Welcome aboard to new SCCC member Ryan, KI6BTY. Ryan was licensed in 2007 but has only recently really got into the hobby. He is a recovering computer geek and thus is really enjoying FT8 and other digital modes. He is new to contesting and award chasing and is looking forward to improving his radio and contesting skills.
Did you catch it?! The November-December issue of the National Contest Journal (NCJ) has Part 1 of Jim, N6TJ's "70 Years of Contest Memories." And what a great first installment it is! The man has experienced
of contesting in those 70 years, and he has some stories to tell. Jim also includes many FB pictures in the article. If you aren't a subscriber to NCJ (and why aren't you?!), you can get a copy at your local ham radio dealer. I can't wait for Part 2!
10 and 15 meters were major players in the CQWW DX SSB contest in late October. There were some big QSO totals on those bands by club members. It was good to have those bands fully in play! Bill, N6RV recorded his highest score ever in the contest, with 2.6M points! He commented that disturbed conditions made it a slow drag until the end when things really picked up. Frank, WA6KHK said it was rough going with only a vertical at the new QTH but also said that will change soon! Marty, N6VI operated from his 20th zone in this contest, operating from Japan (Zone 25) as JF1NHD. Paul, W8GJK had good conditions on the high bands. Ken, K6LA operated VY2TT. He said he was deaf on 160 for some reason. He did very, very well on the other bands, recording a total of 4,472 QSOs! He said that Sunday was amazing! Don, N6IC said it was nice to have better conditions this year. He did single band 15 meters. Dick, N6AA was out in Hawaii at KH7M. There he recorded 4,608 Q's for just over 5M points. Dick, W6TK did multi-single with the XYL. 10, 15 and 40 meters were good for them but 20 wasn't so good and 80 was noisy. And yes, the YL voice (his XYL!) does make a difference in the pileups! Bill, W8QZA was QRP using club call W6QU as usual. He had a couple of thrilling QSOs, one of which he says was by far one of the best of his life. That one was BD4RQ in China on 80m meters Sunday morning 15 minutes before sunrise. He says BY is always tough for him at 5 watts, regardless of the band. And 80 SSB is the land of VE, KL7, KH6 and XE for him. He was stunned to work BY! Nice job, Bill!
Bruce, WA7BNM did single band 15 meters and said that conditions were good Friday evening with lots of activity from Asia. On Saturday morning, he worked a lot of western and southern Europe but heard very little from the eastern side of the continent. Sunday morning was better but he couldn't get anyone from Zone 20 to reply. He was mostly S&P during the contest but managed a couple of brief runs with JA, YB and BY. Dana, K6NR operated remotely and said things worked well for a change. He had fun working Asia and Europe on 10m again. Glenn, K6NA said he had limited time (28 hours) and yet put in a 1.5+ million score! Sheesh! He commented that he didn't run JA on 40 or 20 meters and thus got in plenty of sleep! He said that the SoCal openings to Europe were spotty and mostly to western and southern EU. JA openings on 10 meters were fairly good both days for a couple of hours prior to sunset. The afternoon JA/Asia openings on 15 meters were excellent, he said.
The following weekend was the ARRL Sweepstakes CW contest. Conditions held up and we had a good turn out once again. Dick, W6TK said he was surprised how 80 meters panned out. He made a healthy amount of QSOs there. He commented that operating assisted made getting the sweep easy. He was a bit surprised to have Santa Barbara and Los Angeles as his last two mults. John, KF6I put in a pretty serious effort, he said, and got the sweep for the first time in a long while. Joe, W6AYC did QRP for the first time. He didn't know what to expect but logged 658 Q's and 83 mults, pretty darn good; I would say! Ken, K6LA again operated VY2TT. With PEI now its own multiplier and the VY2ZM station now dismantled, there was good news and bad. He had a steady stream of callers on Saturday but still experienced slow going on Sunday. And naturally, he missed the PEI mult and thus missed the sweep. Joe, AA2IL had good conditions and did get the sweep. Kurt, W6PH has only one antenna up at the moment so he did a single band 10 meter effort with his 5 elements at 60 feet. It played well, I would say. 542 Q's and 80 sections in just nine hours! Jim, K6ZH did SOLP in memory of Paul, WN6K (SK) who always did that category in SS. Jim got his first sweep in quite a while. He needed three when he hit the hay Saturday night, and got those last three by 9:30 am Sunday. "Much to my wife's chagrin, I will buy yet another Clean Sweep coffee mug," he said. Dana, K6NR reported that the bands were in good shape with strong signals especially on 10, 15 and 80 meters. He started Sunday with just one mult left but worked that one mid-morning, the semi-elusive VO1HP. LAX was apparently quite the catch in this contest. Dana reported it as one of the last two he worked Saturday night (and other SCCCers reported it as one of their last too). He saw NI6W spotted Sunday and tuned in to find quite the pileup on him.
