Tag Archives: Contests

Mark your calendars: The Portable Operations Challenge – October 3 & 4, 2020

(Source: Fox Mike Hotel)

Ridgeland, Mississippi— August 10, 2020  A new contest has been announced that will level the competitive playing field between the Big Guns and the Little Pistols who operate a portable station. It’s called the Fox Mike Hotel Portable Operations Challenge. “The scoring metric is the distance-per-power metric with multipliers for portable operators and the difficulty of the transmission mode,” said Ed Durrant DD5LP, a member of the Steering Committee for the POC. “We are using kilometres-per-watt as the score for a contact. But those using a more difficult transmission mode such as phone will get a higher multiplier than those using the more efficient modes of CW and digital. Being a portable station will receive an additional multiplier, especially when contacting another portable station.” The scoring system is based upon the golf metaphor of the handicap index used to equalize the opportunity for all players to win when they have unequal ability and play on courses with varying levels of difficulty.

The POC is being sponsored by ARRL’s National Contesting Journal, the UK DX Foundation (CDXC), the Hellenic Amateur Radio Association of Australia and the South African Amateur Radio LeagueNCJ Editor, Dr. Scott Wright K0MD, said, “NCJ is very pleased to be an official sponsor of this contest event. It will encourage activity by operators who are “limited by real-estate,” and do not have a full-blown contest station. Events like this stimulate more interest in contesting and it will have an international scope to give chances to snare some new DXCC entities.” Don Field G3XTT, Editor of Practical Wireless magazine and highly experienced DX contester who is President of the UK DX Foundation, added “This is an exciting new contest event. I’m happy to serve on the Steering Committee and help in any way I can!” A highly competitive contest operator from Australia, Tommy Horozakis VK2IR, was very enthusiastic to join the Steering Committee to help plan the POC: “I’m really excited to be part of the team and can’t wait to get started.” Tommy VK2IR added that the Hellenic Amateur Radio Association of Australia was pleased to be an award plaque sponsor for the event.

The Portable Ops Challenge is the brainchild of Frank Howell K4FMH who says his portable ops team was the inspiration. “I hear many operators who get outdoors and try to dip their hands in a conventional contest say two things. They enjoyed the competition. And it’s a shame that the Big Guns dominate the realistic chances of winning. That’s simply the way it is in the vast majority of contests but it made my portable ops team think: is there a way to level the playing field? I think the Steering Committee consisting of both veteran DX contest participants and some of the best portable operators in the world has come up with something worth giving a go,” Frank K4FMH said. “I’d say the question is, whether the Big Guns can win using the handicap system that the Steering Committee has produced. With this scoring metric, it’s more about radio sport than radio gear. But we won’t know until many of the Big Guns enter the Portable Ops Challenge. We are building it but will the Big Guns come?” Only time will tell but the first POC is nearing it’s inaugural launch.

Scheduled for October 3 and 4, 2020, the POC’s rules and other relevant documents are located at foxmikehotel.com/challenge.

Click here to download the full press release. (PDF)

Click here for rules and regs.

The 2019 Lightbulb QSO Party

Many thanks to buddy, David Day (N1DAY), who shares the following announcement from his website:

Announcing the 2019 Lightbulb QSO contest, March 9th 20:00 UTC through March 10th 20:00 UTC.

We’ve all heard the stories…..Joe Elmer was so good at antenna matching that he made a 100 mile 20M QSO on an ordinary 100 watt household lightbulb.  So here is your chance to try it out.  Go traditional and compete with just a lightbulb dummy load.  Or, get creative and invent an antenna design that uses the lightbulb as a key component that makes your antenna work. Five categories of competition give you different paths to gaining bragging rights as TOP BULB in the 2019 Lightbulb QSO contest.  Categories of competition are:

1.  Household – an antenna constructed of any lightbulb available for purchase in normal home use applications.

2.  Commercial/Industrial – an antenna constructed of any lightbulb available for purchase  in commercial and/or industrial applications.

