The ARRL Contest Update for May 31, 2017

The ARRL Contest
Update

May 31, 2017

Editor: Brian Moran, N9ADG

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IN THIS ISSUE
NEW HF OPERATORS – THINGS TO DO

Take advantage of the contest related video content that has been posted to YouTube, courtesy of ICOM, from the 2017 Contest University. You’ll find everything from “Introduction to Contesting” to “A Deep Dive into Stacking Yagis.” Check out Ward, N0AX’s session 6 :”The Most Bang for the Buck for the Small Station” (it is not titled correctly on YouTube, nor in the initial slide).

CONTEST SUMMARY

Complete information for all contests follows the Conversation section

June 1

June 2

June 3

June 4

June 5

June 6

June 7

June 8

June 9

June 10

June 11

June 12

June 14

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NEWS, PRESS RELEASES, AND GENERAL INTEREST

On Saturday, May 20, the annual Contest Dinner featured the induction of two new members into the CQ Contesting Hall of Fame: David Robbins, K1TTT, and Robert Wilson, N6TV.

David, K1TTT, 2017 CQ Contest Hall of Fame Inductee, pictured at the K1TTT superstation [Photo by Brian, NJ1F]

David is well known and recognized for giving back to the hobby by sharing his knowledge and experiences through his website, various email lists, and his PDF book Building a Superstation. Over the past three decades, he’s hosted numerous multi-operator contest efforts for operators of all skill levels, where contesting techniques are shared and honed from his western Massachusetts superstation.

Robert Wilson, N6TV, 2017 CQ Contest Hall of Fame Inductee [Photo Courtesy of Rus Healy, K2UA]

“TV Bob” Wilson is recognized for his consistent contributions of new techniques and tools for contest logging, SO2R operation, and spotting infrastructure including the Reverse Beacon Network. Bob is a frequent speaker at Contest University and other instructional events. Many of the pictures and video that you see of contest-related gatherings are taken by Bob – he’s more often behind the camera than in front of it.

A recent scientific paper examined the potential effects that humans have had on space weather. A wide range of influences, including HF and VLF radio transmissions, rocket chemical releases, and high altitude detonation of nuclear devices, were reviewed and the effects considered. One finding is that VLF transmissions may be able to influence the location of Van Allen radio belts, keeping them farther away from Earth, potentially providing a wider sphere of protection against high-energy particles emanating from solar events. (Bill, K6WSC, Dennis, N6KI, and David, WA1OUI)

WRTC 2018 has announced that Ham Radio Outlet has become a Silver Sponsor. “Ham Radio Outlet was founded in 1971 by Bob Ferrero, W6RJ (SK)…Bob was one of the early commercial sponsors of the WRTC idea. Following this tradition his son Robert W6KR, has signed the sponsorship agreement to support WRTC 2018 in Germany as a Silver Sponsor.” HRO has 15 store locations in the United States as well as a strong online presence.

The Central States VHF Society’s 2017 conference will be held in Albuquerque, New Mexico on July 27-30 at the Sheraton Airport hotel. One of the featured conference activities will be a tour of the NRAO Very Large Array. “Continuing the Conference’s tradition of highlighting experimentation, research, design, and construction happening within the VHF/UHF/microwave community, the 2017 Central States VHF Society Conference is seeking presentations, posters, as well as Proceedings papers for this year’s event. If you are interested in submitting a presentation or poster at this year’s Conference, please email us at presentations@rmham.org. Guidance and important dates for presenters is provided on the 2017 CSVHFS Conference website.” (Brian, N5ZGT)

Washington State has a new distracted driving law to discourage use of handheld electronics while operating a motor vehicle. Governor Jay Inslee signed SSB 5289 into law on May 16, 2017. The governor also declared its implementation an emergency, causing the new law to take effect on August 16, 2017. There is an exception for Amateur Radio operators, stating: “Personal electronic device” means any portable electronic device that is capable of wireless communication or electronic data retrieval and is not manufactured primarily for hands-free use in a motor vehicle. “Personal electronic device” includes, but is not limited to, a cell phone, tablet, laptop, two-way messaging device, or electronic game. “Personal electronic device” does not include two-way radio, citizens band radio, or amateur radio equipment.” Observation of an Amateur safely using radio gear while operating a vehicle will not alone be cause for issuance of a citation. Observation of unsafe vehicle operation can provide sufficient cause for a distracted driving citation. (Monte, AF7PQ ARRL Western Washington Section Manager)

