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Contest Update Issues

The ARRL Contest Update
August 12, 2015
Editor: Paul Bourque, N1SFE

· Baudy Weekend Plans

· Zero can be a score

· Sweepstakes Correction

· Eyeball QSOs

· DX Phone Results

· Penguins

· Crows

· Contesting on the fly-by


"Do we have to do RTTY again?" - RTTY is one of the fastest growing contest modes, and between the SARTG RTTY contest, and the ARRL Rookie Roundup, RTTY, there will be plenty of stations to work. The North American QSO Party (NAQP) is another great option, as all contest entrants are limited to 100w, it's only 12 hours long, and you can team up with one to four others to combine your scores against other teams. Heck, why not do NAQP on one day, and Rookie Roundup on the next?

The weekend of August 22 is relatively calm - only THREE contests from which to choose. QSO parties are always good fun.


"It was discovered not long after the release of the 2014 November Sweepstakes Phone results that there was a problem involving the W1AW portable stations celebrating the ARRL Centennial. The log checking software treated the different stations as a single call sign, so if both were worked during the contest, only one was counted and the other considered a dupe. This caused anyone working both stations to lose a QSO and for some, a multiplier was also lost. It was decided that we would allow both portable stations to count and then rescore the contest after updating the log checking software.

During this process, it was also discovered that a step had been omitted during the original log checking process. Performing this additional step improved checking of miscopied call signs, which for some entries changed what had been considered contacts with unique calls into busted QSOs. Because accuracy is exceptionally important in this contest, we are releasing corrected results. The changes did not affect any of the overall winners, but did change the order of finish for some of the Top Ten spots. One Division winner changed.

The new data has been uploaded to the online database and new LCRs and line scores are available, although we will not be rewriting the results article. We have added a note to the beginning of the article and appended updated tables.

We apologize, but as most will agree, it is important that we publish accurate results with the correct order of finish. Thank you to the participants who brought this to our attention and all the folks behind the scenes who helped to discover and fix the additional error and produce the updated results." (Matt W1MSW)


There's always next time.


Complete information for all contests follows the Conversation section

August 13

August 14

August 15

August 16

August 17

August 19

August 20

August 21

August 22

August 26


Contest University USA 2016 will be held at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, Dayton, Ohio, on Thursday May 19, 2016. When host hotel reservations opened early on August 3rd, remaining rooms at the host hotel booked quickly. If you still need a room at the host hotel, start looking on the CQ-Contest, Topband, etc., reflectors in March, as people become more definite about their Dayton plans. There are, of course, rooms available in other hotels in the area.

For ham radio in general, and contesting in particular, Dayton, Ohio is the place to be May 18-22, 2016:

(Thanks Tim K3LR)

N6ZE notes that it's possible to post a score of zero to, and why one may want to do that: "I'm glad to see that the '3830 Rumor Page' permits submission of an contest entry even if no QSOs result from attempting to make QSOs (submitting a score of '1' without any QSOs is the way to do it!). VA7VX/QRP just did this for the Fall 2015 six meter SPRINT. A couple of years ago I was permitted to do this when I was QSO-less from CN88 with just a 33cm handheld during a microwave SPRINT. This is a great way to demonstrate station ACTIVITY & INTEREST even when no QSOs have resulted."

The CW NAQP Results Database is back on-line and updated through the January 2015 NAQP. (Steve N2IC)

The YASME Foundation announced three new recipients of the YASME Excellence Award. Honored were Mike Mertel, K7IR, for his invention of the tunable Yagi antenna; Koos Fockens, PA0KDF, for his comprehensive analysis and reporting of ham band noise which aided in countering BPL (Broadband over Power Line); and James Ying, N2IW, for the creation of the online scheduling app used during the 2014 ARRL Centennial.

The FCC is urging telecom carriers to upgrade to fiber optics throughout their networks. Some hams have noted that in a power outage, land-line phones still worked because copper also provided circuit power. What happens when there is fiber-to-the-home? Many residential telecom providers supply a backup power source, which after a period of time must be maintained by the homeowner. The land-line issue may be moot, as at the end of 2013, according to the CDC (as reported by the Pew Research Center), two of five households have only wireless phones. If you'd like to have power during an emergency, there's always a Tesla Powerwall.(Thanks N6KI)

If you are using Firefox as a web browser, it's advised that you upgrade immediately to the latest version, due to a recently discovered zero-day attack.

Additional pieces of the quantum-computing-machinery puzzle may be falling into place as researchers have demonstrated a way to separate particles on the basis of their spin. Think of this as a quantum diode. The referenced article also cites a new method of providing a 'delay line' at the quantum level.

