FISTS International G3ZQS Memorial Straight Key Contest

The International G3ZQS Memorial Straight Key Contest will be 2300 Hrs UTC September 4 through 2300 Hrs UTC September 6, 2015. Everyone is welcome to participate, but only the logs of those using straight keys for all claimed contacts are eligible for awards.

BANDS:
Operation is limited to 3.5, 7, 14, 21, and 28 MHz amateur bands. No WARCs bands.
Work stations only once per band.

ENTRY CLASSES:
There are three entry classes: QRO, QRP, and Club:

Entry class MUST be shown on logs to be considered for entry in a particular class, or will be assumed QRO. An entry must be ONE class only, no combination of classes is allowed.

CALL: CQ FS (short for fists straight = straight key)

EXCHANGE:
The following information must be exchanged by both stations to count as a valid contest QSO:

For FISTS members:

RST, U.S. state/Canadian province/DXCC country, first name, FISTS number.

For non-FISTS members:

RST, U.S. state/Canadian province/DXCC country, first name, Power output.

MULTIPLIERS:
Each U.S. State and Canadian province counts as 1 multiplier. Count each only once, no matter how many times worked.
Each DXCC entity counts as 1 multiplier. Count each no matter how many times worked.

SCORING:
Each QSO with a FISTS member: 5 points.
Each QSO with a non-FISTS member: 2 points.
Final score is total QSO points times multipliers.

LOGS:
Logs header information must indicate type of key used. Please send Cabrillo or Text files ONLY.

Mail or E-Mail your log within 30 days to:

g3zqslogs@fistsna.org

Karl Zuk N2KZ
15 Flintlock Ridge Rd.
Katonah, NY 10536

SKSE – Straight Key Sprint Europe – Thursday 3rd September

SKSE is run on the first Thursday of each month – the September Sprint is this coming Thursday 3rd

The times in the summer sprints are 18.45 UTC to 21.15 UTC
18.45 commences 15 minutes of QRS
19.00 to 21.00 is main sprint
and 21.00 to 21.15 the sprint completes with a further 15 minute period of QRS

Full information at. http://skse.m0trn.com/

SKCC members will send their report, country code, name and SKCC number. None members should send their report, name and “none” in place of the number.

Sprint activity will be around the following frequencies

Band  Frequencies
160m 1820 kHz
80m         3550 kHz
40m         7029 and 7114 kHz
20m         14050 kHz
15m         21050 kHz
10m         28050 kHz
6m          50090 kHz

UKEICC 80m Contest – SSB – Wednesday 2nd Sept

UKEICC 80m contests

Rules    –      UKEICC 80m Contests    –     2015 / 2016

Changes for this second series :   2 contests per month  /  a team competition /  bonuses can be carried forward two contests

These twice-monthly one hour contests are different. They are timed to coincide with the hours of darkness over most of the UK, Ireland and Europe. They are open to all stations anywhere to enter, and the scoring is distance based – similar to the very successful 160m Stew Perry Contest. The first SSB event of this second series will be held on the 2nd September 2015, followed by the first CW event on 30th September 2015, thereafter alternating mode.

The contest exchange is simplified – no RST should be sent. These contests aim to encourage high quality operating, where each operator can balance speed of operating against logging accuracy. Those operators that can develop both of these essential skills will always do best.

Scores will accumulate to give overall winners in each section at the end of the series.

In this second series of contests, individual entrants are invited to enter our new Team competition, by forming a team of 3 entrants. More information about how to register your team of 3 operators will be on this webpage soon…

1. Dates

Wednesdays in the months of September through to April inclusive (7 contests on each mode)   Excluding December.

