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CQ WPX Webinar Answers Critical Questions

The following is a transcript of the embedded webinar recently done on the CQ WPX Contest


Randy:             Thank you Ken.  Good afternoon everyone.  Thanks for attending the webinar this afternoon.  I say good afternoon because that’s what it is in Boston but good evening or good morning, depending on where you are.  Thanks to Ken for being up at two o’clock in the morning in Bangkok to help give the webinar online and started.  Subject for today is the CQ WPX contest, the sideband weekend is coming up next weekend and just want to give a chance to talk to everybody about what’s new in the contest.  The first thing is the CQ WPX has a new director so it will be one of my last official acts as director of the CQ WPX contest but our new director is Terry Zivney, N4TZ.  Terry is having trouble with his internet connection so he’s not able to join us here so I can talk about him without him knowing what I said.  Terry has been ham since a long time, since 1961.  He’s a competitor at WRTC 2012.  His real interests are in the X contests and he does a lot of operating in low power and often using a different call sign than his own so that’s why you may not have heard of him before, but he is definitely qualified in the smarts department.  He’s a professor at Ball State University in finance and insurance.

He’s going to be retiring there later this year so he was looking for something to do with his spare time and being director of the WPX will be a great job for him but we have to say that a guy who’s a professor in finance and insurance definitely understands the attention to detail and numbers and everything that it takes to be a director of a contest and I know from the past and seeing some of Terry’s writings and articles and so on that he’s a good [00:02:00] writer so I think he’ll be a great caretaker of the contest and help keep moving it forward and I hope everyone gives him their full support, and helps him out.  There will be an announcement from CQ magazine from probably on Monday or early next week and [inaudible 00:02:22] but starting now, Terry is the guy so he’s got one week to get warmed up before the contest.  Some basics about the WPX contest.  It’s all [inaudible 00:02:35] 160 through 10 meters, not that we’re bands of course.  The key thing, WPX stands for Worked All Prefixes.  The multipliers are call sign prefixes, that’s what makes the contest interesting.  we can be sure to see from very unusual call signs next weekend.  I saw somebody put it well quote that was in the write-up that some of these call signs are so crazy, you don’t know where to point the antennae and that’s part of what makes the WPX so much fun.  The SSB contest this weekend, March 30 to 31 does conflict with the Easter holiday, March 31st so plan your operating accordingly.  That means that activity may be lower on the Sunday morning in Europe and the United States but the contest has impacted the Easter before and it seems to go on, there will still be lots of people on so not a [inaudible 00:03:35].  Good chance to take some of your off time during the slow period.

The CW contest is the last full weekend of May so this year that will be May 25 and 26, as in normal.  That’s the same weekend as the U.S. Memorial Day holiday and also I think there’s a bank holiday in the UK that same weekend on the Monday so a good [00:04:00] chance to do the contest and still have time to have barbeque and still relax on Monday afterwards.  I’m very happy to report that the WPX contest continues to grow in activity or and in log submissions, as you can see we’re had a record number of logs on both CW and phone last year, just keep growing and growing.  I think a lot of this is due to it’s very easy to submit your log now with either by email or via web upload, and we’ve been out asking people to submit their log after the contest so we’ll continue doing that, but the bands are going to be packed next weekend I’m sure.  Listen, there are a number of rule changes for 2013, many of these are echoing rule changes or copying rule changes that were made in the CQ worldwide contest.  I’m going to go through them quickly just so everyone knows what changed.

If you look at the rules on the website, all the changes are marked in red text and I think many of these rules don’t impact the casual participant that some of them are intended for very specific questions that have come up.  The first one is on measuring power.  Power is measured at the output of the radio or … what happened here, I lost my … power is measured at the output of the radio or it’s measured at the output of the amplifier, and the rules are very simple.  Your power categories, either Q or P [00:06:00] bi-watts, low power 100 watts or high power 1500 so we’re not measuring at the antennae or some faraway place.  It’s measured right where it leads the radio or the amplifier.  It should be very simple.  Everyone in the world has a watt meter and should be able to read it and we would appreciate it if people would obey the 1500 watt limit.  The limit is set for a reason.  It keep the game fair for the most number of people.  There’s another new rule that is saying the use of IP network for remote receiving is not permitted.