HamSCI, the Ham Radio Science Citizen Investigation, is a platform to promote and publicize the Amateur Radio Service’s primary purpose of “continuation and extension of the amateur’s proven ability to contribute to the advancement of the radio art.” It encourages collaborative opportunities between professional researchers and Amateur Radio operators, and supports projects that align with HamSCI’s goals to:

  • Advance scientific research and understanding through Amateur Radio activities
  • Encourage the development of new technologies to support this research
  • Provide educational opportunities for the Amateur community and the general public

Though HamSCI doesn’t perform research of it’s own, or provide operations or funding support, it does support other research programs, such as those funded by organizations like the United States National Science Foundation, primarily by helping to maintain standards and agreements between people and organizations.

The first big HamSCI project involves the August 21 Total Solar Eclipse, which will be visible across a large swath of the continental U.S. At the recent Hamvention, the HamSCI team staffed a booth in the ARRL Expo Area, and had a Saturday forum dedicated to their activities. Videos from the forum are on YouTube, and include an overview of HamSCI, presentations on the Solar Eclipse QSO Party, and propagation predictions for the eclipse period.

WORD TO THE WISE

Baud: The number of symbol changes that occur per second in a communications channel. A symbol can be represented by difference of voltage, phase, or frequency. It is named after Baudot, who conceived of the five-bit code used for teletype (TTY). The TTY code is made up of two symbols, ones and zeroes, so the bit rate for TTY is the same as the baud rate. Using Quadrature Phase Shift Keying (QPSK) or Quadrature Amplitude Modulation (QAM) are two method of increasing a channel’s effective number of bits per second by increasing the number of bits represented by each symbol.

SIGHTS AND SOUNDS

The Hamvention and coincident Contest University and Four Days in May events finished just over a week ago. Many first-person accounts of the activities that occurred have been blogged, “YouTubed”, and “Facebooked”, and are available for your enjoyment just by searching.

A number of Contest University’s sessions on Thursday were live streamed by ICOM. If you missed them, ICOM has already uploaded them to YouTube, and a CTU 2017-specific playlist is available. Dennis, N6KI, particularly recommends the presentation by Rob Sherwood, “Disruptive Technologies, How they Change our Hobby” to understand some of the trends influencing our radios.

The Spurious Emissions Band‘s performance on Friday evening has its own YouTube Channel. Bob, N6TV, videographer, recommends Becky, W1BXY’s solo performance of “Don’t Cry for Hara Arena.” Don’t forget that the lyrics to each song are found in the Description section of each video.

Joe, K0NEB put has put together a 2017 Hamvention video collage, including photos of the DARA annual award winners. (Ward, N0AX)

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RESULTS AND RECORDS

The results of the 2017 Seventh Area QSO Party (7QP) are on the 7QP website. Certificates will be forthcoming over the next few days, plaques will arrive for the winners over the next four weeks.

The results of the 2017 Helvetia Contest are available. The comprehensive results write-up noted that the number of entries increased by 60% over 2016, attributed by the contest sponsors to a change of the contest rules to allow any station to contact any other station. Contest Sponsors also noted that some logs were submitted containing no contacts with Swiss Amateurs. (Dominik, HB9CZF)

The results of the 2016 Oceania DX Contest have been published on the OCDX website. Despite poor conditions for the SSB segment, and high QRN in the South Pacific during the CW segment, there was an increase in the number of logs submitted versus 2015. Twenty-six new continent records and 144 new country records were set in 2016, despite the challenging conditions. One highlight of the contest was a contest-within-a-contest for Indonesian contesting newbies sponsored by Indonesian Elmers. Newcomers had the opportunity to earn a T-shirt. The 2017 contest occurs on October 7-8 (Phone) and October 14-15 (CW).