             Date     Mode
2nd September 2015 SSB
30th September 2015 CW
7th October 2015 SSB
28th October 2015 CW
4th November 2015 SSB
25th November 2015 CW
6th January 2016 SSB
27th January 2016 CW
3rd February 2016 SSB
24th February 2016 CW
2nd March 2016 SSB
30th March 2016 CW
6th April 2016 SSB
27th April 2016 CW

Click these links below to download MS Outlook Calendar (.ics) files for these dates  (tnx David G3WGN) :

                          SSB contest dates             CW contest dates

( Note – the contests are always 20-21 UTC, irrespective of whether the local time is GMT or BST )

2. Times

2000 – 2100 UTC   The contest ends 1 second after 20:59:59 – QSOs logged at 21:00 or later will not count

3. Modes / Frequencies

CW  3510-3560 kHz    SSB  3700-3775 kHz

4. Exchange

4-character Grid locator – main square e.g. IO91, IO64, etc only (No RST should be sent)

5. Callsigns

Your normal station callsign should be used – no special prefixes are permitted and (currently) UK Special Contest Callsigns should not be used in these events.

6. Sections

(a)  High Power – the maximum permitted by the entrant’s licence or 1500W, whichever is the lower.

(b)  Low Power – maximum 100 watts output

(c)  QRP – maximum 5 watts output

Checklog:       Even if you only make a few QSOs, we hope you will send in your log as an entry, but Checklogs are very helpful for our adjudication

7. Operator categories

7.1  Single Operator Connected:  When the entrant, at any time during the the contest, for the purpose of finding, facilitating, or making QSOs –

(a) Connects, or is connected, to any network crossing the boundary of the entrant’s station, or
(b) uses any multi-channel decoder e.g. local Skimmer, or
(c) uses any method of communication other than RF corresponding to the frequencies and/or mode(s) of the entry.

7.2  Single Operator Unconnected:  When none of the Connected conditions apply.

7.3  Entries in all 6 categories will be listed together in the Results, and also in 6 separate category lists. Separate Certificates will be awarded to the winners in each of the 6 entry categories. The Results will also show UK/EI entrants and DX entrants separately, listed by DXCC entity, again with separate Certificates being awarded.

Note – one aim of these contests is to improve operating skill, which is not necessarily the outcome of using the DXCluster, Skimmer, or RBN. Please consider entering the Unconnected category.

8. Antennas

No limits

9. Logging software

Most contest software logging packages which support the Stew Perry Contest are suitable for use in these contests – however because you are logging QSOs on 80m instead of 160m, you may notice some warning messages, which you should ignore.

Some specific advice on using the most common logging software packages for the UKEICC 80m contests :

For Windows OS :

SD by EI5DI – fully supports the UKEICC 80m contests – registration fee 20 euros – ei5di.comselect the “UKEICC 80m CW” or “UKEICC 80m SSB” option.

N1MM Classic – this works OK, but the callsigns entered will be in Grey instead of the usual Blue. The generated Cabrillo file will be correct, with the 80m CAT frequencies correctly logged.

N1MM Plus – this works OK, but the callsigns entered will be in Grey instead of the usual Blue. When you select ‘STEWPERRY’, you may wish to change the Start date/time from e.g. 2014-09-27 1500z to 2014-10-22 2000z, but N1MM+ will log the actual date/time of the QSOs you make anyway. As you enter each 80m QSO, the 160m icon will flash light blue – ignore this. The generated Cabrillo file will be correct, with the 80m CAT frequencies correctly logged.

Click here to access an N1MM UDC file for these UKEICC 80m contests (Thanks Les G4OGB). If in doubt pse use the STEWPERRY template. The file name is  UKEI80_VHF.udc

WriteLog 11.18c – this works OK. The band is marked with a ‘b’ but all information, including 80m CAT frequencies, is correctly logged. The generated Cabrillo file will be correct.  (Tnx Steve GW4BLE)

Win-Test 4.13.0 – this does work, but is not really suitable. QSO times, Callsigns and Grid squares are logged correctly, but the band remains shown as 160m and the 80m CAT frequencies are not stored – they all are logged as 1830kHz. If you do wish to use Win-Test, you must edit the Cabrillo logfile before submission to show the correct 80m operating frequencies +/- 1kHz for every QSO.  Click here for one possible solution to this problem (Tnx Gordon MM0GPZ)

DXLog.net v2.1.7 – similar problem to Win-Test i.e. QSO times, Callsigns and Grid squares logged correctly, but the band remains shown as 160m and the 80m CAT frequencies are not stored – they all are logged as 1800kHz. If you do wish to use DXLog.net, you must edit the Cabrillo logfile before submission to show the correct 80m operating frequencies +/- 1kHz for every QSO.