This rule can be confusing because there’s also a rule that remote operation is okay and I wanted people to understand that if you do remote control to your station and your station meets all the rules of the 500 meter circle and so on, and antennae is connected by wires then it’s okay.  What this rule is addressing is we do not want people to be operating from one location and then use some of these receivers, remote receivers that are available over the internet for listening.  That’s not allowed I think in any contest but we added this rule to make it very clear that remote receivers via the internet are not permitted at all.  There is now a stream category in the WPX in worldwide so really there’s no category that’s permitted to use remote receiving in this way.  This is a rule that was copied from the CQ worldwide and it just is requiring people to use a hardware interlock if they’re going to have more than one signal on a band at one time or if it’s a single [00:08:00] but you’re going to have more than one signal on any band, either hardware or interlock, and what this is saying is you can’t rely on just using hand signals between the two operators.

There really needs to be a physical connection or way of patrolling which transmitter is sending at what time and the reason this has become important is we’re now using these software defined radio recording so we’re recording large, all the bands of the contest to disk and then we can go back later and listen to the contest as it happened, and so it’s possible for us to listen and see if the station transmit more than one signal than the last time and we have had some disqualifications for this.  Again, just make sure you’re only sending one signal on a band at a time or if you’re signal [inaudible 00:08:56] you’re only sending one signal and you’ll be fine.  If you only use one radio, you shouldn’t have any issue with this at all.  This is another rule that’s adopted from the CQ worldwide contest and the idea here is that the contest is over when the contest ends.  The contest is over at 23:59 so after the contest is over, we’d like you to create the Cabrillo file, confirm that the header information and everything is correct and then send in your log.

Do not work with your friends or look at QRP.com or look at some databases or look at the … don’t compare logs with other people.  When the contest is over, make sure your log is correct and send it in.  That’s the purpose of the contest is to test your operating skills [00:10:00] over the air, not your log cleaning skills afterwards.  I think … I’ll wait to say that.  We added a new category this year so there’s always been a QRP category, single operator QRP category in the WPX contest but there was no assisted QRP category and so what was happening was the QPR assisted entries were being placed in the low power assisted category and there’s not very many QRP assisted entries but there are some and rather than move them … surprise them by putting them in low power, we just decided to go ahead and create a separate category for QRP assisted, similar to what the CQ worldwide contest has.  Anyone who operates to QRP assisted this year will be setting a new record in their category.  The club competition rules are again, being changed a little bit to match the CQ worldwide.

The biggest thing here is if we’re going to allocate the scores of a multi-op or a DXpedition according to the number of club members on the expedition or in the multi-op, so if there are five operators on a DXpedition and three of them are from one club, then that club would get three [inaudible 00:11:40] would get 60% of the score.  In the past, we didn’t have this rule and the score would go completely to whatever was on the club line.  Again, we’re matching the CQ worldwide rules here to say that okay, the score is going to be a percentage allocation [00:12:00] instead of all to one club.  Again, multi operators can have the score go to as many clubs as there have been participants being involved.  Single operator scores can only go to one club.  I can’t split a single-op score, only a multi-op one.  Here’s probably one of the biggest rule changes that will impact everyone and that is that the log deadline is now five days.  The first contest to do this was the CQ worldwide last October and November and we were very happy with the response of the contest community to get their logs in on time.  It all went really well so we’re expecting that it will even be better for WPX so the rule is that the SSB log needs to be received by April sixth for sideband or by June one by CW.

If your log is not received on time, it’s still okay.  We’ll accept it, we want, your logs are welcome at any time, but a log that’s received after the deadline will not be eligible for a certificate or a plaque so the score will still appear in the listing and we’ll still use it for the log checking, you’ll still receive a log checking report, but no certificates and no plaques.  If you happen to win your category and your log is late, the certificate will actually go to the second place station.  It’s really important and we really do want to get your logs in on time within the five day deadline.  If you are not going to be able to do that for some reason [00:14:00], you can request an extension so you can request and extension before the contest or immediately after the contest.  You send an email to director@cqwpx.com, that will go to Terry and you need to give him a reason.  It needs to be a good reason, not just because you don’t … it has to be a legitimate reason and the extension is only granted or is only confirmed if the director writes back to you and approves it.  Please get your logs in on time but if you can’t we understand.

