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The ARRL Contest Update
March 21, 2018
Editor: Brian Moran, N9ADG

The phone version of the CQ World Wide WPX Contest is coming up this weekend, and is a very popular contest. In 2017, over 5400 logs were submitted, comprising over 1.7 million contacts. There are plenty of ways to play this contest - see the CQ WW WPX website for more information. Don't forget to take advantage of the ROOKIE overlay category if you qualify.

For something different, try the Russian WW MultiMode Contest on March 31. For this anyone-works-anyone contest, get familiar with the exchange, which is Oblast for Russian stations, and serial number for non-RU. CW, Phone, RTTY, and PSK are allowed modes for this contest.


The Azimuthal Map web application showing RBN spots received by the VE7CC skimmer.

The URL for the Azimuthal Map application described in the last issue had an extra space. The link has been corrected in the online version, and is correct here.


22 Mar - 4 Apr 2018

Complete information for all contests follows the Conversation section

March 22

March 23

March 24

March 25

March 28

March 29

March 30

March 31

April 1

April 2

April 3

April 4


Scott, N3FJP, announces that version 6.2 of Amateur Contest Log is available, featuring automatic upload of contacts to LoTW, eQSL, and Clublog, additional support for Icom and Yaesu radios, and support for feeding multiple real-time scoreboards. (Scott, N3FJP)

Those Boring Amateur Radio Club folks are doing something new this year - the Stew Perry Quatre Seasons Award. This award (with details to be revealed at a future date) will be presented to the single operator participant who "accumulates the highest total of points over the four events for a given year" regardless of power entry class. The Stew Perry Topband Distance Challenge now occurs four times a year, with the 'biggest Stew of all' in December.

Kim, WG8S, announces the VHF and above dinner at Dayton, to be held Friday, May 18, at the Double Tree Suites, Miamisburg, Ohio. Guests will arrive at 6 PM, and dinner will be at 7 PM. "If you are into anything 50 MHz and above - you're included and invited!" Contact Kim to arrange your attendance.

The 2018 Pacific Northwest VHF-UHF-Microwave Conference, sponsored by the Pacific Northwest VHF Society, will be held in Seaside, Oregon on October 12 and 13, 2018. The host hotel will be the Best Western Ocean View Resort. Check the PNWVHFS conference website for further information.

The Microwave Update, an international conference dedicated to microwave equipment design, construction, and operation, will be held October 11 through 14, 2018. This year's conference is hosted by the Midwest VHF/UHF Society at the Holiday Inn in Fairborn, Ohio. The conference's program committee is calling for papers and presentations on "the technical and operational aspects of microwave amateur radio communications" including projects, designs and operating adventures. Proposals, questions, and submissions can be emailed to John Ackermann, N8UR, with proposed abstracts due by August 25, 2018.'s page of recommended links attracted the attention of Peyton Clarkson, a student working on a project about radio communication. This in turn spurred her to recommend a link to a timeline of telecommunications history via a feedback link on the Yasme website. It's a good reminder to think about how to make any content or resource more generally appealing to someone that may happen upon it as a result of a search query, and who is not yet an Amateur or interested in radio contesting. Today's click could be yesteryear's equivalent of walking in on a radio club meeting. (Ward, N0AX)

Ed, W0YK, reminds that the Dayton RTTY Contest Dinner will be held Thursday, May 17, 2018 at 6pm, at the Spaghetti Warehouse in downtown Dayton. Please see this link for more information.

SteppIR Antennas is moving to a new location! As of March 26, their new address is 13406 SE 32nd Street, Bellevue, WA 98005. According to John Mertel, WA7IR, phone numbers will remain the same, and the move is just a "handful" of miles from the current location.


Zepp Antenna

The original Zepp antenna is said to have consisted of a half-wave monopole fed with a quarter-wave open wire line. It was originally used by Graf Zeppelin hydrogen filled airships, where it was important to keep high voltage points of the antenna away from the body of the aircraft. The name is an abbreviation of 'Zeppelin'.


Kevin, KB9RLW tagged along for the Fort Wayne Radio Club's monthly Fox Hunt, and posted his video on YouTube. Equipment and techniques are described and demonstrated. Two transmitters, one high power and one micro-fox, are hunted, with the higher-power transmitter is used to get hunters in the vicinity of the smaller transmitter. Kevin was fortunate enough to be the first to find the smaller transmitter, so he's in charge of hiding it the next time!

