The ARRL Contest Update

Here’s the latest Contest Update from HQ ARRL in Newington, CT, 06111.

Views expressed in this Amateur Radio News summary are those of the reporters and correspondents.

Content provided by HQ ARRL.

Accessed on 23 June 2021, 1128 UTC, Post 2099.

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June 23, 2021

Editor: Brian Moran, N9ADG

 

 

IN THIS ISSUE
NEW HF OPERATORS — THINGS TO DO

ARRL Field Day is June 26-27. Even though it’s technically not a contest, it’s the first contest-like experience that many hams have. If you can’t join up with a radio club, you can still get on from home using the 1D category. Please review the rules for 2021 changes, including those for power output and making contacts with other “D” stations.

Mid-week, on July 1, give the RAC Canada Day Contest a go if you can. It’s a big deal.

The Fourth of July weekend, many U.S. hams are thinking of things other than radio. There’s the DL-DX RTTY Contest, and the Marconi Memorial HF Contest (CW). There’s always the K1USN Slow-Speed Test (SST) on Sunday evening (Monday, 0000z).

CONTEST SUMMARY

Complete information for all contests follows the Conversation section

24 Jun – 7 Jul 2021

June 24

June 25

June 26

June 28

June 29

June 30

July 1

July 2

July 3

July 5

July 6

July 7

NEWS, PRESS RELEASES, AND GENERAL INTEREST

Steve, VE7SL, wanted to see just how “back to basics” he could go to make EME contacts on 2 meters. It turns out, he only needed nine elements, a 120 watt amplifier, and a Yagi antenna that rotated side to side, but not up and down. Of course, the 2-hour window he had to make EME contacts was less than if he had elevation control. You can find out more details from Steve’s blog. His advice: “If you haven’t given single-Yagi EME a try I would encourage you to test it out, as you might be surprised at your results.” The next ARRL EME Contest weekend is October 23-24, 2021.

Bob, N6TV, and Joe, OZ0J, are creating a Headquarter (HQ) multiplier list for the upcoming IARU HF Championship contest, and are looking for help from IARU HQ station operators: “Are you operator as a HQ-station on the upcoming IARU Championship HF contest in July? Please see our list of IARU HQ stations to ensure that your HQ-call is on the list. If not, please send your HQ-call to Joe, OZ0J, at contest@oz0j.dk. This list will be used to make a ‘call history’ or ‘pre-fill’ file that can be used with the major contest logging programs. The list we’re constructing will only have the HQ stations, and stations from R2, R2, R3, and AC, which are multipliers in the IARU contest. Links to the 2021 call history file will be provided as soon as there first version is made available, and the file itself we be updated as information is received. 73!” Joe, OZ0J, https://english.oz0j.dk.

According to Joe, there are some new members of the IARU for 2021, including A9, Bahrain, and EX, Kyrgyzstan, and some current IARU member-societies may be changing their exchange codes. As always, log what you copy over the air! 2020’s IARU Contest HQ List is still available.

Steve, N2IC, notes: “For years, a number of contesters disdained WinKey paddle sending. I didn’t understand that. My experience was that there was excellent paddle sending with TRLog, and that WinKey with N1MM Logger+ was equally excellent. I couldn’t detect any difference. But When I sat down to operate in the 2021 WPX CW @ ND7K, using WinKey with DXLog.net, I immediately understood. There was a noticeable delay between touching the paddle and sending CW. That made it impossible to send decent CW. I wanted to understand what DXLog was doing differently. The problem turned out to be the default value of WinKey PTT lead delay, 100 milliseconds, that DXLog.net was using. That delay meant that when you touched the paddle, WinKey was activating its internal PTT, then waiting 100 ms before outputting CW. Changing this to 20 ms instantly solved the problem, making WinKey paddle sending a pleasure. I would also recommend changing the PTT tail delay to 0 msec. These settings are in Options->Configure Interfaces in DXLog. For new installations of DXLog.net, these parameters have been changed to 20 msec and 0 msec, respectively. However, for existing installations, you will have to manually change these parameters.”

There’s another QSO Today Virtual Ham Expo August 14-15, 2021. While there were some technical difficulties during the March event, the organizers promise that the August event will be “flawless.” Organizers will be returning to the tried-and-true vFairs software that made the August 2020 event so engaging. Tickets will be available starting on July 1, 2021.

