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The ARRL Contest Update
November 11, 2020
Editor: Brian Moran, N9ADG
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IN THIS ISSUE
NEW HF OPERATORS -- THINGS TO DO

The weekend of November 14, the WAE DX Contest offers RTTY operators an experience unique to that contest: QTCs. When you work another station in the WAE DX RTTY, you exchange RST and serial number. You also have the opportunity to send or receive up to 10 QTCs (the Q-code abbreviation for telegram), each of which counts as much as a contact. A QTC that you send consists of call sign and serial number of a station that you have worked before, while a QTC that you receive consists of a call sign and serial number that the other station has worked previously. Once you've sent a previous contact as a QTC, you can't send it again. It sounds complicated, but most logging contest logging programs are set up to automatically be able to send and receive QTCs, and perform all of the bookkeeping for you. G0SUP has a web page on the use of QTCs, with pointers on the best situations to send and receive them.

ARRL Phone Sweepstakes takes place November 21-22. You have to try it at least once. Then maybe again, just to make sure. The objective is to work all 84 ARRL/RAC Sections, and as many other contacts as possible along the way. Sweepstakes is what you make of it. Some participants go all out and make over one thousand contacts as a single operator. Some decide to work all of the states. Some try to work all of the ARRL sections as quickly as possible. Most operators, even those that do it every year, write the exchange on a piece of paper and have it handy for easy reference. Make sure you check your logging program for updates in the days just before the contest.

CONTEST SUMMARY

Complete information for all contests follows the Conversation section

12 Nov - 25 Nov 2020

November 12

November 13

November 14

November 15

November 16

November 17

November 18

November 19

November 20

November 21

November 23

November 24

November 25

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NEWS, PRESS RELEASES, AND GENERAL INTEREST

"A Sweepstakes 'Clean Sweep' means working 84 sections this year"

Those intending to enter the ARRL Phone Sweepstakes should check their logging program for updates in the days leading up to November 21.

Fred, K1VR, writes: "CNET has just reviewed noise-canceling (and other) headphones. Add a ModMic Uni, for $49.95 (direct or at MicroCenter), and you have what you need for contesting and air travel. When wearing noise-canceling earphones, I find that I can turn down the volume of the airplane entertainment system quite a bit. Between the noise-canceling and the reduced volume, the result is much less fatigue. When reading the reviews, pay attention to comments on which headphones are better (or worse) for phone calls."

The Japan International DX contest is the weekend of November 14. This is an all-band contest, 160 through 10 meters. As a reminder, JA hams now have 160 meter SSB privileges. For more information on the contest, see the JIDX website.

You can generate radiation patterns like this for your antennas at your location. Dan, AC6LA, discusses how in his article "Seeing the Effects of Local Terrain on Radiation Patterns"

Dan, AC6LA, posted an article on QRZ.com entitled "Seeing the Effects of Local Terrain on Radiation Patterns." He walks through how to obtain the terrain data from k6tu.net for your operating location for import into Dean Straw's (N6BV) HFTA (High Frequency Terrain Analysis) program, visualize the terrain in Excel, then automate the generation of multiple antenna radiation patterns by executing HFTA 90 times! Dan supplies the Excel workbooks and tools to make this processing straightforward. (Dan, AC6LA)

Have you heard of the Phaser? It's an "All Digital Mode" transceiver kit designed by Dave, K1SWL, capable of anything that WSJT-X (and other digital mode software) can do, as well as RTTY. With 4 watts and single-board construction, it's available in versions that cover 160, 80, 60, 40, 30, 20, or 17 meters. Over the 11 production runs, they've shipped more than 1,000 kits, and the 12th run will be the last of the original Phasers. They have enough for your holiday giving. The Phaser-II, for 10 and 15 meters, is also available.

Need an azimuth map for your location? NS6T (https://ns6t.net/azimuth/azimuth.html) has a good one for you -- just plug in your grid square.

