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Contest Update Issues

The ARRL Contest Update
June 3, 2015
Editor: Paul Bourque, N1SFE

· Life after 50 (Megahertz)

· Kunt u een QSO te maken?

· Dodging Bullets

· What are those other guys up to?

· Being There

· Lucky 7QP

· To the Mesophere and Beyond!

· We all won

· Present HF Operators - A Different thing to do


Get into an HF groove! Take advantage of the weekly competitions offered by the Northern California Contest Club in the form of the RTTY Sprint or the CW Sprint. These Thursday evening (UTC-08) sessions are each only 30 minutes long. Right now, the CW Sprints are in "Ladder mode" - each Thursday's score builds over 8 weeks, with a final ranking based on one's 6 best scores.


Effective immediately, The World Wide Radio Operators Foundation (WWROF) will accept donations on behalf of WRTC2018. As the WWROF is a tax-exempt charitable organization, a donation to WRTC2018 through the WWROF may provide certain tax advantages to US Citizens. The WWROF has also donated an initial USD$15,000 to the WRTC2018 effort.

Matt, W1MSW reminds that self-spotting is allowed for ARRL VHF+ Contests (but only ARRL VHF+) contests: "It was brought to our attention that some DX cluster node users and administrators might not be aware that in January 2015 the ARRL changed the General Rules For Contests Above 50MHz to allow the use of assistance for all stations regardless of category. This rule change also allows the use of self-spotting in ARRL Sponsored VHF+ contests. The intention of this rule change is to increase participation and activity in the VHF+ contests. It is certainly a major change in how entrants might use spotting networks. In the past, there has been a certain level of self-policing on the networks when users spot themselves and it is our understanding that some systems have filters in place that prohibit self-spots. The goal of this note is to help spread the word that the ARRL is allowing the practice of self-spotting for the VHF+ contests that it sponsors and that the rule goes into effect beginning with the upcoming June VHF contest (June 13-15, 2015). We hope this will help reduce any confusion regarding the practice of self-spotting in ARRL VHF+ contests and if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me directly."




Complete information for all contests follows the Conversation section

June 4

· NRAU 10m Activity Contest

· CWops Mini-CWT Test

June 5

· NCCC RTTY Sprint

· NCCC Sprint Ladder

June 6

· 10-10 International Open Season PSK Contest

· DigiFest

· VK Shires Contest

· Wake-Up! QRP Sprint

· SEANET Contest

· ADRAD Kayldall DMR Contest

· UKSMG Summer Contest

· Dutch Kingdom Contest

· IARU Region 1 Field Day, CW

· RSGB National Field Day

· Alabama QSO Party

June 10

· NAQCC CW Sprint

· CWops Mini-CWT Test

· RSGB 80m Club Championship, CW

June 11

· CWops Mini-CWT Test

June 12

· HA3NS Sprint Memorial Contest

June 13

· ARRL June VHF Contest

· DRCG WW RTTY Contest

· Asia-Pacific Sprint, SSB

· SKCC Weekend Sprintathon

· Portugal Day Contest

· QRP ARCI QRP Shootout


· REF DDFM 6m Contest

June 14

· QRP ARCI QRP Shootout

· DRCG WW RTTY Contest

June 17

· CWops Mini-CWT Test


The first ever DKARS contest is June 6-7, 2015; The object of the contest is to contact as many Dutch stations as possible, whether they are in Europe (PA), or on the Dutch-speaking islands (P4, PJ2, PJ4, PJ5, PJ6, PJ7) in the Caribbean, or Dutch ExPats. The ExPat bonus is "secret" as determining whether a worked station is an ExPat or not occurs at log scoring time. An N1MM Logger+ contest file is available to make logging easier.

If you're having a "failure to communicate" with your rig, it's always wise to verify that you have the latest version of drivers for your hardware, or that perhaps your driver was affected because of an automated operating system update. HA1AG recently noticed timeouts when WinTest was being used with a TS-590's USB interface. The cure was to update the USB driver to that of the manufacturer (Silicon Labs). (Thanks HA1AG).

