Here’s the latest Contest News from HQ ARRL.
Views expressed in this Amateur Radio update are those of the reporters and correspondents
Accessed on 21 July 2021, 1313 UTC, Post 2244.
Content provided by HQ ARRL, Newington, CT, 06111.
July 21, 2021
Editor: Brian Moran, N9ADG
IN THIS ISSUE
The next two weekends don’t feature any major contests, so it’s an opportunity to try something new, put up a new antenna, or work on the station to-do list. Six meters is still opening strongly with sporadic E propagation – like morels, Copper River salmon, Beaujolais Nouveau, fresh Krispy Kremes – get it while you can. Why not try one of the weekly events, like the K1USN SST, CW Ops Mini-CWT, RTTYops Weeksprint, NCCC Sprints (RTTY and CW), or the Phone Weekly Test?
Mike, VE9AA, was feeling left out in the mention of making sure to use the ITU Zone vs. CQ Zone for the IARU HF Championship, and the North American ITU Zones sharing the same digits with CQ Zones: “You forgot us out East! ITU Zone 9! (some VE2), VE1, VO2, VO1, VY2 and VE9 (+FP/CY0/CY9).”
Bill, AC0W, NAQP SSB Manager, noted that the New HF Operators section of the last issue had an incorrect starting time for the NAQP RTTY Contest: “The NAQP RTTY contest start time is 1800 UTC not 1600…” Jim, WI9WI, also noted the same thing.
22 Jul – 4 Aug 2021
“Registration is now open for SMC Fest, the annual meeting of the Society of Midwest Contesters. The 2021 event will be held Saturday, August 28 at the Chicago Marriott Naperville. The $53 registration fee includes the full program along with lunch. Like many other ham radio clubs, SMC held the 2020 SMC Fest in a virtual format and saw a record number of registrations. And while everyone enjoyed the opportunity to meet virtually last year, everyone is looking forward to the chance to return to an in-person meeting format. A block of rooms is reserved for Friday night with an additional, smaller block held for Saturday night for those who want to stay the extra night. You may make your hotel reservation online using the link provided on the SMC Fest web page or you may call the hotel (800-228-9290 or 630-505-4900) and request the room rate for the Society of Midwest Contesters.” (Tim, K9WX)
Slack, a communication tool providing real-time chat, will no longer support Microsoft Windows 7 and Windows 10 versions that haven’t been kept up to date. Some multi-ops and contest clubs use Slack, as does the popular VHF-Chat group. Users with older operating system versions will eventually have to upgrade, or lose access. Until that time, older versions will work, but won’t receive updates or improvements. For more details, see Slack‘s deprecation schedule. According to the app’s web page “If you’re using a Windows, Mac, or Linux OS that has reached end of support, you’ll still be able to access Slack as long as you’re using a supported app version, but you won’t receive app updates.” The current version of Slack is 4.17; versions 4.8.0 and previous will be deprecated on September 1.
Sleep deprivation has real consequences. According to an article in Neuroscience News, just three sleepless nights can lead to an “increase in anger, frustration, and anxiety.” There were effects from as little as one sleepless night. Make sure you budget in some recovery time after a 48 hour B-I-C. (N4HY via Twitter)
For those that are suffering from fatigue, stimulating the vagus nerve can help. Using a commercially available device already used in the treatment of migraines and cluster headaches, researchers delivered an electrical current through the skin to cervical vagus nerves in the neck. Compared to a control group, those that received the stimulation “performed better at tasks testing focus and multi-tasking. They also reported less fatigue and higher energy” according to this article from IEEE Spectrum.
Dan, KB6NU, has signed on with the Amateur Radio Digital Communications (ARDC), the non-profit coordinator of the AMPR 44.* IP address space, as their Content Manager. ARDC sold off a portion of the IP address space that they owned, and has put those funds into a foundation. ARDC now provides grants to various projects that “support, promote, and enhance digital communication and broader communication science and technology, to promote Amateur Radio, scientific research, experimentation, education, development, open access, and innovation in information and communication technology.” You can see a list of the grants awarded by ARDC here. Disclaimer: ARRL is the recipient of some of these grants.
