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ARRL November Sweepstakes Marks 80 Years -- Redux!

from The ARRL Letter on November 14, 2013
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ARRL November Sweepstakes Marks 80 Years -- Redux!

This weekend, the 2013 ARRL November Sweepstakes phone event will dominate the bands, continuing the 80th running of the oldest domestic ham radio contest. Sweepstakes -- also known as "Sweeps" and "SS" -- debuted in 1930, but ham radio was suspended during World War II. The action gets underway at 2100 UTC Saturday and runs through 0259 UTC Monday. The 2013 ARRL November Sweepstakes Operating Guide provides details. An ARRL November Sweepstakes webinar by ARRL Contest Branch Manager Mike DeChristopher, N1TA, has been posted to the World Wide Radio Operators Foundation website.

An eHam article, "An Enticement for Contest Newbies" by Sweepstakes Manager Larry Hammel, K5OT; Ward Silver, N0AX, and Mike Gilmer, N2MG, helps explain the intricacies of SS and offers valuable tips to newcomers. The somewhat lengthy SS exchange, which participants must copy accurately to earn points, reflects the event's origins as a traffic-handling exercise and borrows some radiogram vocabulary. It consists of a consecutive serial number (leading zeroes are not required); a "precedence" -- a letter representing your entry category, eg "A" for single ops running 100 W; your call sign; a "check" consisting of the last two numerals of the year in which you were first licensed, and your ARRL or Radio Amateurs of Canada Section. Participants work each station once for contact points, and the score multiplier is the number of ARRL/RAC sections worked (83 total).

As noted in advance of the CW weekend, the number 80 comes into play for participants in this weekend's contest who want to enhance the fun and the challenge by setting some individual achievement goals this year -- for example, for working 80 contacts per mode, scoring 80,000 points (total), running 80 W, and even for working all ARRL sections traversed by Interstate 80 and all sections on 80 W longitude. SS operators also can earn recognition for working all of the ARRL Sections in place in 1930 -- there were 68 back then, as opposed to 83 today. New this year are an 80 years T shirt and "Clean Sweep" coffee mug, as well as participation pins and a special certificate. Operators 80 years old or older and all participating clubs will get special recognition. Details are on the ARRL November Sweepstakes web page.


The ARRL Letter

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