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The ARRL Contest Update
March 8, 2017
Editor: Brian Moran, N9ADG
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IN THIS ISSUE
NEW HF OPERATORS - THINGS TO DO

Consider starting a station notebook, paper or computer-based, if you've not done so already. Your notebook is the place to record information such as your station configuration, equipment settings, SWR readings, logging program settings, general observations -- anything related to your station. When you find a problem or solve a station problem, put it in the notebook. Specific things to remember from the last contest? Put it in the notebook. By consistently collecting and recording this information, you're creating a reference that can help you to save time when troubleshooting or getting set up for that once-a-year contest.

BULLETINS

QRU

BUSTED QSOS

QRU

CONTEST SUMMARY

Complete information for all contests follows the Conversation section

March 9

March 10

March 11

March 12

March 15

March 16

March 17

March 18

March 19

March 20

March 21

March 22

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NEWS, PRESS RELEASES, AND GENERAL INTEREST

The 2017 Mid-Atlantic States VHF Conference will be held Friday, October 6 through Sunday, October 8, 2017 at the Holiday Inn Bensalem, Bensalem, PA. Papers and presentations related to UHF and VHF topics are being solicited by Rick, K1DS. Past presentations have included such contest topics as VHF/UHF Contest station construction, contest tips and techniques, and descriptions of successful contest configurations. This year's festivities will include a Saturday evening banquet buffet and door prizes and a Sunday morning mini-hamfest.

The Raspberry Pi Zero W was released last week, featuring Raspberry Pi functionality in miniaturized form with WLAN and Bluetooth capability. At a retail price of approximately $10, it could provide an excellent building block to equip your Amateur project with an embedded web browser, or network capability. Check out RemoteQTH.com's server image for additional ideas.

The popular Icom IC-7300 can be equipped with a receive-only antenna jack, with an RX7300 modification kit announced by INRAD. "This easy to install plug-in modification requires no soldering and is easily installed and easily reversible. The RX7300 can also be used for the insertion of accessory items into the receiver chain on the IC-7300 like receive-only bandpass filters, low noise preamps, etc." (KE9V)

The USA National ARDF Championships and the IARU Region 2 ARDF Championships are being combined near Cincinnati, Ohio, July 31 to August 6, 2017. Direction finding aficionados from near and far will converge to participate in Foxoring, sprint, 2 meter, and 80 meter competitions. Individuals of any age are invited to participate, no Amateur Radio license is required. Practice sessions will take place the first three days followed by the competitive events. Winners of the 2017 events will be considered for inclusion on ARDF Team USA and may have the opportunity to travel to the ARDF World Championships in Korea in September 2018.

Some things you take for granted, like WWV being there when you just need a reliable signal to receive. It can be unnerving when the signal is NOT available. Is it me, or WWV? You can check on the WWV/WWVH outage page, which shows all outages since January 1, 2000 lasting longer than five minutes.

One of the cardinal rules of contesting is to always log what the other station is sending. But occasionally the other station is not sending the correct information. In the recent ARRL International DX Contest, CW, a DX station was sending an incorrect exchange for nearly 80 contacts before switching to a valid exchange for the remainder of the contest. The DX station's submitted log showed the correct exchange as the sent exchange for all of the contacts. How does this situation get scored? According to Ken, K1EA, ARRL DX Contest Log Checker, "A quick look at the DX station's reverse log (a listing of every QSO claiming to work the DX Station) shows when this happened. Most stations logged what was sent. A few made up a number. The DX station's log is marked as a log with bad sent exchange info. No one will receive a busted exchange with that DX station." (via CQ-Contest)

Five years ago, a 19-year-old student Scott Vader was working on a metal prototype of a gas turbine and couldn't find a suitable way to 3D print with metal - so with his father's assistance, he invented a way to do it. Scott's method differed from the existing methods of depositing and fusing metal powders by using a pulsed magnetic field to propel drops of hot liquid metal through a nozzle. Today, Scott is the CTO of Vader Systems, a company formed to commercialize his invention.

