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The ARRL Contest Update
January 9, 2019
Editor: Brian Moran, N9ADG
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IN THIS ISSUE
NEW HF OPERATORS -- THINGS TO DO

If you participated in the ARRL RTTY Roundup last weekend, you might want to read the after-action reports on 3830scores.com, and compare yourself to your peer group. It can help to do that after every contest, while the details of your operation are fresh in your memory. Any strategy to use RTTY versus FT8 in this contest is brand new. You have to admire the pluck of N0ALL, a Technician licensee, who got on 10 meters for the contest, and reported a single contact: "First RTTY contest as a Tech on 10M, I felt like I was on a deserted island with my only friend Wilson the volleyball."

There are number of learning and in-person networking opportunities coming up in Orlando, Florida; Visalia, California, and Dayton/Xenia, Ohio, that you might want to plan for, though the time to make easy hotel reservations may be long past.

What kind of North American QSO Parties are taking place over the next two weeks? "Both kinds, Phone and CW!" Connect with some others in your radio club, and get on a team. It's one of the best ways to really commit to being in the contest, because you won't want to let the team down! If you were part of an NAQP team last time, don't forget to get the band back together. The North American Collegiate Championship, SSB, takes place concurrently with the NAQP SSB - it's a contest within a contest. You can cheer on your alma mater during the contest by watching the Contest Online Scoreboard.

This is more of an operating tip: If your logging program is recording contacts you're making in the contest, don't fret if the score that it's showing you seems incorrect. The contest sponsors will calculate the score from the individual contacts in the Cabrillo log that you submit. Some programs generate a CLAIMED-SCORE: field in the output file, but it's not necessary and not even used by the computer program scoring the logs.

BUSTED QSOS

Mark, K5GQ, pointed out some issues with the NAQCC Contest Listings in the last issue. As always, check with the contest sponsor for the latest contest details.

CONTEST SUMMARY

10 Jan - 24 Jan 2019

Complete information for all contests follows the Conversation section

January 10

January 11

January 12

January 13

January 14

January 15

January 16

January 17

January 18

January 19

January 20

January 21

January 23

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NEWS, PRESS RELEASES, AND GENERAL INTEREST

Jeff, WK6I, writes: "When submitting your RTTY Roundup log, please ensure that you submit for the correct entry category! Remember that Rule 7.4 states that all entries that made contacts in FT8 using WSJT-X must enter in one of the Unlimited categories (or Multiop, if you did that.)" For more information, see Jeff's post on the CQ-Contest email reflector.

Registration is now open for the 2019 Dayton Contest University ("CTU") to be held all day on Thursday May 16, 2019 at the Crowne Plaza in Dayton, Ohio. This is the day before Hamvention opens in Xenia, Ohio. "2019 will be the 13th year in a row for CTU Dayton. To give you an idea of the quality of the CTU content and activities you can see videos and PDFs from past CTUs on the CTU web site at http://contestuniversity.com" (Tim, K3LR)

The 27th Annual Dayton Contest Dinner at the Crowne Plaza in downtown Dayton, Ohio will take place on Saturday, May 18. John Dorr, K1AR, will emcee the event, with Ted Rappaport, N9NB, as the featured speaker. The 2019 Contest Hall of Fame inductees will be announced during the Dayton Contest Dinner. For full details, see the event's website.

Also in Dayton in May, the 31st annual Contest Super Suite will take place each night from Wednesday May 15 thru Saturday May 18, 2019. Each night from 7 pm - 2 am, contesters are encouraged to gather and renew friendships, share stories, and eat contest food like pizza.

The 30th annual Dayton Top Band Dinner will take place Friday, May 17. Information and tickets are available on the website. This year's speaker is Ken, K4ZW.

Many of the contesting-related events in Dayton require tickets, and sell out in advance.

The 70th meeting of International DX Convention (IDXC) is now open for registration. This year's meeting will be held April 12-14, 2019 at the Visalia Convention Center in Visalia, CA. Of particular interest to contesters will be the full day of Contest Academy and the Visalia Contest Dinner -- to be held on Friday, April 12 -- and the Contest Forum occurring on Saturday. The usual IDXC program of DX and technical seminars, keynotes will be held throughout the weekend.

