Wednesday, November 28, 2007

ARRL Contest Rate Sheet 11-28-2007

28 NOVEMBER 2007

Edited by Ward Silver N0AX

Published by the American Radio Relay League Free to ARRL members - tell your friends! (Subscription info at the end of newsletter)

o Our HF Bookends - ARRL 160 and 10 Meter Contests
o Duck and Cover! - TARA RTTY Melee and PSK31 Death Match
o Bob Heil K9EID Awarded Parnelli Audio Innovation Award
o KONG DX-peditions For LW Receiving
o Radio Row and Broadcast Radio
o Dig Safe Update
o Joule Thieves
o Sporadic-F

o If you've given HF contesting a try during the multi-band contests, the ARRL 160 and 10 Meter contests are great ways to find out about these interesting and tantalizing bands. Don't worry that you haven't got a full-sized 160 meter antenna - load up what you have a give it a try!

o No bulletins this issue.

o A golden issue last time!

CONTEST SUMMARY (Rules follow Commentary section)

Dec 1-2
- ARRL 160 Meter, CW
- Top Operators Activity, CW
- Bruce Kelley Memorial 1929 QSO Party, CW

Dec 8-9
- ARRL 10 Meter, CW/SSB
- 28 MHz SWL
- PSK31 Death Match
- Russian 160 Meter, CW/SSB
- Croatian CW Contest

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ARRL 160 Meter Contest note - stations located in overseas and non-contiguous U.S. Territories may be worked by DX stations. This includes Alaska KL7, the Caribbean US possessions KP1-KP5, and all of the Pacific Ocean territories KH0-KH9, including Hawaii KH6. These stations can work BOTH domestic stations (US and VE) as well as DX
stations around the world. Check your software BEFORE the contest to be sure it will accept these QSOs.

Bob Heil K9EID was awarded the Parnelli Audio Innovation Award on November 16th. Bob is well-known in ham radio for his audio products from Heil Sound The Parnelli award, however, is the "Grammy" of the sound industry and honors Bob not for his ability to get us
through the 20 meter pileups, but for his many innovations in professional sound systems. Congratulations, Bob! (Thanks, Tim K3LR)

The latest 28-page issue of PileUP! by CCF is available as a 3 Mbyte PDF file. Articles and photos for the next issue(s) are welcome and can be emailed to Dave K6LL notes that contesters will identify with the post-contest trauma photography! (Thanks, Ilkka OH1WZ)

Larry F6FVY has written a very nice on-line coordinate finder that uses the Google maps interface. Click anywhere on the map to see lat/long and 6-character grid locator. Or enter the grid locator (2-, 4-, or 6-character) and go directly to a display of the appropriate map! (Thanks, Jim AD1C)

Randy K5ZD reports an error in the master.scp file contained in the zip file. Files downloaded before 2118Z on 19 Nov contain the error and should be re-downloaded. All of the *.dta files are OK.

Since we all just spent the weekend staring at global maps, shouldn't we all do very well on a geography quiz? Tom K1KI contributes this week's mind-muddler - - caution, this is addictive!

The Adventure Radio Society's popular "The ARS Sojourner" Web site is now a "wiki" and reporting good results. Access is free with a short signup procedure described at The name of the wiki is "arsqrp" and the access password is "summit". (Thanks, Russ AA7QU and Richard KI6SN)

While you're restively waiting for the next contest, here's a good book about one of ham radio's magical spots, Clipperton Island. "Clipperton, A History of the Island the World Forgot", by Jimmy M. Skaggs will fill you in on a number of details often left out in more casual reviews. (Thanks, Paul W8AEF)

If you think the somniferous ionosphere hasn't been holding up its end of the bargain lately, don't kvetch. Maybe the story "Strange Space Weather over Africa" at will explain things. (Thanks, Tom K1KI)

Fans of low-band receiving will enjoy the serious-SWLing Web site of the KONG DX-pedition group. These folks are broadcast DXers and a lot of what they do and know is directly applicable to low-band amateur operation. Be sure to check out "The Dallas Files" for even more goodies. (Thanks, Tim K3LR)

The authors of SH5 (a log analysis package) have now taken on the conversion of N6TR's TR-LOG contesting software from DOS to Windows. You can find out more about the project and download the latest version at (Thanks, Hector XE2K)

URL of the Week - Long distance? Well, it's all relative, especially at very, very, very high frequencies. The world record for WiFi (IEEE 802.11 wireless networking) is more than 150 km and that is pretty darn good for 2.4 GHz. Steve XE1UFO contributes this collection of WiFi DX and homebrew sites for our collective amusement:

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Randy K5ZD will have recorded his SOAB operation in CQ WW CW and you can listen at He has also written up articles about operating and posted them at Randy recommends the recordings and adventures of W2SC's adventures from 8P, too.

