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The ARRL Contest Update
June 17, 2015
Editor: Brian Moran, N9ADG
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IN THIS ISSUE

· One Question before you Pass - Kid's Day Contest

· It's Topband season in the Southern Hemisphere - Stew Perry Top Band Distance Challenge

· Silent Green - NXP Parts used in Grow Lights

· Classic Contesting Tips

· A Series of Tubes... - Ionospheric Plasma

· Bring your popcorn - ARRL 10m Results & Propagation Movies

· Wireless powered Wireless?

· Not your Elmer's N1MM Logger

· Evolving Rules

NEW HF OPERATORS - THINGS TO DO

Field day is the place to be the weekend of June 27. Join a local radio club's group or use your own station!

Check out the 10-10 International Spirit of 76 - 10 meters only of course - starting a couple of days after Field Day. You could read the results article (referenced below) for last fall's ARRL 10m contest for some general 10 meter antenna or operating tips. Unlike most contests, the Spirit of 76 lasts for a seven day period.

BULLETINS

WRTC2018 qualification standings have recently been updated to include claimed scores from CQWPX-CW 2015, CQWPX-SSB 2015, RDXC 2015, ARRL-DX-SSB 2015, and ARRL-DX-CW 2015.

BUSTED QSOS

In the last issue, maidenhead grids were described as "equal-sized rectangles denoted by alphanumeric codes," which would only occur on Equirectangular Projections of the Earth. According to Jonesy, W3DHJ, "They ain't 'equal-sized'. Near the North Pole a parked rover could operate from several grid squares at the same time. Near the equator it might take all day for a Rover to drive into the next grid square."

CONTEST SUMMARY

Complete information for all contests follows the Conversation section

June 18

· CWops Mini-CWT Test

· NAQCC CW Sprint

· RSGB 80m Club Championship, SSB

June 19

· NCCC RTTY Sprint

· NCCC Sprint Ladder

· SMIRK Contest

June 20

· All Asian DX Contest, CW

· Ukrainian DX Classic RTTY Contest

· AGCW VHF/UHF Contest

· Stew Perry Topband Challenge

· West Virginia QSO Party

· Feld Hell Sprint

June 21

· WAB 50 MHz Phone

· Kid's Day Contest

June 22

· Run for the Bacon QRP Contest

June 24

· SKCC Sprint

· CWops Mini-CWT Test

June 25

· CWops Mini-CWT Test

June 26

· NCCC RTTY Sprint

· NCCC Sprint Ladder

June 27

· His Maj. King of Spain Contest, SSB

· Ukrainian DX DIGI Contest

· ARRL Field Day

June 29

· 10-10 Int. Spirit of 76 QSO Party

July 1

· RAC Canada Day Contest

· CWops Mini-CWT Test

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NEWS, PRESS RELEASES, AND GENERAL INTEREST

In addition to being popular for use in palletized amplifier modules for HF and VHF amplification, NXP is promoting its products for use in plasma plant grow light applications. Some conventional ballasts being used in "domestic plant growing operations" are an unwanted and abundant source of RF interference in many residential areas in the US.

The Video Operating N1MM+ at Field Day has been posted to the N1MM Logger+ website Instructional Videos page. This video is designed to help educate radio club members and guest operators about Field Day, Contesting, and N1MM Logger+. The customized screens and logging sequences described in the 17 minute video may not be an exact match for your Field Day operations, but should still prove helpful to hams unfamiliar with any of those three topics. As the video is only 19 MB, it's easy to make it available on a thumb-drive at your Field Day site (see the download link at the bottom of the page). (Larry K8UT)

Thinking about picking up some new knowledge this summer? Free online curricula providers like EdX, Coursera, and others have Electrical Engineering and other courses that may be of interest.

What tidbit can we glean from an SR-71 pilot's interview which would be relevant to contesting? To be able to sit in a chair for six to eight hours, eat a low-residue meal like steak and eggs.

