WRTC Competition FAQ

This page answers questions that we have received about the WRTC2014 competition.

Rules | Referee | General

Rules Questions

Q: What is meant by “time period” in this rule? If Radio A is on 15M SSB, Radio B is not allowed on 15M SSB or 15M CW during the same time period).

Both radios cannot “flip flop” between bands. If Radio A makes a contact on 15M, Radio B cannot make a contact on 15M and then Radio A makes another on 15M. However, you can switch functions at any time. The requirement is that the other radio makes at least one QSO on another band.
Example:
Radio A 2305z QSO: 21007
Radio B 2306z QSO: 14250
Radio A 2307z QSO: 21008
Radio B 2308z QSO: 21250
Radio A 2309z QSO: 21009 <<<<<<<<< Not allowed! Radio A must change bands now.

Q: Is the tribander considered the same antenna for sharing (triplexer)?

For purposes of WRTC2014, the tribander in conjunction with the triplexer is considered 3 discreet (separate) antennas. You can think of it as having 3 monobanders for 10/15/20 Meters. There are a total of 5 antennas for use between radios, one at a time for each radio.

Q: Which VFO’s are allowed to be used in each radio?

You may switch between VFO’s on each radio at any time. What is not allowed is use of a sub receiver. You must receive on only one frequency at any time. No VFOA in left and VFOB in the right ears and no mixing of channels. While this may be possible for the operator, it becomes too confusing for the referee to follow. You may switch VFOs at any time.

Q: Am I allowed to use the A=B button to save a frequency in VFO B? I would not be on 2 VFOs at the same time.”

Yes, you can use VFO A and VFO B, or any memories to save frequencies. You are not allowed to receive on both frequencies at the same time. You can switch VFOs or memories at any time.

Q: Do Maritime Mobile stations count for multipliers?

Maritime Mobile stations can be worked for QSO credit, but do not count for Multipliers.

Q: May we bring watt meters to monitor power?

The committee will provide official meters to monitor power. You can add your own if you want.

Q: Is it allowed to use a QRP TX and a 100W amp to achieve 100W or does it have to be an all in one transceiver? E.g., Elecraft KX3 + KXPA100

Absolutely. Teams are allowed to bring any equipment they want or need to transmit 100W. The organizers will provide power monitors at the output of the transmitter or amp in this case. The only requirement is that you do not exceed the power limit. Any losses through bandpass filters, etc must be accepted, since filtering must be connected between the power monitors and antennas.

Q: I understand that the super check partial (SCP) database is not allowed for the WRTC competition. In Russia, this same rule was implemented but they allowed a fill database for use with headquarter exchanges. Will this be allowed?

Yes, you may have HQ exchange information filled automatically, or manually. You may have it available on paper or in a database. The CALL SIGNS may NOT automatically appear in the entry field. You must enter them manually. However, just as with zone information the software can provide the HQ exchange information automatically.

Q: What happens in the event an antenna fails?

Your referee will notify the site team. If repairs are necessary and easily done, they will attempt to fix the problem. You may use the working antennas in the interim.

Under no circumstances is anyone allowed to climb the tower. The only thing a team member may do is adjust the length of the 80M antenna.

Q: Just to be clear – the 80m and 40m dipoles cannot be used even as RX antennas only on high bands (unless the tribander breaks)?

You may use any antenna on any band, but you cannot share it with the other radio.

For WRTC purposes, the Triplexer  separates the Tribander into 3 discreet antennas. Sharing of the Tribander is obviously not prohibited in this manner. EX: Radio A is on 21025 with the Tribander (through the Triplexer) running a pileup.

  • Radio B can listen on 21025 with the 40M dipole, but CANNOT transmit.
  • Radio A can also use the 40M dipole to listen or transmit, but NOT while Radio B is using it.
  • Radio B can go to any other band and use any antenna not being used by Radio A.

In summary, you can use any free antenna on either radio for TX or RX. You may not split them to RX on both radios.

Q:   Can you advise if we are permitted to make changes to the length of the antennas remotely? For example by using a remote controlled relay to add or remove a length of wire to adjust resonance from inside the shack? This would remove the need for physical adjustments and/or ATUs.

No, it is not allowed to remotely tune the ends of the wire antennas. All adjustments must be made manually at the ends which are just above ground level. You may make them at any time during the event.

The orientation of the 40M and 80M inverted vees cannot be changed.

Q: Can we tune (change the length of wire) of the 80m Dipole before the contest (for example on 3.600) and then use an external tuner?

