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Contest Update Issues

The ARRL Contest Update
September 12, 2012
Editor: Ward Silver, NØAX


The Run for the Bacon contest is a slow-speed-CW friendly contest just right for beginners. It happens on the third Sunday of every month. If you like something more fast-paced, try the North American Phone Sprint - radio's version of slam dancing! And if you have a boat-anchor radio gathering dust - try putting it on the air during the Classic Exchange contests.


ARRL Contest Branch Manager, Sean Kutzko KX9X, reports that he scraped together some spare change and put several more quarters in the Propagation Enhancement Machine located in the basement of W1AW, thus insuring good conditions during the 2012-2013 contest season.


Dick WØRAA noticed that the QST "Contest Corral" for September (pg.79) has the wrong dates for two major contests. CQ WW RTTY should be listed as Sep 29, 0000Z to Sep 30, 2400Z and the Texas QSO Party should be listed as beginning at Sep 29, 1400Z. A new online PDF has been uploaded on the ARRL contest calendar website.


Complete information for all contests follows the Conversation section

Sep 15-16

  • ARRL 10 GHz Cumulative Contest
  • North American Sprint--Phone
  • CWops Monthly Mini-CWT Test (Sep 12)
  • CIS DX PSK Contest
  • Scandinavian Activity Contest--CW
  • South Carolina QSO Party
  • Feld-Hell Hell on Wheels Sprint
  • Washington State Salmon Run
  • Classic Exchange--Phone
  • 144 MHz Fall VHF Sprint (Sep 17)
  • Run For the Bacon--CW (Sep 17)

Sep 22-23

  • NAQCC Monthly QRP Sprint--CW (Sep 20)
  • FOC QSO Party--CW
  • Classic Exchange--CW
  • BARTG Sprint 75--Digital
  • 222 MHz Fall VHF Sprint (Sep 25)

The "Quake Contesters" - ZL3X - are a new contest group in ZL3 and are planning to be on for the CQWW RTTY Contest - it may be the first ZL RTTY multiop station in that contest. The station will operate from a hillside in Christchurch overlooking the ocean. The operators note that many contesters do not turn their beam to ZL, so don't miss out! They've sorted out a secret handshake and everything so watch for the team of ZL3PAH, ZL3DMC, ZL3GK, ZL4PLM, ZL3DW, ZL3GA, and ZL3AB. (From the Daily DX for 10 Sep)

Dennis K7BV visited Thailand for the Radio Amateur Society of Thailand (RAST) annual meeting. (L-R) Jack HS1FVL, Joe HS2JFW, Dennis K7BV/HSØZKS, Don E2ØMIO, Thida HS1ASC (YL), Tony HSØZDX, JC E2ØNKB (XYL of E21EIC). (Photo by E21EIC)

The Scandinavian Activity Contest (SAC) sponsors report a renewed website with

  • searchable scores
  • downloadable awards
  • announcements for participants activity
  • new log robot with built-in calculations with immediate claimed scores listings

This year the contest will offer something new, the SAC National Team Contest Trial with real-time score reporting together with live video and audio. (Thanks, SAC CC Teamleader, Ingo SM5AJV)

Bob WA1Z will be releasing another version of the Super Check Partial database files on September 16th, 2012. Bob requests that you send him your contest logs to develop the database. "Please attach in an email the same Cabrillo format log that you submitted to the contest sponsor and send it to Logs from any contest within the last 24 months are always appreciated.

Scott N3FJP notes, "The Ontario Section Change has already been incorporated into Field Day, November Sweepstakes and the ARRL 160 contest logging software. I've been getting e-mail from folks daily who are just discovering that Ontario has been split into four sections and are wondering if I will update my software accordingly. The new versions for these contests are already on the website, so please be sure to download the latest before the upcoming contests." Scott's advice applies to ALL contesters, regardless of their logging software - don't be caught unprepared. Make sure your logging software is upgraded now and don't miss out on the new Ontario multipliers!

From the September issue of the ARRL's Public Information Officer newsletter CONTACT! "It's time to begin pulling your plans together for the October 2012 Jamboree on the Air that will be held October 20 and 21. Last year's effort saw a 600% increase in reported Scout participation in the USA --- 3,000+ American Scouts were a part of exciting activities and a superb introduction to the fun and technology of Amateur Radio." To help make JOTA a success, you can register your station online, as well.

