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ARRL November Sweepstakes Marks 80 Years!


When the 2013 ARRL November Sweepstakes kicks into gear in a few days with the CW event, it will mark the 80th running of the oldest domestic ham radio contest, which debuted in 1930. Amateur Radio was ordered off the air during World War II, so no Sweepstakes events took place during those years. The CW event is this weekend, November 2-3, while the phone event is the weekend of November 16-17. On both weekends, the action gets underway at 2100 UTC Saturday and runs through 0259 UTC Monday. The 2013 ARRL November Sweepstakes Operating Guide provides details. An ARRL November Sweepstakes webinar by ARRL Contest Branch Manager Mike DeChristopher, N1TA, has been posted to the World Wide Radio Operators Foundation website. 

The Big Eight-Oh!

For the 2013 running the number 80 comes into play for participants who want to enhance the fun and the challenge by setting some individual achievement goals this year — for example, for working 80 contacts per mode, scoring 80,000 points (total), running 80 W, and even for working all ARRL sections traversed by Interstate 80 and all sections on 80° W longitude. SS operators also can earn recognition for working all of the ARRL Sections in place in 1930 — there were 68 back then, as opposed to 83 today. New this year are an 80 years T shirt and “Clean Sweep” coffee mug, as well as participation pins and a special certificate. Operators 80 years old or older will get special recognition, as will participating clubs. Details are on the ARRL November Sweepstakes web page.

A Sweepstakes Primer

An eHam article, “An Enticement for Contest Newbies” by Sweepstakes Manager Larry Hammel, K5OT; Ward Silver, NØAX, and Mike Gilmer, N2MG, helps explain the intricacies of SS and offers tons of valuable tips to newcomers. Unlike most other on-the-air competitions — and adding to the challenge — SS has a somewhat lengthy exchange, which participants must copy accurately to earn points. The exchange follows a pattern that reflects the event’s origins as a traffic-handling exercise and borrows some radiogram vocabulary. For those unfamiliar with SS, the exchange consists of a consecutive serial number; a “precedence” — a letter representing your entry category, eg “A” for single ops running 100 W; your call sign; a “check” consisting of the last two numerals of the year in which you were first licensed, and your ARRL or Radio Amateurs of Canada Section.

So, the first exchange handed out to K2RHJ by single op, low-power W8EXK, first licensed in 1958 and living in West Virginia would look like this: K2RHJ NR 1 A W8EXK 58 WV.



Participants work each station once for contact points, and the score multiplier is the number of ARRL/RAC sections worked (83 total).

SS-80 Individual Recognition

Individual achievements are a bit of a do-it-yourself proposition. Operators will be able to download a blank certificate and achievement stickers (these will be on a standard Avery 5160 sticker form) as PDF files. Then, after printing these out, participants can apply the appropriate stickers to their certificates as they meet various achievement levels.

Operators 80 years old or older are invited to e-mail the details of their SS participation (and a photo, if possible) for including on the ARRL website and in the online writeup of the ARRL November Sweepstakes results.

SS-80 Club Recognition

Clubs reaching these totals on both modes will be listed on the ARRL website and in the extended online contest results article:

  • 80 logs submitted
  • total score of more than 800,000 points
  • more than 8000 total contacts in the logs submitted logs.

Clubs don’t have to do anything. These achievements will be noted automatically.

Full information on individual and club SS-80 recognition is on the ARRL November Sweepstakes web page.





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