Sometimes travel and personal situation, you may need some more time but it’s very important that you ask for the extension before the deadline because after the deadline, we won’t be able to do anything because that’s unfair to all of the people who did submit their logs.  Those are the rules changes, it’s not such a big thing but I wanted everybody to see that.  Now we’ll spend a little bit of time talking about just the contest itself and what makes it fun and how you can improve your scores.  I think one of the interesting parts of the WPX contest of course is the double points on the low bands so you get the normal CQ worldwide scoring on 10, 15, and 20 meters but on 40, 80, and 160, everything is doubled so as a result, we see a lot of extra activity on 40 and 80 meters during the contest and there’s a lot of strategy decisions to be made as to whether you … to spend your time maybe at a slower rate on the low bands but double points are at a higher rate on the high bands [00:16:00] and everyone has a different thought about this and it depends on your location and your station and so on, but definitely adds the strategy element to the contest.

All QSO’s with your own country count, they’re one point each and there’s no double points on the low band so one point for working your own country.  One of the things that I like about the WPX the most is the multiplier structure.  Multipliers are the call sign prefixes of the station that you work so there can be a lot of multipliers.  Almost every different kind of call sign can create an opportunity for a new prefix that could be a rare multiplier.  There were 204 stations that worked more than 1000 prefixes in the sideband contest last year and there’s no reason to believe that that number won’t continue to increase.  It’s increased almost every year, just showing how there’s more activity, so more call signs, but also there’s more interesting call signs as people look for special calls used during the contest.  The prefixes everything up to and including the numbers at the beginning of the call so we can see the W3XYZ becomes W3, that makes sense.  DR2006X, the prefix is DR2006, so you get all the numbers that are there.

The WPX has a rule that requires any station that’s operating portable or operating away from its home country must indicate the country with its call sign so if KL7RA is operating from Indiana, he needs to indicate that in his call by KL7RA stroke W9 [00:18:00] but there’s nothing that says he has to use stroke W9, he can use any prefix that indicate that he’s in the ninth call area in the United States so in this case, he [inaudible 00:18:14] WK9 and so you may run into some call signs that are operating portable in the U.S. that use unusual prefixes just so they can hand out some multipliers and that’s perfectly okay.  When I operated in Austria, I was using the call Oscar eco stroke K5ZD.  Any call sign like that that does not have a number as part of the prefix uses the number zero so the prefix becomes oscarego0 so sometimes you’ll hear a station like 4xray stroke or tangofox stroke in the call sign.

When you see those, that would be 4xray0 or it would be tangofox0 as the prefix.  There are some call signs that do not have a number in the right place for whatever reason and in those cases we assume that the prefix and then the number zero.  Then things like stroke P for portable of stroke m for mobile or stroke [inaudible 00:19:13] those do not count for prefixes so the prefix remains with the call sign.  One of the interesting parts of the contest is more QSO’s you make, generally the more prefixes that you have so here’s two charts from several years ago but the same pattern exists almost every year, that you see more QSO stations make, the more QSO’s, the more prefixes they have.  Generally, it works out on average to have one prefix for every three QSO’s so part of the challenge of the contest is to try to work as many stations [00:20:00] as possible because you’re … and to run call CQ as much as possible because the more stations that you work, the more multipliers you have.

This also means that the scores go up very fast so as you work more and more stations with more multipliers, you’re going to see your score continue to push upward very fast.  Every chance you get you want to focus on the making rate but you may also want to focus on working different parts of the world because you have a better chance of getting more multipliers.  The WPX has another interesting feature compared to other contests in that you can actually enter two contests at the same time and we call these the overlay categories.  The overlay categories, you have the normal log that you submit and that goes into the regular scoring, then we take the same score and you can also compete in an overlay category and there are two overlay categories.  One of them is the rookie category and this is for single operators that have been licensed for less than three years so if you’ve had a ham radio license of the ability to operate for less than three years, then you’re eligible for the rookie category and we usually have about 100 to 130 entries in the rookie category on sideband, and it’s always fun to see these new ham’s and see them be successful and work their way through the three years, getting better and better, of course they graduate to the full categories.

