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The ARRL Contest Update
September 5, 2018
Editor: Brian Moran, N9ADG

Sprint! Sprint! Sprint! The North American CW Sprint is coming up on September 9, and the best way to get ready is to play in the NCCC Sprint on Thursday evening before the contest. This is an interesting contest format, requiring a QSY after a maximum of two contacts on a frequency, only one of which can be a CQ. Read the rules, understand the QSY requirements, and make sure you're following the exchange formats for the contest.

Thought the SKCC Sprint Europe has 'Sprint' in the name, it's a sprint in duration, not in format.

Phone operators will find a comfortable place in the WAE DX SSB Contest on September 8. The September 15 weekend finds a number of QSO Parties, including the Washington State Salmon Run, where a top score in one of the categories could earn you a smoked salmon prize.

RTTY operators can get in on the Sprint format with the North American RTTY Sprint and BARTG 75 Sprint on September 16. Practice for those on the every-Thursday-evening NCCC RTTY Sprint.


6 Sep - 19 Sep 2018

Complete information for all contests follows the Conversation section

September 6

September 7

September 8

September 9

September 10

September 12

September 13

September 14

September 15

September 16

September 17

September 19


Bart, W9JJ, ARRL Contest Branch Manager, announced some contest related changes in the September 2018 QST. You should read about the changes here. Changes include:

  • HF Contest log deadlines have been extended to 7 days after contest end (starting with ARRL Sweepstakes)
  • ARRL Club Competition tools have been updated
  • A new landing page for ARRL Contests -
  • Web-based log uploading for even more ARRL contests
  • Collegiate Championship Challenge
  • New contest results authors for ARRL 160 Meter and ARRL September VHF

The Youngsters On The Air program continues to produce programs that engage and excite young people in IARU Region 1 to be involved with Amateur Radio. Besides the yearly meetings that are like 'radio camp,' the organization also sponsors a Youth Contesting Program. Well-equipped, competitive contest stations host youth operators, providing an opportunity to focus on operating, improving contest skills, working with others on a contest team, and potentially prepare for WRTC level events. DM9EE will host the next group for the CQ WW SSB Contest in October, joining the ES5TV, 9A1A, EC2DX, and 4O3A stations that have already hosted teams in 2018.

Sean, WA1TE, hosted a Reddit 'Ask Me Anything' session recently in the Amateur Radio group, the topic being "I am a VHF contest rover, ask me anything." Sean has been participating as a rover for three years (as K1SIG/R), and though he has division wins and set a couple of records in the New England division for Unlimited Rover, has found an overall win to be elusive. He describes what he does: "We stuff radios and people into a car and drive from grid to grid. As a rover, every time we enter a new grid we can work the same people over - providing much needed multipliers and points for the fixed stations, and giving us plenty of people to work." Questions were wide-ranging, from equipment and strategy to band selection and beyond. You can read the discourse here.

Sean chimed in with some suggestions on a thread started by Duffey, KK6MC, on the VHF Contesting mailing list entitled "Making roving fun and interesting." Duffey's comments are well worth a read if you're going to be operating in the September VHF Contest, even if you're NOT going to be a rover. Understanding the demands of a rover operation, and how rovers find contacts can help you get more grids in your contest log.

The Sun had a 'minor' eruption on August 13, which was captured by the NASA Solar Dynamics Observatory. The plasma in the picture rose above the surface of the sun a distance equating to several times the diameter of the Earth. [Solar Dynamics Observatory, NASA, photo]

Mark, N5OT, has taken over the World Wide Radio Operator Foundation (WWROF) Contest Webinar series after Ken, K4ZW, recently decided to step down. Mark invites your comments and ideas for webinar topics at his email address. (John, K1AR)

Scott, N3FJP, announces that Amateur Contact Log 6.3 is now available. This latest release focused on functionality for Flex Radio users, but there's something for everyone in this summary of changes:

  • Flex users receive DX spots which will appear on their panadapters.
  • A new Tab Sends Message (TSM) feature for CW mode
  • Support to use a radio's internal memories for CW messages
  • Award query settings are preserved on awards forms
  • FT8+ mode has been added to the list of modes in anticipation of this new mode

Scott has also upgraded the Alabama (1.7) and Arizona (1.9) QSO Party Contest Log programs.

"An in person look at WRTC 2018" is the title of a presentation of WRTC 2018 on-scene spectator Scott, W4PA, is slated to deliver at the W4DXCC Conference being held September 21 - September 22 in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. The complete program can be viewed here. Friday's "Boot Camp" features a number of sessions to jump-start a fully operational Amateur, including sessions on station construction, logging, and operating.

