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A Ham Radio Homecoming


Beginning with the 2010 ARRL November Sweepstakes, the prohibition against alumni operating at a school club station has been repealed. According to Ward Silver, N0AX, the goal of the rule change is to get more school clubs active for Sweepstakes and on HF. Sweepstakes is just a little over four months away -- the first and third weekends of the month. What are your plans? Wouldn’t it be nice to hear the call sign of your alma mater ringing out in the middle of the Sweepstakes exchange? Sure it would!

“Entering Sweepstakes in the Multioperator category was once a staple of the fall semester’s competitive atmosphere, but many high school and collegiate clubs have fallen silent or nearly so over the past decades,” Silver explained. “Your school club might be interested in hosting an alumnus or two -- why not contact them? If the club station has been inactive in recent years, this would be a good way to help get activity jump-started again. To get the juices flowing, challenge a nearby club or try to beat a score from days gone by.”

If you want to help put the S back in SS, the station must be on campus or on University property. If no such station is available, a local station may be used this year (with the approval of the club trustee). Otherwise, there are no limits on alumni participation. “Take advantage of a wonderful opportunity to help with a work party or string up some antennas,” Silver suggested. “You can have fun and be a contesting Elmer at the same time -- the goal of the rule change. Make it a priority to involve as many of the club members as possible, not to create the Alumni Nostalgia QSO Party.”

Silver advises those alumni hams interested in participating to check out the School Club records on the ARRL Contest Branch Web page: “There might be some ‘low-hanging fruit’ to be picked -- for a while, that is. While you’re working up a plan, check out the Collegiate Championship Web page maintained by Ken Harker, WM5R.” If you are really motivated, the ARRL Contest Branch is looking for a volunteer to go through the records for the Multioperator and School Club categories and organize them by NCAA and NAIA Conferences. What is the NCAA Big 10 record for CW SS? How about the NAIA Sunrise Conference record for SS Phone?

“The energy and goodwill of alumni across the US and Canada can help return vitality to a category that should be a hotbed of activity in the November Sweepstakes,” Silver noted. “Why not contact your club and see if there is an opening in Sweepstakes 101?” For more information and questions about participating, contact Sweepstakes Manager Dan Street, K1TO, or ARRL Contest Branch Manager Sean Kutzko, KX9X.




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