Yes you can change the length of the 80M dipole at any time. There is a pigtail at the end with enough wire to go from 3500 to 3800.

You may also use an external tuner on any band.

Q. Is it permitted for Radio B to go the the same band as Radio A to work multipliers while Radio A is running (assume they are interlocked so there is only one signal transmitted at a time)?

No, you cannot transmit on the same band as the other radio. If Radio B makes a QSO on the same band as Radio A, the next qso on that band must be made by Radio B. Radio A must go to another band, or not transmit. Additionally, they may not share the same antenna. (No alternate CQing etc on same band with same antenna.)

Q: Is it permitted for Radio B to go the Radio A band just to tune around and fill up the band map on that band?

Yes, Radio B can listen anywhere at any time. However, it cannot use the same antenna as Radio A (no splitting of RX line). For this competition, the Tribander is considered as 3 separate antennas for 10/15/20 Meters. Radio B may also listen to the audio of Radio A if desired.

Q: The rules say we cannot abbreviate 5nn 8 (CW) or 59 8 (SSB). 

No abbreviations are allowed when sending the exchange either on SSB or CW. You must say 5-9 8 on SSB and 5nn 8 on CW.  Additional cut numbers such as enn8 are not allowed.

Q: Can we use any message we want for the TU in the exchange?

A: You must send a standard TU that does not identify yourself. Example: TU, TNX, EE, E, T.

Any other message that might identify the team will be reported by the referee.

Q: We will use FT5000 radios and have one QS1R SDR device connected to the 9MHz IF output from each radio. The QS1R’s will be connected to each of the logging computers and no more computers will be used. Separate displays will display the current instant spectrum of the active band of either radio. It will be for monitoring only as the rules say, QS1R’s will not control the radios in any way. Radios will control the frequency and band on the spectrum display.

Yes you can use the QS1R, as long as it’s not in the waterfall display mode. No callsign information, or decoding of the waveform is permitted.

Q: Some radios or logging programs have integrated code reader. Is it OK to have those (or some other program for that matter) enabled to decode the passband?

No, you cannot decode the passband using a CW reader. If the radio or your software has this feature, it must be disabled.

Q: Can we watch the scoreboard on our computers or smartphones?

No. Teams are not allowed any kind of communication with anyone starting 15 minutes before the contest starts. Referees will ask you for your cellphone before they give you your callsign. The phones must be switched completely off. If we discover that you have used any mode of communication besides HF CW and SSB during the contest, you will be disqualified.

Q: Can I call or text my friends to tell them my callsign so they can find me easier and work me?
No.

Q: Can I bring a cellular device with a Wi-Fi hotspot to connect to the Internet?
No.

Q: If I find a Wi-Fi or other wireless connection at the site, can I use it?
No.

Q: Can I run a cable outside the tent to an Internet connection?
No.

Q: What will the penalty be for an improperly logged call sign, a bad exchange, or a NIL?

The way the logs are checked is consistent with the IARU contest. An exchange that is judged to be incorrect will result in removal of the QSO with no penalty. A QSO that has either a callsign that is judged to be busted – or not appearing in the other log – will have a one QSO penalty in addition to removing the QSO.

“Uniques” that are not allowed to count in your log will not have any penalty associated with them.  The criteria for what makes a unique will not be defined until sometime during the log checking.

Q: Is an SD Card acceptable for saving audio files?

Yes, as long as it’s in a readable format.

Q: Can you accept an AUP Audacity file for our recording? It is much easier to transfer that file to the USB stick than breaking it up into separate WAV or MPG files.

Yes, that is OK. We can deal with the AUP file later if we have to. Just make sure it is readable in your Audacity player, and there should be no issues.

Q:  Must we say only CQ Contest or can we call CQ on SSB with extra words such as “CQ Contest  Anyone, Anywhere”?

You may say anything within reason. Anyone anywhere is OK, but probably unnecessary. We expect a lot of activity.

You cannot indicate through any words the identity of your team or referee. We know that once you are on SSB, the identity of your team will be known. We highly discourage “cheerleading” from your friends.

It should be noted that any unique QSOs found  in no other logs from the contest, will be removed (without penalty).

Referee Questions

Q: Do I understand correctly that my single stereo plug will hear both radios - with the tip for one radio, the ring for the other radio, and the body of the plug common for both radios?

16.8.1 “The audio output should be terminated in a 3.5mm headphone female jack for the referee to plug into”
16.8 “… The audio must be isolated so the referee may listen to either channel or both at the same time.”

Yes, that is correct.

Q: Can I assume that isolated includes audio ground loop elimination – if relevant to a station design?