TR4W – unable to test at the moment

For Mac OS :

Skookumlogger – fully supports the UKEICC 80m contests. Free download from  http://www.k1gq.com/SkookumLogger/   (Tnx Jonathan G0DVJ)

Notes: (i) The Cabrillo files produced after the contest may contain 59(9) reports even though they are not exchanged on-air during the contest – these will be ignored during the adjudication process.   (ii)  It does not matter if the Cabrillo log does not show points for each QSO or an overall claimed score. (iii) we are contacting the authors of contest logging software packages to ask them to include a UKEICC 80m contests module in the next update of their software.

10. Scoring

The number of QSO points for each contact depends on the distance between the two stations. This is computed by taking the distance between the centres of the two grid squares.

i.e.        0 –  500 km           1 QSO point
501 – 1000 km       2 QSO points
1001 – 1500 km     3 QSO points   etc
For example, a QSO with a station 1850 km away will count for 4 QSO points.

As part of the adjudication process, if you have made a QSO with a Low Power or QRP station i.e. you were the receiving station in that QSO, your QSO points (for that QSO) are multiplied by the following factors :

Low Power section – QSO points are multiplied by 2.0

QRP section – QSO points are multiplied by 4.0

No multiplication factor will be applied to QSOs with stations that did not submit an entry, and to all QSOs with any station signing /QRP or /LP.

11.   Entries

11.1   Cabrillo logs are required, clearly showing your section and sent exchange, and must be received by the online server within 1 hour of the contest end time.  

Outcome for 5 MHz at WRC-15 Remains in Limbo

from the ARRL

Outcome for 5 MHz at WRC-15 Remains in Limbo

With the deadline to submit proposals to World Radiocommunication Conference 2015  now less than 2 months away, it’s still unclear how at least one agenda item of importance to the Amateur Radio community will fare. That is agenda item 1.4, which calls on the delegates to consider a secondary Amateur Radio allocation at 5 MHz (60 meters).

In the US and in most other countries that have privileges there, ham radio has a set of fixed channels at 5 MHz – not necessarily the same from one country to the next, although most are common.

As ARRL Chief Technology Officer Brennan Price, N4QX, explained last spring following the second Conference Preparatory Meeting (CPM), the agenda item 1.4 proposals at the CPM were “all over the map – ranging from no change to an expansive allocation of 5275-5450 kHz,
with explicit suggestions of 15 kHz and 100 kHz in between, and a few methods with details to be filled in later.” As Price summarized at the time, “[T]here is a wide divergence of opinion, and no certainty as to the outcome.”

In his July 2015 report to International Amateur Radio Union Region 3 Conference to be held this October in Indonesia, ARRL CEO David Sumner, K1ZZ, said that while the US is “generally supportive” of the Amateur Radio and Amateur-Satellite services at WRCs and in
other International Telecommunication Union (ITU) venues, “it has been difficult to gain support from the federal government side for agenda item 1.4.” The ARRL is a member of IARU Region 3 to represent the interests of FCC-licensed radio amateurs residing in Guam; the
Northern Marianas; American Samoa; Baker, Howland, Jarvis, and Wake islands; Palmyra Atoll, and Kingman Reef.

When he submitted the report to IARU R3 in July, Sumner had said that the best ARRL could hope for in the US position was a 25 kHz secondary allocation at 5 MHz, “and only then if this becomes the CITEL Inter-American Proposal (IAP),” he explained. CITEL completed
its work earlier this month and will put forward an IAP for a 175 kHz secondary allocation at 5275-5450 kHz, with support by up to a dozen countries. That’s not a proposal the US or Canada could support, however. Sumner noted that as of now, only one formal
proposal for agenda item 1.4 has been submitted, and it calls for no change at 5250-5450 kHz. It came from the Regional Commonwealth in the Field of Communications (RCC), the regional telecommunications organization made up primarily of the former Commonwealth of
Independent States countries of which Russia is the largest.