Scott, N3FJP, announces: "World Wide Digi DX Contest Log 1.0 is Now Available! My son Chris, KB3KCN, and I have just completed a new, separate program to support the annual World Wide Digi DX Contest! World Wide Digi DX Contest Log 1.0 includes all the features you've come to expect in N3FJP Software including dupe checking, scoring, DX spotting, rig interface, super check partial, band map, an API, easy Cabrillo submittal, etc. Best of all, you'll likely find it very easy and intuitive to use! As always, additional programs we add to the N3FJP Software Package are free to N3FJP Software Package users. If you are a package user, please just email us directly for your World Wide Digi DX Contest Log password and Kimberly, KA3SEQ, will send yours along."

Quicksilver Radio's latest newsletter noted some things about their business that are likely true across the board:

  • There are manufacturing supply problems and shortages of some products, but overall, goods are still arriving...eventually.
  • There will be parcel delivery delays - our carriers are signaling that their performance will get worse the closer we get to Christmas (and we believe them).
  • There are distortions in typical purchase patterns that will create item shortages/outages earlier than usual.
  • The long-heralded "second wave" of COVID-19 is just beginning and will result in some closures, shutdowns, or restrictions in capacity.

Dale, K8TS, writes: "Your blurb (in the last Contest Update - Ed.) on tinnitus is a good tip. However: The treatment could be dangerous to operators who are epileptics or others who may have seizure disorders. Before pursuing any treatment as suggested, the op should check to make sure it is safe. The energy could trigger a seizure. I write as a bona fide epileptic."

Dennis, N6KI, wonders if there are any good ham applications to use with the new Raspberry Pi 400 PC Keyboard. Your editor notes that there are a number of ham radio applications that work on Linux, and have been made available as packages for the Raspberry Pi. There's even an operating system image from RemoteQTH for controlling their projects.

WORD TO THE WISE

Az-El

Azimuth and Elevation, usually pertaining to pointing a VHF or UHF antenna.

SIGHTS AND SOUNDS

Kiran, VU2XE, was SOAB(A) in the CQ WW SSB Contest, Field Day style, in a coastal location. His five-minute video gives a nice overview of the journey from the city to the location as well as setting up, and finishes with audio from the contest. His 3830scores.com soapbox starts out with "Sometimes, it is not just about scores, but about the experience..." Most of his contacts were on 15 and 20 meters.

JJ0TUC also made a video of his participation in the CQ WW SSB. You'll likely recognize the call signs of the stations he works in his video.

Larry's, K8UT, FreqEZ was the topic of the November 5, 2020 meeting of the Potomac Valley Radio Club, Blue Ridge Chapter. The virtual meeting was recorded and is available for your asynchronous viewing experience. (Larry, K8UT)

Bryant, KG5HVO, presented "Level Up: Next Generation Contesting" to the Huntsville Amateur Radio Club in September 2020. He discusses the Team Exuberance experience and youth contesting in general, as well as his thoughts on how to get youth more involved in contesting.

Marcus, DL8MRE, wrote SmartSDR for iOS, meaning it works with Apple's portable devices like iPhones and iPads. FlexRadio Systems put together this 9-minute YouTube video overview, "Introduction to SmartSDR for iOS," of its configuration and usage.

Craig, K9CT, presented "VHF Contesting" to the Front Range 6 Meter Group. Normally, Craig talks about HF Contesting, so this is a treat. He describes the K9CT station in detail - how it was conceived, designed, engineered, and became what it is today -- and hints at what the future will hold. He also discusses in great detail how he uses information to maintain situational awareness to be able to point his antennas to where he will make contacts.

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RESULTS AND RECORDS

According to Tree, N6TR, the October Stew/Lowband Jack had a record number of logs - 528, a 63% increase over last year. Preliminary results are available, and it appears that Steve, VE6WZ, has posted the highest score. There are plenty of 2020 Stew Perry plaques available for sponsorship. The 2020 event starts at 1500Z, December 26.

The last qualifying event for WRTC-2022 is the CQ WW CW Contest, according to Carlo, IK1HJS. For more information on WRTC-2022, see www.wrtc2022.it.

