Founded, January 2006
12,000 members strong
(as of 3/6/2014)
The SKCC WES occurs during the weekend containing the second Sunday of each month. The event spans 36 hours, during which participants can operate for a total of no more than 24 hours. The event starts at 1200 UTC on the Saturday before the second Sunday of the month and ends at 2359 UTC on Sunday.
Some events focus on a theme or activity. Three popular themes that repeat each year are Homebrew Keys, QRP, and Boat Anchors. Themes tend to have special rules and scoring.
SKCC members who participate in the WES must use straight keys, sideswipers (cooties), or bugs. The SKCC Board of Directors can grant exceptions on a case-by-case basis to those with physical disabilities that prevent the use of such keys. To request an exemption, use the email-board link under the Club Contacts section of the navigation column at left.
The sprintathon also has an entry category for shortwave listeners, who are cordially invited to join the fun. Non-members are invited to take part as well.
Many operators treat WES as a contest. But WES is rather informal. Its main goal is to bring together operators with different skill levels. Operating speed should be adjusted accordingly.
Although WES results are posted only for bragging rights, participants are eligible for certificates of participation, including a certificate recognizing QRP participation. See the bottom of this page for details.
St. Patty's Day looms in the middle of this month, a day when everyone is Irish, or so they say. We'll advance the St. Patrick's Day schedule a bit by basing bonus points for this month's WES on Ireland's eight counties-corporate, basically a handful of cities or towns that once were counties unto themselves. To wit:
Carrickfergus - 1325 A.D.
Drogheda - 1412
Dublin - 1548
Waterford - 1574
Cork - 1608
Limerick - 1609
Galway - 1610
Kilkenny - 1610
Use letters from the call signs you log during WES to spell out as many of these counties as you can. A letter from each call sign can be used only once. Each county is worth 25 bonus points for a maximum of 200 points. Only fully spelled counties count.
This next step is all or nothing: Use the numbers from the calls as well to build the years in the list. Again, you can use the number from a call sign only once. Build all eight years and match them with all eight counties-corporate you've built from call-sign letters and you nail a pot of gold (PoG): 200 bonus points added to the 200 you earned for building all eight county names. You must nail all eight counties before you can try to apply the numbers in call signs to the years. And you earn the PoG only if you build all eight years.
Thus, the maximum number of bonus points this time around is 400, and any bonus you enter on the submission page must end in a 5 or 0. If your bonus total ends in any other number, you've shortchanged yourself!
To help keep track of the names and dates, Jerry Bliss, K6III, set up an Excel spreadsheet to help him keep score. He's sharing it with anyone else who wants to use it. You can download it here.
March's Weekend Sprintathon runs from 12:00 UTC March 8 to 23:59 UTC March 9.
++++++ And an early heads-up for May ++++++
For May, anyone putting on the air a one-tube transmitter specifically built as part of a challenge conceived by Curt Nixon, KU8L, SKCC 5380T, and sweetened by Cory Sickles, WA3UVV, SKCC 5863, you and your ham band-warmers will become an integral part of the bonus scheme for that month's Weekend Sprintathon.
For background on the challenge and Cory's pot sweetener, here's a reprint of Cory's message to the group on the SKCC's Facebook Page:
"If you'd like to join in the fun of building such a transmitter and the possibility of showing off your handiwork to a larger audience, I'm willing to devote space in my May 2014 'Off the Air' column in CQ Plus (formerly WRO) that discusses the more 'interesting' rigs, pictures and -- of course -- talks more about SKCC. If there are enough suitable submissions, I might even extend this to a second column.
"Many of us built and used such rigs during our Novice experience and continued to, long after that. Others are discovering the simplicity and sheer fun of QSOs accomplished by virtue of a glowing glass envelope and empty-state technology. If you are new to this old tech, perhaps a discussion with more-senior members of your radio club are in order - to Elmer you into this project.
"In addition, Josh Benson was laying out a regen[erative] receiver, as posted in one of his comments. Here too, I'd like to encourage such designs and feature them similarly. Again, let's keep this 'thermatron oriented' and leave solid state designs for a later time.
"So, if you'd like to accept the challenge, please submit a brief write-up, well-focused and lit pictures (possibly with your favorite key in the shot), plus links to any YouTube videos (steady camera shots, please) you may have - no later than 17:00 EST on February 28th.
"I hope to see an enthusiastic and wide-ranging set of responses. Please email them to WA3UVV
So there you have it. A chance to hearken back to the days when scrounging parts and repurposing them to get on the air was common. If you find useful sources for parts, please share them with the group.
For background on CQ Plus, see http://www.eham.net/articles/31428.
