AA8IA Amateur Radio

IARU HF Championship 2011 Summary

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First off, to all of the ops that worked me, especially those who worked me on multiple bands and modes and who also let me know when they were active on another band so I could work them. It was a pleasure to work you all.

As far as I’m concerned, band conditions were lousy. I invested a lot of time and energy into this contest. I certainly wish I could have worked more DX, but I did manage more time in the chair and was able to increase my raw score by a factor of 3.2 over last year and increase my mults by a factory of 1.6. Although some of my score increase is related to more operating time, it is due more to better preparation and learning from all of the other contests in which I’ve participated over the past year. I still have a long way to go.

I decided to use spotting this time. In long contests i get bored. It’s nice to see a populated bandmap in N1MM. Don’t get me wrong, I do take advantage of the spots from time to time, but I don’t use it to chase mults. I never purposefully QSY to a mult frequency, except if a station requests that I do [see below]. Instead, I use the spotting to fill the bandmap in order to make me aware of stations I should be or may be hearing as I move up and down the band. I’m quite certain that my use of spotting did not significantly increase my QSO count or mults, but it did make things more enjoyable.

In their infinite wisdom, the ARRL folks responsible for setting rules have failed miserably in this one — There is no Single-Op Assisted category! Thus, if you want to use spotting assistance, you must enter the Multi-Op Single-Transmitter (MS) category.

  • 4.1. Single Operator
  • 4.1.3. Use of spotting nets, packet, or multi-channel decoders (such as CW Skimmer) is not permitted. Single-operator stations that use spotting nets, packet or multi-channel decoders will be reclassified to the Multi-operator, Single Transmitter category.

I don’t have a problem at all with there being category separators for Assisted and Unassisted. I do have a problem with being punished by being forced into a category intended for the “big guns” when I’m not a big gun by any stretch of the imagination. I neither have a big gun station nor the contesting skills of a big gun.

  • 4.2. Multi Operator, Single Transmitter, Mixed Mode only
  • 4.2.1. Must remain on a band and mode for at least 10 minutes before changing bands or modes.
  • 4.2.4. Violation of the band change rules will reclassify the entry as a checklog.

This means that if a station wants you to QSY to another band to work them, you have to be sure that you’ve already spent at least ten minutes on the first band and that you spend at least ten minutes on the second band before returning back to the first one.

This happened to me at least once, when I worked NU1AW/5 on 15m CW and then QSY’d immediately to 20m to work them. This didn’t break me, but what happened next did…

QSO: 15m CW 2011-07-09 1352 AA8IA NU1AW/5
QSO: 20m CW 2011-07-09 1353 AA8IA NU1AW/5
QSO: 15m CW 2011-07-09 1400 AA8IA WT9U
QSO: 15m CW 2011-07-09 1402 AA8IA W9OA
QSO: 20m CW 2011-07-09 1403 AA8IA NS9I

As you can see, I was on 15m [and had been for some time], worked NU1AW/5, and then switched to 20m to work NU1AW/5 again. No harm, no foul. But, after I worked them, I instantly went back to 15m. Even worse, after I went back to 15m but barely spent ten minutes there. So, quite possibly the QSY from 15m to 20m at 1402-1403Z would be considered a violation of the band change rule even if the QSY from 20m to 15m after 1353z hadn’t been.

It was a real buzzkill moment when I realized I had done this at least once, possibly more. I never have intentions of running Multi-Op Single Transmitter, but I realized that if I wanted to be honest I needed to get out of the Single-Op category if I was going to use spotting. I really didn’t pay close attention to the Multi-Op rules. I was aware that there was a band change rule, but it just didn’t stick in my head during the contest.

At any rate, not only were the band conditions poor compared to last year, but I was forced into the Multi-Op Single Transmitter category simply because I wanted to use spotting and then was finally forced out of competition by a band change rule that should never have applied to me in the first place.

What the hell? I’ve got a parallel dipole up 20′, an inverted-V doublet up 38′ at the apex, and I don’t use an amp. How the hell is there justice in adding additional insult to a “little pistol” station by forcing them into a “big gun” category?

