Why Public Service-Oriented Hams Should Participate in Contests - N6VI
March 2014
You may have heard of the Fireman Olympics or lumberjack competitions. Most of you have seen a rodeo – at least on television - where cowboys (and cowgirls) do their thing in a stadium rather than on the range. What do all these have in common? They test skills used on the job in an enjoyable yet challenging environment.

Guess what? Amateur Radio operators compete, too, in a variety of contests held throughout the country and the world. Internationally, this is called “Radiosport”. Domestically, we just call it “Contesting”.

Many highly competitive Radio Amateurs consider their regular operating time to be part of their training for competitions. In a larger sense, though, radio contests are training that improves our ability to do whatever else we do in Amateur Radio more effectively.    more
Mid Week Contesting - W6SX
February 2014
Sometimes can't get enough contesting on the weekends? Or sometimes can't get on on the weekends at all. Or want to practice contest skills in a low-stress environment?

Midweek contesting to the rescue.

Every Thursday night is the half-hour NS or NCCC Sprint. Sprints—love 'em or hate 'em. But, they are a great way to improve your skills. Half-hour doses make them very tolerable even if you are in the hate category. Give the NS a try—you'll be pleasantly surprised at how quickly you get the hang of it and how quickly your skills improve.

Every Wednesday of the month are the CWops Tests. Three separate one-hour sessions starting at 1300Z, 1900Z, and 0300Z. CW fans, we named the CWops Test a test, not a contest. CWTs offer something for everyone. You can get on and make a few contacts with fellow CW enthusiasts. You can get on and extend a friendly welcome to hams trying a CWT for the first time.     more
RTTY Contesting for CW and SSB Contesters - W0YK / P49X
January 2014
At the September 2003 NCCC meeting, a RTTY contesting presentation was made by AC6JT, K6UFO, N6DE and W6ZZZ (sk). A sub-theme of the presentation was to rally club members to get on for the upcoming ARRL RTTY Round-Up in January 2004. The ARRL had just initiated a club competition for that contest and these guys wanted NCCC to win it. I had never operated the RTTY mode, much less in a contest, but I was mildly curious to learn how the mode worked.

As the speakers described a RTTY QSO, the main point was that the decoding hardware and/or software technology simply printed callsigns, exchanges, or anything sent by the other station. I remarked, “What’s the point of this?! The PC copies everything and could just as well stuff it in the log without the operator doing anything. Why couldn’t I just set all this up and then leave the room to drink beer while my station worked the contest?”    more
Setting Up an SO2R Station - K6LA / VY2TTDecember 2013
This article will focus on the switching, filtering and ergonomic issues in setting up an SO2R station.

You already know you need two radios and two antennas. Of course, it is best if those two radios are identical to lessen confusion in the heat of battle, but they need not be.

The more separation between antennas the better, but on my city lot in Los Angeles, the antennas are so close that when I raise my motorized tower I have to make sure the yagis are turned the correct way on both towers or the elements will hit.    more
Pack Roving or How To Win a VHF Contest From The West Coast - AF6O
November 2013
It is pretty much impossible to win the ARRL VHF and UHF contests from the Western US. We do not have the population density and we do not get the propagation that some parts of the country do. With the advent of the Rover category a strategy emerged that eliminated the disadvantages of population density and propagation, creating an opportunity for a win from just about anywhere.

The initial strategy, in use up to 2008, involved a number of ten band rovers travelling together to grid convergencies (points where four grids intersect). By working each other in all the combinations of grids available at a convergence it was possible to amass a large number of contacts and multipliers resulting in a winning score.

There was no reliance on propagation or population because the group was the source of many of its own contacts. Contacts with the general population were solicited as well but, in regions with little activity, most of the score came from inter group contacts.    more
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