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The ARRL Contest Update
May 13, 2020
Editor: Brian Moran, N9ADG
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IN THIS ISSUE
NEW HF OPERATORS -- THINGS TO DO

Join over 2,000 other hams this Thursday, May 14, for a free all-day livestreamed Contest University. The fun starts at 0845 EDT. Presentations are on the website already!

The CWOps CW Academy (CWA) offers "free classes at 4 different levels," beginner through advanced. They can take you from not knowing the code to getting to 25 WPM with their free remote classes. To reinforce your new skill, CWOps also provides a weekly CWT (CWOps Test). It's an hour-long event every Wednesday at 1300z, 1900z and Thursday at 0300z. "The exchange is your name and CWops membership number, or name and state if you aren't a member." N1MM Logger+ includes a configuration for this contest. (Pete, W1RM, via CQ-Contest)

Don't forget the Hamvention QSO Party on May 16. No need to submit logs, just post your score on 3830scores.com within 5 days of the event.

CONTEST SUMMARY

Complete information for all contests follows the Conversation section

14 May - 27 May 2020

May 14

May 15

May 16

May 17

May 18

May 19

May 20

May 21

May 22

May 23

May 24

May 25

May 26

May 27

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NEWS, PRESS RELEASES, AND GENERAL INTEREST

Contest University 2020 Professors have been preparing for this week's big event. Make sure you tune in on Thursday, May 14.

On May 14, treat yourself to an all-day smörgåsbord of contest Information with a livestreamed 2020 Contest University. The professors and staff have been working hard to adapt to pandemic restrictions, and over 2,000 people have already registered for the event via the Contest University website. The event starts at 0845 EDT and goes all day, with a break for lunch. The last session of the day is by K3ZJ, with the presentation of the CQ Contest Hall of Fame 2020. "At the conclusion of the CQ Contest Hall of Fame induction, CTU will give away an Icom IC-7610 transceiver courtesy of Icom America to a licensed amateur in the United States that is online with Zoom at the end of the Hall of Fame Inductions." You can find slides for the presentations on the Contest University website, and the video is being recorded for later upload.

From the Amateur Radio Direction Finding Region 2 website: "The 2020 ARDF World Championships and 2020 World Youth ARDF Championships have been canceled, due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Based upon the feedback received from the IARU Region 1 ARDF Working Group society members and the IARU Region 2 and Region 3 ARDF Coordinators, the 2020 ARDF World Championships in Serbia and the 2020 World Youth ARDF Championships (WYAC) in Slovenia have been canceled and will be rescheduled with the same host societies and locations for similar dates in 2021. See the current details link on the IARU Region 1 website for more details." (Ward, N0AX)

"I worked that guy on FT8 in that contest!! Why did I get a NIL?" K1JT and K9AN address issues with high NIL rates for the FTx modes in the Digital Contesting column in the May/June issue of NCJ (all ARRL members have access to NCJ in digital form now). With those modes gaining in popularity in contests, completing the QSO becomes a hot topic! (Ward, N0AX)

Jess, W9ABS, put together a month-long Illinois-wide VHF/UHF FM Simplex Contest/Exercise called Winter Heat 2020. Over the month of January 2020, 140 hams registered on the event website and made over 6,500 contacts on 50 MHz through 440 MHz. By requiring registration, a near real-time leaderboard could be maintained over the event interval. Jess plans a follow-on event this summer, appropriately named Summer Thunder 2020, which may also include operators from surrounding states.

Scott, N3FJP, wants everyone to know that the N3FJP Field Day Logger needs an upgrade to version 6.2 for the new Prince Edward Island (PE) section. Visit the N3FJP website for more information. On the linked page, he also has information on how his logger can be used in various Field Day scenarios.

Stan, K4SBZ, announces that there is a new Facebook Group, State QSO Party devoted to those that enjoy state QSO parties! Recent posts included information on the current week's events, and a discussion of the use of the phrase "Please copy."

Martin Luther, VK7GN, writes: "For 2020, the Oceania DX Contest has decided to try different start and finish times. For this year, the 24-hour contest period will start and end at 0600z. CW and Phone events are held on consecutive weekends: in 2020 the SSB event will be October 3-4, while CW will be October 10-11, 2020."

