A Collection of Past SCCC News Stories (Newest to Oldest)
Monthly News (SCCCORE - SoCal Contest Club Operations, Results and Enlightenments)
December 2019
NA6L QTH Welcome aboard to new member, John NA6L. John hails from San Diego and is a past President of the San Diego DX Club. His QTH is more than 200 ft. above sea level and overlooks the San Diego Bay. John enjoys the digital modes, especially on 6 and 160 meters.

ARRL sent out a survey on the Sweepstakes contests in late November. Word on the street is that everyone who submitted a 2019 SS log via their web site were sent the survey. I hope that if you received it, you took the time (or will) to respond. It is obvious that the ARRL is considering changes to the contest rules to potentially increase participation. Some things under consideration are shortening the contest, moving the start/stop times to something earlier in the day, combining phone and CW into the same weekend (allowing stations to be contacted once per mode), adding digital to the contest, etc. Those are some radical changes, and I'm sure the contest committee won't do anything drastic without careful consideration. On one hand, many of us don't like to see big changes to our contests. On the other hand, many of us complain about the Sunday doldrums. Interestingly, allowing contacts once per band is not included in the survey. Perhaps that is TOO radical...

Monthly News (SCCCORE - SoCal Contest Club Operations, Results and Enlightenments)
November 2019
Announced contest DXpeditions for CQWW DX CW that include SCCCers are as follows.
3B8M M/M includes N6AA and N6VI. QRV before the contest as 3B8/homecall. This operation may also include W6XD as he has been spotted as 3B8/W6XD.
6V7A M/2 includes N5ZO. QRV before the contest as 6W1RW.
KL7RA M/M includes NC6K and K6ZH. Both will operate as KL7/homecall leading up to the contest.
VP9I M/S includes W6PH.
ZF1A SOAB by N6MJ. QRV as ZF1MJ before the contest.
Above update posted 19 Nov 2019.

SCCC member Dan Craig, N6MJ is featured in QST's Member Spotlight article this month (November, 2019 issue). Dan was first licensed as KC6CNV in 1989 at the tender age of 8! Dan holds the record for most QSOs by a single operator in CQWW CW with 10,014 contacts after log checking! He accomplished this in the 2015 contest from ZF1A and is the only one to crack the 10K mark in that contest!

Looks like we had a good turn out for and some big scores in the California QSO Party. I Hope everyone had a good time operating this event! Yours truly was out of town for it and unable to participate. Next year though!

CQWW SSB conditions were especially punk. K7RA reported in his solar update posted on Friday of that weekend that the solar flux had sunk on October 21 to possibly the lowest level ever in recorded history, 64.0. The previous all time low was 64.4 on July 2, 1954. And the average solar flux for the week leading up to CQWW was also the lowest ever at 65.3. Talk about being at the bottom of the solar cycle! His prediction for the week starting Friday, October 25 was no better. SFI of 65 and an A index of 30 on Friday and 18 on Saturday. No bueno! At the start of the contest, the usual sites were reporting an SFI of 69 and A Index of 29. Ouch! And some will tell you that the SSB weekend is always much better than the CW weekend. Oh boy, let's hope that doesn't happen this year! Of note, the VP6R Pitcairn Island DXpedition paused two hours before the contest and readied themselves for a multi-multi effort. (They also expected to have a couple of stations on the WARC bands for the non-contesters out there.) Me personally... I didn't have a full weekend to dedicate to the contest but when I saw some spots on 10 meters, I was a bit surprised. So I got on barefoot and worked a few. Who knows, I might wind up top 5 in Zone 3 in my 10 meter assisted LP category hi hi! We should all do this sort of thing when time gets in the way. Just saying...

Monthly News (SCCCORE)
October 2019
The California QSO Party is October 5-6. This is OUR contest in that WE in California get to be the hunted. We get to run. We are the wanted. No matter your station, large or small, high power, low power or QRP. The rest of the country and world will be looking for YOU! I hope that each of you will get on and enjoy this once a year opportunity to be the hunted! Be sure to submit your score for SCCC. Full rules can be found at CQP.org

A shout out to Axel, KI6RRN. According to the September issue of the San Diego DX Club bulletin, Axel currently has the highest qualifying score IN THE WORLD for WRTC!

The World Wide Radio Operators Foundation (WWROF) has posted a presentation done by W0YK on September 24. Ed reviewed the 32 year history of the CQWW RTTY DX Contest and much more. You can find the presentation here.

