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The ARRL Contest Update
March 20, 2019
Editor: Brian Moran, N9ADG

The CQ WW WPX Contest is the 'big' contest in the next two weeks. You probably won't run out of multipliers in this contest, and huge scores are possible. There's great flexibility in entry categories, power levels and band choices. For a change of pace, try the NA SSB Sprint, where the four hours of operating can be intense and there's also a chance for prizes.

In some parts of the country it's already Spring enough to put up tree-supported wire antennas. There are many ways to get lines into trees without leaving the ground, such as using a launcher like this one. Remember to observe safety precautions. [Credit: K7EDX, Launcher]


21 Mar - 3 Apr 2019

Complete information for all contests follows the Conversation section

March 21

March 22

March 23

March 24

March 27

March 28

March 29

March 30

April 1

April 2

April 3


Bart Jahnke, W9JJ, Appointed as New ARRL Radiosport and Field Services Manager - Congratulations Bart!

"Chris (Kresimir Kovarik) 9A5K, the author of the logging program passed away on February 27, 2019. The development of the logging program has been taken over by a group led by Krassy, K1LZ." Ken, K6MR

The 2019 VHF and Up Spring Sprints Contests are in the offing! The purpose of these events is to encourage operation on SSB and CW, and of course, have fun. These weekday contest occur 1900 to 2300 local time:

144 MHz

Monday April 8, 2019

1900 - 2300 PM Local

222 MHz

Tuesday April 16, 2019

1900 - 2300 PM Local

432 MHz

Wednesday April 24, 2019

1900 - 2300 PM Local


Saturday May 4, 2019

0800 - 1400 PM Local

50 MHz

Saturday May 11, 2019

May 11, 2019 2300z - May 12, 2019 0300z

See the Sprint Sprint Contest website for more information, including the exchange for each contest, and operating categories.

As we've mentioned in a past issue, K3LR is hosting a group of young Amateurs for the upcoming CQ WW WPX as part of Team Exuberance. In a similar effort, ZM4T is hosting a group of young hams as well. Holger, ZL3IO, writes: "A number of kids are preparing to operate ZM4T in the upcoming WPX SSB contest. So far there are three operators with Jaidyn, ZL2MRLP (yes, crazy call) who is 15; Alice, ZL2EM, 17 and Xenia, ZL4YL, 17. They will not be on for the last quarter of the contest since this is already Monday morning in New Zealand and the kids need to be back in school." You might recall that Holger and Xenia comprised Team Oceania #2 for WRTC 2018...

The Contest Dinner at the International DX Convention in Visalia, California will be on April 12. The evening's program is "Life, Contesting, and Everything: What Contesting teaches us about Life and where is Contesting Headed" by NCJ Editor Scott Wright, K0MD. Tickets must be purchased in advance for this event.

"The NAQP Challenge is an annual competition between three of America's premier ham radio contesting clubs: the Northern California Contest Club (NCCC), the Potomac Valley Radio Club (PVRC), and the Society of Midwest Contesters (SMC). SMC won the February NAQP RTTY portion of the Challenge and, at the half way point, PVRC is in first place followed by SMC in second and NCCC in third. You can learn more about the Challenge and check out the standings at" (Tim, K9WX)

The September 2018 results of the North American SSB Sprint are on the NA SSB Sprint website. It's time for ANOTHER NA SSB Sprint, this one on March 24, 2019 0000 - 0359 UTC. Remember, this is Saturday evening, March 23rd in North America. You can check out who is already signed up for the event, as well as throw your hat into the ring, on the planned activity web page. The event can be a team activity - don't forget to register. There are usually awards and prizes for this event, too. (Bob, KW8N)

This very comprehensive explanation of the rules for the assignment of JA call signs was provided from Zoli, HA1AG, to Ward, N0AX, and now to you. According to Ward: "This is really exhaustive!" Amateur populations for each of the districts as of March 31, 2018, are also provided. The website is maintained by Ryota "Roy" Motobayashi, JJ1WTL, based on earlier work by Rimmei "Rin" Fukuda, JG1VGX. (Ward, N0AX)

Bob, K0NR, explored why FT8 is a great mode for what he terms a "Slacker DXpedition" in his latest blog post. The reasons are a mix of serious and not-so serious, but all are valid!


Admittance: In this context, not college related. Admittance is the reciprocal of the impedance, representing how easily that current will flow. The quantity is measured in siemens (previously: mhos). Make sure your dummy load is about 0.02 siemens.


This K3LR team looks very happy, and they should be! They are claiming the top US multi-multi score in the recent ARRL International DX SSB Contest, with 4,984,320 points. [Credit: K3LR, photo]

Here's a challenge for you: Put on some headphones, play this video, and try to do anything else at the same time. Julio, YV1KK's 2 Band Synchronized Interleaved QSO (2BSIQ) video shows you what he's logging, while you can hear his audio from each rig in the appropriate ear. (Bob, K8IA, via Facebook)

The Daily DX recently mentioned that Stanford University research scientist Leif Svalgaard presented "Solar Observations and the Importance to Radio" to the Redwood Empire DX Association. He has graciously made his slides available online, and you can enjoy it for the comprehensive historical background material on how sun spot numbers are calculated. Appropriately enough, the Empire DX Association's monthly newsletter is called Sunspots. (Daily DX)


Preliminary results for the 2019 ARRL RTTY Roundup are available. This was the first year that FT8 and WSJT-X was compatible with the contest exchange. Spoiler: Contest participants reported faster rates using 45 Baud RTTY.