Learn Out Loud is offering a free audio book this month that covers the history of early broadcast radio. Search for "Conrad's Garage" by Joe Richman. Access to the site requires signing up at no cost (Thanks, Steve XE1UFO)

"Radio Row" on Cortland Street in New York once occupied stores where the World Trade Center towers were built. The Sonic Memorial Project, dedicated to the history of the WTC site, has published an audio
program, called "Radio Row - The Neighborhood before the World Trade Center". It's about 12 minutes long and is in Real Audio format. (Thanks, Thom K3HRN)

What does a 160-meter Yagi look like? No, the answer is not that no one knows because you can't build one! At least, not anymore. Take a look at this still-recumbent monster going up at OH8X The antenna weighs more than 4000 pounds and will live atop a construction crane. Think you could sneak that one by the Homeowner's Association? (Thanks, Dave N2NL)

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ARRL Contest Desk Update - Sean Kutzko, KX9X
We've received over 1100 logs for Sweepstakes Phone and just over 1000 logs for Sweepstakes CW! IARU logs have also been processed and sent to the results author thanks to the assistance of N1ND. Sean will also operate W1AW in this weekend's ARRL 160 Meter Contest.
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The claimed scores from the 2007 Collegiate Championship, CW are now on-line at There were at least eight college/university clubs on the air for the CW weekend of the ARRL November Sweepstakes. (Thanks, Ken WM5R)

The results of the October 2007 RTTY Contesting survey are now available at and comments can be posted on the associated blog page. (Thanks, Don AA5AU)

The logs-received list for the 2007 Japan International DX contest is now posted at If your log is not listed, please contact Tack JE1CKA at

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Who says you can't get good SO2R practice outside of major contests? The first step is to get your ears used to hearing two completely different audio streams. We are wired to do some pretty sophisticated correlation and processing to combine our binaural audio inputs. SO2R requires that processing to stop for a while. It can be pretty disconcerting, but with practice becomes fairly natural. Start simply by listening to the ball game in one ear of your headphones and the regular ham bands in the other. See if you can get to where you can listen to a QSO and the sporting event at the same time. Hint, the harder you try, the harder it gets...relax!
Then move on to listening to a pair of ham signals. There are several tutorials on SO2R at the TR Log Web site

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Rich NU6T wrote to say that the Dig Safe or Underground Service Alert One-Call system is now up and running. A previous Rate Sheet noted the national One-Call system was due to be up and running this past spring and, by golly, it is! The Construction Web links Web page provides links to each state's program as well as discussion of the program and recognized problems. Since each state has a different implementation, it is best for
readers to visit their state's One-Link web page for details.

Don W7WLL has found a good, low-cost source for weather and salt-resistant wire antenna support line at a distributor for marine hardware. He recommends the very fine braided nylon and Dacron leader line that comes in ½-pound and larger spools and available in black, white and green. Working strength ranges up to 450 pound test It is also very thin and hard to see.

Don't you just *hate* throwing away batteries when you *know* they have a few electrons left? The circuits known as "joule thieves" can put that energy to work, so to speak. Basically a DC-to-DC converter with a blocking oscillator at the core, they step up a low-voltage source to more applicable levels. They won't get to that very last electron hiding in the electrolyte, but they get close. (Thanks, Bill KD7S)

Another "I hate when that happens" event is a connector pin sagging out of alignment while soldering. Les W2LK and George K6GT stops the plastic from melting and pins from moving by plugging the connector into a mating socket. Les then clips a clothespin type heat sink to
the pin being soldered at the rear of the mating socket. It's not a guaranteed remedy, but it works well enough to give you a better chance to get the job done!

Top Band operators sometimes need to determine a bearing to AM stations to track down harmonics, spurs, or just adjust a receiving antenna. Gary NL7Y suggests as a way of finding the information for a particular station. A second site can be used
to determine the azimuth or relative bearing from your location's lat/long based on the transmitter location. Jim K9YC notes that in the station information, "DA means Directional Antenna, ND means non-directional, DA-N means DA at night only, DA-2 means different
directional patterns day and night."

Eric N3EF has been converting his power connectors to Tyco/AMP Power Lock connectors to increase the pull-apart force. These connectors also mate with Anderson Powerpoles. The Tyco/AMP connectors have an 8-pound disconnect force
as opposed to 3 for the Powerpole low-detent and 5 for the high-detent. The PowerLock-Powerpole combination has a 6-pound disconnect force.

