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Contest Update Issues

The ARRL Contest Update
July 24, 2019
Editor: Paul Bourque, N1SFE

Hot on the heels of last weekend's NAQP RTTY is the NAQP CW Contest on August 3. Perhaps the best part of this contest is that 100 W is the maximum power allowed, and the contest duration is only 12 hours. This is the perfect toe-dip for mainstream CW contesting. The contest features the non-assisted Single Operator class, and a multi-2 multi-operator class. That's it for entry classes. If you're using assistance, you're multi-2. Since there are per-band multipliers, if there is more than one band open, you can practice moving stations, or you might be asked to QSY to another band for a quick contact. Don't be intimidated by that, it's okay to say no. But it's a good skill to practice. If you're not sure you can do the contest, join a team, so you'll have some additional peer pressure to help you prioritize correctly.


Jim, N7US, pointed out that Don, AA5AU, wrote the "Getting Started on RTTY" article referenced in the last issue.


Complete information for all contests follows the Conversation section

25 Jul - 7 Aug 2019

July 25

July 26

July 27

July 28

July 29

July 30

July 31

August 1

August 2

August 3

August 4

August 6

August 7


The Central States VHF Society Conference is July 25-28 in Lincoln, Nebraska. The VHF/UHF contester will find plenty of ideas to improve their roving, antennas, and overall contest operation.

The date of the Texas QSO Party has been moved! It's now on the second weekend in September, instead of the fourth weekend. The move eliminates a conflict with the CQ WW RTTY contest.

Al, AB2ZY, is a new member of the N1MM Logger+ development team who is focused on preparing the popular logging program to support other languages beyond English. He's seeking a "set of user volunteers to work with me to get this ready for general distribution." According to Al, this team will "consist both of people who are willing to do translation work and those who wish to test translated languages." An experimental version of N1MM Logger+ will be built from the production code base at regular intervals and made available to volunteers for testing. If you send mail to Al expressing an interest, please also tell him which language you'd like to help with, and whether you'd like to help with translation, testing, or both. (via N1MM Logger+ group)

Scott, N3FJP, has created a logging program specifically for the Hiram Percy Maxim Celebration event next month. According to his announcement: "Hiram Percy Maxim Contest Log 1.0 is very easy and intuitive to use. It has all the features that you have come to expect and enjoy in my software including rig interface, current score statistics, sections changing color when worked (and spotted), DX spotting, super check partial, sending CW, a map which colors in worked sections, interface with many digital programs, creation of your Cabrillo file for log submission and much more!"

Tim, EI8IC, created ITU Zone maps for the just past "IARU HF Championships." In the description on the website, he notes that "the purpose for defining these zones was to create a coarse grid for calculating HF coverage plots using propagation prediction programs of the day, the predecessors of what evolved to become VOACAP, etc." Furthermore, some boundaries intending to represent the borders of countries clearly do not. According to Tim, it appears for the purposes of radio contesting, the boundaries can be specified as whatever the contest sponsor deems appropriate!

In the July 2019 PCARS Newsletter, Jim, AC8NT and JC, KC3JXQ, describe using the GPS2Time program to keep your computer's clock correct for FT8 and FT4 communications using an inexpensive GPS receiver connected via USB. According to the article, the software will "...sync your PC's clock at a period you set (say every 15 minutes). It will also provide an up to 10 character grid square, as well as latitude, longitude, and altitude." published an updated list of the best energy beverages. Old-school contesters use coffee to go the distance, but the younger demographic may prefer Monster Energy Drink Zero Ultra, which according to the article is, "Packed with ginseng for energy and far less carbonation than regular energy drinks..."

If you've gotten this far into the ARRL Contest Update, you might ask yourself, "Where does this stuff come from, anyway?" The answer is that content comes from reader submissions, radio club newsletters, "the ether," and announcements from manufacturers or distributors of gear. Send items that are Contest-Update-reader-worthy to Ask your radio club's newsletter editor to add to the subscriber list. If you have a product that's directly relevant to contesters, make sure knows about it!


Polar Flutter

An occasional property of radio signals that traverse the polar region, characterized by rapid changes or pulses of the amplitude of the signal. Its presence can indicate a polar path that is almost open or almost closed, but certainly changing. The rapidity of the flutter can make copying signals extremely difficult.


A group of Amateurs celebrated the 50th Anniversary of the First Market Reef DXpedition with an activation as OJ0A and party that included contacts with others from around the world. Martti, OH2BH, dubbed this the "50-YEAR ANNIVERSARY PARTY ON THE ROCKS" From left: OH2TA, CO8DM, OH3JR, DJ9ZB, PB2T, OH2BH, OH2PM, E20NKB, E21EIC, and OH4UI. [Martti Laine, OH2BH photo]

Posted to the N1MM Logger+ Facebook group: "N6XI made a presentation to Northern California Contest Club (NCCC) featuring the N1MM Logger+ Spectrum Display. It covers why you would want to use a spectrum display and why it is better when it is integrated into the logging program. The link is to a PDF of his PowerPoint presentation."


