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Contest Update Issues

The ARRL Contest Update
May 3, 2017
Editor: Paul Bourque, N1SFE

May 6-7 is a big QSO Party weekend. With the New England QSO Party, 7th Call Area QSO Party, Indiana QSO Party, and Delaware QSO Party on the same weekend, even with poor conditions there will be stations to work. Some logging programs will help you use one log to enter more than one contest - N1MM+ logger, for example, has a special "IN7QPNE" state QSO party type, for simultaneous logging of Indiana, 7QP, and New England QSO Parties. The same Cabrillo log can be entered for all three QSO parties. Don't forget to visit the web pages for the contests to make sure you're aware of any rule changes, and to have up-to-date abbreviations for county names.




Complete information for all contests follows the Conversation section

4 May - 17 May 2017

May 4

May 5

May 6

May 7

May 10

May 11

May 12

May 13

May 14

May 15

May 17

NEWS, PRESS RELEASES, AND GENERAL INTEREST has a new look and updated content. This year's event is only days away but you can whet your appetite by viewing some of the presentations from 2016 that have been posted to the website. Don't forget the rich assortment of other contesting related activities that will take place at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, Dayton, Ohio May 17 - May 20. The website has a page devoted to contest related activities related to the Hamvention.

According to a May 1 Yasme Foundation press release (PDF): "Yasme has been a frequent supporter of Contest University (CTU). Earlier this year the Board made a grant to CTU to facilitate the attendance of Dr. Tamitha Skov at this year's Dayton Hamvention CTU session. Dr. Skov is a Research Scientist at The Aerospace Corporation in Los Angeles, California and is a frequent lecturer in the fields of solar and space physics. She makes regular "Spaceweather TV" presentations on her YouTube channel. Dr. Skov is one of the Professors at the 2017 CTU in Ohio and her talk is entitled "The Wonderful World of Space Weather." The same Yasme Press release also announced support of the 2017 Youngsters On The Air event in London, as well as other support for youth involvement in Amateur Radio in the United Kingdom.

Thailand recently created a new class of licensee, the "Advanced" class, equivalent to the US Extra. According to an email message by Charles Harpole, HS0ZCW, and as shown on the Radio Amateur Society of Thailand website, Advanced Class licensees are now able to use up to 1 KW, after obtaining a 1KW station license.

The DFW Contest Group and the Lone Star DX Association announce the 2017 DFW DX & Contest Forum to be held on Friday, June 9 and Saturday, June 10 in conjunction with Ham-Com at the Irving Convention Center in Irving, Texas. The 2017 DFW DX & Contest Forum includes 16 presentations on Friday and Saturday and is highlighted with a luncheon on Saturday featuring our special guest Tim Duffy, K3LR. Tim will present on "The Evolution and Future of Contesting" at the luncheon. Tim will also be presenting at 1:00 PM on Friday on "Station Design for HF". All presentations from all speakers are included in your standard admission to Ham-Com, however, the luncheon admission will be $25 and includes a light boxed lunch and raffle entry for door prizes. (Eric, NM5M)

The North Hills Amateur Radio Club (NHARC) will be commemorating the Martian New Year with a special event station in Mars, PA, on May 6, 2017, as part of the event. The Martian New Year only happens every couple of years, Earth-time. Though the town features a 'mid century modern' looking gen-you-wine flying saucer, the activities on May 4 - May 6 are focused around STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics) activities, and will include NASA participation. Look for their call, K3M, on 20 and 40 meter phone. QSLs go to K2MA. (Tim, K3HX)

The FCC is changing some of the rules of the Part 95 Personal Radio Service. Among the changes in the GMRS, FRS, and CBRS services is a relaxation of the restriction of CBRS contacts greater than 155.3 miles and allowance of wireless (hands free) microphones with CBRS equipment. has a new feature to predict paths to upcoming DXpedition locations.

The HF propagation prediction software VOACAP, Voice of America Coverage Analysis Program is the focus of the independent website The website has a section where you can plug in your grid locator, and you'll get a series of charts predicting propagation for current and upcoming DXpeditions.


