The ARRL Contest Update

Here’s the latest Amateur Radio Contest information from HQ ARRL.

Views expressed in this Amateur/Ham Radio News update are those of the reporters and correspondents.

Content provided by HQ ARRL, Newington, CT, 06111.

Accessed on 12 May 2021, 1106 UTC, Post 2034.


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May 12, 2021

Editor: Brian Moran, N9ADG


NEW HF OPERATORS — THINGS TO DOThe next 2 weeks are “light” on major contests – next weekend doesn’t even have a QSO party! What to do? Try the 72nd International DX Convention on May 15-16, normally held in Visalia, California, but now via Zoom on a computer near you. Registration is free, and there is the potential for door prizes for participants. While the content is mostly DX oriented, there are always crossovers in techniques and technology between DXing and contesting. The contest forum at 1300 PDT on Saturday features a number of well-known contesters.The next weekend, May 20-23, would normally be chock-full of in-person Hamvention events. This year, it’s virtual, starting with Contest University on Thursday, May 20 (registration required), followed by Friday’s virtual Hamvention forums, and then the Hamvention QSO Party on Saturday, May 22. See more information below.This could be a fine 2-week period to do some station maintenance, catch up on some QSLs, or any other activity that would be bumped by contest activity on the weekend.CONTEST SUMMARYComplete information for all contests follows the Conversation section13 May – 26 May 2021May 13

May 14

May 15

May 16

May 17

May 18

May 19

May 20

May 21

May 22

May 24

May 25

May 26

NEWS, PRESS RELEASES, AND GENERAL INTERESTTim, K3LR, writes: “Registration is now OPEN for Virtual Contest University 2021 on May 20, 2021 and for 2021 Hamvention Forums on May 21, 2021. Both events are being held live through Zoom webinar and are free. You must register to be included in the webinars. You need to register for each event (2) separately. Four Icom radios will be given away at each (2) virtual events (8 radios total). The radio drawing times are random, and you must be registered and on Zoom, present at the time of the drawing to win. Both events (2) will be recorded and available on YouTube at the conclusion of the events (2). For more information please go to the Contest University website at, or view the Hamvention schedule at 73! (Tim, K3LR, Contest University Chairman)Don’t forget that Saturday, May 22, is the Hamvention QSO Party.James, K7KQA, announces that DesertFest 2021, an in-person event, is a go for the May 22 weekend:”Join Petr, AG6EE; Barry, K7BWH, and a good (and growing!) number of other popular Western rovers/activators/6 meters/FFMA/VHF+ general interest operators and me, as we take on the ‘old West’ at the Nevada Hotel and Casino in Ely, Nevada, May 21-23 2021. Come hang out for a weekend of swapping lies, tall tales, and stories of the one that got away. Bring the XYL. Ely is a fun town with ‘old West’ vibes. This is not a structured event — no itinerary, no talks, no presentations. Come as you are and shoot the breeze with like-minded folks. COVID safety means we’ll be spending a lot of time outside for the ‘rover show and shine.’There will be portable EME stations operating on 6/2/1296, 6-meter rovers, and possibly more. After DesertFest, there will be at least a few rare grid activations as some folks head home (from what I hear). There are other close-by hotels in town if Hotel Nevada is already booked. Yes, this is happening! Giveaway swag has been ordered and the stickers are printed! See you there!”The W4DXCC DX and Convention Contest and Expo will be held in person on September 24 and 25 in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. According to the convention’s sponsor, SEDCO, hotel reservations must be made by phone. Friday’s activities are focused around “the Ham Radio Bootcamp…to provide knowledge to new and experienced hams alike” while Saturday is “the main convention (with) numerous well-known presenters, giving you the inside scoop on what is going on in amateur radio.”The RSGB‘s Les Barclay Memorial Award is “To recognize those who have made excellent contributions to propagation research and understanding, ranging from conducting original research, through to spreading knowledge about propagation and inspiring interest among amateurs.” It’s a new award, and the first-ever winner is Jim Bacon, G3YLA, for his work on Sporadic E and the development of the EPI (Es Probability Index). You can view the award ceremony here. Jim’s thesis is that “Weather features have been known to generate turbulence, which in turn produces gravity waves that can propagate upwards to reach the E region, where in turn, they interact with the atmospheric tidal winds and may result in Es (sporadic E). Other weather features which may cause weather turbulence are thunderstorms, and rapidly changing upper air patterns.” Jim maintains his website,, where “All of these features are plotted at 6-hourly intervals on charts contained within each daily blog.”Dan, KB6NU, re-tweeted a link to this page on Sporadic E Propagation from the website. Further pages talk about meteor scatter and auroral propagation.If you’ve participated in the Scandinavian Activity Contest (SAC), the contest sponsors would like to hear from you. They ask for a few minutes of your time to complete an online survey at The survey closes on May 15.Larry, K8UT, writes: “Announcing the FreqEZ2 Band Decoder Software release candidate: After many months of development and local testing, the next generation of FreqEZ has been posted to the website. The program may resemble version 1.x, but this is a complete rewrite of the desktop application. Despite rigorous testing here, I expect there will be problems and am standing by to react quickly to all questions and bug reports.Key goals:

  • Preserve compatibility with all existing Raspberry Pi HAT and DIY hardware
  • Improve performance — typical packet turn-around times reduced from 110 mS to 10 mS
  • Expand to 64 outputs — one console now supports four Raspberry Pi controllers with 16 outputs each
  • Support for a variety of SO2V/SO2R architectures
  • Control 2×6 and 2×8 antenna switches
  • Interface with hard-wired SO2R BCD inputs from two sets of BCD inputs on two controllers
  • Connect networked multi-multi stations
  • Add features requested by FreqEZ v1 users
  • Maintain FreqEZ’s price (free!)

These improvements are described and demonstrated in an 18-minute video. The Microsoft Windows Console and Raspberry Pi Controller software can be downloaded from the /Download/FreqEZ2 folder at For more information, see the website.”WORD TO THE WISETin PestAlso known as tin disease or tin blight. Tin, and other materials, can have different physical forms for the same physical state. For elements, this is called allotropism; for crystalline materials, polymorphism. Tin, in its metal form, can change into a crumbly non-metallic form, which is also non-conductive. The transformation can be accelerated by low temperatures; the presence of other elements, like germanium; or amounts of the non-metallic form already present. Some electronic parts are plated with tin, or use tin alloys. The tin in these parts can degrade and crumble, and pins and connections can lose conductivity. What’s more, the non-conductive crumbles can disperse to other parts of an assembly, and then through heating become conductive again, causing short circuits. Tin pest can be avoided by careful use of other materials as an alloy to tin.SIGHTS AND SOUNDSThe venerable 555 timer IC has been replicated by an enthusiast using vacuum tubes. The most difficult part of the design, according to the creator, was the emulation of the discharge transistor.IARU Region 1’s YOTA Online will be changing its online format to be 1 to 1.5 hours on the last Thursday of every month, starting in July. The sessions will also use a new platform that will support more interaction between attendees.The recent YOTA Online Video also covered YOTA Contest in detail (starting at about 49:00), including categories, the number of Youngster operators required to qualify for a YOTA multi-operator entry, and so on.George, AA7JV, used a transmitter on a drone to test the pattern of a two-element vertical array for 160 meters.(LINK)Kelly, N0VD, announced via Twitter: “The May Central Arizona DX Association meeting featured ‘Ferrites & Common Mode Chokes’ presented by Kevan Nason, N4XL. If you missed it, we gotcha covered.”If you liked the period table of contests from a few issues ago, you’ll probably also like the Contest Wheel Calendar for 2021, tweeted by HI3CC. The actual wheel is unattributed – do you know who the creator is?

What are YOU working on? EB3FRN tweeted this picture, with the caption: “Big fail, the die is mounted upside down! I’ve confused the input with the output. The die is an AMMC-5040 GaAs amplifier used as x4 frequency multiplier for 47 GHz.”