Any WRTC event requires a large amount of preparation and planning, and the WRTC 2018 crew has been especially candid with the details through their website and press releases. With fewer than 500 days before the competition in Germany, qualification events are over but the work continues. Near term milestones include processing team applications, testing site locations, and continued fundraising.

WORD TO THE WISE

Stacking: The combination of two or more antennas arranged at different vertical heights to achieve goals such as more gain, multiple simultaneous beam headings, or additional elevation angles. A stack match is a switching device that can electrically add or remove antennas from a stack on operator command to change the effective take-off angle or pattern.

SIGHTS AND SOUNDS

L to R: Tom Owens, K7RI, accepting the Most Valuable Player award from the Western Washington DX Club President Adam Blackmer, K7EDX, at their February meeting

Tom Owens, K7RI, was awarded the "Most Valuable Player" award for 2016 by the Western Washington DX Club. According to the WWDXC's January newsletter, "Over the years Tom has served as President and filled other club roles. More recently, it hasn't gone unnoticed that Tom has frequently opened up his fine station for hosting single and multi-op contest efforts. His mentoring and camaraderie helps make a club like ours great. Thank you for your generosity Tom!" Tom's QTH in Seattle hosted the team of JJ3UHS and JM3JOW during the first WRTC in 1990.

L to R: Rod Linkous, W7OM, accepting the Western Washington DX Club "Johnny Dack W7KH Lifetime Achievement Award" from Adam, K7EDX

At the same WWDXC meeting, Rod Linkous, W7OM, a call familiar to many contesters, was awarded the "Johnny Dack W7KH Lifetime Achievement Award" by the club for his many years of service to the club in various roles. Rod was also featured in the November-December 2014 NCJ Contester Profile.

The World Wide Radio Operator Foundation webinar by JC, N4IS, entitled "Waller Flag Construction" has been posted to the WWROF website. The webinar link includes discussion as well as a slide presentation.

Check out this spectacular YouTube video of an M3 X-ray flare emanating from the sun's surface on February 24, 2017. (NW7US)

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RESULTS AND RECORDS

"Preliminary scores for the January NAQP CW and SSB contests are now posted on the NCJ website. Please check your results to make sure they appear correct. Corrections or questions should be sent to the appropriate contest manager before March 10, 2017. For CW: Chris, KL9A, cwnaqpmgr@ncjweb.com, for SSB: Bill, AC0W, ssbnaqpmgr@ncjweb.com" (Bill, AC0W)

OPERATING TIP

Being on the Spots

For CW or RTTY contests, when you're operating in a category that allows the use of spots, make sure you're getting both human and RBN (Reverse Beacon Network) aka skimmer spot data. You can find DX clusters that provide RBN data through this website. Make sure you know how to turn on RBN spots for your DX cluster type, and be aware that during major contests, your computer can slow down as it processes tens or hundreds of spots per second. There are DX cluster client programs that you can use between your logging program and the upstream DX cluster to more efficiently filter for useful spots. Since the features and functionality of the RBN and related DX clusters change over time, it is worthwhile to keep your knowledge fresh by revisiting RBN and DX Cluster related websites.

TECHNICAL TOPICS AND INFORMATION

Elektor is starting a series of posts about building a ┬ÁTracer tube tester kit. This project works in conjunction with a PC to measure and characterize the behavior of a wide variety of tubes. In the first installment, the project is described, the kit is ordered and unboxed.

Remember the "series of tubes" we used to use to get our signals on the air? Many of the higher-power varieties were made by Eimac. Martin, AA6E, briefly reviewed the history of Eimac on his blog, and provided links to classic Eimac documents such as "The Care and Feeding of Grid Power Tubes." Spoiler: Eimac is now a division of CPI, Inc.

The symptom: erratic radio behavior when transmitting. The cause: The external 12 Volt power supply contained an electrolytic capacitor with a stripped terminal, causing an intermittent connection. The bad one is on the right. From the looks of it, it had been arcing quite a bit.

