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The ARRL Contest Update
August 5, 2020
Editor: Brian Moran, N9ADG
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IN THIS ISSUE
NEW HF OPERATORS -- THINGS TO DO

On Thursday, August 6, 2020 at 12:30 PM PDT, you can learn about HF Wire Antennas via the ARRL Learning Network. George, NG7A, describes his presentation as, "A review of antenna basics and tips for improving your signal with simple homebrew wire antennas." According to George, "whether you have many acres or a postage-stamp lot, there's an antenna for every yard and budget." On August 13, Steven, KG5VK, will be presenting "Introduction to Computer Logging."

This upcoming weekend, the QSO Today Virtual Ham Expo is taking place. Registration is free, and the event starts Friday evening in most US time zones with a keynote by NCJ Editor Scott, K0MD. On Sunday at 8:15 AM PDT, there's a session entitled "Getting Started In HF" by Michael Burnette, AF7KB.

CONTEST SUMMARY

Complete information for all contests follows the Conversation section

6 Aug - 19 Aug 2020

August 6

August 7

August 8

August 10

August 11

August 12

August 13

August 14

August 15

August 16

August 18

August 19

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NEWS, PRESS RELEASES, AND GENERAL INTEREST

Just a reminder that hurricane season in the Americas goes through November. Please be cognizant of and avoid frequencies used for hurricane-related operations.

The ARRL Learning Network has launched with 30-minute webinars on various topics. Contest Update readers may be interested in the upcoming "Introduction to Computer Logging" presented by Steven Lott Smith, KG5VK, on Thursday, August 13, 2020, 12:30 PM PDT / 3:30 PM EDT (1930 UTC). Radio club members that were forced to set up their own logging for the first time during this past ARRL Field Day might find additional hints and tips.


The Ohio QSO Party coming up later in August has some changes:

  • 160 meters has been added to the list of bands for the contest
  • More than one call sign can be used at one station. According to the sponsors: "The intent is to provide more potential QSOs for all. It is not to allow multiple QSOs to inflate the scores of friends. If determined that such is happening, those QSOs may be disallowed in the log checking process."

The 2020 OhQP is Saturday, August 22, from noon to midnight EDT (1600z - 0400z). For more information, see the OhQP website. (via Portage County Amateur Radio Service (PCARS) August 2020 RADIOGRAM)

The Reverse Beacon Network is in "beta" with a map view of spot information. According to Pete, N4ZR: "This is preliminary, subject to lots of change, and may not always be available while we work on it." Pete also assures that "any input including criticism or comments will be much appreciated," when sent to his email address.

The QSO Today Virtual Ham Expo is coming up August 7-9. The event sponsors are using a virtual conference platform that combines video conferencing for various sessions with a virtual exhibit hall, conference rooms, lounges, and so on. According to the conference website, there are prizes to be awarded, determined by the completion of various activities in the virtual expo -- not a raffle! Ham Talk Live interviewed Eric, 4Z1UG, the QSO Today Virtual Ham Expo Chairman, in a recent episode.

Scott, N3FJP, announces that Field Day Contest Log 6.4 is available via his website. Version 6.4 has been updated to "to default back to standard Field Day rules" for 2021. Should traditional Field Day activities still be restricted in 2021, Scott assures that he's "retained the ability to easily enable the Delta scoring waiver option, should it be needed again." Scott also notes that his "Ohio QSO Party Contest Logs (In State 4.4 and Out of State 4.3) have been updated for the rule change to include 160 meters."