RESULTS AND RECORDS“Legacy” records of single-operator scores before the merging of Single Operator and Single Operator Assisted categories for CQ WPX are now on the CQ WPX website.Final results of the 2020 Oceania DX Contest have been published to the OCDX website. The contest enjoyed a greater than 20% increase in number of entries for its 75th anniversary. The 2021 events will be held on the following dates:

  • SSB: 0600z October 2 – 0600z October 3
  • CW: 0600z October 9 – 0600z October 10

2021-specific rules will be posted on the OCDX website soon.The results of the 2021 BARTG Sprint 75 Contest are now available at online, as well as the 2021 BARTG HF RTTY Contest. (Ian, G0FCT, BARTG Contest Manager)The standings for the WRTC-2022 (now moved to 2023) event have been posted to the WRTC2022 website. The contest sponsors thank Randy, K5ZD, and John, K1AR, for their help in producing the list. The standings are preliminary (think: raw scores) while verification is underway; the contest sponsors plan to publish the official results in July 2021. (Claudio, I4VEQ)

The New England QSO Party provided an opportunity for these young hams to make some big scores. According to Ray, W2RE, “These three kids, Charles, AA4LS (14); Bray, KC1KUG (15), and Connor, W4IPC (18), operated remotely operating under the RHR (Remote Ham Radio) youth program and bested some pretty strong OM teams. They have a claimed score that could be a US record in the M/S category before log checking.” Ray knows of over 50 kids that have been watching his live streams of HF operations on TwitchTV, and all have had the opportunity to join the Remote Ham Radio Youth program. “We have some youths doing 50+ WPM on CW, and close to 400 Qs per hour on MorseRunner.” Ray notes that even with an entry-level Technician license, the kids can instantly operate FT8 entirely “in the cloud” on the 6- and 10-meter bands.

The results of the first-ever EUDX Contest are now online.There’s been a discussion going on the VHFContesting email reflector regarding the use of the new Q65 mode. Dave’s, NZ3M, comment: “It should be used if band is not open. Especially if looking for multipliers. I can work out 1,000 miles, at will, on 6 meters using Q65 30A mode. Any time of day.”OPERATING TIPHands on That KeyboardBest practice recommends that all contest CW keying be done using a computerized keyer. Even “fills.” Some would go so far as to even suggest, “If your hands aren’t on the keyboard, you’re losing,” which may seem harsh, but may reflect reality. That advice is also tempered by the dictum to always “have fun,” which for some operators involves occasionally sending with a cherished key or bug. Computerized keying has been a part of amateur radio for over 50 years now: Curtis Keyers were available in 1971, containing a memory function for sending a 20-character message.TECHNICAL TOPICS AND INFORMATIONDAPNET – Decentralized Amateur Paging Networks is a “network operated by amateur radio enthusiasts…It consists of a decentralized server cluster feeding paging data to distributed transmitters.” Using some traditional paging protocols like POCSAG, it appears that this is EU-centric. It’s interesting to know that it exists; because it does use ham frequencies, might this be another tool to know about for potential use in support of emergencies?Wire. It’s something we might take for granted when building things nowadays, with the focus on printed circuit board construction. But there’s usually at least a little bit of wire in most projects, if only to connect to battery holders, or chassis mounted connectors or switches. Most of the time, the best kind of wire is “whatever is on hand,” if your junk box is deep enough. A recent discussion on the Elecraft email reflector yielded some good recommendations for those who might need to actually buy some wire, including some that is Teflon coated yet reasonably priced.It’s not 20 meters during a phone contest that the authors of “The Radio We Could Send To Hell” are writing about – it’s the 500 degrees Celsius temperature of Venus. Silicon carbide-based chips might be able to survive the challenging conditions.CONVERSATIONLearning ContestingWhile reading the chapter on Contesting in Ward’s, N0AX, Ham Radio for Dummies, Fourth Edition, I came across this tip on how to practice making a contact with a station that is calling CQ:
If you’re unsure of yourself, try “singing along” without actually transmitting. Make a cue card that contains all of the information you need to say or send in a script or list. If you think you may get flustered when the other stations answers your call, listen to a few contacts, and copy the information ahead of time. Serial numbers advance one at a time, so you can have all of the information before your contact.
This paragraph really captures the dynamic between learning about how to make the first few contest contacts, and actually making the contacts. By “singing along,” the new contester has the benefit of practice and memorization, but in a low-stakes situation. Some of performance pressure is removed, facilitating learning the skill.Learning can happen as a result of positive or negative experiences. In a very memorable negative radio experience, I gained a healthy respect for RF voltages as a new ham in the late 1970s by building and using a T-network antenna tuner, but omitting insulation on the shaft of one of the capacitors. Even at 100 watts, what felt like an irritating tingling in my fingertips led to deep blistering and skin sloughing over the subsequent days, and healing took weeks.
I recommend positive experiences for learning: It’s one thing to have read about how the grayline can be super effective on 80 and 160 meters, but experiencing it while listening to a competent DXpedition from a rare locale put one station after another into their log in the time zones ahead of yours — and then finally getting your chance at the sunrise peak — is as close to magical as can be.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.org73, Brian N9ADGCONTESTS13 May – 26 May 2021An expanded, downloadable version of QST’Contest Corral is available as a PDF. Check the sponsors’ website for information on operating time restrictions and other instructions.HF CONTESTSCWops Mini-CWT Test, May 13, 0300z to May 13, 0400z; CW; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; Member: Name + Member No./”CWA”, non-Member: Name + (state/province/country); Logs due: May 15.