OPERATING TIP

Increase Your Accuracy to Increase Your Score

In some contests, logging a contact incorrectly can be costly! You’ll be penalized for the contact that was mis-logged, and some contest rules will penalize up to three additional contacts. Strive for an error rate of less than one percent. Some things you can do to log contacts more correctly include:

  • Copy entire calls at once
  • Log what is copied, not what a database tells you or fills in for you
  • Know your ‘Kryptonite’ copying weaknesses, and be vigilant
  • Analyze how others miscopied your call/exchange, take appropriate action
  • No guessing of callsigns or exchanges

TECHNICAL TOPICS AND INFORMATION

Ash, KF5EYY, has shared his design of an Arduino-based SO2R controller and 6×2 Antenna Switch compatible with the Open Two Radio Switching Protocol (OTRSP). By supporting the OTRSP protocol, it’s compatible with logging programs that use support OTRSP for SO2R radio control, such as Win-Test, DXLog, and N1MM Logger+.

Some Internet-connected televisions supporting the DVB-T standard (used outside the US) may be vulnerable to hacking by a malicious payload arriving via the DVB-T receiver. In a proof of concept, a malicious over-the-air signal was able to overwhelm the normal received signal, and the television was instructed to retrieve a firmware update from a malicious website. The specifically crafted firmware had access to the all of TV’s resources.

Carbon nanotubes were used to fabricate a Tellurium wire one atom in thickness. By constraining the Tellurium to one atom of thickness, it exhibited characteristics of a metal, versus its normal semiconductor properties. Called Extreme Nanowires (ENs), these may find application as semiconductor devices continue to shrink in size. (Dennis, N6KI)

RF-KIT, a firm based in Germany, was exhibiting a legal-limit HF Amplifier Kit at the Hamvention. The unit on display was using two LDMOS power devices and sported a 7″ color touchscreen for amplifier control and status. The kit includes everything necessary to build the amplifier except the Raspberry Pi 3 CPU, and three fans. The company’s literature states that it can be built in less than a day.

HobbyPCB, makers of the HARDROCK-50 HF Amplifier, were showing an RF Wattmeter Shield for the Arduino at Xenia. The shield itself is capable of measuring 0.1mW – 2W, and could be a useful component in automated monitoring of your station.

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CONVERSATION

Powerful Changes

One reflection from attending the Hamvention last week was that it was a year of changes. The venue change was a positive one, and executed well by the Dayton Amateur Radio Association. Getting the outdoor market better prepared for all types of May weather would make it just about perfect.

Rob Sherwood’s talk at Contest University about the success of the ICOM 7300 hinted at some potential big changes in HF radio buying behavior. According to his talk, it’s estimated that over eleven thousand 7300s have been sold in a year. Those sales figures, if true, in a “ham-radio-is-declining” market are spectacular. Perhaps it will encourage the introduction of other innovative gear.

There were a number of announcements of LDMOS transistor based high-power HF amplifiers, and a few are already shipping at prices mostly competitive with tube amplifiers. The availability of inexpensive, rugged, LDMOS devices may be due in part to their use in number of new high-volume applications such as microwave ovens, lighting, and even clothes dryers.

How soon will it be that we’ll see high power LDMOS amplifiers and ever smaller, feature packed rigs integrated into a single-box legal-limit HF rig?

That’s all for this time. Remember to send contesting related stories, book reviews, tips, techniques, press releases, errata, schematics, club information, pictures, stories, blog links, and predictions to contest-update@arrl.org

73, Brian N9ADG

CONTESTS

1 Jun – 14 Jun 2017

An expanded, downloadable version of QST’s Contest Corral in PDF format is available. Check the sponsor’s Web site for information on operating time restrictions and other instructions.

HF CONTESTS

CWops Mini-CWT Test, May 31, 1300z to May 31, 1400z, May 31, 1900z to May 31, 2000z, Jun 1, 0300z to Jun 1, 0400z; CW; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; Member: Name + Member No., non-Member: Name + (state/province/country); Logs due: June 3.

