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The ARRL Contest Update
October 16, 2019
Editor: Brian Moran, N9ADG
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IN THIS ISSUE
NEW HF OPERATORS -- THINGS TO DO

This weekend's upcoming QSO parties for New York and Illinois is a great time to make some contacts, have some fun, and verify that your SSB station is working great for the 48-hour CQ WW SSB Contest coming up on October 26. The CQ WW SSB Contest is one of the "majors." The CQ World Wide DX Contest Resources page lists information you'll need such as zone maps, links to NG3K's Contest DXpedition page, etc. The DailyDX also publishes information on planned operations for the contest.

CONTEST SUMMARY

Complete information for all contests follows the Conversation section

October 17

October 18

October 19

October 20

October 21

October 23

October 24

October 25

October 26

October 28

October 29

October 30

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NEWS, PRESS RELEASES, AND GENERAL INTEREST

Tree, N6TR, sent a reminder to the Top Band email reflector recently about the "PreStew" warm-up event for this year's Stew Perry Topband Distance Challenge coming up on December 28: "The popular PreStew event is coming on October 19-20 -- next weekend! -- starting at 1500Z and running for 24 hours. The band has been improving with good signals from Europe into West coast of North America and daily openings from VK to North America and Europe." Full rules and previous results are available on the TBDC website.

Big kudos to the California QSO Party for sending out notices like this:

"Dear N9ADG,

Preliminary analysis of the logs already received for the 2019 California QSO Party (CQP) suggest that your station was active making QSOs during the contest. Thanks for your participation! Having lots of stations on the air makes it an exciting contest for everyone.

This automated email is a reminder to ask you to please submit your log to our electronic log retrieval system. This year's logs must be submitted in Cabrillo format.

Our log submission website is here:

http://robot.cqp.org/cqp/logsubmit-form.html

Alternatively, you can email your log as an *ATTACHMENT* to logs@cqp.org

We look forward to receiving your log before the deadline: Monday, 21 October 2019 23:59.

Many thanks.

73 de Tom NS6T

CQP 2019 Log Retrieval and Scoring

In addition to this email actually being helpful to the recipient, it also helps with the marketing of the contest. It's a "customer touch." Contest Sponsors: It's easy to find email addresses for call sign holders today. It's free to send email. Pick a threshold for participation, for example 10 QSOs, and send a reminder out to every call sign that had that many contacts in OTHER logs, but hasn't yet turned in a log. You also now have a database of call signs that you can send email to in advance of the contest next year. Low participation is the worst thing for a contest event to experience, and individually asking stations to participate is one way of getting the word out.

Rich, N1IXF writes: "Did you enjoy this year's CQWW RTTY contest? Well, there is still an opportunity to have an impact on the results...at least in terms of recognizing top performance in various entry categories, and at the same time giving something back to RTTY contesting. Plaques are awarded to category winners only if they are sponsored, and that's where we need you. You can visit the "Plaques & Sponsors" page to see what plaques are now available for sponsorship. A list of the plaque sponsors will be included in the final results article. While we would like to have sponsors for each of the largest entry categories, if you wish, you can sponsor a plaque for any category not already sponsored or listed, for example Single Op or Multi Op / All Band or Single Band / HP or LP for your call area or country. The fee to sponsor a plaque is currently $65 and includes shipping to the winner. If you are willing to sponsor a CQWW RTTY plaque, please contact Rich Cady, N1IXF, via plaques@cqwwrtty.com.

Getting ready for Fall/Winter 2019. Eastern Washington hams Bob Lee, N7AU, and Woody Jacobson, N7HCJ, helped Mike Buettner, K7STO, lower his 60-foot tower in Moses Lake, Washington. The tower was lowered for a yearly check of antennas and tower condition using a custom-made, permanently installed tower gin pole. During the inspection process, a mount was added near the tower top for a 160-meter inverted L antenna. This is a new band experience for Mike. [Bob Lee, N7AU, photo]

Ward, N0AX found this nugget in the October 2019 Cheese Bits newsletter from the Mt. Airy VHF Radio Club, which was sent by Paul, W1GHZ, to the Microwave reflector: "John, K1JEB, suggested HamGPS to me (for Android phones). Unlike other apps, it actually does bearing and distance using grid squares, and can store a list. Doesn't appear to send data off to the cloud. Even shows pointing, within accuracy of phone compass (not good enough for a dish)."