Web Site of the Week - Though these ZS1AN contesting tips are from 2007, they are still relevant today. If you're putting on a Field Day operation, it can be helpful to make sure everyone is "on the same page" by being familiar with these, or perhaps your own compendium of contest tips. (Bob N6TV)

WORD TO THE WISE

"Front End Protector" - also known as a receiver protector, or receiver limiter; it's an active or passive circuit which can guard against a receiver being overloaded or damaged by very large signals appearing at its input. It is typically used where receivers or transceivers may be used in close proximity to other transmitters/transceivers (as you might find in Field Day situations). Some desirable features of Front End Protectors include providing little or no signal attenuation when harmful signals are not present, providing fast and effective clamping or switching of potentially harmful signals, and adding no signal or mixing artifacts.

SIGHTS AND SOUNDS

Some hams, like WN6K, are notorious for reading during the slow periods of contesting. This chair could be helpful (Photo courtesy N6KI)

Astronomers at the University of Sidney, by combining the results of multiple receivers in the Murchison Widefield Array radio telescope, have 'imaged' plasma tubes present in the ionosphere. Moreover, these plasma tubes can be visualized over time and in three dimensions.

A WWROF-sponsored webinar, "VHF Rovers: Contesting Operations and Impact" by Rick Rosen, K1DS will happen on Wednesday, June 24 9 PM EDT (Thursday, June 25 01:00 UTC). You can watch for free by registering here. Subjects to be covered include a Brief history of roving, both before and after ARRL adopted the category, Equipping basic and sophisticated rovers, Rover Activity, Rover contest scores and their impact on fixed stations, and Future Rover activity vis-a-vis the new VHF contest rules.

Previous WWROF webinars are available on the WWROF web site.

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RESULTS AND RECORDS

The scores of N0NI vs WW4LL during the 2014 ARRL 10m Contest.

The results for the 2014 10 Meter Contest, including a comprehensive contest write up by Scott Tuthill, K7ZO, log checking reports, line scores and updated records, are available on the ARRL Web Site. In addition to a record number of logs being submitted, it was the debut of the new 'Unlimited' classes for Single Operators, allowing spotting assistance or 'skimmer' use (previously confined to multi-op). There were seven races in which the winner was less than one percent ahead of 2nd place! The article is well worth reading, if only for the detailed and exciting hour-by-hour description of two of the closest races. If that's not enough, bring your popcorn, because Scott also made some "propagation movies" from the submitted log data showing QSO rates from the US to various parts of the globe per 30-minute interval.

There was a problem discovered in the log checking process for the 2014 ARRL 160 Meter Contest. After the problem was identified and fixed, the logs were all rechecked which resulted in some scoring changes. However, there were only a few changes in the order of finish in the Top Ten results with all top winners staying the same. There were no changes to Division or Regional winners. Updated results have been posted to the online database and the Full Results Article, Log Checking Reports and Printable Line Scores have been updated on the ARRL web site. (Matt W1MSW)

As of June 16, 2015 the submitted log count for the ARRL June VHF contest is over 400.

OPERATING TIP

On the way out of the Bean Blossom, Indiana campground at Bill Monroe's
music festival park. Gotta watch those bugcatchers! (Courtesy N0AX)

Summer. Time for more mobile operations. Make sure you are familiar with the clearances you need for your mobile antennas.

TECHNICAL TOPICS AND INFORMATION

What Field Day class would include a QRP transmitter powered by harvesting of ambient Wi-Fi signals? Perhaps we'll find out in a few years, as researchers at the University of Washington recently demonstrated powering low power sensors using Wi-Fi. In addition to developing power harvesting circuitry, they modified a Wi-Fi router's protocols for more airtime, while not compromising communication speeds (submitted by QRP enthusiast Mark K6UFO).

To connect two pieces of wire electrically and make a strong mechanical splice, you might want to use a "Western Union Splice". Here's a video on how to do it. This could come in handy if you cut the field day dipole a little short. (Thanks to Frank K5HS)

When I was in high school, one of the first projects you could tackle in Electronics class was a "Color Organ". It was an SCR-Based circuit that used the levels of different audio frequency bands to control incandescent lights. As everything today is better with LEDs, here's a similar project --"LED Volume Tower" - a large LED VU meter. Build multiple channels, put an audio filter network in front of each channel tuned to bass, midrange, and treble, and voila. Though It seems like we've lost something over the years; it's hard to beat the initial turn-on excitement of high-school project wiring mistakes connected directly to 120v.