Selling real estate with a working ham shack and associated towers and antennas can be a challenge. Potential buyers are most likely going to be amateurs. Scott, KA9FOX, has started a website to help hams sell their real estate that "...comes with existing towers and antennas. " According to Scott, "there are 11 homes listed so far including a few noteworthy contest stations (K4ISV's Kentucky station, VY2ZM's place in PEI, and both of N3HBX's places in Maryland)." If you're looking for a new QTH, you can receive email notices of new listings by signing up on the website. (Scott, KA9FOX)

Marty, NN1C (recently ex-KC1CWF), writes: "I am currently involved in leading a team of youth in operating WPX SSB 2019 at superstation K3LR. We have formed a M/2, and are working together to put on a competitive effort. The team currently consists of NN1C, KM4ATT, DK4EE, HA8RT, KG5HVO, W6BQ/KK6NON, and VE7DZO. The effort will be completely operated and planned by people under 21. We are calling ourselves Team Exuberance. The idea is that our team makes up for experience and practice though energy, planning, and excitement. To help make this possible, we are raising money. Our current goal is to raise $5,000 dollars via our GoFundMe website http://www.teamexuberance.org. These funds will be used for 2 nights worth of hotel rooms for the team, flights for those who need to fly in (W6BQ, KC1CWF, VE7DZO), and helping with the flights from Europe for DK4EE, and HA8RT, as well as other incidentals such as food and other consumables. Any funds left over will be put towards future youth-only contesting events. We hope we can train the contesters of the future in doing this. People with questions are more than welcome to email us at team@teamexuberance.org."

The 2019 Orlando Contest Dinner will be held on February 8, 2019. Doors will open at 5pm for socializing, and a barbecue buffet dinner will be served at 6:30. Tickets to the event include dinner, beverages, and an entry into the raffle. The Dinner speaker will be Andy Blank, N2NT. Andy was inducted into the CQ Contest Hall of Fame in 2017, and he maintains stations in New Jersey and on a mountaintop in V4, where can often be heard on the air as V47NT or V47T. Andy has been the director of the CQWW 160 Meter Contest (CW and SSB) for a number of years, and served as one of the directors for WRTC in 2014. For more information on the dinner, and to buy tickets, see the FCG website.

The WRTC 2022 website, http://wrtc2022.it, is now operational! The rules for qualifying for the big event have been posted, and according to the organizers: "For WRTC 2022 the Selection Areas are much smaller so that operators on all continents now have more chances to qualify than ever before."

Paul, EI5DI, writes: "SD by EI5DI sets the standard for fast, simple CW and SSB logging in HF contests, and is now free and unrestricted. It is intended for single-op unassisted entries, and supports hundreds of contests worldwide, including many state QSO parties. SD runs on Windows, Linux, and on Raspberry Pi 3. Download from http://www.ei5di.com. There's no easier way to get started with contest logging, as the manual is only 17 pages."

How many spots can a spot skimmer skim if a spot skimmer could skim spots, during CQWW? A lot! According to Pete, N4ZR, spot numbers are increasing as the number of skimmers increase:

Year# of Spots
20166,065,160
20177,007,314
20188,388,796

The January ARRL VHF Contest is January 19. The final results from the September contest are now posted on the ARRL contest website to help inform your plans.

WORD TO THE WISE

Sunday driver

In the context of contesting, a casual contester that gets on the air to make a few contacts late in the contest period. A particular kind of "fresh meat."

SIGHTS AND SOUNDS

Scott, K0MD, Editor of NCJ - National Contest Journal, was interviewed on KB6NU's No Nonsense Amateur Radio Podcast back in November. It's a great discussion, including how Scott has kept his passion for Amateur Radio through many moves, lengthy medical education, and his demanding professional life. Interesting fact: He's only considered himself a "real" contester since 2006! You may find yourself trying SO2R after listening to Scott's enthusiastic explanation of how easy it is.

