delara news Delaware Amateur Radio Association, Delaware OH   VOL 36 NUMBER 11

DELARA Contest Team

If you have not looked at the ARRL contest rules lately, you might note that they have moved the deadline for submitting logs to five days after the contest ends. For a little bit of extra fun, we can all have our scores combined for a club competition.  In order to do that, put “DELARA Contest Team” in the team field in your logger or in the Cabrillo file.  This has no effect on your score or your standing in the contest results. Teams have to be registered before the contest starts.  Since the name we use for contests is different that the name of our club itself as registered with the ARRL, we have to have somebody in ARRL’s contest group approve any changes.  The following is the list currently registered.  This is current for Sweepstakes, CW and SSB; the 160 meter, 10 meter, RTTY Roundup, the DX and the various VHF/UHF contests.  The grid square comes into play in determining if we’re “local”, as opposed to medium or unlimited.  K8ES should be removed because that is a station call sign. K8MP EN80le W8ERD EN80kg KV8Q EM89jx W8KTQ EN80ng K8BTU EN80lf N9AUG EN80of AA8TA EN80nb N2OPW EN80me N4HAI EN80md N8BHL EN80kj W8CR EN80kg WD8KNC EN80ph N8OB EN80ko W8WLK EM89kx K8ROX EN80or AC8VM EN80og N8YS EN80kh KE8O EN80kh NT8Z EN80ld K8BRJ EM89mx W8CQT EN80lh KJ6CIW EN80nc K8ES EN80ng  TU es 73 de Joe AA8TA

Choose the Path That Works

When using directional antennas, don't forget to check the alternative paths for stations when you're calling CQ, or if you can't hear a spotted multiplier when you're searching and pouncing. It can pay to also try non-traditional or skew paths, such as beaming south-of-short-path to reach the EU from the US. TECHNICAL TOPICS AND INFORMATION Sometimes it's necessary to manipulate ADIF files, for example when splitting a county-line log entry into separate uploads for each county in preparation for upload to LOTW. Jim, AD1C, has written a utility that fits the bill. (Tim, K7XC) Keyboards may be getting fancier and smarter, but it seems like the time between when you press a key and when it registers in the logging program might be increasing. Perception may be reality, but someone has actually measured the latency. A new release of Red Pitaya SDR software by Pavel Demin enables Red Pitaya Hardware to skim EIGHT Amateur bands simultaneously at a 192 KHz sampling rate. The Red Pitaya hardware is available off the shelf from Mouser and other sources. (Bob, N6TV)  

CONVERSATION

Advancement of the Radio Art

The Top Band email reflector experienced a large spike in traffic this week during the discussion of using it to chase DXCC on 160 meters, and how it appears to be a game changer. Top Band has traditionally been the domain of physically large antennas, low noise locations, and higher power levels, but FT8's ability to effectively communicate at lower signal levels is allowing a wider range of stations to make DX contacts 160 meters. Any improvements in the signal chain, such as better antennas, better RDFs, filtering, and noise reduction, being located near salt water, or a hundred other things, increase the probability of making a contact. FT8 just increases it a lot! More contacts means an Amateur might work more DX and attain a DXCC status sooner, the same as any previous technology advancement. Attaining DXCC status is a personal goal -- Amateurs choose their own adventure in completing the challenge. It's a luxury that we can individually choose how difficult to make the quest, using whatever impediment we'd like to make the challenge more difficult, more "hamly." The FT8 mode represents advancement in the State of the Art for the Amateur Service, one of the fundamental purposes of Amateur Radio. For 160 meters specifically, FT8 offers the opportunity to get more people using the band by helping to overcome modern obstacles that are not in the control of the operator. Consider the perspective of Nick, K1NZ, in his post to the Top Band reflector: "I'm one of the younger hams in the hobby. I got my license and extra at 20 and am 26 now. I was semi-active on the phone bands up until late 2015 when I moved into my current apartment and put up a bunch of wire antennas. I have a G5RV, 30 meter dipole, and a 160 meter L. I personally have that thrill of working a new one on whatever band regardless of mode, even if it's a JT/FT mode. I just worked my first Bahrain on 40m FT8 tonight and cracked a beer to celebrate... My whole reason for writing this post is because of the "You can play in my sandbox only of you play my way" mentality. I am referring to the JT/FT modes if you want to be specific. I am lucky in that I rent from my uncle who doesn't care what wires I put up. On the other hand, most people my age are either living with their parents or are renting from people that will  not let them participate in the hobby... I hate to say it, but this whole mindset is why the youth of today are turned off from ham radio. Why should I pump hundreds of dollars into a hobby if I'm going to be greeted with "You need to learn CW" "FT8 is ruining the hobby" "You're not a real ham because you didn't pass the code test." I realize that new things involve change and that change is scary, but can we please welcome people into the hobby, even though that future isn't what is comfortable?" That's all for this time. Remember to send Sweepstakes pictures, contesting related stories, book reviews, tips, techniques, press releases, errata, schematics, club information, pictures, stories, blog links, and predictions to contest- update@arrl.org 73, Brian N9ADG
© DELARA News, the official monthly newsletter of the Delaware Amateur Radio Association, Delaware, OH