QRP Minimal Art Session, May 13, 1400z to May 13, 2200z; CW; Bands: 80, 40m; RST + “/” + class + number of components; Logs due: May 27.

RTTYOPS Weeksprint, May 13, 1700z to May 13, 1900z; RTTY; Bands: 80, 40, 20m; [other station’s call] + [your call] + [serial no.] + [your name]; Logs due: May 18.

EACW Meeting, May 13, 1900z to May 13, 2000z; CW; Bands: 80, 40m; EACW Member: RST + Member No. + Nickname, EA non-Member: RST + Nickname + EA province, non-EA: RST + Nickname + DXCC prefix; Logs due: May 15.

NCCC RTTY Sprint, May 14, 0145z to May 14, 0215z; RTTY; Bands: (see rules); Serial No. + Name + QTH; Logs due: May 16.

NCCC Sprint, May 14, 0230z to May 14, 0300z; CW; Bands: (see rules); Serial No. + Name + QTH; Logs due: May 16.

K1USN Slow Speed Test, May 14, 2000z to May 14, 2100z; CW; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20m; Maximum 20 wpm, Name + (state/province/country); Logs due: May 16.

NZART Sangster Shield Contest, May 15, 0800z to May 15, 1100z and, May 16, 0800z to May 16, 1100z; CW; Bands: 80m Only; ZL: RST + Serial No. + Branch No., non-ZL: RST + Serial No.; Logs due: June 12.

His Maj. King of Spain Contest, CW, May 15, 1200z to May 16, 1200z; CW; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; EA: RST + province, non-EA: RST + Serial No.; Logs due: May 31.

Feld Hell Sprint, May 15, 1600z to May 15, 1759z and, May 15, 2000z to May 15, 2159z; Feld Hell; Bands: (see rules); (see rules); Logs due: May 18.

FISTS Sunday Sprint, May 16, 2100z to May 16, 2300z; CW; Bands: 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; FISTS: RST + (state/province/country) + first name + FISTS No., non-FISTS: RST + (state/province/country) + first name + “0”; Logs due: May 30.

Run for the Bacon QRP Contest, May 16, 2300z to May 17, 0100z; CW; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; RST + (state/province/country) + (Member No./power); Logs due: May 23.