This WRTC2018 Tent was dedicated in memory of Dave Collingham, K3LP, by the Potomac Valley Radio Club (PVRC) and the National Capitol DX Association (NCDXA). Many more pictures can be found the WRTC History website. [George, K5KG, Photo]

Additional links to a number of collections of WRTC 2018 pictures taken by participants and attendees have been added to the WRTC History website by Randy, K5ZD.

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RESULTS AND RECORDS

Preliminary results for the 2018 ARRL Phone Sweepstakes have been posted. Despite poor conditions, a number of records were broken at the division and section levels. Log submissions increased by 5% over 2017. The June 2019 issue of QST will contain the top scores.

The September VHF Contest Full Results have been added to the contest results articles on the ARRL website. With little help from the ionosphere, roving had heightened importance. The number of logs submitted for adjudication was the highest since 2009! Operating stories from some of the top-10 operators and teams are provided in the write-up, a nice touch.

Final results of the 2018 California QSO Party (CQP) are now available on the CQP website. All 58 California counties were on the air for the event, and 905 logs were submitted. Anyone that submitted a log before the deadline can download a certificate of participation from the contest website.

The results for 2018's inaugural FT8 Roundup are available online. According to the contest's sponsors, online certificates are now available to all participants who submitted a log before the deadline. According to the sponsors, this includes check logs.

Don, AA5AU, reports that records for the ARRL RTTY Roundup have been updated on the RTTYContesting website to reflect scores up until 2018.

OPERATING TIP

Dupe!

When a station that you've worked before calls you, it may be more prudent to just work that station again rather than send them a DUPE message. In most contests today, the chances are good that the station calling is using a computerized logging program, and if they're calling, they truly must believe they don't have you in the log. Having more than one contact with the same station is not cause for a penalty, but claiming a contact without a corresponding contact in the other log will cost you points.

If a number of stations start calling you that have all worked you before, it could be because someone has incorrectly spotted a call on your frequency and the duplicate callers are blindly calling you. Note that it's at least unethical and potentially against the rules to intentionally incorrectly spot other stations onto your run frequency.

If you're calling a station that you think is new to you, but they say "DUPE" and refuse to work you, it's their prerogative. Arguing will cost time better spent on making contact with stations that want to work you. You might also want to make absolutely sure you've copied their call sign correctly and, if so, try to identify whether you're transposing characters, mis-copying particular letters or numbers, or whether you just made a mistake.

TECHNICAL TOPICS AND INFORMATION

Any antenna that is near a dedicated receiving antenna can receive and re-radiate signals, reducing the performance of your receiving antenna. In the YCCC Low-band receiving array manual, John, W1FV, suggested a way to detune other antennas using vacuum relays to help reduce this problem. "See pages 46-48 of the manual. Figure 39 on page 47 shows a simple circuit that I use with my K3 for simultaneously keying my amplifier (AL-1200 with the QSK-5 option) and the vacuum relays (via a driver transistor) on my TX verticals." (via Topband Reflector)

Jim, K9YC, has published "A New Choke Cookbook for the 160-10M Bands" on his website. Jim concentrates on two sizes of type-31 Fair-rite magnetic cores, covering theory and practice for controlling RF current on the outside of transmitter feed lines.

Dan, KB6NU, found the article "Ham Antenna Rotator: The Teardown" from Electronic Design. A HAM-IV rotator is discussed, disassembled, cleaned, lubricated, and rebuilt. It could provide the impetus for you to do the same with one you find at a hamfest this spring. (via KB6NU's Blog ).

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CONVERSATION

Special Teams

As I write this, the 2019 ARRL RTTY Roundup is under way. This year's event is an example of how a contest can evolve. The "RU" has allowed digital modes from its inception, and 45.5 Baud RTTY has always been the dominant mode in the contest by a wide margin. But FT8 and WSJT-X changed this year's Roundup weeks ago just by announcing "support" for the contest. Also just before this year's contest, the N1MM Logger+ team released a version of "the most widely used contest logging program" that directly supported inter-program communication with WSJT-X, and permitted a sane way of keeping track of multipliers across modes in this now multi-mode contest. With N1MM Logger+ as the "ground truth" log, some contesters appeared to be using RTTY for rate, and FT8 for multipliers, just as our multiop team is. While watching 40 meter FT8 decodes on the local Sunday morning, I recognize the call signs of a number of stations that placed highly in the results last year, so there are plenty of RTTY operators giving FT8 a try.