OPERATING TIP

Contest Playbooks

The big multi-op stations have them, and you could too - a "playbook" for each contest. When a guest operator arrives at a station, they need a crash course in everything related to a weekend's operation: equipment, policies, propagation, strategy, and so on. Stations hosting guest operators often supply this information in the form of a handbook or playbook that can be read, and more importantly, referenced during the contest weekend. The document also serves as a repository of information learned about operating in that contest from that location, subject to revision after each contest. Every station could benefit from such a document, to note such things as unusual paths to multipliers, reminders to check skew paths, and other things that may get forgotten by the next contest.

TECHNICAL TOPICS AND INFORMATION

CATSyncSDR advertises itself as "The CAT Tool for WebSDRs" It allows the control of a web-based SDR to track your local radio's frequency. This might find application where your local receive environment is noisy for casual operating, but you have access to an SDR located in a quiet location. Note that using a remote receiver outside of your operating location would not be allowed under the rules of most contests. One notable exception would be the Stew Perry Topband Distance Challenge, which allows the use of a remote receiver within 100km of your transmitter.

After mechanical TTYs, there were glass TTYs. Now you can have a "chip" TTY, if you really want one. Someone implemented DEC VT-52 terminal's functionality using an FPGA (Field Programmable Gate Array). In his implementation, a PS/2 keyboard and VGA monitor are used as the inputs and outputs.

Rob, N7QT, needed a way to break out and probe signals from his K3S's accessory port, and found a 15-pin DE15HD breakout board on Amazon, and this functional equivalent on eBay: DSUB DB15HD Male/Female Header Breakout Board, D-SUB Breakout.

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CONVERSATION

Contest Like It's 1929

The Bruce Kelley Memorial QSO Party, sponsored by the Antique Wireless Society, is a two-weekend event sponsored to keep the spirit of the early days of wireless alive. The point of the contest is to use equipment from 1929 or earlier to make contacts like they did in the old days. You can catch the second 24-hour session starting on 2300z November 14. "Competitors" must use equipment and designs that could have been found in the era. That means tubes, condensers, and coils. Point to point wiring techniques were the norm, even in commercial products. Modern receivers may be used, but extra recognition goes to those who use 1929 designs for receivers, too.

For some, this is an opportunity to showcase how wood, metal, glass, and varnish can be combined to create pieces of art that also launch mighty handfuls of watts into the ether. Designs of the era didn't have the stability advantages of crystal oscillators, so any variations in the supply voltage, mechanical stability, temperature, or even changes in wire antenna loading due to wind could cause frequency variations of the transmitted signals. The overall effect is "a cacophony of whooping, chirping, buzzing, clicking, drifting, swishing, swaying, warbling, and other interesting signals."

Peruse the photos hosted by VE7SL, then give 160 through 20 meters a listen on Saturday evening. If the spirit moves, you have the next 12 months to gather a few parts, do some woodworking, bend some tubing, get your glow on, and be ready to "whoop" it up next year.

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

12 Nov - 25 Nov 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

AWA Bruce Kelley 1929 QSO Party, Nov 7, 2300z to Nov 8, 2300z and, Nov 14, 2300z to Nov 15, 2300z; CW; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20m; RST + Name + QTH + Eqpt Year + Transmitter Type (see rules for format) + Input Power(W); Logs due: see rules.

CWops Mini-CWT Test, Nov 12, 0300z to Nov 12, 0400z; CW; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; Member: Name + Member No./"CWA", non-Member: Name + (state/province/country); Logs due: November 14.

RTTYOPS Weeksprint, Nov 12, 1700z to Nov 12, 1900z; RTTY; Bands: 80, 40, 20m; [other station's call] + [your call] + [serial no.] + [your name]; Logs due: November 17.

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

QRP Fox Hunt, Nov 13, 0200z to Nov 13, 0330z; CW; Bands: 20m Only; RST + (state/province/country) + name + power output; Logs due: November 19.

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

PODXS 070 Club Triple Play Low Band Sprint, Nov 14, 0000z to Nov 16, 2359z; PSK31; Bands: 160, 80, 40m; RST + (state/province/country); Logs due: November 23.

WAE DX Contest, RTTY, Nov 14, 0000z to Nov 15, 2359z; RTTY; Bands: 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; RS + Serial No.; Logs due: November 23.

10-10 Int. Fall Contest, Digital, Nov 14, 0001z to Nov 15, 2359z; Digital; Bands: 10m Only; 10-10 Member: Name + 10-10 number + (state/province/country), Non-Member: Name + 0 + (state/province/country); Logs due: November 23.