"Through the yeoman efforts of Charlie Carroll, K1XX, Kelly Taylor, VE4XT and Ward Silver, N0AX, we bring you very timely (under 30 days?) 2019 ARRL DX CW Preliminary results." - Bart, W9JJ

The 2018 ARRL Sweepstakes Phone results have been posted. Results article authors Scott, K5TA, and Bruce, AA5B really set the bar high with their reporting, with great coverage of every category, and excellent comparative statistics.

Preliminary results for the February 2019 North American QSO Party (NAQP) RTTY are available at the National Contest Journal (NCJ) website, under the column labeled "Recent Contest Results." The final results will be published in an upcoming issue of NCJ. The next NAQP RTTY contest will be July 20, 2019. (Mark, K6UFO)


Fills: Only send what's needed

"Fills" are requests for exchange information from the other station that they missed. They might ask for a fill because of marginal signal conditions, because the exchange you're using doesn't match the one that appears in their pre-fill database, or any other reason. Try to ONLY SEND THE INFORMATION THAT IS REQUESTED. For example, in ARRL Sweepstakes, if asked to send the Check (CW: CK), don't send the entire exchange again. Set up macro keys in your logging program to only send the parts of the exchange that might be asked for (it's doubtful that anyone is going to ask for the RST).


Researchers at the UK's Heriot-Watt University have made recent breakthroughs in welding dissimilar materials together using short but powerful laser pulses. Metals such as titanium, aluminum, and stainless steel have been successfully welded to quartz, borosilicate, and sapphire (aluminum oxide). Could this make glass tubes less prone to gassiness?

Once you've got everything working before the contest, you don't want anything changing that configuration. Like a software update that could have device driver changes. Check out this article on how to better control or even pause Windows 10 updates.

Kenwood TS-590S owners using their rigs in a contest situation where a lockout is required may find Steve, N2IC's article on adding a hardware lockout to these rigs helpful. The reason to do this internally versus with an external lockout device is to be able to use the rig's internal voice keyer. According to his web page, the information was originally developed by E7DX and S55M. (via N1MMLogger group)


Build versus Buy

I thought I enjoyed building my own gear, but what I've come to realize is that I like the concept of building my own gear. Forty years ago, when I was a teenager pouring over books and magazines for projects, I was an optimist. I thought that once all of the parts were gathered, wired up, stuffed into an enclosure or "chassis", voila! I'd have a working project! Back then, a lot of things were working against me, including not being able to obtain parts and lacking good equivalents. Oh, and my test equipment mostly started and ended with a VOM. And my ability to work metal was limited to being able to hand-drill holes in standard-size boxes. I didn't know what I didn't know! Although I had enthusiasm on my side, my junkbox became stocked with not-quite-working projects, and some spectacular failures. Since then, I've come to realize that were there a comprehensive "Troubleshooting" section included in each of those articles, it would have exceeded the length of the construction and theory portions combined!

I think I'm more of a realist now. Before I think about taking on a project, I look at the schematic, look at the details, to figure out where things are going to go wrong, and whether a project is a good match to my skills, tools, and test equipment. My invisible friend Murphy has stuck with me all these years, and when I miss something, he's still sure to point it out at the appropriate time. Finding all of the parts has become easier with the Internet, and its much easier to find others interested in discussing any given project. Before getting caught up in the enthusiasm of a new project, I also try to think more objectively about what I'm going to get out of the project - it's usually not the case that I can build a moderately complex piece of gear less expensively than buying an equivalent unless I include my labor for free. Other factors include that the time spent building a project takes away from the time I have to operate, and sometimes I'd rather just use gear rather than build it. My personal reasons to build now have to do more with learning something new, wanting to experiment, or just enjoying the luxury of putting something together. And nowadays, fewer projects are in the 'direct to junkbox' category.

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


21 Mar - 3 Apr 2019

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.


CLARA Chatter Party, Mar 19, 1700z to Mar 20, 1700z and, Mar 23, 1700z to Mar 24, 1700z; CW, Phone; Bands: 80, 40, 20, 15, 10, 2m; RS(T) + Name + (state/province/country); Logs due: April 20.

CWops Mini-CWT Test, Mar 20, 1300z to Mar 20, 1400z and, Mar 20, 1900z to Mar 20, 2000z and, Mar 21, 0300z to Mar 21, 0400z; CW; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; Member: Name + Member No., non-Member: Name + (state/province/country); Logs due: March 23.

NAQCC CW Sprint, Mar 21, 0030z to Mar 21, 0230z; CW; Bands: 80, 40, 20m; RST + (state/province/country) + (NAQCC No./power); Logs due: March 24.