There’s a new CATEGORY-OVERLAY for Cabrillo files. According to Randy, K5ZD, “At the request of several contest sponsors that want to encourage and recognize youth participation, the WWROF has amended the Cabrillo standard to include a new CATEGORY-OVERLAY entry of ‘YOUTH.'” Full details can be found on the WWROF website, and the Cabrillo v3 header specification has been updated to reflect this change. (Randy, K5ZD)
Tri-band antennas for the WRTC-2022 (to be held in 2023) were to have been tested during the IARU HF Championship contest held two weekends ago. The 20-15-10m antennas were donated to the WRTC effort by Krassy, K1LZ. (via Twitter)
Frank, NF8M, and Ward, N0AX, both noted this article about conducted emissions from LED lamps. The author compared a batch of LED lights from 2010 to those available today. Frank noted that he thought it “surprising which one was found to be the quietest.” Ward noted that “there has been some improvement.” The article’s author even found some lights that were so quiet that they that approached the measurement limits of his equipment.
The Missouri QSO Party is aligning with Missouri’s Bicentennial this year, with the event to be held July 31-August 1, 2021. Typically, the event is held in April. Check the website for the counties that are known to be active.
DX Engineering has acquired Top Ten Devices, Inc. Three Top Ten products will be manufactured and distributed by DX Engineering: A/B Station Selector, the Op Swapper, and the Band Aide Band Decoder. “Starting immediately, all customer inquiries regarding both new and previous purchases of the A/B Station Selector, the Op Swapper, and the Band Aide Band Decoder should be directed to DX Engineering. Top Ten Devices was formed in 1991 by Dave, N3RD, and George, W2VJN, and has “built a strong reputation for producing high-performance and affordable equipment for the amateur radio community.”
160 meters is not just for the winter months in the northern hemisphere. DL8LAS reported that band conditions on his July 20 morning were quiet. W1AW was copied 579 in Germany. Andree worked stations in MA, NC, PA, MI, and VA. (via Topband Reflector)
ARRL Field Day Logs are due Tuesday, July 27, 2021.
The number of inputs that can be driven (connected) to a particular output. For example, if the output of a preamplifier can reliably drive four different receivers, its fan-out is four. The term is typically applied to digital signal outputs since each driven input requires a small amount of power and can influence rise and fall times of the signal.
Mark, VK5QI, is using “Neopixel” type LEDs in a ring configuration to depict antenna azimuth patterns in this tweet. It’s going to be a “display for a Kerberos-DSR based Radio Direction Finding system.” (via Twitter)
This one hasn’t happened yet! Tom, N1MM, will be on K7HN’s Ham Radio Live show on Saturday, July 24 at 1300 PDT/1600 EDT/2000z. “Larry Deyoe will interview me and then we will take questions from the YouTube live feed.” (Tom, N1MM, via N1MM Logger+ group)
The Central Arizona DX Club’s May 2021 meeting featured Kevan Nason, K4XL, talking about “Ferrites & Common Mode Chokes.” Kevan’s describes his talk as one that is suite for the beginner to intermediate level.
If you’ve ever been to Contest University for the in-person eyeball QSO contest, you’ll appreciate this video from the YOTA Camp 2021 where the youth campers are doing their version. The campers had one session to get familiar with the contest format, and then a second session to make contacts under more realistic conditions. Make sure you listen for the slow scan TV sounds.
Tree, N6TR, writes: “The preliminary results for the Summer Stew are now available.”
Filtering for RTTY During Contests
Ed, W0YK, suggests that for normal RTTY contest conditions, a 500 Hz filter is a good choice to be able to copy stations without being bothered by adjacent stations. For challenging conditions, 250 Hz could also be used (since RTTY tones have a shift of 170 Hz), but will sacrifice being aware of stations that may be off frequency. Ed stresses that at no time should “dual peaking” or “tone filters” be used, as they can interfere with the processing that 2Tone, MMTTY, or other decoders perform on the audio passband.
John, VE6EY, put together an SDR-based diversity receiver using an RSPduo, two amplifiers, and two wideband loop antennas. The total cost for his system build was under $700.00. He states one of the benefits of using two smaller antennas as being the ability to fit them onto a smaller piece of land.