JIDX Phone Contest, Nov 14, 0700z to Nov 15, 1300z; SSB; Bands: 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; JA: RST + Prefecture No., non-JA: RST + CQ Zone No.; Logs due: December 15.

OK/OM DX Contest, CW, Nov 14, 1200z to Nov 15, 1200z; CW; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; OK/OM: RST + 3-letter district code, non-OK/OM: RST + Serial No.; Logs due: November 22.

CQ-WE Contest, Nov 14, 1900z to Nov 14, 2300z (cw/digital) and, Nov 15, 0100z to Nov 15, 0500z (phone) and, Nov 15, 1900z to Nov 15, 2300z (phone) and, Nov 16, 0100z to Nov 16, 0500z (cw/digital); CW, Phone, Digital; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, 10, 6, 2, 432 MHz; Name + Location Code (see rules) + Years of Service (see rules); Logs due: December 1.

Homebrew and Oldtime Equipment Party, Nov 15, 1300z to Nov 15, 1500z (40m) and, Nov 15, 1500z to Nov 15, 1700z (80m); CW; Bands: 80, 40m; RST + Serial No. + "/" + class; Logs due: December 21.

Run for the Bacon QRP Contest, Nov 15, 2300z to Nov 16, 0100z; CW; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; RST + (state/province/country) + (Member No./power); Logs due: November 22.

K1USN Slow Speed Test, Nov 16, 0000z to Nov 16, 0100z; CW; Bands: 80, 40, 20m; Maximum 20 wpm, Name + (state/province/country); Logs due: November 18.

RSGB FT4 Contest Series, Nov 16, 2000z to Nov 16, 2130z; FT4; Bands: 80m Only; 4-character grid square; Logs due: November 17.

Worldwide Sideband Activity Contest, Nov 17, 0100z to Nov 17, 0159z; SSB; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, 10, 6m; RS + age group (OM, YL, Youth YL or Youth); Logs due: November 18.

RTTYOPS Weeksprint, Nov 17, 1700z to Nov 17, 1900z; RTTY; Bands: 80, 40, 20m; [other station's call] + [your call] + [serial no.] + [your name]; Logs due: November 17.

QRP Fox Hunt, Nov 18, 0200z to Nov 18, 0330z; CW; Bands: 20m Only; RST + (state/province/country) + name + power output; Logs due: November 19.

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

CWops Mini-CWT Test, Nov 18, 1300z to Nov 18, 1400z; CW; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; Member: Name + Member No./"CWA", non-Member: Name + (state/province/country); Logs due: November 21.

CWops Mini-CWT Test, Nov 18, 1900z to Nov 18, 2000z; CW; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; Member: Name + Member No./"CWA", non-Member: Name + (state/province/country); Logs due: November 21.

NAQCC CW Sprint, Nov 19, 0130z to Nov 19, 0330z; CW; Bands: (see rules); RST + (state/province/country) + (NAQCC No./power); Logs due: November 23.

CWops Mini-CWT Test, Nov 19, 0300z to Nov 19, 0400z; CW; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; Member: Name + Member No./"CWA", non-Member: Name + (state/province/country); Logs due: November 21.

RTTYOPS Weeksprint, Nov 19, 1700z to Nov 19, 1900z; RTTY; Bands: 80, 40, 20m; [other station's call] + [your call] + [serial no.] + [your name]; Logs due: November 24.

NCCC RTTY Sprint, Nov 20, 0145z to Nov 20, 0215z; RTTY; Bands: (see rules); Serial No. + Name + QTH; Logs due: November 22.

QRP Fox Hunt, Nov 20, 0200z to Nov 20, 0330z; CW; Bands: 20m Only; RST + (state/province/country) + name + power output; Logs due: November 26.

NCCC Sprint, Nov 20, 0230z to Nov 20, 0300z; CW; Bands: (see rules); Serial No. + Name + QTH; Logs due: November 22.

YO International PSK31 Contest, Nov 20, 1600z to Nov 20, 2200z; PSK31; Bands: 80m Only; YO: RST + Serial No. + County, non-YO: RST + Serial No. + Country; Logs due: December 5.