According to Tree, N6TR, the results of the Summer Stew Perry Top Band Distance Challenge are available on the TBDC website.

The Oceania DX Contest Committee, comprised of ZL2IFB, ZL3GA, VK3GK, VK3MI/ZL1AZE, VK3TZ, VK4FH, VK7GN, announce: "The Oceania DX (OCDX) contest committee is pleased to announce that the full results of the 2018 OCDX contest have been published on the OCDX website. Congratulations to all the participants, and especially the winners and those who set new records. The 2018 contest was another tough one, with the solar flux down to around 70, some geomagnetic storm activity, and severe lightning QRN from storms over the Tasman Sea and northern Australia. Nonetheless, there was still a good turn out with close to 1,200 logs being submitted. A decline in European logs (due to the conditions) was largely offset by the ongoing growth in the number of logs from Oceania stations, primarily from new Indonesian entrants."

2019's OCDX contest dates are as follows:

  • Phone: October 5 08:00 UTC to October 6 08:00 UTC
  • CW: October 12 08:00 UTC to October 13 08:00 UTC

The results of the 2019 DL-DX RTTY Contest are now online, along with online download of awards. (Goetz, DJ3IW)

Ukrainian DX Classic RTTY Contest 2019 claimed scores have been posted.


Change the Goal to Learn New Skills

Try to learn and practicing one new thing each time you get on the air in a contest. Or, turn some real contests into "practice ones" by changing the goal from "winning the contest" to becoming proficient at a new technique. For example, it's usually faster to keep your hands on the keyboard to log contacts in a contest. Why not learn the keyboard equivalents of mouse movements and clicks, so you don't have to take your hands off the keyboard? Practice by putting the mouse where you can't reach it during a contest. Sure, it'll be frustrating at first, but practicing any new thing can be.


Brian, K1LI, writes: "I recently happened onto the blog of Davide, IZ2UUF, while tracking down some info on a technical question. Davide presents measurement results from experiments on a wide range of useful topics." Davide covers a wide range of topics, from the right material to use for toroid chokes, to the theory behind antenna tuners.

Olli, OH6CT, suggested the JUMA Direction Finding Receiver for RFI detection work on 80 and 160 meters in a post to the RFI mailing list. This design uses traces on a printed circuit board for a loop, and uses primarily surface mount components for a compact design. It appears from the website that the kits are no longer available, but the schematics and parts lists might inspire your own version.

Light has been around for such a long time, you'd think we'd know everything about it. But, no -- a new property of light was discovered recently: "self torque." In the process of discovering this property, researchers also found a technique to modulate the orbital angular momentum of light, which could mean a new way to send information from point A to point B.


Soundless RTTY

My setup was hasty last Friday for the weekend's NAQP RTTY Contest. My remote operating location is about 60 miles from my home, and consists of a radio, a vertical antenna for 40-10 meters, and an 80-meter dipole. It's close to salt water, and I access it remotely, usually using TeamViewer to a laptop connected to the radio. I hadn't set up for RTTY at the location before, so I added the FSK keying circuit to the appropriate connector on my radio, verified that everything worked with MMTTY by making a contact with a station in Texas, and then set up the digital interface in N1MM Logger+. Then I had to leave due to other Friday commitments.

Saturday commitments kept me from starting until after 2 pm, and of course I started by running. I didn't remote the sound, so it was a number of minutes calling CQ before I got a call from ND2T saying that I was "inverted." In my haste to get things set up, I didn't carry over the "Invert FSK" checkbox in the TinyFSK.FSK driver from standalone MMTTY to the N1MM Logger+ MMTTY setup.

The default N1MM Logger+ macros were inadequate for my needs, so those got fixed on the fly during the contest, too.

But running RTTY with no sound whatsoever was kind of...nice. I initially missed the situational awareness of not hearing the start and stop of the other RTTY signals, but I could see that on the screen in the MMTTY spectrum display, and got used to that instead. I could use N1MM's frequency up/down keys to tune around, reminiscent of some 1980s keyboard-only video games.

All in all I spent about 140 minutes driving and 30 minutes setting up for 120 minutes of contest operating. I didn't follow my usual practice of testing more thoroughly before the contest, and I paid for it with time spent during the contest fixing problems.

But I'll be ready for the next time!

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


25 Jul - 7 Aug 2019

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


CWops Mini-CWT Test, Jul 24, 1300z to Jul 24, 1400z and, Jul 24, 1900z to Jul 24, 2000z and, Jul 25, 0300z to Jul 25, 0400z; CW; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, 10 m; Member: Name + Member No., non-Member: Name + (state/province/country); Logs due: July 27.

RSGB 80m Club Championship, Data, Jul 25, 1900z to Jul 25, 2030z; RTTY, PSK; Bands: 80 m Only; RST + Serial No.; Logs due: July 26.

QRP Fox Hunt, Jul 26, 0100z to Jul 26, 0230z; CW; Bands: 20 m Only; RST + (state/province/country) + name + power output; Logs due: July 27.

