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The ARRL Contest Update
November 4, 2015
Editor: Brian Moran, N9ADG
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IN THIS ISSUE

NEW HF OPERATORS - THINGS TO DO

The weekend of November 7, you should be in Sweepstakes! See the Bulletin section for more details. The weekend of November 14, try "being the DX" in the JIDX Phone (if you're closer to the west coast of the US), or the OK-OM CW contest (if you're closer to the east coast).

The JIDX contest has 16 entry categories, so there's likely a choice that fits your operating style. Awards in each category for US entries are by US call area. There's even a category for /MM!

The OK-OM contest has a cornucopia of operating choices, including QRP (5 W or less) and SWL categories. A single op station can enter multiple different categories with their log(s). Check the rules for the list of multipliers and their abbreviations.

BULLETINS

Kirk, K4RO (CHECK 76) took top honors in the Low Power [A] category of the CW Sweepstakes in 2014. (Photo courtesy of Kirk Pickering, K4RO.)

The 82nd ARRL Sweepstakes CW contest is here!

The first full weekend of November means ARRL Sweepstakes CW. Your station and antennas are all set, but did you CHECK everything?

  • CHECK your system clock. Daylight Savings Time went away last weekend for a lot of us, and some computers set to local time don't automatically make the adjustment.
  • CHECK the ARRL Sweepstakes web page one more time for a final glance at the rules and any late-breaking news.
  • CHECK in with a friend or two and encourage them to join in the Sweepstakes fun. The more, the merrier! If they are new to contesting or have been away for a while, suggest that they read 'An Enticement for Contest Newbies' for some good tips.

- Larry, K5OT ARRL Sweepstakes Contest Manager (CHECK 65)

Summary: 146.52 MHz is now just another frequency to use in ARRL contests.

"At its July 16 meeting, the Programs and Services Committee unanimously accepted and approved a recommendation from its VHF and Above Revitalization Committee to remove the prohibition of making contest contacts on 146.52 MHz simplex. This rule, as we understand it, originated back to when 2-meter radios were mostly rock-bound and the use of 146.52 MHz was commonplace. The VHF and Above Revitalization Committee's research concluded that the 146.52-exclusive restriction is unnecessary today. It was also reviewed by the ARRL Executive Committee at its October 2015 meeting.

Permitting the use of 146.52 MHz would allow new/curious contesters possessing only FM mode radios to stumble on more contacts, increasing the chances that they will be drawn further into VHF+ contesting, which is the primary aim of the Revitalization committee. Word of the Revitalization committee's recommendation and PSC's subsequent approval was floated at last July's Central States VHF Conference and met with great enthusiasm.

This rule change eliminates Rule 1.8 in the "General Rules for ARRL Contests Above 50 MHz", with the subsequent sections of Rule 1 being renumbered accordingly. It becomes effective with the 2016 ARRL January VHF Contest and subsequent ARRL VHF Contests. It also will be incorporated into the ARRL Field Day rules."

-- Dan Henderson, N1ND, Regulatory Information Manager / Acting Contest Manager

From Ken K4ZW:

"The World Wide Radio Operators Foundation (www.wwrof.org) is pleased to sponsor the following Webinar - "Design Issues for a VHF-UHF Solid State Power Amplifier," with Carl Luetzelschwab, K9LA

Carl, K9LA, will deviate from his usual presentations on propagation and solar topics to discuss design issues for a 50 Watt VHF-UHF solid state RF power amplifier. This is not a construction project, but rather a presentation of notes gathered from his 41-year career as an RF design engineer for Motorola and Raytheon.

Date: Thursday, November 19
Time: 9 PM EST (when you register for the event, you have the option of showing the confirmation in your local time)
To Register: http://wwrof.org/webinars/ "

BUSTED QSOS

In the last issue, a number of the weekly contests had incorrect log due dates, due to an technological oversight by your editor. Remember to always verify the rules and other information by visiting the contest sponsor's web site.