Is Jerry W7IEW showing off his new AM broadcast band satellite antenna? No, it's at the Hat Creek SETI Allen array! (Photo by W7IEW)

The World Maker Faire takes place over the Sep 29-30 weekend in New York City's Hall of Science. If you're in the neighborhood, don't miss it! Ham radio will be featured by the Hall of Science Radio Club's "100 Years of Ham Radio Makers" exhibit.

Good job to the British - the Olympic Games went off swimmingly and, more importantly, the 2O12L station made nearly 70,000 QSOs - one of the best special event station efforts ever. 2O12W was a supporting station from Whitmore Bay in Wales. Strong work and congratulations!

Web Site of the Week - The second running of the CWops-sponsored "CW Open" contest was held on September 1 and 2. This contest is in a novel format with three separately scored and awarded "sessions" all creating a burst of activity. There are other contests with the multiple-session format as well. This allows an operator to be competitive in any 4-hour session. Reminiscent of the Stew Perry Contest, the unique multiplier rules also make it possible for someone running a modest station and wire antennas to amass point scores that can compete with big-gun stations running QRO with gain antennas. (Thanks, Alan AD6E and Rob K6RB)


Logs Submitted - Many contests post a list of logs that have been received on their web site. For example, see the ARRL Logs Received page. Every log submitted for an ARRL contest accepted by the email-handling robot generates an entry with category, location, club, date received, etc. You can avoid unpleasant surprises when the results are published by checking this page after emailing your log. Be sure to read the robot's return message, too - if there are problems with the format of your log, correct them with a text editor and resubmit the log. When the robot is happy, it will generate a confirmation number for you - save it in case there are any questions later. Once your log is listed, you can be confident that it is safe and sound.


SMØJHF's story "Contesting from Tunisia" in the latest (Sep/Oct) issue of the National Contest Journal caught my eye - there are some great pictures of the 3V8SS station. In addition, the station custodian, Ashraf KF5EYY maintains an excellent website with lots more information, videos, and photos of 3V8SS and elsewhere.

Those big numbers generated by the W3AO Field Day team are depicted in a series of photographs by Alan N3ALN. It makes me tired just looking at the guys working away to get that station and antennas set up!

Here's Brian N9ADG at the controls of his Western Washington station. (Photo by N9ADG)

This illustration of the electric field a thunderstorm can generate suggests an interesting possibility for a lightning detector. It would probably also work in a snowstorm or windstorm. One LED conducting in each direction would catch both polarities of discharge. Using the LED in an opto-coupler or opto-isolator might also make a good alarm or at least turn on a bigger light. (Thanks, Jeff K1NSS)

John K7HV is on a quest to work 100 DXCC entities with his Argonaut - each new DXCC counter is recorded on video as he works it. You can watch him knock them off on YouTube. This particular Argonaut has some notoriety being previously owned by Homer K7RA (SK) and Danny K7SS - both QRP top guns from the Pacific NW.

What if they could make these critters climb towers and carry your tool kit?

Take a few minutes and watch our favorite Chief Science Officer put the Vulcan Death Grip on some poor operating practices!


Results for the ARRL August (RTTY) Rookie Roundup are now online. Certificates for the 2011 ARRL September VHF Contest went out the door a couple of days ago, too. You can follow the ARRL Contest Branch's awards processing status online. (Thanks, ARRL Contest Branch Manager, Sean KX9X)

Greg W1KM (left) and Jack W1WEF are showing off their WRTC-2014 medals at the recent Boxboro hamfest. (Photo courtesy WRTC-2014)

The WRTC-2014 Event Scores based upon the latest official published contest results are now posted. Updates included since the last posting cover the 2011 Oceania DX, CQ WW, and All-Asia. The 2012 ARRL DX scores are also included. Over 24,000 different operators have submitted scores in those events. Nine additional qualifying events have taken place for which official results are not yet available. There are only six months left in the qualifying period! (Thanks, WRTC-2014 Team Selection Director, Dan K1TO)

Bob N6TV points us to an "unofficial" WRTC-2014 qualification standings web site that includes claimed scores from many of the more recent contests.

Logs from the WRTC 2012 Station Test are now available for download, as well. These are provided to help WRTC competitors study the propagation they can expect in 2014. (Thanks, WRTC-2014 Co-Chair, Randy, K5ZD)

Results for the 2012 Wisconsin QSO Party are now online. The contest now features a Beginner category with a separate results listing. "The Beginner category was created as a two-year category, toget you started. Two years - meaning you can only enter as a Beginner two times, and then you will need to move to a different category." There was also quite a horse race between the first- and second-place out-of-state single-op finishers. (Thanks, Tom K9BTQ and Lynn K9KR)


"It is impossible to send code and sneeze at the same time." - Kate K6HTN


The wonderful and timeless Bell Labs training film, "Similarities in Wave Behavior" hosted by Dr J.N. Shive is now available online as a video. The mechanical version of a transmission line is used to show velocity of propagation, reflections, standing waves, and other phenomena. The explanation of SWR is particularly clear - if you've ever been mystified at how SWR "works", this video is a must-see. The AT&T Archives have more material, as well.