If you worked any station in last weekend's CQ-M contest, please send in your log. Rule 12 of the contest: "Judging is carried out only on the received logs = if a participant doesn't submit the log, then other participants will have no QSO point nor multiplier point credits for the QSOs with him!"

Here comes a new release of WSJT-X: "The first candidate release, WSJT-X 2.2.0-rc1, is now available for download and use by beta testers. This candidate release is your first chance to test the new features and provide feedback to the WSJT Development Group. A list of program changes since WSJT-X 2.1.2 can be found in the cumulative Release Notes and also in the updated WSJT-X 2.2.0 User Guide. (K1JT via email)

A new weekly 1-hour contest has just launched -- the World Wide Sideband Activity Contest. The exchange includes age and sex, in these buckets: OM, YL, Youth YL, or Youth - OM, YL, YYL, Y. Check the rules if you'd like to compete. After each session, winners in the single operator and single operator overlay categories can download a certificate, and plaques will be awarded for the highest "Overall cumulative 1-year period score for each of the single operator and single operator overlay categories."

WORD TO THE WISE

Zero-beat

As a verb, changing one frequency to match another. In the old days, this was done by ear for carrier frequencies, and any frequency difference could be heard as a third tone, the difference between the two. For frequencies that are very close, the difference sounds like a thump or a beat. Eliminating the beat means the frequencies are the same. As an adjective, it describes a frequency that is the same as another. Nowadays, zero-beating a CW signal can be done by some radios with the press of a button - for example, the Auto-SPOT function in the Elecraft K3.

SIGHTS AND SOUNDS

The June 2020 Central Arizona DX Association (CADXA) Meeting, held remotely, featured the presentation "Viva Bijagua - The 2020 ARRL CW DX Contest in Costa Rica at TI7W" by Lee Finkel, KY7M. You too can enjoy via YouTube. (Kelly, N0VD, via Twitter)

DX Engineering's blog has published parts two and three of its Amateur Radio Tower Safety series. Part two is "Is the Tower Safe to Climb?" while part three's "Rigging a Load on a Tower" discusses the right gear to use.

The Yankee Clipper Contest Club's "YCCC SIG: Remote contest operation" by Gerry, W1VE, is available on YouTube. Gerry walks through the setup of a remote station, including basic hardware, and using Anydesk and Skype software to handle remote desktop and audio.

In the recent 7QP, I was running on CW. I heard someone slide past my frequency, then come back to zero beat me, and I could also see it on my spectrum waterfall. My thought at the time was, "this is someone with a separate transmitter and receiver zero-beating me to work me." And then I was called by a local, Mike, W7DRA, who really enjoys using his collection of vintage radios. I mentioned all of this in a 3830scores post, and N6TR sent me a link to a spectrum screen shot of one of his 160-meter contacts with Mike. [Tree, N6TR, Image]

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RESULTS AND RECORDS

Final results for the 2019 CQ WW CW Contest are online, along with certificates for those that participated. John, K1AR, CQ WW Contest Director, expresses his "sincere thanks to the CQ WW Contest Committee for their hard work in producing this year's results."

The results of the 2020 Louisiana QSO Party are now posted online. Over 300 logs were submitted, and event participants can visit the website and download a 2020 LAQP certificate. Next year's event will take place on April 3 and 4, 2021.

OPERATING TIP

In Some Contests, Stick to Whole Numbers for Runs

If you'd like to work as many non-contesters and new contesters as possible, set up your run on integral frequencies. For example, for CW, you might want to pick 14035 kHz - not 14035.5 kHz. The skill of tuning a radio is just that - a skill. Some people may have their knob tuning rate set to a larger increment than you might expect, and you might be between frequency jumps as they tune.

TECHNICAL TOPICS AND INFORMATION

Sterling, N0SSC, tweeted that he found a $20 power supply that is capable of 75 amps at 12v. These power supplies, originally used in computer servers, are compact and operate from either 120v or 240v. He garnered some responses to his tweet, including how to adjust the output voltage, verify that they are RFI quiet, and identification of other comparable power supplies.

Andrew, VK3CV/WQ1S, describes a simple 122 GHz transverter in the May/June 2020 issue of QEX (don't forget that all ARRL members are now able to access QEX electronically). Utilizing highly integrated surface-mount parts originally designed for short-range radar, it's an advanced project that could yield an extra band for some UHF/microwave contests. There's a Groups.IO group for the project, with a potential opportunity to get in on a future group buy.