The second overlay category is tribander/single-element so this is often called tribander and wires category, and then this is for stations that are typical ham radio station, maybe they have a single tribander and just some wire antennae’s [00:22:00] for low band and we wanted to give these stations a chance to compete against each other or compete against other people with the same equipment and not have to always be competing with the big stations.  You enter the overlay category by submitting your Cabrillo log the same as you always would but with one extra line in it.  Category overlay and then you put TD-wires or you put rookie here so that’s all you have to do and now your log will be entered in both the standard contest and in the overlay category.  There’s always a lot of questions about the tribander/single-element category so let’s see if I can give some examples here.  On the left, we see a tribander with some inverted V’s or sloper or something.  That would be the standard prototype tribander signal element station so one tribander, multiple wire antennae’s for each band, but the same … another station that could be in this category would be a multi band dipole and a vertical.

Again, maybe the multi-band dipole is used on 40 through 10 meters and there’s a vertical for 80 or something like that.  The questions to ask yourself if your station will qualify for this category is, do you have one feed line to the 10 to 20 meter antenna? The idea here is whether it’s a tribander of whether it’s a dipole or something, the idea is that there’s one [inaudible 00:23:39] that’s covering 10, 150, and 20 meters, and then you have single element antenna’s for 40, 80, and 160, and know I’ve talked about wire antenna’s but that single element antenna could be made of aluminum but the important thing here is just one antenna, a vertical with some radials or a dipole or a sloper [00:24:00] not some more exotic phase array or something like that so if you can answer these two questions yes, then you’re station is eligible to compete in the tribander/single-element category.  One of the things that we’ve done with the WPX is that we’ve taken all of the scores that have been submitted since 1975 and put them into a database which is available online, so everything from 1975 to 2012, every score that’s ever been made in the contest is in the database and you can go in and you can look at the scores by mode and by part, area, region of the world or country, and then by year if you want.

This makes some very interesting things that you can try so you can go to the records page and you can see what the records are for every country that’s ever submitted a log into the contest.  You can look at the records for your call area or your country and see if there’s one that maybe you would like to have your call sign or name on.  There is a separate page for the rookie category and for the tribander/single-element.  They have separate records pages but it’s the same thing.  You select the category and then pick the region.  Because we have every score for all time, there’s a place you can type in your call sign and we will show you a list of every score that your call sign has contributed towards and been involved in in the contest so we can see here for 10 [inaudible 00:25:50] that he’s entered the contest over a number of years and with different call signs and so on.  You can also look and see what your [00:26:00] personal record is and you can chase that, or you can look at the general score listings and you can pick a country and a category and you can see all the scores that have ever been submitted in that category and area, and as your operating, you can come back and look at this and say, “I’ve moved past the number 20 score, now I’ve moved past number 19, and past number 18,” and so on, can be very good motivation on Sunday to keep operating to see if you can get to the next person that is ahead of you in the historical scores list.

Everyone who submits a log entry into a category for the WPX contest can download a certificate for their effort and so if you go to the score list and click on the certificate link, it will create an Adobe Acrobat PDF format file of the certificate with the correct information for your entry in there, and then you can print this out on your own color printer and something you can show your co-workers or you colleagues or your family what you were doing all weekend.  There’s a lot people enjoy being able to get their certificate and it goes for everyone so even if you’re down lower in the score listings, you can get your own certificate this way.  Of course, we send a paper certificate to everyone who wins their category for their region.  Some of the keys to success in the WPX contest, I’ve touched on these already.  Maximize your QSO points so pay attention to working stations that are DX because they’re in another continent [00:28:00] because they’re worth three points on the high band but they’re worth double points on the low band so spending a little bit of time on 40 meters often result in some extra points to help the score.  Try to organize your operating time or your strategy so you can cover the major populations centers so if you have propagations in the United States, you’d want to work as many Americans as possible because there’s a lot of prefixes here, then you’d also like to be in the bands where you can work Europe because Europeans also have a large number of prefixes and then if it’s possible.

