Contesting 101 Presentation to The Great Lakes Division Symposium September 12, 2009 By Dave Pruett, K8CC
Dave Pruett, K8CC • Amateur since 1969 • Contesting since 1971 • Great Lakes Division Representative to the ARRL Contest Advisory Committee • Volunteer ARRL Contest Log Checker for the ARRL 160M and 10M Contests • Former editor of the National Contest Journal (NCJ) • Chairman of the Michigan QSO Party
What Is A Contest? An on-air operating event with pre-determined rules, where amateur stations achieve a score through completing contacts with each other, exchanging information dictated by the contest rules. Examples: Field Day, SS, OhQP, etc.
Why participate in a contest? • It’s fun! • Make contacts for awards • Sense of achievement from seeing your callsign in the published results • Make a lot of contacts in a short period of time • To compete!
Why participate in a contest? • Improve personal operating skills • Become familiar with propagation • Reason to improve your station • Prove out your station and become familiar with it’s capabilities • Comraderie with fellow contesters
When do contests occur? In general, contests occur the same weekend every year, which helps when planning your participation. The WA7BNM Contest Calendar: www.hornucopia.com/contestcal
Who may participate in a contest? • In most contests, all stations are welcome to join in. (In a few contests, only members of the sponsoring organization may participate). • No pre-registration required • No problem if you decide not to submit an entry to the contest sponsor
How does someone participate in a contest? • Get on the air and work other stations according to the contest rules • Submit an entry to the contest organizers (optional) • Enjoy the published results (optional)
Does my station need anything special to participate in a contest? Nothing special is needed – any station capable of making on-the-air contacts is perfectly ready to participate in a contest
How are contests scored? Score = Contact Points x “Multiplier” • Each contact receives a point value based on contest rules • The “multiplier” is usually the number of geographic entities contacted, sometimes counted separately by band or mode as defined by contest rules
Scoring Example: OhQP • OhQP counts 2 points for each CW QSO and 1 point for each phone QSO • OhQP counts multipliers separately by mode CW: 50 contacts, 25 multipliers Phone: 100 contacts, 40 multipliers Score = (50 x 2 + 100 x 1) x (25 + 40) 13,000 points
How to get started in contesting JUST DO IT! Don’t be afraid to jump in Many hams get their first exposure to contest-style operating during ARRL Field Day Domestic contests like the ARRL Sweepstakes or state QSO parties are also good opportunities for first-time contesters
How to enter a contest In general, the entrant must provide the contest sponsors with: • A log of all contacts claimed • A summary of information about their entry • In some cases a list of claimed multipliers and a duplicate QSO check sheets may be required
How to enter a contest In most cases, the entry can be either physical “paper” documents or an “electronic” log file. The requirements for submitting may be different for each type. A paper log must be mailed to the contest sponsors, while the electronic file may be sent via e-mail.
Paper Entry Examples Log Sheet Summary Sheet
Paper Entry Examples Multiplier Check Sheet Duplicate Check Sheet
Cabrillo Electronic Log File START-OF-LOG:2.0 CREATED-BY:NA Version 10.65 CONTEST:ARRL-FIELD-DAY CALLSIGN:K8MAD ARRL-SECTION:MI OPERATORS:K8CC, K8MR, K8RM, K9NW, KU8E, W8AJ CATEGORY:MULTI-ONE ALL LOW CLAIMED-SCORE:9782 CLUB:Mad River Radio Club SOAPBOX:Severe rainstorm ripped open the tent NAME:David A. Pruett, K8CC ADDRESS:2727 Harris Road ADDRESS:Ypsilanti, MI 48198 USA QSO: 7044 CW 2001-06-23 1802 K8MAD 2A OH W9UUU 4A IN QSO: 7044 CW 2001-06-23 1803 K8MAD 2A OH W8RS 1A MI QSO: 14016 CW 2001-06-23 1804 K8MAD 2A OH W6UW 1A SCV QSO: 7044 CW 2001-06-23 1805 K8MAD 2A OH W3BTN 3A EPA QSO: 7044 CW 2001-06-23 1805 K8MAD 2A OH K8TKA 5A OH QSO: 50 PH 2001-06-23 1805 K8MAD 2A OH W8DXA 2A OH QSO: 7044 CW 2001-06-23 1806 K8MAD 2A OH W8ZPF 2A OH QSO: 7044 CW 2001-06-23 1806 K8MAD 2A OH KN1DX 1D VA END-OF-LOG:
Contest Logging Programs • CT by K1EA www.k1ea.com • NA by K8CC www.datomonline.com • TR Log by N6TR www.trlog.com • WriteLogwww.writelog.com • N1MM Logger www.pages.cthome.net/n1mm • WinTestwww.win-test.com • SD by EI5DI www.ei5di.com • N3FJP Contest Log www.n3fjp.com
Multi-Operator Contesting • A multi-operator station is where several operators join together to operate in a contest as a single entry • All contacts are made under a single callsign • Depending on contest rules, the team may operate one radio (single-transmitter) or multiple radios (multi-transmitter) • The final score is calculated from all contacts made
Club Competition • Many contests have a “Club Competition”, where club member’s scores are added together as a total attributed to the club. The club with the most points wins. • The club competition score does not affect the members individual scores for competition, awards, etc.
Club Competition Example Eight scores for the 2008 MI QSO Party had Blossomland ARA listed as their club: The Blossomland ARA Club Competition score is 296,731 Blossomland ARA Logs N8SS 240,684 K9RON 25,317 KX8D 14,775 W8BYC 5,100 KF8Z 3,698 KD8GRG 3,626 N8KBG 3,432 KC8YEJ 99 Total296,731 All entries were also scored individually in their respective categories
Contesting 101 Questions?