QRP Fox Hunt, Mar 22, 0100z to Mar 22, 0230z; CW; Bands: 80m Only; RST + (state/province/country) + name + power output; Logs due: March 28.

NCCC RTTY Sprint, Mar 22, 0145z to Mar 22, 0215z; RTTY; Bands: (see rules); Serial No. + Name + QTH; Logs due: March 24.

NCCC Sprint, Mar 22, 0230z to Mar 22, 0300z; CW; Bands: (see rules); Serial No. + Name + QTH; Logs due: March 24.

FOC QSO Party, Mar 23, 0000z to Mar 23, 2359z; CW; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, 10, VHF; FOC-Member: RST + Name + Member No., non-Members: RST + Name; Logs due: April 6.

UK/EI DX Contest, CW, Mar 23, 1200z to Mar 24, 1200z; CW; Bands: 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; UK/EI: RST + Serial No. + District Code, DX: RST + Serial No.; Logs due: March 25.

North American SSB Sprint Contest, Mar 24, 0000z to Mar 24, 0400z; SSB; Bands: 80, 40, 20m; [other station's call] + [your call] + [serial no.] + [your name] + [your state/province/country]; Logs due: March 31.

SKCC Sprint, Mar 27, 0000z to Mar 27, 0200z; CW; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; RST + (state/province/country) + Name + (SKCC No./power); Logs due: March 29.

QRP Fox Hunt, Mar 27, 0100z to Mar 27, 0230z; CW; Bands: 80m Only; RST + (state/province/country) + name + power output; Logs due: March 28.

Phone Fray, Mar 27, 0230z to Mar 27, 0300z; SSB; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15m; NA: Name + (state/province/country), non-NA: Name; Logs due: March 29.

CWops Mini-CWT Test, Mar 27, 1300z to Mar 27, 1400z and, Mar 27, 1900z to Mar 27, 2000z and, Mar 28, 0300z to Mar 28, 0400z; CW; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; Member: Name + Member No., non-Member: Name + (state/province/country); Logs due: March 30.

UKEICC 80m Contest, Mar 27, 2000z to Mar 27, 2100z; CW; Bands: 80m Only; 4-Character grid square; Logs due: March 27.

RSGB 80m Club Championship, SSB, Mar 28, 2000z to Mar 28, 2130z; SSB; Bands: 80m Only; RS + Serial No.; Logs due: March 29.

QRP Fox Hunt, Mar 29, 0100z to Mar 29, 0230z; CW; Bands: 80m Only; RST + (state/province/country) + name + power output; Logs due: April 4.

NCCC RTTY Sprint, Mar 29, 0145z to Mar 29, 0215z; RTTY; Bands: (see rules); Serial No. + Name + QTH; Logs due: March 31.

NCCC Sprint, Mar 29, 0230z to Mar 29, 0300z; CW; Bands: (see rules); Serial No. + Name + QTH; Logs due: March 31.

CQ WW WPX Contest, SSB, Mar 30, 0000z to Mar 31, 2359z; SSB; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; RS + Serial No.; Logs due: April 5.

Feld Hell Sprint, Mar 30, 0000z to Mar 30, 2359z; Feld Hell; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, 10, 6m; (see rules); Logs due: April 2.

IQRP Quarterly Marathon, Apr 1, 0800z to Apr 7, 2000z; CW, SSB, Digital; Bands: All; RS(T); Logs due: April 21.

RSGB 80m Club Championship, CW, Apr 1, 1900z to Apr 1, 2030z; CW; Bands: 80m Only; RST + Serial No.; Logs due: April 2.

ARS Spartan Sprint, Apr 2, 0100z to Apr 2, 0300z; CW; Bands: 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; RST + (state/province/country) + Power; Logs due: April 4.

QRP Fox Hunt, Apr 3, 0100z to Apr 3, 0230z; CW; Bands: 80m Only; RST + (state/province/country) + name + power output; Logs due: March 21.

Phone Fray, Apr 3, 0230z to Apr 3, 0300z; SSB; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15m; NA: Name + (state/province/country), non-NA: Name; Logs due: March 22.

CWops Mini-CWT Test, Apr 3, 1300z to Apr 3, 1400z and, Apr 3, 1900z to Apr 3, 2000z and, 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 23.

UKEICC 80m Contest, Apr 3, 2000z to Apr 3, 2100z; CW; Bands: 80m Only; 4-Character grid square; Logs due: March 27.


UBA Spring Contest, 6m, Mar 24, 0600z to Mar 24, 1000z; CW, Phone; Bands: 6m Only; ON: RS(T) + Serial No. + UBA Section, non-ON: RS(T) + Serial No.; Logs due: April 7.

Also see FOC QSO Party, Feld Hell Sprint, IQRP Quarterly Marathon, above.


21 Mar - 3 Apr 2019

March 21, 2019

March 22, 2019

March 23, 2019

March 24, 2019

March 25, 2019

March 27, 2019

March 28, 2019

March 29, 2019

March 30, 2019

March 31, 2019

April 1, 2019

April 2, 2019

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ARRL Contest Update wishes to acknowledge information from WA7BNM's Contest Calendar and SM3CER's Contest Calendar.




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