Electronics at a larger scale continues to enjoy innovation; a high-performance single-molecule diode has been developed by researchers. (Thanks N6KI)

Web Site of the Week - Science Channel, How It's Made

The Science Channel provides bite-sized (2-6 minute) videos on how various things are made. It's intriguing to see machines, tools, and techniques used to make things as mundane as inner tubes or confections, and gives me ideas on how to handle or use materials. The How It's Made link on the Science Channel provides one means to watch these videos, another is the How It's Made channel on YouTube.


Foreground: N7QT chats with N6TR after Tree's "Low Band Antenna" presentation at the Pacific Northwest DX Convention. Other WKCs hams in the background, include N0AX, W6OAT, WWDXC president K7EDX.

RDF - Receive Directivity Factor

In practical terms, RDF is a factor measuring the difference in signal from the desired signal direction vs. energy received from all of the other directions. A more precise definition (from W8WWV) is the "difference between the forward gain of an antenna (usually the maximum forward gain) and the average gain of the antenna." RDF is used as a figure of merit for low-band antennas, where desired signals can be well above receiver MDF, but are masked by 'louder' noise signals. A comparison of typical antennas used for the low bands and their respective RDFs can be found on W8JI's web site.


Well-known contester Dan W7WA, and conference chair Rich, W6RS at the Pacific Northwest DX Convention. Dan mentions he's looking forward to the CQP coming up soon.

The Pacific Northwest DX Convention was held this past weekend in Everett, Washington. This year's event was sponsored by the Western Washington DX Club, and featured speakers covering a wide range of topics relevant to contesters, including an ARRL forum (K9JF, W6RGG, N0AX, K7CEX), propagation (K9LA), low-band operation (N6TR), the E30FB DXpedition (N6PSE), techniques to make efficient Q's (N6MZ, K6MM, N2TU, K9JF), and contesting from our part of the world (W7VJ). Saturday evening's presentation on K1N by N6MZ was preceded by the YASME Foundation's Technical Excellence award being presented to Mike, K7IR, for his dogged pursuit and perfection of the dynamically tunable yagi antenna. Everyone enjoyed K6MM's take on the humorous side of the hobby on Sunday. Throughout the weekend, it was a great opportunity to meet with contesters and DXers; events like these seem to raise the enthusiasm level for everyone.

You've likely heard W6YI on the air in a contest. This drone video, shot by N6ED, of the W6YI 'layout' shows why they do so well. Here's another, this one of K6NA. (Thanks N6KI)


Final results and PDF certificates for URE's His Majesty the King of Spain SSB 2015 are available for perusal and download, as are the complete scores.

The 2015 Minnesota QSO Party Results (PDF) have been posted. In addition to listings of the scores, there are interesting ham-biographic sketches on some of the participants, and even a discussion on the log scoring process.

The 2015 ARRL DX Phone Line Score Results have been posted. The full results article should also be on the web site by the end of the week.

Mark, K6UFO reports: "Preliminary results for the July North American QSO Party - RTTY, are now available at the National Contest Journal web site. Congratulations to all participants! Please report any problems directly to me, K6UFO. Final results will be published in a few months in the National Contest Journal."


Can't break that CW pileup? Try varying your CW sending speed, or perhaps try sending your call with a straight key - anything to distinguish your call from everyone else calling, but still within the bounds of good operating ethics and practices.


Radio waves (and their reflections) at around 60 MHz are used to map ice thickness. This article on ice penetrating radar discusses the basics, and has some great visualizations of RF reflections through ice. And it has a picture of penguins.

As we upgrade our shack computers to Microsoft Windows 10, there are concerns about the policies and particulars of Windows 10 automatic upgrades. Steve, N2IC, suggests changing a few Windows settings if you're going to be using Windows 10 during contests (you may need to be a member of the N1MMLoggerPlus Yahoo group to access this article). A short summary of his comments: In Updates and Security Settings, Advanced Options, change restart after update to "Notify to schedule restart." Also, to minimize peer-to-peer distribution of Windows updates through your computer, turn off the "Windows Update Delivery Optimization" in the same location. N3BUO also suggested another article on how to disable Windows 10 updates.

Initial independent performance measurements of the Yaesu FT-991 have been completed by some well-regarded individuals, Adam Farson: VA7OJ/AB4OJ's FT-991 Notes, and Rob Sherwood: Sherwood Engineering's Receiver Test Data. (thanks W7VP)

You may have heard or seen the stories in the news about a Jeep Cherokee being able to be taken over by 'hackers.' Here's an in-depth article (PDF) by the researchers that were funded by DARPA to do this very thing, including description of the vulnerable systems, and methods used.