SARL Field Day Contest, Nov 21, 1000z to Nov 22, 1000z; CW, SSB, Digital; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; RS(T) + Number of transmitters + Category (see rules) + Province (or "DX"); Logs due: see rules.

LZ DX Contest, Nov 21, 1200z to Nov 22, 1200z; CW, SSB; Bands: 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; LZ: RS(T) + 2-letter district, non-LZ: RS(T) + ITU Zone No.; Logs due: December 7.

RTTYOPS Weekend Sprint, Nov 21, 1600z to Nov 21, 1959z; RTTY; Bands: 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; [other station's call] + [your call] + [serial no.] + [your name] + [6-character grid locator]; Logs due: November 28.

All Austrian 160-Meter Contest, Nov 21, 1600z to Nov 21, 2359z; CW; Bands: 160m Only; OE: RST + Serial No. + District Code, non-OE: RST + Serial No.; Logs due: November 30.

REF 160-Meter Contest, Nov 21, 1700z to Nov 22, 0100z; CW; Bands: 160m Only; RST + Serial No. + Department Code; Logs due: November 30.

RSGB 1.8 MHz Contest, Nov 21, 1900z to Nov 21, 2300z; CW; Bands: 160m Only; UK: RST + Serial No. + District Code, non-UK: RST + Serial No.; Logs due: November 22.

Feld Hell Sprint, Nov 16, 1900z to Nov 16, 2059z; Feld Hell; Bands: ; (see rules); Logs due: November 25.

ARRL Sweepstakes Contest, SSB, Nov 21, 2100z to Nov 23, 0300z; SSB; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; Serial No. + Precedence (Q/A/B/U/M/S) + [your call sign] + Check + ARRL/RAC Section; Logs due: November 30.

K1USN Slow Speed Test, Nov 23, 0000z to Nov 23, 0100z; CW; Bands: 80, 40, 20m; Maximum 20 wpm, Name + (state/province/country); Logs due: November 25.

Worldwide Sideband Activity Contest, Nov 24, 0100z to Nov 24, 0159z; SSB; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, 10, 6m; RS + age group (OM, YL, Youth YL or Youth); Logs due: November 25.

RTTYOPS Weeksprint, Nov 24, 1700z to Nov 24, 1900z; RTTY; Bands: 80, 40, 20m; [other station's call] + [your call] + [serial no.] + [your name]; Logs due: November 24.

SKCC Sprint, Nov 25, 0000z to Nov 25, 0200z; CW; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; RST + (state/province/country) + Name + (SKCC No./power); Logs due: November 27.

Phone Fray, Nov 25, 0230z to Nov 25, 0300z; SSB; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15m; NA: Name + (state/province/country), non-NA: Name; Logs due: November 27.

CWops Mini-CWT Test, Nov 25, 1300z to Nov 25, 1400z; CW; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; Member: Name + Member No./"CWA", non-Member: Name + (state/province/country); Logs due: November 28.

CWops Mini-CWT Test, Nov 25, 1900z to Nov 25, 2000z; CW; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; Member: Name + Member No./"CWA", non-Member: Name + (state/province/country); Logs due: November 28.

UKEICC 80m Contest, Nov 25, 2000z to Nov 25, 2100z; ; Bands: 80m Only; 6-Character grid square; Logs due: November 25.

VHF+ CONTESTS

SARL VHF/UHF Analogue Contest, Nov 14, 1200z to Nov 15, 1000z; Analog (CW/SSB/AM/FM); Bands: 50 MHz, 70 MHz, 144 MHz, 432 MHz, 1296 MHz; RS(T) + 6-character grid locator; Logs due: December 7.

Also, see CQ-WE Contest, Worldwide Sideband Activity Contest, above.

LOG DUE DATES

12 Nov - 25 Nov 2020

November 12, 2020

November 13, 2020

November 14, 2020

November 15, 2020

November 16, 2020

November 17, 2020

November 18, 2020

November 19, 2020

November 20, 2020

November 21, 2020

November 22, 2020

November 23, 2020

November 24, 2020

November 25, 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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