The world’s fifth ocean has been named the Southern Ocean. On June 8, World Ocean Day, National Geographic recognized the fifth ocean, distinct because of its swift current circling Antarctica.

WORD TO THE WISE

Super Check Partial

Super Check Partial (SCP) describes a call sign database file, the website it comes from, and the feature in many logging programs that uses the file. The file, originated by Jim, AD1C and Ken, K1EA, is a compilation of call signs that have appeared in recent contests, formatted in a way for easy computer searching. Popular logging programs that use this file will accept a few letters of a call sign in an entry window, and then show possible matches from the file. For example, with a recent SCP file, typing “1ABC” would show JQ1ABC, while typing “1DG” would show a list of call signs including K1DG, N1DG, OK1DG, W1DGL, JH1DGJ, OK1DGU, and JI1DGW. Searches are made of the letters as entered; some logging programs have a setting that will search for the letters entered in that order, with intervening letters. For example “1DG” would also match “K1DOG.” The file is updated periodically, so it’s good practice to update it before a contest. The file should be used as an aid for what is copied, and NOT used to guess at call signs.

Bonus Word: Drag Chain Cable Carrier

A segmented cable tray that is used to better protect cables connecting objects that can move in relation to one another. Movement is constrained to keep cables from being pinched or abraded. Here’s a small example intended to be used with a 3D printer.

SIGHTS AND SOUNDS

NY3B sent this missive about the K3CT Operation during the ARRL June VHF Contest:

Hi Brian, here are some photos of the K3CT M/S op from FN20 this past weekend.

We set up on the mountain just outside of Allentown, PA. We had a Honda generator, IC-7610, KPA-1500, pHEMPT pre amplifier, and a K3CT-design 31.7 ft boom 7el low noise loop fed Yagi. We worked 9Y, CM, CT, CU, EA, EA6, EA8, EI, F, HI, HK, P4, S01 (Western Sahara), VE, VP9, and K.

Great fun! – 73 de NY3B

W3LPL’s Presentation “The Rise of Solar Cycle 25” is now available as a PDF.

RESULTS AND RECORDS

Jeff, WK6I, reports that the ARRL RTTY Roundup Results have been posted. The results article also explains how the “two breaks of at least 30 minutes” rule, unique to this contest, really works. From the soapbox comments, more and more operators are using online contest scoreboards as entertainment and inspiration during contests

OPERATING TIP

Leveraging Field Day

ARRL Field Day is an opportunity to encourage good operating behavior among new operators. New operators will already be flustered from being on the air with a voice mode. Take some time before they get on the air to work with them, role-playing the phases of a contact, the exchange, logging, and so on. Things to discuss before they get on the air include not using the phrase “please copy,” and not repeating the received exchange. Once an operator is on the air, reinforce good operating. Try not to create any more stress than they already may be experiencing.

TECHNICAL TOPICS AND INFORMATION

This little charger was generating big RFI. At an antenna seventy feet away, two S-units of noise were being detected when the charger was in “float” state.

Bob, N6TV, found that the last time he installed a Windows 10 update, all of the work he’d done configuring his FTDI virtual COM ports was lost – reset to system defaults. If you use serial port handshake lines to control PTT or CW Keying, “your PC can key your radio about 7 or 8 times every time Windows restarts or the USB cable is connected.” Bob uses an Elecraft K3, but other rigs also use DTR or RTS lines for PTT or keying. Bob suggests the following:

“To prevent this unwanted radio keying by Windows, while still being able to use computer-generated CW and PTT on these COM port pins, do this for every FTDI port:

1. Open Windows Device Manager

2. Expand *Ports* section

3. Right click on Elecraft virtual COM port(s)

4. *Properties*

5. *Port Settings* tab

6. *Advanced* Button

7. Make sure *Serial Enumerator* is NOT checked

8. Make sure *Disable Modem Ctrl At Startup* *is checked*

9. Click *OK*

More details on slides 26, 27, and 28, with screenshots are in my updated presentation Everything You Need To Know About USB and Serial Interfaces linked from my QRZ.COM page.

L-Com carries bulk spools of double shielded cable intended for making USB 3.0 cables. The data pairs are 30 AWG, with a nominal characteristic impedance of 90 ohms, and the power pair is 24 AWG. Hint: You don’t have to use this just for USB.