K1USN Slow Speed Test, May 17, 0000z to May 17, 0100z; CW; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20m; Maximum 20 wpm, Name + (state/province/country); Logs due: May 23.

OK1WC Memorial (MWC), May 17, 1630z to May 17, 1729z; CW; Bands: 80, 40m; RST + Serial No.; Logs due: May 21.

Worldwide Sideband Activity Contest, May 18, 0100z to May 18, 0159z; SSB; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, 10, 6m; RS + age group (OM, YL, Youth YL or Youth); Logs due: May 19.

RTTYOPS Weeksprint, May 18, 1700z to May 18, 1900z; RTTY; Bands: 80, 40, 20m; [other station’s call] + [your call] + [serial no.] + [your name]; Logs due: May 18.

Phone Weekly Test – Fray, May 19, 0230z to May 19, 0300z; SSB; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15m; NA: Name + (state/province/country), non-NA: Name; Logs due: May 21.

CWops Mini-CWT Test, May 19, 1300z to May 19, 1400z; CW; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; Member: Name + Member No./”CWA”, non-Member: Name + (state/province/country); Logs due: May 22.

CWops Mini-CWT Test, May 19, 1900z to May 19, 2000z; CW; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; Member: Name + Member No./”CWA”, non-Member: Name + (state/province/country); Logs due: May 22.

RSGB 80m Club Championship, Data, May 19, 1900z to May 19, 2030z; RTTY, PSK; Bands: 80m Only; RST + Serial No.; Logs due: May 20.

NAQCC CW Sprint, May 20, 0030z to May 20, 0230z; CW; Bands: (see rules); RST + (state/province/country) + (NAQCC No./power); Logs due: May 24.

CWops Mini-CWT Test, May 20, 0300z to May 20, 0400z; CW; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; Member: Name + Member No./”CWA”, non-Member: Name + (state/province/country); Logs due: May 22.

RTTYOPS Weeksprint, May 20, 1700z to May 20, 1900z; RTTY; Bands: 80, 40, 20m; [other station’s call] + [your call] + [serial no.] + [your name]; Logs due: May 25.

EACW Meeting, May 20, 1900z to May 20, 2000z; CW; Bands: 80, 40m; EACW Member: RST + Member No. + Nickname, EA non-Member: RST + Nickname + EA province, non-EA: RST + Nickname + DXCC prefix; Logs due: May 22.

NCCC RTTY Sprint, May 21, 0145z to May 21, 0215z; RTTY; Bands: (see rules); Serial No. + Name + QTH; Logs due: May 23.

NCCC Sprint, May 21, 0230z to May 21, 0300z; CW; Bands: (see rules); Serial No. + Name + QTH; Logs due: May 23.

K1USN Slow Speed Test, May 21, 2000z to May 21, 2100z; CW; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20m; Maximum 20 wpm, Name + (state/province/country); Logs due: May 23.

YOTA Contest, May 22, 0800z to May 22, 1959z; CW, SSB; Bands: 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; Single Op: age (on Jan 1 of year of contest), Multi-Op: average age of ops (on Jan 1 of year of contest); Logs due: May 29.

Hamvention QSO Party, May 22, 1200z to May 23, 0000z; CW, SSB; Bands: 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; RS(T) + first year attended Hamvention or 2021; Logs due: May 27.

EU PSK DX Contest, May 22, 1200z to May 23, 1200z; BPSK63; Bands: 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; EU: RST + EU area code, non-EU: RST + QSO No.; Logs due: May 28.

Baltic Contest, May 22, 2100z to May 23, 0200z; CW, SSB; Bands: 80m Only; RS(T) + Serial No.; Logs due: June 2.

K1USN Slow Speed Test, May 24, 0000z to May 24, 0100z; CW; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20m; Maximum 20 wpm, Name + (state/province/country); Logs due: May 30.

QRP ARCI Hootowl Sprint, May 24, 0000z to May 24, 0100z; CW; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; RST + (state/province/country) + (ARCI no./power); Logs due: June 10.