The March/April 2017 QEX magazine has an article by Brian, K1LI and Tony, K1KP entitled "The Polar Explorer," which investigates using non-linear amplification for SSB modes. It describes their experiments and prototype to develop a high-efficiency Phone transmitter using Envelope Elimination and Restoration that also meets FCC emission requirements.

Amphenol RF publishes a table of different types of coaxial cables, which includes characteristic impedances and physical diameters. Quantities of high-performance but lesser-known coaxial cable can sometimes be found at hamfests or on eBay, and could be useful for applications like impedance transformers, chokes, or internal wiring.

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CONVERSATION

Effective Communication

Signal quality has traditionally been important to our hobby, even as we've progressed from spark to CW, and have added voice and digital modes. From a practical perspective, more intelligible signals lead to faster and more accurate communication. A quality signal has traditionally been something to strive for, a point of pride for many Amateurs.

The Internet has become a communications medium for all subjects, and there is no shortage of email reflectors and websites related to Amateur Radio. While there are plenty of good websites, there are also many that have excellent content, but aren't as effective as they could be because of 'interference' from poor layout or design, broken links, browser incompatibility, slow hosting, lack of maintenance, or many other details. But, just as it's easy to get a quality RF signal today with rigs right out of the box, it's also possible to use a modern website service or content management system which can enhance the way your information is organized and presented.

One big reason to care about a quality website signal is that the first exposure to our hobby for many people may be through a radio club or other Amateur Radio related website. The population that we seek to attract to our hobby is precisely the one that may be turned away by web pages reminiscent of the late 20th century.

That's all for this time. Remember to send contesting related stories, book reviews, tips, techniques, press releases, errata, schematics, club information, pictures, stories, blog links, and predictions to contest-update@arrl.org

73, Brian N9ADG

CONTESTS

9 Mar - 22 Mar 2017

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, Mar 8, 1300z to Mar 8, 1400z, Mar 8, 1900z to Mar 8, 2000z, Mar 9, 0300z to Mar 9, 0400z; CW; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; Member: Name + Member No., non-Member: Name + (state/province/country); Logs due: March 11.

AWA John Rollins Memorial DX Contest, Mar 8, 2300z to Mar 9, 2300z, Mar 11, 2300z to Mar 12, 2300z; CW; Bands: 40, 20m; RST + Eqpt Type + Eqpt Year; Logs due: April 9.

NCCC RTTY Sprint, Mar 10, 0145z to Mar 10, 0215z; RTTY; Bands: (see rules); Serial No. + Name + QTH; Logs due: March 12.

QRP Fox Hunt, Mar 10, 0200z to Mar 10, 0330z; CW; Bands: 80m Only; RST + (state/province/country) + name + power output; Logs due: March 16.

NCCC Sprint, Mar 10, 0230z to Mar 10, 0300z; CW; Bands: (see rules); Serial No. + Name + QTH; Logs due: March 12.

RSGB Commonwealth Contest, Mar 11, 1000z to Mar 12, 1000z; CW; Bands: 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; RST + Serial No.; Logs due: March 19.

South America 10 Meter Contest, Mar 11, 1200z to Mar 12, 1200z; CW, SSB; Bands: 10m Only; RS(T) + CQ zone; Logs due: March 27.

F9AA Cup, SSB, Mar 11, 1200z to Mar 12, 1200z; SSB; Bands: 80, 40, 20, 15, 10, 2m; RST + Serial No.; Logs due: April 11.

SKCC Weekend Sprintathon, Mar 11, 1200z to Mar 13, 0000z; CW; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, 10, 6m; RST + (state/province/country) + Name + (SKCC No./"NONE"); Logs due: March 19.

AGCW QRP Contest, Mar 11, 1400z to Mar 11, 2000z; CW; Bands: 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; RST + QSO No. + class(pwr) + (AGCW Member No./"NM" if not member); Logs due: March 31.