WL2XUP is an experimental station operated by NI4Y, approved for operation on 40 MHz (8 meters), with up to 400 watts ERP. WSPR and FT8 modes are currently being used to test propagation. One interesting tidbit from the linked EI7GL website is that 40 MHz is used by automated devices measuring the snow pack in the US. Those devices use meteor scatter to transmit their measurements.
The CaribouLite is a “fully open source dual-channel SDR Raspberry Pi HAT with up to 6 GHz tunable range.” Though the project is in its infancy, it will support GNU Radio, Soapy, and have source code and schematic details available to all. It features RX and TX capability. It might be a little overkill for use as a skimmer…
If you have a KiwiSDR running on your internal network, you might consider disabling it until you’ve updated to the latest software. In all previous versions to the latest, there’s been a maintenance “backdoor” in the software that could be exploited and used as a launching pad to access other devices behind your firewall. Now that the news is out about this, you must assume that scripts already exist to exploit this vulnerability. Here’s an additional article on RTL-SDR.com about this issue.
Let’s say you wanted to be able to highlight the location of a particular place on Earth, but wanted to do it using a semi-transparent globe, lasers, motors, and a microprocessor? You might up with a project like this one: Earth globe laser tracker. Driving this from the time series data of a High Altitude Balloon flight would be neat! (Ward, N0AX)
Advances in materials and processing have brought new life to some mechanical RF processing technologies abandoned in the 1970s. Practical acoustic RF amplifiers and circulators are now achievable, with the benefit being they are smaller than conventional electronic designs.
“Single Pair Ethernet” is a physical standard for network connectivity for providing up to 10 megabits per second connectivity with up to 50 watts of power at up to 1 kilometer over balanced 2-wire cable. Panduit, a member of the Ethernet Alliance and a manufacturer of SPE gear, has a reasonable explanation of the various use cases on their website. With 100BASE-TX being ubiquitous and inexpensive, and 1000BASE-* fiber solutions being readily available to address situations that require distance and electrical isolation, this technology may be somewhat niche.
In the quantum world, state of the art for “receiving a signal” by observing a photon’s quantum state was destructive. Copying the signal caused the signal to no longer exist. Recently scientists have been able to observe a photon twice! This is great for many reasons including the ability to do error detection by comparison, reduction of logic complexity, and improved “fan-out.”
Why do contest-related products get mentioned in the Contest Update? Sometimes it’s because email@example.com is on the company press release distribution list.
Murphy Loves 6 Meter Propagation
In the days leading up to the CQ WW VHF Contest last weekend, six meters was hot! Watching the FT8 spots roll by from my station in grid CN88, it was nice to see nearly every part of the US showing up in the decode window, and I marveled at the DX stations on the other end of the messages. Local stations were working into the Pacific, Japan, China, and beyond. Six was open across the U.S.: I was able to hear the US-side of QSOs between all of the call areas gorging on some great openings to the EU. In the evening hours on a few of the days the DX paths subsided but six was still open across the continent. It was fun to call CQ and work all across the U.S. After a few days of that it was easy to be convinced it was “normal.” As recently as July 15, various parts of the Pacific Northwest had a localized yet strong opening to Asia. I had great hopes that the conditions would continue as we headed into the weekend.
Guess who showed up on Friday? Our pal Murphy. Checking conditions on Saturday at contest start, and then periodically through the weekend confirmed that the bands had lost their previous luster. Paul, K7CW, who recently completed his FFMA and has a well-equipped 6 meter station, summed it up in his comments on 3830scores: “It was tough going this time for me. I definitely wasn’t in the sweet spot. This contest can be great or dismal. This time it was much better than dismal, but far from great. It’ll be better next time, eh?”
Murphy does seem to have a sense of humor. After the contest ended at 2100 UTC on Sunday, 3 hours later at a bit past 0000 UTC, six meters opened wide from the PNW to Asia, yet again!
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
73, Brian N9ADG
22 Jul – 4 Aug 2021
An expanded, downloadable version of QST’s Contest Corral is available as a PDF. Check the sponsors’ website for information on operating time restrictions and other instructions.
NAQCC CW Sprint, Jul 22, 0030z to Jul 22, 0230z; CW; Bands: (see rules); RST + (state/province/country) + (NAQCC No./power); Logs due: July 26.
CWops Mini-CWT Test, Jul 22, 0300z to Jul 22, 0400z; CW; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; Member: Name + Member No./”CWA”, non-Member: Name + (state/province/country); Logs due: July 24.