Gene WB8WKU cleared up some confusion about solder composition recently. "The solder that has the lowest melting point is (by weight) 63% tin (Sn), 37% lead (Pb). This ratio also has the same temperatures for "starts to melt" and "completely melted"; i.e., no temperature range with "pasty" solder. Note the greater amount of tin, not lead, because tin melts at a lower temperature than lead. Note also that tin is more expensive than lead. 60Sn/40Pb melts very close to 63Sn/37Pb and has only a small pasty range." Manfred XQ6FOD recommends these two web pages from the University of Bolton and the European Space Agency for more detailed information and phase diagrams of tin lead solders or other alloys.

Wow - what a nice job of construction by Lee ZL2AL. This is the antenna coupler design by N6BV in the ARRL Antenna Book. (Photo by ZL2AL)

Guy wires are pretty important so it is important to maintain them and tighten them properly. This document from Casar on wire rope provides a lot of information. The "cyclic method" of tensioning is often recommended and is described here online. (Thanks, Joen G3JVC/GM3JVC)

A sequence of articles about LED basics is available from EDN magazine beginning with Part 1 of the series.

Dave K1WHS had to cancel his multioperator plans for the ARRL September Contest due to corrosion of his tower guy anchor. One anchor failed but did not cause the loss of the tower. As Dave describes it, "The problem occurred as a result of high levels of iron pyrite, FeS2, in the rock formation. It oxidizes and transforms to FeSO4 and can form acids by mixing with water and air. The steel near the rock is badly corroded, while the portion of the steel above ground is undamaged and looks good as new." If your soil conditions are similar, a regular inspection program is in order!

This online story by John Titus of EDN, "Send Your Kids to College With Tools" caught my eye. It reminds me of the "teach a man to fish" parable - every boy and girl should learn some basic tool skills while growing up.

Technical Web Site of the Week - The IEEE Antennas and Propagation Society has announced its fourth Student Design Contest. To enter the Antenna Design Challenge, build an antenna system with reconfigurable antenna elements that can adapt to different propagation conditions (e.g. line-of-sight versus non-line-of-sight). The top three teams will receive up to $2,500 (US dollars) in travel funds to attend the IEEE Antennas and Propagation Symposium in Orlando, FL, USA, July 7-13, 2013 to demonstrate their working systems. The written reports of the three finalists will also be published in the IEEE Antennas and Propagation Magazine. More details are available on the society's website. While you are visiting the site, check out the article "Who Was James Clerk Maxwell and What Was/Is His Electromagnetic Theory?" by Sarkar, Salazar-Palma, and Sengupta.


A Job Well Done

In an announcement if not unexpected in its eventuality then surely in its abruptness, long-time CQ World Wide Contest Director, Bob Cox K3EST retired as the contest's Director and as CQ magazine's Director of Contesting. From CQ's press release announcing Bob's retirement, "Cox has been at the helm of the CQWW for 35 years, guiding the contest through massive changes in technology - both on and off the air - and CQWW's growth to become the world's most popular amateur radio contest." Indeed, CQ WW has grown to be one of the five biggest sporting events on the planet with thousands and thousands of participants simultaneously taking to the airwaves.

XYL Junko and Bob K3EST at the Northern California Contest Club's 2011 Holiday Banquet - here's to you both! (Photo by N6TV)

Bob became the contest's Director in 1977, sharing duties with Larry Brockman, then WA6EPQ and now N6AR until 1994. Since then, Bob has been the face and voice of the contest. Like many hams in my age bracket, the CQ WW contests were my first taste of what a Really Big Contest sounded like. With its everybody-works-everybody format, you really had to compete to make long-haul DX contacts through piles of closer or better-located stations. It is not unusual to hear a station pull out six successive calls from six different continents when the bands are open. I think my first WW contest was in 1973, so except for my first few years, Bob has been managing the contest in which I've participated almost every year of my ham career.