Roger, W7TZ, noted on the Pacific Northwest VHF Society email list: "FYI, Mouser is shipping 2-day UPS or Fedex for the same price as ground. In my case, a $40 order of snap-on ferrite shipped UPS 2nd day air for $7.99" Order early in the week, and you could be troubleshooting your next project by Friday.

Scientists hypothesize that boring is good for life on Earth when it comes when it relates to solar activity. Other stars in our galaxy have on average five times more magnetic activity than ol' Sol. Lots of magnetic activity leads to a star throwing off more radiation and charged particles, not so healthy for many forms of life that occur on Earth. (Trey, N5KO, via Ward, N0AX)

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CONVERSATION

Love The "Contesters" You're With

One pandemic reality is that with closures and stay-at-home orders, you might be able to spend more time on the radio. The previous Contest Update talked about how many are trying distributed multioperator contesting -- but regular multioperator operation is still possible with family members!

Last weekend I suggested to my two household family members that maybe they could get on the air in a contest. With me -- I'd help them. It would be fun. I didn't have to mention it would be another thing we could all do together, because at this point that wouldn't be a selling point. I did mention that it would be something different.

My wife, Caroline, is actually a licensed amateur (with a vanity call sign, no less), but has never been on the radio. Fourteen years ago, when our then 7-year-old and 10-year-old were taking the Technician test, she couldn't remain in the room with our children unless she was also taking the test. So she paid the test fee, sat down across the room, and proceeded to pass the test while being a familiar face for the kids. She's chided me over the years about how she's never been on the radio -- the same way over the years that I'd ask her whether she'd like to get on the radio. It's like our own mixed-radio-couple contest exchange.

Our youngest child never expressed any kind of interest in radio stuff, but I suspect he'd be good at it if he had the interest. He spends more time computer gaming than any amateur I know spends time on the air. And he can type like a speed demon. And he knows the phonetics, probably from playing Halo. His normal mode is to simultaneously play a computer game with his friends, while talking with them, and watching a movie on one of his three screens. He'd be a "S-O-what-R-you-doing?" kind of guy.

Both said they'd give the 7th Area QSO Party a try, so in the day or two leading up to it I tried to fill them in on the concepts. We agreed that whenever they wanted to get on the air during the contest, they should just let me know. No pressure. No assigned operating slots. Emphasis on fun.

The contest started at 6 AM local time. It is a contest, so I started off on CW while everyone else was still asleep. At about 8 AM, KA7MOM said good morning. I asked gently when she might want to give the contest a go. Her considered reply was that we should all do it together, once phonetic-C, Charlie, woke up. It would be two more hours before our sleep-loving teenager stumbled downstairs. Two hours after that, everything was ready, C and C were ready.

I switched over to phone, found a frequency to call CQ and made a few contacts to demonstrate the sequence, explaining as I went. Except the footswitch decided to not cooperate. No problem, VOX. Except the explaining part sounds just like a CQ to the radio. Okay, let's try on-screen PTT, search and pounce. I lined up the stations, explained who the running station was, how we should make the contact. I was working the mouse PTT, KA7MOM was making the contacts and typing on the keyboard, but it was a little awkward because of coordination. About six contacts in, I could tell that she might be interested in doing something else. If there was ever going to be a next time, this ought to be enough of this time. Watching all this, Charlie changed his mind about getting on the radio at all: "the footswitch is janky." C and C took a break for lunch, and I switched back to CW and continued on.

I did fix the "janky" footswitch, but not in time for them to try again in the 7QP. But the Hamvention QSO Party is coming up this weekend, and I'm pretty sure they're not going anywhere...

2020 7th Area QSO Party: First contact for KA7MOM, 14 years after first becoming a licensed ham.

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

14 May - 27 May 2020

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, May 14, 0300z to May 14, 0400z; CW; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; Member: Name + Member No., non-Member: Name + (state/province/country); Logs due: May 16.

RSGB Hope QSO Party, May 14, 1300z to May 14, 1430z (cw); ; Bands: 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; ; Logs due: May 20.

RTTYOPS Weeksprint, May 14, 1700z to May 14, 1900z; RTTY; Bands: 80, 40, 20m; [other station's call] + [your call] + [serial no.] + [your name]; Logs due: May 19.

