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The ARRL Contest Update
November 1, 2017
Editor: Brian Moran, N9ADG
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IN THIS ISSUE
NEW HF OPERATORS - THINGS TO DO

The exchange for the upcoming ARRL Sweepstakes contests may represent the most difficult of the major contests. Even many-year veterans of this contest can sometimes take a few contacts to get into the rhythm of it. The best way to get better at Sweepstakes? Operate in Sweepstakes! Here's an overview.

The Worked All Europe (WAE) RTTY Contest also offers a challenge beyond unvarying exchanges - a competitive score in this contact will make extensive use of "QTCs" - the report of previous contest QSOs to another station. QTCs count as QSO points. In the RTTY version of the contest, QTCs can be sent to any other station, not just those in the EU. It's essential to make sure your logging program supports QTCs, and that you know how to use that feature.

CONTEST SUMMARY

Complete information for all contests follows the Conversation section

2 Nov - 15 Nov 2017

November 2

November 3

November 4

November 5

November 7

November 8

November 9

November 10

November 11

November 12

November 13

November 15

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NEWS, PRESS RELEASES, AND GENERAL INTEREST

Don't forget that the North American SSB Sprint has been rescheduled to November 12, 0000-0359 UTC. This four-hour contest can be a real blast. Check the website for more information and helpful hints.

There are many places in the developing world that don't have accurate weather monitoring for rainfall. Many of these locations do have cellular phone infrastructure, normally consisting of towers connected to one another via radio links. It turns out that rainfall causes variation in the signal strength of the links between the towers, which can be used to estimate rainfall.

Jim, K9YC, writes: "Three Northern California Contest Club (NCCC) members, KU6F, WW6D, and WX6B, lost their homes in the first hours of the Tubbs fire (northern part of Santa Rosa). All are safe, and both WX6B and KU6F were able to escape with their animals. A few days ago, KE1B and W6NN had to evacuate when the Bear fire threatened their home (in Santa Cruz County, about 15 miles NE of me), but are now back home after firefighters contained the fire in their direction."

Also destroyed in the Tubbs fire were historical archives related to the early days of the Hewlett-Packard company.

There may have been a Solar Eclipse fish propagation effect. Stephen, W9SK, writing about a solar eclipse side effect: "My next-door neighbor was on a salmon fishing expedition boat at the mouth of the Columbia River during the eclipse. When the shadow swept over them they started catching fish left and right, including in his case a 30lb King. Nothing before and nothing after. They theorized the baitfish went to the surface as it darkened and followed it. Okay, nothing to do with ham radio, sorry, back to propagation effects." (Stephen, W9SK)

The General Availability release of WSJT-X Version 1.8.0 is ready! Check the WSJT-X downloads page for the version appropriate for your computer.

WORD TO THE WISE

Stiction - Static friction that must be overcome to allow touching materials to move relative to one another. Aluminum parts, such as antenna elements, can exhibit stiction.

SIGHTS AND SOUNDS

WW7LW in the 2017 Washington State Salmon Run Contest, operating from Columbia county. [Photo courtesy of Rich, KR7W]

Rich, KR7W, blogged about this year's WW7LW mobile operation from a number of county lines in the recent Washington Salmon Run contest. He also took some pictures that capture the essence of the eastern part of Washington state. WW7LW operators included KR7W and Chuck, AC7QN.

Darryl, WW7D is also a frequent mobile for the Salmon Run, and described his 2017 adventure a recent blog entry.

The proceedings of the 2017 Pacific Northwest VHF Society Conference have been published on the PNWVHFS website. Marshall, K5QE, discussed his Zone 2 road trip.

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RESULTS AND RECORDS

Peachy! The results of the 2017 Georgia QSO Party have been published to the contest website, and plaque winners will be sent their awards in the near future. The next running of the Georgia QSO Party will occur on April 14, 2018. (Jeff, KU8E)

Raw scores from the recent Makrothen RTTY Contest have been posted. Since they are raw scores, they don't include any allowances for log checking or elimination of duplicate QSOs. Formal log checking is under way, and results will be published within a month. In all, the contest received 455 entries, more than double the number received in 2016, and a nearly 10% increase from 2015. (Stu, K6TU, Contest Manager)

Robert, S57AW, reports that the preliminary results for the 2017 EUHF Championship, which was held in August are available on the SCC web page. The UBN reports are public, and participants can print their own certificates directly from the results page. Robert asks that any corrections be sent to SCC Contest Committee until October 31.

