Two New PA QSO Party Awards for 2022!

Encouraging Participation by Non-Hams and Young People

Recognizing Elmers

The PA QSO Party Association will introduce two new awards aimed at encouraging participation by non-hams and young people in the Pennsylvania QSO Party starting in October 2022.
The PA QSO Party log submittal process will include an option for multi-operator participants to identify non-hams of any age, and/or licensed hams under the age of twenty-five, that operated or logged during the contest, as well as the call sign(s) of their Elmer(s).  Inclusion of this information will enable the submitter to receive a certificate and purchase a plaque commemorating participation in the PA QSO Party by the non-hams, young operators, and Elmers.
Given the importance of Elmers, the PA QSO Party Association will sponsor a new award for the Elmer that supports the largest number of non-hams and/or young operators participating in the PA QSO Party.  All Elmers will also receive certificates.
All non-hams, licensed hams under the age of twenty-five, and Elmers will be noted in the PA QSO Party results report.
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Field Day Logging

If you are doing Field Day 2022 from home (we understand the whole world cannot do Field Day at Shaffer Park) you will want some logging software.

Most of us use the N3FJP software for Field Day. Current version is 6.63

https://www.n3fjp.com/fieldday.html

If you plan to make fewer than 30 contacts, the Field Day app can be free.  A la carte, this one application is $8.99, or go whole hog and buy the entire N3FJP suite, every program, with upgrades for $59.99  An incredible value.

If you want something completely free the best alternative I know of is the N1MM+ logger.      https://n1mmwp.hamdocs.com/

I used N1MM+ for a few contests and while easy to use, the N3FJP software is just so much easier to set-up.   My contesting style will cause W3SOX and AF3I to scream “no”  but I typically wake up Saturday, cannot find anything better to do, turn the radio on, hear a contest, realize I can probably make a few Qs then I go looking for the software.  By the time that is done, the band has faded out and I didn’t do so well. N3FJP just seems easier to find the right contest software and install it.

While you are at it, the 13 Colonies Special Event is coming (July 1-7, 2022).  The N3FJP Amateur Contact Log easily handles that event.  After you launch AC Log, be sure to click on View >> 13 Colonies for an enhanced tracking tool developed by Scott, Kimberly, and Chris.

The PA QSO Party is coming as well on October 8 and 9, 2022.

For a lot more on computerized logging  and other fun radio stuff, please follow the trail:

https://www.radioclub-carc.com/resources/

 

See ‘ya down the log.

Frank KB3PQT

 

 

 

 

This contesting is nuts.  Why do we do it?

Scott Davis, N3FJP, the creator of the N3FJP line of computer logging programs from Affirmatech, answered a question on the N3FJP reflector with a link to the FAQ page.


This contesting is nuts. Why do we do it?

This question isn’t software specific, but the reasons for the tremendous fun of contesting aren’t always evident and they are too important to miss, especially for new folks just entering the hobby.  What draws us to spend major contest weekends happily glued to our radios?

Following CQ World Wide CW 2020, one of our club’s excellent, experienced contesters, having just made over 1,000 Qs, wrote on our virtual clubhouse text chat group, tongue in cheek and rhetorically: This contesting is nuts! Why do we do it?

Spent from the weekend, I couldn’t help but laugh out loud, but the question stayed with me. This contesting IS nuts.  It’s hard work, takes education, effort, dedication, experimentation, knowledge, ingenuity, planning and serious time in the chair. Why DO we do it?

It turns out that, at least for me, there are lots of great reasons!  Here are a few off the top of my head.  I’ll bet that you can add to this list…

Amateur Radio’s basis and purpose includes emergency communication.  There is no better opportunity than during a contest to determine, band by band, the strengths and weaknesses of your station.  If your station can’t make many contacts during a contest, you will be ineffective in passing emergency traffic out of your affected area.

 

And that is just one piece of how contesting enhances our emergency communications ability.  A contest provides the opportunity to:

Practice copying information from stations both weak and strong.
– Check the ergonomics of our station during extended operations.
– See how we hold up with significant time in the operator chair.
– Learn about propagation and what to expect at various times of the day on different bands.