Friedrichshafen's HAM Radio 2017 is the focus of this independent video featuring interviews with Amateurs from many countries. "There is plenty of English spoken although it starts auf Deutsch" according to Ward, N0AX. (Ward, N0AX)

Hope, KM4IPF, operating as WK1DS, works V31VP during the ARRL International DX Phone Contest in this short video. Victor, WB0TEV, was the operator at V31VP.


The results of the 2017 ARRL CW Sweepstakes are now posted on the ARRL website. As a consequence of the hurricanes earlier in the year, the PR and VI sections were scarce, and overall scores were depressed compared to past years. Only ten stations were able to obtain a clean sweep in 2017.

The results of the 2018 Minnesota QSO Party have been posted to the W0AA website. The article discusses the inaugural use of FT8 in this event (and perhaps for any QSO party anywhere), and notes that over 3700 individual call signs were logged across all bands and modes out of the 33750 QSOs that were scored from all logs. Some non-Minnesota stations even used the event as an opportunity for an emergency preparedness exercise. Next year's contest will be held February 2, 2019. (Mark, WA0MHJ)

Preliminary results for the February 2018 North American QSO Party (NAQP) RTTY are now available at the National Contest Journal (NCJ) website. Final results will be published in an upcoming issue of the National Contest Journal. Any problems can be reported to Mark, K6UFO. The next running of the NAQP RTTY will take place Saturday July 21, 2018.

"Initial Preliminary results" for the Spring Stew Perry Topband Distance Challenge are available. The results will be updated as more scores are received before the log deadline. (Tree, N6TR)

The results for the 2017 CQMM DX Contest have been posted. The contest is sponsored by the Grupo Juizforano de CW (CWJF). Billing itself as the "largest CW contest in South America", over 900 logs were submitted representing nearly one hundred thousand contacts, with over 6600 individual call signs. Each participant can obtain their certificate from the website. The 2018 CQMM DX contest will occur on April 21, 2018 starting at 1200 UTC.


Filter your Spots

When operating in a contest category and class that allows the use of spots, spending time on spots that your station has no chance of using is counter-productive to your rate. For example, a US-based operator is unlikely to hear the same 10 meter stations spotted by European stations. Most logging programs that use spots or DX cluster client programs that display spots have provisions for setting up filters to ignore spots that are not relevant. If your logging computer seems to slow down during contests that have heavy spot traffic, it could be that the processing spot traffic is using up too much of your computer's CPU. One solution is to use a more powerful computer. Another is to filter spots before your computer receives them. Modern DX clusters support band and mode filtering, but you'll have to learn how to set these up, which is different depending on the type of DX Cluster you are using. The Yankee Clipper Contest Club provides this information for AR Cluster users, while VE7CC users can refer to this web page for filtering information.


Soldering is a basic skill, made more difficult by the decreasing size of modern components. Adafruit has published the "Adafruit Guide to Excellent Soldering" which details what good solder joints look like, as well as how to detect, diagnose, and remedy bad solder joints. (Bob, N6TV)

If you'd like to compare two different ADIF log files, try the beta version of the Clublog service adifdiff at (Michael, G7VJR, via Twitter)

With nine million Raspberry Pi 3 computers sold since their release, many are finding adoption in a wide range of Amateur related projects and products for their inexpensive cost, reasonable capabilities, and ever-expanding ecosystem. A new model of the Raspberry Pi, the 3B+, was released last week, featuring more computing power, faster network connectivity, and better cooling.

N1MM Logger+ and other logging programs have a voice macro feature which allows the use of audio (WAV) files to transact a contact just by playing pre-recorded message files. Usually a human operator records CQ, Exchange, and Thank You messages, as well as numbers and phonetics for each letter of the alphabet. The logging program sends the appropriate WAV file at the press of a key. N1MM has the additional capability to look for WAV files for arbitrary full call signs, which sounds much more fluid. Gerry, W1VE, has taken clever advantage of that feature and has combined it with today's cloud computing resources to make a Synthesized Digital Voice Keyer (DVK) that uses entirely computer-generated speech. Joe, WB9SBD, took advantage of this feature in the Wisconsin QSO Party recently to make 400+ QSOs entirely by this method. I asked Gerry what his motivation was for writing this program, and where he wanted to go with it in the future:

'I'm mostly a CW op. Phone is OK, but I don't like to talk for 24-48 hours in a contest. Of course, it can help you if you are sick, have an accent that makes you hard to understand, or otherwise are impeded from speaking. Why not make phone contesting as easy as CW? I've worked with speech synthesis in my career. A bunch of years ago, I experimented with another speech synthesizer for contesting. It used a different technology, and was a "live" DVK, synthesizing the audio directly from the text at the time the call sign was entered. It was OK, but the "free" voices sounded pretty robotic.