CONTEST SUMMARY

Complete information for all contests follows the Conversation section

November 5

November 6

November 7

November 8

November 11

November 12

November 13

November 14

November 15

November 16

November 18

NEWS, PRESS RELEASES, AND GENERAL INTEREST

Quantum theory has been around for decades, but it's only in the last few years that researchers have been able to verify some of its more strange and counter-intuitive (to classical mechanics) phenomena. Last week, researchers believe they verified what has been called the "Zeno Effect" - the state of a system can be 'frozen' by measuring it frequently enough in its known initial state. Electronics has been using aspects of the effect for a long time without fully understanding how it works, in such items as commonplace as LCD displays.

The Pacific Northwest VHF Society announced a Microwave Challenge, combining SOTA (Summits on the Air) activities with communications above 902 MHz from summits in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and British Columbia. While the Microwave Challenge awards are limited to PNWVHFS members, your radio club could do something similar to increase activity on the higher frequencies.

My wife always comments on how there's really a conservation of wires with 'wireless' communications - my operating desk is covered with all sorts of equipment connected by more wires than anyone would think possible. Here's an idea for a transforming workbench that can be applied to a ham shack to be able to neaten things up, or perhaps allow a room to not be devoted to lots of visible equipment.

The Arkansas QSO Party has been moved to the 2nd Saturday in May, effective immediately, after a vote of the ARKAN AQP Event Committee. The next Arkansas QSO Party will be held Saturday, May 14, 2016. (Cord, KD5J)

Typical mid-1970s personal computers; just add everything. You can tell which PCB was drawn out by hand.

For some, awareness of 'personal computers' started with the MITS Altair 8800, for others, perhaps an Apple product. There are many more obscure computers, like the Scelbi, based on the 8008 processor. An earlier and even more obscure maker, Kenbak, made approximately 40 computers, and one survivor is going to auction next month . Auctioneers estimate it could fetch over $40,000! (K3HX)

It's not roughing it if you have one of these amazing vehicles on a DXpedition, or should we say "Deluxpedition?"

A 240 foot long, 3.5 ton military blimp went AWOL for a number of hours last week . Breaking free from its tethered aerostat system at Aberdeen Proving Grounds, the blimp rose to and drifted at 16,000 feet for tens of miles. According to reports, fighter jets were scrambled to track it until it eventually landed and started to deflate in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. Local coverage reveals some interesting pictures. The 6700 foot long tether attached to the airship wreaked havoc with electrical utilities during its descent, causing outages affecting up to 30,000 customers. After it reached the ground, and after the electronics payload had been removed, police used shotguns to accelerate the deflation of the airship. (K3HX)

Dennis, N6KI, imagines a future where posthumous contest participation may become a possibility:

" 3D Holograms could make it possible to interact with someone after they are gone !

You could record contest exchanges and contest from the great beyond: Take those live streaming contest efforts seriously now! Participate as a Silent Key team member! Your WORST NIGHTMARE - The Team or Single Op that beats you every contest now beats you FOREVER!" (N6KI)

MIT researchers have found that WiFi RF signals can be used to act as a radar to visualize, track, and identify people . The source article on the MIT site will eventually contain code and data, and currently has links to other research papers involving using RF for imaging.

Recently, NPR presented the story of the history of the light dimmer . Joel Spira invented it, and also started a company, Lutron, to develop and market this electronic device. It was remarkable at the time for being an industrial product marketed directly to consumers by suggesting its romantic possibilities...

Inexpensive wireless technology is being used to provide Internet to underserved areas . Some of the techniques and tradeoffs mentioned in this article may be helpful when planning temporary or emergency communications networks, or if you're trying to link a very remote contesting site to the rest of the world. Neighbors on Orcas Island, Washington put together their own Internet Service Provider (ISP) using unlicensed wireless technology when their previous Internet provider became unreliable.

The National Weather Service transmissions from the Memphis office were not working in certain parts of the mid-South recently (and may not still be working at the time you receive this). If you have storm alerting based on receiving those transmissions, you may want to verify operation. The cause of the outage appears to be a damaged transmitter.

Web Site of the Week - http://cybersquirrel1.com/

In the contest of animals vs. reliable public utilities, it's good to know there's an interactive web site to keep the scores tallied and provide the appropriate soapbox information. Click on the markers on the map near your location to get the details on animal-induced utility outages, along with occasionally pithy commentary.

