Many thanks to Kevin (N2TO) who shares the following announcement:
Announcing the Brooklyn QRP Doghouse Operation Sprint 2023
I would like to thank Thomas K4SWL and offer my congratulations for induction into the ARCI QRP Hall of Fame! Well done!
Here is a sprint you can work and stay out of the doghouse on the Saturday afternoon prior to Thanksgiving. Play radio, and have plenty of time to mow the lawn, shovel snow, clean the guest room; do whatever it takes to get ready for Thanksgiving.
This is a single-op QRP CW sprint. Stations may be worked more than once on different bands but area codes count once.
Date: Saturday, November 18, 2023 Time: 1700-2100 UTC
Information can be found here: https://brooklynqrp.blogspot.com/ If you would like to operate the sprint please email [email protected] as we are trying to drum up interest. Results will be posted after Christmas. We hope to hear QRP CW activity on November 18th and have a great sprint.
Many thanks to @thogevoll who asked the following question following my field report and video from Field Day 2023:
Thomas, I’m still new to POTA and have not done an activation yet.
How does a Field Day contact from a park count as a POTA contact? Is it simply that you are operating from park? Do you have to send the park ID number? Or, is that actually not even required for POTA contacts?
These are great questions.
The short answer is, YES: almost any simplex contact you make as an activator counts as a POTA contact regardless of the exchange used.
I’ll try to break this down…
Contests, as a rule of thumb, have a defined exchange and the elements of that exchange must be logged with each contact. This often includes things like signal report, section, region, and/or serial number.
ARRL Field Day is no exception.
If you look at the Field Day video I posted, you’ll note N3CZ and I were logging our Field Day contacts on N3FJP’s Field Day version of ACLog. Two key components of the Field Day exchange are the section, and the category (1B, 2A, etc.). We were running 1B (one op, QRP, battery) NC (North Carolina).
Those elements must be logged in order to have a valid Field Day Contact.
POTA ≠ Contest
Parks On The Air, on the other hand, is not a contest. It’s simply an on-the-air activity that has no defined start and end time. You can activate or hunt a park any time of the day or night, any day of the year.
True, we POTA activators in the US and Canada tend to exchange both the signal report and the state or province, but this isn’t done in most other countries in the world. It’s up to the activator if they send the park number.
Convention in voice modes is to send the park number, but it’s less common in CW unless a hunter asks for it or if you’re completing a Park-to-Park contact. That said, there’s nothing preventing you from sending the park number with each contact if you like.
For a POTA contact, you really only need to log the station/call, time, mode, and frequency. Those details are submitted with your logs that detail the park number, date, activator, etc. and then uploaded to the POTA database in an .ADI file.
Working contesters as an activator
If I happen to pick a crowded contest weekend to activate a park and don’t have a rig or antenna that can escape to the peace and quiet of the WARC bands (and, yes, POTA is very much allowed on the WARC bands) then I often hunt and work contest contacts. I especially do this if band conditions are rough and the contest activity is dense.
I prefer, of course, to run one frequency as a POTA activator in order to open the park to POTA hunters–that’s why I use the WARC bands on contest weekends–but in a pinch, I might work contesters in order to get the ten contacts needed to validate an activation.
Of course, I need to sort out the contest exchange and use that with each contact, but that’s not too difficult. Those random folks I log have no idea I’m activating a park.
I should also note that many contests (Field Day may be one of these) don’t allow self-spotting, so when Vlado and I worked as a Field Day station this year, we did not spot ourselves on the POTA network. We were actually making Field Day contacts first and foremost, with the side-benefit of activating a park at the same time.
In other words, we simply logged our Field Day contacts per FD requirements, then (with a bit of log tweaking) uploaded the log to both the ARRL and the POTA network.
In POTA, only the activator is required to submit their logs, not the hunter; they get credit via your uploaded activator logs.
POTA: Some QSO exceptions
To be clear (and redundant), any contact you make at a park–even when the other op isn’t a POTA participant–counts as a POTA contact, with a few side notes and exceptions:
Contacts via a land repeater are not allowed. I can’t hop on a local repeater and make/log valid POTA contacts. I can, however, hop on a local repeater and ask for someone to spot me or meet me on a simplex frequency for a contact.
Satellite repeaters are allowed. All satellite contacts are allowed.
Fully automated QSOs are prohibited. I can’t set up one of those fully-automated digital mode applications that will run unattended. As the POTA rules state: “Each contact must include direct action by both operators making the contact.“
We’re entering the heaviest part of the contest season at present. If you arrive at a park on the weekend and discover that the bands are absolutely chock-full of contest stations–and you can’t find a free frequency to do your activation–feel free to work and log contest stations!
Otherwise, do what many of us do and either escape to the WARC bands or move closer to the band edges (being careful not to go too far) where you’ll typically find more free space.
Do you combine Field Day, contests, and special events with POTA? Feel free to comment with your approach!
Ridgeland,Mississippi—August10,2020— 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 FoxMikeHotelPortableOperationsChallenge. “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 NationalContestingJournal, the UK DX Foundation (CDXC), the Hellenic Amateur Radio Association of Australia and the South African Amateur Radio League. NCJ 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 PracticalWireless 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 AmateurRadio Association of Australia was pleased to be an award plaque sponsor for the event.
The PortableOpsChallenge 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.
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.
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.
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:
This 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:
Scorch Your Butt Off QRP contest SUNDAY, July 14, 2013 1600-2200 UTC
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
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
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