CWops Mini-CWT Test, Jul 22, 0700z to Jul 22, 0800z; CW; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; Member: Name + Member No./”CWA”, non-Member: Name + (state/province/country); Logs due: July 24.
RTTYOPS Weeksprint, Jul 22, 1700z to Jul 22, 1900z; RTTY; Bands: 80, 40, 20m; [other station’s call] + [your call] + [serial no.] + [your name]; Logs due: July 27.
EACW Meeting, Jul 22, 1900z to Jul 22, 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: July 24.
RSGB 80m Club Championship, Data, Jul 22, 1900z to Jul 22, 2030z; RTTY, PSK; Bands: 80m Only; RST + Serial No.; Logs due: July 23.
QRP Fox Hunt, Jul 23, 0100z to Jul 23, 0230z; CW; Bands: 20m Only; RST + (state/province/country) + name + power output; Logs due: July 24.
NCCC RTTY Sprint, Jul 23, 0145z to Jul 23, 0215z; RTTY; Bands: (see rules); Serial No. + Name + QTH; Logs due: July 25.
NCCC Sprint, Jul 23, 0230z to Jul 23, 0300z; CW; Bands: (see rules); Serial No. + Name + QTH; Logs due: July 25.
K1USN Slow Speed Test, Jul 23, 2000z to Jul 23, 2100z; CW; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20m; Maximum 20 wpm, Name + (state/province/country); Logs due: July 25.
RSGB IOTA Contest, Jul 24, 1200z to Jul 25, 1200z; CW, SSB; Bands: 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; RS(T) + Serial No. + IOTA No.(if applicable); Logs due: July 30.
ARS Flight of the Bumblebees, Jul 25, 1700z to Jul 25, 2100z; CW; Bands: 40, 20, 15, 10m; Home: RST + (state/province/country) + Power, Bumblebee: RST + (state/province/country) + Bumblebee no.; Logs due: August 8.
K1USN Slow Speed Test, Jul 26, 0000z to Jul 26, 0100z; CW; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20m; Maximum 20 wpm, Name + (state/province/country); Logs due: August 1.
QCX Challenge, Jul 26, 1300z to Jul 26, 1400z; CW; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; RST + Name + (state/province/country) + Rig; Logs due: August 1.
RSGB FT4 Contest Series, Jul 26, 1900z to Jul 26, 2030z; FT4; Bands: 80, 40, 20m; 4-character grid square; Logs due: July 27.
QCX Challenge, Jul 26, 1900z to Jul 26, 2000z; CW; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; RST + Name + (state/province/country) + Rig; Logs due: August 1.
Worldwide Sideband Activity Contest, Jul 27, 0100z to Jul 27, 0159z; SSB; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, 10, 6m; RS + age group (OM, YL, Youth YL or Youth); Logs due: July 28.
QCX Challenge, Jul 27, 0300z to Jul 27, 0400z; CW; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; RST + Name + (state/province/country) + Rig; Logs due: August 1.
RTTYOPS Weeksprint, Jul 27, 1700z to Jul 27, 1900z; RTTY; Bands: 80, 40, 20m; [other station’s call] + [your call] + [serial no.] + [your name]; Logs due: July 27.
SKCC Sprint, Jul 28, 0000z to Jul 28, 0200z; CW; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, 10, 6m; RST + (state/province/country) + Name + (SKCC No./”NONE”); Logs due: July 30.
Phone Weekly Test – Fray, Jul 28, 0230z to Jul 28, 0300z; SSB; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15m; NA: Name + (state/province/country), non-NA: Name; Logs due: July 30.
CWops Mini-CWT Test, Jul 28, 1300z to Jul 28, 1400z; CW; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; Member: Name + Member No./”CWA”, non-Member: Name + (state/province/country); Logs due: July 31.
CWops Mini-CWT Test, Jul 28, 1900z to Jul 28, 2000z; CW; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; Member: Name + Member No./”CWA”, non-Member: Name + (state/province/country); Logs due: July 31.
CWops Mini-CWT Test, Jul 29, 0300z to Jul 29, 0400z; CW; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; Member: Name + Member No./”CWA”, non-Member: Name + (state/province/country); Logs due: July 31.