Scott, W5WZ, is the President of the Louisiana Contest Club and would like your opinions to help increase participation in the Louisiana QSO Party. He's prepared a survey for both in-state and out-of-state amateurs that will help guide the event to greater success, and would appreciate responses from any and all.

Paul, AE5OJ, wrote in about the upcoming Worked All El Paso, WAE. According to Paul, this event, which started in 1936, is second in age only to the WAS (Worked All States) award. The event is always the first full weekend in November. The contest details are on the El Paso Amateur Radio Club's website.

DX Engineering's blog On All Bands has just published "Guide to Contesting for Technicians." Written by Sean, KX9X, it surveys many of the major events, and points out contests that might be especially appealing for someone just getting started.

The World Wide Radio Operator Foundation (WWROF) sponsored a webinar entitled "CQ WW SSB and CW - Current News on Your Favorite Contests" last weekend. If you missed it, it may appear in the webinars area of the WWROF website. Future webinars include "Contest Q&A - Your Chance to Ask Anything" with Randy, K5ZD, Presenter, at 2019-11-13 0100 UTC.

With low-band season about to crackle and sizzle, there's more interest in receiving gear like preamps and receiver protectors. The W7IUV 160 meter preamp design using a single 2N5109 (described on this page by AC0C) is well-regarded, and is now available in kit form from remoteqth.com.

WORD TO THE WISE

Bathtub Curve

Representative bathtub curve.

The bathtub curve is a graph having a "U" shape that describes many phenomena that start out with a high number of observations that exponentially decay to a relative constant number before again exponentially increasing. Electronic component reliability exhibits this characteristic, with a high number of initial failures followed by a period of relative constant rate of failures, concluded with a period during which components "wear out" at an accelerating rate. Burn-in can detect and mitigate early failures, while scheduled retirement can replace equipment before wear-out failure.

SIGHTS AND SOUNDS

Open Ferrite Bar! Fair-Rite keeps a smorgasbord of magnetic materials stocked at many EMC testing labs, specifically for the free use of test lab customers. If you're a company involved in testing of equipment, the right part at the right time can solve a big problem, and could also mean business for Fair-Rite.

Bill, KC1HTT, presented "A Low Power, Single Polarization, 144 MHz Earth-Moon-Earth Amateur Radio Station" at the 2019 Boxboro Hamxposition, and has also made his presentation available via YouTube. It might be a little late for this weekend's ARRL EME Contest. Bill encourages anyone interested in "charts used in this presentation and a complete technical paper published in the ARRL Proceedings of the 2019 VHF Super Conference on 26 April 2019" to contact him. "The paper has additional details and a comprehensive list of EME references." (via PNWVHFS email reflector)

Hans, G0UPL, of QRP-Labs and QCX fame, is the inaugural Homebrew Heroes Award winner. According to the Homebrew Heroes website, "The Homebrew Heroes Award is a program promoted by the ICQ Podcast to recognize persons, groups, or organizations who help define the frontiers in amateur radio technology through the long-standing tradition of 'home brew' construction." The announcement video is on YouTube. (Randy, K7AGE, via Twitter)

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RESULTS AND RECORDS

The results of the 2019 Washington Salmon Run have been posted to the Western Washington DX Club's website. According to John, W7CD: "Great thanks to Dink/N7WA for wrestling with the 337 logs received before the deadline, up 11% from 2018."

The preliminary results of the CVA DX CW contest were published recently. John, N0JSD entered the contest on a whim in the Teen category, and won!

Here's one from The ARRL Letter: Belarus Team Dominates 16th IARU High-Speed Telegraphy World Championship

Bob, W0BH, writes:

Final results of the 2019 Kansas QSO Party have been posted to the KSQP web site. We had 420 logs (including 12 FT8 logs) submitted for a combined 56,065 QSOs made with our 109 Kansas operators. This year, 55 1x1 call operators participated spelling KANSAS, SUNFLOWER, QSOPARTY and YELLOWBRICKROAD. Fifty stations spelled all four words, two stations (W6OAT and K4BAI) worked 54/55 1x1 ops, and two stations (N8II and K7SV) worked all 55 1x1 ops.

