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The ARRL Contest Update
January 13, 2016
Editor: Brian Moran, N9ADG
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IN THIS ISSUE

NEW HF OPERATORS - THINGS TO DO

We're heading into a somewhat quiet weekend, contest-wise, January 16. The NAQP will be lighting up the bands for 12 hours starting on Saturday, but single ops can only have 10 hours of operating time; the 12-hour BARTG RTTY Sprint will be popular on January 23.

Now might be a great time to finalize your plans to attend a contest-related event in 2016. Some good ones to choose from: The Contest Forum at the International DX Convention in April, or Contest University at Dayton in May. Even sooner: In February, there's a contest dinner during the Orlando Hamcation.

BULLETINS

RTTY Roundup pictures and stories wanted! Jeff, WK6I, results editor for the contest, is looking for your stories and pictures for possible inclusion in the results write-up. Please contact him at wk6i.jeff at gmail.com.

NCDXF Beacon Shuffle - if you have any automated systems or software that listen for the NCDXF Beacons, you'll want to update the callsign list, as there are some recent changes. Please refer to this message from Bob, N6TV, for the details on how to listen for the new beacon, KH6RS replacing KH6WO. The Aggregator program which feeds spots to the RBN server will be updated upon the return of the program author, W3OA, from the K5P Palmyra DXpedition, enabling RBN spots of the new beacon.

Now that we're into 2016, some of this year's contest-related Dayton Hamvention activities are shaping up:

Wednesday, May 18: Contest Supersuite

Thursday, May 19: Contest University, Contest Supersuite

Friday, May 20: Top Band Dinner, Contest Supersuite

Saturday, May 21: North Coast Contesters Dayton Contest Dinner. Keynote speaker: John Crovelli, W2GD/P40W. The main door prize, an IC-7600, has been donated by Icom. Also on May 21: Contest Supersuite.

Single ops are reminded that there are no limitations on attending ALL FOUR NIGHTS of the 28th annual Contest Supersuite.

BUSTED QSOS

Not so much busted, but last time's word to the wise, "Bonking," elicited feedback from EI5DI, ZS6EX, K1DG, and G3RZP with regards to its potential slang meaning in British English. After some intercourse, it was suggested that we narrowly confine topics to amateur radio activities. Upcoming article: Shag carpet for the ham shack.

CONTEST SUMMARY

Complete information for all contests follows the Conversation section

January 14

January 15

January 16

January 17

January 18

January 20

January 21

January 22

January 23

January 24

January 27

NEWS, PRESS RELEASES, AND GENERAL INTEREST

How many spots can an HF Skimmer skim if an HF Skimmer could skim spots? N6TV has done an analysis of period including the CQWW CW contest . Short answer: 171 Skimmers skimmed 7 million spots. What may be even more interesting is the calculation of the signal to noise ratio for each of the skimmers. Check out the article for the gritty details. (Ward N0AX via SMC)

Jeff, K1ZM/VY2ZM, has collected the legendary W1BB (Stew Perry) Bulletins from 1930 to 1965 on his website. Stew was one of the pioneers and boosters of usage of the 160 meter band, and the bulletins "chronicle the history of the early Transatlantic Tests." (Jeff, VY2ZM via Topband list)

Tom, W8JI, has W1BB's 160 Meter News issues on his web site as well. (Aki, JA5DQH)

Radio France has discontinued its medium wave broadcasts , and will be turning off Long Wave broadcasts at the end of 2016. Their consumers have shifted to FM and to streaming via the Internet.

EI8IC has written the "Global Overlay Mapper." This Windows application has global, continent, and sub-continent maps built-in which allow ham-related information such as IOTA groups, prefixes to be displayed, along with countries, cities, and flags. In addition, ADIF or Cabrillo logs can be uploaded, and your contact information displayed right on the maps. To find out more, please visit the GOM web site.

You're not just transmitting, you're saving the Earth from high-energy electrons! VLF radio wave interaction with the Van Allen radiation belts appear to enhance the dispersal of high-energy electrons at the belt boundary, so that they don't make it closer to Earth where they could disrupt all things electronic.

Arduino + on-board WiFi == Pretzelboard. Combining an Arduino compatible processor with an ESP8266 WiFi chip in an extended-Nano form factor could be just what your next connected project needs. Of course, it's been possible to combine a Nano and one of the many ESP8266 modules, but here it is in one convenient package.

Computer Virus? A Northern California Wiccan Witch claims to cast them out, with magic.

