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Contest Update Issues

The ARRL Contest Update
September 4, 2019
Editor: Paul Bourque, N1SFE

Haven't tried CW contesting yet? Take a look at the article "CW Contesting (Part 1): Getting Started" by Ward, N0AX, on the DX Engineering blog. Then try your hand and ears on one of the QSO parties coming up in the next couple of weeks, or for a greater challenge, the North American CW Sprint. See a mention of the NA CW Sprint later on in Conversation section.


Complete information for all contests follows the Conversation section

5 Sep - 19 Sep 2019

September 5

September 6

September 7

September 8

September 9

September 11

September 12

September 13

September 14

September 15

September 16

September 17

September 18


The Hiram Percy Maxim event started a few days ago. If you're an N1MM Logger+ user, you can use it to log contacts for the event: "Les G4OGB developed an N1MM User Defined Contest (UDC) module for users who plan to log contacts during the event. Links to the ARRL sponsor page and the N1MM Setup instructions are on N1MM's Supported Contests List at this link." (Larry, K8UT)

Mike, W4AAW, notes that in 2019, Thanksgiving Day will come after the CQ WW CW contest, not before, as is often the case. The contest period is November 23 - 24, 2019.

"ARRL HF Band Planning Committee Reactivated to Address Spectrum Issues"

John, KM4KMU, informs, cajoles, and offers a challenge for the ARRL September VHF contest: "KM4KMU will be supporting the W4IY multi-op team this September and not crushing the FM category for a 4th straight time (pride cometh before the fall LOL). Anyhow if you know a new ham that wants to hang September 1st place paper on the wall get them out there. Pacific Northwest, Rochester, San Diego/ SoCal this is your chance to bring home the bacon in the hotly contested September FM category. Club pride is at stake here. All it takes is a 3 or 4 band mobile on whips near a north south grid line 10 to 20 miles from a populated grid corner. Altitude helps but is not essential as Ev, W2EV has proven. FM is a local event scored nationally so coordinate with clubs, get the word out on local repeaters. Study your line of sight on Google earth. Make FM simplex rock." (via VHFContesting reflector)

If you enjoyed last weekend's WW Digital DX Contest, remember that FT modes can be used in the upcoming September ARRL VHF Contest. If the signals are strong enough, you could even try for some SSB contacts.

The upcoming 2019 Nebraska QSO Party allows FT8 contacts, but all FT8 contacts will be scored separately from other modes. The non-FT8-mode exchange is the Nebraska county, while FT8 contacts exchange grid squares. Please see the rules for the complete details.


Rise Time

As applied to transmitted CW signals, the amount of time taken for the signal to go from zero amplitude to full amplitude. The rise time determines bandwidth of the CW signal. It is good practice to use rise times of 5 milliseconds or longer. On some modern transceivers the rise time can be set in a configuration menu.


Sam, KE7MAN took this photo of aurora borealis in the Icelandic sky in August 2019. On September 2, 1859, during the Carrington Event, aurora borealis was seen as far south as the Caribbean. [Credit: Sam Moran, Photo]

"This W4MY IOTA 2019 documentary just appeared on YouTube." (Mike, W4AAW)


The August North American QSO Party (NAQP) CW preliminary results are ready for your perusal. Chris, KL9A, will gladly accept your questions or error reports.

The 2019 Georgia QSO Party results are available on the QSO Party's webpage. Next year's event will be held "the 2nd full weekend of April 2020." (Jeff, KU8E)

Raw scores for last weekends WW Digital DX Contest have been posted. According to Ed, W0YK approximately 167,000 contacts were logged in the contest with over 1100 logs submitted, yet there were only a handful of busted callsigns, and about 7.1% NILs. The log deadline is September 6.


In A CW Pileup, Work the Fast Callers First

They are least likely to wait around. They also support a higher rate by making contacts faster.


The cable ingress location at K9CT. Note the use of conduit and protective devices.

In the September 2019 PVRC Newsletter, Rich, K1HTV suggests using an application called VIRGO by DL1DBC to "determine the optimum path for current meteor showers for various times of the day." Combined with MSK144, this could be a way to get more distant grids.

Mike, W4AAW, was looking for a low-latency audio solution for his Android phone that worked along side VNC Viewer: "The last few days I have been enjoying operating one of the positions at W4AAW using my Smart cell phone... I have found a low latency remote audio app that can run on my Android phone along with VNC Viewer (from Real VNC) so, I have highest resolution of my computer screen with full functionality (rotators, rig control, amplifier control, N1MM Logger+, etc.) and excellent, stable receiver audio. The app is called SoundWire from Georgie Labs. It is freeware, with an optional upgrade. The free version works fine but, the onetime $3.99 upgrade is well worth the price. I am still grinning after working a half-hour pileup of EU CW stations with 1.5kW and a 5 element Yagi using my "Cell Phone Remote."