You’d like to spend a little bit of time where you can work Japan because Japan can easily generate another 50 … or Japan and that part of Asia can generate another 50 prefixes without too much trouble.  You want to have access to as much of the world as you can just like any other DX contest but really, most of the activity is in Europe and the United States and that’s where the big score increases can come from.  Very important that once you earned all of these points by working stations that you not lose them during the log checking.  We do check the call signs and the serial numbers for every log that we can and if you make a mistake in the call sign, you lose that contact plus one more.  If you make a mistake with the serial number, you only lose that one contact, so by all means make sure that you’re copying all of these special call signs and funny prefixes as accurately as you can so you don’t lose any points for that and then pay attention to the serial number.  If you don’t understand the serial number that the station sends you, ask them to repeat it because it’s very important that you get it correct.  [00:30:00].

Once you finish the contest and you’re ready to submit your log, you can always submit your log via email to ssb@cqwpx.com like it’s always been, but we’re really recommend that people start to use the webpage so if you go to the cqwpx.com website, there is a page, a log check page where you can upload your log.  We will check to make sure that all of the syntax of the format of your log is correct.  If we find a mistake, we will tell you right there on the webpage, giving you a chance to correct it and then once everything is correct, you can enter you email address and submit your log to the robot so that’s really the best way to go.  It will make sure that everything is perfectly correct before you log is sent in, and if you’ve made some changes to your logs, there is a check box there where you can ask to have us send a copy of your log to you so you have the final one that was submitted.  We will accept other electronic formats.  Some people are unable to make the Cabrillo file or they have an Excel or Word or whatever, we want to help people get their logs in.

We would prefer of course that you do it in the correct format but if you can’t, contact the director and he will be able to help you or have someone help you get your log in.  Just remember, the log deadline is five days after the contest so the contest ends Sunday night at 23:59.  If you’re awake, you can go ahead and send your log in right then and be done.  If not, wake up the next morning, send your log in, get it done as soon as you can, then you don’t have to worry about it anymore.  [00:32:00].  The longer you wait in to the week, the easier it is to forget to send it in and we want it as early as you can.  Conditions this year should be good.  Obviously conditions are not quite as good as they were during the last sunspot cycle but still, as we’re seeing with more activity and more prefixes, we’re seeing record scores, even over the last couple of years and it looks like this year we should be about the same as the last two years.  Conditions for WPX sideband have been really great on 15 meters.  15 has been the most active band but 40  has also been good, 20 has been good at night.  Even 10 meters has been opening up some in the daytime.  With the solar flux of around 100 and the fairly quiet conditions, we’re hoping for a very good weekend next weekend.

We’re going to try something new this year just for fun.  Ham radio is a social game and let’s see if we can use social media so those of you who have Twitter accounts or that use Twitter, we’re using the hash tag #cqwpx so anything that you tweet with #cqwpx that tells us that you’re talking about the WPX contest.  We added a new widget to the homepage of the CQWPX.com website where anything you tweet with that hash tag will show up here and we’d like to see people, maybe an multi-op or if you have some great experience, share it with everyone so make a tweet talking about the band being open or some QSO that you just made, that kind of thing.  Another area to think about is if you see a station that’s operating out of the band or has a very bad signal [00:34:00] or splattering or something, this is a way to report that, partly so that the contest administrators so that we can know about it and maybe we can go listen on the SDR and see if there is a problem there, but also so that you can maybe tell these bad operators or that people are noticing what they’re doing and we can bring some peer pressure to bear so that these guys know that we don’t appreciate their poor quality signals.

Be nice, there’s no reason to do anything but report the facts but it’s just an interesting experiment we want to do this year and see if we can use the real time nature of Twitter to communicate some of these things.  Before I close, I have to say thank you to the worldwide radio operators foundation, WWROF is the sponsor of this webinar series and so they’re paying for the go to meeting subscription allows us to have this type of meeting and thank Ken [inaudible 00:35:19] for coming up with the idea and making sure all these webinars happen.  The WWROF is also very important to the WPX contest because they fund and manage the robots and the website, all those tools that we use for doing the log checking and so on.  The only way we could handle five or 6000 logs is through the computing power and automation and so on that the WWROF provides for us so everyone who operates in any of the CQ magazine contests really owes the WWROF a lot of thanks for helping [00:36:00] keep everything running.  With that, even though Terry is not, I don’t think was able to join us online because of his internet connection, I’d like to open things up for questions and Ken will help moderate that.

