ARRL East Bay Section

Archive for the 'Contesting' Category

ARRL Field Day 2014 is at Hand, and Everyone is Invited!

Posted by ks6m on 19th June 2014

If you have not already made plans to get on the air for ARRL Field Day 2014 (http://www NULL.arrl NULL.org/field-day), tick-tock, tick-tock. It’s just days away, but it’s not too late to participate. Field Day 2014 is Saturday and Sunday, June 28 and 29. Field Day is the year’s most popular operating event, and more than 35,000 radio amateurs will be setting up stations — sometimes multiple stations — in the field, at campsites, in public parks, and even on their decks or in their backyards to get in on the fun. Think of it as the first weekend of Amateur Radio’s summer. Last year, more than 2500 stations submitted entries.

Field Day is primarily a group activity, though, and if you’re not yet on the roster to operate from your club’s Field Day site, volunteer now! If you don’t belong to a club or don’t know if there’s a Field Day operation setting up in your area, check the Field Day Locator (http://www NULL.arrl NULL.org/field-day-locator) to find one. Clubs welcome new operators, especially if they are willing to take the graveyard (overnight) shift or other less-desirable time slots or if they bring some special talent or expertise to the picnic table — top-notch CW proficiency, satellite expertise, or antenna skills.

If you’d rather just stay at home, you can operate your own station as is, and work stations in the field, or you can set up to operate from an emergency power source, such as a generator, batteries, or solar panels, and work everyone else. Field Day got its start in the 1930s as an emergency communication exercise, and that tradition continues today. Some stations will be on the air from emergency operations centers.

The object is simple: To work as many stations as possible on any and all Amateur Radio bands — excluding 60, 30, 17, and 12 meters — and to learn to operate in less-than-optimal conditions. The camaraderie is special, and there’s a place for operators at all skill levels — from newbies and even prospective licensees to grizzled veterans.

Find your place at Field Day 2014, and enjoy Amateur Radio to the max!

Source: The ARRL Letter for June 19, 2014 (http://www NULL.arrl NULL.org/arrlletter?issue=2014-06-19)

Posted in Contesting, Emergency Communications, Field Day, Operating, Volunteer, Youth | Comments Off

Centennial QSO Party Scoring Page

Posted by ks6m on 15th February 2014

The ARRL Centennial QSO Party scoring page (https://centennial-qp NULL.arrl NULL.org/) is now live! This new page allows you to see your Centennial QSO Party score, what QSOs you’ve been given credit for, and where your score stands in the listing of all participants. You can also search the database for a specific call to see how many points it is worth. Use your Logbook of The World (http://www NULL.arrl NULL.org/logbook-of-the-world) username and password to enter.

Read more about the ARRL Centennial QSO Party in the ARRL East Bay Section.

Posted in Contesting, Events, Operating, Section News | Comments Off

ARRL Centennial QSO Party (more)

Posted by ks6m on 17th January 2014

Hams in the ARRL East Bay Section,

I am taking this opportunity to “second” the recent message from Assistant Section Manager Chris Tate N6WM about the ARRL Centennial QSO Party and its Centennial Points Challenge. Chris’s assignment is DX and contesting. Mine is emergency communications, so I have a stake in activities that improve and maintain ham radio operating skills and experience. Operating events like the Centennial QSO Party are among the best of such activities.

The leadership in the ARRL East Bay Section encourages all hams to participate in the Centennial QSO Party. We have a page of information about this operating event, and especially about its Centennial Points Challenge, on the ARRL East Bay Section Web site.

Let me underscore Chris’s point about the bands above 50 megahertz — VHF and UHF. As in ARRL Field Day, these bands are available but sometimes overlooked. ARRL East Bay Section encourages Centennial Points Challenge participation by hams in the Technician class and by hams in any license class who have only VHF and UHF equipment easily available. We are offering a “concentration plan” to bring East Bay Section Amateurs together on selected VHF and UHF frequencies and at selected days and times to make it easier to make contacts in this event. We will also be providing helpful tips to enable Amateurs to move beyond ordinary FM voice on these bands, both increasing point totals in the event and further improving operator skills. We also have a set of frequently-asked questions and their answers.

See our page about the Centennial Points Challenge on VHF/UHF in our section. It includes details of the concentration plan.

These pages, and especially the details of the concentration plan, are subject to change, so keep an eye on them.

Assistant Section Manager Chris Tate also mentioned the upcoming VHF Sweepstakes. The ARRL holds three VHF Sweepstakes and one UHF Sweepstakes each year. The first of the VHF Sweepstakes of 2014 begins this Saturday, January 18 at 11:00 am PST (1900Z) and continues until Sunday at 7:59 pm PST. Many of your contacts in this sweepstakes can also count in the Centennial QSO Party. Give it a try! Our VHF/UHF page explains how. And, during this event, our section’s “concentration plan frequencies” may be good places to look for Sweepstakes contacts.