Power derived from nuclear fusion may be getting a little closer to reality as MIT researchers have come up with a new reactor design taking advantage of Rare Earth Barium Copper Oxide superconducting tapes for conductors for the high-field magnetic coils. The breakthrough enables intense magnetic fields at reasonable (liquid nitrogen) temperatures with considerably less power consumption than previous designs. Though no fusion reactors have yet been able to generate more energy than they consume, the MIT team predicts that this new design could return 3 to 6 times the input energy. The ITER reactor in France, designed and started before the MIT discoveries, is scheduled to be completed in 2019. The ITER reactor could be the first operational net-positive fusion reactor.

Non-magnetic materials could be made more attractive in the future: Researchers have found a way to add magnetic properties to non-magnetic materials, to achieve ferromagnetism at room temperatures. Materials altered in this way could find wide application in electronics. (Thanks N6KI)

One of the technologies to build really big things, and lift very large loads, is a strand jack. A relatively new invention (1969), if you were a Lilliputian, and you had to lift your Gulliver a few stories, you'd use these.

Technical Web Site of the Week -

The Association of Old Crows doesn't sound much like it's related to technology, however this non-profit organization is devoted to cutting-edge uses of electronics and the electromagnetic spectrum. The AOC traces its history back to the Strategic Air Command and before - and caters to individuals involved in Electronic Warfare technology and techniques. Amateur radio can trace some innovations in communications techniques (e.g. SSB) directly to these same roots. The AOC's scope has increased to encompass IT topic areas, as the electromagnetic spectrum can be viewed as a transport. Free technical seminars are available periodically via the AOC web site, and the "Journal of Electronic Defense" makes for interesting reading.


This Issue's Conversation is courtesy of Sean Kutzko, KX9X:

Satellites for Contest Expeditions

Planning a contest expedition soon? While the pileups you know and love are on HF, there's an entire community of satellite operators that would be thrilled to work you from a different DXCC country. With a slight change of perspective, you can be working pileups in an entirely different way.

ARRL's Sean Kutzko, KX9X, works FM satellites while on a contest expedition to KP4 for the 2011 ARRL CW Sweepstakes. Using just a hand-held dual-band HT and an Arrow dual-band yagi, Sean made 30 QSOs and was able to give a new DXCC country to a few ops. (courtesy KX9X)

Satellite operation is on the upswing, thanks to AMSAT's FOX program and efforts from China-AMSAT. More FM single-channel satellites will be in the air over the next 18 months, and the number of SSB/CW linear transponder satellites (with between 20kc and 100kc of bandwidth) will also be rising, too. Both types of satellite operate primarily on 2 meters and 70 centimeters, transmitting on one band while receiving on the other.

With the absence of high Earth orbit (HEO) ham sats in the past several years, DXCC via satellite went from being a reasonable challenge to all but impossible. This year's K1N Navassa Island operation was the first major DXpedition in some time to bring satellite equipment, thanks to the efforts of AMSAT Vice President of Operations Andrew Glasbrenner, KO4MA, and ARRL Media and Public Relations Manager Sean Kutzko, KX9X. They were able to convince the K1N team to bring a modest satellite station on the DXpedition and AMSAT even provided the transceiver, much to the delight of the satellite community.

The extra gear doesn't have to take up much space. For the FM satellites, a dual-band HT and a handheld Arrow or Elk antenna are all that's needed for reliable QSOs. For the analog birds, one or two DC-to-daylight rigs will do quite nicely. Adjusting your VFO on the fly to compensate for the Doppler shift as the satellite flies overhead takes a bit of getting used to, as does keeping the antenna pointed towards a moving target, but it's nothing too strenuous.

The satellite community is also very active collecting Maidenhead grid squares, so you can hand out a rare DXCC and a rare grid at the same time. Veteran satellite operator Clayton, W5PFG, has a YouTube video ( of his talk to the 2014 AMSAT Symposium on grid squares and portable operating on the birds.

Add a little satellite spice to your contest DX trip. You'll discover a new way of enjoying ham radio and you'll provide a rare country to an entire community of operators. Check out AMSAT's "For Beginners" page on their site ( to get the ball rolling, or email Drew or Sean if you have more specific questions.


