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Issue No 4 2021

On the Air Email - Issue No. 4 (September 2021)

Magazine | Blog | Podcast | Join or Renew | New Ham Resources | Band Chart

Past Issues...
No. 1 | June 2021
No. 2 | July 2021
No. 3 | August 2021

Wondering what to do with your new license? Try radiosport!
The Amateur Radio contest season is underway. The exciting world of radiosport offers a variety of fun and competitive ways to use your communication skills. Learn more about the world of contesting in this issue.

Contest Season Has Arrived

Autumn kicks off contest season in the Amateur Radio community, and the fun extends through the end of March. At this time of year, conditions on the HF bands improve in the northern hemisphere, with lower noise levels and better long-distance propagation overall. On VHF, the 6-meter band can also bring unexpected long-distance contacts, particularly in December and January. Winter drives people indoors, allowing for more time to play on your radios. Of course, there are some contests that might make you consider a mobile or outdoor operation, regardless of the weather.
Every contest has different rules, but the ultimate objectives are the same: make as many contacts as possible, as quickly as possible. Most contests take place on weekends. Some span Friday, Saturday, and even Sunday, while others only last a few hours. Different operating modes are in play, too. Some contests require you to operate SSB, while others may focus on CW or digital.
You can participate in a contest by yourself or with a group. You can be highly competitive and operate through most, if not all, of the contest period. Or you can contact stations here and there, possibly picking up new states or DXCC entities that count for awards. Everyone is welcome in a contest. It doesn't matter how long you've had your license or how much equipment you own. Every contact is worth points, and that's all that matters.

Fishing for Contacts: How to Call CQ

Putting out a call for contacts with other hams on the Amateur Radio bands has much in common with fishing – you cast your line and wait for a bite. It takes skill, patience, and practice to master. This On the Air article delivers advice on when and how to call for contacts on HF and VHF, and which frequencies will help you reel in more contacts!

Tuning a Single-Sideband Signal

In the On the Air podcast's Episode 9, from September 10, 2020, On the Air magazine editor Becky Schoenfeld, W1BXY, explains how to tune signals on the HF bands. The podcast includes real-world examples of what tuning sounds like, and what you might hear when using various interference-reducing tools. Listen now.

Contest Entry Categories Decoded

Learn how to decipher the variety of contest entry categories with this quick visual guide to the basic categories.

Hunting for Foxes at the University of Michigan

A foxhunt is a common radiosport activity where a small, low-power transmitter is hidden, and participants try to find it. It sounds simple, but it can be very challenging and a whole lot of fun. The direction-finding skills learned in this activity can be very valuable in locating a repeater jammer or a lost hiker.
In the May/June 2021 issue of On the Air, Michael Fluegemann, KE8AQW, wrote about foxhunting’s popularity with the University of Michigan Amateur Radio Club, W8UM. In a recent blog post, he delves a little deeper into what it takes to put on a foxhunt.


Contacts made in a contest. Pronounced “cue-sews.” Also called “Qs.”
QSO Points
A point value assigned to contacts in a contest. Depending on the contest, some contacts could have a higher point value.

ARRL Contest Calendar

10 Meter Contest | Saturday & Sunday, December 11-12, 2021
(Tech licensees have acess to 10 CW)

Rookie Roundup CW | Sunday, December 19, 2021

January VHF Contest | Friday - Sunday, January 15-17, 2022
(Newly licensed Techs have access to all the bands used in the three VHF contests)
Rookie Roundup SSB | Saturday, April 10, 2022
ARRL Field Day | Saturday & Sunday, June 25-26, 2022

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What's Next
Read advice from experienced hams who will answer questions about what to do after you have gotten your license.

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