Contest
  • Ten-Ten Spirit of 76 QSO Party (Jul 2)
  • OK1WC Memorial Contest (Jul 2)
  • ARS Spartan Sprint--CW (Jul 3)
NEWS, PRESS RELEASES, AND GENERAL INTEREST

The Arizona Outlaws Contest Club (AOCC) will represent the ARRL as the Headquarters Station (HQ) W1AW/7 in the upcoming 2012 IARU HF Championship on July 14-15. As the first ARRL affiliated club with only three years of history to represent W1AW, congratulations are due the AOCC and the Arizona Section. AOCC is setting up 12 primary stations signing W1AW/7, plus back-ups, across the entire state to give everybody a chance to work the ARRL HQ multiplier. (Thanks, AOCC President, Bob K8IA)

Richard K5NA (center) received a lifetime DX achievement award at the HamCom convention from ARRL West Gulf Division Director K5RAV (left) and South Texas Section SEC and good friend Tom N5TW. (Photo by K5OT)

You can "friend" the WRTC2014 community on Facebook as they assemble and organize this international event. "We will be posting photos and other information as we work toward WRTC2014. Please join the WRTC2014 fan page on Facebook and share the journey!" (Thanks, WRTC2014 co-chair, Randy K5ZD)

The Mount Airy VHF Radio Club established the Rover Recognition Award in 2005 to honor the efforts of rover stations in VHF, UHF and microwave contesting in memory of Bill Seabreeze, W3IY (SK). Congratulations to this year's recipient, John D'Ausilio, W1RT! For many years John has been roving the grids on the East Coast and delivering hundreds of QSOs to other amateurs on the VHF, UHF and microwave bands. His well-equipped rover, dubbed the "Intergalactic Jitney," has substantial power and antennas for bands from 50MHz though 24GHz.

Dave W9ZRX reminds VHF+ contesters, "Please send me the Cabrillo File from your June VHF Contest operations. These are used to update the VHF Super Check Partial Database counterpart to the excellent one for HF maintained by WA1Z."

VHF+ contesters should take note of the new 9 cm band plan in which weak signal terrestrial legacy users are encouraged to move to 3400.3-3401.0 MHz, as time and resources permit.

Nobody can resist doing a little roving when 6 meters is open - "What's your crib square?" (Photo from K7SS)

The AMSAT Field Day 2012 is open to all Amateur Radio operators and encourages the use of all amateur satellites, both analog and digital. Additional information about satellite operation during Field Day is also available on the website. (From the AMSAT bulletin ANS-162)

John K6MM wrote a little summary of the Dayton Hamvention's contest-related activities for the JUG - the Northern California Contest Club's monthly newsletter.

If you know someone having trouble with their subscription to the Contest Update (or any ARRL bulletin or newsletter), first check to be sure their email address is correct on their Member Profile. If all looks well, this process usually restores normal delivery:

- Log in to your ARRL profile at the top of the ARRL home page
- Click "Edit your Profile"
- Select "Edit Email Subscriptions"
- Uncheck (so that there is no check mark) "ARRL Contest Update (biweekly contest newsletter)"
- Click "Save"
- Return to "Edit Email Subscriptions"
- Check (so that there is a check mark) "ARRL Contest Update (biweekly contest newsletter)"
- Click "Save"

Web Site of the Week - Here is a list of ten fun islands for your next DXpedition! Just be sure you can come home again - unlike some of the more famous and unwilling inhabitants. (Thanks, Norman W9VQ)

WORD TO THE WISE

Safety - Field Day encourages lash-ups in the urge to "get 'er done." Don't let safety take a back seat to expedience - not at Field Day and not when doing antenna work at home. Taking the right approach to safety starts with the person looking back at you in the bathroom mirror - it's not found in books or regulations. My project engineering friend, Dave K5GN, recently suggested three basic rules:
#1 Work safely or not at all.
#2 There's always time to do it right.
#3 Always address risk, never do nothing about it.
Whatever your project - a wire dipole in a tree or a full-size Yagi at 200 feet - make these rules the bedrock of how you and your team operate.

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SIGHTS AND SOUNDS


The Packrats took lots of photos for their annual June VHF Contest expedition to the top of Camelback Mountain. You can enjoy watching the labors of others in the June issue of their Cheese Bits newsletter. While there, enjoy the monthly nibbles of history in the "Wayback Machine" column.

