May 20, 2015Editor: Brian Moran, N9ADG
IN THIS ISSUE
NEW HF OPERATORS - THINGS TO DO
ARRL Field day is fast approaching. For many amateurs, this event has provided some of their best 'Ham Radio Memories.' If you're a member of a radio club already, why not get involved in helping out in planned field day activities; if you're NOT a member of a club, it's a good time to find out if any of your local ones are participating, where, and how you can operate HF. While it's called an 'operating event', you'll find plenty of clubs treat it as they would any other contest.
Are you a CW aficionado? Perhaps an opportunity to tour the station of renowned contester W3LPL? You may be interested in the "North American CW Weekend" in Washington, DC, June 5-7, 2015. More details may be found at http://www.cwops.org/events.html
Complete information for all contests follows the Conversation section
CQ Magazine recently announced the 2015 inductees to the CQ Contest Hall of Fame. Doug Grant, K1DG, and Ward Silver, NØAX, both of whom have given and continue to give so much to the hobby of contesting and amateur radio in general were honored at the ceremony in Dayton, Ohio last weekend.
Norway is shutting down all government-run analog FM broadcasting in two years: http://radio.no/2015/04/norway-to-switch-off-fm-in-2017/. "With DAB and digital radio, listeners will be provided with more radio channels and greater diversity in content."
Can you imagine finally finding this RFI source? 17-Year-Old Radio Astronomy Mystery Traced Back To Kitchen Microwave http://www.bbc.com/news/world-australia-32598767
Web Site of the Week - "How to Find Old Amateur Radio Callsigns" Researching the history of a call sign? There are some call books published on line which may assist in this effort, and W0IS has written about them: http://w0is.com/oldcallsigns/oldcalls.html (thanks to Tim K3LR)
Congratulations to Ward for his induction into the CQ Contest Hall of Fame, and for piloting the contest update since 2002... these shoes he's left to fill are looking mighty big! Who is this new guy? I've been interested in electronics since grade school, and finally became a ham in high school. Like many others in our hobby, radio and electronics led to micro-computers, which led to college and a career. During much of the career building and family time of life, I wasn't on the radio too much, but I still lugged my TS-520S through numerous moves over 20 years, settling near Seattle. One evening, this displaced 9 walked into a Western Washington DX Club meeting, and shortly thereafter began to fall under the influence of some of the contesters in the club. WWDXC Field Days led to Salmon Runs (WAQP), CQWW, Sweepstakes, RTTY, VHF... I was learning contesting stuff from the "regular club members" like N7TT, K7SS, NØAX, N6HR, K7RI, N7WA, K7WA, W7WA, K7RL... sometimes you don't know how good you have it. By 2006, I had planted an 89' tower with a SteppIR, and had some low-band beverages working pretty well with an inverted-L. Many if not most weekends, I was on the radio. My wife and two oldest kids became licensed in 2007. Participating in and hosting multi-ops became a favorite of mine after being invited to be part of VP5W for the CQWW-CW in 2008 with W7VV and VE7XF; Sweepstakes with the K7IR crew and RTTY Contests at K7BTW have been the norm for a few years. 2013 brought a family move to a closer-in suburb east of Seattle; I'm staying active by travelling to multi-ops and using remote stations while I rebuild a more modest setup at my new QTH.
WORD TO THE WISE
Tarpit - also known as Teergrube, the German word for tarpit... a service on a computer that purposely delays incoming connections or execution of a communications protocol. Applicability to contesting: "The op mumbled to himself: Don't teergrube me with your "please copy" exchange!"
"The contest robot has no feelings about you, personally. Do not take offense if your log is rejected." - Randy, K5ZD at Dayton 2015 Contest University
The hottest new music video "On the Cover the NCJ" from the Spurious Emissions is up on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v9B3KyhFa0c Click "cc" to view the song lyrics as captions. Note the on-stage performances of many previous editors of NCJ. There are additional "Spurs" videos on the RAWilsonTV YouTube Channel (Note: some lyrics are PG-13) (Thanks Bob N6TV).
Video of the induction of K1DG and NØAX into the CQ Contest Hall of Fame at the 2015 Dayton Contest Dinner can be found here. The introductory comments of K4RO, K1KP, K1AR help frame the exceptional contributions both hams have made.
The full results article, online scores, printable line scores and log checking reports for the 2014 ARRL 160m Contest are now live at http://www.arrl.org/contest-results-articles.