Winding large coils for amplifiers and matching networks isn't too hard if you use soft copper tubing such as is used in refrigeration equipment. Wind the coil on a round form a bit smaller than the desired end result. Clamp one end in a vise in order to create some tension to hold the tubing. Then let the coil expand. Cut 3 lengths of 1/4" thick polystyrene flat stock (or fiberglass for high-temp applications) and notch at the desired pitch and spacing. Insert in the coil and epoxy in place. (Thanks, Carl KM1H)

TECHNICAL URL OF THE WEEK -- Science being what it is, the quest for knowledge occasionally leads to some pretty gnarly dead ends. Thanks to Jack WA0RJY's unquenchable thirst for knowledge, we can enlighten ourselves about some of these less-successful scientific
misadventures at

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Well, I spent the pseudo-postprandial Thanksgiving weekend enjoying the hospitality of Dale VE7SV and his team of VE7AG, VE7AHA, VE7CC, and VE7CT. Banded together there on the slopes of Mt Thom outside Chilliwack, BC, we did our best to bludgeon our signals through the
sulky ionosphere in various directions. To a satisfyingly large degree we succeeded. Except on 10 meters.

Oof. More fingers than QSOs were recorded on this very quiet band. VE7SV is just too far north (barely across the 49th parallel that marks the US-VE border) to catch even the reliable trans-equatorial long-skip propagation that turns many DX contests into the CE-LU-PY QSO Party. 15 meters was barely better - just a weak shadow of its former self even last year.

While I am used to the patchy, spotty performance of 10 meters during sunspot minima, this year sounded below and not quite to the call of duty. Sporadic-E was asking too much - it felt like we were using Sporadic-F!

I suspect things will be quite a bit better in a couple of weeks during the 10 Meter Contest because everybody will be on the band and because December does offer a bit more in the way of low-layer high-jinks. (For you new-to-HF hams, you won't believe your ears as the clock rolls over to 0000Z on Friday afternoon or evening!) But what is the new cycle is weak, as some predict? It could be a while before we get to the halcyon days of 10 (and even 15!). Maybe now is the time to start thinking about adapting some of the VHF+ practices to the wan and flaccid bands at the top of HF.

Could JT65 be adapted to 10 meter QSOs? What about the meteor scatter protocols? Maybe we should adapt the satellite-tracking antenna systems to follow aircraft flying in and out of the local airport in an effort to use them as reflectors! And tropospheric propagation - why, there's a whole world of techniques and tips to put to use!

And if your home antenna installation doesn't seem big enough to put out a Big Signal on 10 meters, then it might be time for a hilltop expedition! That parking garage roof that did so well this past September with a 6 meter beam might also work on 10 meters. The only thing missing from a VHF+ contest will be your grid square!

All this is somewhat tongue in cheek, but not completely. Perhaps some of you thought, "Hmmm, what if I plug this into that instead? Could I run that EME protocol on 28 SSB?" And therein we get to the normal ham inventivity - soon a whole new subculture will spring to
life! What better for ham radio than another strange experimentation bringing new life and perfervid activity to what has been a pretty lame band for the traditional modes.

By the way - welcome back to the CQ WW CW, Dale! Last year, just before the contest, a nasty windstorm took down many trees and did a lot of damage to the station's antennas. After a year of solid teamwork, not only is VE7SV back, but there is one more tower in place. And a lot of firewood. Well done!

73, Ward N0AX

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Note that the following abbreviations are used to condense the contest rules summaries: SO - Single-Op; M2 - Multi-Op - 2 Transmitters; MO - Multi-Op; MS - Multi-Op, Single transmitter; MM - Multi-Op, Multiple Transmitters; AB - All Band; SB - Single Band; S/P/C - State/Province/DXCC Entity; HP - High Power (100 W); LP - Low Power; QRP (5W or less)


ARRL 160 Meter Contest--CW, from 2200Z Nov 30 - 1600Z Dec 2. Work US/VE only, no DX-to-DX QSOs, and reserve 1.830 - 1.835 MHz for intercontinental QSOs. Note that stations in ARRL/RAC sections PAC, AK, PR, and VI count for QSO credit with DX stations. Categories:
SO-QRP/LP/HP, MS. Exchange: RST and ARRL/RAC section or ITU region for maritime mobiles (DX sends RST only). QSO Points: US/VE - 2 pts, DX - 5 pts. Score: QSO points x ARRL/RAC sections + DXCC entities. For more information: Logs due 2 Jan 2008 to or 160-Meter Contest, ARRL, 225 Main St, Newington, CT 06111.