The NanoVNA is a Vector Network Analyzer is a form factor more akin to a credit card than a lab instrument. The project has been getting coverage on the Hackaday and RTL-SDR websites because of its low price, numerous features, broad frequency coverage, and easy hardware availability from a number of Chinese sources. The software is open source and hosted on Github, and has been in development since 2016. (WT7S via KB6NU via Twitter)

By introducing a fixed magnet into a plasma containment chamber containing helium gas, scientists were able to model conditions thought to be responsible for different types of solar wind. Researchers hope to compare their model results to observations from the Parker Solar Probe mission to circle the sun over the next few years.

CloudLog is a PHP server application by 2M0SQL that "supports general station logging tasks from HF to Microwave with supporting applications to support CAT control." The concept is that you log contacts to a cloud-based server, instead of a logging program running on a local computer. Using a friend's station? No more SMS or emails to yourself with QSO details to record later. Check out the official webpage. Is this the beginning of Logging as a Service (LaaS)?

Bill, K9HZ, suggested the following on the SteppIR reflector:

"The manufacturers of the RJ45's have made it easier on us old guys with failing eyesight over the past few years with ends that are much easier to put on than the originals. The originals required you to cut each wire the proper length and then put all wires together in the proper order in the tight channel of the RJ45 to the right depth and then crimp it.

Of late though, there are two flavors of RJ45 ends that make it a snap. The first kind allows you to make each individual wire as long as you want... then string it into the RJ45 and out through the front (see this link for examples by Klein Tools - Ed.). Once you get all of the wires strung through the holes, you crimp it and flush-cut the wires off the front of the RJ45. A second type (see this link for an example - Ed.) has a carrier that you first thread wires of any length through to get them into the right positions, then cut them flush at the front of the carrier and put the carrier into the RJ-45 housing and crimp the whole mess. I've yet to have one of these fail in hundreds of installs. But then there is something to be said for letting someone else do it!"

Lew, N9WL, writes:

"I enjoyed the info about cable lacing in the Contest Update. Cable lacing is a lost art. Learning how to do a spot tie - NASA-STD-8739.4A illustrates how to do so. A half hitch and square knot are very easy to learn. There is no need to buy standard lacing tape for spot ties in most cases. I frequently use waxed dental floss from the Dollar Tree. It is strong, UV resistant, and keeps my cables cavity free. I keep a container in my field kit rather than cable ties. I spot tie coax to a portable mast as its neater and easier than using electrical tape. At the QTH I use spot ties or lace a group of cables to keep the station neat and tangle free. For somebody new to cable lacing the spot ties will work very well. My background: 50 years ago I was an electronics tech at NASA during the Apollo 11- Apollo 15 Lunar missions. I maintained telemetry and other equipment used by Operations Control. In addition to learning how to solder, crimp, and lace to NASA standards, being the young guy, I laced many miles of cable."



The North American Sprint CW is four hours of exhilarating fun occurring on September 8, 2019.

What's right after Labor Day? Leaves? School? How about the CW Sprint? As the logo says - it's 1 operator with 2 ears on 3 bands for 4 hours and guaranteed to be exciting, no matter what the conditions! First invented back in the 1970s by W6OAT and others, CW Sprint continues to place a premium on operator skill to copy and send and tune 'em in. No sitting one frequency for the whole contest - you have to move around in the band or between bands. Contest clubs - this is a great time to start putting together a team or two - it only takes five members and it's a great way to encourage activity by newcomers to CW Sprint.

The September contest is different than the February edition. If you operated in the August North American CW QSO Party, you'll find conditions to be similar with more dark time to open up 80 meters. As always, you may want to start on 20 but keep an ear on 40 meters. Many stations may start second-radio activity on 40 right at the start. Beginning sprinters can get up to speed by CQing at a comfortable speed on the bands less occupied or high in the band. Or tune for CQers looking for more QSOs on 20 or 40 meters late in the contest.

There are quite a few how-to articles and videos on how to operate effectively in a Sprint. If you're new to Sprint, read Jim N3BB's article about how to join the fun in the February 2019 QST on page 75. The complete rules are available on the contest's NCJ web page. N6TR has written an introduction to Sprint including some recorded QSOs - you can find his article at Or ask a Sprint veteran for some tips! Pay particular attention to when to insert your call in the exchange - if your CQ is answered, send your call immediately after the calling station's. If you are answering a CQ, send your call at the end of your exchange. And please, everyone, clearly acknowledge receiving the exchange with a TU or X, not just a dit, so we all know when to jump in and send our calls! Afterward, be sure to send in your log via the web uploader page and post your claimed totals to See you Saturday night!