Technical Web Site of the Week - N1MM.com

If you're NOT using N1MM Logger + (note the PLUS sign), you're not using N1MM logger. The original N1MM Logger has reached end-of-life, and is no longer being updated. The new N1MM Logger+ has the familiar feel of the original, with more polish and more features in certain areas. Did you know that you can write your own applications to interface with N1MM via UDP (a network protocol)? Information can be emitted from N1MM Logger+ when rig frequency changes or every 10 seconds, when a contact is logged, and when the rotator turns. This is the facility that some of the real time score posting programs use, but here are some ideas for other things it could be used for:

· Ring a bell when a new multiplier is worked (mult flag in the contact message)

· A "virtual elmer" that nudges you to try a different band, mode (run/s&p), or antenna direction based on your QTH, time of day, current rate and band

· While not providing actual spots in the form of a callsign and/or frequency, suggestions that a band is open in a certain direction

CONVERSATION

Randy K5ZD, recently solicited comments (via the CQ-Contest reflector) on some potential upcoming rules changes for CQWW. Many of the proposed changes appear to recognize the reality of today's contest logging environment:

· Log deadlines can be shortened given the realities of the Internet which may in turn enable faster availability of contest results

· Log scoring and cross checking has never been more automated

· Audio logs could be helpful to provide a fairer and more accurate contest experience; nearly any competitive logging computer likely already has this capability

· Reasonably modern, competitive receivers interface well with logging programs

· Real-time QSO availability information is a rapidly evolving area

It's easy to envision "corner cases" where some of these proposed rule changes would be a hardship, but realistically, it's necessary to evolve the rules as technology evolves, and (unfortunately) as those who would "take advantage" of those rules evolve.

The ARRL recently changed certain rules regarding VHF+ contests reflecting evolving contesting conditions; perhaps there will be additional changes to other contest rules in the future.

73, Brian N9ADG

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CONTESTS

18 June Through 1 July 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.

HF CONTESTS

CWops Mini-CWT Test, June 18 0300z-0400z, June 24 1300Z-1400Z, June 24 1900Z-2000Z, June 25 0300Z-0400Z, July 1 1300Z-1400Z, July 1 1900Z-2000Z; CW; Bands: 1.8-28MHz;Member: Name + Member No., non-Member: Name + (state/province/country); Logs Due: June 20, June 27, July 4, 2015.

RSGB 80m Club Championship, SSB, June 18 1900Z-2030Z; SSB; Bands: 3.5MHz; RST + Serial No.; Logs due: 2359Z June 25, 2015

NAQCC CW Sprint, June 18 0030Z-0230Z; CW; Bands: 3.5, 7.0, 14 MHz; RST + (state/province/country) + (NAQCC No./power); Logs Due: June 21, 2015.

NCCC RTTY Sprint, June 19 0145Z-0215Z, June 26 0145Z-0215Z; RTTY; Bands: see rules; Serial No. + Name + QTH;Logs Due: June 21, June 28 2015.

NCCC Sprint Ladder, June 19 0230Z-0300Z, June 26 0230Z-0300Z; CW; Bands: 1.8-50MHz; Serial No. + Name + QTH; Logs Due: June 21, June 28 2015.

All Asian DX Contest, CW, June 20 0000Z to June 21 2400Z; CW; Bands: 1.8-28MHz; RST + 2-digit age; Logs Due: July 22, 2015.

Ukrainian DX Classic RTTY Contest, June 20 1200Z to June 21 1159Z; RTTY; Bands: 3.5MHz - 28MHz;Ukraine: RST + 2-letter oblast, non-Ukraine: RST + Serial No.; Logs Due: July 6.

Stew Perry Topband Challenge, June 20 1500Z to June 21, 1500Z; CW; Bands: 1.8 MHz; 4-Character grid square; Logs Due: July 6, 2015.