WORD TO THE WISE - NTS

National Traffic System - From the ARRL NTS Web Page : "The National Traffic System (NTS) is a structure that allows for rapid movement of traffic from origin to destination and training amateur operators to handle written traffic and participate in directed nets."

From a contesting perspective, it's what gives the ARRL Sweepstakes its unique contest exchange. The Sweepstakes exchange is "based on the ARRL Radiogram Header and has five parts... serial number, precedence, your call sign, check, and ARRL section."

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SIGHTS AND SOUNDS

Be careful running those beverage antennas! Hitchhikers like these can negatively affect your contest scores in the long run. Your editor picked this one up during a hike in Vermont.

The beginning of a lightning strike has been caught on a camera shooting 11000 frames per second . It appears to show that the lighting 'bolt' can start from both positively or negatively charged areas at the same time.

In additional wildlife-related news, here's an interesting technique of wildlife management that could likely not be replicated today.

RESULTS AND RECORDS

The complete set of results for the ARRL June VHF QSO Party are now online including the Full Write-up , Printable Line Scores,Log Checking Reports, and Searchable Database. Records will be updated soon. (N0AX).

The 2015 ARRL Field Day Results, including searchable database, QST Article (PDF), and soapbox comments are also available for your reading pleasure.

Lots of Stew Perry action: The previously unpublished full results for the December 2013 Stew Perry contest have been published, as have results and write-up for the 2014 Stew Perry contest. If you participated in the Pre-Stew back in October, send in those logs! Preliminary results of the 2015 Pre-Stew are available and updated daily.

Don't forget that the "Big Stew" (The Stew Perry Top Band Distance Challenge, aka "SP", aka "TBDC") is on December 26/27th.

WRTC2018 qualification standings are available , and include results of additional contests.

OPERATING TIP

Let's hope your log doesn't need this much help.

Always read the rules for the contest in which you are going to participate, even if you've entered this contest a few times before. Rules can change, as can the exchange format or abbreviations used (especially for QSO parties). There may be new categories you'd like to enter. Just reading the rules may jog loose something that you wanted to remember from last year's participation, but didn't.

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TECHNICAL TOPICS AND INFORMATION

Using your signal generator and an oscilloscope, you can also create your own Time Domain Reflectometer (TDR) . The article has a great background on the theory and practice.

F5OEO was able to construct a proof-of-concept using a Raspberry Pi Single board computer to generate FM, AM, SSB, SSTV, and FSQ signals between 130 KHz and 750 MHz . While it's not suitable to be on the air as-is as the signal is rich in harmonics, those could be cleaned up with some outboard filtering. Maybe this will spur a slew of interesting projects using the Pi.

"Cabrillo Statistics Program (CBS) users: Please use the updated CBS-specific CTY.DAT file included in the CBS software for Windows and Mac. The growing CTY.DAT files distributed by AD1C are too large to be used with the CBS program. Send any questions or comments to me." - Bob, N6TV (via his ARRL.NET email address)

Using passwords that we must write down because we can't remember them is not a "best practice." Researchers think they have found a way to make great passwords from easy to remember poems. You may want to take a pass on their additional offer to email you a password-poem from information you mail to them - Though they promise that the information they used to generate your poem, and your poem, is deleted... how do you really know?

Dupont is shipping conductive ink to be used for part molding, enabling electrical conductors to be molded right into plastic parts. The benefit is to increase reliability and the possibility of eliminating separate printed circuit boards.

Here's a tractor beam Bones could use! Ultrasonic waves can be combined and shaped to manipulate small objects, with the intent to be able to precisely place objects or deliver drugs in the human body.

Small devices slow down and talk less to communicate reliably: here's a good overview on recent technical innovations to utilize license-free RF spectrum to link small devices.

Technical Web Site of the Week - RemoteQTH.com

Perhaps better known outside the US, this web site has a number of interesting station automation and station accessory oriented projects, which may provide inspiration or a foundation for your own. Schematics are available for nearly everything on the site, as part of the Open Source Hardware philosophy. If you need a PCB or parts, links are provided.

CONVERSATION

Operating Skills are Operating Skills

Be a scout for new radio contesting talent!

In the October 22 issue of the ARRL ARES E-Letter, Ward, N0AX, suggests that participating in contests may be a good way for public services team members to keep skills sharp, and keep operating interesting.