Are you on the road to WRTC2018? The current standings among competitors for spots at WRTC2018 now include scores from the ARRL DX CW and CQ WPX Phone contests. You can find out more about WRTC2018 at http://www.wrtc2018.de -- the next WRTC qualifying event is CQ WPX CW the weekend of May 30-31. - (Thanks Ward NØAX )
Results of the 2014 CQ WW RTTY Contest are now available at http://www.cqwwrtty.com/results.htm
Preliminary results of the February NA Phone Sprint have been posted at http://ssbsprint.com/results. Five operators (N6ED, W6YX, K6LA, K7SS, KW8N) achieved Worked All States in the four hours of the contest.
Final results from the EARTTY Contest 2015 are available at http://concursos.ure.es/en/eartty/resultados/
The Kansas City DX Club's annual CW Pileup Competition held in Dayton was won by Saty, JE1JKL. His last win in this contest was in 2005. This year's competition was fierce, with FOUR contestants tied with the same number of calls, however Saty copied more characters correctly overall. If you'd like to practice for next year's running, check out NO5W's practice site.
SELF- SPOTTING is now ALLOWED in ARRL VHF/UHF Contests, starting with the June ARRL VHF Contest. These changes were made to encourage greater participation and band utilization. For more information on these rule changes, see the January 22, 2015 ARRL Letter, and the General Rules for ARRL Contests Above 50 MHz (specifically, item 1.16). Note that self-spotting ... "Announcements shall be limited to call sign, location, band or frequency, mode and-if applicable-transmitting sequence and listening direction...(and) may also be used to coordinate antenna peaking prior to initiation of the contact and to explain contest rules, such as the exchange required..."
Need to learn a new skill, have some time? Perhaps this TED talk video by Josh Kaufman can help: The First 20 Hours - How to Learn Anything: Josh Kaufman at TEDxCSU
In a presentation at the International DX Convention in Visalia, California, NX1P suggested using inexpensive Wi-Fi Routers with Gargoyle firmware to address multi-station networking scenarios typically occurring on DXpeditions. Some of the problems solved are the same as those one would encounter networking contest stations in a temporary multi-op or field-day situation. http://www.nx1p.net/files/20150327VisaliaNX1PYear2-1.pptx
Too many low-band receive antennas and no way to switch them? Used or surplus 75 ohm video switches can be had inexpensively on eBay and other sources, and many models work all the way to DC. (Tom W8JI, Herb KV4FZ via the Topband email list)
Version 6.0 of EZNEC has been released by W7EL. He was on hand at Dayton to explain some of the new capabilities, including faster calculations, graphical wire modification, split wires, enhanced scaling, correction for loaded and trapped Yagis. Capacities have been increased - version 6.0 can handle 2000 segments, automatic catenary generation for wire antennas, and can output Touchstone files.
SDR on a $35 computer? Here's an article on using a Raspberry Pi B with GNU Radio as an SDR to receive and decode digital information using a DVB USB dongle: http://www.rs-online.com/designspark/electronics/eng/blog/taking-the-raspberry-pi-2-for-a-test-drive-with-gnu-radio-2
Rick, KUØW, found the website and book "Cool Tools" at his library. It is a curated list of a variety of very specialized tools of all sorts, and could make great coffee table reading. In the book, a QRC code is provided for each tool, for quick and easy web lookup. (Thanks Rick)
Here's how you can use an SDR receiver, and open source software to do some RF sleuthing of a 433 MHz wireless doorbell - the techniques described, based on open source software, are applicable to all sorts of wireless devices: https://goo.gl/MCmwZW (link points to a PDF file). The author designs and constructs a receiver by arranging and connecting functional blocks which comprise the various functions for amplifying, mixing, demodulating, etc.
Watching where the Action is, from Afar
If you were unable to attend Dayton this year, you could have taken advantage of the live video streams provided on Hamvention.org by the Dayton Amateur Radio Association, via ICOM's live video stream, or W5KUB's broadcasts. Some vendors had their own video streams for new product introductions, and in some cases the presenters could be asked questions posed by remote watchers via audience members.
On Thursday and Friday, sessions from Contest University were being streamed, with excellent audio and video. Past CTU videos are available for your viewing pleasure on the CTU Website.