The ARRL June VHF Contest results are now posted on the ARRL website. The number one and number two Single Operator High Power scores had the same number of QSOs, but K1TEO bested K5TR with 350 versus 312 multipliers.

OPERATING TIP

Choose the Path That Works

When using directional antennas, don't forget to check the alternative paths for stations when you're calling CQ, or if you can't hear a spotted multiplier when you're searching and pouncing. It can pay to also try non-traditional or skew paths, such as beaming south-of-short-path to reach the EU from the US.

TECHNICAL TOPICS AND INFORMATION

Sometimes it's necessary to manipulate ADIF files, for example when splitting a county-line log entry into separate uploads for each county in preparation for upload to LOTW. Jim, AD1C, has written a utility that fits the bill. (Tim, K7XC)

Keyboards may be getting fancier and smarter, but it seems like the time between when you press a key and when it registers in the logging program might be increasing. Perception may be reality, but someone has actually measured the latency.

A new release of Red Pitaya SDR software by Pavel Demin enables Red Pitaya Hardware to skim EIGHT Amateur bands simultaneously at a 192 KHz sampling rate. The Red Pitaya hardware is available off the shelf from Mouser and other sources. (Bob, N6TV)

DX Engineering handles band pass filters and multiplexers made by Low Band Systems. When band pass filters and multiplexers are used together, a single multi-band antenna can be used with multiple transceivers operating on different bands. Power handling capacities up to 1500 watts are available.

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CONVERSATION

Advancement of the Radio Art

The Top Band email reflector experienced a large spike in traffic this week during the discussion of using it to chase DXCC on 160 meters, and how it appears to be a game changer. Top Band has traditionally been the domain of physically large antennas, low noise locations, and higher power levels, but FT8's ability to effectively communicate at lower signal levels is allowing a wider range of stations to make DX contacts 160 meters. Any improvements in the signal chain, such as better antennas, better RDFs, filtering, and noise reduction, being located near salt water, or a hundred other things, increase the probability of making a contact. FT8 just increases it a lot! More contacts means an Amateur might work more DX and attain a DXCC status sooner, the same as any previous technology advancement.

Attaining DXCC status is a personal goal -- Amateurs choose their own adventure in completing the challenge. It's a luxury that we can individually choose how difficult to make the quest, using whatever impediment we'd like to make the challenge more difficult, more "hamly."

The FT8 mode represents advancement in the State of the Art for the Amateur Service, one of the fundamental purposes of Amateur Radio. For 160 meters specifically, FT8 offers the opportunity to get more people using the band by helping to overcome modern obstacles that are not in the control of the operator. Consider the perspective of Nick, K1NZ, in his post to the Top Band reflector:

"I'm one of the younger hams in the hobby. I got my license and extra at 20 and am 26 now. I was semi-active on the phone bands up until late 2015 when I moved into my current apartment and put up a bunch of wire antennas. I have a G5RV, 30 meter dipole, and a 160 meter L. I personally have that thrill of working a new one on whatever band regardless of mode, even if it's a JT/FT mode. I just worked my first Bahrain on 40m FT8 tonight and cracked a beer to celebrate... My whole reason for writing this post is because of the "You can play in my sandbox only of you play my way" mentality. I am referring to the JT/FT modes if you want to be specific. I am lucky in that I rent from my uncle who doesn't care what wires I put up. On the other hand, most people my age are either living with their parents or are renting from people that will

not let them participate in the hobby... I hate to say it, but this whole mindset is why the youth of today are turned off from ham radio. Why should I pump hundreds of dollars into a hobby if I'm going to be greeted with "You need to learn CW" "FT8 is ruining the hobby" "You're not a real ham because you didn't pass the code test." I realize that new things involve change and that change is scary, but can we please welcome people into the hobby, even though that future isn't what is comfortable?"

That's all for this time. Remember to send Sweepstakes pictures, 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

2 Nov - 15 Nov 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, Nov 1, 1300z to Nov 1, 1400z, Nov 1, 1900z to Nov 1, 2000z, Nov 2, 0300z to Nov 2, 0400z; CW; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; Member: Name + Member No., non-Member: Name + (state/province/country); Logs due: October 28.

NRAU 10m Activity Contest, Nov 2, 1800z to Nov 2, 1900z (CW), Nov 2, 1900z to Nov 2, 2000z (SSB), Nov 2, 2000z to Nov 2, 2100z (FM), Nov 2, 2100z to Nov 2, 2200z (Dig); CW, SSB, FM, Digital; Bands: 10m Only; RS(T) + 6-character grid square; Logs due: November 16.