Control Operator

"An amateur operator designated by the licensee of a station to be responsible for the transmissions from that station to assure compliance with the FCC Rules." The Control Operator ensures the "immediate proper operation of the station, regardless of the type of control." One practical yet sometimes overlooked implication for contesters is that the person operating the station must stay within the privileges of their own license, unless a control operator with higher privileges is present and in active supervision of their operation. An example: If the operator at a multi-op is a General Class licensee in the Extra portion of the band, they must be operating under the immediate supervision of an Extra class control operator. The control operator cannot nap, leave the position to eat, go to the bathroom, or in any way not be present and in immediate control while the General class operator is exceeding the privileges of their license. See this ARRL web page for more guidance.


Bob, N6TV, is usually behind the camera at Amateur Radio events. Here he is at the 2017 International DX Convention in Visalia, California, along with his Y-Box K3 Accessory. [Photo by K6GHA, used with permission]

Bob, N6TV, has shared his album of pictures from the 2017 International DX Convention in Visalia, California. You'll see some well known DXers and Contesters in the pictures. Bob's requirements as a contester translated into a product that he's sharing with the Amateur community - the Y-Box. It's a four-way splitter and breakout box for the K3/K3S's ACC connector, to enable easier connection of multiple accessories that need access to the band data or other signals on the K3. With the ability to break out any particular signal on the ACC connector to an RCA jack, it can also handle special situations like lockout configurations.

GigaParts just opened their retail store in Las Vegas, and ICOM tweeted some pictures of the event.

See what the RSGB Youngsters on the Air (YOTA) are planning for their 2017 gathering in Gillwell Park, UK, August 5-12, 2017 in their Video Logs (VLOGS). According to the website, over 80 people under the age of 26 from IARU Region 1 (plus Japan) will be representing their national amateur radio societies. This will be the seventh year of the "summer camp" for Amateur Radio.

ARRL Field Day is coming soon. This "operating event" is not really deemed a contest, but Field Day is what you make of it. How about getting some newbies involved? Here's an ARRL Field Day promotional video that may help you "sell" it to some non-Amateurs.

The first Harvard Amateur Radio Symposium occurred Saturday, April 29. The Yale University club, W1YU, published a report on the event including a link to the presentation materials on YouTube. Of particular interest may be the Youth Involvement in Amateur Radio Roundtable event.

Quote of the Week

From Craig, K9CT, from his presentation at the International DX Conference: "Lightning protection only minimizes damage."


With the selection of team 4 and 5, all of the sponsored teams for WRTC 2018 have now been selected. Andrei Ruse, YO3JR and Ivo Pezer, E73A are the leaders of sponsored teams 4 and team 5, respectively. According to the WRTC 2018 post on Facebook "Numerous excellent applications reached the committee. We are sure the selected teams will play an important role in the 2018 championship and will fight for top places." Here's a list of the sponsored teams:

Team 1: Rick, N6XI and Andy, AE6Y/P49Y

Team 2: Bud, AA3B and John, W2GD

Team 3: Tim, K3LR and Sandy, DL1QQ

Team 4: Andrei, YO3JR, team leader

Team 5: Ivo, E73A, team leader

The results article for the 2016 ARRL 160 meter contest has been published to the ARRL website. In addition to the results, you can read about VY1AAA's operation which provided that sometimes-elusive "NT" multiplier.

The CQWW Contest Facebook page is buzzing with comments on their post of the list of stations disqualified for rules violations. You've likely also seen the lively discussion on the CQ-Contest email reflector.

Kelly, N0VD, tweeted the URL of the CQWW Rates Statistics Page. The best 60-minute rates are shown by entry category, as calculated from the public logs submitted to the CQWW Contest.

The 2017 running of the Florida QSO Party was last weekend - their 20th anniversary. If you participated, make sure to get your logs submitted. The 2016 and earlier Florida QSO Party (FQP) results and write-ups are available on the website.


Use Public Logs to Your Advantage

Some contests, like the CQWW, make all submitted logs "public" as a condition of entry to their contest. That's an opportunity to learn from the stations that bested you in the last contest. You can just read the logs to understand when band changes occurred, when the other guys got that multiplier that eluded you, or even find unusual band openings or paths. You can also take advantage of log analysis tools to help you compare your log versus logs of your peer group to get additional insights.