NRAU 10m Activity Contest, Jun 1, 1700z to Jun 1, 1800z (CW), Jun 1, 1800z to Jun 1, 1900z (SSB), Jun 1, 1900z to Jun 1, 2000z (FM), Jun 1, 2000z to Jun 1, 2100z (Dig); CW, SSB, FM, Digital; Bands: 10m Only; RS(T) + 6-character grid square; Logs due: June 15.

NCCC RTTY Sprint, Jun 2, 0145z to Jun 2, 0215z; RTTY; Bands: (see rules); Serial No. + Name + QTH; Logs due: June 4.

NCCC Sprint, Jun 2, 0230z to Jun 2, 0300z; CW; Bands: (see rules); Serial No. + Name + QTH; Logs due: June 4.

10-10 Int. Open Season PSK Contest, Jun 3, 0000z to Jun 5, 0000z; PSK31; Bands: 10m Only; Name + (state/province/country) + organization membership numbers; Logs due: June 19.

PVRC Reunion, Jun 3, 0000z to Jun 3, 0400z (CW), Jun 4, 0000z to Jun 4, 0400z (SSB); CW, SSB; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; PVRC Member: 1st year of membership + name + QTH + callsign when joined PVRC, non-Member: name + QTH; Logs due: June 17.

DigiFest, Jun 3, 0400z to Jun 3, 1200z, Jun 3, 2000z to Jun 4, 0400z, Jun 4, 1200z to Jun 4, 2000z; RTTY75, BPSK63, MFSK16, HELLSCHREIBER, OLIVIA; Bands: 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; RST + 4-character grid square; Logs due: June 11.

Wake-Up! QRP Sprint, Jun 3, 0600z to Jun 3, 0629z, Jun 3, 0630z to Jun 3, 0659z, Jun 3, 0700z to Jun 3, 0729z, Jun 3, 0730z to Jun 3, 0800z; CW; Bands: 40, 20m; RST + Serial No. + suffix of previous QSO (“QRP” for 1st QSO); Logs due: June 10.

SEANET Contest, Jun 3, 1200z to Jun 4, 1200z; CW, SSB; Bands: 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; RS(T) + Serial No.; Logs due: July 4.

IARU Region 1 Field Day, CW, Jun 3, 1500z to Jun 4, 1459z; CW; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; RST + Serial No.; Logs due: June 19.

RSGB National Field Day, Jun 3, 1500z to Jun 4, 1500z; CW; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; RST + Serial No.; Logs due: June 9.

Dutch Kingdom Contest, Jun 3, 1500z to Jun 4, 1500z; CW, SSB; Bands: 40, 20, 15, 10, 6m; RS(T) + Serial No.; Logs due: June 11.

Alabama QSO Party, Jun 3, 1600z to Jun 4, 0400z; CW, SSB; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; AL: RS(T) + County, non-AL: RS(T) + (state/province/”DX”); Logs due: July 3.

RSGB 80m Club Championship, Data, Jun 5, 1900z to Jun 5, 2030z; RTTY, PSK; Bands: 80m Only; RST + Serial No.; Logs due: June 6.

ARS Spartan Sprint, Jun 6, 0100z to Jun 6, 0300z; CW; Bands: 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; RST + (state/province/country) + Power; Logs due: June 8.

Phone Fray, Jun 7, 0230z to Jun 7, 0300z; SSB; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15m; NA: Name + (state/province/country), non-NA: Name; Logs due: June 9.

CWops Mini-CWT Test, Jun 7, 1300z to Jun 7, 1400z, Jun 7, 1900z to Jun 7, 2000z, Jun 8, 0300z to Jun 8, 0400z; CW; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; Member: Name + Member No., non-Member: Name + (state/province/country); Logs due: June 10.

NCCC RTTY Sprint, Jun 9, 0145z to Jun 9, 0215z; RTTY; Bands: (see rules); Serial No. + Name + QTH; Logs due: June 11.