West Virginia QSO Party, June 20, 1600Z to June 21, 0200Z;CW, SSB, Digital; 3.5 MHz- 28 MHz; WV: RS(T) + county, non-WV: RS(T) + (state/province/country); Logs Due: July 6, 2015.

Feld Hell Sprint, June 20, 2000Z-2159Z; Feld Hell; Bands: 1.8 MHz - 50 MHz; see rules; Logs Due: June 27, 2015.

WAB 50 MHz Phone, June 21, 0900Z-1500Z; SSB; Bands: 50 Mhz; British Isles: RS + serial no. + WAB square, Other: RS + serial no. + country; Logs Due: July 12, 2015.

Kid's Day Contest, June 21, 1800Z-2359Z; SSB; 3.5 MHz - 28MHz, also 18, 24 MHz, 144 MHz repeaters; name + age + QTH + favorite color; Logs Due: July 21, 2015;

Run for the Bacon QRP Contest, June 22, 0100Z-0300Z; CW; 1.8 MHz - 28 MHz; RST + (state/province/country) + (Member No./power); Logs Due: June 28, 2015.

SKCC Sprint, June 24, 0000Z-0200Z; CW; 1.8 MHz- 28 MHz; RST + (state/province/country) + Name + (SKCC No./power); Logs Due: June 26, 2015.

His Maj. King of Spain Contest, SSB, June 27, 1200Z to June 28, 1200Z; SSB; 1.8 MHz- 28 MHz; EA: RS + province, non-EA: RS + Serial No.; Logs Due: July 13, 2015.

Ukrainian DX DIGI Contest, June 27, 1200Z to June 28, 1200Z; RTTY, PSK63; 3.5 MHz-28 MHz; UR: RST + 2-letter Oblast, non-UR: RST + QSO No.; Logs Due: July 28, 2015.

ARRL Field Day, June 27, 1800Z to June 28, 2100Z;All modes; All Bands except 10, 18, 24 MHz;W/VE: Number of transmitters (see rules) + Operating class + ARRL/RAC section, DX: Number of transmitters (see rules) + Operating class + "DX"; Logs Due: July 28, 2015.

10-10 Int. Spirit of 76 QSO Party, June 29, 0001Z to July 5, 2400Z; CW, SSB, PSK31, RTTY, FM, AM; 28 MHz only; 10-10 Member: Name + 10-10 number + (state/province/country), Non-Member: Name + 0 + (state/province/country); Logs Due: July 20, 2015.

RAC Canada Day Contest, July 1, 0000Z-2359Z; CW, Phone; 1.8 MHz - 28 MHz, 50MHz, 144 MHz; VE: RS(T) + province/territory, non-VE: RS(T) + Serial No.; Logs Due: July 31, 2015.

VHF+ CONTESTS

SMIRK Contest, June 19 0000Z to June 20 2400Z;CW, Phone; Bands: 50 MHz only;SMIRK No. (optional) + 4-character grid square; Logs Due: August 15, 2015.

AGCW VHF/UHF Contest, June 20 1400Z-1700Z (144 MHz), June 21 1700Z-1800Z (432 MHz); CW; Bands: 144 MHz, 432 MHz;RST + "/" + Serial No. + "/" Power class + "/" + 6-character grid locator; Logs Due: July 6, 2015.

(some of the HF contests include 50 MHz)

LOG DUE DATES

June 18

· NRAU 10m Activity Contest

· NZART Sangster Shield Contest

June 20

· Asia-Pacific Sprint, SSB

· SEANET Contest

· PVRC Reunion

· CWops Mini-CWT Test

June 21

· DRCG WW RTTY Contest

· SKCC Weekend Sprintathon

· NCCC RTTY Sprint

· NCCC Sprint Ladder

· ADRAD Kayldall DMR Contest

· NAQCC CW Sprint

June 23

· 10-10 Int. Open Season PSK Contest

· RSGB National Field Day

June 25

· RSGB 80m Club Championship, SSB

June 27

· HA3NS Sprint Memorial Contest

June 30

· IARU Region 1 Field Day, CW (see your national society rules)

July 1

· UKSMG Summer Contest

· VK Shires Contest

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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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