No “Maybes” About It: ARRL Sweepstakes is Fun!
ARRL Sweepstakes has been part of Amateur Radio in the US and Canada for more than 75 years. In 2010, the tradition continues with the 77th running of the best domestic contest in all of Amateur Radio: CW will be the weekend of November 6, while the Phone portion of the contest runs the weekend of November 20.
What makes it so special? According to ARRL Contest Branch Manager Sean Kutzko, KX9X, there are many reasons. “Maybe it’s the long exchange that recalls the days of message handling,” he said. “Have you ever wondered why you get two points for each QSO in Sweepstakes? In the original rules, you earned 1 point for every message transmitted and 1 point for every message received.”
Maybe it’s the different levels of competition throughout the event. Kutzko explained that at the contest’s highest level, the top scores are only separated by only a few QSOs. At the Division and Section level, Kutzko said that the friendly rivalries between friends and club members across the continent over who buys the pizza are too numerous to list. This event brings clubs together!
Maybe it’s the fact that a station with just 100 W and a dipole can do well. “When you string up a wire, put some RF into it and keep sitting in the chair, and you could easily win a certificate for your efforts,” Kutzko said. “If you make 100 QSOs, you can order a Participation Pin to document your accomplishment.”
Maybe it’s the mystique of the Clean Sweep: working all 80 ARRL Sections and former ARRL Canadian Sections in an entire weekend. “Never have so many radio amateurs put it so much effort to earn the coveted Clean Sweep mug,” he said. Last year, the Contest Branch shipped more than 500 mugs to those who accomplished the feat.
With so much tradition and fun to be had, what’s keeping you on the sidelines of one of the highlights of the Amateur Radio calendar? With participation on the bands at an all-time high --, and with 10 meters showing significant signs of life as recently as October 23 -- every amateur from Technician to Extra -- from the casual participant to the seasoned contest veteran -- can get in on the action and fun.
This year for the first time ever, alumni are allowed to participate in the School Club category; previously, alumni were only allowed to mentor from the sidelines. Now alumni can operate from their school’s established club station right along with the current student members. “This is a golden Elmering moment, so take advantage of it,” Kutzko explained. “But don’t hog all the fun -- make sure the students get operating time, too! There are a lot of Sections where an entry in the School Club category has never been received. Do you want to make your School Club’s first foray into Sweepstakes a record score? Look at the All-Time Records table and take your pick from some extremely low-hanging fruit.”
Also worth nothing this year is that the return to Standard Time from Daylight Saving Time occurs during the CW running of Sweepstakes. While you will seemingly “gain” an hour in local time during the event, remember that logs use UTC, which is not affected by the time change. The contest will still end at 0300 UTC on Monday. For stations on the East Coast, CW Sweepstakes begins at 5 PM Saturday afternoon and ends at 10 PM Sunday evening; West Coast stations will start at 2 PM Saturday and end at 7 PM Sunday.
The 2010 ARRL November CW Sweepstakes runs from 2100 UTC Saturday, November 6 through 0300 UTC Monday, November 8. The SSB portion of Sweepstakes runs from 2100 UTC Saturday, November 20 through 0300 UTC Monday, November 22. Complete information and the Sweepstakes Operating Guide, as well as a PDF complete with rules, operating tips and templates for submitting an electronic Cabrillo log, can be found here.
Submit your electronic CW logs here; electronic Phone logs go here. Paper logs should be sent to ARRL November Sweepstakes, 225 Main St, Newington, CT 06111. Please be sure to designate Phone or CW on the envelope. All Sweepstakes logs must be submitted within 15 days of the contest ending. For CW, logs are due no later than 0300 UTC on Tuesday, November 23, 2010, and Phone logs no later than 0300 UTC on Tuesday, December 7, 2010. Logs not e-mailed or postmarked by the log submission deadline may be reclassified as checklogs. While the ARRL will never refuse a paper log, Cabrillo-formatted electronic logs are strongly encouraged.
Join thousands of other radio amateurs across the continent and get in on this year’s fun in the ARRL November Sweepstakes!