With the coincidence of the contest and the American Football NFL Playoffs, this year's Roundup really did seem to have at least one similarity to a modern football team - our multi operation had special teams to handle different aspects of the contest. One person owned the overall station setup. Another was concerned with the pre-contest configuration and testing to be able to chase FT8 multipliers. Two operators were mostly responsible for thinking about when trying FT8 would potentially be most helpful, and helping to educate the rest of the team about how to use the mode.

Everyone pitched in to try to make the operation a success in the face of new and potentially game changing technology and technique.

Compared to past performance, we perceived we have already earned a few extra multipliers using FT8 that we wouldn't have with just RTTY. But doing so did cost us time and rate. We're 7 hours from 0000z, and we have no timeouts left. Are we using the right strategy?

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

10 Jan - 24 Jan 2019

An expanded, downloadable version of QST's Contest Corral is available as a PDF. Check the sponsor's website for information on operating time restrictions and other instructions.

HF CONTESTS

CWops Mini-CWT Test, Jan 9, 1300z to Jan 9, 1400z and, Jan 9, 1900z to Jan 9, 2000z and, Jan 10, 0300z to Jan 10, 0400z; CW; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; Member: Name + Member No., non-Member: Name + (state/province/country); Logs due: January 12.

NCCC RTTY Sprint, Jan 11, 0145z to Jan 11, 0215z; RTTY; Bands: (see rules); Serial No. + Name + QTH; Logs due: January 13.

QRP Fox Hunt, Jan 11, 0200z to Jan 11, 0330z; CW; Bands: 80m Only; RST + (state/province/country) + name + power output; Logs due: January 17.

NCCC Sprint Ladder, Jan 11, 0230z to Jan 11, 0300z; CW; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, 10, 6m; Serial No. + Name + QTH; Logs due: January 13.

YB DX Contest, Jan 12, 0000z to Jan 12, 2359z; SSB; Bands: 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; RS + Serial No.; Logs due: January 19.

Old New Year Contest, Jan 12, 0500z to Jan 12, 0900z; CW, SSB; Bands: 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; RST + sum of operator age and years on the air; Logs due: January 27.

UBA PSK63 Prefix Contest, Jan 12, 1200z to Jan 13, 1200z; BPSK63; Bands: 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; ON: RSQ + UBA Section, non-ON: RSQ + Serial No. (starting with 001); Logs due: January 20.

SKCC Weekend Sprintathon, Jan 12, 1200z to Jan 14, 0000z; CW; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, 10, 6m; RST + (state/province/country) + Name + (SKCC No./"NONE"); Logs due: January 20.

North American QSO Party, CW, Jan 12, 1800z to Jan 13, 0559z; CW; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; NA: Name + (state/DC/province/country), non-NA: Name; Logs due: January 18.

NRAU-Baltic Contest, SSB, Jan 13, 0530z to Jan 13, 0730z; SSB; Bands: 80, 40m; RST + Serial No. + 2-letter Fylke/Lan/Province/Region; Logs due: January 20.

NRAU-Baltic Contest, CW, Jan 13, 0800z to Jan 13, 1000z; CW; Bands: 80, 40m; RST + Serial No. + 2-letter Fylke/Lan/Province/Region; Logs due: January 20.

DARC 10-Meter Contest, Jan 13, 0900z to Jan 13, 1059z; CW, SSB; Bands: 10m Only; DL: RS(T) + QSO No. + DOK, non-DL: RS(T) + QSO No.; Logs due: January 20.

Midwinter Contest, Jan 13, 1000z to Jan 13, 1400z; CW, SSB; Bands: 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; YLs: RST + Serial No. (beginning with 2001), OMs: RST + Serial No. (beginning with 001); Logs due: see rules.

RSGB AFS Contest, Data, Jan 13, 1300z to Jan 13, 1700z; RTTY, PSK; Bands: 80, 40m; RST + Serial No.; Logs due: January 14.

