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Go High for the 2011 ARRL 10 GHz and Up Contest


If you enjoy the being on the cutting edge of Amateur Radio’s technical side, take a look at the microwave bands. The 2011 ARRL 10 GHz and Up Contest gives you the perfect chance to explore this portion of the radio spectrum.

This contest boasts two weekends of activity: August 20-21 and again on September 17-18. The contest period for both weekends starts at 6 AM (local time) on Saturday and runs until midnight (local time) on Sunday. Points are awarded based on the distance of a QSO, and operating from several locations during the contest period is not only allowed, it’s encouraged! “Most amateurs use SSB, although there is some CW, as well,” explained ARRL Contest Branch Manager Sean Kutzko, KX9X. “Power levels are relatively low compared to HF; most stations run several hundred milliwatts. A station running a few watts is considered a ‘Big Gun.’ Antennas are usually dishes, like those used for receiving satellite TV.”

Kutzko said that many QSOs on the microwave bands are completed by bouncing signals off of other objects, such as mountains or buildings -- and even raindrops! “You can also get lucky and catch a good tropospheric opening,” he noted. “In the 2007 contest, a ham in California made a QSO of 907.2 miles on 10 GHz to Mexico.”

If someone in your area is active on the microwave bands, why not ask if you can tag along and observe. If you live in an area that has a microwave club -- such as the North Texas Microwave Society, the North East Weak Signal Group or the Mt Airy VHF Club -- find out what their members are doing for the contest: “Elmering is a big part of the microwave groups and they are only too happy to introduce their fun to you.” Click here for a list of Microwave clubs.

Logs for the ARRL 10 GHz and Up Contest must be received at ARRL HQ by 2359 UTC Tuesday, October 18, 2011. Logs may be submitted via e-mail. If you have a paper log, please send it to ARRL 10 GHz and Up Contest, 225 Main St, Newington, CT 06111.