John’s, VE6EY, blog post features a summary of his journey in fighting RFI. He’s used a number of techniques, ranging from eliminating the source of RFI by replacing switching power supplies, to nulling the noise using noise cancellation devices.

CONVERSATION

Be a Good Ham Radio Software Customer”

Much of the software that we use in amateur radio is free to download and use. The program authors were generous enough to devote their time and energy to create something that they’ve shared with others. Some popular ham radio software is downloaded and used by literally tens of thousands of people. Inevitably, someone will have difficulty with the operation of the program, and need “support.” For most, dare I say all, program authors, the “support” part is not the most fun part of writing software. For a number of years now, the support model for free software consists of an email reflector or user group (e.g. groups.io) where the software developers, software enthusiasts, and people using the software communicate to discuss features and future functionality and address support issues. The people answering the questions are also volunteers. Support groups usually have guidelines about what information to include in a support issue, how to label the message, and general support forum etiquette.

Support volunteers appreciate it when issue reports have as much relevant information about the problem as possible, and demonstrate that the reporter has diligently attempted to solve their issue after reading appropriate documentation and searching the support group for messages from others who have had the issue.

A comprehensive report includes whatever the program authors require, which likely includes the software version (it should be the latest version of the software), the operating system type and version, type of computer, whether this is a new installation, and the steps required to reproduce the issue. Most amateur radio software works with other software or hardware, so sometimes the details of the related pieces will be necessary too. If an issue reporter has done the research on their issue by reading other solved issue reports, they will probably have a good idea of the information that should be included.

If you need to file an issue, here are some tips that can get your issue to stand out in a good way:

  • Provide quality screenshots, if they are relevant. Don’t use cell phone pictures. Use the built-in capabilities of your computer to provide the best pictures possible. On Windows 10, this is the Snipping Tool, or its successor, Snip & Sketch.
  • Make a screencast (video) demonstrating the issue if it involves multiple steps. Again, don’t use your cell phone for this. On Windows 10, you can use the capture feature of the XBOX Game Bar built-in app.
  • Store your screenshots and/or videos online where they can be reviewed by the support team. There are a multitude of (free) services that can do this. One example is GetCloudApp.com, which is free and provides links you can embed in your issue report.
  • Please don’t use ALL CAPS to describe your issue. This is the equivalent of yelling.
  • When your issue gets resolved, mark it as Solved, so others researching an issue like yours in the future can find your solution.
  • Remember that there may be thousands of people who monitor messages in the support forums so keep the “Signal to Noise Ratio” high in your communications.

Sometimes it turns out that just following the guidelines for reporting an issue can help you find the solution yourself, saving both you and volunteers on the other end both time and effort.

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

24 Jun – 7 Jul 2021

An 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 CONTESTS

CWops Mini-CWT Test, Jun 24, 0300z to Jun 24, 0400z; CW; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; Member: Name + Member No./”CWA”, non-Member: Name + (state/province/country); Logs due: June 26.

RTTYOPS Weeksprint, Jun 24, 1700z to Jun 24, 1900z; RTTY; Bands: 80, 40, 20m; [other station’s call] + [your call] + [serial no.] + [your name]; Logs due: June 29.

EACW Meeting, Jun 24, 1900z to Jun 24, 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: June 26.

RSGB 80m Club Championship, SSB, Jun 24, 1900z to Jun 24, 2030z; SSB; Bands: 80m Only; RS + Serial No.; Logs due: June 25.

QRP Fox Hunt, Jun 25, 0100z to Jun 25, 0230z; CW; Bands: 20m Only; RST + (state/province/country) + name + power output; Logs due: June 26.

NCCC RTTY Sprint, Jun 25, 0145z to Jun 25, 0215z; RTTY; Bands: (see rules); Serial No. + Name + QTH; Logs due: June 27.

NCCC Sprint, Jun 25, 0230z to Jun 25, 0300z; CW; Bands: (see rules); Serial No. + Name + QTH; Logs due: June 27.

K1USN Slow Speed Test, Jun 25, 2000z to Jun 25, 2100z; CW; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20m; Maximum 20 wpm, Name + (state/province/country); Logs due: June 27.