As folks return from Dayton, there will be even more information to glean as it gets posted and reposted over the next few weeks.
Why not try a new "mode" in getting information about contesting or ham radio? Watch a contest video, follow a DXpedition on Twitter or Facebook, join an IRC Channel or web chat -- then get on the air and try something new? It's never been easier to find information about the hobby you love, and it's all at your fingertips.
20 May Through 3 June 2015
An expanded, downloadable version of QST's Contest Corral in PDF format is available. Check the sponsor's Web site for information on operating time restrictions and other instructions.
CWops Mini-CWT Test, May 20 1300Z-1400Z, 1900Z-2000Z; May 21 0300Z-0400Z; CW; Bands: 1.8-28 MHz; CWOps Member: Name + Member Number, non-Member: Name + (state/province/country); Logs Due: May 23.
NAQCC CW Sprint, May 21, 2015 0030Z-0230Z; CW; Bands: 3.5-14 MHz; RST+(state/province/country) + (NAQCC Number/power); Logs Due: May 24.
RSGB 80m Club Championship, CW, May 21 1900Z-2030Z; CW; Bands: 3.5 MHz only; RST + Serial Number; Logs Due: 2359Z May 28
NCCC RTTY Sprint, May 22, 0145Z-0215Z; RTTY; Bands: see rules; Serial Number + Name + QTH ; Logs Due: May 24.
NCCC Sprint Ladder, May 22, 0230Z-0300Z; CW; 1.8-50 Mhz; Serial Number + Name + QTH; Logs Due: May 24.
UN DX Contest, May 23, 0600Z-2100Z; CW, SSB; 3.5-28 MHz; Kazakhstan: RS(T) + District Code, non-Kazakhstan: RS(T) + QSO Number; Logs Due: June 7.
Portuguese Navy Day Contest, Digital, May 23, 0800Z-2359Z; 3.5-28 MHz; NRA Club: Member Number + CQ Zone, non-member: QSO Number + CQ Zone; Logs Due: June 12.
EU PSK DX Contest, May 23, 1200z to May 24, 1200z; BPSK63; 3.5-28 MHz; EU: RST + EU area code, non-EU: RST + QSO Number; Logs Due: May 29.
Baltic Contest, May 23, 2100z to May 24, 0200z; CW, SSB; 3.5 MHz only; see rules; Logs Due: June 10.
SKCC Sprint, May 27, 0000z to 0200z; CW; RST + (state/province/country) + Name + (SKCC No./power); 1.8 - 28 MHz; Logs Due: May 29.
CWops Mini-CWT Test, May 27 1900Z-2000Z; CW; Bands: 1.8 - 28 MHz; CWOps Member: Name + Member Number, non-Member: Name + (state/province/country); Logs Due: May 23.
UKEICC 80m Contest, May 27, 2000z-2100z; SSB; Bands: 3.5 MHz only; 4-Character grid square; Logs Due: May 27.
NCCC RTTY Sprint, May 29, 0145z-0215z; RTTY; see rules; Serial No. + Name + QTH; Logs Due: May 31.
NCCC Sprint Ladder, May 29, 0230z-0300z; CW; 1.8MHz - 50MHz; Serial No. + Name + QTH; Logs Due: May 31.
CQ WW WPX Contest, CW, May 30, 0000z- May 31, 2359z; CW; 1.8-28 MHz; RST + Serial No.; Logs Due: June 5.
SARL Digital Contest, May 31, 1300z-1600z; PSK, RTTY; 3.5-14 MHz; RST + QSO Number; Logs Due: June 7.
QRP ARCI Hootowl Sprint, May 31, 2000 local-2400 local; CW; 1.8-28 MHz; RST + (state/province/country) + (ARCI no./power); Logs due June 14.
RSGB 80m Club Championship, Data, June 1, 1900z-2030z; RTTY, PSK; 3.5 MHz only; RST + Serial No.; Logs Due: June 8.
ARS Spartan Sprint, June 2, 0100z-0300z; CW; 3.5-28 MHz; RST + (state/province/country) + Power; Logs Due: June 4.
CWops Mini-CWT Test, June 3, 1300Z-1400Z and June 3 1900Z-2000Z; CW; Bands: 1.8-28 MHz; CWOps Member: Name + Member Number, non-Member: Name + (state/province/country); Logs Due: June 6.
LOG DUE DATES
20 May through 3 June 2015
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