 

And if the emergency communications contest benefits don’t stir your juices, many of us find the contest experience itself to be tremendous fun!  The contesting experience alone keeps us coming back and circling the next events on our calendars because:

– It is thrilling to communicate to every state, section and the four corners of the Earth, including some rare and exotic locations, with nothing but a piece of wire or metal in our yards, from the comfort of our homes and families.

– It is thrilling to set goals, like beating your previous personal best score, having the fastest QSO rate in the club for a one-hour period or scoring top five in the club and then striving to accomplish it.

– It is joyful to share a quick connection, however brief, with all the other stations that have become familiar on contest weekends.

– It is thrilling to watch the bands rise and fall like the tide over the course of the contest weekend, anticipating what may open next.

– It is thrilling to watch our individual and club’s collective QSO rates soar when the bands come alive, on our club’s real time leader board.

– It is thrilling to simultaneously, whole heartedly cheer our NEMARCS brothers and sisters on, while doing our very best to leave them in the dust!

– It is thrilling to recognize the very real accomplishments of our scores, individually and collectively, with our club total.  We know full well what goes into building a successful station and putting in a successful contest effort!

– It is joyful to exchange quick banter on our virtual clubhouse text chat group during propagation lulls, as well as share needed multipliers, mentor new folks and encourage everyone to do their best.

– It is thrilling to see our club rankings in print and moving up the list when the final results are released!

– It is thrilling to watch our club’s scoreboard participant numbers grow, seeing new guys jump in for the first times, knowing the fun that awaits them!

– It is thrilling to get that certificate in the mail, after you have placed well enough to earn one!

– It is fascinating to learn the strengths and weaknesses of our stations, that are so quickly revealed on contest weekends.

– It is thrilling, after the contest is over, to improve our stations, our antennas and our operating skills, to see what we can do better next time. In fact, the grand contest never ends.  We are always looking for that edge and helping each other find theirs!

– It is thrilling to befriend such a fine group of folks, with whom to share this amazing adventure!

 

This is really, really fun stuff!


Thank you, Scott for fun piece.

 

What have you learned today>

 

For more articles like this, please follow the trail below:

https://www.radioclub-carc.com/resources/

 

See ‘ya down the log.

Frank KB3PQT

 

Notes from the shack…                

 Field Day 2021

The December 2021 QST has arrived. 
Let’s check the club’s Field day 2021 results.

Aggregate score from eight entries on behalf of Cumberland ARC  was 3,975 points.

The club call, K3IEC, was one of 22 Class 3E entries submitted nationwide and one of two Class 3E entries submitted from the ARRL Eastern Pennsylvania section.. 

This local entry represents the collective efforts of a group of CARC Members who operated three Field Day stations powered by an emergency generator.  The group consisted of eager volunteers who braved the elements to ensure that K3IEC would be on-the-air and logged by other Field Day operations across North America.  Recognition is awarded to members KC3KPD, KB3PQT, K3EYK, N8QVT, W3VRE, KC3SJE, and AF3I for their jobs well-done.  Additional efforts put forth by friends, family, and agency officials brought total participation in the K3IEC operation to twelve.

Incremental support was provided by CARC Members who operated their Home Stations as Class 1D, making Field Day contacts, and submitting logs on behalf of their club. They include:  K3EYK, K3EYL, KB3PQT, N3FWE, W3JJB, WA3KCP, and AF3I.

 

In total, there were 174 entries among all Field Day Operating Classes (A-F) from our ARRL section, Eastern Pennsylvania EPA.

Other ARRL sections demonstrating high levels of participation include:

Ohio                           OH      249 entries

North Carolina         NC      215 entries

Illinois                        IL         197 entries

Virginia                      VA       195 entries

North Texas              NTX    189 entries

So as you can see, EPA was the 6th most active section.

 

For more on the ARRL, Field Day, Contesting  and other fun radio stuff, follow the trail to:

https://www.radioclub-carc.com/resources/

 

See ‘ya down the log.

Frank KB3PQT

Notes from the shack…  DMR contesting

 Contesting has been a part of the great wide world of amateur radio since at least 1928 in the US.  Typically contests involve spending hours in the shack on the HF bands (160M, 80M, 40M, 20M, 15M, 10M) and in some contests there will be VHF/UHF activity on 6M, 2M and up. 