73, Ward N0AX

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

73, Brian N9ADG


5 Sep - 19 Sep 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, Sep 4, 1300z to Sep 4, 1400z and, Sep 4, 1900z to Sep 4, 2000z and, Sep 5, 0300z to Sep 5, 0400z; CW; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; Member: Name + Member No., non-Member: Name + (state/province/country); Logs due: September 7.

NRAU 10m Activity Contest, Sep 5, 1700z to Sep 5, 1800z (CW) and, Sep 5, 1800z to Sep 5, 1900z (SSB) and, Sep 5, 1900z to Sep 5, 2000z (FM) and, Sep 5, 2000z to Sep 5, 2100z (Dig); CW, SSB, FM, Digital; Bands: 10m Only; RS(T) + 6-character grid square; Logs due: September 19.

SKCC Sprint Europe, Sep 5, 1900z to Sep 5, 2100z; CW; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, 10, 6m; RST + (state/province/country) + Name + (SKCC No./power); Logs due: September 12.

NCCC RTTY Sprint, Sep 6, 0145z to Sep 6, 0215z; RTTY; Bands: (see rules); Serial No. + Name + QTH; Logs due: September 8.

NCCC Sprint, Sep 6, 0230z to Sep 6, 0300z; CW; Bands: (see rules); Serial No. + Name + QTH; Logs due: September 8.

CWOps CW Open, Sep 7, 0000z to Sep 7, 0359z and, Sep 7, 1200z to Sep 7, 1559z and, Sep 7, 2000z to Sep 7, 2359z; CW; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; Serial No. + Name; Logs due: September 22.

Russian RTTY WW Contest, Sep 7, 0000z to Sep 7, 2359z; RTTY; Bands: 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; RU: RST + 2-letter oblast, non-RU: RST + CQ Zone; Logs due: September 17.

All Asian DX Contest, Phone, Sep 7, 0000z to Sep 9, 0000z; Phone; Bands: 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; RS + 2-digit age; Logs due: October 9.

Wake-Up! QRP Sprint, Sep 7, 0600z to Sep 7, 0629z and, Sep 7, 0630z to Sep 7, 0659z and, Sep 7, 0700z to Sep 7, 0729z and, Sep 7, 0730z to Sep 7, 0800z; CW; Bands: 40, 20m; RST + Serial No. + suffix of previous QSO ("QRP" for 1st QSO); Logs due: September 14.

SKCC Weekend Sprintathon, Sep 7, 1200z to Sep 9, 0000z; CW; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, 10, 6m; RST + (state/province/country) + Name + (SKCC No./"NONE"); Logs due: September 15.

Nebraska QSO Party, Sep 7, 1300z to Sep 8, 0100z; CW, Phone, Digital (non-FT8), FT8; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, 10, VHF/UHF; NE (non-FT8): county, non-NE (non-FT8): (state/province/country), FT8: grid square; Logs due: September 21.

RSGB SSB Field Day, Sep 7, 1300z to Sep 8, 1300z; SSB; Bands: 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; RS + Serial No.; Logs due: September 13.

IARU Region 1 Field Day, SSB, Sep 7, 1300z to Sep 8, 1259z; SSB; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; RST + Serial No.; Logs due: September 15.

Ohio State Parks on the Air, Sep 7, 1400z to Sep 7, 2200z; SSB; Bands: 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; OH Park: park abbreviation, OH: "Ohio", W/VE: (state/province), DX: "DX"; Logs due: September 21.

AGCW Straight Key Party, Sep 7, 1600z to Sep 7, 1900z; CW; Bands: 80m Only; AGCW: RST + Serial No. + "/" + Class + "/" + Name + "/" + Age; Logs due: September 30.

PODXS 070 Club Jay Hudak Memorial 80m Sprint, Sep 7, 2000z to Sep 8, 2000z; PSK31; Bands: 80m Only; RST + (state/province/country); Logs due: September 15.

North American Sprint, CW, Sep 8, 0000z to Sep 8, 0400z; CW; Bands: 80, 40, 20m; [other station's call] + [your call] + [serial no.] + [your name] + [your state/province/country]; Logs due: September 15.

Swiss HTC QRP Sprint, Sep 8, 1300z to Sep 8, 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 9, 0000z to Sep 9, 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 11.