In a similar vein, if you're recently having trouble using your FTDI-based USB serial port's handshaking lines on Apple OS X, e.g. for keying, controlling your amp, or PTT, make sure you're using FTDI's driver instead of the Apple-provided one. (Thanks Rockwell WW1X and

Web Site of the Week - Checking out the "competition?" The Northern California Contest Club has a large online collection of past club newsletters that are simply wonderful to read. NCCC members contest with great gusto, travel, build things, solve problems, get other people excited about contesting, and then write about it!


Grid Square - An alphanumeric geographical coordinate system (usually four or six characters), based on the Maidenhead Locator System developed by VHF enthusiasts in 1980, in which the entire globe is divided into equal-sized rectangles denoted by alphanumeric codes. Grid squares are increasingly popular as contest exchanges, as they offer a challenge for successfully completing contest QSOs with accuracy, providing universal location information for all countries/states, and underpinning distance based scoring criteria. Some contests in which Grid Squares are used: ARRL VHF, UHF, 10 GHz+ Contests; Stew Perry Top Band Distance Challenge, Makrothen RTTY Contest, DigiFest, UKSMG Summer Contest, REF DDFM Summer Contest.


W2NAF @ 2014 Dayton (courtesy W2NAF)

Here's what's on the OTHER end: W2NAF, Nathaniel, gives a YouTube tour of the KC4USV station located at McMurdo Station, Antarctica.

W7DRA makes a 160m contact during the 2015 WPX CW. ARC-5 VFO, W7RM 833 amplifier, manual switching, paper logging, straight key...


Dayton Contest Dinner: Contest Hall of Fame Inductee K1DG with Randy K5ZD (photo courtesy N6TV)

Results of the 2015 7QP (7th area QSO Party) are available at According to the sponsors, the 7QP is now the second largest QSO party after the California QSO Party. The results were made available ten days after the log deadline. (Dick, K4XU)


Don't let mobile ham gear become projectiles - make sure your equipment is secure. If you need a removable but robust solution, you might try a hook and loop fastener. According to Rich, W6RS, who extensively tested a number of brands for a large municipality, Gator Grip was recommended: "Once the two materials were mated you literally had to use a flat blade screw drive to separate them. Needless to say hard mounting is the first choice, but if that's impossible then this is a viable alternative." (Rich W6RS)


A new type of Cloud propagation? Every summer, radar reflections from altitudes between 80 and 90km are detected. These reflections seem to be coincident with the altitude and occasional observations of "Noctilucent Clouds." Recently, these were observed (and photographed) over Scotland (See: "RADAR ECHOES FROM THE NOCTILUCENT ZONE"). One theory is that the clouds consist of charged ice particles, which are good reflectors of VHF and above. (W7WKR through PNWVHFS)

There's still time to put up a VHF antenna before the June VHF Contest - but which one? VE7BQH has a done a comparison of some commercial antennas. Build your own? Check out a list of ARRL Articles on making your own VHF Beams.

Some of the best-attended presentations at ham gatherings are those about radio performance testing. VA7OJ recently talked about considerations necessary when testing modern receiver architectures, and performing Noise Power Ratio testing of receivers. (Thanks W7LFA)

Have some ferrite binocular cores you'd like to use for a beverage transformer? Need to "guesstimate" the material they're made out of? Tom W8JI suggests using an antenna analyzer (in impedance mode) with a single loop through the core to determine the frequency where R=X; If that occurs at around 2 MHz, it's type 73 material. "The Q=1 frequency, where R=X or where loss tangent crosses reactance, tells you the material better than anything else you can do." (Tom W8JI via Topband List)

National Instruments and Mouser have teamed up to provide MultiSIM BLUE, a tool in which you can draw your schematic, simulate its behavior, lay out a PC board, built the BOM, and order parts (from Mouser, of course). (Thanks Doug W5DET)

W6PQL and others have designed high-power amplifiers based on LDMOS transistors like the NXP BLF578XR and BLF188XR. These devices are appealing as they can handle high power levels, and are robust in the face of adverse operating conditions. Now, NXP will sell its RF Power business to JAC Holdings. The sale is being made in part to raise cash to help NXP to acquire Freescale semiconductor, and to appease potential regulator objections in regards to that purchase. (EETimes)

Also in transition - Traffie Technology, maker of Hex Beams, announces plans to discontinue making Hex Beams. (via

Will your heirs know what your treasures are worth? Someone donated a rare Apple I computer last week, likely not knowing its value, historical or otherwise. The search is on for the donor, who is entitled to half of the estimated $200,000 value.