Virtually all contests exclude contacts made through repeaters and satellites.    There are some good reasons for those rules.

I had never heard of using DMR in contests until I saw the posting reproduced below.
This appeared on the N3FJP Software Users Group.

You say, “therefore it can’t be counted for any regular 2-way ham radio award”.  Times have changed. There are special events and contests that are allowing VOIP contacts.  Earlier this summer I participated in a 10 day special event from the UK called, “GOTA” – Gateways On The Air.  I used the Allstar network exclusively and logged every contact.  It’s a good thing I did.  I won the International Operator Award for most contacts from bona fide GOTA stations.

There will be more of these types of special events and contests coming as more involve themselves with VOIP.  Contesting and events are not exclusive to RF only.

 

DMR radio has already been adapted by some 3 million users world-wide and seems to be the entry level radio of choice in the US at the moment.  DMR is especially popular in Europe. Like it or not, DMR is changing the hobby.

I have done no research to see which contests are accepting DMR contacts. 

It is amazing that someone like Glenn K3SWZ can devote a weekend to HF contesting and earn 600K points or more. It is even more incredible that a brand new Technician Class licensee can conceivably reach even more places with a simple DMR HT and a hot spot.

For more articles please follow the trail below:
https://www.radioclub-carc.com/resources/

See ‘ya down the log.
Frank KB3PQT

 

Editor’s Note:  Let me say that every operator should read and understand the rules of any contest he or she chooses to enter.  If the rules specifically allow the use of DMR, VOIP, repeaters or similar technologies then you have a “green light” to go ahead and use those technologies in that contest.  Likewise, operators who pursue ham radio awards have a similar obligation to understand and honor the rules as to what constitutes a valid contact.

AF3I — Editor

 

 

• Do you have an interest in DMR radios?

 

• Perhaps you are hesitant to wade into digital radio communications because it seems as if there are so many different “standards”.

• D-STAR, WIRES, FUSION, C4FM — Where do I start?.

• Are you just itching to learn more about a new mode that has revolutionized the Plain-Jane HT?

 

• Have you been put off by new buzz words like CODE PLUGS and TALK GROUPS? 

 

Watch this space!

Do these questions sound familiar?

If so, we have some articles in place that take a 10,000 foot view of the digital landscape.

 

And, over the new few months, the digital world explorers at CARC expect to produce new material about digital amateur radio.

 

For more articles please follow the trail below:

https://www.radioclub-carc.com/resources/

 

See ‘ya down the log.

Frank KB3PQT

 

RTTY Software and Contesting

 

RTTY – radio teletype – is a fun digital mode.  I became active in the hobby when I learned about FLDIGI software and PSK31 and Domino.  Andy AF3I suggested I’d like RTTY and gave it a try.  I think I actually have more RTTY contacts in the log than PSK31 contacts.  RTTY unfortunately seems to be used more often as a contesting mode and less often for casual conversations.

 

The ARRL promotes a few RTTY contests each year as does CQ magazine.  The last full weekend in September is the CQ World Wide RTTY contest.  That was September 26 and 27, 2020.  I normally have other things to do, but I played around in the contest a bit.  Band conditions were horrible, and while I saw a few stations I suspect were running a lot of power making QSOs, my 100 watt station didn’t do so well.  I also found it interesting that most of the US call signs I saw were 1×2 and 2×1 (K3FM and AF3I would be examples). Not sure why that was. 

 

Not sure I passed this tip along, but FT8 can be a good predictor of the band conditions.  I am finding if there is a lot of FT8 activity and the noise levels are conducive to FT8, other modes may work.  But if FT8 is essentially dead, or all you are seeing are -15 and worse reports, other modes like RTTY, and Olivia will not do so well.  PSK31 is a toss-up.

 

I spent most of the time comparing RTTY software packages.  For more information follow the trail below to the Know-How Resources tab to read the full article. https://www.radioclub-carc.com/resources/

 

See ‘ya down the log.

Frank KB3PQT

Practice Makes Perfect.

With a special focus on the Maryland — DC QSO Party
Scheduled for August 8, 2020

 

Cumberland Amateur Radio Club recently recapped its performance in the ARRL 2020 Field Day Operating Event.  The short version is that we believe the event will be more enjoyable if we take steps to sharpen our skills.