Tom K8CX has posted his gallery of Dayton 2012 photos online, accompanied by a detailed and interesting "recap" of the biggest convention in ham radio. (Thanks, Tim K3LR)

Here are the Spurious Emissions (out of the) Band doing their version of famous tunes at the Contest Supersuite. Thanks to HQARadio for posting the video of it all. (Photo by W8WTS)

Tim also reports that Tom KB4HQA, recovering from his unfortunate auto accident, has posted the video of The Spurious Emissions Band's Friday night adventures at the Crowne Plaza hotel as seen in the photo at right.

Each of us can promote ham radio using our different talents and here's a music video that takes a new approach to the usual issues of hams and their collections of good stuff! (Thanks, Paul NA4ZI)

Enjoy the craftsmanship of Paul WD7S' 8877-based auto-tune all-band amplifier, 100% homebrew! (Thanks, Peter DJ7WW)

RESULTS AND RECORDS

The extended writeup by Nate N4YDU for the 2012 ARRL DX CW contest should be online this week - look for special sidebars by K9LA on unusual 10 meter propagation and by VE7FO on the creation of a brand new operating team.

Today is the log submission deadline for the 2012 CQ WPX CW contest 2012. There have been over 3500 logs received, but many logs are still missing. You can submit your Cabrilo-formatted log online or by email and there is an ADIF file converter, as well. Check the received log list to be sure your log was received. (Thanks, CQ WPX Director, Randy K5ZD)

Results of the 2012 French HF CW championship are online. 832 logs were received and the SSB results are coming soon! (Thanks, Pascal F5LEN)

You can find everything at Dayton! Mark K6UFO even found what appears to be his video biography! (Photo by NØAX)

UBA HF Contest Manager, Marc ON7SS/OO9O reports that the results of the UBA SSB Contest 2012 are on-line now as well as the contest certificates. Marc will send UBN (Unique-Busted-Not in Log) reports - contact him via the website and request the report for the call sign you used.

The results of the 2012 7th Area QSO Party, the 7QP, are now available - mighty fast work! Plaques and certificates will go out within three weeks. (Thanks, Dick K4XU/N7XU and the 7QP admin team - K2DI & WS7N.)

Results for the 2012 Ontario QSO Party are now posted, too. Certificates for all the winners are downloadable and plaque winners will be presented with their awards at the annual CCO meeting in August or sent by mail to those not attending. (Thanks, Bob VE3KZ)

Jay NS4J has posted the 2011 US Islands QSO Party results and certificates are being printed. (Thanks, John WA4JA)

OPERATING TIP

No surprises! When you transmit your contest exchange, give the information in the order it is expected - the order in which the rules show it. While there may not be a required order, surprising the other station with out-of-order information makes for a slow rate and quick errors.

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TECHNICAL TOPICS AND INFORMATION

Five excellent papers (by K4IQJ, K3TUF, K1KP, W2GD, K4ZA and K9LA) presented at the 2012 Dayton Antenna Forum are now available on the K3LR web site by clicking "Dayton Antenna Summary 2012". The equally good talks by W3LPL and W2GD at the 23rd Annual Dayton Top Band Dinner are also available under "Presentations" to download their slides. Thanks, (Tim K3LR)

Jim W5IFP recommends the Isobar solid RFI-filtered and MOV surge protector from Tripp-Lite. It has individual toroid filters on each line inside the metal box with additional filters are between the Stage 1 and Stage 2 outlets. Both the hot and common lines are individually filtered.

Here's an interesting story on the aurora and magnetic reconnection - always of interest to HF operators! (Thanks, Bill AI5I/G4NDH)

The article "An Inexpensive System for Power Line Noise Hunting" by George N4UA appears in the June issue of the Potomac Valley Radio Club newsletter. He uses an airband (130 MHz) receiver and tape-measure three-element Yagi for a inexpensive solution. George reports that folding up the elements acts as an attenuator for when close to the source.

DXpeditioner and globetrotter Franz DJ9ZB has released the 3rd edition of his encyclopedic DX World Guide. It's available from CQ Communications in both print form and on CD-ROM.