Other regional telecommunication organizations still have not submitted formal proposals. Sumner said this week that it’s not possible to predict what might happen at the European Conference of Postal and Telecommunications Administrations (CEPT) meeting in a
few weeks. CEPT is the umbrella organization for 48 European nations.

“We appreciate the strong support from so many Latin American and Caribbean administrations and remain hopeful that a favorable consensus can be reached in Geneva in November,” Sumner said.

In Europe, Hungary’s telecommunications regulator NMHH has begun issuing temporary permits to radio amateurs there to operate in the band 5350-5450 MHz on a secondary basis for research. The permits are valid for 3 months, and holders may reapply after that.
According to the Dutch Amateur Radio Association (VERON), telecommunication regulator Agentschap Telecom is expected in September to release 5350-5450 kHz to radio amateurs on a secondary basis for all operating modes. The primary users of the band, which
include the Netherlands military, already have agreed to the allocation. Several other European countries already have 60 meter allocations.

WRC-15 will take place November 2-27 in Geneva.

DV4 Mini Digital Voice and Data Hotspot for D-Star, DMR and Fusion

Recently launched in Germany and about to be released in other parts of Europe is the DV4mini, a USB stick which can give you a 10mW personal hotspot for your preferred digital voice mode(s) with D-Star, DMR and Fusion all covered.

The DV4mini can be purchased from http://www.helitron.de/shop/product_info.php?language=en&products_id=81

Fusion C4FM Demonstration

Pascal VA2PV has produce a video showing his first tests with the DV4mini in which he made a Fusion C4FM link with 2 sticks between a simplex frequency and his repeater through the Internet.

Pascal has now also carried out his first D-Star tests with the DV4mini and will shortly be producing a video demonstrating his results.

DV4mini software

Andy M6JKA can also produced a video with an early look at the software provided with the DV4mini, although he did not at the time of the video have a DV4mini to connect to it.

This video shown the DV4mini software running on Andy’s company’s Rikomagic V5LE Mini Linux PC and the company are considering making these mini PC’s available with the software pre-configured – more information on their mini-PC at http://www.cloudsto.com/new-mk802-v5.html

The software for the DV4mini is available from http://dv4m.ham-dmr.ch/ and is available for both Linux and Windows.

The DV4mini and the Raspberry Pi

Linking DMR+ and DMR MARC

NAQCC – European Activity Day

The European Chapter will be holding its third activity day today Wednesday (19th August). The activity days are not contests per se, although points are awarded for QSOs based on the distance between the two stations. To take part, all you need to do is make contact with European stations at some point on Wednesday, and submit your log. Full details and rules can be found at http://naqcc-eu.org/activity-days <http://naqcc-eu.org/activity-days>

As with all other chapter events, the activity days are open to all NAQCC members, whether or not they are located within Europe.

An activity day entry is worth 6 points in the race towards the current European chapter prize, a Kent-KT1 straight key. For more details, see http://naqcc-eu.org/prizes <http://naqcc-eu.org/prizes>

DMR Repeater News from Scotland

DMR Repeater for Dundee – GB7DD

GB7DD was the first DMR Digital Voice Repeater in Scotland and was  was first licensed on 4th March 2014 as a UHF Motorola MotoTRBO DMR Digital Voice Repeater.

GB7DD  owned by Martin Higgins MM0DUN but all licenced Radio Amateurs are welcome to use the repeater at any time subject to comliance with a few simple requests:-

  • ensure you disable GPS if you have that in your radio as it creates unnecessary data traffic on the network.
  • NO DIRECT CALLS are permitted.
  • Please also stick to the recognised Talk Groups and do not make up your own.