The WW Digi DX Contest has "opportunities" for individuals and clubs to sponsor plaques for category winners for this year's contest. The WWROF (World Wide Radio Operators Foundation) and SCC (Slovenia Contest Club) are the organizers of the WW Digi DX Contest during the last weekend of August. See the contest website for more information. (Tine, S50A, WW Digi DX Contest plaque manager)

Elecraft's K3/K3S radios are very popular with DXers and contesters. Elecraft announced in October 2019 that the K3 line was going to be discontinued as they geared up for the new Elecraft K4, and over the last few months, the stock of new Elecraft K3 options has dwindled and dried up. However, there is still unmet demand for upgrade options. Elecraft has posted an "Options Interest Form" to help gauge whether a new production run of some of the more popular K3/K3S options would be worthwhile. If you're a K3/K3S owner and would like to upgrade your gear, now is the time to register your interest.

"Youth on the Air Camp in the Americas Dates Announced for Summer, 2021 -- The summer camp for licensed amateur radio operators ages 15 through 25 that was scheduled to take place in June, 2020 at the National Voice of America Museum of Broadcasting in West Chester Township (North Cincinnati), Ohio has been rescheduled. Mark your calendars for July 11-16, 2021..."

Bill, AF7WM, wrote regarding the Conversation section last time: "Saw your article about the Italia disaster. Did you know there was a movie, a joint Russian-Italian venture, called The Red Tent? I saw it back in the early 70's when I was in the Air Force. It is somewhat fictionalized, but the photography and music are outstanding. It got some very good user reviews on IMDb but I guess the movie critics didn't like it. Added bonus was Claudia Cardinale! 73!"

WORD TO THE WISE

Ullage (Motors)

From Wikipedia: "Small, independently fueled rocket engines that may be fired to accelerate the rocket prior to main engine ignition, when the vehicle is in a zero-g situation." Ullage can also be a stage of the progress of a satellite as it achieves proper orbit or position. Check out this tweet by Daniel, EA4GPZ, showing a graph of observed Doppler shift for the recently launched Tianwen-1 TCM-1 satellite which used an ullage phase before firing thrusters for positioning.

A graph of observed doppler shift by Daniel, EA4GPZ. Note the orange "Ullage" phase.

SIGHTS AND SOUNDS

How does a visually impaired person navigate a general purpose complex device such as an iPhone? Here's a video tweet that shows how one person does it. As ham radio gear increasingly incorporates touch screens, color displays, sound, and so on, the opportunity is to provide greater utility and access.

"The Deep Dixie Contest Club (DDCC) invited our youth members -- all teenagers -- to be the central focus for this videoconference so we could learn more about them, what makes them 'tick,' what they enjoy about ham radio and contesting, and to give advice on how our club can help guarantee a bright future in ham radio by recruiting and supporting young people." Youth members included: David Samu, VE7DZO (British Columbia, Canada); Bryant Rascoll, KG5HVO (Montgomery, AL); and Mason Matrazzo, KM4SII (Clemmons, NC). Our other youth member, Violetta 'Kat' Latham, KK8AT (Greencastle, PA), was unable to attend today's session." (Sterling, N0SSC, via Twitter)

If you missed the DX Engineering hamfest and DX Academy, you can catch the replay on YouTube. (Tim, K3LR)

You don't have to be a ham to appreciate old Teletype gear; here's the first video of 14 (!) in the journey to restore a Model 19 Teletype by a Teletype novice. In episode 11, the crew visits "Mr. RTTY" to obtain a missing gear and various other TTY parts. The 2021 ARRL RTTY Contest is only a few months off if you're thinking about getting some old gear online.

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RESULTS AND RECORDS

Mark, K6UFO, writes: "Preliminary results for the July 2020 North American QSO Party on RTTY are now available at the National Contest Journal website. Congratulations to all participants! Please report any problems to me. There is still time to send me a photo or story about your contest fun. And don't miss NAQP CW on August 1 and NAQP SSB on August 15."(Mark, K6UFO, via email)

OPERATING TIP

Mounting Technology Has Changed

This is more of a "decorating" tip that might come after successful operating. Just as radio technology has evolved, so has the technology which can adhere your contest plaques, awards, and picture frames to your walls. You don't need to use wire and picture frame hooks any longer, and no hammering is necessary -- the state of the art for wall mounting is strong yet removable two-piece fasteners. One brand is "Command" brand strips by 3M. Items are repositionable once mounted, and to completely remove the fastener, the mounting strip is stretched and pulled without damage to the wall.