Amazon's cloud-based Polly offering is essentially free for our needs: You can have an account for a year with 5,000,000 characters synthesized per month! It offers 24 languages and 47 voices, all exposed via my application. Rather than a "live" DVK, it is designed to create WAV files that can be used by the N1MM Logger+. Since we have a continuously updated Super Check Partial (SCP) database online, my application can use the SCP database to generate full call sign WAV files for all the active contest calls. This is very important, as the intonation is perfect when you are playing a full call sign file: e.g. Whiskey-One-Victor-Echo.wav vs Whiskey.wav One.wav, Victor.wav, Echo.wav. When letters files are used to build the call, the intonation sounds robotic. Of course, my application creates files for both types of files. N1MM Logger+ will automatically use the full call sign files if they are found in the directory. The full US/Canada/Territory SCP file generates about 2 GB of audio files.

Currently, my software generates files formatted to work in the appropriate directories for N1MM Logger+. Some Writelog users have asked for a version that fits that application. My application has only been around a few months. I'll see what people think. If there is enough interest, I'll generate other versions for the other loggers.

It can be downloaded, free of charge, at'


Ethical Voices

It's not coincidence that the topics of integrity, ethics, and good behavior in contesting are regularly on contest conference agendas. Even though radio contesting isn't about winning big money, and contesting fame doesn't extend much beyond our radio contesting peer group, there are some people that don't follow the rules, or seek to gain unethical advantage over others.

Operating in a contest as a single operator is an unsupervised activity, with our "inner voice" providing the only sounding board for the many decisions we must make during a contest. Contest rules provide sharply drawn lines for only some decisions one might need to make during a contest, such as only using five Watts or less if claiming QRP. Others, such as techniques for finding a run frequency, controlling rise times on our CW signals, or the compression settings for phone, are left to 'Good Practice'. Sessions on ethics exist to provide guidance and backup for our inner voices, to help counter rationalizations to not operate in an ethical manner.

In multi-operator situations the dynamics can be different. Peer review (or pressure) can compel an operator to perform within the 'norms' of the team, and team members can observe and learn from one another. Back in 2016, I asked Craig, K9CT, how he brings new operators at K9CT up to speed. He emphasized that he expects sportsmanlike conduct of all of his operators:

"We expect everyone to be even tempered and good natured. Aggressive pileup behavior is discouraged. Each operator represents the K9CT contest station and we want a good reputation. There is a lot of laughter in the shack as the team steadily works to get each QSO and multiplier in the log. Our operators get along with each other and other contest operators on the air. These are important criteria for being a member of the team."

In radio contesting, it's rare for an ethical decision to be in conflict with a specific contest rule. But when there are no explicit contest rules or guidance for a situation, we have to draw upon our ethics for the right course of action. Perhaps at the most basic, we should start with "Act the way that I would want others to act if they were in the same situation."

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

73, Brian N9ADG


22 Mar - 4 Apr 2018

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


CWops Mini-CWT Test, Mar 21, 1300z to Mar 21, 1400z, Mar 21, 1900z to Mar 21, 2000z, Mar 22, 0300z to Mar 22, 0400z; CW; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; Member: Name + Member No., non-Member: Name + (state/province/country); Logs due: March 24.

NAQCC CW Sprint, Mar 22, 0030z to Mar 22, 0230z; CW; Bands: 80, 40, 20m; RST + (state/province/country) + (NAQCC No./power); Logs due: March 25.

RSGB 80m Club Championship, SSB, Mar 22, 2000z to Mar 22, 2130z; SSB; Bands: 80m Only; RS + Serial No.; Logs due: March 23.

QRP Fox Hunt, Mar 23, 0100z to Mar 23, 0230z; CW; Bands: 80m Only; RST + (state/province/country) + name + power output; Logs due: March 29.

NCCC RTTY Sprint, Mar 23, 0145z to Mar 23, 0215z; RTTY; Bands: (see rules); Serial No. + Name + QTH; Logs due: March 25.

NCCC Sprint, Mar 23, 0230z to Mar 23, 0300z; CW; Bands: (see rules); Serial No. + Name + QTH; Logs due: March 25.