Meanwhile, I will be monitoring on 146.460, 223.440, and 441.000 MHz, which are for now our primary VHF/UHF FM voice concentration plan frequencies. If I can’t hear others using those frequencies, I will be calling on them. I hope to make contact with many of you there in the Centennial Points Challenge and in the VHF and UHF Sweepstakes too.


John Rabold KS6M
Section Emergency Coordinator
ARRL East Bay Section

Posted in Contesting, Emergency Communications, Events, Operating, Training | Comments Off

ARRL Centennial QSO Party

Posted by ks6m on 15th January 2014

Greetings East Bay Amateurs.

Many of you are aware that the ARRL is sponsoring a number of events for its 100th anniversary. More information on the overall Centennial QSO Party program is provided here (http://www NULL.arrl NULL.org/centennial-QSO-party).

One of the programs you may or may not be aware of is the Centennial Points Challenge. ARRL members can work other ARRL members and leadership for points. Different awards can be applied for at the end of the year, and the awards will be handed out in 500pt increments.

Different membership levels equal different point levels, starting with 1 point for ARRL members, to 300 points for the ARRL president. All Section Managers, including East Bay SM Jim Latham AF6AQ, are worth 175 points. All Assistant Section Managers, like me, are 35 points, VEs 5 points. Hopefully you get the picture. A complete chart and point matrix is available on the above provided link. All of the QSO’s need to be simplex (e.g. No repeater contacts), but they can be in the mode/band of your choice otherwise.

There are some thoughts I would like to pass along to arm you for success.

If you wish, you may keep simple records of your QSOs on your own paper or computer documents and score them yourself. If you do this, though, your score will not be published. If you’d like to get the maximum benefit from this event, here are two points to observe:

1. All of your QSO’s need to be logged properly with a program that can generate an ADIF file. There are plenty of logging programs out there that can do this; here are a couple of links to some.

a) N1MM logger (http://n1mm NULL.hamdocs NULL.com/tiki-index NULL.php)

Probably the most comprehensive and well supported contest loggers, and the best part, its free! There are extensive support documents for this program, and comes highly recommended for this and most contests out there.

b) N3FJP logging software (http://www NULL.n3fjp NULL.com)

I find N3FJP Softwares VHF contest logging software particularly well suited for VHF contests such as the upcoming January VHF sweepstakes. It is worth a look for sure.

c) Wintest (http://www NULL.win-test NULL.com/)

Wintest is another popular logging program used by many, if you like the layout this one may be for you.

There are many more out there, but this is a good start. Check them out and see what works for you!

2. All of your centennial point QSO’s and QSL’s must be uploaded and verified by the ARRL’s Logbook of the World (“LOTW”).

LOTW is simply awesome. Getting set up takes a few steps, but once done takes all of the work that used to be done by mailing qsl cards, and handles the tasks electronically. Both parties upload their QSO data to LOTW, and if there is a match.. BAM! Your QSL is confirmed and fully supported by all ARRL awards programs. You will want to upload all your data to LOTW by the end of the year, so get started with your setup as soon as possible.

ARRL’s Logbook of the World can be found here (http://www NULL.arrl NULL.org/lotw), and specific instructions on getting set up can be found here (http://www NULL.arrl NULL.org/instructions).

Coming up this weekend (January 18-19) is the ARRL January VHF sweepstakes. This could be a great opportunity to get your feet wet by a) working and learning about contests, and b) working other ARRL and leadership for centennial QSO points!

Complete information for the January VHF sweepstakes can be found here (http://www NULL.arrl NULL.org/january-vhf). Here you can find rules, bands, modes, log submission instructions and everything else to start having fun contesting VHF style. And the best thing, its VHF and most will have equipment, even an HT to get on the air and work some contest QSO’s.

Look for more information on East Bay centennial QSO points challenge activity throughout the year. Remember the most important rule in contesting and any award program is. HAVE FUN!

If you need assistance with any of this, please don’t hesitate to contact any of the East Bay Section leadership, and we will do our best to help you have fun on the air.

73 and good luck!


Chris Tate N6WM
Assistant Section Manager (DX and Contesting)
ARRL East Bay Section

For current information throughout 2014 about the ARRL Centennial QSO Party here in the ARRL East Bay Section, see the “100QP” tab here on this Web site.

Posted in Contesting, Emergency Communications, Events, Operating, Training | Comments Off

2012 Field Day Packet Now Available

Posted by ks6m on 3rd February 2012

It’s that time of year again — time to start gearing up for ARRL Field Day, June 23-24, 2012! ARRL’s flagship operating event — always held the fourth full weekend in June — brings together new and experienced hams for 24 hours of operating fun. Field Day packets are now available for download (http://www NULL.arrl NULL.org/news/2012-field-day-packet-now-available) from the ARRL Web site.

Posted in Club News, Contesting, Emergency Communications, Field Day, Volunteer | Comments Off