LOTW and other electronic QSL systems have revolutioned QSLing. I'm sure that we all get a flood of electronic QSLs shortly after the contest (sometimes within minutes!). And yet, we may still receive printed QSLs from some, requesting ours in return. These may be from USA or foreign countries. Often these are from hams who have not yet mastered registering for LOTW and/or prefer not to do electronic QSLing for one reason or another. I personally love both. I like the expediency of a quick electronic QSL but I still enjoy receiving a printed card. The printed card often tells me more about the ham or DXpedition on the other end of my QSL. I especially enjoy printed QSLs with pictures on them, although I admittedly have a pretty plain card myself with no pictures. I should probably fix that, huh? That said, I wonder about the rest of you SCCCers. What are your thoughts about QSLing? Do you prefer electronic or printed? Do you respond 100%? Is it easier now than before? (Many of us dreaded the hundreds or thousands of cards we received from the Asian island to the west of us, while we in fact loving working those runs during the DX contests!. How quickly do you respond to QSLs? Have you kept in mind that some or many may be from budding contesters and perhaps we should respond as quickly as possible? Now that many of our club members are retired, is it easier than before to respond to QSL requests? Or not? And what about those that aren't yet retired? Is it fairly easy or a burden? Your thoughts appreciated! (send to the reflector too).

Monthly News (SCCCORE)
September 2019
The ARRL has announced that automated contacts are prohibited in ARRL contests, DXCC, WAS and for some (or all?) other ARRL awards. In this day and age of computerized ham software, it isn't all that difficult to automate contacts with the operator just watching over (or, ahem, not present at all). Altered versions of these kinds of contest or digi programs or use of scripts or outboard software to eliminate the need for human intervention will cause QSOs made with them to be prohibited. How can the ARRL detect such contacts? There is much discussion on the usual forums about this but just as detection of illegal output power, use of spotting nets by single operators, etc. can be detected, there are undoubtedly ways of detecting automated contacts. Regardless, all contesters should always play fair adn abide by the rules. The ARRL announcement can be found here.

The annual Summer Bash was hosted by Randy, KQ6RS. Spotted there were N6AA, N6HC, K6NA, N6CW, K6RB, N5ZO, N6JOJ, W6YA, N6XT, AI6O and NA6MB. AI6O reports that it was a great gathering.

Jim, N6TJ has announced that he will be at 9K2HN for the CQWW CW contest in late November. Eric, NC6K and Jim, K6ZH are going to KL7RA for that one as well. Levi, K6JO will be at ZF1A for CQWW SSB. Is anyone else going on a Contest-pedition?

The World Wide Radio Operators Foundation (WWROF) has published a webinar explaining the popular FT4 / FT8 modes and the WW Digi Contest. You can find the video here.

Monthly News (SCCCORE)
August 2019
The February NA Sprint CW results are out, and the SCCC#1 team finished 2nd! A very strong performance was put in by the crew: N6MJ, N5ZO, N6AA, N6RT and K6NA. Great job! NCCC#1 came out on top with 78K points to SCCC#1's 72K. SCCC#2 (NX6T, K6LA, W4EF, K6ZH and K6AW) placed 7th! Dan, N6MJ placed 7th overall! Full results NCJ web site.

And NCJ has also published the final results of the March NA Sprint RTTY. Kent, N6WT placed 4th overall in this one. The SCCC team placed 6th. Full results not yet on the web site as of July 5.

Monthly News (SCCCORE)
July 2019
Greetings. June and July are slow months for contesting but... As we head into the warmer months of summer, it's time to do that antenna work that you've been meaning to do. And/or that station reconfig and optimizing that has been on your mind. And invite over that nephew or neice, maybe a grandchild to experience the thrill of making a few contacts at your station. Let's make the most of our 2019 summer!

If you are running N1MM+ contest logging software, you may run into an error when the program tries to check for updates or you manually make the check. There was a change to the web site (for example they moved to https which secures data transfer between the server and browsers) but did not rewrite the update routine in the software to reflect the change, at least at first. In my case, I got a 404 error, which is essentially a server not found message. To correct the problem, go to the N1MM web site. Download and run the lastest update file. This will update your copy of N1MM+ and resolve the issue. Note, if you are running Windows XP or (gasp) Vista, the N1MM+ auto update feature is not compatible with the new site. You will have to do manual updates going forward.

The WSJT-X development team has been busy in May and June. They have been working hard on the new FT4 contest mode. The current beta version is WSJT-X 2.1.0-rc7. It is not compatible with earlier release candidates that included FT4. A mock contest was held June 4 to test things out. Installation packages are available for Windows, Linux and macOS. More information can be found here. The software is available at the WSJT-X web site.

