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CQ Spring VHF Activity Weekends

FM: March 17-19, 2000
Weak Signal: April 28-30, 2000
Specialty Modes: May 19-21, 2000

Ever wonder what goes on in between repeater frequencies? There's a world of activity beyond repeaters on every VHF/UHF band, including FM simplex, SSB and CW (generally known as "weak signal" on VHF), packet, ham TV, and more. Here's an opportunity to discover the rest of VHF, and if you've never tried if before, to "stick your toes in the water" of ham radio contesting.

CQ's Spring VHF Activity Weekends are low-pressure, friendly operating activities designed to generate some additional activity on the VHF and UHF bands, provide non-contesters with a non-intimidating introduction to the sport, and give dedicated VHF contesters a chance to check out their gear, shake out the winter cobwebs, and hone their on-the-air skills.

CQ Spring VHF Activity Weekends

There are three Activity Weekends, each one dedicated to a specific mode or style of operating. The first, for FM simplex, is March 17-19. Next is the Weak-Signal Weekend, April 28-30, followed by the Specialty Modes Weekend (for anything that doesn't fit into one of the first two categories), May 19-21.

To encourage activity throughout each weekend, each activity has been sliced into nine 6-hour periods, starting at 6:00PM (local time) Friday, and running until midnight local time on Sunday. Period 1 runs from 6:00 PM to midnight Friday; Period 2 runs from midnight to 6:00 AM Saturday; and so on until the end of Period 9 at midnight Sunday. You may work any or all of these periods, but you will be competing only with stations operating a like number of periods during each contest. This lets you have a life and still be a contender. Best of all, you may work stations once in each six-hour block

All amateur bands above 30 MHz may be used. A station may be worked once per band during each period for a total of up to nine times per band each weekend. Rovers may re-work stations during the same 6 hour period if they have moved to a new grid square. Scoring for each 6 hour period is the same as is used in the ARRL VHF Sweepstakes and QSO Parties (this will make it easier for those using computer logging programs that automatically calculate your score; simply start a new log for each 6 hour period).

Scoring is simple. Just add up the contact points from each period and multiply by the sum of the grids from each period (see scoring example), for your period total. Your final score is determined by multiplying the total number of contact points from each period by the total number of grids worked in each period (the example will clarify this). If you're short of time and want some of the fun, you can get into the activity for one or more periods and expect to find hungry folks ready to work you!

Give it a Try!

Give one or more of these weekends a try and have some fun. Don't forget to get some other operators or prospective operators involved in this wonderful aspect of our hobby. There is nothing like a grinding operating activity to test out your gear, sharpen your general operating skills and better prepare you for emergency and public service communications operations. And... have some fun! Here are the specifics:

I. Contest Periods

  • 1. The FM Activity Weekend -- March 17-19

"The FM Activity Weekend" is for operators of FM equipment. This event encourages both new and experienced operators to get on the air and make contacts on any VHF+ band between 6:00 PM local time on Friday, March 17, 2000, and 12:00 midnight local time on Sunday, March 19, 2000. Repeaters and 146.52 MHz simplex may not be used for logged contacts, except that satellite contacts (e.g., OSCAR-27) are permitted. Only frequencies commonly used in a locality for FM simplex may be used during the activity. Use of frequencies adjacent to repeater inputs or outputs that causes interference to a repeater is not permitted. Crossband contacts are prohibited, except for satellite contacts.

  • 2. The Weak Signal Weekend -- April 28-30
"The Weak Signal Weekend" is for operators of SSB, CW and other digital mode equipment using no more bandwidth than is used by an SSB signal. This event encourages operators to get on the air and make contacts on any VHF+ band between 6:00 PM local time on Friday, April 28, 2000 and 12:00 midnight local time on Sunday, April 30, 2000. No repeaters or translators may be used for logged contacts, except that satellite contacts are permitted. Crossband contacts are prohibited.
  • 3. The Specialty Modes Weekend -- May 19-21

"The Specialty Modes Weekend" is for operators of video, RTTY, AMTOR, Packet and other digital equipment. This event encourages operators to get on the air and make contacts on any VHF+ band between 6:00 PM local time on Friday, May 19, 2000 and 12:00 midnight local time on Sunday, May 21, 2000. Repeaters, packet networks, or translators may be used for logged contacts in this event. However, all contacts must be with live operators, not with automated equipment, and all must be made in "real time" (an exchange of BBS messages does not count). Crossband contacts are permitted.

II. Entry Categories

There are five station categories:

  • Single Operator QRP - Fixed Station, 10W or less
  • Single Operator QRO - Fixed Station, above 10W
  • Multi-Operator QRP - Fixed Station, 10W or less
  • Multi-Operator QRO - Fixed Station, above 10W
  • Rover Stations - Travel to different operating locations

III. Exchange and Contact Logging

Each logged contact will consist of an exchange of callsigns and grid squares.