Sean Kutzko, KX9X

Media and Public Relations Manager


13 Aug to 26 Aug 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.


QRP Fox Hunt, Aug 14, 0100z to Aug 14, 0230z; CW; Bands: 20m Only; RST + (state/province/country) + name + power output; Logs due: August 15.

NCCC RTTY Sprint, Aug 14, 0145z to Aug 14, 0215z; RTTY; Bands: (see rules); Serial No. + Name + QTH; Logs due: August 16.

NCCC Sprint Ladder, Aug 14, 0230z to Aug 14, 0300z; CW; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, 10, 6m; Serial No. + Name + QTH; Logs due: August 16.

SARTG WW RTTY Contest, Aug 15, 0000z to Aug 15, 0800z, Aug 15, 1600z to Aug 16, 0000z, Aug 16, 0800z to Aug 16, 1600z; RTTY; Bands: 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; RST + Serial No.; Logs due: September 12.

Russian District Award Contest, Aug 15, 0800z to Aug 16, 0800z; CW, SSB; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; RU: RS(T) + District code, non-RU: RS(T) + QSO No.; Logs due: August 31.

Keyman's Club of Japan Contest, Aug 15, 1200z to Aug 16, 1200z; CW; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, 10, 6m; JA: RST + prefecture/district code, non-JA: RST + continent code; Logs due: September 16.

North American QSO Party, SSB, Aug 15, 1800z to Aug 16, 0559z; SSB; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; NA: Name + (state/province/country), non-NA: Name; Logs due: August 23.

Feld Hell Sprint, Aug 15, 2000z to Aug 15, 2159z; Feld Hell; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, 10, 6m; (see rules); Logs due: August 22.

CVA DX Contest, CW, Aug 15, 2100z to Aug 16, 2100z; CW; Bands: 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; RST + type/UF(see rules); Logs due: September 15.

SARL HF Digital Contest, Aug 16, 1300z to Aug 16, 1630z; RTTY, PSK31; Bands: 80, 40, 20m; RST + Serial No.; Logs due: August 23.

ARRL Rookie Roundup, RTTY, Aug 16, 1800z to Aug 16, 2359z; RTTY; Bands: 80, 40, 20, 15, 10, 6m; NA: Name + 2-digit year first licensed + (state/province/XE area/DX); Logs due: August 19.

Run for the Bacon QRP Contest, Aug 17, 0100z to Aug 17, 0300z; CW; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; RST + (state/province/country) + (Member No./power); Logs due: August 23.

Phone Fray, Aug 19, 0230z to Aug 19, 0300z; SSB; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15m; NA: Name + (state/province/country), non-NA: Name; Logs due: August 14.

CWops Mini-CWT Test, Aug 19, 1300z to Aug 19, 1400z, Aug 19, 1900z to Aug 19, 2000z, Aug 20, 0300z to Aug 20, 0400z; CW; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; Member: Name + Member No., non-Member: Name + (state/province/country); Logs due: August 15.

QRP Fox Hunt, Aug 21, 0100z to Aug 21, 0230z; CW; Bands: 20m Only; RST + (state/province/country) + name + power output; Logs due: August 15.

NCCC RTTY Sprint, Aug 21, 0145z to Aug 21, 0215z; RTTY; Bands: (see rules); Serial No. + Name + QTH; Logs due: August 16.

NCCC Sprint Ladder, Aug 21, 0230z to Aug 21, 0300z; CW; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, 10, 6m; Serial No. + Name + QTH; Logs due: August 16.

Hawaii QSO Party, Aug 22, 0400z to Aug 24, 0400z; CW, Phone, RTTY, PSK; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; HI: RS(T) + QTH ID, non-HI W/VE: RS(T) + (state/province), DX: RS(T); Logs due: September 30.

Ohio QSO Party, Aug 22, 1600z to Aug 23, 0400z; CW, SSB; Bands: 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; OH: RS(T) + county, non-OH: RS(T) + (state/province/"DX"); Logs due: September 21.

CVA DX Contest, SSB, Aug 22, 2100z to Aug 23, 2100z; SSB; Bands: 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; RS + type/UF(see rules); Logs due: September 15.


(see HF contests above also including 6 meters)

ARRL 10 GHz and Up Contest, Aug 15, 0600 (local) to Aug 17, 0000 (local); Any; Bands: 10 GHz to light; 6-Character Maidenhead Locator; Logs due: October 20.


13 August through 26 August 2015

August 14, 2015

August 15, 2015

August 16, 2015

August 17, 2015

August 18, 2015

August 19, 2015

August 20, 2015

August 22, 2015

August 23, 2015

August 24, 2015

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