Ken:                 You can hear me okay?

Randy:             Yes.

Ken:                 Great.  We already have some great questions in queue but obviously if you have one, go ahead and send it in now and we’ll try to pick up some of these before we close things up.  The first one comes to us from Argentina [inaudible 00:36:42] wondering if you have any guidelines for extension of the geographic area for a club, a country wide club for example.

Randy:             Yes, this is a good question.  Here in the United States, there’s a long tradition of the club area being a circle around the center of the club, maybe 275 kilometers.  In Europe, the countries are smaller so the clubs tend to be oriented around the countries but I know in South America, in Australia, and in Asia and so on, it’s not so simple.  What the rules say is the local geographic area and we’ve been somewhat more lenient with the clubs that are in parts of the world where we know things are a little more spread out, but it is something we are always looking for a better way to write this rule so it would allow the most participation.

Ken:                 Good.  Just one [inaudible 00:37:52] clarification here from [inaudible 00:37:54] E77DX seen that logs received after the five day deadline do not [00:38:00] count for records, there shouldn’t actually be a record, is that correct?

Randy:             That is a very good question and we never had the concept of late logs before this year so we’re going to have to change our database programming to how we present the results and so on, but the plan right now is that late logs would not be allowed to be a record.  We’re including them in the listings is because the scores were made and so on, but if a log is received after the deadline, it did not meet all the rules and therefore shouldn’t be counted as a record.

Ken:                 Now here’s a questions from James of [inaudible 00:38:44] India.  He lives in Maryland which is the W3 call area so the only requirement for [inaudible 00:38:51] stroke three or just use NSA5.

Randy:             You are not required to send portable if you’re outside of your call area.  The rule about the KL7RA was only if you’re operating in a place that’s not … where you call sign does not indicate the correct country.  The KL7 is clearly Alaska but if he’s in Indiana he has to tell us he’s in the United States in W9, but if you’re using your other call and if they die and you’re in Maryland, it’s okay, you don’t have to send portable at all.  I do this all the time.  My call is K5ZD and I live in Massachusetts and I don’t send portable anything and that’s okay.  That’s fine within the rules.

Ken:                 A couple people asked this question regarding the tribander wires.  For example, you’re using just the single G5RV reads for 10 through 160 or some other wire you have up in the tree or through a tuner, does that qualify for the tribander single [00:40:00] wire?

Randy:             If we go back to our questions and I can see why there’s some confusion on this, but do I have a single feed line to the 10 through 20 meter antenna in the case of a G5RV and the answer would be yes, and do I have a single element antenna for the other bands, 40, 80, or 160? In this case, in the G5RV example, it’s the same antenna but that’s okay.  All we’re really asking is these two questions, if you can answer yes to these then you qualify so even someone with just a single long wire antenna could answer both of these questions and to qualify for the TB wires overlay.

Ken:                 This is one that came [inaudible 00:40:51] you were showing some [inaudible 00:40:55] examples and one you had there is say I just worked T29 on 10 meters, how is that handled for a single-op, is there anyone that’s unassisted?

Randy:             I think it’s long been established that any [inaudible 00:41:15] even a single operator can post their make spot so there’s nothing wrong with typing in that you did something regardless of your category so that doesn’t change anything.  There is some question if you are a single operator not assisted and you were looking at the Twitter feed and you saw somebody actually post that such and such station was on a particular frequency and you went there, in that case, you would be using assistance the same as if you were using the DX cluster.  If you did that, you should claim you’re in the assisted category.  I hope that answered that [00:42:00].

Ken:                 I have a question from [inaudible 00:42:03] in the rookie category, he’s been licensed for nine years, but only been on HF for two years, could that still be considered a rookie category?