UFT QRP Contest, Jun 26, 0600z to Jun 26, 0900z and, Jun 26, 1400z to Jun 26, 1700z; CW; Bands: 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; Member: RST + QRP/QRO + UFT member no., non-member: RST + QRP/QRO + “NM”; Logs due: July 14.

His Maj. King of Spain Contest, SSB, Jun 26, 1200z to Jun 27, 1200z; SSB; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; EA: RS + province, non-EA: RS + Serial No.; Logs due: July 12.

Ukrainian DX DIGI Contest, Jun 26, 1200z to Jun 27, 1200z; RTTY, PSK63; Bands: 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; UR: RST + 2-letter Oblast, non-UR: RST + QSO No.; Logs due: July 27.

ARRL Field Day, Jun 26, 1800z to Jun 27, 2100z; All; Bands: All, except 60, 30, 17, 12m; W/VE: Number of transmitters (see rules) + Operating class + ARRL/RAC section, DX: Number of transmitters (see rules) + Operating class + “DX”; Logs due: July 27.

K1USN Slow Speed Test, Jun 28, 0000z to Jun 28, 0100z; CW; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20m; Maximum 20 wpm, Name + (state/province/country); Logs due: July 4.

QCX Challenge, Jun 28, 1300z to Jun 28, 1400z; CW; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; RST + Name + (state/province/country) + Rig; Logs due: July 4.

RSGB FT4 Contest Series, Jun 28, 1900z to Jun 28, 2030z; FT4; Bands: 80, 40, 20m; 4-character grid square; Logs due: June 29.

QCX Challenge, Jun 28, 1900z to Jun 28, 2000z; CW; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; RST + Name + (state/province/country) + Rig; Logs due: July 4.

Worldwide Sideband Activity Contest, Jun 29, 0100z to Jun 29, 0159z; SSB; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, 10, 6m; RS + age group (OM, YL, Youth YL or Youth); Logs due: June 30.

QCX Challenge, Jun 29, 0300z to Jun 29, 0400z; CW; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; RST + Name + (state/province/country) + Rig; Logs due: July 4.

RTTYOPS Weeksprint, Jun 29, 1700z to Jun 29, 1900z; RTTY; Bands: 80, 40, 20m; [other station’s call] + [your call] + [serial no.] + [your name]; Logs due: June 29.

Phone Weekly Test – Fray, Jun 30, 0230z to Jun 30, 0300z; SSB; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15m; NA: Name + (state/province/country), non-NA: Name; Logs due: July 2.

CWops Mini-CWT Test, Jun 30, 1300z to Jun 30, 1400z; CW; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; Member: Name + Member No./”CWA”, non-Member: Name + (state/province/country); Logs due: July 3.

CWops Mini-CWT Test, Jun 30, 1900z to Jun 30, 2000z; CW; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; Member: Name + Member No./”CWA”, non-Member: Name + (state/province/country); Logs due: July 3.

RAC Canada Day Contest, Jul 1, 0000z to Jul 1, 2359z; CW, Phone; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, 10, 6, 2m; VE: RS(T) + province/territory, non-VE: RS(T) + Serial No.; Logs due: July 31.

CWops Mini-CWT Test, Jul 1, 0300z to Jul 1, 0400z; CW; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; Member: Name + Member No./”CWA”, non-Member: Name + (state/province/country); Logs due: June 26.

CWops Mini-CWT Test, Jul 1, 0700z to Jul 1, 0800z; CW; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; Member: Name + Member No./”CWA”, non-Member: Name + (state/province/country); Logs due: June 26.

NRAU 10m Activity Contest, Jul 1, 1700z to Jul 1, 1800z (cw) and, Jul 1, 1800z to Jul 1, 1900z (ssb) and, Jul 1, 1900z to Jul 1, 2000z (fm) and, Jul 1, 2000z to Jul 1, 2100z (dig); CW, SSB, FM, Digital; Bands: 10m Only; RS(T) + 6-character grid square; Logs due: July 15.

RTTYOPS Weeksprint, Jul 1, 1700z to Jul 1, 1900z; RTTY; Bands: 80, 40, 20m; [other station’s call] + [your call] + [serial no.] + [your name]; Logs due: June 29.

EACW Meeting, Jul 1, 1900z to Jul 1, 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: June 26.