OK1WC Memorial (MWC), May 24, 1630z to May 24, 1729z; CW; Bands: 80, 40m; RST + Serial No.; Logs due: May 28.

Worldwide Sideband Activity Contest, May 25, 0100z to May 25, 0159z; SSB; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, 10, 6m; RS + age group (OM, YL, Youth YL or Youth); Logs due: May 26.

RTTYOPS Weeksprint, May 25, 1700z to May 25, 1900z; RTTY; Bands: 80, 40, 20m; [other station’s call] + [your call] + [serial no.] + [your name]; Logs due: May 25.

SKCC Sprint, May 26, 0000z to May 26, 0200z; CW; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, 10, 6m; RST + (state/province/country) + Name + (SKCC No./”NONE”); Logs due: May 28.

Phone Weekly Test – Fray, May 26, 0230z to May 26, 0300z; SSB; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15m; NA: Name + (state/province/country), non-NA: Name; Logs due: May 28.

CWops Mini-CWT Test, May 26, 1300z to May 26, 1400z; CW; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; Member: Name + Member No./”CWA”, non-Member: Name + (state/province/country); Logs due: May 29.

CWops Mini-CWT Test, May 26, 1900z to May 26, 2000z; CW; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; Member: Name + Member No./”CWA”, non-Member: Name + (state/province/country); Logs due: May 29.VHF+ CONTESTSSee Worldwide Sideband Activity ContestSKCC Sprint, above.LOG DUE DATES13 May – 26 May 2021May 13, 2021

May 14, 2021

May 15, 2021

May 16, 2021

May 17, 2021

May 18, 2021

May 19, 2021

May 20, 2021

May 21, 2021

May 22, 2021

May 23, 2021

May 24, 2021

May 25, 2021

May 26, 2021

ARRL InformationClick here to advertise in this newsletter, space subject to availability.Your One-Stop Resource for Amateur Radio News and InformationJoin or Renew Today!ARRL membership includes a choice of one print magazine: QST, the monthly membership journal, or On the Air, ARRL’s new bimonthly publication for beginner and intermediate hams. All ARRL members can access all four ARRL magazines — QSTOn the AirNCJ, and QEX – digitally.Subscribe to NCJ – the National Contest Journal. Published bimonthly, features articles by top contesters, letters, hints, statistics, scores, NA Sprint and QSO Parties.Subscribe to QEX – A Forum for Communications Experimenters. Published bimonthly, features technical articles, construction projects, columns and other items of interest to radio amateurs and communications professionals.Free of charge to ARRL members: Subscribe to The ARRL Letter (weekly digest of news and information), the ARES E-Letter (monthly public service and emergency communications news), Division and Section news — and much more!ARRL offers a wide array of products to enhance your enjoyment of Amateur Radio. Visit the site often for new publications, specials and sales.Donate to the fund of your choice — support programs not funded by member dues!Reprint permission can be obtained by sending email to with a description of the material and the reprint publication.ACKNOWLEDGMENTSARRL Contest Update wishes to acknowledge information from WA7BNM’s Contest Calendar.

Aloha es 73 de Russell Roberts (KH6JRM0

Public Information Officer

Hawaii County, ARRL Pacific Section

Retired News director of Pacific Radio Group Radio Stations on Hawaii-the Big Island. I have more than 40 years of broadcast experience, including positons at KTUH-FM (UH-Manoa), KPOI-FM (Honolulu). KHLO-AM (Hilo), KKBG-FM (KBIG-FM)(Hilo/Kona), KAPA-FM (Hilo-Kona). Native-FM (Hilo-Kona), and ESPN Hawaii (Hilo-Kona). Former University of Hawaii-Hilo librarian. Retired Air Force Officer. Amateur (Ham) Radio operator since 1977 (currently holds the Amateur Extra Class License from the FCC-KH6JRM).... Can read, write, and speak Russian. Retired on 30 September 2011, but still maintains a Hawaii Island News Blog.

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