N1MM Logger+ has just been updated to version1.0.7268 on September 4, 2018. Fixes were made to state QSO party contests for DE, NH, NV, and ME.

L-com has "just launched a new series of USB 3.0 cable assemblies with ferrite beads." According to their press release, these fully shielded cables feature transfer rates to 4.8 GBs, and "the addition of ferrites to the end of the cable helps to suppress any further high frequency noise." reports that Norwegian Amateurs can now use 50 to 52 MHz, with a maximum output power of 1000 watts.



An abbreviation for 'Ask Me Anything' used when describing a public interaction where a subject matter expert answers questions gathered from an online audience.


From Tim, K3LR: "We upgraded the 20 meter K3LR RUN tower this year. It has a larger face to better handle antenna loads. The tower has four 20 meter OWA Yagis, two 40 meter Moxon antennas, two 15 meter OWA Yagis and two 80 meter dipoles. Seven side-mounted antennas are on ring rotors. This is the crane photo of the rotating dipole installation at 245 feet." [ Tim, K3LR, photo ]

Calling CQ into a dead band can be demoralizing... even for Chet Atkins. (K3LR via N0AX)

A Lithuanian five year old was able to make about 100 contacts in the recent All Asia Phone contest. You can watch an excerpt here. Operating the radio, and giving out reports in what is likely not his native tongue? Impressive!


Preliminary results for the August North American QSO Party, CW (NAQP CW), and North American QSO Party, RTTY (NAQP RTTY), have been posted to the NCJ website.

BARTG HF RTTY contest results are available on the BARTG website.


Operate on the band that may close the soonest. In this time of minimal sunspots and uncertain propagation conditions, grab per-band multipliers whenever you can if they are relevant to your contest.


The Sun, The Earth, and Near-Earth Space: A Guide to the Sun-Earth System by J. A. Eddy is a readable and accessible textbook that explains the dynamics of the Sun and its interaction with the Earth's ionosphere. It's available as a free download, courtesy of NASA and the International Living with a Star Program. Anyone using the ionosphere as a medium for radio wave transmission and wants to better understand propagation should find this book of interest. (Ward, N0AX)

A multi-layer coating that can insulate, absorb, and distribute heat from solar radiation is described by researchers as new way to remove ice buildup without power or chemicals. The key insight is that only the boundary layer needs to shed the ice. By melting just enough ice so that water is created, the ice can slide off of the surface. Perhaps this will find its way into antenna construction to eliminate icing.

There were a number of telegraph alternatives to the dots and dashes of Morse code at the beginning of the communications age. This IEEE Spectrum article describes differing signaling schemes, codes, and equipment, developed in the 1830s and 1840s including one where letters could be read out right from a dial.


Millenials Breaking Things, Again!

Despite record numbers of Amateur Radio operators in the US, the average age of the licensed population continues to climb, and the consensus view is that it's critical to get younger persons into Amateur Radio. Another past time is experiencing similar issues with an aging population and marked difference in interest between generations - Baseball. Major League Baseball is of course concerned about this trend, and is attempting to counteract the trend with a number of strategies.

Youth interest can be sparked by playing the game, but according to a recent newspaper article, Baseball is facing decreasing participation at the Little League and Babe Ruth levels. Potential reasons include the lower level of physical activity per unit time that the sport provides compared to other sports, as well as an increased emphasis by parents for their child to specialize in a sport early enough to remain competitive with peers. The last few decades has seen an explosion in the availability and awareness of other sports programs that keep participants involved year round.

As a spectator activity, Baseball competes for 'mindshare' with all of the potential sources of entertainment. Millenials consume information and entertainment differently than older generations: Attention is not funneled through broadcast TV or radio, but via the screens Millenials carry in their pockets and through social media. Pundits and Baseball insiders suggest that the game of Baseball itself may need to change to reflect different media formats, the younger demographic's attention span, and their desire for entertainment that has more excitement. This of course clashes with Baseball fans that cherish the relaxed pace of games, respect the rich historical continuity and traditions, value the 'purity' of their youth Baseball experiences, and thrill to the nuances of the game such as extended pitchers' duels. MLB's experiments to capture and hold younger viewer interest that involve reaching audiences via technology and tweaking the game to suit modern preferences have older viewers shouting "That's not Baseball!"

Sound familiar?

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


6 Sep - 19 Sep 2018

An expanded, downloadable version of QST's Contest Corral is available as a PDF. Check the sponsor's Web site for information on operating time restrictions and other instructions.