16.8 “If the referee uses his or her own headphones, it must not interfere with the team’s audio in any way.”

If your box produces hum or is mismatched in such a way that the team’s audio levels are too low; that is a problem. Also, there should be no crosstalk between channels.

It is the team’s responsibility to provide an audio output that is isolated from their own. This would allow a standard stereo headphone to plug in and monitor both channels.

Q: If I bring my own switch box and phones, is there a suggested minimum impedance to ensure no interfere with the team’s audio in any way?

Typical impedance is around 35-75 ohms. You should not go too far below that.

Q: The rules say competitors have 30 minutes to create their log entries and hand them to their referee on digital media following the end of the event. What (if anything) can be done to log content during this 30 minute period? The official rules are moot on this subject. At past WRTC competitions, certain corrections to log data were allowed. What is the current thinking on this subject for WRTC 2014?

You are allowed to correct typos, and any other notes made by you during the contest. You are not allowed to use any outside database or software, such as SH5, to correct the log. Only the notes made by the team are allowed to be used.

You have 30 minutes to copy the log in Cabrillo format on to the USB stick and provide it to the referee. There are no exceptions. You must also include the audio files. If you cannot do it due to computer trouble, you must call HQ immediately.  The purpose of the 30 minute period is only to allow time for all files to be closed and saved.

General Questions

Q: How can my family reach me if there is an emergency?
We will have an emergency phone number at HQ during the contest. We can then relay messages to your site.

Q: Can I change the power outlets from USA to Euro style? Or use adapters to convert to my radios power requirement?
Yes you can adapt the outlets in any way necessary to make your equipment work. The committee will have some adapters available, or may be purchased locally. It is recommended the teams bring whatever is necessary for their particular setup.

Q. Will the 80m and 40m dipoles will have a balun? We have found that this may sometimes be helpful to lower common mode current and inter-station isolation.
No. There will be no choke or balun on the wire antennas. Our tests showed very little difference in interference or RF currents in the tent with or without them. We do recommend bringing some ferrite cores and/or bypass capacitors in case you run into some RF issues. You may also install any chokes or baluns at the tent end of the coaxial feed (not at the antenna) if desired.

Q: What direction will the wire antennas be pointing?
The 40M dipole will be broadside EU (about 45degs).   The 80M dipole will be at right angles to that, broadside NW/SE.

Q: What callsigns will teams be using?
All callsigns will be USA 1st-call area callsigns, easily identifiable. The list will be announced in late June.

Q: What are the frequency allocations for the WRTC stations?
All teams will follow the US band allocations. These can be seen at: http://www.arrl.org/files/file/Regulatory/Band%20Chart/Hambands_color.pdf

Q: CW QSOs are allowed all over the band, right?
The FCC regulations permit the use of CW on any frequency. However, the rules for the IARU Radiosport contest prohibit this. Therefore, WRTC will follow this rule: All SSB QSOs must be in the SSB segment and all CW QSOs must be in the traditional CW segments. Cross mode is not allowed.

Summary:

Band CW SSB
80M 3.500-3.600 3.603-4.000
40M 7.000-7.125 7.128-7.300
20M 14.000-14.150 14.150-14.347
15M 21.000-21.200 21.200-21.447
10M 28.000-28.300 28.300-29.697

Q: What are the band edges for SSB operation?
In the United States, all emissions are required to be contained completely within the allowed frequency allocations. Therefore, the allowed frequencies for SSB, as shown on your radio’s digital display are:

3603.0 – 3999.9 kHz (Lower Sideband)
7128.0 – 7299.9 kHz (Lower Sideband)
14150.1 – 14347.0 kHz (Upper Sideband)
21200.1 – 21447.0 kHz (Upper Sideband)
28300.1 – 29697.0 kHz (Upper Sideband)

Q: Are Triplexers required?
While they are not required, it is the goal of WRTC2014 to create equal conditions for all competitors. You may construct your own, or use a commercial version. The triplexer separates the tribander into 3 separate “antennas” and may not amplify the signal in any way. Any losses must be tolerated, and cannot be compensated for.

Q: What callsign can we use for testing before the contest?

Here is a link to a page that can answer questions about what call sign you should use when testing your station before the contest: http://www.arrl.org/foreign-licenses-operating-in-u-s

Summary:

  • If you have a USA callsign, you must use it and obey the USA band regulations. You do not need to add “/1″ or “/W1″.
  • If you are operating under a multilateral agreement (IARP, CEPT, etc.), or a specific reciprocal agreement between your country and the
  • U.S., (Japan, for example) use “W1/yourcall” and obey USA band regulations.
  • If you hold a Canadian license such as VE9XYZ and no U.S. license, the correct format is “VE9XYZ/W1″, and you must obey the USA band regulations.