Classic Exchange, CW, Jan 13, 1300z to Jan 14, 0700z and, Jan 15, 1300z to Jan 16, 0700z; CW; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, 10, 6, 2m; Name + RST + (state/province/country) + rcvr/xmtr manuf/model; Logs due: April 30.

4 States QRP Group Second Sunday Sprint, Jan 14, 0100z to Jan 14, 0300z; 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: January 16.

QRP Fox Hunt, Jan 16, 0200z to Jan 16, 0330z; CW; Bands: 80m Only; RST + (state/province/country) + name + power output; Logs due: January 17.

Phone Fray, Jan 16, 0230z to Jan 16, 0300z; SSB; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15m; NA: Name + (state/province/country), non-NA: Name; Logs due: January 18.

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

NAQCC CW Sprint, Jan 17, 0130z to Jan 17, 0330z; CW; Bands: 80, 40, 20m; RST + (state/province/country) + (NAQCC No./power); Logs due: January 20.

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

QRP Fox Hunt, Jan 18, 0200z to Jan 18, 0330z; CW; Bands: 80m Only; RST + (state/province/country) + name + power output; Logs due: January 24.

NCCC Sprint Ladder, Jan 18, 0230z to Jan 18, 0300z; CW; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, 10, 6m; Serial No. + Name + QTH; Logs due: January 20.

LZ Open Contest, Jan 18, 1800z to Jan 18, 2200z; CW; Bands: 80, 40m; 3-Digit Serial No. + 3-Digit Serial No. received from last QSO; Logs due: January 28.

Hungarian DX Contest, Jan 19, 1200z to Jan 20, 1159z; CW, SSB; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; HA: RS(T) + 2-letter county/HA-DXC member no., non-HA: RS(T) + Serial No.; Logs due: February 3.

RSGB AFS Contest, SSB, Jan 19, 1300z to Jan 19, 1700z; SSB; Bands: 80, 40m; RS + Serial No.; Logs due: January 20.

NA Collegiate Championship, SSB, Jan 19, 1800z to Jan 20, 0559z; SSB; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; NA: Name + (state/DC/province/country), non-NA: Name; Logs due: January 25.

North American QSO Party, SSB, Jan 19, 1800z to Jan 20, 0559z; SSB; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; NA: Name + (state/DC/province/country), non-NA: Name; Logs due: January 25.

WAB 1.8 MHz Phone/CW, Jan 19, 1900z to Jan 19, 2300z; CW, SSB; Bands: 160m Only; British Isles: RS + serial no. + WAB square, Other: RS + serial no. + country; Logs due: February 9.

Feld Hell Sprint, Jan 19, 2000z to Jan 19, 2359z (EU-AF) and, Jan 19, 2300z to Jan 20, 0259z (ENA-ESA) and, Jan 20, 0200z to Jan 20, 0559z (WNA-OC-AS); Feld Hell; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; (see rules); Logs due: January 24.

Run for the Bacon QRP Contest, Jan 21, 0200z to Jan 21, 0400z; CW; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; RST + (state/province/country) + (Member No./power); Logs due: January 27.

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

NAQCC CW Sprint, Jan 23, 0130z to Jan 23, 0330z; CW; Bands: 80, 40, 20m; RST + (state/province/country) + (NAQCC No./power); Logs due: January 27.

QRP Fox Hunt, Jan 23, 0200z to Jan 23, 0330z; CW; Bands: 80m Only; RST + (state/province/country) + name + power output; Logs due: January 24.

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

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

VHF+ CONTESTS


ARRL January VHF Contest, Jan 19, 1900z to Jan 21, 0359z; Any; Bands: 50 MHz and up; 4-character grid square; Logs due: January 31.

Also see Classic Exchange, CW, NCCC Sprint Ladder, SKCC Weekend Sprintathon, above.

LOG DUE DATES

10 Jan - 24 Jan 2019

January 10, 2019

January 11, 2019

January 12, 2019

January 13, 2019

January 14, 2019

January 15, 2019

January 16, 2019

January 17, 2019

January 18, 2019

January 19, 2019

January 20, 2019

January 22, 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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