CWops Mini-CWT Test, Sep 5, 1300z to Sep 5, 1400z, Sep 5, 1900z to Sep 5, 2000z, Sep 6, 0300z to Sep 6, 0400z; CW; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; Member: Name + Member No., non-Member: Name + (state/province/country); Logs due: September 8.

NRAU 10m Activity Contest, Sep 6, 1700z to Sep 6, 1800z (CW), Sep 6, 1800z to Sep 6, 1900z (SSB), Sep 6, 1900z to Sep 6, 2000z (FM), Sep 6, 2000z to Sep 6, 2100z (Dig); CW, SSB, FM, Digital; Bands: 10m Only; RS(T) + 6-character grid square; Logs due: September 20.

SKCC Sprint Europe, Sep 6, 1900z to Sep 6, 2100z; CW; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; RST + (state/province/country) + Name + (SKCC No./power); Logs due: September 13.

NCCC RTTY Sprint, Sep 7, 0145z to Sep 7, 0215z; RTTY; Bands: (see rules); Serial No. + Name + QTH; Logs due: September 9.

NCCC Sprint Ladder, Sep 7, 0230z to Sep 7, 0300z; CW; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, 10, 6m; Serial No. + Name + QTH; Logs due: September 9.

Kulikovo Polye Contest, Sep 8, 0000z to Sep 8, 2359z; CW; Bands: 20m Only; KP: RST + "KP", non-KP: RST + Serial No.; Logs due: September 23.

WAE DX Contest, SSB, Sep 8, 0000z to Sep 9, 2359z; SSB; Bands: 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; RS + Serial No.; Logs due: September 24.

SARL Field Day Contest, Sep 8, 1000z to Sep 9, 1000z; CW, SSB, Digital; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; RS(T) + Number of transmitters + Category (see rules) + Province (or "DX"); Logs due: September 16.

SKCC Weekend Sprintathon, Sep 8, 1200z to Sep 10, 0000z; CW; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, 10, 6m; RST + (state/province/country) + Name + (SKCC No./"NONE"); Logs due: September 16.

Ohio State Parks on the Air, Sep 8, 1400z to Sep 8, 2200z; SSB; Bands: 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; OH Park: park abbreviation, OH: "Ohio", W/VE: (state/province), DX: "DX"; Logs due: September 22.

Russian Cup Digital Contest, Sep 8, 1500z to Sep 8, 1859z, Sep 9, 0600z to Sep 9, 0959z; RTTY; Bands: 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; Serial No. + 4-character grid square; Logs due: September 19.

North American Sprint, CW, Sep 9, 0000z to Sep 9, 0400z; CW; Bands: 80, 40, 20m; [other station's call] + [your call] + [serial no.] + [your name] + [your state/province/country]; Logs due: September 16.

Swiss HTC QRP Sprint, Sep 9, 1300z to Sep 9, 1900z; CW; Bands: 80, 40, 20m; RST + "/" + Class + "/" + (kanton, province, etc.) + "/" + first name; Logs due: see rules.

4 States QRP Group Second Sunday Sprint, Sep 10, 0000z to Sep 10, 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: September 12.

RSGB 80m Autumn Series, SSB, Sep 10, 1900z to Sep 10, 2030z; SSB; Bands: 80m Only; [other station's call] + [your call] + [serial no.] + [your name]; Logs due: September 13.

Phone Fray, Sep 12, 0230z to Sep 12, 0300z; SSB; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15m; NA: Name + (state/province/country), non-NA: Name; Logs due: September 14.

CWops Mini-CWT Test, Sep 12, 1300z to Sep 12, 1400z, Sep 12, 1900z to Sep 12, 2000z, Sep 13, 0300z to Sep 13, 0400z; CW; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; Member: Name + Member No., non-Member: Name + (state/province/country); Logs due: September 15.

NCCC RTTY Sprint, Sep 14, 0145z to Sep 14, 0215z; RTTY; Bands: (see rules); Serial No. + Name + QTH; Logs due: September 16.

NCCC Sprint Ladder, Sep 14, 0230z to Sep 14, 0300z; CW; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, 10, 6m; Serial No. + Name + QTH; Logs due: September 16.

All Africa International DX Contest, Sep 15, 1200z to Sep 16, 1200z; CW, SSB, RTTY; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; RS(T) + Serial No.; Logs due: October 1.

Scandinavian Activity Contest, CW, Sep 15, 1200z to Sep 16, 1200z; CW; Bands: 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; RST + Serial No.; Logs due: September 21.