I have absolutely no desire to turn in a log, but I will because logs are needed not only to verify my QSOs but to verify the QSOs of those I worked. So I’ll be a good little boy and turn one in. Then I’ll wait patiently for the royal spanking that the ARRL will give me. I’m not sure how they will notify me. I guess I’ll just have to learn of my fate once the 2011 official scores are made available and I’m not listed [indicating a checklog].

Just so we’re clear here, I have no problem with the Multi-Op rules, and I also have no problem with people using assistance having to be in a separate category from those who don’t. The problem I have is that there is no Single-Op Assisted category.

A Single-Op Assisted category is even more important because there are those who won’t submit a Multi-Op Single Transmitter entry when they use spotting. They’ll simply fly under the radar. After all, if you use spotting but you never personally spot somebody and your logs don’t reflect that you’ve jumped around the band specifically working spotted multipliers, you can easily cheat by using assistance in Single-Op. Without a Single-Op Assisted category, there will be those people who can’t bring themselves to submit as an MS entry. Had their been an SO(A) category, they’d be more likely to submit in that category rather than cheat.

IARU HF World Championship
1200Z July 9 to 1200Z July 10, 2011

Call: AA8IA
Operator(s): AA8IA
Station: AA8IA

Class: M/S LP
QTH: Toronto, OH EN90QL
Operating Time (hrs): 17:07

Summary:
Band CW Qs Ph Qs Zones HQ Mults
————————————-
160:
80: 73 1 9 4
40: 127 37 16 19
20: 199 48 23 32
15: 71 10 11 13
10: 30 1 5 4
————————————-
Total: 500 97 64 72 Total Score = 203,048

Club: Mad River Radio Club

Written by Mike

July 11th, 2011 at 12:07 am

6 Responses to 'IARU HF Championship 2011 Summary'

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  1. I’m in the same boat as you. I actually didn’t think I would operate much and after my first stint in the seat with under 30 Qs I thought I was done, but conditions improved later in the day when I checked and I ended up with 121 Qs. I operated Single Op Single Mode (SSB) Single Radio Low Power Wire Antennas but because I decided to use the cluster, I’m now in the multi op category. Because I stayed just on SSB, I wasn’t multi-mode and that additional restriction on band changes doesn’t seem to apply.

    Power doesn’t seem to be a sub-category either for multi-ops, so all ops using the cluster are lumped together. I know those are the rules and I was aware before I selected but it just doesn’t make a lot of sense. At some point all the iterations probably become overwhelming and lumping operating categories into a large group might make it easier to manage and maybe that’s the reason. Or maybe the reason is more historic to the classes that existed in years gone by. It really doesn’t make sense to have a multi-op HP station and a single op LP station in the same operating category.

    But, those are the rules we play by.

    K2DSL - David

    11 Jul 11 at 1:53 PM

  2. Hi David,

    Thanks for posting. I read your blog regularly. I rarely get people visiting over here.

    You mentioned that being SSB-only, you don’t think the band change rule necessarily applies. However, unless I am missing an exception somewhere, the following rule sounds pretty clear:

    4.2.1. Must remain on a band and mode for at least 10 minutes before changing bands or modes.

    I’m glad you commented. The result was that I went and read the rule again and gleaned new [and even more disheartening] info from it. I think “band change” rule and I think just that, changing from one band to another. But, based upon my interpretation of the following rule, you also aren’t allowed to change modes. I often stick on one band and just switch back and forth between CW and SSB. I’m betting there are even more violations in my log where I didn’t send 10 minutes on CW before switching to SSB and vice versa. Good grief — a band change and a mode change rule, all bundled nicely into one succinct line.

    As I said before, I don’t have a problem with the rule for multiops. I’m sure that these rules are in place to try and make it easier to pick out those who might be running a M-M setup in the M-S category. I don’t know for sure.

    I do realize that it ultimately was my own lack of attention to the rules that got me into this checklog mess. But I think the point would have been moot had there been a Single-Op Assisted category, which I would have gladly entered.