NCCC Sprint, Jun 9, 0230z to Jun 9, 0300z; CW; Bands: (see rules); Serial No. + Name + QTH; Logs due: June 11.

HA3NS Sprint Memorial Contest, Jun 9, 1900z to Jun 9, 1929z (40m), Jun 9, 1930z to Jun 9, 1959z (80m); CW; Bands: 80, 40m; HACWG Members: RST + Membership No., non-Members: RST + NM; Logs due: June 24.

DRCG WW RTTY Contest, Jun 10, 0000z to Jun 10, 0759z, Jun 10, 1600z to Jun 10, 2359z, Jun 11, 0800z to Jun 11, 1559z; RTTY; Bands: 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; RST + CQ Zone; Logs due: June 18.

VK Shires Contest, Jun 10, 0600z to Jun 11, 0600z; CW, SSB; Bands: 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; VK: RS(T) + Shire, non-VK: RS(T) + CQ Zone; Logs due: July 1.

Asia-Pacific Sprint, SSB, Jun 10, 1100z to Jun 10, 1300z; SSB; Bands: 20, 15m; RS + Serial No.; Logs due: June 17.

Portugal Day Contest, Jun 10, 1200z to Jun 11, 1200z; CW, SSB; Bands: 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; CT: RS(T) + District, non-CT: RS(T) + Serial No.; Logs due: September 1.

SKCC Weekend Sprintathon, Jun 10, 1200z to Jun 12, 0000z; CW; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, 10, 6m; RST + (state/province/country) + Name + (SKCC No./”NONE”); Logs due: June 18.

GACW WWSA CW DX Contest, Jun 10, 1500z to Jun 11, 1500z; CW; Bands: 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; RST + CQ Zone No.; Logs due: July 30.

Cookie Crumble QRP Contest, Jun 11, 1700z to Jun 11, 2200z; All; Bands: All, except WARC; RS(T) + (state/province/country) + cookie no. + name; Logs due: July 31.

4 States QRP Group Second Sunday Sprint, Jun 12, 0000z to Jun 12, 0200z; CW, SSB; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; Member: RS(T) + (State/Province/Country) + Member No., Non-member: RS(T) + (State/Province/Country) + Power; Logs due: June 30.

NAQCC CW Sprint, Jun 14, 0030z to Jun 14, 0230z; CW; Bands: 80, 40, 20m; RST + (state/province/country) + (NAQCC No./power); Logs due: June 18.

Phone Fray, Jun 14, 0230z to Jun 14, 0300z; SSB; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15m; NA: Name + (state/province/country), non-NA: Name; Logs due: June 16.

CWops Mini-CWT Test, Jun 14, 1300z to Jun 14, 1400z, Jun 14, 1900z to Jun 14, 2000z, Jun 15, 0300z to Jun 15, 0400z; CW; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; Member: Name + Member No., non-Member: Name + (state/province/country); Logs due: June 17.

RSGB 80m Club Championship, CW, Jun 14, 1900z to Jun 14, 2030z; CW; Bands: 80m Only; RST + Serial No.; Logs due: June 15.

VHF+ CONTESTS

UKSMG Summer Contest, Jun 3, 1300z to Jun 4, 1300z; not specified; Bands: 6m Only; RST + Serial No. + 6-character grid square + (optional UKSMG member no.); Logs due: July 1.

ARRL June VHF Contest, Jun 10, 1800z to Jun 12, 0259z; All; Bands: 50 MHz and up; 4-character grid square; Logs due: July 12.

REF DDFM 6m Contest, Jun 10, 1600z to Jun 11, 1600z; CW, SSB, FM; Bands: 6m Only; RS(T) + Serial No. + 4-character grid square; Logs due: June 19.

Also see SKCC Weekend Sprintathon, above.

LOG DUE DATES

June 1, 2017

June 2, 2017

June 3, 2017

June 4, 2017

June 5, 2017

June 6, 2017

June 9, 2017

June 10, 2017

June 11, 2017

June 12, 2017

June 14, 2017

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