Technical Web Site of the Week - Moore's Law at 50 - Intel has provided an interview with Gordon Moore:


You "don't do VHF?"

Many modern transceivers have coverage for 6 meters. Why not try that band in the June VHF+ Contest? Try making a simple dipole for the band if your current antennas don't cover it. If you try listening on 50.125 USB (the calling frequency), you'll likely hear locals announcing that they're listing (and likely calling CQ) at some other frequency, like 50.145. Don't like phone? Try CW just below 50.100 for domestic contacts. As VHF+ antennas are relatively small, you could also try a portable operation from a hilltop or other elevated location. Be safe, have fun!

73, Brian N9ADG


4 June Through 17 June 2015

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.


NRAU 10m Activity Contest, CW: June 4 1700Z-1800Z, SSB: June 4 1800Z-1900Z; June 4 1900Z-2000Z; FM: June 4 1900-2000Z, Digital: June 4 2000Z-2100Z; CW, SSB, FM, Digital; Bands: 28MHz only; RS(T)+6-character grid square; Logs Due: June 18, 2015.

CWops Mini-CWT Test, June 4 0300z-0400z; CW; Bands: 1.8-28MHz;Member: Name + Member No., non-Member: Name + (state/province/country); Logs Due: June 6, 2015 0400z.

NCCC RTTY Sprint, June 5 0145Z-0215Z; RTTY; Bands: see rules; Serial No. + Name + QTH;Logs Due: June 7, 2015.

NCCC Sprint Ladder, June 5 0230Z-0300Z; CW; Bands: 1.8-50MHz; Serial No. + Name + QTH; Logs Due: June 7, 2015.

10-10 International Open Season PSK Contest, June 6 0000z - June 7 2400z; PSK; Bands: 28MHz only; Name + (state/province/country) + organization membership numbers; Logs Due: June 23, 2015.

DigiFest, June 6 0400Z-1200Z, June 6 2000Z-June 7 0400z, June 7 1200Z-2000Z; RTTY75, BPSK63, MFSK16, HELLSCHREIBER, OLIVIA; Bands: 3.5-28MHz; RST + 4-character grid square; Logs Due: June 14, 2015

VK Shires Contest, June 6 0600z-June 7 0600z;CW, SSB;Bands: 3.5-28 MHz; VK: RS(T) + Shire, non-VK: RS(T) + CQ Zone; Logs Due: July 1, 2015

Wake-Up! QRP Sprint, June 6 0600Z-0629Z, June 6 0630Z-0659Z, June 6 0700Z-0729Z, June 6 0730Z-0800Z; CW; Bands 7MHz,14MHz; RST + Serial No. + suffix of previous QSO ("QRP" for 1st QSO);Logs Due: June 13, 2015

SEANET Contest, June 6 1200z - June 7 1200z; CW, SSB; Bands: 3.5-28MHz; RS(T) + Serial No.; Logs Due: June 20, 2015

ADRAD Kayldall DMR Contest, June 6 1300z-1900z; DMR; Bands: 433MHz; 6-Character Grid Square; Logs Due: June 21, 2015

Dutch Kingdom Contest, June 6 1500z - June 7 1500z; CW, SSB; Bands: 7 - 50MHz; RS(T) + Serial No.; Logs Due: 2359Z June 14, 2015

IARU Region 1 Field Day, CW, See your national radio society's web site.