This year, Jeff/N8II in West Virginia was the first to Sweep all 105 counties with 18 minutes left to go in the event. Not to be outdone, John/N6MU in California completed his Sweep at 1959Z, literally the last minute of the two-day party. That's cutting it a bit close even for him as he extends his Sweep record to nine years in a row! Special mention goes to Laci/OM2VL who bagged 102/105 counties from Slovakia.
We enjoy sharing the weekend with the Ohio and Hawaii QSO parties. We hope propagation will be better to Hawaii next year because this year we only got Ohio logs. As an unannounced surprise to our Ohio friends, we made a special Ohio category this year complete with awards for the top three scores!
Thanks to all who participated. Keep the Kansas QSO Party in mind for 2020!
73, Bob, w0bh

KSQP Coordinator

OPERATING TIP

Checklog

It could happen to anyone: You enter a contest on a whim, and don't realize that there is no category for the way you operated the contest. For example, you used spotting assistance in the Stew Perry. Or you operated under the assumption of entering the high power category of the North American QSO Party. Hint: There's no High Power category in the NAQP; 100 W maximum power for all categories. What to do? Send in a checklog! Why? The contest sponsors will appreciate being able to check all of the stations you worked against your log, even though you won't be eligible for any awards. To enter a checklog, just use CHECKLOG for the CATEGORY-OPERATOR: field in your Cabrillo file for ARRL or CQ contests. Check the rules for the details for other contests.

TECHNICAL TOPICS AND INFORMATION

In what must be record or near record time, the "presentations, videos, and papers" portion of the proceedings of 2019's 25th Annual Pacific Northwest VHF Society Conference were published to the PNWVHFS website one day after the event. Compliments to Barry, K7BWH, PNWVHFS webmaster and Western Washington Director. He intends to publish photos, awards, and other conference information over the coming weeks. (via PNWVHFS email reflector)

Last week I had coffee with Mike, N6MZ, and as is often the case, we ended up talking about DXing and engineering math, specifically LaPlace transforms. Okay, in reality we never talk about engineering math, except we had a reason to last week: Math was in the news! It turns out that for the past 50 years or so, we (the collective we) have had a tool in our math toolbox called the chirp z-transform (CZT), which is a faster way to do Fast Fourier Transforms (FFTs) for certain signals. FFTs are a way to do Discrete Fourier Transforms (DFTs), well, more quickly. The Fourier Transform is used to map signals from the frequency domain to the time domain, or vice versa. FFTs are used in most modern communication gear, and is a big reason why we have nice-looking spectrum displays. Nobody knew how to do an inverse CZT until early in October 2019 when Vladimir Sukhoy and Alexander Stoytchev of Iowa State University published a paper describing an algorithm for it. For the two researchers, the motivation to do this work was the lack of a discussion of the inverse function in the literature. Stoytchev: "Is that because they couldn't explain it, or is it because it doesn't exist? It turned out it didn't exist."

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CONVERSATION

Wrenching

I'm going to come clean. Sure, I've always known that coax connections have to be tight, but I always thought some OMs were going a bit overboard when they got out their pliers to tighten all of their coaxial cable connections in the shack. I thought a really good hand tightening for indoor connectors was sufficient. I was wrong. Two recent incidents drove this home. The first occurred during the Washington Salmon Run. I was running with a temporary setup, and sometimes while I would CQ, I'd lose the CAT connection between the laptop and the radio. For hours while running, I unplugged and plugged the USB cable between the radio and computer and "Reset Radios" in N1MM Logger+ each time the connection dropped, thinking at various times I had a flaky USB cable, a problem with shielding of the USB cable, or just "gremlins." I even snapped on some toroids I had hanging around, the electronic equivalent of an animal offering. It became much clearer what was going on as I saw the power level on the amplifier vary as I moved around the room during an automated CQ. Something was changing the drive level to the amp. On a hunch, I checked the cable from the rig to the amplifier: Loose! The RF return wasn't the shield of the coax sometimes, and random RF was interfering with the low level of the USB signals and causing drive issues with the amplifier. Tightening the jumper with a wrench cured it for the rest of the contest.