CWops Mini-CWT Test, Jul 29, 0700z to Jul 29, 0800z; CW; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; Member: Name + Member No./”CWA”, non-Member: Name + (state/province/country); Logs due: July 31.
RTTYOPS Weeksprint, Jul 29, 1700z to Jul 29, 1900z; RTTY; Bands: 80, 40, 20m; [other station’s call] + [your call] + [serial no.] + [your name]; Logs due: August 3.
EACW Meeting, Jul 29, 1900z to Jul 29, 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: July 31.
QRP Fox Hunt, Jul 30, 0100z to Jul 30, 0230z; CW; Bands: 20m Only; RST + (state/province/country) + name + power output; Logs due: July 31.
NCCC RTTY Sprint, Jul 30, 0145z to Jul 30, 0215z; RTTY; Bands: (see rules); Serial No. + Name + QTH; Logs due: August 1.
NCCC Sprint, Jul 30, 0230z to Jul 30, 0300z; CW; Bands: (see rules); Serial No. + Name + QTH; Logs due: August 1.
K1USN Slow Speed Test, Jul 30, 2000z to Jul 30, 2100z; CW; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20m; Maximum 20 wpm, Name + (state/province/country); Logs due: August 1.
Feld Hell Sprint, Jul 31, 0000z to Jul 31, 2359z; Feld Hell; Bands: (see rules); (see rules); Logs due: August 3.
Russian WW MultiMode Contest, Jul 31, 1200z to Aug 1, 1159z; CW, SSB, RTTY, BPSK63; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; UA: RST(Q) + 2-character oblast, non-UA: RST(Q) + QSO No.; Logs due: August 6.
Missouri QSO Party, Jul 31, 1400z to Aug 1, 0400z and, Aug 1, 1400z to Aug 1, 2000z; CW, Phone, Digital; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, 10, VHF/UHF; MO: RS(T) + county, non-MO W/VE: RS(T) + (state/province/territory), DX: RS(T) + “DX”; Logs due: August 31.
SARL HF Phone Contest, Aug 1, 1400z to Aug 1, 1700z; SSB; Bands: 80, 40, 20m; RS + Serial No.; Logs due: August 6.
K1USN Slow Speed Test, Aug 2, 0000z to Aug 2, 0100z; CW; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20m; Maximum 20 wpm, Name + (state/province/country); Logs due: July 25.
Worldwide Sideband Activity Contest, Aug 3, 0100z to Aug 3, 0159z; SSB; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, 10, 6m; RS + age group (OM, YL, Youth YL or Youth); Logs due: July 28.
ARS Spartan Sprint, Aug 3, 0100z to Aug 3, 0300z; CW; Bands: 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; RST + (state/province/country) + Power; Logs due: August 5.
RTTYOPS Weeksprint, Aug 3, 1700z to Aug 3, 1900z; RTTY; Bands: 80, 40, 20m; [other station’s call] + [your call] + [serial no.] + [your name]; Logs due: July 27.
Phone Weekly Test – Fray, Aug 4, 0230z to Aug 4, 0300z; SSB; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15m; NA: Name + (state/province/country), non-NA: Name; Logs due: July 23.
CWops Mini-CWT Test, Aug 4, 1300z to Aug 4, 1400z; CW; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; Member: Name + Member No./”CWA”, non-Member: Name + (state/province/country); Logs due: July 24.
VHF-UHF FT8 Activity Contest, Aug 4, 1700z to Aug 4, 2000z; FT8; Bands: (see rules); 4-character grid square; Logs due: August 9.
CWops Mini-CWT Test, Aug 4, 1900z to Aug 4, 2000z; CW; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; Member: Name + Member No./”CWA”, non-Member: Name + (state/province/country); Logs due: July 24.
WAB 144 MHz Low Power Phone, Jul 31, 1400z to Jul 31, 1800z; Phone; Bands: 2m Only; British Isles: RS + serial no. + WAB square, Other: RS + serial no. + country; Logs due: August 10.
22 Jul – 4 Aug 2021
July 22, 2021
July 23, 2021
July 24, 2021
July 25, 2021
July 26, 2021
July 27, 2021
July 28, 2021
July 29, 2021
July 30, 2021
July 31, 2021
August 1, 2021
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