Another veritable sequoia in the forest of radiosport, Fred K3ZO, weighed in via the Potomac Valley Radio Club reflector with some recollections about the early days of the contest. "In those pre-PC days log checking was done by hand on paper logs. I remember helping Bob out. Occasionally by luck you would catch something fishy. I remember checking a log...liberally salted...with lots of multipliers right toward the end of the contest. The catch was that the calls...were mostly stations that had not been active since at least ten years before then. Bob was also wise to take counsel from Dick Norton N6AA who was a pioneer in figuring out ways to catch log obfuscation even before we had PCs to help us.

"It is no accident that the CQWW is the world's premier contest with greater numbers of participants by far than any other Amateur Radio contest. Bob's idea of signing up a corps of advisers from all over the world is still a unique undertaking in the world of contesting, and has given contesters world-wide the sense that they have a piece of the action. He has also always maintained that the contest not only exists for the high scorers but he always emphasized that if it wasn't for the "little guys'" who help the big guns maintain their high rates, those scores wouldn't be nearly as high. He has always tried to make the contest rewarding for all participants no matter how meager their scores or their stations. Thus the massive numbers of certificates that go out to participants each year."

Bob was also instrumental in rescuing the WRTC for its 1996 event after plans for a 1994 WRTC failed to achieve orbit. He sits on the WRTC Sanctioning Committee today, still contributing after 26 16 years. From the CQ press release, "In making his announcement to members of the CQ World Wide Contest Committee, Bob said, "35 years encompasses almost the entire history of modern contesting. All the way from paper logs to today's need for instant answers. During that time a framework was created that made the CQWW the innovator of almost everything used in contesting today including log checking." He added, "With that in mind...I am tired and wish to move on with other interests.""

I can only imagine the uncountable hours that Bob has dedicated to our sport - mostly uncompensated except for the satisfaction of seeing the contest and all that goes with it grow and flourish. He has suffered the slings and arrows as well for implementing stiff quality measures in log checking and in administering the rules. Hell hath no fury like a penalized contester! But it is precisely because of those efforts that so many focus so intently on the CQ WW - they know that to do well in the World Wide means something important. It sets the standards high and expects us all to live up to them, even though during the competition there is often no one there to judge our ethics. What may be Bob's biggest contribution - along with the rest of the CQ WW Committee who also deserve high praise - is that a standard has been set and maintained. We would forget that lesson at our peril and to our discredit.

As of today, no replacement for Bob has been named with the last full weekend of October looming on the next calendar sheet. Airline tickets have been purchased. Stations are being prepared. Technique is being honed. As Fred said in closing and to which I can add nothing, "Well done Bob. Yours will be a hard act to follow!"

73, Ward NØAX


September 12-25

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.


North American Sprint-- Phone, from Sep 16, 0000Z to Sep 16, 0400Z. Bands (MHz): 3.5-14. Exchange: Call signs, serial, name, and state. Logs due: 7 days. Rules

CWops Monthly Mini-CWT Test-- CW, from Sep 12, 1300Z - see website. Multiple operating periods, twice monthly on 2nd and 4th Wed. Bands (MHz): 1.8-28. Frequencies: 18 to 28 kHz above band edge. Exchange: Name and member number or S/P/C. Logs due: 2 days. Rules

CIS DX PSK Contest-- Digital, from Sep 15, 1200Z to Sep 16, 1200Z. Bands (MHz): 1.8-28. Exchange: RST and DXDA code. Logs due: 15 days. Rules

Scandinavian Activity Contest-- CW, from Sep 15, 1200Z to Sep 16, 1159Z. Bands (MHz): 3.5-28. Exchange: RST and serial. Logs due: 2 weeks. Rules

South Carolina QSO Party-- Phone, CW, from Sep 15, 1400Z to Sep 16, 0300Z. Bands (MHz): 3.5-28, 50+, Frequencies (MHz): CW--1.815, 3.545, 7.045, 14.045, 21.045, 28.045, 50.095; Phone--1.865, 3,810, 7.190, 14.250, 21.300, 28.450, 50.135. Exchange: RS(T) and county or S/P/C. Logs due: Oct 18. Rules

Feld-Hell Hell on Wheels Sprint-- Digital, from Sep 15, 1600Z to Sep 15, 1800Z. Monthly on 3rd Saturday. Bands (MHz): 1.8-28. Exchange: RST, S/P/C, Feld-Hell member nr. Logs due: 7 days. Rules

Washington State Salmon Run-- Phone, CW, Digital, from Sep 15, 1600Z to Sep 16, 2400Z. Bands (MHz): 1.8-28, 50,144, Frequencies: See website. Exchange: RS(T) and county or S/P/C. Logs due: Oct 16. Rules