Web Site of the Week - http://www.americanradiohistory.com/

A wealth of vintage magazines (and electronics catalogs) have been collected for your perusing pleasure, including Popular Electronics, Electronics Illustrated, Byte, etc. Organized by category, you might choose the Technical Category to get started. (Bob, AF6C)

WORD TO THE WISE

Spudger - a tool for use with small electronic devices to assist with device opening, adjusting, or other tasks. The ones I used recently to repair a cellular phone were made of plastic, though other materials are used.

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SIGHTS AND SOUNDS

In October 2014 there were a number of X-class solar flares over a handful of days. NW7US has created a video sequence including the view of the sun, as well as a graph of the flare intensities during this time. (NW7US via N0AX)

You can get started with SDR on Linux with GNURadio with this presentation, available via YouTube. On Windows, you could alternatively use SDRSharp with an inexpensive DVB dongle.

NC7G Winter Field Day, 2015. L-R: Bill - W7KXB, Bill, Jean - KG7NJQ, Thom - K7FZO, Curt - WR5J. (Photo courtesy of WR5J)

Yes, Winter Field Day is a thing! Perhaps July is too warm and insect-ridden to really be enjoyable for you, yet you want to operate radios "all'aperto" (outside). This is just the event for you. Last year, WR5J, W7KXB, KG7NJQ, K7ZFO braved the conditions to operate as NC7G near North Bend, Washington. According to Curt: "We had a fantastic team - young, new hams and some amazing octogenarian hams. All contributed to the effort and the triumph. We had fantastic operating conditions - - the Valley Camp facility is a Ham Radio Paradise! We have many events here each year - WFD, FD, The amazing QRP event, SalmonCON and the APRS/Digital focused, Summer Gathering - All Ham Radio, All The Time, but all very different events. I'm happy to report we had amazing weather conditions - it was balmy - in the 50's - that is Fahrenheit - well above freezing and not pelting down rain or sleet like we get so often up here - especially at the base of the Cascade Mountains at North Bend and the Valley Camp Radio Site...

KG7NJQ was willing to stay up all night during WFD 2015. (Photo courtesy of WR5J)

We had a blast - worked all night long - bounced from band to band and mode to mode. We had no idea it was going to be as warm as it was. We had procured 'antifreeze' in advance and didn't want to waste it. We commend the wonder of single malt to all operators fighting hypothermia during WFD. Hope to work everyone this January as W7AW."

RESULTS AND RECORDS

The results of the California QSO Party have been published. New Single Operator records were set in many states. US (non-California) Single Operator QRP, Low Power, and High Power 1st places were all awarded to Texas stations.

Part 2 of the results of the 2015 CQ WW Survey have been announced by Randy, K5ZD. One major takeaway includes a definite geographical difference of opinion on various topics. European responders support a time limit for Single Operators, as well as more support than the rest of the world for combining Single Operator and Single Operator Assisted categories. In general, older respondents more strongly supported shorter operating times.

The results of the 2015 CQMM DX Contest have been released. "Congratulations for all 978 participants from 112 DXCC entities took part of this competition sponsored by CWJF Group. Database shows 143,538 QSOs from all Continents. During cross checking log process, we could validate about 96% of QSOs among over 8,024 callsigns listed on all the received logs. We are very happy with world wide response to CQMM DX Contest. We hope have you again on the contest next year." - Luc, PY8AZT

Vladimir, UT1IA, announces the availability of the Results of the 2015 Ukranian DX Contest.

Preliminary results of the December 2015 Stew Perry Top Band Distance Challenge are available. Anyone who participated is encouraged to send in their logs, as scores are dependent on the power category and grid squares of both stations.

Chris, DL8MBS, notes that WAG 2015 results are available on DARC web site.

Current WRTC-2018 standings have been updated to include 2015 WAG results.

OPERATING TIP

Rather than copying CW one letter at a time, gaining word fluency is essential for higher speeds. On the Elecraft email reflector, Josh, W6XU commented:

"I can do fine running contest exchanges at 30-35wpm, but my conversational CW is very poor. Here's my approach to work on this ... I put together a list of some Q-codes, common CW abbreviations, and the CW academy list of 100 most common words. Then loaded them as "callsigns" in RufzXP. Works great! Now to keep up 10+ minutes per day of practice with the goal of recognizing these as words rather than individual characters."

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TECHNICAL TOPICS AND INFORMATION

DK2OM on behalf of the IARU has compiled a document with spectrum displays of RFI (PDF) for various interfering devices, along with links to sound files to help identify these sources.

Here's how some wireless products are designed and tested for EMI/RFI.