Proceedings from the recently concluded forty-third annual Eastern VHF/UHF/Microwave conference are available via order from the North East Weak Signal Group website. CDs from other years are also available. In 2018, the conference will be held April 20-22 in Manchester, Connecticut. (Paul, W1GHZ)

A new form of aurora may have been 'discovered.' Amateur scientists took pictures of ribbon like phenomena occurring well away from any polar regions, and posted them on social media. Professional researchers initially thought the occurrences to be proton arcs, but something didn't look quite right. Realizing that one picture coincided with a fly-through of a European Space Agency Swarm Satellite, E-field data were examined by researchers, and they noted at 300 km above the Earth's surface an elevated temperature level of 3000 degrees C, in a flow of gas moving at about 6 kilometers per second. This new type of aurora has been nick-named 'Steve' in honor of the children's movie Over the Hedge.

Frank, W3LPL, offered up a link to IN3OTD's reviews of various transformers used for 160 meter receive antennas: "...a nice complement to the other RF design websites familiar to top band station builders." IN3OTD also has a performance comparison of different common mode choke configurations. (Frank, W3LPL, via TopBand reflector)

Jim, K9YC, found that Fair-Rite is making a new, larger sized #31 material toroid core. Each four-inch part 2631814002 weighs nearly 15 ounces, and according to Jim, "This relatively new Fair-Rite part ...offers the potential for many more turns and/or larger cables. The mechanical properties are obvious. I would expect one of these cores to be approximately equivalent to two of the 2.4-in O.D. toroids that we've been using and that I've measured. My basis for that is that their thickness dimension (the length of cable going through the core) is twice that of the smaller core. Inductance is proportional to the length of that path. Thus, three of these cores should be equivalent to six of the smaller ones." Current lead times for these parts are approximately 14 weeks. (Jim, K9YC)

Maybe it could be named "Highlander?" Gallium arsenide semi-conductors may be better than quantum dots for constructing Single Photon Emitters. The ability to control photons is important for all types of quantum information processing, and advances in quantum computing are thought to have general applicability in signal processing.


Bits and Pieces: The Advancing Age of Radio Persons

At the International DX Convention in Visalia, California last weekend, many well known DXers and Contesters were in attendance. Many social encounters eventually came around to the discussion of the graying of our members. During the Saturday banquet, a sit-down poll of the room yielded 37 years as the age of the youngest Amateur in attendance.

One vendor of HF radio products at the vendor fair shared some demographic information regarding their website traffic which suggested that fully 65% were aged 55 or above. Perhaps the numbers would be different for a vendor with a different product mix.

Frank, NF8M, forwarded me an article about a gathering for Amateurs at the National Association of Broadcasters meeting in Last Vegas. The caption for the picture associated with the article was sure to mention that the room consisted of males over 50 years of age. The article went on to suggest that those in attendance were the industry drivers, the seasoned professionals, with titles like 'Chief Technology Officer,' 'Sound Engineer,' or the simultaneously laudatory and inadvertently ageist 'Senior Engineer'.

We all nod and agree that it's important to get more and younger people into Amateur Radio, but the diversity of interests in all that is Amateur Radio doesn't encourage a single solution to the problem. To achieve the goal of having younger people in contesting, we're going to at least have to start with younger people.

One 'funnel point' by age is school. It's probably not realistic to expect Amateur Radio to become part of any official curriculum, but there are teachers, faculty, parents, grand parents, and radio clubs that actively encourage school radio clubs. You can look at the results of the ARRL School Club Roundup to see some of the schools with active radio clubs, such as the Schofield Middle School in Aiken, South Carolina. The North Augusta Belvedere Radio Club sponsors that club, and seems to be doing a good job of it. What's the special sauce that the club provides? According to Ken, KQ4KK (excerpted from the October 5, 2016 Contest Update) "We have four Elmers from the sponsor club, North Augusta-Belvedere Radio Club, K4NAB, that help all year long. When not doing SCR, we spend time soldering, desoldering, making satellite contacts, operating PSK-31, foxhunting, working with electronic training kits called 'Snap Circuits' for theory and practical circuits, spend a little time on license prep, and even do some CW training." That seems like a good outline of activities, and indicates the dedication required to achieve success.