    This is a hard lesson to learn, and hopefully I’ll have the forethought to read the rules thoroughly in future contests. If I had fully understood the ramifications of using assistance in this particular contest, I wouldn’t have. If I have the opportunity to play in this contest next year, I won’t make the same mistake.

    Mike

    11 Jul 11 at 2:23 PM

  3. Looking at what you pasted in your original post from the IARU rules it shows:

    4.2. Multi Operator, Single Transmitter, Mixed Mode only

    I didn’t operate mixed mode this weekend and operated single mode SSB.

    Even like you and I are doing here, reading the rules and understanding them isn’t always straightforward. I don’t always like the category choices and would really like to see some standardization on categories across the contests, but until then, I interpret and operate the best I can.

    This weekend in NAQP RTTY I won’t use the cluster and will try and run as much as possible. I only consider using the cluster when I’m doing S&P only.

    K2DSL - David

    11 Jul 11 at 2:30 PM

  4. My interpretation of the whole 4.2 ruleset is that there is only one category under Multi-Op, period. And that would be Multi-Op, Single Transmitter, Mixed. There doesn’t appear to be a mode choice. It seems that whether you run Mixed, SSB-Only or CW-Only, or whether you run QRP, LP, or HP, everyone in M-S is lumped together.

    Yet another whammy for us small potato guys.

    Last years’ results for this contest on the ARRL website show the following classes:

    1 – HQ station
    A – SO MIXED
    AC – only two stations listed – likely SO Mixed checklogs
    B = SO SSB
    C = SO CW
    D = Multi-Single
    R1 = R1 station
    R2 = R2 station

    So, in the ARRL results there is no differentiation between modes in M-S.

    That leads me to believe that even if you only worked SSB as an M-S station, you are bound to the same rule as all M-S stations regarding band/mode changes.

    Hopefully you didn’t make any band-change errors.

    I thought about simply removing the rule-breaking Qs from the log and submitting it, not to cheat but rather because if I’m not claiming them I felt that maybe I should get credit for everything else under the SO umbrella. But then I’d possibly be creating errors for those stations who I removed from my log but who actually show me in their log. They’d get penalized I believe. So I didn’t change anything, and I submitted it as a checklog to the ARRL today.

    Mike

    11 Jul 11 at 3:02 PM

  5. NAQP RTTY this weekend huh? I had not even looked on the contest calendar. I was hoping no big events would happen for at least two weeks in order to give me time to recuperate. I guess the world doesn’t revolve around me heh.

    I’ll join you in the NAQP, similarly SOLP unassisted and wires. I don’t know about running though. Once I got RTTY WAS, I lost some interest in RTTY. Add to that the fact that I already concern myself with the duty cycle of the FT-950 so much that I lower output to 70w, I’m not sure I’ll spend significant time CQing into the abyss. It’ll probably be a fairly light effort for me this year in the NAQP. Good luck — you usually do quite well in the RTTY tests if my memory serves me.

    Mike

    11 Jul 11 at 3:06 PM

  6. I enjoy RTTY probably because I have a bit below average hearing. With some recent changes to N1MM, I can use nothing but the mouse the entire contest – left click, right click. it makes it a bit more relaxed in the chair than straining to hear the station. Hopefully I’ll see you in next weekends contest. It’s a “short” 10 hour one – 2pm ET to midnight – and I plan on operating the entire 10 hours. I just looked at last years summary and the conditions weren’t so good so hopefully this year will be better.

    You could be right I guess on the categories for the IARU. I’m absolutely sure I’d make some band changes in under 10 mins because the other bands, at least for me, had very little activity so I wouldn’t hang around after a quick scan.

    I looked at my IARU summary from 2010 and I ran CW & SSB and also ran assisted. In looking at my Log Check Report on the ARRL contest site, I made 202 Q’s and the only one in error was with WA5ZUP who I make a contact with almost every contest we are in. John didn’t have me in his log. Anyway, I had nothing referencing any 10 min issue and I checked my submitted cabrillo log and I bounced around like a mexican jumping bean. Did the rule change this year? If not, it didn’t appear to be enforced against my log last year.

    K2DSL - David

    11 Jul 11 at 3:27 PM

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