Each log entry will include the UTC date, UTC time, band, mode, callsign and grid square. (Note: Even though the activity period is based on local time, the logging will be UTC.) You must start a new log for every 6-hour period, beginning at 6:00 PM Friday.

IV. Scoring

Each 6-hour period is scored separately. Within each period, score each contact as follows:

  • 1 point-for each contact below 200 MHz
  • 2 points-for each contact between 200 and 500 MHz
  • 3 points-for each contact between 500 and 1300 MHz
  • 4 points-for each contact above 1300 MHz

Note: This mirrors the standard values used for ARRL VHF Sweepstakes and QSO Parties and is automatically logged with these scores by all popular logging programs.

In the case of cross-band contacts, such as those via satellite or ATV repeaters, base your contact points on the band on which you are transmitting (thus an ATV contact on a repeater with a 1270 MHz input and a 421 MHz output would count for 3 points).

Next, list the number of grids worked on each band during that period and add them up. If you work 10 grids on 144 MHz and 5 grids on 432 MHz during one period, you'll have a total of 15 grids for that period. Multiply the number of contact points times the number of grids worked in each period to arrive at your total score for that period.

After the contest, add together the total number of contact points from each 6 hour period, and add up the total number of grids worked in each period. Now multiply the grand total of contact points by the grand total of grids to arrive at your overall final score. Each log submitted must include separate logs and summaries for each 6 hour period as well as an overall score summary sheet.

V. Miscellaneous Rules

Single operator and Rover stations are encouraged to stimulate activity on the bands by any reasonable means, including the use of repeaters, packet clusters, the Internet, e-mail, telephones and smoke signals to coordinate contacts.

All stations, including single operator stations, are encouraged to stimulate interest in amateur radio by allowing non-amateurs to participate as operators and/or loggers (provided a licensed control operator is present at all times).

QRP stations may not have more than 10 watts of power going from the transmitter into the feedline.

Rovers must start their 6 hour periods using the local time of their starting location, and must operate from a minimum of two grid squares during each weekend. Scoring for Rovers is the same as for other categories, except that Rovers may rework stations during the same 6 hour period if they have moved to a new grid square.

VI. Participant Recognition

Each weekend is a separate operating activity and the results of each will be listed separately in CQ.

Scores for each weekend will be organized by US/Canadian call district and DXCC country; and will be listed by station category and number of periods worked. If there is significant interest, high scores for single bands and/or single 6 hour period may also be listed.

Presentation of plaques, certificates, etc., will be at the discretion of CQ and will be determined on the basis of participation. Initial plans are to award a plaque to the top overall scorer in each station category for each activity weekend. The Holmesburg Amateur Radio Club is sponsoring a plaque for the top scorer in the FM weekend. Additional plaque sponsorships are solicited. Decisions of CQ and the contest administrator are final.

VII. Disqualification

If you lie, cheat, and/or steal, and we catch you, you will be disqualified and subject to the non-publication of your entries for the next year. Remember: this is for fun, not profit!

VIII. Log Submissions

Logs may be submitted electronically (recommended) or on paper, along with photos and/or soapbox comments. Electronic logs may be e-mailed to weekend[at]cq-amateur-radio.com; or may be mailed on 3-1/2-inch IBM-formatted diskette, along with a paper copy. Paper logs and diskettes may be mailed to CQ Spring VHF Activity Weekends, 25 Newbridge Road, Hicksville, NY 11801. Logs must be postmarked no later than 30 days after the final day of the activity for which they are submitted (FM: April 19; Weak-Signal: May 30; Specialty: June 21). CQ is not responsible for logs lost in the mail or in e-mail, or the late delivery of which makes it impossible to include them in the overall scoring.

Sample Log Entry Summary

2000 CQ Spring VHF Weak-Signal Weekend -- Period 1
Callsign: WA3PZO
Call District or DXCC Country: W3
Grid: FN20

Band        Contacts Points Grids
144         10        10     10
432          5        10      5
Total 1     15        20     15

Period Total (20x15) = 300 points

2000 CQ Spring VHF Weak-Signal Weekend -- Period 4
Callsign: WA3PZO
Call District or DXCC Country: W3
Grid: FN20

Band        Contacts Points Grids
144          8         8      6
432          7        14      3
Total 4     15        22      9

Period Total (22x9) = 198 points

2000 CQ Spring VHF Weak Signal Weekend -- Overall Score
Callsign: WA3PZO
Call District or DXCC Country: W3
Grid: FN20

Band        Contacts Points Grids
144         18        18     16
432         12        24      8
Total       29        42     24

Final Score (42x24) = 1008 points

"February 2000 CQ Amateur Radio p54,55,56" http://www.cq-amateur-radio.com/vhfwknd.html