The Amateur Collegiate Radio Initiative aims to foster increased activity at the post-high school level. Some of the known challenges facing some existing college / university radio clubs include outmoded or neglected equipment, antennas, or cabling, lack of continuity from year to year, lack of recognition. Can your radio club spare some cycles to help a radio club? If your alma mater has a club, what are they up to and how can you help?

Next time you have a conversation where you're lamenting how old our hobby is getting, make an effort to encourage concrete ideas about what you can do personally to foster the interests of a younger crowd.

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

73, Brian N9ADG


4 May - 17 May 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.


CWops Mini-CWT Test, May 3, 1300z to May 3, 1400z, May 3, 1900z to May 3, 2000z, May 4, 0300z to May 4, 0400z; CW; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; Member: Name + Member No., non-Member: Name + (state/province/country); Logs due: May 6.

NRAU 10m Activity Contest, May 4, 1700z to May 4, 1800z (CW), May 4, 1800z to May 4, 1900z (SSB), May 4, 1900z to May 4, 2000z (FM), May 4, 2000z to May 4, 2100z (Dig); CW, SSB, FM, Digital; Bands: 10m Only; RS(T) + 6-character grid square; Logs due: May 18.

NCCC RTTY Sprint, May 5, 0145z to May 5, 0215z; RTTY; Bands: (see rules); Serial No. + Name + QTH; Logs due: April 30.

NCCC Sprint, May 5, 0230z to May 5, 0300z; CW; Bands: (see rules); Serial No. + Name + QTH; Logs due: April 30.

10-10 Int. Spring Contest, CW, May 6, 0001z to May 7, 2359z; CW; Bands: 10m Only; 10-10 Member: Name + 10-10 number + (state/province/country), Non-Member: Name + 0 + (state/province/country); Logs due: May 22.

F9AA Cup, PSK, May 6, 1200z to May 7, 1200z; PSK; Bands: 80, 40, 20, 15, 10, 2m; RST + Serial No.; Logs due: June 6.

ARI International DX Contest, May 6, 1200z to May 7, 1159z; Phone, CW, RTTY; Bands: 160 (no RTTY), 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; I: RS(T) + 2-letter province, non-I: RS(T) + Serial No.; Logs due: May 12.

7th Call Area QSO Party, May 6, 1300z to May 7, 0700z; CW, Phone, Digital; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, 10, 6, 2m; 7th Area: RS(T) + 5-letter state/county code, non-7th Area: RS(T) + (state/province/DX); Logs due: May 17.

Indiana QSO Party, May 6, 1500z to May 7, 0300z; Phone, CW; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; IN: RS(T) + county, non-IN: W/VE: RS(T) + (state/province), DX: RS(T) + "DX"; Logs due: June 1.

FISTS Spring Slow Speed Sprint, May 6, 1700z to May 6, 2100z; CW; Bands: 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; FISTS: RST + (state/province/country) + first name + FISTS No., non-FISTS: RST + (state/province/country) + first name + power; Logs due: June 5.

Delaware QSO Party, May 6, 1700z to May 7, 2359z; CW, Phone, Digital/RTTY; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, 10, VHF; DE: RS(T) + County, non-DE: RS(T) + (state/province/country); Logs due: June 6.

New England QSO Party, May 6, 2000z to May 7, 0500z, May 7, 1300z to May 8, 0000z; Phone, CW/Digital; Bands: 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; CT, ME, MA, NH, RI, VT: RS(T) + county + state, non-NE: RS(T) + (state/province/"DX"); Logs due: June 6.

Phone Fray, May 10, 0230z to May 10, 0300z; SSB; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15m; NA: Name + (state/province/country), non-NA: Name; Logs due: May 12.

CWops Mini-CWT Test, May 10, 1300z to May 10, 1400z, May 10, 1900z to May 10, 2000z, May 11, 0300z to May 11, 0400z; CW; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; Member: Name + Member No., non-Member: Name + (state/province/country); Logs due: May 13.

RSGB 80m Club Championship, Data, May 10, 1900z to May 10, 2030z; RTTY, PSK; Bands: 80m Only; RST + Serial No.; Logs due: May 11.

NCCC RTTY Sprint, May 12, 0145z to May 12, 0215z; RTTY; Bands: (see rules); Serial No. + Name + QTH; Logs due: April 30.