TECHNICAL TOPICS AND INFORMATION

Frank, W3LPL, notes that a "three day forecast of the Planetary Kp Index is available from the Helmholtz Centre Potsdam - GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences." The forecast is updated every three hours. According to Frank, "daily variability of HF propagation is caused in large part by solar energetic particle radiation carried by the solar wind, especially during the four years closest to solar minimum when x-ray and proton radiation from solar flares are less frequent and less intense... the Planetary Kp Index is a proxy measurement of the energy input from the solar wind to Earth, similar to the use of the 2800 MHz Solar Flux Index as a proxy for the Sun's ionizing ultraviolet radiation." (via Topband reflector)

It's nice to hear the phrase "gaining in strength" as it relates to the solar cycle. Frank, W3LPL, noted recently that "As solar cycle 25 is slowly gains strength..." here's a link to his complete post.

More solar information, this from Mark, K6UFO. Mark found this article: "Breakthrough method for predicting solar storms." The article summary notes that solar storms are "believed to be caused by the release of enormous amounts of stored magnetic energy due to changes in the magnetic field of the sun's outer atmosphere - something that until now has eluded scientists' direct measurement." The method involves measuring minute differences between ions of similar energy levels - those differences being caused by the direct influence of the Sun's magnetic field.

Here's a tool that I wasn't aware of until recently, when a mention of it was made in the N1MM Logger+ group: "Athena is a very powerful analysis tool which integrates a N1MM Logger+ log to show contest data graphically in real-time. Either individual bands, or an all-band total can be displayed. Selection can be made to show QSO's, Multipliers, Points or Multi*Points." Athena V1.2.0.0 supports N1MM Logger+ logs. Athena was originally developed by PC5M (SK), and is now hosted and maintained by Anthony Luscre, K8ZT.

Let's say you need to install an SMD component, but you don't have the proper stencil for applying the solder paste, but you DO have a steady hand and a magnifier, or better yet, a stereoscope. Here's a video that can help.

In this blog post, KM4SQS wires up a footswitch using an FTDI serial port locally to use with his remote FLEX- 6400. One of the best parts: you can get all of the parts from Amazon.

GM3SEK's website features a variety of ideas and projects, including "GM3SEK's Amateur Radio Technical Notebook." The most recent project is a Bias-T project with logic switching, complete with PCB design, performance data, and construction details. There's also older material on his related website, a gathering of technical tips from the In Practice column by GM3SEK in the RSGB's RadCom magazine through about 2010.

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CONVERSATION

College Radio Club COVID Chaos

Most colleges and universities are warning incoming students that there will be no normal "school experience" this fall. At schools where in-person attendance is allowed, most are warning that the emphasis is on classes, and that related student activities such as sports, clubs, etc. will be non-existent or extremely limited due to the demands of social distancing, and the need to repurpose facilities and rooms for lower densities. As institutions are forced to make hard choices, it's going to be more important than ever for school clubs to find a way to continue, even if meetings are impossible.

Activities, including the training and testing of new hams, have already gone online via videoconferencing and asynchronous communications. Dan, KB6NU, has graciously started to provide free online licensing classes for high school and college students. Some college clubs are providing scheduled online license tests - For example, HamStudy.org already lists sessions (mostly full!) run by the Columbia University ARC and MIT Radio Society. Clubs have stepped up their efforts to meet the demand.

To make club resources available when in-person gatherings are not possible, some college clubs have remote-enabled their stations: Cal Poly recently shared the details of what they did with those attending the monthly ARRL College Amateur Radio Initiative web conference in July.