Another example of re-purposing something sold in higher volume at lower prices into a non-ham application was reported by Craig NM4T to hold up a portable antenna mast. "I use a speaker tripod that I bought on sale at the Guitar Center. These are great since they are designed to support heavy speaker units. And, most painter poles slide right into the top of the tripod assembly which also cranks up a few feet. If you buy the matching ballistic material carry bag--You also have a fine case that can be thrown into the car. The bag is big enough for 2 tripods, a 48" telescoping painter pole, some antenna components and accessories."

Cecil W5DXP has a nifty center-fed all-band dipole design that uses different lengths of transmission line to adjust the impedance at the transmitter end. This design works as a home or portable antenna. (Thanks, Dave W7AQK)

222 MHz has a lot to offer VHF+ contesters according to Jim KK6MC, "Noise is lower than on two meters, high gain antennas are easy to build and manage, and path losses are less than on 432. Activity is not as high as 6/2/70 cm but I have found it to be a very useful addition to my contesting station. For one thing, the QSO points are worth more and multiply the grids on the other bands. It is a great QRP band, you will probably get further...with 222 MHz than either 144 MHz or 432 MHz." Jim has used and likes the Elecraft XV222 and Down East Microwave, Inc. (DEMI) transverters as good performers. For homebrewers, W1GHZ designed a 222 MHz transverter companion to the FT-817 and a low-power transverter for microwave IF called the miniverter-F. (DEMI provides some hard-to-find parts and a kit for the miniverter). Another option is the SignalBlox 100 mW, 222 transverter kit.

How should you apply Prelube spray lube to your crank-up tower cables? George K6GT uses "a big plastic funnel and cut a lengthwise slot (about 1/4" wide) in it, so that I could slip it over the cable. Then I hold the bottom of the funnel against the cable, I've got a low leakage (OK, pretty drippy) funnel whose spout is almost occluded by the cable. When I spray the lubricant, the overspray gets caught by the funnel and runs down onto the cable. It saves a lot of the lube, but not all."

Greg W8WWV has designed a homebrew rotator cage for a sturdier mount on the top of MA-series tubular crank-up towers. This can also be adapted to mount rotators on poles and masts. (Thanks, Mike W4EF)

Technical Web Site of the Week - VE7BQH has just updated his 2 meter and 6 meter antenna comparison tables that include additional information on each antenna. The changes are explained by him along with links to both text and spreadsheet versions of the tables. (from AMSAT bulletin ANS-169)

CONVERSATION

While the Iron is Hot

Here in the Midwest we are looking right into the oven for Field Day with Missouri temperatures in the 90's predicted for Saturday. Checking around the country, most locations will also see the mercury rise into the 80's and 90's...damp Seattle is expecting fog and mid-sixties but if the coffee pot is on and loaded with espresso-ground French Roast, they'll make it through the night. The rest of you out there, grab your sunscreen and a portable fan, put on your best hamster-y tee-shirt and hat, fill the cooler with ice - are you ready for some Field Day?

Future Field Days on the Moon seemed reasonable enough for cartoonist W1ICD to pen this QST cover in June of 1954. Where will we be operating in June of 2060?

Not only will the weather be hot but so will the opportunity for lighting a fire in new and potential hams kindled by the attractions of our favorite avocation. Here's a hint - the digital modes are the easiest for a non-radio person to understand and learn, particularly those from the connected generations. Take advantage of their natural keyboard skills and show them how to work RTTY or PSK31. Point out how similar to texting it is. Once they get the hang of digital, voice and other modes come a whole lot easier because they'll understand the flow of things on the air.

No matter what door these folks come through - public service, weather watching, technical interests, radio-controlled craft, balloons, astronomy - they come to Field Day ready to learn and participate. So let them! Make sure they get an opportunity to play a part in everything from hauling on a rope to setting up the stations to operating and logging. It is your job to reach out and welcome them into the tribe. Don't expect them to push their way in - would you feel comfortable doing that as a newcomer? If they spend the weekend on the periphery of the fun it's probably the last time you'll see them.

Let's assume the best - they came, they saw, they liked it! They want more! "When can we do this again?" is a common question. The right answer is NOT, "Well, um, sometimes we do Sweepstakes in November..." To a teenager, you might as well tell them the next contest is in the 22nd century! Show them how to get to the 3830 score report web page where claimed scores are posted right away - no matter that the final results aren't printed until December's QST. They can look at the Web on the smartphone in their pocket, you know. While they have that phone or tablet out, bring up DX Sherlock propagation maps and DX Summit. Heck, why not bring a laptop and LCD monitor to run the live spotting and propagation maps in real-time all weekend? You'll have a crowd hanging around watching the show!