Randy:             I get that question quite often and we really had to draw a hard line on this.  If you’ve been licensed, the day you were first licensed, if it was three years ago or less then you’re in the rookie category.  If you were licensed before that or you were licensed let’s say 20 years ago and you let your license elapse and then you got a new license now, we very consistently been telling everyone that no, you cannot participate in the rookie category if you’ve been licensed for more than three years.  I realize maybe that seems a little unfair, VHF and then HF and so on, but it just becomes too difficult for us to manage it around the world so we wanted to keep the interpretation as simple and clean as possible.

Ken:                 KQOM wondering what the [inaudible 00:43:13] is that required for SO2R stations.

Randy:             Yes, the rule for single operators is very clear, only one transmitted signal at a time.

Ken:                 Yes, because you can always go back with your STR and even if it’s a single-op radio and see if you’ve got two signals [inaudible 00:43:30] band so on the air at one time.  V5 [inaudible 00:43:36] is wondering why the power measurement is at the output of the amplifier instead of at the antenna.  It seems like it analyzes stations with long feed lines where the feed line loss can be significant.

Randy:             Maybe this is just the United States bias, but in the USA, the FCC are telecommunications [00:44:00] authority has always measured power either input power of measured power at the output of the transmitter, and so the loss in feed lines and so on is just didn’t matter, it was output at the transmitter.  We do know that there are some … and the reason we changed the rule is because there are some radio services around the world that do measure power at the antenna.  The problem in the amateur radio world is if I have a long feed line and then a power and then the feed point is 20, 10 meters out on the boom of the antenna, there’s really no accurate way to measure power out there, and so we were having problems where people were telling us they were running 3000 or 4000 watts because they were only getting, they were saying that they only got 1500 watts to the antenna and there’s no way to manage this so our decision is we’re going to measure power where it comes out of the station, out of the antenna, I mean out of the transmitter of the amplifier and if station engineering that needs to decide what you’re going to do about the loss through the feed line and so on, that’s part of building a better station and everyone in the world has to deal with this trade-off in some form or another, but that’s why we declared where we’re going to measure power so there’s no question in the [inaudible 00:45:37] as to whether it’s at the antenna or at the station.

Ken:                 Because I think if you start doing it at the antenna, it opens up for a lot of [inaudible 00:45:47] as you pointed out.

Randy:             Yes, it does.

Ken:                 [Inaudible 00:45:54] wanted to let everyone that he us on the webinar here audio breaks up sometimes [00:46:00] typical for a low power [inaudible 00:46:02] so anyways, if you’re listening in.  Louis at [inaudible 00:46:07] was wondering if there might be a team competition like they have in the CQ worldwide, if you might be featuring that at some point.

Randy:             We have not been thinking about it for the WPX and actually we’ve been thinking about removing it from the CQWW because it has not had very much participation.  If that’s a category that he likes, this would be a very good time to be letting us know about it, but right now there’s no plans to add that for the WPX.

Ken:                 A couple more questions.  We got some good ones and this one I should know but I don’t [inaudible 00:46:53] was wondering what is the scoring between the U.S. between WMVE station, I’m sorry, I guess I’m misread that, it said one point within your own country.  Correct?

Randy:             Get to the … here we go.  If VE works, then VE is one point, if the W works, the W is one point, but if VE works a W then on the high band it’s two bands and on the low bands it’s four points.

Ken:                 [Inaudible 00:47:27] was wondering, you had mentioned the Twitter thing and posting comments if someone’s got a broad signal and just wondering I guess if you’re prepared to go back to the SDR and look at some of these and maybe take it up with the station owners.

Randy:             Yes, we are because … well, there’s a survey, a CQ worldwide survey going on right now and one of the questions was, “Should poor signal [00:48:00] quality or wide signals be something that could bring a disqualification by the committee,” and right now there’s a lot of support for that idea.  My personal opinion here is that we share the band, having a good, clean signal is being a good sportsmen.  In contests, if someone has a very wide or broad signal, often they cause a lot of trouble for everyone else while it makes it easier for them because they have a clear frequency and that is not fair to the contest community or to the other participants to allow that to continue.  We’re still working on how we’re going to do this but I want to start getting some of these reports so we can go back and look at them and we do want to develop a methodology where we can go back with the SDR or some other mechanism and tell somebody, “Your signal was six or eight or 10 KC’s wide by this measurement and therefore you get a warning or yellow card.”