Thinking about it another way, we as contesters may find public service teams a good place to find new contest operators!

Every club could use a few more points in inter-club competitions, yet at the same time, for some clubs, phone contests have less participation than CW contests. Viewing a phone contest as a recruiting and elmering event could be a win-win - under-utilized stations get utilized, the club gets more points, and there are more potential contesters.

Finding hams involved in public service doesn't have to be difficult. Perhaps your own radio club has a public services team -- talk with those hams. Or, volunteer to share your enthusiasm for contesting by presenting at other local radio clubs which have public services teams. Ward spells out some relevant synergies between contesting and public service operating, which could be the basis of a presentation.

Another possibility is to listen to local VHF and UHF nets, or public service exercises, to hear who you'd like to recruit (after the event). You already know that they're active, so they're great potential candidates.

73, Brian N9ADG

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CONTESTS

5 Nov - 18 Nov 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 , Nov 5, 0300z to Nov 5, 0400z; CW; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; Member: Name + Member No., non-Member: Name + (state/province/country); Logs due: November 7.

NRAU 10m Activity Contest , Nov 5, 1800z to Nov 5, 1900z (CW), Nov 5, 1900z to Nov 5, 2000z (SSB), Nov 5, 2000z to Nov 5, 2100z (FM), Nov 5, 2100z to Nov 5, 2200z (Dig); CW, SSB, FM, Digital; Bands: 10m Only; RS(T) + 6-character grid square; Logs due: November 19.

QRP Fox Hunt , Nov 6, 0100z to Nov 6, 0230z; CW; Bands: 80m Only; RST + (state/province/country) + name + power output; Logs due: November 7.

NCCC RTTY Sprint , Nov 6, 0145z to Nov 6, 0215z; RTTY; Bands: (see rules); Serial No. + Name + QTH; Logs due: November 8.

NCCC Sprint , Nov 6, 0230z to Nov 6, 0300z; (see rules); Bands: (see rules); Serial No. + Name + QTH; Logs due: November 8.

IPARC Contest, CW , Nov 7, 0600z to Nov 7, 1000z, Nov 7, 1400z to Nov 7, 1800z; CW; Bands: 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; USA IPA Members: RST + Serial No. + "IPA" + State, non-USA IPA Members: RST + Serial No. + "IPA", non-IPA Members: RST + Serial No.; Logs due: December 31.

SKCC Weekend Sprintathon , Nov 7, 1200z to Nov 9, 0000z; CW; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, 10, 6m; RST + (state/province/country) + Name + (SKCC No./"NONE"); Logs due: November 14.

Ukrainian DX Contest , Nov 7, 1200z to Nov 8, 1200z; CW, SSB; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; Ukraine: RS(T) + 2-letter oblast, non-Ukraine: RS(T) + Serial No.; Logs due: December 8.

NA Collegiate ARC Championship, CW , Nov 7, 2100z to Nov 9, 0300z; CW; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; Serial No. + Precedence (Q/A/B/U/M/S) + [your call sign] + Check + ARRL/RAC Section; Logs due: November 24.

ARRL Sweepstakes Contest, CW , Nov 7, 2100z to Nov 9, 0300z; CW; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; Serial No. + Precedence (Q/A/B/U/M/S) + [your call sign] + Check + ARRL/RAC Section; Logs due: November 24.

IPARC Contest, SSB , Nov 8, 0600z to Nov 8, 1000z, Nov 8, 1400z to Nov 8, 1800z; SSB; Bands: 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; USA IPA Members: RS + Serial No. + "IPA" + State, non-USA IPA Members: RS + Serial No. + "IPA", non-IPA Members: RS + Serial No.; Logs due: December 31.

EANET Sprint , Nov 8, 0800z to Nov 8, 1200z; Any; Bands: Any; RS(T); Logs due: November 22.

DARC 10-Meter Digital Contest , Nov 8, 1100z to Nov 8, 1700z; RTTY, Amtor, Clover, PSK31, Pactor; Bands: 10m Only; RST + Serial No.; Logs due: November 23.

QRP Fox Hunt , Nov 11, 0100z to Nov 11, 0230z; CW; Bands: 80m Only; RST + (state/province/country) + name + power output; Logs due: November 12.

