Contesting notes – January 2022

A summary of radiosport topics for the casual contester

As we enter the new year, our calendars start to fill up with contesting opportunities. There are hundreds of contests each year, some of which are bound to be of interest to almost any ham.

The first general-interest contest of the year is the ARRL RTTY Roundup. A classic for decades, the RTTY Roundup now includes all digital modes, so it will be attractive to newer hams and anyone else who has been bitten by the FT8 bug. Continue reading “Contesting notes – January 2022”

Contesting notes, December 2021

A summary of radiosport topics for the casual contester

As we wrap up the calendar year, we can look forward to a month of contests that almost any ham can get involved in and have fun in.

The month starts and ends with a pair of topband (160 meter) contests. The dark days of December (in the northern hemisphere, anyway) provide many hours of low-absorption F-layer skip that allows those low frequencies to travel far, and with thunderstorm activity at a minimum, atmospheric noise takes a break.

The first weekend (December 3-5) features the ARRL 160-Meter Contest. Continue reading “Contesting notes, December 2021”

Contesting notes, November 2021

A summary of radiosport topics for the casual contester

The contest season is underway! CQ Magazine sponsors several contests each  year, and among them, the CQ Worldwide DX Contests are the highlight. There are actually three separate contests on the last full weekend of successive months: RTTY in September, SSB in October, and CW in November. The CQ Worldwide SSB contest, held this year on October 30 and 31, is generally considered the start of the “contest season”, Continue reading “Contesting notes, November 2021”

The North American CW Sprint

The North American Sprint is a unique contest with unique rules. Sponsored by the ARRL National Contest Journal, a four-hour CW contest takes place twice a year, the second Saturday evenings in February and September. In addition, there’s a half-hour mini-sprint each Thursday evening at 0230z that’s sponsored by the Northern California Contest Club. (There are also RTTY versions of the sprints, and the rules are similar, but this article just covers the CW sprints.) The “Sprint QSY rule” requires that once you call CQ and work a station, you must relinquish the frequency and move at least 1 kHz before calling CQ or working another station. This means there is no “running” – a single station can’t sit on one frequency and work stations one after another as in almost every other contest. The required exchange is: both callsigns, a serial number, your first name and your state. By convention, though, there is a unique order to these elements, making it apparent as to who is the CQer and who is answering. Continue reading “The North American CW Sprint”

N1MM+ on Linux

The N1MM+ contest logging program is among the most popular, if not the most popular, loggers in use by contesters up and down the spectrum. It supports a wide variety of contests and works well with features supporting the largest multi/multi and the smallest “little pistol” alike. It’s constantly under development by a team of volunteer programmers, is frequently updated and is well supported. Best of all, it’s free for the download.

Unfortunately for those of us who choose either the open-source computing life (or are Macintosh users), N1MM+ is only available for the Microsoft Windows operating platform. We have ways, though, Continue reading “N1MM+ on Linux”