NCCC RTTY Sprint, Jul 26, 0145z to Jul 26, 0215z; RTTY; Bands: (see rules); Serial No. + Name + QTH; Logs due: July 28.

NCCC Sprint, Jul 26, 0230z to Jul 26, 0300z; CW; Bands: (see rules); Serial No. + Name + QTH; Logs due: July 28.

RSGB IOTA Contest, Jul 27, 1200z to Jul 28, 1200z; CW, SSB; Bands: 80, 40, 20, 15, 10 m; RS(T) + Serial No. + IOTA No.(if applicable); Logs due: August 2.

ARS Flight of the Bumblebees, Jul 28, 1700z to Jul 28, 2100z; CW; Bands: 40, 20, 15, 10 m; Home: RST + (state/province/country) + Power, Bumblebee: RST + (state/province/country) + Bumblebee no.; Logs due: August 11.

QCX Challenge, Jul 29, 1300z to Jul 29, 1400z and, Jul 29, 1900z to Jul 29, 2000z and, Jul 30, 0300z to Jul 30, 0400z; CW; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, 10 m; RST + Name + (state/province/country) + Rig; Logs due: August 1.

Phone Fray, Jul 31, 0230z to Jul 31, 0300z; SSB; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15 m; NA: Name + (state/province/country), non-NA: Name; Logs due: August 2.

CWops Mini-CWT Test, Jul 31, 1300z to Jul 31, 1400z and, Jul 31, 1900z to Jul 31, 2000z and, Aug 1, 0300z to Aug 1, 0400z; CW; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, 10 m; Member: Name + Member No., non-Member: Name + (state/province/country); Logs due: July 27.

NRAU 10m Activity Contest, Aug 1, 1700z to Aug 1, 1800z (CW) and, Aug 1, 1800z to Aug 1, 1900z (SSB) and, Aug 1, 1900z to Aug 1, 2000z (FM) and, Aug 1, 2000z to Aug 1, 2100z (Dig); CW, SSB, FM, Digital; Bands: 10 m Only; RS(T) + 6-character grid square; Logs due: August 15.

SKCC Sprint Europe, Aug 1, 1900z to Aug 1, 2100z; CW; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, 10, 6 m; RST + (state/province/country) + Name + (SKCC No./power); Logs due: August 8.

QRP Fox Hunt, Aug 2, 0100z to Aug 2, 0230z; CW; Bands: 20 m Only; RST + (state/province/country) + name + power output; Logs due: July 27.

NCCC RTTY Sprint, Aug 2, 0145z to Aug 2, 0215z; RTTY; Bands: (see rules); Serial No. + Name + QTH; Logs due: July 28.

NCCC Sprint, Aug 2, 0230z to Aug 2, 0300z; CW; Bands: (see rules); Serial No. + Name + QTH; Logs due: July 28.

10-10 Int. Summer Contest, SSB, Aug 3, 0001z to Aug 4, 2359z; SSB; Bands: 10 m Only; 10-10 Member: Name + 10-10 number + (state/province/country), Non-Member: Name + 0 + (state/province/country); Logs due: August 12.

European HF Championship, Aug 3, 1200z to Aug 3, 2359z; CW, SSB; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, 10 m; RS(T) + 2-digit year first licensed; Logs due: August 5.

North American QSO Party, CW, Aug 3, 1800z to Aug 4, 0559z; CW; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, 10 m; NA: Name + (state/DC/province/country), non-NA: Name; Logs due: August 9.

SARL HF Phone Contest, Aug 4, 1400z to Aug 4, 1700z; SSB; Bands: 80, 40, 20 m; RS + Serial No.; Logs due: August 11.

ARS Spartan Sprint, Aug 6, 0100z to Aug 6, 0300z; CW; Bands: 80, 40, 20, 15, 10 m; RST + (state/province/country) + Power; Logs due: August 8.

Phone Fray, Aug 7, 0230z to Aug 7, 0300z; SSB; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15 m; NA: Name + (state/province/country), non-NA: Name; Logs due: July 26.

CWops Mini-CWT Test, Aug 7, 1300z to Aug 7, 1400z and, Aug 7, 1900z to Aug 7, 2000z and, Aug 8, 0300z to Aug 8, 0400z; CW; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; Member: Name + Member No., non-Member: Name + (state/province/country); Logs due: July 27.


WAB 144 MHz Low Power Phone, Aug 3, 1400z to Aug 3, 1800z; Phone; Bands: 2 m Only; British Isles: RS + serial no. + WAB square, Other: RS + serial no. + country; Logs due: August 24.

ARRL 222 MHz and Up Distance Contest, Aug 3, 1800z to Aug 4, 1800z; Any; Bands: 222 MHz and up; 6-character grid square; Logs due: August 18.

Also, see SKCC Sprint Europe, above.


25 Jul - 7 Aug 2019

July 26, 2019

July 27, 2019

July 28, 2019

July 29, 2019

July 31, 2019

August 1, 2019

August 2, 2019

August 5, 2019

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