Then, at the end of the month, we had arguably the SCCC favorite contest of the year, the CQWW DX CW Contest. While the SFI was a little lower and the A index a little higher than the two had been earlier in the month of November, 10 and 15 meters were popping, and it was great to have them pretty much fully back! On Sunday morning in fact, 15 was so crowded that stations could be heard all the way up to 21.130 MHz and above! The Contest Online Scoreboard
(and by the way, where were all the SCCCers on it? Only four stations were reporting in! C'mon guys, get with the program! It's very easy to configure your contest logger to report in.) showed LW1F recording the highest hourly QSO rate at an incredible 443 Q's per hour! Now, most of us mere mortals have probably recorded only a few hours at or just over 100-120 Q's per hour in our entire lifetime. And think about that those of you that have. Everything went right, no? Good conditions, a clear run frequency, you were loud to a lot of areas at the same time, you were picking out calls easily, there weren't a lot of repeats needed, and you were on your game. Now take it the level of 400+ QSOs per hour! It boggles the mind! As for contest expeditions, we know that N6TJ was at KH6YY using the KH7Q call, often with a big signal into the USA, N6AA and two others were scheduled to go to Zone 38 in South Africa, and N5ZO was VK6N in Zone 29. I don't have intel on others at the moment but these three were copied tearing things up in the contest.
Paul, K6PO put in a little time doing single band 10 meters between his time at the multi-op NX6T effort. He said it was nice to see 10 open again. Paul, W8GJK had a goal of 100,000 points in his first CQWW CW contest with the new hexbeam and amplifier. He did the entire contest S&P and achieved his goal. Bill, N6RV commented that despite the relatively low SFI, EVERYTHING was open! He worked some Europeans on 10 and ran them on 20 and 15. He also said that long path was exceptional into Central Asia. Frank, WA6KHK experienced a power outage but managed 500 Q's with only a vertical. Jim, W6YA said it was nice to have 15m in good shape. He missed Zones 17, 21, 22, 34 and 37. Bruce, WA7BNM did mostly S&P. He did the first half of the contest from home. He operated remotely on Sunday using SDR Control and RemotePC to use his station. Dick, W6TK had pretty good conditions until Saturday evening and Sunday when noise cropped up. 10 meters stayed open longer than expected and 15 was gang busters for him. Mike, W4EF tackled some remodeling work at the remote site but played radio during breaks. He had some decent JA runs on 40, 15 and 10 meters. He didn't get on 15 or 10 either morning and thus missed Europe on those two bands. He couldn't get any traction on 160 on Saturday night and thought perhaps some high angle propagation mode was in play.
Jim, N6TJ used the KH7Q callsign at KH6YY. He didn't hear many Europeans and thought USA activity was down. He did have great signals and lots of them from China and Japan. He operated Single Band 15 meters this time around. Ken, K6LA was at VY2TT again this year but ran into a lot of rotator issues due to Hurricane Ida. He wound up leaving the 20 and 40 meter yagis fixed on Europe. Despite the handicap, he turned in a nearly 10M point total! Marko, N5ZO was VK6N at VK6ANC (as we mentioned earlier). He said that the contest began with good conditions and he spent all of Saturday on the higher bands. His expectations for 80 and 160 were quite low due to only having low dipoles available but he was pleasantly surprised to work a few Europeans, and that motivated him to try harder on those two low bands. Conditions on the high bands were much worse on Sunday. 10m didn't open until the very end when the USA west coast popped in. Sunday night, 40, 80 and 160 were very productive. This was his 35th Zone in CQWW. All 40 Zones are now showing at the end of the tunnel! Dana, K6NR said it was a great contest with activity from all over the world. The bands were open pretty well for him, though not quite as good as during the SSB contest. Early Saturday afternoon, he was hoping to run JA's on 10m but didn't hear any. He pointed the beam toward Japan and called CQ. He then spent the next two hours running JAs and a few other Asian countries. Bill, W8QZA was once again using the W6QU club call and running QRP. He agreed that conditions were pretty good, and he put in his highest score since 2015. He worked eight BY stations this time in fact. He says they usually can't copy his five watts. Tim, N6GP felt that he spent more time on 10 than he should have and that 15 was really his money band. Unfortunately, his yagi was stuck northeast, precluding working South America and Japan for the most part. He didn't get on 80m Friday night and when he did on Saturday night, it was dead. Quiet but dead.
CQ has published the raw scores from the recent CQWW DX SSB contest. These are the scores before
log checking. Check them out here
NCJ has now published the final results
of the August NAQP CW contest. Marko, N5ZO took second place in the SO Assisted category. Congrats Marko! SSB
results have also been published.