RSGB 80m Autumn Series, SSB, Sep 9, 1900z to Sep 9, 2030z; SSB; Bands: 80m Only; [other station's call] + [your call] + [serial no.] + [your name]; Logs due: September 12.

Phone Fray, Sep 11, 0230z to Sep 11, 0300z; SSB; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15m; NA: Name + (state/province/country), non-NA: Name; Logs due: September 13.

CWops Mini-CWT Test, Sep 11, 1300z to Sep 11, 1400z and, Sep 11, 1900z to Sep 11, 2000z and, Sep 12, 0300z to Sep 12, 0400z; CW; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; Member: Name + Member No., non-Member: Name + (state/province/country); Logs due: September 14.

NCCC RTTY Sprint, Sep 13, 0145z to Sep 13, 0215z; RTTY; Bands: (see rules); Serial No. + Name + QTH; Logs due: September 15.

NCCC Sprint, Sep 13, 0230z to Sep 13, 0300z; CW; Bands: (see rules); Serial No. + Name + QTH; Logs due: September 15.

WAE DX Contest, SSB, Sep 14, 0000z to Sep 15, 2359z; SSB; Bands: 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; RS + Serial No.; Logs due: September 22.

FOC QSO Party, Sep 14, 0000z to Sep 14, 2359z; CW; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, 10, VHF; FOC-Member: RST + Name + Member No., non-Members: RST + Name; Logs due: September 28.

SARL Field Day Contest, Sep 14, 1000z to Sep 15, 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 22.

Texas QSO Party, Sep 14, 1400z to Sep 15, 0200z and, Sep 15, 1400z to Sep 15, 2000z; All; Bands: All, except WARC; TX: RS(T) + County, non-TX: RS(T) + (state/province/country/MM region); Logs due: October 13.

Russian Cup Digital Contest, Sep 14, 1500z to Sep 14, 1859z and, Sep 15, 0600z to Sep 15, 0959z; RTTY; Bands: 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; Serial No. + 4-character grid square; Logs due: September 25.

Alabama QSO Party, Sep 14, 1500z to Sep 15, 0300z; CW, Phone; Bands: 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; AL: RS(T) + County, non-AL: RS(T) + (state/province/country); Logs due: October 14.

North American Sprint, RTTY, Sep 15, 0000z to Sep 15, 0400z; RTTY; Bands: 80, 40, 20m; [other station's call] + [your call] + [serial no.] + [your name] + [your state/DC/province/country]; Logs due: September 22.

Classic Exchange, CW, Sep 15, 1300z to Sep 16, 0700z and, Sep 17, 1300z to Sep 18, 0700z; CW; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, 10, 6, 2m; Name + RST + (state/province/country) + rcvr/xmtr manuf/model; Logs due: November 1.

BARTG Sprint 75, Sep 15, 1700z to Sep 15, 2059z; 75 Baud RTTY; Bands: 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; Serial No.; Logs due: September 22.

Run for the Bacon QRP Contest, Sep 16, 0100z to Sep 16, 0300z; CW; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; RST + (state/province/country) + (Member No./power); Logs due: September 22.

Phone Fray, Sep 18, 0230z to Sep 18, 0300z; SSB; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15m; NA: Name + (state/province/country), non-NA: Name; Logs due: September 20.

CWops Mini-CWT Test, Sep 18, 1300z to Sep 18, 1400z and, Sep 18, 1900z to Sep 18, 2000z and, Sep 19, 0300z to Sep 19, 0400z; CW; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; Member: Name + Member No., non-Member: Name + (state/province/country); Logs due: September 21.

RSGB 80m Autumn Series, CW, Sep 18, 1900z to Sep 18, 2030z; CW; Bands: 80m Only; [other station's call] + [your call] + [serial no.] + [your name]; Logs due: September 21.


ARRL September VHF Contest, Sep 14, 1800z to Sep 16, 0300z; All; Bands: 50 MHz and up; 4-character grid square; Logs due: September 26.

WAB 144 MHz QRO Phone, Sep 8, 1000z to Sep 8, 1400z; SSB; Bands: 2m Only; British Isles: RS + serial no. + WAB square, Other: RS + serial no. + country; Logs due: September 29.

Also see SKCC Sprint Europe, FOC QSO Party, Texas QSO Party. Nebraska QSO Party, SKCC Weekend Sprintathon, above.


5 Sep - 19 Sep 2019

September 5, 2019

September 6, 2019

September 7, 2019

September 8, 2019

September 9, 2019

September 10, 2019

September 11, 2019

September 12, 2019

September 13, 2019

September 14, 2019

September 15, 2019

September 16, 2019

September 17, 2019

September 18, 2019

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