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MARC Casual Contesters — March SSB Contests

There are two SSB contests on the MARC calendar in March.

Both run for 48 hours, so anyone with an HF radio should be able to get on the air for 15 or 20 minutes and make a few contact.

Registration, prior to the contest, is not required for either of these contests, so if you decide at the last minute to get of the air just do it.

1. ARRL DX Contest

The contest starts on March 7 at 00:00 UTC and runs for 48 hours.

US and Canada only work DX.

DX only works US and Canada.

This contest has a Club Competition as defined in the “General Rules for All ARRL Contests”.

To have your score added to MARC’s total be sure to include a CLUB: line in the Cabrillo log entry and enter the club name exactly as it’s listed in the ARRL Contest Club List located in the Contest section.

Rules are on the ARRL web site.

2. CQ World Wide WPX Contest

The contest starts on March 28 at 00:00 UTC and runs for 48 hours.

Everybody works everybody.

Multipliers are call sign prefixes.

This contest has a Club Competition. To have your score added to MARC’s total be sure to include a CLUB: line in the Cabrillo log entry and enter the club name exactly as it’s listed in Club Names on the CQ WPX web site. Look under the Logs tab.

Rules

Logging

If you don’t already have contest logging software you might consider using N1MM+. It’s fee. Just don’t start reading the 800+ page manual, contact Denny or me and we can talk you through setting it up for a single op operation.

Contact me via email or on the MARC repeater if you have any questions.

Bill WS6K
MARC Contest Coordinator

Make Your Own Dipoles With These Center Insulators

    By Dan Romanchik, KB6NU

    One of the things that always gets my goat is the price some companies charge for dipole antennas. It’s not that they’re charging an outrageously large sum of money, and I certainly don’t begrudge them making a profit for their efforts. It’s just that if hams would just buy their own wire and parts, they would not only save money over the long run, but be encouraged to experiment with antennas. That’s what I started doing about ten years ago, and I’ve been very happy with the results.

    One of the first things that I did was to purchase ten Budwig HQ-1 center insulators and ten HQ-2 end insulators. I’ve made a bunch of antennas with these insulators, including several 40m/20m inverted vees for portable use (such as Field Day and special events), a 17m dipole, and a 10m loop antenna. These insulators are very well-made, and can easily be reused, too.

    Universal Radio sells the set for $18.50. I just placed another order for ten HQ-1s and 20 HQ-2s (the minimum number that you can purchase to get a quantity discount). The price, including shipping, is $143.

    There are a bunch of other center insulators on the market, including:

    * The Alpha Delta Delta-C antenna hardware kit consists of a Delta-C Center Insulator, antenna connecting hardware, 1 SEP Arc-Plug™ static protector (installed in Delta-C) and 2 Delta-CIN end insulators. This is a little heavier-duty than the Budwig insulators, but it costs more, too ($30 at Universal Radio). Unless you’re going to be running a kW, I don’t see the need to spend nearly twice as much money on these insulators.

    * The TEN-TEC ACRO-BAT Antenna Connector & Hanger is an interesting product. Unlike the Budwig and Alpha-Delta insulators, this product does not have an SO-239. Instead, this insulator clamps over the coax and antenna wire, and in doing so, provides strain relief. I haven’t tried this one, but it seems like a nice design. The cost is $10, directly from TEN-TEC or from Universal Radio.
    * The Unadilla W2AU ANsulator is made from PCV tubing and include eyelets for terminating the antenna wire and for supporting the insulator in the middle. For $15, I think I’d rather have the Budwig insulator. Also, you should be able to make one of these insulators for less than 15 bucks.
    * The Hy-Gain C-1C Center Insulator has a screw for tightening down the antenna wire, so you don’t have to do any soldering, but overall, I don’t think I like the looks of this model. And, at 30 bucks, it seems kind of pricey.
    * The W8AMZ Dipole Antenna Starter Kit comes a center insulator made from PVC pipe, similar to the Unadilla W2AU ANsulator and two end insulators. It costs $18.

    If none of these strikes your fancy, you can always make your own. WP4AOH has some very good instructions on how to do this using PVC pipe and fasteners that you can find at your local hardware store.

    Whatever route you take, I encourage you to keep several on hand and enough antenna wire and coax to complete the antenna. You never know when the urge will strike you to build an antenna, and if you don’t have the parts you’ve missed an opportunity to do some experimenting.

February RTTY Contests

MARC Casual Contesters

There are two RTTY contests on the MARC contest calendar in February.

1. CQ World Wide RTTY WPX Contest

CQ WPX RTTY starts on Saturday, February 14 at 00:00 UTC (7:00 PM local Friday night) and runs for 48 hours.

Spotting is permitted for single-operator stations so we will be running a spotting net on the Milford repeater. Self spotting is not permitted.

Try to work DX for points and work new call sign prefixes for multipliers.

Include the following line in your Cabrillo entry to have your score added to the club total:

CLUB: Milford Ohio Amateur Radio Club (found at Logs > club names)

Rules

2. North American QSO Party – RTTY

NAQP RTTY starts on Saturday, February 28 at 1800 UTC ( 1:00 PM local) and runs for 12 hours.

Spotting is not permitted for single-operator stations.

I need to register teams prior to the contest. Dead line for signing up for a team is 10:00 AM, February 28.

Rules

I plan to use N1MM and MMTTY for these contests. If you need help setting the software up or want to do on the air testing put a call out on the MARC repeater.

If you don’t run RTTY look at the WA7BNM Contest Calendar, there are contests every weekend.

Suggest web sites.

Amateur Radio Contesting FAQ
WA7BNM Contest Calendar

Bill WS6K
MARC Contest Coordinator

President’s Message for February

Milford Amateur Radio Club

Based on input from the MARC Board of Directors and the assembled membership at the January meeting, it was decided to continue with the two existing board members, Steve Friebele and Lyle Hamilton. Mike Kieffer, would not move to the board, as he … [Continue reading]

With Just a WSPR

By Dan Romanchik, KB6NU It's really amazing what you can do with computers in amateur radio, and there's been an explosion in the number of digital modes. One interesting mode that I've recently been introduced to is WSPR, which is short for Weak … [Continue reading]

Calling MARC Casual Contesters

Milford Amateur Radio Club

The next contest on the MARC Casual Contesters calendar is the North American SSB QSO Party, or NAQP, sponsored by the National Contest Journal. The contest runs from 1800 UTC Jan 17 to 0600 Jan 18. That's a 12 hours window that runs from 1 PM EST … [Continue reading]

President’s Message for January 2015

NEW MARC OFFICERS FOR 2015: President, Michael Kieffer, KD8OUT Vice President, Ron Brooks AC8MA Treasurer, Chris Spiess AE8TT Secretary, Andrew Rohne KE8P At the November meeting, the MARC BY- Law change was approved by unanimous paper … [Continue reading]

How Do We Promote Better Operating Practices?

A lament that I often hear is that many amateur radio operators either don't seem to understand the importance of good operating practices or just don't care about them. Just this morning, a reader sent me an e-mail saying, "I think there are too … [Continue reading]

President’s Message for December 2015

Milford Amateur Radio Club

NEW MARC OFFICERS FOR 2015: President, Michael Kieffer, KD8OUT Vice President, Ron Brooks AC8MA Treasurer, Chris Spiess AE8TT Secretary, Andrew Rohne KE8P The MARC BY- Law change was approved by unanimous paper ballot, with quorum and … [Continue reading]