Q: May we supplement the lighting in the tent? Two lamps are currently provided. May competitors install additional lighting units?
Yes, you can add a light. Be aware of the power consumption though. The generator is only 2KW/1600W continuous. Adding additional lights may result in some voltage drop.

Q: What is the make/model of the 34×34 folding tables? Source? Safe weight limit?

The table is this model: http://www.aosom.com/d-1949/HomCom-34-Square-Multipurpose-Plastic-Folding-Table-White.html

They are specified for a maximum of 1000 pounds (454 kg) if the weight is evenly distributed. The tables have a warning that people should not sit on them.

Q: Can I bring my own chair?
If you feel you need something different to be comfortable, you may bring or purchase your own chair. The committee cannot be responsible for transportation of any chairs however. Bringing a pillow from the hotel may be wise to add some comfort. You cannot change the table or the flooring.

Q: Is there a floor in the tent or bare dirt?
There is a floor made of the same material as the tent (polyester) and there is a plastic ground cloth underneath. We will supply a flat piece of wood to give a solid surface for each chair.

Q: Does the tent have a roof?
Yes. And windows and doors with screens. We strongly encourage you to keep the door zipped at all times to prevent bugs from entering.

Q: What are the dimensions of the tent?
The floor is 13 x 10 feet (396 x 304 cm). The roof is 7 feet (213 cm) at the peak. Complete specifications are available if you Google “Eureka Copper Canyon 8 tent”. All tents are the same.

Q: How will QSLing be handled?
WRTC2014 will send paper QSLs for all QSOs in all teams’ logs and will upload the logs to LoTW.

Q: Can I smoke in the tent during the contest?

No. The tent may catch fire or be damaged. Many of the sites are in areas with a lot of grass and smoking materials could cause a fire.

Q: Does the power monitor need a separate power supply? Will the network switch and scoreboard computer need one also?

The power supply for the switch and scoreboard computer are being provided by the Organizer. The Power Detector is self powered, and does not need any external power source.

Q:Can you confirm how many electrical outlets will be available?

There should be 6 outlets available as described in the electrical power description. http://www.wrtc2014.org/resources/electrical-power/

Q: Will a portable refrigerator be allowed?

There is no refrigerator allowed. The generator cannot handle it. We are providing coolers to keep the food fresh and cold. You should just have to put ice in it at some point, and the site managers will help you with that.

Q: Are electronic cigarettes (e-cig or e-cigarettes) permitted at the operating sites or in the tent?

Yes, but only with the agreement of the referee and the competitors at that site.

Q: In Moscow the organizers offered an external computer monitor to each team. Will those be available in Boston or we should bring our own?

There is no current plan to make monitors available.  20″ monitors can be purchased for less than $100USD at local stores like Best Buy (www.bestbuy.com) or Staples (www.staples.com).  There is a Best Buy store in Marlborough, MA – less than 10 minutes from the hotel.  We suggest that the teams who feel they need a monitor plan on purchasing one.

Q: Can we bring additional wood for table and floor support?

Yes, but WRTC2014 cannot be responsible to transport it and it must be removed from the site when you leave.

Q: It can get very hot inside the tent during the day. What can we do about heat?

We will provide Mylar sheets to help reflect the sun. You should drink plenty of water and stay hydrated. Additional fans are OK, but no air conditioners are allowed.

Q: Can we use the Scoreboard Computer Power Supply for 12 volts to any external equipment?

No. You may not use this power supply without permission from HQ. Some referees may want to use it to power headphone amplifiers, but it must be cleared with HQ in advance. The available current is limited and we cannot overload it.

Q: Will there be a way to keep food or drinks cold at the site?

The site managers will have a small cooler and ice to keep food cold. They should have some extra room for you. If you need more cooler space, you may want to stop and pick up something at a store on Friday night. A small cooler can be purchased for less than $20.

Q: Is it allowed to have propagation forecast for contest – printed, or as file, to be used during contest?

Yes you can have printed forecasts. You can have it either way, printed or file. No updates are allowed via the internet, since there is no internet allowed.

You are allowed to use your radio to monitor WWV, which is the National Bureau of Standards radio station. They broadcast solar flux and other geophysical alerts 18 minutes after each hour. http://tf.nist.gov/stations/iform.html

 


Please send any questions about the rules to rules@wrtc2014.org or to the WRTC email list.