For school clubs that can find a way to keep their members involved, these times could be an opportunity - there will be fewer extracurricular activities competing for students' time and attention. The student population in general is already comfortable and thriving with a variety of online activities. Perhaps the key to getting and keeping more young people involved in amateur radio is to follow their lead: more online and non-traditional, yet amateur radio-based activities, where the "radio part" is a component of a high-altitude balloon, semi-autonomous seafaring robot, or self-healing emergency communications network.

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

6 Aug - 19 Aug 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, Aug 6, 0300z to Aug 6, 0400z; CW; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; Member: Name + Member No., non-Member: Name + (state/province/country); Logs due: August 8.

RTTYOPS Weeksprint, Aug 6, 1700z to Aug 6, 1900z; RTTY; Bands: 80, 40, 20m; [other station's call] + [your call] + [serial no.] + [your name]; Logs due: August 11.

NRAU 10m Activity Contest, Aug 6, 1800z to Aug 6, 1900z (cw) and, Aug 6, 1900z to Aug 6, 2000z (ssb) and, Aug 6, 2000z to Aug 6, 2100z (fm) and, Aug 6, 2100z to Aug 6, 2200z (dig); CW, SSB, FM, Digital; Bands: 10m Only; RS(T) + 6-character grid square; Logs due: August 20.

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

QRP Fox Hunt, Aug 7, 0100z to Aug 7, 0230z; CW; Bands: 20m Only; RST + (state/province/country) + name + power output; Logs due: August 8.

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

NCCC Sprint, Aug 7, 0230z to Aug 7, 0300z; CW; Bands: (see rules); Serial No. + Name + QTH; Logs due: August 9.

WAE DX Contest, CW, Aug 8, 0000z to Aug 9, 2359z; CW; Bands: 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; RST + Serial No.; Logs due: August 16.

QRP ARCI European Sprint, Aug 8, 0800z to Aug 8, 1100z; CW; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; RST + (state/province/country) + (ARCI number/power); Logs due: August 24.

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

Maryland-DC QSO Party, Aug 8, 1400z to Aug 9, 0400z; CW, Phone, Digital; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, 10, 6m, 2m, 432 MHz; MDC: entry class + county, non-MDC: entry class + (state/province/country), FT4/8: (see rules); Logs due: September 8.

RTTYOPS Weekend Sprint, Aug 8, 1600z to Aug 8, 1959z; RTTY; Bands: 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; [other station's call] + [your call] + [serial no.] + [your name] + [6-character grid locator]; Logs due: August 15.

4 States QRP Group Second Sunday Sprint, Aug 10, 0000z to Aug 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: August 12.

SARL Youth Sprint, Aug 10, 1200z to Aug 10, 1400z; SSB; Bands: 40m Only; RS + age; Logs due: August 16.

Worldwide Sideband Activity Contest, Aug 11, 0100z to Aug 11, 0159z; SSB; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, 10, 6m; RS + age group (OM, YL, Youth YL or Youth); Logs due: August 12.

MMMonVHF/DUBUS 144 MHz Meteorscatter Sprint Contest, Aug 11, 1500z to Aug 13, 1459z; Any; Bands: 2m Only; Signal report; Logs due: September 15.

RTTYOPS Weeksprint, Aug 11, 1700z to Aug 11, 1900z; RTTY; Bands: 80, 40, 20m; [other station's call] + [your call] + [serial no.] + [your name]; Logs due: August 11.

NAQCC CW Sprint, Aug 12, 0030z to Aug 12, 0230z; CW; Bands: 80, 40, 20m; RST + (state/province/country) + (NAQCC No./power); Logs due: August 16.

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

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

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

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

RTTYOPS Weeksprint, Aug 13, 1700z to Aug 13, 1900z; RTTY; Bands: 80, 40, 20m; [other station's call] + [your call] + [serial no.] + [your name]; Logs due: August 18.

QRP Fox Hunt, Aug 14, 0100z to Aug 14, 0230z; CW; Bands: 20m Only; RST + (state/province/country) + name + power output; Logs due: August 15.