Oklahoma QSO Party, Mar 11, 1500z to Mar 12, 0200z, Mar 12, 1400z to Mar 12, 2000z; CW, Phone, Digital; Bands: 80, 40, 20, 15, 10, 6m; OK: RS(T) + County, non-OK: RS(T) + (state/province/country); Logs due: April 12.

Stew Perry Topband Challenge, Mar 11, 1500z to Mar 12, 1500z; CW; Bands: 160m Only; 4-Character grid square; Logs due: March 27.

EA PSK63 Contest, Mar 11, 1600z to Mar 12, 1600z; PSK63; Bands: 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; EA: RSQ + province code, non-EA: RSQ + Serial no.; Logs due: March 27.

QCWA QSO Party, Mar 11, 1800z to Mar 12, 1800z; CW/Digital, Phone; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, 10, 6m; last 2 digits of year first licensed + name + (state/province/country or QCWA chapter); Logs due: April 11.

TESLA Memorial HF CW Contest, Mar 11, 1800z to Mar 12, 0559z; CW; Bands: 80m Only; RST + Serial No. + 4-character grid square; Logs due: March 17.

Idaho QSO Party, Mar 11, 1900z to Mar 12, 1900z; CW, Phone, Digital; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; ID: RS(T) + County, non-ID: RS(T) + (state/province/country); Logs due: April 11.

QRP ARCI Spring Thaw SSB Sprint, Mar 11, 2000z to Mar 11, 2359z; SSB; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; RS + (state/province/country) + (ARCI number/power); Logs due: March 25.

North American Sprint, RTTY, Mar 12, 0000z to Mar 12, 0400z; RTTY; Bands: 80, 40, 20m; [other station's call] + [your call] + [serial no.] + [your name] + [your state/DC/province/country]; Logs due: March 19.


WAB 3.5 MHz Phone, Mar 12, 1800z to Mar 12, 2200z; SSB; Bands: 80m Only; British Isles: RS + serial no. + WAB square, Other: RS + serial no. + country; Logs due: April 2.

Wisconsin QSO Party, Mar 12, 1800z to Mar 13, 0100z; CW/Digital, Phone; Bands: All, except WARC; WI: county, non-WI: (state/province/country); Logs due: April 10.

QRP Fox Hunt, Mar 15, 0100z to Mar 15, 0230z; CW; Bands: 80m Only; RST + (state/province/country) + name + power output; Logs due: March 16.

Phone Fray, Mar 15, 0230z to Mar 15, 0300z; SSB; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15m; NA: Name + (state/province/country), non-NA: Name; Logs due: March 17.

CWops Mini-CWT Test, Mar 15, 1300z to Mar 15, 1400z, Mar 15, 1900z to Mar 15, 2000z, Mar 16, 0300z to Mar 16, 0400z; CW; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; Member: Name + Member No., non-Member: Name + (state/province/country); Logs due: March 18.

RSGB 80m Club Championship, CW, Mar 15, 2000z to Mar 15, 2130z; CW; Bands: 80m Only; RST + Serial No.; Logs due: March 16.

NAQCC CW Sprint, Mar 16, 0030z to Mar 16, 0230z; CW; Bands: 80, 40, 20m; RST + (state/province/country) + (NAQCC No./power); Logs due: March 20.

QRP Fox Hunt, Mar 17, 0100z to Mar 17, 0230z; CW; Bands: 80m Only; RST + (state/province/country) + name + power output; Logs due: March 23.

NCCC RTTY Sprint, Mar 17, 0145z to Mar 17, 0215z; RTTY; Bands: (see rules); Serial No. + Name + QTH; Logs due: March 19.

NCCC Sprint, Mar 17, 0230z to Mar 17, 0300z; CW; Bands: (see rules); Serial No. + Name + QTH; Logs due: March 19.

BARTG HF RTTY Contest, Mar 18, 0200z to Mar 20, 0200z; RTTY; Bands: 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; RST + Serial No. + 4-digit time (UTC); Logs due: March 27.

Russian DX Contest, Mar 18, 1200z to Mar 19, 1200z; CW, SSB; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; Ru: RS(T) + 2-character oblast, non-Ru: RS(T) + Serial No.; Logs due: April 2.