RSGB National Field Day, June 6 1500z - June 7 1500z; CW; Bands: 1.8 - 28MHz; RST + Serial No.; Logs Due: June 23, 2015

Alabama QSO Party, June 6 1600z - June 7 0400z; CW, SSB; Bands: 1.8-28MHz; AL: RS(T) + County, non-AL: RS(T) + (state/province/"DX"); Logs Due:July 6, 2015

NAQCC CW Sprint, June 10 0030Z-0230Z; CW; Bands 3.5-14MHz; RST + (state/province/country) + (NAQCC No./power); Logs due: 2359Z June 13, 2015

CWops Mini-CWT Test, June 10 1300Z-1400Z, June 10 1900Z-2000Z, June 11 0300Z-0400Z; Bands: 1.8-28MHz; CWOps Member: Name + Member Number, non-Member: Name + (state/province/country); Logs Due: 0400Z June 13, 2015

RSGB 80m Club Championship, CW, June 10 1900Z-2030Z; CW; Bands: 3.5MHz; RST + Serial No.; Logs due: 2359Z June 17, 2015

HA3NS Sprint Memorial Contest, 40m: June 12 1900Z-1929Z, 80m: June 13 1930Z-1959Z; CW; Bands: 3.5MHz, 7MHz; HACWG Members: RST + Membership No., non-Members: RST + NM; Logs due:June 27, 2015

DRCG WW RTTY Contest, June 13 0000Z-0759Z, June 13 1600Z-2359Z, June 14 0800Z-1559Z; RTTY; Bands: 3.5-28MHz; RST + CQ Zone; Logs due: June 21, 2015.

Asia-Pacific Sprint, SSB, June 13 1100Z-1300Z; SSB; Bands: 14, 21 MHz; RS(T) + Serial No.;

Logs due: June 20, 2015

SKCC Weekend Sprintathon, June 13 1200z- June 14 2400z; CW; Bands: 1.8-50MHz; RST + (state/province/country) + Name + (SKCC No./"NONE"); Logs due: June 21, 2015

Portugal Day Contest, June 13 1200z-June 14 1200z; CW, SSB; Bands: 3.5-28MHz; CT: RS(T) + District, non-CT: RS(T) + Serial No.; Logs due:September 1, 2015

QRP ARCI QRP Shootout, SSB: June 13 1500Z-2100Z, CW: June 14 1500Z-2100Z; CW, SSB; Bands: 1.8 - 28MHz; ARCI: RS(T) + (state/province/country) + ARCI No., non-ARCI: RS(T) + (state/province/country) + power out; Logs due: July 1, 2015

GACW WWSA CW DX Contest, June 13 1500z - June 14 1500z;CW; 3.5-28 MHz;RST + CQ Zone No.; Logs due: July 30, 2015.


ARRL June VHF Contest, June 13 1800z - June 14 0259z; All modes; 50MHz & up; 4 character grid square; Logs due: 0300Z July 15, 2015

REF DDFM 6m Contest, June 13, 1600z - June 14 1600z; CW,SSB, FM; 50 MHz; RS(T) + Serial No. + 4-character grid square; Logs due: July 14, 2015

UKSMG Summer Contest, June 6 1300z - June 7 1300z (see rules); Bands: 50MHz only; CW, SSB; see rules; Logs Due: July 1, 2015


June 4

· ARS Spartan Sprint

June 5


June 6

· CWops Mini-CWT Test

June 7

· SARL Digital Contest

· WAB 7 MHz Phone

· NCCC RTTY Sprint

· NCCC Sprint Ladder

· UN DX Contest

June 8

· FISTS Spring Unlimited Sprint

· RSGB 80m Club Championship, Data

June 9

· F9AA Cup, PSK

June 10

· CQ-M International DX Contest

· Baltic Contest

June 12

· Portuguese Navy Day Contest, Digital

June 13

· Wake-Up! QRP Sprint

June 14

· QRP ARCI Hootowl Sprint


· Dutch Kingdom Contest

June 15

· HPC World Wide DX Contest

· Aegean RTTY Contest

June 17

· UA2 QSO Party

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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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