The second instance occurred last weekend. I was helping troubleshoot the following problem at a friend's remote QTH: "When I turn the antenna toward the shack and transmit on 20 meters, the amplifier faults, and I lose the internet." Given that problem statement, we gathered data. We disconnected control and network cables to the amplifier. Still faulting. We decoded the error from the amplifier as "grid over current" in a grid driven amplifier. Aha! Loose connection! I reasoned that if there was intermittent shielding on the coax cable, some of the transmitted signal would be feeding back to the input, and overdriving the amplifier. Unfortunately for that theory, the cables were already wrench tight. But wait, how do we know the cable is good? After removing the cable that was there and replacing with another that was carefully wrench tightened - no amplifier faults. Problem solved! We made sure the defective jumper went into the garbage at the curb, so that nobody could look into the shack trash can and wonder why someone threw away a "perfectly good" coax jumper. Murphy beat a small retreat, but still lives on in the internet provider's fiber network interface hardware -- despite chokes on power and network lines, the internet connection reliably faults when the antenna is pointed at the house. Another problem to be solved another day.

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 contest-update@arrl.org

73, Brian N9ADG

CONTESTS

17 Oct - 30 Oct 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.

HF CONTESTS

CWops Mini-CWT Test, Oct 16, 1300z to Oct 16, 1400z and, Oct 16, 1900z to Oct 16, 2000z and, Oct 17, 0300z to Oct 17, 0400z; CW; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; Member: Name + Member No., non-Member: Name + (state/province/country); Logs due: October 19.

AGCW Semi-Automatic Key Evening, Oct 17, 1900z to Oct 17, 2030z; CW; Bands: 80m Only; RST + Serial No. + "/" + 2-digit year first used a bug; Logs due: November 4.

NCCC RTTY Sprint, Oct 18, 0145z to Oct 18, 0215z; RTTY; Bands: (see rules); Serial No. + Name + QTH; Logs due: October 20.

NCCC Sprint, Oct 18, 0230z to Oct 18, 0300z; CW; Bands: (see rules); Serial No. + Name + QTH; Logs due: October 20.

JARTS WW RTTY Contest, Oct 19, 0000z to Oct 21, 0000z; RTTY; Bands: 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; RST + age of operator; Logs due: October 31.

10-10 Int. Fall Contest, CW, Oct 19, 0001z to Oct 20, 2359z; CW; Bands: 10m Only; 10-10 Member: Name + 10-10 number + (state/province/country), Non-Member: Name + 0 + (state/province/country); Logs due: October 28.

New York QSO Party, Oct 19, 1400z to Oct 20, 0200z; CW, SSB, Digital; Bands: All, except WARC; NY: RS(T) + county, non-NY: RS(T) + (state/province/"DX"); Logs due: November 2.

Stew Perry Topband Challenge, Oct 19, 1500z to Oct 20, 1500z; CW; Bands: 160m Only; 4-Character grid square; Logs due: November 3.

Worked All Germany Contest, Oct 19, 1500z to Oct 20, 1459z; CW, SSB; Bands: (Please observe contest free band segments per the rules), 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; DL, DARC-Member: RS(T) + DOK (local area code), DL, non-DARC: RS(T) + "NM", non-DL: RS(T) + Serial No.; Logs due: October 28.

Feld Hell Sprint, Oct 19, 2000z to Oct 19, 2359z; Feld Hell; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, 10, 6m; (see rules); Logs due: October 23.

Argentina National 7 MHz Contest, Oct 19, 2130z to Oct 19, 2230z; SSB; Bands: 40m Only; RS + 2-digit year first licensed; Logs due: November 19.

Asia-Pacific Fall Sprint, CW, Oct 20, 0000z to Oct 20, 0200z; CW; Bands: 20, 15m; RST + Serial No.; Logs due: October 27.

Illinois QSO Party, Oct 20, 1700z to Oct 21, 0100z; CW/digital, Phone; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, 10, 6, 2m; IL: RS(T) + County, non-IL: RS(T) + (state/province/country); Logs due: November 21.

RSGB RoLo CW, Oct 20, 1900z to Oct 20, 2030z; CW; Bands: 80m Only; RST + previous 6-character grid square received; Logs due: October 21.