Hydrogen Sulfide exhibits high temperature superconductor characteristics when under pressure . The characteristics were observed at a relatively balmy -70C.

Need to make some matter? Grab some photons and collide them! We've seen videos and pictures of matter being converted into energy in the visible spectrum, but this is the other way around.

In other illuminating news, here's a primer on storing light, and how LASERs work.

Three phase power is used primarily in commercial and industrial applications. But why only three ? (K3HX)

Technical Web Site of the Week - http://everytimezone.com/

You don't need to do the math to figure out the time in Rio (or any other time zone) if you use this web site. (Ken, WM5R via Facebook)

CONVERSATION

Contesting via Remote Part 2 - Single Operator VO1HP

VO1HP's oceanside remote location.(Photo courtesy of VO1HP)

This is Part 2 in a series on the use of remote stations in contesting. Frank, VO1HP, remoted his station in October, 2015. It certainly appears to be a great spot for salt-water signal take-offs to Europe.

"My interest in remote operation really started about three years ago when I installed a remote controlled SDR (AFEDRI) at my summer place. It is located in my summer house in a rural area immediately adjacent to the ocean...an ideal spot for ham radio...I have had a rig there for the past 15 years with various low budget wire antennas.

I have always been interested in 160 meter operation and started to encounter increasing difficulty in hearing anything on that band in the city even using a K9AY system and various magnetic loop and FO0AAA type flag antennas. I stared with a remote receiver to primarily listen on 160M but because remote receivers are not permitted most contests or for DXCC I knew that eventually I would need to go full remote. That same year 2012 I purchased K3 rig (the best rig I have owned since becoming a ham in 1964!) the technology of the K3 system in conjunction with RemoteRig boxes makes remote operation very easy. The CQWW160 now legally permits remote receivers and I could operate still using the SDR, however I will enter this year as LP full remote with the help of the SDR if needed.

Remote Equipment at VO1HP (Photo courtesy of VO1HP)

My remote consists of K3 Mini at my home QTH and K3 at the remote end in a fully insulated garage/workshop. My antennas are dedicated 52ft vertical Inv "L" for Topband and an HF6V for 80-10 meters. WARC bands to come. It has been a challenge to get it all working properly, dealing with network issues of port forwarding and connection of devices as well as RF issues in the shack. Mitigating these issues required using many #43 beads and shielded ethernet cables. Future plans call for QROO using an Elecraft KPA500 and rotatable antenna for 20-10 M including WARC.

I recently entered the ARRL 160 using LP and was very pleased with the result. I was able to hear very well using the Inverted L as I have no (separate) receive antenna right now except for Pixel RX Loop at 30ft. During the contest I was able to hear EU signals at 3pm local time in full daylight on 160M." - Frank, VO1HP

73, Brian N9ADG

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CONTESTS

13 Jan - 26 Jan 2016

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 , Jan 13, 1300z to Jan 13, 1400z, Jan 13, 1900z to Jan 13, 2000z, Jan 14, 0300z to Jan 14, 0400z; CW; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; Member: Name + Member No., non-Member: Name + (state/province/country); Logs due: January 16.

AWA Linc Cundall Memorial CW Contest , Jan 13, 2300z to Jan 14, 2300z, Jan 16, 2300z to Jan 17, 2300z; CW; Bands: 160, 80, 40m; RST + Eqpt Year + Input Power (see rules for format); Logs due: February 14.

NCCC RTTY Sprint , Jan 15, 0145z to Jan 15, 0215z; RTTY; Bands: (see rules); Serial No. + Name + QTH; Logs due: January 17.

QRP Fox Hunt , Jan 15, 0200z to Jan 15, 0330z; CW; Bands: 80m Only; RST + (state/province/country) + name + power output; Logs due: January 14.

NCCC Sprint Ladder , Jan 15, 0230z to Jan 15, 0300z; CW; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, 10, 6m; Serial No. + Name + QTH; Logs due: January 17.

LZ Open Contest , Jan 15, 1800z to Jan 15, 2200z; CW; Bands: 80, 40m; 3-Digit Serial No. + 3-Digit Serial No. received from last QSO; Logs due: January 25.

Hungarian DX Contest , Jan 16, 1200z to Jan 17, 1159z; CW, SSB; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; HA: RS(T) + 2-letter county, non-HA: RS(T) + Serial No.; Logs due: February 16.

North American QSO Party, SSB , Jan 16, 1800z to Jan 17, 0559z; SSB; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; NA: Name + (state/province/country), non-NA: Name; Logs due: January 24.