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

NCCC Sprint, Aug 14, 0230z to Aug 14, 0300z; CW; Bands: (see rules); Serial No. + Name + QTH; Logs due: August 16.

SARTG WW RTTY Contest, Aug 15, 0000z to Aug 15, 0800z and, Aug 15, 1600z to Aug 16, 0000z and, Aug 16, 0800z to Aug 16, 1600z; RTTY; Bands: 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; RST + Serial No.; Logs due: September 12.

Russian District Award Contest, Aug 15, 0800z to Aug 16, 0800z; CW, SSB; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; RU: RS(T) + District code, non-RU: RS(T) + QSO No.; Logs due: August 31.

Tisza Cup, Aug 15, 1200z to Aug 16, 1159z; CW; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; RST + CQ Zone No.; Logs due: August 21.

Keyman's Club of Japan Contest, Aug 15, 1200z to Aug 16, 1200z; CW; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, 10, 6m; JA: RST + prefecture/district code, non-JA: RST + continent code; Logs due: September 5.

Feld Hell Sprint, Aug 15, 1600z to Aug 15, 1759z; Feld Hell; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, 10, 6m; (see rules); Logs due: August 18.

North American QSO Party, SSB, Aug 15, 1800z to Aug 16, 0559z; SSB; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; NA: Name + (state/DC/province/country), non-NA: Name; Logs due: August 21.

CVA DX Contest, CW, Aug 15, 2100z to Aug 16, 2100z; CW; Bands: 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; RST + type/UF(see rules); Logs due: September 9.

SARL HF Digital Contest, Aug 16, 1400z to Aug 16, 1700z; RTTY, PSK31; Bands: 80, 40, 20m; RST + Serial No.; Logs due: August 23.

NJQRP Skeeter Hunt, Aug 16, 1700z to Aug 16, 2100z; CW, SSB; Bands: 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; Skeeter: RS(T) + (state/province/country)+ Skeeter No., Non-Skeeter: RS(T) + (state/province/country)+ Power + "W"; Logs due: August 30.

ARRL Rookie Roundup, RTTY, Aug 16, 1800z to Aug 16, 2359z; RTTY; Bands: 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; NA: Name + 2-digit year first licensed + (state/province/XE area/DX); Logs due: August 19.

Run for the Bacon QRP Contest, Aug 16, 2300z to Aug 17, 0100z; CW; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; RST + (state/province/country) + (Member No./power); Logs due: August 23.

Worldwide Sideband Activity Contest, Aug 18, 0100z to Aug 18, 0159z; SSB; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, 10, 6m; RS + age group (OM, YL, Youth YL or Youth); Logs due: August 19.

RTTYOPS Weeksprint, Aug 18, 1700z to Aug 18, 1900z; RTTY; Bands: 80, 40, 20m; [other station's call] + [your call] + [serial no.] + [your name]; Logs due: August 18.

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

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

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

VHF+ CONTESTS

ARRL 10 GHz and Up Contest, Aug 15, 0600 (local) to Aug 17, 0000 (local); Any; Bands: 10 GHz to light; 6-Character Maidenhead Locator; Logs due: October 20.

VHF-UHF FT8 Activity Contest, Aug 12, 1700z to Aug 12, 2000z; FT8; Bands: 144, 432 MHz; 4-character grid square; Logs due: August 17.

Also, see Feld Hell Sprint, SKCC Sprint Europe, Worldwide Sideband Activity Contest, Keyman's Club of Japan Contest, Worldwide Sideband Activity Contest, Maryland-DC QSO Party, SKCC Weekend Sprintathon, above.

LOG DUE DATES

6 Aug - 19 Aug 2020

August 6, 2020

August 7, 2020

August 8, 2020

August 9, 2020

August 10, 2020

August 11, 2020

August 12, 2020

August 13, 2020

August 14, 2020

August 15, 2020

August 16, 2020

August 17, 2020

August 18, 2020

August 19, 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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