Classic Exchange-- Phone, from Sep 16, 1300Z to Sep 17, 0700Z. Bands (MHz): 1.8-28, 50,144, Frequencies (MHz): SSB--1.885, 3.87, 7.28, 14.27, 21.37, 28.39; AM--1.89, 3.88, 7.16, 7.29, 14.286, 21.42, 29.0. Exchange: Name, RS, S/P/C, type of equipment. Logs due: 60 days. Rules

Run For the Bacon-- CW, from Sep 17, 0100Z to Sep 17, 0300Z. Monthly on 3rd Sunday night (local). Bands (MHz): 1.8-28. Frequencies (MHz): CW--1.812, 3.562, 7.044, 7.104. 14.062, 21.062, 27.185, 28.062. Exchange: RST, S/P/C, Flying Pig nr or power. Rules

NAQCC Monthly QRP Sprint-- CW, from Sep 20, 0030Z to Sep 20, 0230Z. Monthly on 2nd Tuesday or 3rd Wednesday local time (alternating). Bands (MHz): 3.5-14. Exchange: RST, S/P/C, and NAQCC mbr nr or power. Logs due: 4 days. Rules

FOC QSO Party-- CW, from Sep 22, 0000Z to Sep 22, 2359Z. Bands (MHz): 1.8-28. Exchange: RST, name, FOC nr if member. Logs due: 7 days. Rules

Classic Exchange-- CW, from Sep 23, 1300Z to Sep 24, 0700Z. Bands (MHz): 1.8-28, 50,144, Frequencies (MHz): SSB--1.885, 3.87, 7.28, 14.27, 21.37, 28.39; AM--1.89, 3.88, 7.16, 7.29, 14.286, 21.42, 29.0. Exchange: Name, RS, S/P/C, type of equipment. Logs due: 60 days. Rules

BARTG Sprint 75-- Digital, from Sep 23, 1700Z to Sep 23, 2100Z. Bands (MHz): 3.5-28. Exchange: Serial. Logs due: Nov 1. Rules


ARRL 10 GHz Cumulative Contest-- Phone, CW, Digital, from Sep 15, 6 AM to Sep 16, 12 midnight. Bands (MHz): 10G+. Exchange: 6-character grid locator. Logs due: Oct 16. Rules

144 MHz Fall VHF Sprint-- Phone, CW, Digital, from Sep 17, 7 PM to Sep 17, 11 PM. Bands (MHz): 144. Exchange: 4-character grid square. Logs due: 4 weeks. Rules

222 MHz Fall VHF Sprint-- Phone, CW, Digital, from Sep 25, 7 PM to Sep 25, 11 PM. Bands (MHz): 222. Exchange: 4-character grid square. Logs due: 4 weeks. Rules

South Carolina QSO Party-- Phone, CW, from Sep 15, 1400Z to Sep 16, 0300Z. Bands (MHz): 3.5-28, 50+, Frequencies (MHz): CW--1.815, 3.545, 7.045, 14.045, 21.045, 28.045, 50.095; Phone--1.865, 3,810, 7.190, 14.250, 21.300, 28.450, 50.135. Exchange: RS(T) and county or S/P/C. Logs due: Oct 18. Rules

Washington State Salmon Run-- Phone, CW, Digital, from Sep 15, 1600Z to Sep 16, 2400Z. Bands (MHz): 1.8-28, 50,144, Frequencies: See website. Exchange: RS(T) and county or S/P/C. Logs due: Oct 16. Rules

Classic Exchange-- Phone, from Sep 16, 1300Z to Sep 17, 0700Z. Bands (MHz): 1.8-28, 50,144, Frequencies (MHz): SSB--1.885, 3.87, 7.28, 14.27, 21.37, 28.39; AM--1.89, 3.88, 7.16, 7.29, 14.286, 21.42, 29.0. Exchange: Name, RS, S/P/C, type of equipment. Logs due: 60 days. Rules

Classic Exchange-- CW, from Sep 23, 1300Z to Sep 24, 0700Z. Bands (MHz): 1.8-28, 50,144, Frequencies (MHz): SSB--1.885, 3.87, 7.28, 14.27, 21.37, 28.39; AM--1.89, 3.88, 7.16, 7.29, 14.286, 21.42, 29.0. Exchange: Name, RS, S/P/C, type of equipment. Logs due: 60 days. Rules


September 12-25

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