It’s Contest Season!

Seems like every weekend and sometimes during the week there’s a contest on the air.  Just in November there was CW and SSB sweepstakes….. the grand daddy of all contests.  The Kentucky QSO party aired for 12 hours during the second weekend in November as well.  The big DX contest was in there too. There are contests for CW, SSB and RTTY.  There are some lesser known modes thrown in there too.

Lots and lots of contacts are being made rapid fire.  And Kentucky is always a welcome qso.  Over the years, I’ve received many comments such as ‘thanks, you’re the only KY station I’ve heard, or thanks, you just made my sweep.  There has been a group of hams in Kentucky that have represented the Commonwealth well over the years.  That group calls themselves the Kentucky Contest Group and these guys and gals enter these contests not just as individuals but as a team.  Membership is open to all hams in the Commonwealth and the group meets a few times a year at hamfests around KY.  Joining is simple and the primary purpose is to enter contests as a team.

Next time you send in your log for a contest enter the Kentucky Contest Group on the club line and join the fun.  No score is too small or too large.  Ten QSO’s or 2000, they all add to the group total.  This coming weekend is the 10 meter contest.  This is a great one for all amateurs, especially the technician licensee.  Remember techs can operate below 28.500.

Interested in contesting but not sure where to start?  First place is to know what contest is on the air and what is the exchange.  Then listen, listen, listen until you know exactly what to do.  Make a few contacts and submit your log.  Find an area ham that contests and go sit in and watch him or her operate.  Visit a field day site and get your feet wet!  And don’t worry about winning.  There are many categories in which to operate.  Lots of categories in which to compete!  Find your niche and have a good time.

Have a great time in the pileups and generate one or two yourself in the next test.  My thanks to Dave ND4Y for the idea for this article.

Club Roundup

The Bullitt ARS in Shepherdsville is putting two Yaesu Fusion repeaters on the air. If you’re C4FM capable, check out the 146.70 or 443.70 repeaters next time you get through the Louisville metro area. The club recognizes several members each year at their annual Christmas get-together. This years recipient of the Bullitt ARS Amateur of the Year was K4EDH, Eddie Hall. Eddie is always a friendly voice on the repeater, lends a big hand with the Louisville Hamfest and volunteers with the local Meals on Wheels around Fairdale KY. The Golden Mike award is presented to a member that spends quite a bit of time on the air, especially one of the club repeaters and provides a friendly and welcoming voice to newbys as well as old timers. This years recipient was Ray Tillman, K4RDE. The final award issued by the club is the Golden Screwdriver award. This is awarded annually to someone in the club that, through unintended consequence, renders a viable piece of equipment into a doorstop. The Golden Screwdriver has been awarded for all kinds of things, such as dropping a 3 element 40m yagi from 80 ft, backing into the garage with the mobile antennas extended (not once but twice), and plugging the red wire into the black side without the protection of a fuse! This years recipient was Larry Rodan, K4LLR. His faux pas was, after getting the new tubes installed in his Kenwood 520, he placed the rig in the tune position and then allowed himself to be distracted. He discovered his error 2 days and 2 failed tubes later. Of course, the certificate is issued in jest but it has some very accomplished amateurs among its’ recipients. The club meets at Pioneer Village City Hall in northern Bullitt County on the third Friday of each month. Club information can be found at www.ky4ky.com

The ARTS club in Louisville holds their elections in the fall. Congratulations to this years ARTS club officers: President – Alan Tooley KF4EFI, VP – Emma March AB9HU, Secretary – Greg Gawron WX8V. The club meets the second Friday of each month at the McMahan Fire Department, 4318 Taylorsville Rd in Louisville. ARTS operates the 147.18 repeater in Louisville. Club info can be located at www.w4cn.org.

The Kentucky DX Association was ARRL affiliated in November and selected the vanity call KY4XX. The club meets monthly at different locations around the Louisville metro area. The focus of KYDXA isn’t only DXing but contesting as well. They sadly announced the loss of a founding member. Bill Scott, NM4K, passed away on December 3 after a lengthy illness. Bill was a very well rounded ham and a mentor to many. The club is in the process of designing a website and domain name. In the meanwhile you can find info on the KYDXA on Facebook at www.facebook.com/groups/kydxa/

The Central Kentucky Amateur Radio Club is located in south central Kentucky with club meetings taking place on the 4th Thursday of each month, except for November and December. Meetings are held at the 911 Dispatching Center behind the Phelps, Stotts, McQuerry Funeral Home just off the town square in Columbia, Kentucky, Adair County. The meetings begin at 8:00 PM ET and all hams or interested parties are invited to attend. They offer exams after each meeting. The club has had a repeater on the air since the 1970’s. The 146.64 machine is open, requiring no tone. It is also located in Adair County and has a large footprint due to the antenna being at the 850 foot level on a large tower. The club loves the repeater to be busy and invite all amateurs to use it. There are nets each night of the week at 9:30 PM ET. Please drop by and check in with the CKARC when you can. They would love to hear from each of you.  Club info can be found on the web at www.wa4uxj.com/

The Western Kentucky DX Association sponsors the KY QSO party annually.  With 120 counties, the potential for a huge event is evident.  However, not all counties get on the air for this event.  The contest is a short event, only 12 hours on the second Saturday in November.  It would be great to generate some more activity during the QSO party.  Put this one on your calendar for 2015 and get on the air to generate your own little pileup, especially if you are in a ham poor county.  You can check out the KY QSO party and the WKDXA online at www.wkdxa.com.

The Anderson County radio club operates the 146.835 machine and recently set up a packet gateway on 145.530 (KI4MTB-10).  They meet on the first Tuesday of each month at 7 PM in the Anderson County Public Health Building on Glensboro Road behind Wal-Mart.   You can find out more about this club online at www.ky4law.com.

The Northern KY ARC recently elected leadership for 2015.  Congratulations to President: Greg Lamb W4TSA and VP Cecil Dennis K4TCD.  Meetings are held the second Monday of each month at 7:30 PM.  The meetings consist of club related business followed by varying topics of interest. Their regular meeting location is Hilltop Church of Christ, 5300 Taylor Mill Road, Taylor Mill, KY.  The club operates five repeaters in the northern Kentucky area including one DSTAR machine.  Info on the NKARC can be found at www.k4co.org.

These are just a few of the many clubs around the Commonwealth.  If you’re not a member of a club, join one.  The benefits outweigh the dues easily.  You will have access to lots of experienced hams and mentors or you may just be the friendly face that a new ham is looking for!  Don’t know of a radio club in your area?  Check out the ARRL website for affiliated clubs in your neck of the woods. (http://www.arrl.org/find-a-club)

Thanks for reading along and I wish all a blessed Advent season and a Merry Christmas.  As always, comments are appreciated and welcome.  Drop me an email at kc4wq@ky4ky.com