SKCC Sprint Europe, Jul 1, 1900z to Jul 1, 2100z; CW; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, 10, 6m; RST + (state/province/country) + Name + (SKCC No./”NONE”); Logs due: July 8.

QRP Fox Hunt, Jul 2, 0100z to Jul 2, 0230z; CW; Bands: 20m Only; RST + (state/province/country) + name + power output; Logs due: June 26.

NCCC RTTY Sprint, Jul 2, 0145z to Jul 2, 0215z; RTTY; Bands: (see rules); Serial No. + Name + QTH; Logs due: June 27.

NCCC Sprint, Jul 2, 0230z to Jul 2, 0300z; CW; Bands: (see rules); Serial No. + Name + QTH; Logs due: June 27.

K1USN Slow Speed Test, Jul 2, 2000z to Jul 2, 2100z; CW; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20m; Maximum 20 wpm, Name + (state/province/country); Logs due: June 27.

DL-DX RTTY Contest, Jul 3, 1100z to Jul 4, 1059z; RTTY; Bands: 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; RST + QSO No.; Logs due: July 11.

Marconi Memorial HF Contest, Jul 3, 1400z to Jul 4, 1400z; CW; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; RST + Serial No.; Logs due: July 18.

Original QRP Contest, Jul 3, 1500z to Jul 4, 1500z; CW; Bands: 80, 40, 20m; RST + Serial No. + “/” + Power category; Logs due: July 31.

PODXS 070 Club 40m Firecracker Sprint, Jul 3, 2000z to Jul 4, 2000z; PSK31; Bands: 40m Only; RST + (state/province/country); Logs due: July 11.

K1USN Slow Speed Test, Jul 5, 0000z to Jul 5, 0100z; CW; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20m; Maximum 20 wpm, Name + (state/province/country); Logs due: June 27.

RSGB 80m Club Championship, CW, Jul 5, 1900z to Jul 5, 2030z; CW; Bands: 80m Only; RST + Serial No.; Logs due: July 6.

Worldwide Sideband Activity Contest, Jul 6, 0100z to Jul 6, 0159z; SSB; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, 10, 6m; RS + age group (OM, YL, Youth YL or Youth); Logs due: June 23.

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

RTTYOPS Weeksprint, Jul 6, 1700z to Jul 6, 1900z; RTTY; Bands: 80, 40, 20m; [other station’s call] + [your call] + [serial no.] + [your name]; Logs due: June 29.

Phone Weekly Test – Fray, Jul 7, 0230z to Jul 7, 0300z; SSB; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15m; NA: Name + (state/province/country), non-NA: Name; Logs due: June 25.

CWops Mini-CWT Test, Jul 7, 1300z to Jul 7, 1400z; CW; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; Member: Name + Member No./”CWA”, non-Member: Name + (state/province/country); Logs due: June 26.

CWops Mini-CWT Test, Jul 7, 1900z to Jul 7, 2000z; CW; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; Member: Name + Member No./”CWA”, non-Member: Name + (state/province/country); Logs due: June 26.

VHF+ CONTESTS

TA VHF/UHF Contest, Jul 3, 1500z to Jul 4, 1500z; CW, SSB, FM; Bands: 6, 2, 432; RS(T) + Serial No. + 6-character grid square; Logs due: July 31.

Two-Meter Classic Sprint, Jul 3, 1300z to Jul 3, 1330z; CW, SSB; Bands: 2m Only; Serial No. + 4-character grid square; Logs due: July 6.

VHF-UHF FT8 Activity Contest, Jul 7, 1700z to Jul 7, 2000z; FT8; Bands: (see rules); 4-character grid square; Logs due: July 12.

Also see Worldwide Sideband Activity ContestRAC Canada Day Contest, above.

LOG DUE DATES

24 Jun – 7 Jul 2021

June 24, 2021

June 25, 2021

June 26, 2021

June 27, 2021

June 28, 2021

June 29, 2021

June 30, 2021

July 1, 2021

July 4, 2021

July 5, 2021

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ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

ARRL Contest Update wishes to acknowledge information from WA7BNM’s Contest Calendar.

Aloha es 73 de Russell Roberts (KH6JRM)

Public Information Officer

Hawaii County, ARRL Pacific Section

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