TARA RTTY Mêlée--sponsored by the Troy Amateur Radio Assn, from 0000Z-2400Z Dec 1. Categories: SOAB-HP (150 W), SOAB-LP (150 W), MOAB, SWL, 10 min band change rule for MO. Frequencies: 160-10 meters, operate 16 hours max. Exchange: RS + State/Province or serial number for DX. QSO points: 1 pt/QSO. Score: QSO points--S/P/C counted once only (US and VE only count as S/P). For more information: Summary sheets (no logs) due Dec 31 via on-line submission form at

Top Operators Activity Contest (TAC)--CW, sponsored by the PRO-CW-CLUB, from 1600Z Dec 1 to 1800Z Dec 2. Frequencies: 80 meters. Categories: SO (HP, LP, QRP) MO, PRO-CW-Club and TOPS members. Exchange: RST + serial number (+ PRO or TOPS if member). QSO points: own entity: 1 point, own continent: 2 pts, different cont: 6 pts, with MM: 6 pts, with TOPS and PRO members 2 pts, between TOPS and PRO members 8 pts. Score: QSO points x WPX prefixes. For more information: Logs due 31 Dec to or Nelu Brange YO2RR, Str. Imparatul Traian nr.2, RO-305500 Lugoj, Romania.

Bruce Kelley Memorial 1929 QSO Party--CW, sponsored by the Antique Wireless Association from 2300Z Dec 1 - 2300Z Dec 2 and 2300Z Dec 8 - 2300Z Dec 9. Frequencies (Mcs): 3.550-3.850 and 7.030-7.050. 10 watts plate input power max. (20 watts after 0500Z). Exchange: RST, Name, State or QTH, type of transmitter (TNT, MOPA, TGTP, etc), transmitter year (27, 28, 29 etc), and power. Use circuits, tubes, and techniques available to hams in 1929. For more information:

ARRL 10 Meter Contest--0000Z Dec 8 - 2400Z Dec 9. Operate 36 hours max. Categories: SO-QRP/LP/HP in Mixed Mode/CW/SSB, MS (includes SO stations using any spotting assistance). Exchange: W/VE (incl. KH6 and KL7) send RST and state or province, DX sends RST and serial
number, maritime mobile send RST and ITU region (1 - 3). Novices and Technicians add '/N' or '/T' to their calls on CW for QSOs to score extra points. QSO Points: SSB-2 pts, CW-4 pts, CW with /N or /T-8 pts. Score: QSO points x S/P/C + ITU regions. Note that District of Columbia (DC) counts as a separate multiplier. For more information: Logs due 19 Jan 2008 to or 10-Meter Contest, ARRL, 225 Main St, Newington,
CT 06111.

28 MHz SWL Contest--runs at the same time as the ARRL 10 Meter ConteSt Categories: SO-SSB, SO-CW, SO-Mixed (separate logs). Log stations making contest QSOs. QSO Points: first station from S/P/C - 5 pts, second station - 3 pts, third station - 1 pt. Score: QSO points x DX entities. For more information and logging software: Logs due 31 Jan 2008 to or Ruud Ivens, NL290, Hittekamp 29, 3956 RE Leersum, The Netherlands.

PSK31 Death Match--PSK31 and PSK63, sponsored by the Michigan DX Association, 0000Z Dec 15 - 2400Z Dec 16. Frequencies: 80 - 6 meters, PSK31 and PSK63 count as separate "bands". Categories: SO, Class 1 (100W), Class 2 (25W), Class 3 (10W). Exchange: Name + S/P/C. QSO Points: 20 meters--1 pt/QSO, 6 meters--3 pts/QSO, other bands--2 pts/QSO. Bonus points: W8DXI 500 pts (once) and 100 pts for uploading logs to LoTW within 30 days of contest Score: QSO Points x total S/P/C + bonus points. For more information: Logs due 20 Jan 2008 to

Russian 160 Meter Contest--CW/SSB. sponsored by Radio Magazine, from 0000Z -- 0200Z Dec 16. Categories: SO, MO, SO and MO 18 years and younger, Mixed Mode only. Exchange: RST, serial number, and square ID (see for a map showing the squares) QSO Points: own square--1 pt, adjacent sq--2 pts, 1 add'l pt each add'l square distant. Score: total QSO points. For more information: Logs due 16 Jan 2008 to, or Radio Magazine, Seliverstov per. 10, Moscow 107045, Russia.

