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HAM RADIO CONTESTING AN INTRODUCTION Jerry Spring, VE6CNU March 2007.

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Presentation on theme: "HAM RADIO CONTESTING AN INTRODUCTION Jerry Spring, VE6CNU March 2007."— Presentation transcript:

1 HAM RADIO CONTESTING AN INTRODUCTION Jerry Spring, VE6CNU March 2007

2 Outline of Talk What is Contesting? Who is doing it and why? What equipment do I need? Strategies and goals Logging/Scoring Details Before, During and After Personal experiences Conclusions

3 What is it? To correctly exchange the required information with the greatest number of stations and multipliers, within the allocated time, and subject to the rules - thereby achieving the greatest score for your category and/or class.

4 What are the Trends? *Source: Contesting.com

5 What are the Trends? *Source: Contesting.com

6 What do I win? Physical Rewards –Plaques, Certificates, Bottles of Wine, etc. Recognition among peers –Bragging Rights –Call Sign in a Publication Personal Satisfaction –Improved skills, knowledge, character

7 Why do people do it? Fun Exciting to get in on the action Work towards DXCC, WAS, etc. Test out and optimize the station Team spirit Improve operating skills Establish a new record Maybe even to win?!

8 Is it for me? Contests range from several hours (sprints) to 48 hour marathons. Steep learning curve – lots to know Requires competitive personality Try it and find out!

9 Should I try this from home? Clubs stations –Big power, antennas, fancy equipment –great places to learn and hone skills –What if I break it? Home stations –Total control –More restricted environment ($, antennas, power) –More distractions

10 What equipment do I need? Modern Transceiver (preferred) Decent antennas for contest bands PC with logging software Interface from PC to Transceiver (rig control) Accessories (headset with mic, foot switch, paddle, ant. switch box, etc.)

11 Most Popular Gear Transceiver: –Icom 756 Pro, Yaesu FT-1000, KNWD TS- 950SDX Amp: Various, electronically switched Antennas: –Monoband or triband stacked Yagis –Beverage for 160m (rx) Software: –TR-Log, N1MM, CT, Write-log, Wintest

12 Categories/Classes Single Op, Multi-Two, Multi-Multi QRP (<5W), LP (<100W), HP (KW) Single Band, All Band Assisted, Unlimited SO2R Issues

13 Strategies vs. Goals What do I want to accomplish? Example 1: Want to work new countries for DXCC, so may work SOAB for a few hours on 10m, 15m, 20m. Example 2: Have great antenna for 160m, so may work only single band 160m to maximize score. Example 3: Can only work during the day, so may limit myself to single band 20m.

14 Logging and Scoring Contest logging software tailored to contesting. –Dup checking –Multipliers (worked and needed) –Rate –automated voice or cw keying –automatic scoring –bandmap (spotting) –rig control (instant QSY) –networking more than one radio –standard output files Good software improves efficiency and score!

15 Running Exercise CQ CONTEST CQ CONTEST DE VE6CNU –VE5ABC (ANSWERS) VE5ABC 59 Alpha Bravo (AB) –Roger Roger 59 Sierra Kilo (SK) QSL, GL in the Contest. VE6CNU QRZ? –W6ABC (ANSWERS) W6ABC 59 Alpha Bravo –Roger Roger 59 Charlie Alpha (CA) Roger Roger CU Later on 40m. CQ CONTEST CQ CONTEST DE VE6CNU ETC... QSO#1 QSO#2

16 How Can I Practice?

17 Operating Techniques Running –Find clear frequency, call CQ, work as many stations as possible until rate drops off –Big stations may run entire contest –May get run off, –They choose you, so may not work desired multipliers Search and Pounce –Start at bottom of band and call (work) stations while tuning up the band. –May decrease rate, but allow for working for needed multipliers –May lose run frequency

18 N1MM Log Display

19 Most Popular Contests NAQP (Jan) ARRL DX SSB/CW (Feb/Mar) CQ WW WPX SSB/CW (Mar/May) Field Day (June) RAC (Dec/July) CQP (Oct) CQWW DX SSB/CW (Oct/Nov) ARRL SS SSB/CW (Nov)

20 DETAILS, DETAILS... CONTEST:NAQPARRL DXCW WW WPX FIELD DAY RACCQPCQ WW DX SS EXCHANGEName, St/Prov RS(T), ST/Prov, Pwr RS(T), serial no Class, section RS(T), Prov (SN) SN, ST/Prov or County RS(T), ZoneSN, Prec, Call Sign, Check, Section PTS1/QSO3/DX3or6/DX 2or4/NA 1=VE 2/CW 2/DIG 1/SSB VE=10 RAC=20 OTHER=2 3/CW 2/SSB 3/DX 2/NA VE=0 2/QSO MULTSSt/Prov each band DXCC ENTITIES #PFX in each band QRP=5 <150W=2 UP TO 13x2 PER BAND 58 COUNTIES OR ST/PROV 40 ZONES, DXCC ENTITIES 80 SECTIONS (ST+PROV) TOTAL MULTS 6 Bands, 63/BAND 6 Bands, Σ DXCC ENTITIES / BAND 6 Bands, Unlimited All Bands but WARC, Extra Bonus Points 8 bands X 26 Possible 8 Bands X 58 Counties 6 BANDS, TOTAL ZONES + COUNTRIE S Count each section only once, regardless of band HRS10 SO 12 MO 4836 SO 48 MO 27 MAX2424 SO 30 MO 4824 SO 30 MO

21 Others... Top Band Challenge (Stu Perry) –160m, points based on grid squares (distance) Worked All Europe –Added fun of passing QTCs Digital (RTTY, PSK31, etc.) VHF/UHF

22 Realities of contesting from AB Good News: Not much competition for AB awards. Bad News: Most contests not winnable due to significantly worse propagation at higher latitudes (MUF), being land-locked, and geographic position vis-a-vis Europe.

23 Before it Begins Know the rules (points and multipliers) Review last years results (check 3830?) Review propagation forecasts (run Hamcap?) Plan a strategy before the contest starts Set your PCs clock to the right time zone and WWV time Check out all hardware/software functioning properly (test) Update Partials Database in logging software ) Record DVK messages (SSB contests) Prepare food and drink Prepare a Plan B in case of malfunction Get a good nights sleep

24 During Contest Keep notes – times on/off, mistakes Check other bands periodically (10m?) Rate is Everything –When to Run vs. when to S&P? –Work dupes –Use partials database –Know the prefixes Use DVK or programmed CW from PC Eat/drink to keep up strength, mental focus

25 After Contest Back up your files Review notes and logs (edit as necessary) Submit your log and verify received ok by robot Optional: –Submit scores and comments to 3830 reflector –Import QSOs into main logging program –Submit QSOs to eQSL/LOTW –QSL to new ones Review strategy and note learnings for next time If really serious, review UBN reports

26 Donts: Forget to take care of basic needs –Eat, Drink, washroom break, stretch Give up too easily. Keep the Velcro ® on your pants. Stop trying new things. Forget its just a contest!

27 Personal Experience Try to improve station each year –2004: Butternut HF9V antenna with old TS-530S rig, manual logging. –2005: 40 Tower with TH3 triband yagi, FT1000MP rig, rig control, N1MM logging. –2006: Replace TH3 with TH6 tribander, added 40m/80m inverted vee, shunt-fed tower for 80m. –2007 Plans: Add 2 more sections onto tower (56), add 160m sloper antenna.

28 Conclusions The popularity of HF contesting continues to grow. Contesting is hard work but promotes knowledge, technique, efficiency and sacrifice. Never too late to start. A great way to add to DXCC or other awards


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