GB7DD operates on two digital time slots for licenced radio amateur use only;

  • Time Slot 1 is for World-Wide,  Europe,  UK-Wide and Local.  Direct Dial Talk Group 918 can be used by others to link into the GB7DD Talk Group 9 on Slot 1,
  • Time Slot 2 is for Local and TG8 Roaming.  GB7DD’s TG8 is part of the new Scottish TG8 Roaming bundle of repeaters which currently consists of GB7DD Dundee and GB7EE Edinburgh.

Please remember that repeaters are primarily for mobile users and you are asked not to hog the repeater or Talkgroup.  Please use the Talkgroup with the lowest number of external connections to reduce the number of repeaters being utilised by your QSO – for example don’t sit on UK-Wide if you are chatting to someone local, instead use TG9 Local.  Also, don’t sit on TG9 Local on Slot 1 for hours on end as you stop anyone else from making use of UK-Wide or World-Wide and stop Direct-Dial inwards from being accessible. Likewise sitting chatting for long periods on TG9 Local Slot 2 will stop anyone else from making use of the TG8 Dundee<->Edinburgh link.

GB7DD is located on the outskirts of Broughty Ferry on the A92 to the east of Dundee where the ground rises to the North and West.  A change of site may be considered in the future to increase coverage.

GB7DD DMR Repeater Coverage Map

GB7DD DMR Repeater Coverage Map

More information about GB7DD and DMR can be found at gb7dd.co.uk

DMR Repeater for Edinburgh – GB7EE

The GB7EE DMR Repeater went on air from a location in Morningside, Edinburgh in September 2015.

It is IP connected to the DMR MARC network and further information on this can be obtained from the GB7DD Website gb7dd.co.uk

GB7EE operates on UHF on the new channel designation of DVU57 which is output (transmit) frequency of 439.7125 Mhz and input (receive) frequency of 430.7125 with Colour Code 1

Radio codeplugs for Motorola and Hytera sets are available from the www.gb7dd.co.uk site.

Code Plugs for other radio’s (Tytera MD-380 & Connect Systems CS 700 / 750) are available from http://codeplugcentral.co.uk

Time Slot 1 is for World-Wide, Europe, UK-Wide and Local.

Direct Dial Talk Group 931 can be used by others to link into the GB7EE Talk Group 9 on Slot 1,

Time Slot 2 is for Local and TG8 Roaming. Currently GB7EE’s TG8 is part of the new Scottish TG8 Roaming bundle of repeaters which currently consists of GB7EE Edinburgh and GB7DD Dundee.

Coverage Map for GB7EE Edinburgh DMR Repeate

Coverage Map for GB7EE Edinburgh DMR Repeate

GB7EE DMR Repeater for Edinburgh, Coverage Map

GB7EE DMR Repeater for Edinburgh, Coverage Map

DMR Coverage for SouthWest Scotland

An application is about to be submitted for the establishment of a DMR repeater which will prpvide coverage to the Greater Belfast area of Northern Ireland.   It is expected that this repeater will provide some coverage to parts of SouthWest Scotland. Information about the Northern Ireland DMR Network can be found here.

DMR Repeater for Glasgow – GB7GG?

Plans for a DMR UHF repeater to cover Glasgow are in early stages. The equipment is ready to go but further work is needed on site selection to get the best coverage for city center and internet linking options.

D-Star Audio Quality

The author has stayed away from D-Star so far, partly because of reports of reports of the “Micky mouse” sound of the digitised audio.

There is no doubt that digital voice technology has advanced significantly although not necessarily in terms of audio quality. The introduction of ICOM’s IC7100 transceiver presented the possibility of easy digital voice communications on HF.

The following video gives an interesting demonstration of D-Star communication on 10 metres with the IC-7100, including duplex working in conjunction with an ID-51 handheld.

Nowadays there are, of course, other digital modes, particularly DMR and Fusion. The following video gives some sort of comparison between the audio quality of the two systems, although other factors, such as microphone, speakers and the audio systems in individual radio units, can also create variation in audio quality.

The author still hasn’t taken the plunge into digital voice but is giving it some more consideration. The technical aspect of these modes seems to be broadening, with the potential of creating personalised or local gateways, which could be another reason for considering such modes.