UKEICC 80m Summer Series, May 14, 1800z to May 14, 1900z; ; Bands: 80m Only; ; Logs due: May 14.

NCCC RTTY Sprint, May 15, 0145z to May 15, 0215z; RTTY; Bands: (see rules); Serial No. + Name + QTH; Logs due: May 17.

NCCC Sprint, May 15, 0230z to May 15, 0300z; CW; Bands: (see rules); Serial No. + Name + QTH; Logs due: May 17.

RSGB Hope QSO Party, May 15, 1430z to May 15, 1600z (rtty); ; Bands: 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; ; Logs due: May 20.

UN DX Contest, May 16, 0600z to May 16, 2100z; CW, SSB; Bands: 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; Kazakhstan: RS(T) + District Code, non-Kazakhstan: RS(T) + QSO No.; Logs due: May 31.

NZART Sangster Shield Contest, May 16, 0800z to May 16, 1100z and, May 17, 0800z to May 17, 1100z; CW; Bands: 80m Only; ZL: RST + Serial No. + Branch No., non-ZL: RST + Serial No.; Logs due: June 13.

Portuguese Navy Day Contest - CT1DBS Memorial, May 16, 0900z to May 18, 1700z; SSB, Digital; Bands: 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; NRA Club: RS(T) + Member No., non-member: RS(T) + QSO No.; Logs due: June 4.

Hamvention QSO Party, May 16, 1200z to May 17, 0000z; CW, SSB; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; RS(T) + first year attended Hamvention or 2020; Logs due: May 21.

Aegean RTTY Contest, May 16, 1200z to May 17, 1200z; RTTY; Bands: 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; RST + QSO No.; Logs due: June 15.

His Maj. King of Spain Contest, CW, May 16, 1200z to May 17, 1200z; CW; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; EA: RST + province, non-EA: RST + Serial No.; Logs due: June 1.

RTTYOPS Weekend Sprint, May 16, 1600z to May 16, 1959z; RTTY; Bands: 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; [other station's call] + [your call] + [serial no.] + [your name] + [6-character grid locator]; Logs due: May 23.

Feld Hell Sprint, May 16, 1600z to May 16, 1759z and, May 16, 2000z to May 16, 2159z; Feld Hell; Bands: ; (see rules); Logs due: May 19.

Run for the Bacon QRP Contest, May 17, 1900z to May 18, 0000z; CW; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; RST + (state/province/country) + (Member No./power); Logs due: May 24.

RSGB Hope QSO Party, May 18, 0830z to May 18, 1000z (ssb); ; Bands: 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; ; Logs due: May 20.

RSGB FT4 Contest Series, May 18, 1900z to May 18, 2030z; FT4; Bands: 80m Only; 4-character grid square; Logs due: May 19.

Worldwide Sideband Activity Contest, May 19, 0100z to May 19, 0159z; SSB; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, 10, 6m; RS + age group (OM, YL, Youth YL or Youth); Logs due: May 20.

RSGB Hope QSO Party, May 19, 1000z to May 19, 1130z (cw); ; Bands: 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; ; Logs due: May 20.

RTTYOPS Weeksprint, May 19, 1700z to May 19, 1900z; RTTY; Bands: 80, 40, 20m; [other station's call] + [your call] + [serial no.] + [your name]; Logs due: May 19.

Phone Fray, May 20, 0230z to May 20, 0300z; SSB; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15m; NA: Name + (state/province/country), non-NA: Name; Logs due: May 22.

RSGB Hope QSO Party, May 20, 1130z to May 20, 1300z (ft4); ; Bands: 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; ; Logs due: May 20.

CWops Mini-CWT Test, May 20, 1300z to May 20, 1400z; CW; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; Member: Name + Member No., non-Member: Name + (state/province/country); Logs due: May 23.

UKEICC 80m Summer Series, May 20, 1800z to May 20, 1900z; ; Bands: 80m Only; ; Logs due: May 21.

CWops Mini-CWT Test, May 20, 1900z to May 20, 2000z; CW; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; Member: Name + Member No., non-Member: Name + (state/province/country); Logs due: May 23.

NAQCC CW Sprint, May 21, 0030z to May 21, 0230z; CW; Bands: ; RST + (state/province/country) + (NAQCC No./power); Logs due: May 25.