Feld Hell Sprint , Jan 16, 2000z to Jan 16, 2359z (EU/AF/MidEast), Jan 16, 2300z to Jan 17, 0259z (ENA/SA/Carib), Jan 17, 0200z to Jan 17, 0559z (WNA/AS/OC); Feld Hell; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; (see rules); Logs due: January 23.

Run for the Bacon QRP Contest , Jan 18, 0200z to Jan 18, 0400z; CW; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; RST + (state/province/country) + (Member No./power); Logs due: January 24.

QRP Fox Hunt , Jan 20, 0200z to Jan 20, 0330z; CW; Bands: 80m Only; RST + (state/province/country) + name + power output; Logs due: January 21.

Phone Fray , Jan 20, 0230z to Jan 20, 0300z; SSB; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15m; NA: Name + (state/province/country), non-NA: Name; Logs due: January 22.

CWops Mini-CWT Test , Jan 20, 1300z to Jan 20, 1400z, Jan 20, 1900z to Jan 20, 2000z, Jan 21, 0300z to Jan 21, 0400z; CW; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; Member: Name + Member No., non-Member: Name + (state/province/country); Logs due: January 23.

NAQCC CW Sprint , Jan 21, 0130z to Jan 21, 0330z; CW; Bands: 80, 40, 20m; RST + (state/province/country) + (NAQCC No./power); Logs due: January 23.

NCCC RTTY Sprint , Jan 22, 0145z to Jan 22, 0215z; RTTY; Bands: (see rules); Serial No. + Name + QTH; Logs due: January 24.

QRP Fox Hunt , Jan 22, 0200z to Jan 22, 0330z; CW; Bands: 80m Only; RST + (state/province/country) + name + power output; Logs due: January 28.

NCCC Sprint Ladder , Jan 22, 0230z to Jan 22, 0300z; CW; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, 10, 6m; Serial No. + Name + QTH; Logs due: January 24.

YL-ISSB QSO Party, CW/SSB , Jan 23, 0000z to Jan 24, 2359z; CW, SSB; Bands: All; RS(T) + name + (state/province/country) + YLISSB No.; Logs due: March 4.

Montana QSO Party , Jan 23, 0000z to Jan 24, 0000z; CW, Phone, Digital; Bands: 160 to 70cm; MT: RS(T) + county, non-MT: RS(T) + (state/province/"DX"); Logs due: January 30.

BARTG RTTY Sprint , Jan 23, 1200z to Jan 24, 1200z; RTTY; Bands: 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; Serial No. (no signal report); Logs due: February 23.

UK/EI DX Contest, CW , Jan 23, 1200z to Jan 24, 1200z; CW; Bands: 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; UK/EI: RST + Serial No. + District Code, DX: RST + Serial No.; Logs due: January 24.

WAB 1.8 MHz Phone , Jan 23, 1900z to Jan 23, 2300z; SSB; Bands: 160m Only; British Isles: RS + serial no. + WAB square, Other: RS + serial no. + country; Logs due: February 13.

QRP ARCI Fireside SSB Sprint , Jan 24, 2000z to Jan 24, 2359z; SSB; Bands: 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; RS + (state/province/country) + (ARCI number/power); Logs due: February 7.

SKCC Sprint , Jan 27, 0000z to Jan 27, 0200z; CW; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; RST + (state/province/country) + Name + (SKCC No./power); Logs due: January 29.

QRP Fox Hunt , Jan 27, 0200z to Jan 27, 0330z; CW; Bands: 80m Only; RST + (state/province/country) + name + power output; Logs due: January 28.

Phone Fray , Jan 27, 0230z to Jan 27, 0300z; SSB; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15m; NA: Name + (state/province/country), non-NA: Name; Logs due: January 29.

CWops Mini-CWT Test , Jan 27, 1300z to Jan 27, 1400z, Jan 27, 1900z to Jan 27, 2000z, Jan 28, 0300z to Jan 28, 0400z; CW; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; Member: Name + Member No., non-Member: Name + (state/province/country); Logs due: January 30.

UKEICC 80m Contest , Jan 27, 2000z to Jan 27, 2100z; CW; Bands: 80m Only; 4-Character grid square; Logs due: January 27.

VHF+ CONTESTS

(Some contests, above, include VHF+ bands; VHF+ band coverage in bold)

LOG DUE DATES

January 14, 2016

January 15, 2016

January 16, 2016

January 17, 2016

January 18, 2016

January 19, 2016

January 22, 2016

January 24, 2016

January 25, 2016

January 26, 2016

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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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