Run for the Bacon QRP Contest, Oct 21, 0100z to Oct 21, 0300z; CW; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; RST + (state/province/country) + (Member No./power); Logs due: October 27.

ARRL School Club Roundup, Oct 21, 1300z to Oct 25, 2359z; CW, Phone, RTTY/Digital; Bands: All, except 60, 30, 17, 12m; RS(T) + Class (I/C/S) + (state/province/country); Logs due: November 9.

Telephone Pioneers QSO Party, Oct 21, 1800z to Oct 21, 1900z (Digital Only) and, Oct 21, 1900z to Oct 22, 0300z (All Modes); CW/Digital, Phone; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, 10, VHF/UHF; Members: RS(T) + chapter no. + name, non-Members: RS(T) + name; Logs due: December 10.

SKCC Sprint, Oct 23, 0000z to Oct 23, 0200z; CW; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; RST + (state/province/country) + Name + (SKCC No./power); Logs due: October 25.

Phone Fray, Oct 23, 0230z to Oct 23, 0300z; SSB; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15m; NA: Name + (state/province/country), non-NA: Name; Logs due: October 25.

CWops Mini-CWT Test, Oct 23, 1300z to Oct 23, 1400z and, Oct 23, 1900z to Oct 23, 2000z and, Oct 24, 0300z to Oct 24, 0400z; CW; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; Member: Name + Member No., non-Member: Name + (state/province/country); Logs due: October 26.

RSGB 80m Autumn Series, Data, Oct 23, 1900z to Oct 23, 2030z; RTTY, PSK; Bands: 80m Only; RST + Serial No.; Logs due: October 26.

NCCC RTTY Sprint, Oct 25, 0145z to Oct 25, 0215z; RTTY; Bands: (see rules); Serial No. + Name + QTH; Logs due: October 27.

NCCC Sprint, Oct 25, 0230z to Oct 25, 0300z; CW; Bands: (see rules); Serial No. + Name + QTH; Logs due: October 27.

CQ Worldwide DX Contest, SSB, Oct 26, 0000z to Oct 27, 2359z; SSB; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; RS + CQ Zone No.; Logs due: November 1.

QCX Challenge, Oct 28, 1300z to Oct 28, 1400z and, Oct 28, 1900z to Oct 28, 2000z and, Oct 29, 0300z to Oct 29, 0400z; CW; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; RST + Name + (state/province/country) + Rig; Logs due: October 31.

Phone Fray, Oct 30, 0230z to Oct 30, 0300z; SSB; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15m; NA: Name + (state/province/country), non-NA: Name; Logs due: November 1.

CWops Mini-CWT Test, Oct 30, 1300z to Oct 30, 1400z and, Oct 30, 1900z to Oct 30, 2000z and, Oct 31, 0300z to Oct 31, 0400z; CW; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; Member: Name + Member No., non-Member: Name + (state/province/country); Logs due: November 2.

UKEICC 80m Contest, Oct 30, 2000z to Oct 30, 2100z; CW; Bands: 80m Only; 4-Character grid square; Logs due: October 30.

VHF+ CONTESTS

Araucaria World Wide VHF Contest, Oct 19, 0000z to Oct 20, 1600z; CW, SSB, FM; Bands: 6, 2m; RS(T) + 6-character grid square; Logs due: October 25.

ARRL EME Contest, Oct 19, 0000z to Oct 20, 2359z; CW, Phone, Digital; Bands: 50-1296 MHz; Signal report; Logs due: December 17.

UBA ON Contest, 2m, Oct 20, 0700z to Oct 20, 1000z; CW, Phone; Bands: 2m Only; ON: RS(T) + Serial No. + ON Section, non-ON: RS(T) + Serial No.; Logs due: November 3.

LOG DUE DATES

October 17, 2019

October 18, 2019

October 19, 2019

October 20, 2019

October 21, 2019

October 22, 2019

October 23, 2019

October 25, 2019

October 26, 2019

October 27, 2019

October 28, 2019

October 30, 2019

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ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

ARRL Contest Update wishes to acknowledge information from WA7BNM's Contest Calendar and SM3CER's Contest Calendar.

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