June 15, 2016Editor: Brian Moran, N9ADG
IN THIS ISSUE
During the upcoming weekend there are contests spanning the range from 160 meters to 6 meters and above. The Magic Band and Top Band provide difficult challenges, but for different reasons. Though not traditionally the season for it in the northern hemisphere, the summer Stew Perry Top Band Distance Challenge (TBDC) will be exciting the ionosphere between 1.8 and 2.0 MHz. In addition to domestic contacts, there could be opportunities to work southern hemisphere stations if the conditions are right and your station is capable, as TBDC entrants are encouraged to spend extra time pulling out weak ones because of their potential LP and QRP bonus points. If you've not tried 160 meters before, remember that success on this band is greatly affected by electrical storm noise, RFI from electrical devices of all sorts, and the ability of stations to have effective signals due to the required antenna sizes. These reasons, combined with fewer hours of darkness, make each Q on this band at this time of year all the more precious.
Six meters isn't technically HF, but with the memorable DX openings last weekend in the ARRL VHF contest, it may pay to be there if the band is open next weekend. Long-haul ionospheric contacts on 6 meters are influenced by the capriciousness of atmospheric electron densities, combined with having your antennas pointed in the right direction at the right time. The SMIRK Contest is on June 19. If you'd like to play, make sure you're aware of the 6 meter band plan. It's possible to work intercontintental DX on 6, and it's more efficient if everyone cooperates by using the "DX Window" as it's intended.
For even more QSO opportunities, the West Virginia QSO Party and ARRL Kids Day Contest activities will also be taking place the weekend of June 19. Kids Day is an opportunity to share your enthusiasm for operating with younger friends or family members by helping them to make contacts on their air. The "suggested" exchange is name, age, location, and favorite color, but those are just suggestions. The point is to provide a fun and positive experience.
The weekend of June 25 is domestically given over to the ARRL Field Day Event. Almost as a reflex, you'll hear "But it's not a contest" spoken as an apology, a lament, and a mantra. Field Day experiences are shaped by the participants, and can be as "contesty" or as casual as you'd like. Regardless of the seriousness of the effort, the event is an opportunity to maintain good operating habits, and learn from other operators. If you want to participate in a group or club's Field Day effort, you can find a Field Day operation on the ARRL website.
Many of your fellow readers have already taken the Contest Update Survey, but we'd still like YOUR input! What would you like to see more of in the Contest Update? How can we improve? How can we serve you better? Please take a moment to fill out a brief reader survey. Your comments are also always welcome at any time via e-mail to email@example.com. Thanks!
Is your club or organization putting on a public Field Day event? Don't forget to add it to the ARRL field day locator website.
None were detected!
The International DX Convention in Visalia, California, will expand its 2017 program by providing a full set of seminars on Friday, April 21. This is in addition to the concurrent Contest Academy and DX University tracks offered on that day. Hotel reservations for the IDXC will open on June 15, 2016.
The US Army and Marines are looking into using human-generated power for the increasing technology carried by soldiers. By utilizing knee joint motion, 10 to 12 W of power can be harvested. Perhaps Amateur Tadio operators interested in portable or SOTA-type operations will also have this option in the future.
While touchscreens are a relatively new innovation for ham gear, consumer electronics have deployed hundreds of millions of them in all sorts of devices. Next year, Samsung may ship a cellular phone with a non-planar, or maybe even bendable, display. The technology could enable nearly any surface shape to also be a touchscreen.
"BIC" - Butt In Chair
K9ZW, a FlexRadio and FlexRadio Maestro owner, is using Raspberry Pi hardware and SoftEther VPN Software for a remote station. By accessing his remote station using a VPN, he is able to avoid firewall tunneling and a number of other issues. For setup, he followed a two-part YouTube video posted by K6OZY. This same technology could also be used in conjunction with other remote hardware to sidestep firewall configuration issues.
Bob, N6TV, has shared his photos taken during the 2016 Contest Dinner in Dayton, Ohio. W2GD was the featured speaker at the event, where Rich, KL7RA (SK), and Tod, K0TO, were inducted into the CQ Contest Hall of Fame.
One of the 2016 New York City Drone Film Festival's official selections is a 2-minute video of a climber on a 1500 foot TV tower. The video was shot in South Dakota on a clear fall day.
The full results article for the ARRL 10 Meter Contest is now available. Over 4100 logs were submitted for the 43rd running of the contest!
The 2016 Amateur Radio Direction Finding USA National Championships were held in Killeen, Texas in April 2016. The complete results are available on the Texas ARDF website.
Results of the South Carolina QSO Party have been posted on the SCQP website. Two hundred forty-five logs were received, the highest number so far. The 2017 SCQP will occur on February 25, 2017.