SOME OBSERVATIONS ON USE OF PHONETICS
by Marty Woll, N6VI
Contesters are regular users of phonetics, both during contests and otherwise. The ICAO phonetic alphabet is probably considered the “gold standard” and is used regularly in military and aviation operations as well. Its advantages stem from the uniqueness of vowel sounds in each “letter”. In difficult conditions, the consonants are usually the first to become unintelligible. When the ICAO alphabet is used correctly, the combination of vowel sounds is unique for each character, thus making letters easier to distinguish. Compare this with, say, the APCO phonetic alphabet used by many law enforcement agencies. I’ve witnessed repeated copy errors when Paul was heard as Tom or Ida heard as Adam. The words (mostly names) are common enough, but some of them lack the uniqueness that makes them easy to understand coming from a weak or noisy station. It’s no surprise, then, that contesters tend to default to the ICAO phonetic alphabet.
During my recent CQ WW DX SSB contest operation from Japan (October, 2022 - ed), that’s just what I did. For over a day I was using “Juliet Foxtrot One November Hotel Delta” when calling another station or calling CQ. However, I found that I was getting what I considered an unusually high number of requests for fills or repeats. This led me to trying alternate phonetics, and I experienced an immediate reduction in such requests once I made the change. What was the magic combination? It was “Japan Florida One Norway Hotel Denmark” (substituting “Honolulu” for Hotel “ in a few stubborn cases). Why did this work more effectively, I wondered. After all, Florida isn’t even a country. However, upon reflection, using “Japan Florida” has become such common practice for Hams with JF prefixes that it seemingly gets instant recognition. For another, “Delta” was often misheard as “Papa”, probably because so many people incorrectly accent the first syllable rather than the second, making the vowel combination less unique than the designers of the ICAO alphabet intended.
The lesson I took home was to try something different when the “right way” is not achieving the desired result.
My deepest thanks to my host, Norio Inomata, for the opportunity and hospitality he provided.
While S&Ping in the CQWW DX CW contest last month, I came across (more than once) the famous west coast call sign W7RM. This prompted me to look up the call on QRZ.com and see who had it now days. Turns out the Williamette Valley DX Club thankfully has custody of the call. Rush Drake (SK) made a name for himself on the air with his very big and highly respected station up in Washington. Rush passed away back in 2005 and is an inductee of the CQ Contest Hall of Fame. According to the QRZ write up, nearly 100 operators contested at his station over the years, including SCCCers N6MJ and N6TR. The QRZ write up is a fun read and and has many old photos. It's a great look back in time. Check it out here
One of the greatest "DX" antennas on the planet will not be rebuilt. In 2020, the 1,000 foot wide Arecibo radio telescope collapsed making it unusable. Many scientists hoped that it would be rebuilt or replaced with something even better. The facility had contributed to many breakthroughs in astronomy and cosmology. It also played an important role in SETI, the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence. However, the National Science Foundation announced in early October that it won't do either. More on the story can be found here
WWROF Announces New Scholarships
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
(please forward to contest and DX club email lists)
Cleveland, OH – November 16, 2022 – The World Wide RadioOperators Foundation (WWROF) is pleased to announce a new scholarship program.
The WWROF will award up to two scholarships of $2500 each to amateurs who demonstrate active on-the-air operation, including entering contests or achieving awards such as DXCC or WAS. There are no restrictions on applicant nationality, place of residence, location of institution, or intended field of study. Preference will be given to applicants 25 years of age or younger.
The WWROF scholarships will be administered by the ARRLFoundation. Online applications are now being accepted for the 2023 awards.The deadline is Wednesday, January 4, 2023, at 12:00 PM (noon) EST (1700 UTC).
WWROF Chairman Tim Duffy, K3LR, commented, “We have received several donations earmarked for Youth programs. The WWROF created these scholarships to enable active young operators to continue their studies.”
For information on applying for these scholarships, see www.arrl.org/scholarship-descriptions
The World Wide Radio Operators Foundation (WWROF) was created in 2009 by a group of radio operators who saw a need for an independent organization devoted to the skill and art of radio operating. We believe that amateur radio contests provide a means of testing operating skill and that worldwide contest sponsors can benefit from the support we can provide. WWROF owns, operates, and maintains the log-processing systems and awards programs for contests sponsored by CQ magazine and others. For more information visit www.wwrof.org
If you need a break from contesting for a few minutes, check out this 25 minute video broadcast recently on Montana's PBS station. It's a fun amateur radio show that touches several ham radio specialties that we enjoy. One of the great things about being a ham is the large number of different things we can participate in. And this video reminds us of that. I think you'll enjoy it. Check it out here
On a totally different note, a non-contesting one in fact, I became a proud grandpa once again last month. Probably the last grandchild to join the Younker family on my particular branch of the tree, although rumor has it the parents may try for their second before long. My only child without a child of her own had her first on November 8 at 6:08 pm, a beautiful little girl named Ruby who joined us quite healthy at 7 lbs 2 oz and 20.5 inches. Naturally, she mostly kept her momma awake her first night home on the 9th. Both are doing very well and getting used to a new normal. Will Ruby become a Younker SCCCer one day? I hope so!
Strange but true...
There is an opposite of albino animals, which aren't white but black. These are known as Melanistic animals.
73 for now,