Croatian CW Contest--sponsored by Hrvatski Radioameterski Savez (HRS), from 1400Z Dec 15 - 1400Z Dec 16. Frequencies: 160-10 meters. Categories: SOAB (HP 100W, LP, QRP 5 W), SOSB (HP, LP), MO, SWL. Exchange: RST + serial number. QSO Points: 9A stations--10 pts on
160-40, 6 pts 20-10; different cont--6 pts 160-40, 3 pts 20-10; own cont and country--2 pts 160-40, 1 pt 20-10. Score: QSO points x DXCC entities (+ 5 WAE countries) on all bands. For more information: Logs due 30 days after the contest to (preferred) or Hrvatski Radioameterski Savez (HRS), Croatian CW Contest, PO Box 149, 10003 Zagreb, Croatia.

Bruce Kelley Memorial 1929 QSO Party (see Dec 1-2)


No VHF+ contests are scheduled.

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November 28 - NAQCC Straight Key/Bug Sprint, email logs to:, post log summary at:, paper logs and
diskettes to: Tom Mitchell, KB3LFC, RD6 Box 122A, Kittanning, PA 16201, USA. Find rules at:

November 30 - JARTS WW RTTY Contest, email logs to: (none), Upload log at:, paper logs and diskettes to: (none). Find rules at:

November 30 - W/VE Islands QSO Party, email logs to:, paper logs and diskettes to: John Almon, WA4JA, 1411 Oak Leaf Dr., Columbia, TN 38401, USA. Find rules at:

December 1 - CQ Worldwide DX Contest, SSB, email logs to:, paper logs and diskettes to: CQWW SSB, CQ Magazine, 25 Newbridge Road, Hicksville, NY 11801, USA. Find rules at:

December 1 - CQ-WE Contest, email logs to: (see rules), paper logs and diskettes to: (see rules). Find rules at:

December 1 - OK/OM DX Contest, CW, email logs to:, paper logs and diskettes to: OK-OM DX Contest, CRK, PO Box 69, 113 27 Praha 1, Czech Republic. Find rules at:

December 1 - Feld Hell Sprint, email logs to: (none), post log summary at:, paper logs and diskettes to: John Graf, WA6L, 23085 Old Ranch Rd, Alpine, CA 91901, USA. Find rules at:

December 1 - YO International PSK31 Contest, email logs to:, paper logs and diskettes to: Radioclubul YO5KAD, PO Box 220, RO-430281 Baia Mare, Romania. Find rules at:

December 2 - SKCC Weekend Sprintathon, email log summary to:, post log summary at:, paper logs and diskettes to: (none). Find rules at:

December 3 - RSGB 2nd 1.8 MHz Contest, CW, email logs to:, paper logs and diskettes to: RSGB-G3UFY, 77 Bensham Manor Road, Thornton Heath, Surrey CR7 7AF, England. Find rules at:

December 3 - SARL Field Day Contest, email logs to:, paper logs and diskettes to: Field Day Contest, Bloemfontein Radio Amateur Club, PO Box 12104, Brandhof,
9324, South Africa. Find rules at:

December 4 - DARC 10-Meter Digital Contest, email logs to:, paper logs and diskettes to: Werner Ludwig, DF5BX, PO Box 1270, 49110 Georgsmarienhuette, Germany. Find rules at:

December 4 - Ukrainian DX Contest, email logs to:, paper logs and diskettes to: Ukrainian Contest Club HQ, PO Box 4850, Zaporozhye 69118, Ukraine. Find rules at:

December 5 - ARRL Sweepstakes Contest, CW, email logs to:, paper logs and diskettes to: November SS CW, ARRL, 225 Main St, Newington, CT 06111, USA. Find rules at:

December 5 - NA Collegiate ARC Championship, CW, email logs to:, email log summary to:, paper logs and diskettes to: November SS CW, ARRL, 225 Main St, Newington, CT 06111, USA. Find rules at:


The Contester's Rate Sheet wishes to acknowledge information from the following sources:
WA7BNM's Contest Calendar Web page -
SM3CER's Web site -

ARRL members may subscribe at no cost by editing their Member Data Page as described at

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THE ARRL CONTEST RATE SHEET is published every other Wednesday (26 times each year), by the American Radio Relay League--The National Association For Amateur Radio--225 Main St, Newington, CT 06111; tel 860-594-0200; fax 860-594-0259. Editor: Ward Silver, N0AX.

The ARRL Contest Rate Sheet offers a useful source of timely information for both the active and casual contester. The Rate Sheet includes information about events during the following two-week period, time-sensitive news items, upcoming deadlines, and other news of
interest to contesters.

Material from The Contester's Rate Sheet may be republished orreproduced in whole or in part in any form without additional permission. Credit must be given to The ARRL Contester's RateSheet/American Radio Relay League. Editorial questions or comments: Ward Silver, N0AX,