A Fun Opportunity for All Hams, especially the new ones

Rowland - K7RWB <slick56@...>

A Fun Opportunity for All Hams, especially the new ones


Next weekend (Dec 13-14) brings an opportunity for Technician licensees to exercise their HF privileges and have fun at the same time. The ARRL's annual 10 Meter contest begins at 4 PM Friday, Dec 12 (0000 UTC, Saturday Dec 13) and runs until 3:59 PM on Sunday, Dec 14 (2359 UTC, Sunday Dec 14).

Anyone having tuned across 10 meters lately might think the band is uninhabited, but on Friday afternoon activity will increase dramatically.

We're at the bottom of the solar sunspot cycle, so the world-wide band openings of a few years ago won't be happening, but the 10 Meter Contest brings hundreds of stations to the band. This concentrates the activity so all sorts of interesting contacts take place; via local line-of-sight, sporadic-E to the south and southeast, all kinds of scatter modes - even meteor scatter! The announcement for the contest is in the November issue of QST and the rules are on the ARRL Web site at http://www.arrl.org/contests/.

If you would like to try your hand at HF operating, you'll need a radio that can operate SSB (and CW if you know Morse code) from 28.0 to about 28.5 MHz - that's where most of the contest activity takes place. (You can also listen to beacon stations between 28.2 and 28.3 MHz to check for band

openings.) You can use a full-size CB mobile whip trimmed to about 98 inches in length. A dipole is also easy to make - cut two pieces of wire (any size from #12 to #20) 98" long, strip the end of a piece of RG-8X or RG-213 coax and solder the shield braid to one length of wire and the center conductor to the other. Stretch out the wires and attach each free end to an insulator, such as a piece of PVC pipe or Plexiglass. You've just made a dipole! Attach some thin cord or rope to the insulators so that they don't touch the wires and then hoist the dipole up in the air between a couple of trees or whatever supports you have - it doesn't have to be very high.

(A good tutorial article on making dipoles is


Now you're ready - you'll hear stations calling "CQ Contest" and giving

their call sign. Another station will call them and they'll transmit a short message called the exchange. US and Canadian amateurs give a signal report (just "59" will do fine) and their state. If you hear a DX station, which is likely to be from South America or the Pacific, they'll give the signal report and the number of the contact in the contest. For example, if K7CEX hears W5KFT, the sequence might go like this: "CQ Contest from W5KFT", "W5KFT from K7CEX", "K7CEX you are 59 in Texas", "W5KFT from K7CEX you are 59 in Washington", "Thanks, CQ Contest from W5KFT". Simple, huh?

Your best chances of making a contact are during the middle daylight hours of Saturday and Sunday, due to propagation considerations. Warning - this simple contest can keep you busy for hours, chasing new states and even different countries!

ARRL Western Washington Section

Section Manager: James Pace, K7CEX