NCCC Sprint, May 12, 0230z to May 12, 0300z; CW; Bands: (see rules); Serial No. + Name + QTH; Logs due: April 30.

Jakarta DX Contest 40m, May 13, 1000z to May 13, 2200z; SSB; Bands: 40m Only; RS + Serial No.; Logs due: May 20.

Portuguese Navy Day Contest, May 13, 1100z to May 20, 2300z; CW, SSB, Digital; Bands: 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; NRA Club: RS(T) + Member No., non-member: RS(T) + QSO No.; Logs due: June 4.

HPC World Wide DX Contest, May 13, 1200z to May 14, 1159z; BPSK63; Bands: 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; HPC Members: RST + 3-digit HPC member number, non-HPC: RST + 3-digit QSO No.; Logs due: June 15.

SKCC Weekend Sprintathon, May 13, 1200z to May 15, 0000z; CW; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, 10, 6m; RST + (state/province/country) + Name + (SKCC No./"NONE"); Logs due: May 21.

VOLTA WW RTTY Contest, May 13, 1200z to May 14, 1200z; RTTY; Bands: 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; RST + QSO No. + CQ Zone; Logs due: May 31.

CQ-M International DX Contest, May 13, 1200z to May 14, 1159z; CW, SSB; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; RS(T) + Serial No.; Logs due: June 13.

Arkansas QSO Party, May 13, 1400z to May 14, 0200z; CW, Phone, Digital; Bands: 80, 40, 20, 15, 10, 2m; AR: RS(T) + County, non-AR: RS(T) + (state/province/"DX"); Logs due: May 27.

MARAC County Hunters Contest, May 13, 1400z to May 14, 0000z, May 14, 1400z to May 15, 0000z; CW; Bands: 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; RST + (state+county/"DX"); Logs due: June 30.

FISTS Spring Unlimited Sprint, May 13, 1700z to May 13, 2100z; CW; Bands: 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; FISTS: RST + (state/province/country) + first name + FISTS No., non-FISTS: RST + (state/province/country) + first name + power; Logs due: June 12.

WAB 7 MHz Phone, May 14, 1000z to May 14, 1400z; SSB; Bands: 40m Only; British Isles: RS + serial no. + WAB square, Other: RS + serial no. + country; Logs due: June 4.

UA2 QSO Party, May 14, 1300z to May 14, 1659z; CW, SSB; Bands: 80, 40, 20m; UA2: RS(T) + RDA ID, non-UA2: RS(T) + Serial No.; Logs due: June 14.

4 States QRP Group Second Sunday Sprint, May 15, 0000z to May 15, 0200z; CW, SSB; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; Member: RS(T) + (State/Province/Country) + Member No., Non-member: RS(T) + (State/Province/Country) + Power; Logs due: May 31.

Phone Fray, May 17, 0230z to May 17, 0300z; SSB; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15m; NA: Name + (state/province/country), non-NA: Name; Logs due: May 19.

CWops Mini-CWT Test, May 17, 1300z to May 17, 1400z, May 17, 1900z to May 17, 2000z, May 18, 0300z to May 18, 0400z; CW; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; Member: Name + Member No., non-Member: Name + (state/province/country); Logs due: May 20.


Araucaria VHF Contest, May 6, 0000z to May 7, 1600z; CW, SSB, FM; Bands: 6, 2m; RS(T) + 6-character grid square; Logs due: May 17.

SBMS 2.3 GHz and Up Contest and Club Challenge, May 6, 0600 (local) to May 7, 2359 (local); Any; Bands: 2.3 GHz and up; 6-character Maidenhead locator; Logs due: June 1.

Microwave Spring Sprint, May 6, 0800 (local) to May 6, 1400 (local); not specified; Bands: All above 902 MHz; 6-character grid square; Logs due: May 20.

50 MHz Spring Sprint, May 13, 2300z to May 14, 0300z; not specified; Bands: 6m Only; 4-character grid square; Logs due: May 27.

Also see F9AA Cup, PSK, 7th Call Area QSO Party, SKCC Weekend Sprintathon, Arkansas QSO Party above.


4 May - 17 May 2017

May 4, 2017

May 5, 2017

May 6, 2017

May 7, 2017

May 8, 2017

May 9, 2017

May 14, 2017

May 15, 2017

May 16, 2017

May 17, 2017

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