Phone Fray , Nov 11, 0230z to Nov 11, 0300z; SSB; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15m; NA: Name + (state/province/country), non-NA: Name; Logs due: November 13.

CWops Mini-CWT Test , Nov 11, 1300z to Nov 11, 1400z, Nov 11, 1900z to Nov 11, 2000z, Nov 12, 0300z to Nov 12, 0400z; CW; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; Member: Name + Member No., non-Member: Name + (state/province/country); Logs due: November 14.

RSGB 80m Club Sprint, SSB , Nov 11, 2000z to Nov 11, 2100z; SSB; Bands: 80m Only; [other station's call] + [your call] + [serial no.] + [your name]; Logs due: November 18.

NCCC RTTY Sprint , Nov 13, 0145z to Nov 13, 0215z; RTTY; Bands: (see rules); Serial No. + Name + QTH; Logs due: November 10.

QRP Fox Hunt , Nov 13, 0200z to Nov 13, 0330z; CW; Bands: 80m Only; RST + (state/province/country) + name + power output; Logs due: November 14.

NCCC Sprint , Nov 13, 0230z to Nov 13, 0300z; (see rules); Bands: (see rules); Serial No. + Name + QTH; Logs due: November 15.

WAE DX Contest, RTTY , Nov 14, 0000z to Nov 15, 2359z; RTTY; Bands: 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; RS + Serial No.; Logs due: November 30.

10-10 Int. Fall Contest, Digital , Nov 14, 0001z to Nov 15, 2359z; Digital; Bands: 10m Only; 10-10 Member: Name + 10-10 number + (state/province/country), Non-Member: Name + 0 + (state/province/country); Logs due: November 30.

JIDX Phone Contest , Nov 14, 0700z to Nov 15, 1300z; SSB; Bands: 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; JA: RST + Prefecture No., non-JA: RST + CQ Zone No.; Logs due: December 11.

OK/OM DX Contest, CW , Nov 14, 1200z to Nov 15, 1200z; CW; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; OK/OM: RST + 3-letter district code, non-OK/OM: RST + Serial No.; Logs due: November 29.

Kentucky QSO Party , Nov 14, 1400z to Nov 15, 0200z; CW, SSB, Digital; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, 10, 6m; KY: RS(T) + county, non-KY: RS(T) + (state/province/country); Logs due: December 31.

CQ-WE Contest , Nov 14, 1900z to Nov 14, 2300z (CW/Digital), Nov 15, 0100z to Nov 15, 0500z (Phone), Nov 15, 1900z to Nov 15, 2300z (Phone), Nov 16, 0100z to Nov 16, 0500z (CW/Digital); CW, Phone, Digital; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, 10, 6, 2, 432 MHz; Name + Location Code (see rules) + Years of Service (see rules); Logs due: December 1.

Homebrew and Oldtime Equipment Party , Nov 15, 1300z to Nov 15, 1500z (40m), Nov 15, 1500z to Nov 15, 1700z (80m); CW; Bands: 80, 40m; RST + Serial No. + "/" + class; Logs due: December 21.

Run for the Bacon QRP Contest , Nov 16, 0200z to Nov 16, 0400z; CW; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; RST + (state/province/country) + (Member No./power); Logs due: November 22.

QRP Fox Hunt , Nov 18, 0100z to Nov 18, 0230z; CW; Bands: 80m Only; RST + (state/province/country) + name + power output; Logs due: November 5.

Phone Fray , Nov 18, 0230z to Nov 18, 0300z; SSB; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15m; NA: Name + (state/province/country), non-NA: Name; Logs due: November 20.

CWops Mini-CWT Test , Nov 18, 1300z to Nov 18, 1400z, Nov 18, 1900z to Nov 18, 2000z, Nov 19, 0300z to Nov 19, 0400z; CW; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; Member: Name + Member No., non-Member: Name + (state/province/country); Logs due: November 21.


LOG DUE DATES

5 Nov - 18 Nov 2015

November 5, 2015

November 6, 2015

November 7, 2015

November 8, 2015

November 9, 2015

November 14, 2015

November 15, 2015

November 18, 2015

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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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