Ken:                 Dalton wants to know if he operates [inaudible 00:49:19] stroke one, is he a 38 five or EA one?

Randy:             That would be EA1.  That’s … I guess I didn’t have it in my examples here but yes.  Anytime it’s like W3XYZ portable four … if there’s a portable with a number then that number effects the prefix so EA50N stroke one would become EA one.

Ken:                 Eric is wondering about the prefix examples you had KL7RA stroke whiskey K nine and your ocean echo stoke stroke K5ZD [00:50:00] and he’s wondering about the logic for picking the pre-stroke and post-stroke and I guess that’s primarily for local licensing authority, I’m assuming in Austria, places you had dictated had the Oscar echo one and some of your U.S. call sign.

Randy:             It’s under the CEPT, there’s generally everyone would like to use the country prefix first because that notifies people immediately where you are.  A lot of people that are K5ZD stroke OE, they would think K5 not so interesting whereas if they hear OE they know that the station Austria is in the rest of the call so I think the convention is you would put the country prefix first.  However, there’s a few exceptions to that and not sure about the U.S. but for example, the Canadian operator comes into the United States, they’re required by law to be the VE call stroke, the W call area or something like that.  It really just depends on the local licensing as to what you can do.

Ken:                 A couple more here, let’s see, multi-op categories … is an alternate CQ allowed on the same band?

Randy:             I think the rules specifically prohibit that.  Let’s go look.  The answer to all questions is in the rules and the answer is … you are not allowed to use alternating CQ’s on the same band.  There are stations that will yield a multi-op that would use more than one transmitter on a band.  One station will be CQ and the other one will be calling people.  That is allowed but it’s very important that they only ever have one signal at a time.

[00:52:00]

Ken:                 Bob was wondering what’s the difference between the yellow card and the red card and what would cause you to get one or the other.

Randy:             I don’t think we have enough time to answer that here but the rules again, say it’s at the discretion of the contest committee as to what they will issue, what color it is.  Generally, it’s just like you see in the international football.  The yellow card is a minor infraction and a red card would be a major infraction, one that is not sportsman-like.

Ken:                 If you tackle someone during the contest.

Randy:             Something like that.

Ken:                 Last question by Z nine alpha alpha.  If I use a [inaudible [00:52:53] V nine, does that count as a V nine prefix?

Randy:             Yes, it does.  The more interesting question would be is if you were VO2DX stroke nine, then what that would count as.  It’s the first question is that allowed by the Canadian regulations and if it is, if it were VO2DX stroke nine then it would be VO nine.

Ken:                 Yes.  [Inaudible [00:53:15] prefix on your ham, if that even exists.  Well, let’s go ahead and wrap it up.  Randy, you have anything else you want to add before we close it up?

Randy:             No, I want to thank everyone for joining us to and I look forward to working as many of you as I can next weekend and then the CW contest and please, once again, welcome Terry into the new job.  He’s just starting right now, the contest is in one week.  He’s got a lot to learn in a very short period of time but I think he’s going to do a great job and I would appreciate everybody giving him all the help that they can.  Thanks very much [00:54:00].

Ken:                 Thank you, Randy.  Also thanks to [inaudible 00:54:04] three LR who has been here and working with us on these open hours and as Randy pointed out, check out the WWROF webpage.  We have a number of upcoming webinars which I think will be of interest to a lot of people so they’re all listed there, dates, times, registration links.  Go ahead and check that out and also [inaudible 00:54:27] and pass the word.  We’ve got plenty of seats available on these webinars and we’re happy to take as many people as we can.  With that, thanks guys, thanks everyone for joining us and we’ll see you on the contest this coming weekend, I know that there will be at least one or two stations on here from Bangkok.  I’ll probably spend a little bit of time on the air as well, so hopefully we have some decent conditions.  Thanks everyone [inaudible 00:54:53] we’ll see you for the next webinar, so long.

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