ARRL 10 Meter Contest Tutorial

Adapted from Jim – KK1W’s tutorial from the original HCRA website

The ARRL Ten Meter Contest starts the Friday of the second full weekend of December at 0000 UTC (7:00PM local time) and runs through 2359 UTC (6:59PM) Sunday. If you have a chance to get on I hope you make a few contacts.

The fun part of this contest is you can play and send in your own personal score as well as participate as a club. All you need to do is put ‘Hampden County Radio Association’ in the club line on your entry form. You get your score and the club score is the combination of everyone that sends in a log with HCRA identified.

Are you new to contesting and want to give it a try? This is the perfect contest for starting out. The band is not crowded, the pace is relatively slow and it’s unlikely the band will be open for more than 10 to 12 hours out of the possible 48 hours. So now we know it won’t be stressful, let’s see how easy it is.

First off, it is worth a glance at the rules.  Click here for the latest rules and take a few minutes to familiarize yourself with them.  It’s not complicated, but can be a bit daunting when you first look at them.

Now that you’ve read them, lets see how easy it actually is. The whole idea is to work (talk to) as many different stations as possible on the 10 meter band. You get points for each station, each state (or country) and each mode (CW or phone). When all is said and done you add up all your QSO points (2 for phone contacts, 4 for CW), add up your states & countries and multiply them. That’s your score. There are additional QSO points for different power levels and station types. I’m guessing most of us will be operating low power (up to 100 watts), and as a single operator. The contest runs for 48 hours, starting at 7:00 PM Friday evening and ending at 7:00 PM Sunday evening.

Where to operate? Most of the activity will be on phone, between 28.300 and 28.500 MHz. If the band gets really busy and crowded activity will creep higher than 28.500. If you want to take a stab at CW then look between 28.000 and 28.060.

Who do you talk to and what to you say? The best way to start is to tune your rig to 28.300 and start tuning slowly upward. You will probably come across some loud stations calling CQ. These are the dedicated contesters and the best ones to make your first contacts as they have good stations and are competent operators. Here’s an example of what your first QSO might sound like:

Sending station: CQ CQ CQ, this is K1KI calling CQ contest, CQ CQ CQ contest, QRZ

You transmit your call: KK1W

Sending station: KK1W you are 59, CT (charlie tango)

You transmit: K1KI you are 59, MA (mike alpha).

Sending station: Thanks!, QRZ contest…

And then the next station calls K1KI

That is the exchange. Signal strength (always 59!) and your state (DX stations will send a serial number). If you’re not sure of the state be sure you ask the station to repeat so you don’t make a mistake. That’s all there is to it, write it down in your log and start tuning for the next station. Remember as you go up in the band if you are a Technician you can only go as high as 28.500!

As you log more contacts, especially if the band is busy, it gets more difficult to remember if you have worked a station before.  You can manually keep a ‘dupe sheet’ or resort to using a logging program on your computer.  There are many out there, but a really good one (and free too) is N1MM logger.  Take a look at: www.n1mm.com. Using a logging program makes the contest fun and easy, and really takes the sting out of submitting your log when the contest is over.  you can export your log to a ‘Cabrillo’ file and simply email it to ARRL when you’re done.  For some people using a contest logger can be addictive, kind of like a video game.

So that’s it – not hard, lots of fun and a good way to spend time this weekend. You really didn’t want to go out and shovel snow or go to the mall, did you?

So have fun, send in your log when you’re done and don’t forget to put ‘Hampden County Radio Association’ in the club field when you’re done.  Oh, and please send Matt – W1MSW a copy of your score so we can post it on the HCRA website too.  If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to drop an email to Matt – w1msw (at) arrl (dot) net.

Don’t forget, its all about the fun!

2 thoughts on “ARRL 10 Meter Contest Tutorial

  1. Pingback: From the Shack – December 2012 | Hampden County Radio Association

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