Monthly News (SCCCORE)
June 2019
Our own Bruce, WA7BNM has been inducted into the CQ Magazine Contest Hall of Fame! Bruce works very quietly behind the scenes but has made huge contributions to the amateur radio contest world over the years! Witness 3830scores.org and the WA7BNM Contest Calendar to name just two of many. Thanks, Bruce, for all that you do! ARRL's article on the subject can be found here.

Several issues ago, I mentioned that there were many amateur radio podcasts out there for our listening pleasure. ARRL has a new one out now, launched a couple of months ago, called "So Now What?" This podcast is geared toward newcomers to our hobby. It's may not be something that most SCCCers would be interested in listening to but if you know someone new to our hobby, interested in it or returning to amateur radio, you might pass this one along to them. The podcast can be listened to online or on a smartphone or tablet. More information on So What Now can be found on the ARRL web site. I find podcasts great to listen to on my drive to and from the office, or while relaxing in the backyard. Wherever you listen, podcasts are a lot of fun and often educational.

Monk Apollo
On May 5, DX-WORLD.net and a other sites shared the very sad news that we lost Monk Apollo, SV2ASP/1. While not a contester per se, I believe I have seen evidence of him participating casually in some contests. More importantly, he was the most active ham on Mt. Athos (Monk Iakovos, SV2RSG has been reported to occasionally be active, and in fact participated in the 2016 WPX CW contest. A search on QRZ.com shows only these two as licensed there.). There have been a few attempts to get DXpeditions approved there but all have failed. The governing body there is very protective of the monastery and grounds and has not allowed outsiders to operate from there. Monk Apollo provided many with a DXCC counter. It's now likely that Mt. Athos will quickly rise from its position of #20 most wanted on Clublog to a place in the top 5. You can read a little about Monk Apollo on his QRZ.com page. Also, SV1DPI wrote about his friend, Monk Apollo, here. Also, the ARRL posted this article.

Monthly News (SCCCORE)
May 2019

Congratulations to SCCCer Bill, N6RV who was voted the Southern California DX Club DXer of the Year for 2019! He has an impressive station, including a mix of new and classic radios and a plethora of Collins gear.

According to a news item published by ARRL, scientists are now predicting that Solar Cycle 25 will be very similar to Cycle 24. Cycle 25 may get off to a slow start and is anticipated to hit its peak between 2023 and 2026 with a sunspot range of 95 - 130. The typical average is between 140 and 220. More on this story can be found here.

WPX SSB raw scores are out (these are before log checking). Alex, W6AFA is shown as 8th in the world Single Op HP 40 meters. Read more here. Late May brings the WPX CW contest! Watch for our own Jim, N6TJ operating at KH7M. Jim tends to really tear it up on CW!

CQ Magazine has published the final results of the 2018 CQWW RTTY Contest. Paul, WN6K placed 5th in Zone 3. We had a total of 16 SCCC log submissions in the contest.

CQ also published the final results of the 2018 CQWW DX SSB contest. The write-up says that less than 200 countries were reportedly worked for the first time in a decade. Low sunspot numbers obviously reared their heads. Or didn't as the case may be. 199 were in the logs this past contest, down slightly from 2017. Dick, W6TK placed 3rd USA 21 MHz high power. That must have been brutal! Bill, N6RV placed 6th USA All Band low power. Bruce, WA7BNM landed 2nd USA 14 MHz low power. And Bill, W8QZA operated W6QU to 4th USA All Band QRP. All of those were unassisted. Full results can be found here.

Monthly News (SCCCORE)
April 2019
W6PNG Welcome aboard to new member Paul, W6PNG (pictured left). Paul is located in Laguna Beach. Paul has been active of late in SOTA and NPOTA activations, which has led to suitcase DXpeditons, as he calls them. While he is antenna impaired at his home QTH, he is able to get on for contesting from other locations. He did ARRL DX Phone for the second consective year from TI7 for example. He was also interviewed by Eric 4Z1UG on QSO Today. Welcome Paul!

Also, welcome to NI6V. Matthew is in Long Beach and enjoys CW, RTTY and QRP. He too is antenna challenged at his home QTH but he will be purchasing an Elecraft KX3 and Buddipole so that he can go portable.

We are hams. Amateur radio operators. Radio guys. As such, we use batteries. Probably more than the average person. Certainly we have more of an interest than most in how batteries work, how to properly charge them, and how to prolong their life. Battery University has all sorts of information on batteries. You'll find chapters under "Crash Course on Batteries," "Battery Types," "Battery Testing and Monitoring," and "How to Prolong Battery Life," among others on the site. There is a plethora of interesting material there. There is even a fascinating section called "Charging Without Wires -- A Solution or Laziness." Most of us are familiar with the basic concept but this chapter provides some interesting information on the topic. Battery University is a good place to learn a lot about batteries.