3.  Homebrew – an antenna constructed of any home made light bulb that radiates visible light when power is applied.

4.  Dummy Load – any lightbulb  that normally serves as a dummy load (see miscellaneous rules).  Please note that the administrators do not recommend this category of operation because it puts both the operator and RF sensitive equipment in close proximity to the load.  However, several, lightbulb purists wanted the category so here it is for entry at your own risk.

5. Freestyle – ?anything goes. Get creative and string all of your Christmas lights together, what ever you want and as many lightbulbs as you want.  Bring down the power grid if you must.. we just don’t care, but certainly want to reward extreme creativity.

For additional information on how a lightbulb antenna works, click  this link:  https://hamsignal.com/blog/light-bulb-antenna-basics-and-faq

Objective: 

The Objective of the Lightbulb QSO contest is to build and use an antenna constructed in a manner so that the lightbulb is a key component of the antenna and to promote understanding and practical application of antenna matching concepts that allow a lightbulb to be used as a radiator in two way radio communications.

Dates:

Saturday, March 9th, 2019 20:00 UTC through  Sunday, March 10th, 2019 20:00 UTC.

Bands of Operation:

160M, 80M, 40M, 20M, 15M, 10M, 6M

As you might notice, this isn’t the typical QSO Party.

I love the idea–it reminds me of a QSO party I did once which challenged you to use unconventional antennas (I logged a number of contacts using a pair of trampolines!).

I also appreciate the opportunity to build something new and participate in a contest that (obviously) doesn’t take itself too seriously. What fun!

David has spent several months building a variety of lightbulb antennas.  Here are a few of his creations:

If a Lightbulb QSO Party sounds like fun to you, start planning your antenna now!

David passed along the following links for guidance:

  1. https://hamsignal.com where all the research, observations, schematics, downloads etc. are located.
  2. https://hamsignal.com/blog/the-lightbulb-qso-party the page for the QSO party – rules date, times, etc.

Thanks for putting this contest together, David!

This Sunday: the first annual SYBO QRP contest

hot-sun-thermometerThis Sunday (July 14, 2013) from 16:00-22:00 UTC, grab your QRP rig and head for the outdoors in the new SYBO (Scorch Your Butt Off) contest. According to the SYBO website, this contest is all about operating in hot weather conditions (something very easy to find this year in North America); a nice contrast to the FYBO (Freeze Your Butt Off) winter QRP contest.

Basic rules and exchange are as follows:

(Source: SYBO)

Scorch Your Butt Off QRP contest
SUNDAY, July 14, 2013 1600-2200 UTC
Categories –

  • Single Op Field or home
  • Multi Single Field or home
  • Multi Multi Field or home
  • SOTA – Summits On The Air Field (not the house roof)

QRP 5 watts max CW around QRP calling frequencies 10, 15, 20 and 40 meters
One point per contact – one contact with each station per band

Exchange –
RST, SPC (State, Province or Country), Name, Power, Temperature (Fahrenheit)
at the operator’s position. Indoor stations must report Indoor temperature.
Example – 559, NJ, Larry, 5W, 85F

Multipliers –
States, Provinces and DXCC count once each band
Field Stations x 4
Alternative Power (including batteries) x 2
QRPp (less than 1W) x 2
SOTA stations – add 100 points* to their SYBO score per summit activated
* Bonus points do not count towards SOTA awards

Highest Operating Temperature (at your operating location –

Below 90 F = x1; Cool weather

90 – 99 F = x2; Break out that Hawaiian shirt

100 – 104 F = x3; Just starting to warm the rattlesnakes up

105 – 109 F = x4; BBQ weather

110 – 114 F = x5; A nice sauna temperature

115F and UP = x6. Am I smelling bacon frying?

Outdoor ops use this Heat Index.

Rules and directions for submitting your results can be found on the SYBO website.

Have fun! Please stay safe and hydrated in this summer QRP contest!