Getting Spotted by the Reverse Beacon Network
If you want to have big scores, you know it's "all about that rate," and you're going to have to run a frequency. It's important that you maintain a consistent stream of "assisted" callers to feed your rate, and one of the ways to do that is to maximize your potential to be spotted. One way to get spotted is to be heard by the Reverse Beacon Network (RBN). The RBN works by scanning the bands looking for stations transmitting "CQ-like" messages. To get spotted, it's key to have your CQ message be on that the RBN network will recognize. A message like "CQ TEST N9ADG" is one format that can work, with two caveats: All parts of the message should be sent at a consistent speed, with proper spacing between elements, and the message should be sent twice, although a recent test showed that I was able to get spotted by sending my call just once. If your favorite CQ message isn't one that is compatible with RBN, you might want to have an additional RBN-friendly message that you send periodically. To see stations spotting you in real time, try the URL http://www.reversebeacon.net/dxsd1/dxsd1.php?f=0&c=YOURCALL&t=dx
A hybrid of silicon wafer and vacuum tube technology may allow electronics to continue to shrink. While the ever-diminishing physical size of conventional silicon wafer devices increases the potential for leakage via quantum tunneling, vacuum technology exploits the same effect for faster switching. This research is sponsored by Boeing.
Titanium Dioxide, a chemical typically known for its use as a component of paint pigment, is being used to make high-resolution lenses. The method of their construction is novel, akin to the way that silicon wafers are fabricated. In some anticipated uses, focus would be achieved by computation instead of physical movement. Researchers are also examining the potential to electrically tune parameters of the lenses, which can modulate optical transmission.
TAPR has had a Raspberry Pi shield available for 20 meter WSPR use for a while. This is a complete WSPR transmitter, including low-pass filter, on a single board. What you may not know is that the board is not confined to just WSPR modes. With suitable software, CW, SSB, SSTV, and other modes can be used with the hardware.
SDR "dongles" continue to be used as building blocks for experimentation and utility, such as receivers for the Reverse Beacon Network. In a recent blog article, GOMX-3 satellite data is decoded using Gnu Radio by some enthusiasts including some Amateur Radio operators. The GOMX-3 satellite's mission is to collect ADS-B transmissions over portions of the globe not covered by terrestrial receivers for retransmission to ground stations. For even more SDR inspiration, the RTL-SDR website provides a wide range of information.
If you have an opportunity to participate in a club Field Day effort this year, take a moment to look around and see if you can identify those individuals that are making it happen. They volunteered to contribute their time and effort to make and be a part of something larger and different than just "1D." If you are so inclined, you might even look for somewhere to jump in and help. Maybe there's a job that would be easier with a second person. Whether it's helping to pull stations from a pileup, or filling in for someone who called in sick, extra hands are always useful at events that require a lot of logistics.
Clubs with strong records of successful events realize that official recognition of consistent contribution is key to staying strong, and developing new volunteers. For example, in the Western Washington DX Club, there are a number of awards presented annually for service to the club. The "Most Valuable Player" is awarded to the "member whose service to the club over time has been invaluable, allowing the club to succeed on the air and in club activities. They're always working to get the job done and make things run smoothly for the rest of us. Not only that, they display the kind of public, on-the-air behavior and qualities that put us all in a good light." The general membership is polled for their nominations for the award, and the awards are made at the annual holiday dinner meeting.
While volunteers do it for their own reasons, it's never wrong to simply say, one way or another, "Thank you for helping make this possible." It's always appreciated.
That's all for this time. Remember to complete the Contest Update reader survey, and send contesting related stories, flea market pictures, book reviews, tips, techniques, press releases, errata, schematics, club information, pictures, stories, blog links, predictions, and Field Day horror stories to firstname.lastname@example.org
73, Brian N9ADG
16 Jun - 29 Jun 2016
An expanded, downloadable version of QST's Contest Corral in PDF format is available. Check the sponsor's website for information on operating time restrictions and other instructions.
CWops Mini-CWT Test, Jun 15, 1300z to Jun 15, 1400z, Jun 15, 1900z to Jun 15, 2000z, Jun 16, 0300z to Jun 16, 0400z; CW; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; Member: Name + Member No., non-Member: Name + (state/province/country); Logs due: June 18.
SMIRK Contest, Jun 18, 0000z to Jun 20, 0000z; CW, Phone; Bands: 6m Only; SMIRK No. (optional) + 4-character grid square; Logs due: August 15.
June 16, 2016
June 17, 2016
June 18, 2016
June 19, 2016
June 20, 2016
June 22, 2016
Click here to advertise in this newsletter, space subject to availability.
Your One-Stop Resource for Amateur Radio News and Information
ARRL membership includes QST, Amateur Radio's most popular and informative journal, delivered to your mailbox each month.
Subscribe to NCJ - the National Contest Journal. Published bimonthly, features articles by top contesters, letters, hints, statistics, scores, NA Sprint and QSO Parties.
Subscribe to QEX - A Forum for Communications Experimenters. Published bimonthly, features technical articles, construction projects, columns and other items of interest to radio amateurs and communications professionals.
Free of charge to ARRL members: Subscribe to The ARRL Letter (weekly digest of news and information), the ARES E-Letter (monthly public service and emergency communications news), Division and Section news -- and much more!
ARRL offers a wide array of products to enhance your enjoyment of Amateur Radio. Visit the site often for new publications, specials and sales.
Donate to the fund of your choice -- support programs not funded by member dues!
Reprint permission can be obtained by sending email to email@example.com with a description of the material and the reprint publication.