Have a plan already in place for someone to host a multi-op for new operators in the upcoming IARU HF Championship (July 14th and 15th). There are the North American QSO Parties with RTTY the following weekend and the CW and SSB versions in August. Rookie Roundup's RTTY version is on August 19th and that's a perfect opportunity for your fledglings to take their first solo flight! Contest Corral is just packed with short and low-key contests that new operators need and enjoy.

Field Day is not just an operating event, it is our biggest recruitment and PR event of the year. Use that opportunity to celebrate what we do and show others why we enjoy it so much. Help them get interested and start participating. Like the thermometer, barbeque, and coffee pot, our ham radio iron is red-hot on Field Day...don't let it cool!

73, Ward NØAX

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CONTESTS

June 20 to July 3

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

ARRL Field Day--Phone,CW,Digital, from Jun 23, 1800Z to Jun 24, 2100Z. Bands (MHz): 1.8-28, 50+. Exchange: Category, ARRL/RAC section or DX. Logs due: Jul 24. Rules

SARL Top Band QSO Party--Phone,CW, from Jun 21, 0000Z to Jun 25, 0000Z. Bands (MHz): 1.8. Exchange: RS(T) and province or country. Logs due: 7 days. Rules

NAQCC Milliwatt Sprint--CW, from Jun 21, 0030Z to Jun 21, 0230Z. Bands (MHz): 3.5-14. Exchange: RST, S/P/C, and NAQCC mbr nr or power. Logs due: 4 days. Rules

His Majesty King of Spain--Phone, from Jun 23, 1200Z to Jun 24, 1200Z. Bands (MHz): 1.8-28. Exchange: RS, serial or EA province. Logs due: Jul 15. Rules

Marconi Memorial HF Contest--CW, from Jun 23, 1400Z to Jun 24, 1400Z. Bands (MHz): 1.8-28. Exchange: RST and serial number. Logs due: 30 days. Rules

Canada Day Contest--Phone,CW, from Jul 1, 0000Z to Jul 1, 2359Z. Bands (MHz): 1.8-28, 50-144. Exchange: RS(T), Province/Territory or serial. Logs due: Jul 31. Rules

Ten-Ten Spirit of 76 QSO Party--Phone,CW,Digital, from Jul 2, 0000Z to Jul 8, 2400Z. Bands (MHz): 28. Exchange: Call, name, member number, S/P/C. Logs due: 15 days. Rules

OK1WC Memorial Contest--Phone,CW, from Jul 2, 1600Z - see website. Bands (MHz): 3.5, 50, 144, First through fourth Monday of each month; see website for bands. Exchange: RS(T) and serial. Logs due: 7 days. Rules

ARS Spartan Sprint--CW, from Jul 3, 0200Z to Jul 3, 0400Z. Bands (MHz): 3.5-28. Frequencies: Monthly on the first Monday evening. Exchange: RST, S/P/C, and power. Logs due: 2 days. Rules

VHF+ CONTESTS

ARRL Field Day--Phone,CW,Digital, from Jun 23, 1800Z to Jun 24, 2100Z. Bands (MHz): 1.8-28, 50+. Exchange: Category, ARRL/RAC section or DX. Logs due: Jul 24. Rules

Worldwide EME Contest--Phone,CW, from Jun 23, 0000Z to Jun 24, 2400Z. Bands (MHz): 5.7G. Exchange: TMO/RS(T) and "R". Logs due: Jun 25. Rules

Canada Day Contest--Phone,CW, from Jul 1, 0000Z to Jul 1, 2359Z. Bands (MHz): 1.8-28, 50-144. Exchange: RS(T), Province/Territory or serial. Logs due: Jul 31. Rules

OK1WC Memorial Contest--Phone,CW, from Jul 2, 1600Z - see website. Bands (MHz): 3.5, 50, 144, First through fourth Monday of each month; see website for bands. Exchange: RS(T) and serial. Logs due: 7 days. Rules

LOG DUE DATES

June 20 to July 3

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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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