Virginia QSO Party, Mar 18, 1400z to Mar 19, 0200z, Mar 19, 1200z to Mar 20, 0000z; CW, Phone, Digital; Bands: All, except WARC; VA: Serial No. + county, non-VA: Serial No. + (state/province/"DX"); Logs due: April 15.

Louisiana QSO Party, Mar 18, 1400z to Mar 19, 0200z; CW/Digital, Phone; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, 10, 6, 2m; LA: RS(T) + Parish, non-LA: RS(T) + (state/province/country); Logs due: April 18.

Feld Hell Sprint, Mar 18, 2000z to Mar 18, 2159z; Feld Hell; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, 10, 6m; (see rules); Logs due: March 22.

UBA Spring Contest, SSB, Mar 19, 0700z to Mar 19, 1100z; SSB; Bands: 80m Only; ON: RS + Serial No. + UBA Section, non-ON: RS + Serial No.; Logs due: April 2.

Run for the Bacon QRP Contest, Mar 20, 0200z to Mar 20, 0400z; CW; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; RST + (state/province/country) + (Member No./power); Logs due: March 26.

Bucharest Contest, Mar 20, 1800z to Mar 20, 2059z; CW, SSB, Digital; Bands: 80, 40m; YO: RS(T) + QSO No. + Sector/County, non-YO: RS(T) + QSO No. + Country Code; Logs due: March 31.

CLARA Chatter Party, Mar 21, 1700z to Mar 22, 1700z, Mar 25, 1700z to Mar 26, 1700z; CW, Phone; Bands: 80, 40, 20, 15, 10, 2m; RS(T) + Name + (state/province/country); Logs due: April 24.

SKCC Sprint, Mar 22, 0000z to Mar 22, 0200z; CW; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; RST + (state/province/country) + Name + (SKCC No./power); Logs due: March 24.

QRP Fox Hunt, Mar 22, 0100z to Mar 22, 0230z; CW; Bands: 80m Only; RST + (state/province/country) + name + power output; Logs due: March 23.

Phone Fray, Mar 22, 0230z to Mar 22, 0300z; SSB; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15m; NA: Name + (state/province/country), non-NA: Name; Logs due: March 24.

CWops Mini-CWT Test, Mar 22, 1300z to Mar 22, 1400z, Mar 22, 1900z to Mar 22, 2000z, Mar 23, 0300z to Mar 23, 0400z; CW; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; Member: Name + Member No., non-Member: Name + (state/province/country); Logs due: March 25.

VHF+ CONTESTS

SARL VHF/UHF Analogue/Digital Contest, Mar 11, 1000z to Mar 12, 1000z; Analog (CW/SSB/FM), Digital; Bands: 50 MHz, 70 MHz, 144 MHz, 432 MHz, 1296 MHz; RS + 6-character grid locator; Logs due: April 3.

UBA Spring Contest, 2m, Mar 12, 0700z to Mar 12, 1100z; CW, Phone; Bands: 2m Only; ON: RS(T) + Serial No. + UBA Section, non-ON: RS(T) + Serial No.; Logs due: March 26.

AGCW VHF/UHF Contest, Mar 18, 1400z to Mar 18, 1700z (144), Mar 18, 1700z to Mar 18, 1800z (432); CW; Bands: 144 MHz, 432 MHz; RST + "/" + Serial No. + "/" Power class + "/" + 6-character grid locator; Logs due: April 3.

See F9AA Cup, SKCC Weekend Sprintathon, Oklahoma QSO Party, Virginia QSO Party, Louisiana QSO Party, Feld Hell Sprint, CLARA Chatter Party, and QCWA QSO Party, above.

LOG DUE DATES

March 9, 2017

March 10, 2017

March 11, 2017

March 12, 2017

March 13, 2017

March 15, 2017

March 16, 2017

March 17, 2017

March 18, 2017

March 19, 2017

March 20, 2017

March 21, 2017

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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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