Monthly News (SCCCORE)
March 2019
KK6M Welcome aboard to new member Paul, K6PO. Paul hails from San Diego and enjoys CW and RTTY contesting. We are looking forward to having Paul's scores added to the club scores in coming contests!

Also, welcome to new member Roy, KK6M. Roy recently purchased an Elecraft K3S and is really enjoying it. He also has a Yaesu FT5000MP that he loves. Roy is looking to improve his CW contesting skills, and racked up 170 Q's in last month's ARRL DX CW contest. The picture to the left is Roy's well equipped station.

And welcome to Gary, KK6YB from La Jolla, CA. Gary enjoys HF, VHF, UHF, FT8 and RTTY. He was first licensed in 1972.

And...welcome aboard to another new member, Joe, W6AYC in Atascadero. Joe tells us that CW contesting is his speciality.

A recent note from Jim, N6TJ brought to my attention that this month, he is celebrating 70 years of contesting! And this is his ninth decade in the contesting fray! Wow! Jim is planning on operating as 9K2HN in CQWW CW in Zone 21 this November, another new one for him. Jim perennially turns in very high scores in CQWW, and judging by the antennas seen in the 9K2HN QRZ.com photo, he will do so again this November! KB, Jim and congrats on the contesting anniversary!

Monthly News (SCCCORE)
February 2019
Welcome aboard to our first new member of 2019, Stephen, K6AW! Stephen hails from Santa Barbara and enjoys HF contesting.

Have you heard this before? "Read the contest rules before starting the contest." That one hit home for yours truly last month. I added my call to the SCCC #4 team in NAQP CW so as to fill out the five member team. I knew I had limited time to operate but thought I could get in a few dozen Q's. I wound up having a little more time than I thought though. Surprisingly (at the time), I was able to work everything I could hear, even the extremely weak stations. Having fun with that, I put in more time than I expected and logged 135 contacts in just over three hours of mostly S&P. I had to admit that I was pretty happy with that. The following morning, I noticed that almost all of the entries on 3830scores showed as low power. DOH! I'd run high power the entire time, totally forgetting the fact that NAQP is a LP affair. Sorry SCCC #4. The NE6I log became a checklog. Repeat after me, "Read the contest rules before starting the contest." And take nothing for granted!

ARRL reports a "dramatic uptick" in the number of logs submitted in this year's ARRL RTTY Roundup (which took place the first weekend in January) as compared to 2018. Their informal polling indicates that RTTY and FT8 successfully shared spectrum during the contest as well. Early returns indicate that most operators operated one mode or the other but a small percentage operated both. WSJT-X co-developer K1JT logged an astounding 585 FT8 contacts during the contest! As a reminder, if using FT8 in an ARRL contest, you must enter one of the Unlimited categories if operating single operator. This is because WSJT-X is a multi-decoder.

Preliminary results for the ARRL SS Phone contest are now out. The K6AM station is atop the MSHP category. Full results will be published in the June issue of QST.

Preliminary results for the January NAQP CW are also out. Marko, N5ZO shows as 2nd place overall, followed closely by Axel, KI6RRN in 3rd. The SCCC #1 team shows as 2nd place in the team competition, with only 65K and a smidge points separating us from the top spot in a 1.3M point battle! Oh so close! Those preliminary results can be viewed here.

Monthly News (SCCCORE)
January 2019
KX6A Welcome aboard to Mike, KX6A in Newport Beach. Mike was first licensed in 2007, and enjoys Summits on the Air (SOTA). Two of his sons are also licensed (N6NGG and N6WMG). Mike is new to contesting but is enjoying learning about it.

December is typically a slow month for contesters. There aren't a lot of major contests going on, and we are all busy dreaming of amateur radio gifts under the tree. Uh, busy shopping for gifts for family and friends! Okay, we are busy doing both of those! The weather has cooled and we aren't typically busy with antenna work either. Although... as I type this particular paragraph on Xmas Eve day, it's 70 degrees at my QTH and I've tried to be outside to enjoy it much of the day.

In case you missed it, registration has opened for the 2019 ConTest University presentation at the Dayton Hamvention in Xenia, Ohio. The faculty lineup, posted on the CTU website, includes several new and returning members. Newcomer Bryant, KG5HVO, will present ideas for attracting youth into contesting, while Dan, N6MJ, and Chris, KL9A — the gold medalists at WRTC 2014 — will present advanced operating papers. More info can be found here.