NCCC RTTY Sprint, Nov 3, 0145z to Nov 3, 0215z; RTTY; Bands: (see rules); Serial No. + Name + QTH; Logs due: October 29.

NCCC Sprint, Nov 3, 0230z to Nov 3, 0300z; CW; Bands: (see rules); Serial No. + Name + QTH; Logs due: October 29.

IPARC Contest, CW, Nov 4, 0600z to Nov 4, 1000z, Nov 4, 1400z to Nov 4, 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.

Ukrainian DX Contest, Nov 4, 1200z to Nov 5, 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 5.

ARRL Sweepstakes Contest, CW, Nov 4, 2100z to Nov 6, 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 11.

IPARC Contest, SSB, Nov 5, 0600z to Nov 5, 1000z, Nov 5, 1400z to Nov 5, 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 5, 0800z to Nov 5, 1200z; Any; Bands: Any; RS(T); Logs due: November 19.

High Speed Club CW Contest, Nov 5, 0900z to Nov 5, 1100z, Nov 5, 1500z to Nov 5, 1700z; CW; Bands: 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; Members: RST + HSC No., non-Members: RST + "NM"; Logs due: November 26.

ARS Spartan Sprint, Nov 7, 0200z to Nov 7, 0400z; CW; Bands: 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; RST + (state/province/country) + Power; Logs due: November 9.

QRP Fox Hunt, Nov 8, 0200z to Nov 8, 0330z; CW; Bands: 80m Only; RST + (state/province/country) + name + power output; Logs due: November 9.

Phone Fray, Nov 8, 0230z to Nov 8, 0300z; SSB; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15m; NA: Name + (state/province/country), non-NA: Name; Logs due: October 27.

CWops Mini-CWT Test, Nov 8, 1300z to Nov 8, 1400z, Nov 8, 1900z to Nov 8, 2000z, Nov 9, 0300z to Nov 9, 0400z; CW; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; Member: Name + Member No., non-Member: Name + (state/province/country); Logs due: October 28.

NCCC RTTY Sprint, Nov 10, 0145z to Nov 10, 0215z; RTTY; Bands: (see rules); Serial No. + Name + QTH; Logs due: October 29.

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

NCCC Sprint, Nov 10, 0230z to Nov 10, 0300z; CW; Bands: (see rules); Serial No. + Name + QTH; Logs due: October 29.

WAE DX Contest, RTTY, Nov 11, 0000z to Nov 12, 2359z; RTTY; Bands: 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; RS + Serial No.; Logs due: November 27.

10-10 Int. Fall Contest, Digital, Nov 11, 0001z to Nov 12, 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 20.

JIDX Phone Contest, Nov 11, 0700z to Nov 12, 1300z; SSB; Bands: 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; JA: RST + Prefecture No., non-JA: RST + CQ Zone No.; Logs due: December 12.

OK/OM DX Contest, CW, Nov 11, 1200z to Nov 12, 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 19.

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

Kentucky QSO Party, Nov 11, 1400z to Nov 12, 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 11, 1900z to Nov 11, 2300z (CW/Digital), Nov 12, 0100z to Nov 12, 0500z (Phone), Nov 12, 1900z to Nov 12, 2300z (Phone), Nov 13, 0100z to Nov 13, 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.

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

4 States QRP Group Second Sunday Sprint, Nov 13, 0100z to Nov 13, 0300z; 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: November 30.

RSGB 80m Autumn Series, Data, Nov 13, 2000z to Nov 13, 2130z; RTTY, PSK; Bands: 80m Only; [other station's call] + [your call] + [serial no.] + [your name]; Logs due: November 14.

QRP Fox Hunt, Nov 15, 0200z to Nov 15, 0330z; CW; Bands: 80m Only; RST + (state/province/country) + name + power output; Logs due: November 16.

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

CWops Mini-CWT Test, Nov 15, 1300z to Nov 15, 1400z, Nov 15, 1900z to Nov 15, 2000z, Nov 16, 0300z to Nov 16, 0400z; CW; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; Member: Name + Member No., non-Member: Name + (state/province/country); Logs due: October 28.

VHF+ CONTESTS

ARRL EME Contest, Nov 4, 0000z to Nov 5, 2359z; CW, Phone, Digital; Bands: 50-1296 MHz; Signal report; Logs due: December 6.

Also, see SKCC Weekend Sprintathon, Kentucky QSO Party, CQ-WE Contests, above.

LOG DUE DATES

2 Nov - 15 Nov 2017

November 3, 2017

November 4, 2017

November 5, 2017

November 6, 2017

November 13, 2017

November 15, 2017

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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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