CWops Mini-CWT Test, May 21, 0300z to May 21, 0400z; CW; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; Member: Name + Member No., non-Member: Name + (state/province/country); Logs due: May 23.

RSGB Hope QSO Party, May 21, 1300z to May 21, 1430z (ssb); ; Bands: 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; ; Logs due: May 27.

QRP Minimal Art Session, May 21, 1600z to May 21, 2200z; CW; Bands: 80, 40m; RST + "/" + class + number of components; Logs due: June 4.

RTTYOPS Weeksprint, May 21, 1700z to May 21, 1900z; RTTY; Bands: 80, 40, 20m; [other station's call] + [your call] + [serial no.] + [your name]; Logs due: May 26.

NCCC RTTY Sprint, May 22, 0145z to May 22, 0215z; RTTY; Bands: (see rules); Serial No. + Name + QTH; Logs due: May 24.

NCCC Sprint, May 22, 0230z to May 22, 0300z; CW; Bands: (see rules); Serial No. + Name + QTH; Logs due: May 24.

RSGB Hope QSO Party, May 22, 1430z to May 22, 1600z (cw); ; Bands: 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; ; Logs due: May 27.

EU PSK DX Contest, May 18, 1200z to May 19, 1200z; BPSK63; Bands: 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; EU: RST + EU area code, non-EU: RST + QSO No.; Logs due: May 29.

RTTYOPS Weekend Sprint, May 23, 1600z to May 23, 1959z; RTTY; Bands: 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; [other station's call] + [your call] + [serial no.] + [your name] + [6-character grid locator]; Logs due: May 23.

Baltic Contest, May 23, 2100z to May 24, 0200z; CW, SSB; Bands: 80m Only; RS(T) + Serial No.; Logs due: June 3.

Day of the YLs Contest, May 24, 0001z to May 25, 2359z; CW, SSB, RTTY; Bands: 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; RS(T) + YL/OM; Logs due: June 30.

QRP ARCI Hootowl Sprint, May 25, 0000z to May 25, 0100z; CW; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; RST + (state/province/country) + (ARCI no./power); Logs due: June 10.

QCX Challenge, May 25, 1300z to May 25, 1400z; CW; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; RST + Name + (state/province/country) + Rig; Logs due: June 2.

QCX Challenge, May 25, 1900z to May 25, 2000z; CW; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; RST + Name + (state/province/country) + Rig; Logs due: June 2.

Worldwide Sideband Activity Contest, May 26, 0100z to May 26, 0159z; SSB; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, 10, 6m; RS + age group (OM, YL, Youth YL or Youth); Logs due: May 27.

QCX Challenge, May 26, 0300z to May 26, 0400z; CW; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; RST + Name + (state/province/country) + Rig; Logs due: June 2.

RTTYOPS Weeksprint, May 26, 1700z to May 26, 1900z; RTTY; Bands: 80, 40, 20m; [other station's call] + [your call] + [serial no.] + [your name]; Logs due: May 26.

SKCC Sprint, May 27, 0000z to May 27, 0200z; CW; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; RST + (state/province/country) + Name + (SKCC No./power); Logs due: May 29.

Phone Fray, May 27, 0230z to May 27, 0300z; SSB; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15m; NA: Name + (state/province/country), non-NA: Name; Logs due: May 29.

CWops Mini-CWT Test, May 27, 1300z to May 27, 1400z; CW; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; Member: Name + Member No., non-Member: Name + (state/province/country); Logs due: May 30.

UKEICC 80m Summer Series, May 27, 1800z to May 27, 1900z; ; Bands: 80m Only; ; Logs due: May 28.

CWops Mini-CWT Test, May 27, 1900z to May 27, 2000z; CW; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; Member: Name + Member No., non-Member: Name + (state/province/country); Logs due: May 30.

VHF+ CONTESTS

See Worldwide Sideband Activity Contest, above

LOG DUE DATES

14 May - 27 May 2020

May 14, 2020

May 15, 2020

May 16, 2020

May 17, 2020

May 18, 2020

May 19, 2020

May 20, 2020

May 21, 2020

May 22, 2020

May 23, 2020

May 24, 2020

May 25, 2020

May 26, 2020

May 27, 2020

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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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