Category Archives for "Contesting"

New ARRL Contest Update Delivered

The ARRL Contest Update

The NEW HTML version of the Contest Rate Sheet is now out — and it is MUCH better than the old text version.

Of course, I’ve been on the web a long time and prefer the look of HTML to text.


  • Name change. Was the ARRL Contest Rate Sheet; now is The ARRL Contest Update
  • The top summary paragraph will link you directly to the section. No more scrolling.
  • Bigger type. Easier reading
  • Headlines in red, text in black. Easier to navigate.
  • Links in the sections are now typical hyperlinks, not Tiny URL’s or spelled out as in the text version. Improves readability.
  • Sub-sections done in bold — easier to read and navigate
  • Includes pictures! It was great to see my old neighbor John, K9DX, and fellow SMC’er Jerry, WB9Z, “holding up the wall” at Dayton.

Can you say “exceeded expectations?” Yup. Really nice.

How to get it:

The ARRL Contest Update is published every other Wednesday (26 times each year). ARRL members may subscribe at no cost or unsubscribe by editing their Member Data Page as described at

Well worth it if you contest. And now even better.

Scot, K9JY

ARRL Starts New "Contest Blog"

Sean, KX9X, has started a “contest blog” off of the ARRL site.

I don’t think it is a blog, but it is certainly a web site to get official contest news out of the ARRL.

From Sean:

This is where I will be posting official information on all things Contest-related, such as when results for ARRL contests are put online, when awards are going out the door, and if there are any problems you need to know about. This blog will cover both HF and VHF+ contests.

The site does not allow comments (hence, it isn’t a blog…), but you can certainly subscribe to the site with your RSS reader (click link to see how subscriptions work. It is for the K9JY site, but the principle is the same) — the orange RSS symbol at the top of the site. I would subscribe because the posting, unlike a blog, will be highly irregular and the RSS feed will send you updates as they occur rather than you having to go look.

Scot, K9JY

EH8A 2008 CQWW WPX Contest Video

Saw this the other day, but forgot to post it here on the blog.

A nice 10:26 long video on EH8A’s effort in this year’s contest.


Standing up during a contest

Bencher Paddle Aside from being physically fit for the contest and well rested, doing the long haul for a contest means that you’ll need to take some breaks during the contest.

I’m not talking about the sleep breaks — I’m talking about taking breaks while you are operating.

The best way to take a break during the contest is to simply change your physical position while operating. For me, one of the easiest things to do while operating is to stand up and continue to work the pileups.

The great thing about standing up during portions of the contest is that it changes the dynamics of your physical and mental state. Standing uses different muscles than when sitting and balance now comes into play.

Once standing, changing the position of your feet can also significantly change the physical dynamics of what you are doing.

Blood flow, wakefulness, using muscles, and stretching while contesting are all things what will help provide the mental toughness and longevity needed to make it through operating times.

Scot, K9JY

South Cook Islands on for ARRL DX CW

Pacific DreamsLocal ham (for me) AD7AF is off on a personal DXpedition to South Cook as E51WWA. There are two time frames:

January 27th through February 7th, Richard will operate from Rarotonga, OC-013, 80-10 meters CW and SSB. Then, moving to Mauke, OC-083, from about February 10th through February 21st.

He specifically notes that he will participate in the ARRL International DX CW contest. QSL’s will be handled by AD7AF.

This is great news — and should be a blast!

Scot, K9JY

Contesting Needs Physical Fitness

K4JA Precontest Checkout How are your New Year’s Resolutions coming along this late in the month? If you are like most people, the resolutions have come and gone. In another month or two, we’ll casually laugh the resolutions off as not meaning much. And that’s too bad.

One of the great New Year resolutions is to get physically fit. After the holidays, it makes a great amount of sense. Whether it is diet, exercise, or both, getting the pounds down and the muscles toned is a good thing to do.

It’s also a great thing to do for contesting.

Contesting, if you look at all those You Tube videos and see pictures of people sitting in the shack doing the contesting work, looks pretty simple physically. You just sit there and talk into a microphone or press a function key or two and go right along.

Yet, contesting is one of the more difficult events from both the physical and mental viewpoints — especially if you want to participate for the entire time in the contest with minimal sleep.

This is where your physical fitness comes into play. Well rested and physically fit allow your muscles to spend less effort sitting down all that time while fighting off being tired. Physically fit means that you typically will need less sleep and get better sleep than less physically fit people.

This combination of mental fatigue from concentrating on the calls and the signals combined with a lack of sleep quickly translates into mental toughness. And we all know that mental toughness is a lot easier to do if the rest of your body is ready to go.

Take a look at those exercise and physical fitness resolutions one more time. And pick them up again. It will help your contesting too.

Scot, K9JY

New Rover Rules in a Table Format

Rover via Beige Alert

There are new Rover Rules out for ARRL contests and seeing the words along about the rules changes has some confused as to what the changes actually mean.

N2SLN provides the changes in a table format, making it easy to see the differences between being a “Rover”, “Limited Rover”, and “Unlimited Rover.”

The most interesting table listing was whether the Rover “must transport all equipment” and the Unlimited Rover category having an answer of “no”. I wonder how many caches of radio equipment rovers can set up along a route for a contest?

Check out N2SLN’s rover rules page.

Hat tip: Contest Rate Sheet; Photo Credit Beige Alert on Flickr.

Scot, K9JY

Contesting University at Dayton 2008

Contest UniversityI’m a bit late getting to this, but the successful Contesting University held last year at the Dayton Hamvention now has open registration for the 2008 session.

The biggest twist to this year’s session is that there will be Graduate level sessions for those — and only those — that attended the 2007 session.

Feedback on the sessions from 2007 was very good. If you will be at Dayton this year, consider taking these sessions.


Registration is now open. Registration costs $75.00 until January 31st, 2008, then moves to $80.00 from February 1st to February 28th, 2008.

Registration page.

Scholarships Available

Scholarships for those under 25 years old or younger are available. You need to contact the sponsors for information.


  • Held Thursday, May 15, 2008, from 8:30 AM to 5:30 PM
  • Held at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Dayton, Ohio
  • Breakfast and lunch included

All of the sessions are taught by veteran contesters. I’ve seen some of the information provided from the 2007 contest and it would be worth your time and dollars to attend.

And, at no charge, you get to meet some really great people.

Scot, K9JY

Northern Lights source energy found

When the Northern Lights come out, contesting goes on hold for most of the world. One can’t break a signal through the great Northern Lights; absorption is simply the rule.

Yet, little is known about the Northern Lights. Spectacular looking, great effects on communication, but clueless as to the energy source — outside of coming from the Sun.

Researchers have finally found the source, though, through satellites. Then the fun stuff started:

In March, the satellites detected a burst of Northern Lights over Alaska and Canada. During the two-hour light show, the satellites measured particle flow and magnetic fields from space.

To scientists’ surprise, the geomagnetic storm powering the auroras raced 400 miles in a minute across the sky. Angelopoulos estimated the storm’s power was equal to the energy released by a magnitude 5.5 earthquake.

“Nature was very kind to us,” Angelopoulos said.

Although researchers have suspected the existence of wound-up bundles of magnetic fields that provide energy for the auroras, the phenomenon was not confirmed until May, when the satellites became the first to map their structure some 40,000 miles above the Earth’s surface.

We knew that, didn’t we?

Scot, K9JY