Potential publicity in a major on-line ham-radio publication, plus bonus points for using the rigs? What's not to like??
The SKCC's Weekend Sprintathon is open to all licensed amateurs, as well as shortwave listeners. All active participants must use a manual key (stright key, sideswiper, or bug), unless granted an exception by the SKCC.
Participants may sprint on 160-6 meters, excluding the WARC bands (60, 30, 17, and 12 meters). Suggested frequencies are on or around the SKCC calling frequencies: 1.820, 3.550, 7.055 and 7.114, 14.050, 21.050 and 21.114, 28.050 and 28.114, and 50.090 Mhz. K3UK's sked page or other spotting tools are permitted for this event. Where two frequencies are listed for the same band, score as one band.
The minimum exchange must include RST, QTH, operator name, and SKCC number. If you are not a club member, please send "none" for SKCC number. Please give a realistic RST, not a perfunctory 599 or 559. If you don't get a signal report, please ask for it. For QTH, US and Canadian stations should use their two-letter state or province abbreviation. Stations outside the US and Canada should use their IAAF country codes. You can find the country codes here.
This is an informal event, so if you are not an SKCC member, take a moment to visit our home page and apply for a number. It's free! And if you are a member and have completed the required exchange, hang around and chat for a bit with non-members. It's good PR!
-- Each unique QSO counts as one point. You may count contacts with the same station on multiple bands, but only once per band. You earn one multiplier point for each state, province, or country worked, but you can count a state, province, or country only once per WES.>/p>
-- You earn bonus points for working Centurions and Tribunes. You can work the same C, T, or S on multiple bands for QSO points, but his or her C, T or S counts once per WES for bonus points. Each C is worth 5 points, each T is worth 10 points, and each S is worth 15 points. Until a scoring box is added for S on the submissions page, add one C and one T to your totals for each unique S worked.
-- You receive an additional 25 bonus points for each band on which you contact the special sprint station, if one has been designated. Extra bonus points may be offered as part of a given sprint's theme. If none is offered, enter 0 in the appropriate box on the submissions page.
You must copy at least one side of a WES QSO for a QSO point. If you copy both sides of a WES exchanges, that counts as 2 QSO points. You can count the same station more than once only if you copy that station's QSO on a different band -- one QSO per band. Note that some WES themes may not allow SWL entrants to claim the theme-related bonus.
As you enter your contact information on the submissions page, the page calculates your score automatically by multiplying the total number of QSOs by the total number of multipliers, then adds the total bonus points you enter, based on the bonus-point scheme for the event. Because this scheme varies from event to event, you'll need to canculate your bonus totals.
Total = (QSO x Multipliers) + bonus points
Please use the submissions page, reached by clicking on "Submit Your Score" link at the top of this page. Logs are not required unless the WES manager requests them. The deadline for submitting or correcting your entry is 2359 UTC on the Sunday following the event. If you are correcting your entry, you must resubmit all your information, not just the item that needed the correction. If you are a non-member, use "none" in place of SKCC number on the submissions page. If you are an SWL and have a unique SWL club ID, use that in place of a call sign. If you don't have a club ID, make up a unique, one-word ID to use.
Participation certificates are sent to qualifying WES entrants after each month's event. These certificates are quality wallpaper that any SKCC member would be pround to display.
Four types of certificates, in pdf format, are regularly emailed after each event to:
These certificates have an orange border with a J-38 key watermark in background.
These certificates recognize a member's entry in multiple WES events (5, 10, 15, 20, etc.). These certificates have a red border, with a different key as the watermark for each level. For example, the certificate for 5 DX entries has a J-38 key watermark; for 10 DX entries, the certificate has an E.F. Johnson Speed-X Semi-Automatic Bug watermark; for 15 DX entries, the certificate has a watermark of an NT9K homebrew key crafted in corian; for 20 DX entries, the certificate has a Vibroplex Deluxe key watermark.
These certificates recognize multiple entries in monthly WES events (5, 10, 15, 20, etc.). These certificates have a green border, with the same pattern of watermakers used for DX certificates.
These certificates recognize SKCC members residing in the contiguous 48 US states for entering mulitple WES events (10, 25, 50, 75, etc.). These certificates have a blue border, with the same pattern of watermarks used for DX certificates.
Certificate recipients for DX, QRP, and regular US recognition levels are noted on the General WES Statistics page, which is updated after each WES. Gene Buck, KL7GLL, WES awards manager, will, upon request, send new or replacement certificates to those who achieved a qualifying participation level but did not receive a certificate, or to those who have misplaced their certificate. Gene's email is email@example.com
Many thanks to Ron Bower, AC2C, and Pete Spotts, W1PNS, for their help in designing and producing the certificates.