One way of sharpening skills is to practice regularly.  Almost every weekend provides an opportunity to practice those Field Day operating skills by operating in one of the on-air Radio Sport contests.

With that in mind, the purpose of this post is to share a few thoughts about the upcoming Maryland – DC QSO Party.  CARC Club Members and other ham radio operators may enjoy spending quality time on-the-air as they develop their skills and share contest points with colleagues.

 

[ There is a lot of good information in the accompanying PDF which rounds-out and completes the introductions shown above.  Click the button and the file will download right before your eyes.]

I want to read. Take me to the PDF

 

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Earlier today I received an interesting eMail from a good friend who is located in South Carolina. 

He is a big fan of State QSO Parties.  From prior eMails I have a sense that he is a creative type of person who continually seeks to improve the things that amateur radio operators enjoy — especially the various State QSO Parties.

Some background — What is a State QSO Party?   A State QSO Party is a Ham Radio Contesting event.  Some people use the term Radio Sport which means the same as contesting.  A State QSO Party is a competitive event that takes place among ham radio operators. 

Just about every state in the USA has a weekend set aside to be their State QSO Party.  (The calendar is crowded some weekends with two or more State QSO Parties taking place at the same time.)   During that weekend participants who live outside of the designated state have a goal of making as many two-way radio contacts as possible with hams located in the designated state.  Participants who live in the designated state have a goal of making two-way radio contacts with everyone — in-state and out-of-state.

State QSO Parties typically have a Points and Multiplier calculation that leads to calculating a Score.  A common element among so many of the State QSO Parties is the use of their Counties as multiplier factors.  

The State QSO Party Challenge takes all the excitement generated by these weekend contests and accumulates results across all participating states and across the entire calendar year.  The result can be a BIG SCORE for the type of ham radio operator who enters several different State QSO Party contest during the course of a year.

There are all kinds of details at www.StateQSOParty.com    Take a look.

The short version of what you will find is that ham radio operators continue to enter the State QSO Party contests of their choice.  Likewise, ham radio operators continue to submit their scoring results to the various State QSO Party Sponsors.

What makes this State QSO Party Challenge work is driven by the www.3830scores.com website.  Most of the work takes place behind the scenes.  Participating Ham Radio Operators have one up-front action they need to take.  That is, submit your State QSO Party score to the www.3830scores.com website.  Do this in addition to any other steps you may take to submit your score to the State QSO Party sponsor.

Each month the fine folks at www.3830scores.com will extract data from the State QSO Party scores that have been submitted and populate the new State QSO Party Challenge database.  Could it be any easier?

The State QSO Party Challenge scoring is pretty simple.  The total number of State QSO Party contacts you made during the year is multiplied by the number of different State QSO Party contests in which you participated during the year.  You probably picked up on the two incentives — 1.)  Make as many State QSO Party contacts as possible.  2.)  Participate in as many different State QSO Party contests as possible.  Let’s add a third incentive — 3.)  Have Fun !

Posted by:   Andrew Forsyth  AF3I

 

Photograph of CARC Club Member K3SWZ giving an audio-visual presentation to fellow club members.

Get on the air.  Have lots of fun.  PA QSO Party.


CARC held its monthly Face-To-Face meeting on Wednesday September 18, 2019.  At least two Special Thank You moments came out of that meeting.

1.)  A Special Thank You goes to Glenn Kurzenknabe, K3SWZ, who delivered a very nice presentation teaching us all about the PA QSO Party.  Glenn has many years of experience operating and winning the PA QSO Party.  It was a great experience for those who were present to learn from a Master.  Thank you, Glenn.  The 2019 PA QSO Party will take place Saturday October 12 and Sunday October 13.  

2.)  Another Special Thank You goes to Bobbe Rothermel, WA3BKK, who shared this photograph of the presentation.  Glenn is up front at our meeting venue — Hoss’s Steak and Sea House Family Restaurant, located at 61 Gettysburg Pike in Mechanicsburg (Upper Allen Township).  The room-full of meeting attendees is off-screen to the left of what you see in the photo.

If you hear K3IEC on-the-air that is us — the Cumberland Amateur Radio Club.

Posted by:  Andrew Forsyth, AF3I

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