CQ WW WPX Contest, SSB, Mar 24, 0000z to Mar 25, 2359z; SSB; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; RS + Serial No.; Logs due: March 30.

FOC QSO Party, Mar 24, 0000z to Mar 24, 2359z; CW; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, 10, VHF; FOC-Member: RST + Name + Member No., non-Members: RST + Name; Logs due: April 7.

SKCC Sprint, Mar 28, 0000z to Mar 28, 0200z; CW; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; RST + (state/province/country) + Name + (SKCC No./power); Logs due: March 30.

QRP Fox Hunt, Mar 28, 0100z to Mar 28, 0230z; CW; Bands: 80m Only; RST + (state/province/country) + name + power output; Logs due: March 29.

Phone Fray, Mar 28, 0230z to Mar 28, 0300z; SSB; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15m; NA: Name + (state/province/country), non-NA: Name; Logs due: March 30.

CWops Mini-CWT Test, Mar 28, 1300z to Mar 28, 1400z, Mar 28, 1900z to Mar 28, 2000z, Mar 29, 0300z to Mar 29, 0400z; CW; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; Member: Name + Member No., non-Member: Name + (state/province/country); Logs due: March 31.

UKEICC 80m Contest, Mar 28, 1900z to Mar 28, 2000z; CW; Bands: 80m Only; 4-Character grid square; Logs due: March 28.

QRP Fox Hunt, Mar 30, 0100z to Mar 30, 0230z; CW; Bands: 80m Only; RST + (state/province/country) + name + power output; Logs due: April 5.

NCCC RTTY Sprint, Mar 30, 0145z to Mar 30, 0215z; RTTY; Bands: (see rules); Serial No. + Name + QTH; Logs due: April 1.

NCCC Sprint, Mar 30, 0230z to Mar 30, 0300z; CW; Bands: (see rules); Serial No. + Name + QTH; Logs due: April 1.

Feld Hell Sprint, Mar 31, 0000z to Mar 31, 2359z; Feld Hell; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, 10, 6m; (see rules); Logs due: April 4.

UK/EI DX Contest, CW, Mar 31, 1200z to Apr 1, 1200z; CW; Bands: 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; UK/EI: RST + Serial No. + District Code, DX: RST + Serial No.; Logs due: April 2.

Russian WW MultiMode Contest, Mar 31, 1200z to Apr 1, 1159z; CW, SSB, RTTY, BPSK63; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; UA: RST(Q) + 2-character oblast, non-UA: RST(Q) + QSO No.; Logs due: April 6.

RSGB RoLo SSB, Apr 1, 1900z to Apr 1, 2030z; SSB; Bands: 80m Only; RS + previous 6-character grid square received; Logs due: April 2.

IQRP Quarterly Marathon, Apr 2, 0800z to Apr 8, 2000z; CW, SSB, Digital; Bands: All; RS(T); Logs due: April 22.

RSGB 80m Club Championship, CW, Apr 2, 1900z to Apr 2, 2030z; CW; Bands: 80m Only; RST + Serial No.; Logs due: April 3.

ARS Spartan Sprint, Apr 3, 0200z to Apr 3, 0400z; CW; Bands: 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; RST + (state/province/country) + Power; Logs due: April 5.

Phone Fray, Apr 4, 0230z to Apr 4, 0300z; SSB; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15m; NA: Name + (state/province/country), non-NA: Name; Logs due: March 23.

CWops Mini-CWT Test, Apr 4, 1300z to Apr 4, 1400z, Apr 4, 1900z to Apr 4, 2000z, Apr 4, 0300z to Apr 4, 0400z; CW; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; Member: Name + Member No., non-Member: Name + (state/province/country); Logs due: March 24.

UKEICC 80m Contest, Apr 4, 1900z to Apr 4, 2000z; CW; Bands: 80m Only; 4-Character grid square; Logs due: March 28.


UBA Spring Contest, 6m, Mar 25, 0600z to Mar 25, 1000z; CW, Phone; Bands: 6m Only; ON: RS(T) + Serial No. + UBA Section, non-ON: RS(T) + Serial No.; Logs due: April 8.

Also: See Feld Hell Sprint, FOC QSO Party, above.


22 Mar - 4 Apr 2018

March 22, 2018

March 23, 2018

March 24, 2018

March 25, 2018

March 26, 2018

March 28, 2018

March 29, 2018

March 30, 2018

March 31, 2018

April 1, 2018

April 1, 2018

April 2, 2018

April 3, 2018

April 4, 2018

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