SRT HF Contest SSB, Sep 15, 1300z to Sep 16, 1300z; SSB; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; RS + CQ Zone; Logs due: see rules.

Iowa QSO Party, Sep 15, 1400z to Sep 16, 0200z; CW, Phone, Digital; Bands: All, except WARC and 60m; IA: RS(T) + County, non-IA: RS(T) + (state/province/"DX"); Logs due: October 16.

New Hampshire QSO Party, Sep 15, 1600z to Sep 16, 0400z, Sep 16, 1600z to Sep 16, 2200z; CW/Digital, Phone; Bands: All, except WARC; NH: RS(T) + county, non-NH W/VE: RS(T) + (state/province), DX: RS(T) + "DX"; Logs due: October 31.

Washington State Salmon Run, Sep 15, 1600z to Sep 16, 0700z, Sep 16, 1600z to Sep 17, 0000z; CW, Phone, Digital; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, 10, 6, 2m; WA: RS(T) + County, non-WA: RS(T) + (state/province/country); Logs due: September 30.

New Jersey QSO Party, Sep 15, 1600z to Sep 16, 0359z, Sep 16, 1400z to Sep 16, 2000z; CW, Phone; Bands: 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; NJ: RS(T) + county, non-NJ: RS(T) + (state/province/"DX"); Logs due: October 1.

QRP Afield, Sep 15, 1600z to Sep 15, 2200z; All; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; RS(T) + (state/province/country) + (power or NE QRP No.); Logs due: October 15.

Feld Hell Sprint, Sep 15, 1800z to Sep 15, 1959z; Feld Hell; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 15, 10, 6m; (see rules); Logs due: September 19.

North American Sprint, RTTY, Sep 16, 0000z to Sep 16, 0400z; RTTY; Bands: 80, 40, 20m; [other station's call] + [your call] + [serial no.] + [your name] + [your state/DC/province/country]; Logs due: September 23.

BARTG Sprint 75, Sep 16, 1700z to Sep 16, 2059z; 75 Baud RTTY; Bands: 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; Serial No.; Logs due: September 23.

Run for the Bacon QRP Contest, Sep 17, 0100z to Sep 17, 0300z; CW; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; RST + (state/province/country) + (Member No./power); Logs due: September 23.

Phone Fray, Sep 19, 0230z to Sep 19, 0300z; SSB; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15m; NA: Name + (state/province/country), non-NA: Name; Logs due: September 21.

CWops Mini-CWT Test, Sep 19, 1300z to Sep 19, 1400z, Sep 19, 1900z to Sep 19, 2000z, Sep 20, 0300z to Sep 20, 0400z; CW; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; Member: Name + Member No., non-Member: Name + (state/province/country); Logs due: September 22.

RSGB 80m Autumn Series, CW, Sep 19, 1900z to Sep 19, 2030z; CW; Bands: 80m Only; [other station's call] + [your call] + [serial no.] + [your name]; Logs due: September 22.


ARRL September VHF Contest, Sep 8, 1800z to Sep 10, 0300z; All; Bands: 50 MHz and up; 4-character grid square; Logs due: September 20.

SARL VHF/UHF Analogue Contest, Sep 14, 1600z to Sep 16, 1000z; Analog (CW/SSB/AM/FM); Bands: 50 MHz, 70 MHz, 144 MHz, 432 MHz, 1296 MHz; RS(T) + 6-character grid locator; Logs due: December 3.

ARRL 10 GHz and Up Contest, Sep 15, 0600 (local) to Sep 17, 0000 (local); Any; Bands: 10 GHz to light; 6-Character Maidenhead Locator; Logs due: October 16.

SARL VHF/UHF Digital Contest, Sep 15, 1000z to Sep 16, 1000z; Digital; Bands: 50 MHz, 70 MHz, 144 MHz, 432 MHz, 1296 MHz; RST + 6-character grid locator; Logs due: October 8.

144 MHz Fall Sprint, Sep 17, 1900z to Sep 17, 2300z; not specified; Bands: 2m Only; 4-character grid square; Logs due: October 1.

Also, see Feld Hell Sprint, Washington State Salmon Run, SKCC Weekend Sprintathon, NCCC Sprint Ladder, New Hampshire QSO Party, Iowa QSO Party, above.


September 6, 2018

September 7, 2018

September 8, 2018

September 9, 2018

September 11, 2018

September 12, 2018

September 13, 2018

September 14, 2018

September 15, 2018

September 16, 2018

September 17, 2018

September 19, 2018

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