Founded, January 2006
14,469 members strong
as of 8-Oct-2015
Note: For results from November 2014 to present, visit the new submissions/results page here.
Before the NCAA college football season began, the Associated Press (among others) put up its pre-season rankings. Who knows where these teams will end up at season's end. But if mascots for the 10 teams that led the AP's Top 25 end up in your log -- spelled out using the letters in the callsigns you collect during September's Weekend Sprintathon -- those mascots are worth bonus points.
Here's how it works. Use the letters in the callsigns to spell out the mascot names. You can use any individual letter from a given callsign only once. For example: You contact W1EYE. You can use both Es and the Y for Buckeyes, or spread the Es out between Horned Frogs and Tigers. But you can use those letters from that call only once. Need another E? Wait for another call with an E in it.
The mascots are:
Each complete mascot name is worth 100 points, for a total of 1,000 bonus points. If the mascot name consists of two words, and you can only spell out one of them, you can claim 50 points for that mascot. If you complete all 10 mascot names, you can claim an additional 500 points for a sweep. Maximum possible bonus: 1,500 points.
To help you keep track of your bonus points, Jerry Bliss, K6III, has put together a spreadsheet. You can download the *.xlsx file here.
Now, who's ready for the opening coin toss?
This event runs from 1200 UTC Sept. 12 to 23:59 UTC Sept. 13.
Ham radio may be the only context in which the word cootie has a positive meaning: typically, a single-lever paddle an operator uses, but not with an electronic keyer. Instead, the operator must form each dit and dah as the lever moves side to side against each of the cootie's two contacts. Think "bug" with no spring for repeat dits; you have to form those yourself, in addition to the dahs. And for August's Weekend Sprintathon, operators who use cooties will be worth bonus points.
For this event, we're going to bend the concept of cootie a tad. A cootie can be, well, a real cootie -- bought or homemade. If you lack one of those, you can rewire an iambic paddle so that you have to form the dits and dahs individually with your sideswiping action. Only sideswiping devices built or wired so that the operator must form each dit and dah individually, while manually controlling character spacing and weight, qualifies as a cootie for bonus purposes.
If you are using a cootie, please reveal that as you give your name: yourname/co, where /co means cootie operator. If you are using anything else, please use yourname/nco, for non-cootie operator. Giving this out prevents someone from having to ask for information about your sending device.
You earn 15 bonus points for each contact you make with a cootie operator. When one cootie operator works another cootie operator, each of the operators in that QSO can claim 30 points for the exchange. Multiband contacts for bonus points are permissible.
This event runs from 1200 UTC Aug. 8 to 23:59 UTC Aug. 9
Independence Day 2015 in the United States has come and gone. But we can still celebrate. July's WES, starting at 12:00 UTC July 11, aims to recognize all the major players: the 13 original colonies, plus Britain and France.
For this event, the colonies include: GA, SC, NC, VA, MD, PA, DE, NJ, NY, CT, RI, MA, and NH. Maine was part Massachusetts until 1820. So for this event and this event only, either ME or MA count as MA. Update: Likewise, VA and WV at the time combined to form VA. So WV also will count as VA.
For bonus points:
A QSO with a member based in one of the 13 colonies is worth 25 points -- only one QSO per colony counts toward the colony-bonus total. Multiband QSOs can still count for QSO points, but not for colony bonus points.
Contact any station in the UK and France for a one-time bonus of 100 points each.
A clean sweep of the colonies allows you to multiply your colony total by 2. Sweep the UK and France, and you can multiply the UK/France total by 2.
Your bonus total is the sum of your colony points and your UK/France points. This represents a maximum possible bonus of 650 (colony sweep) + 400 (UK-France sweep) = 1050. Note: If your bonus-point total ends in anything other than a 5 or a 0, crunch the numbers again! Jerry Bliss, K6III, has prepared an Excel spreadsheet to help you track your bonus points. You can download a copy here.
**With a sweep of the tricorner and deep bow to the Original 13 Colonies Event for the inspiration for this theme.
One again, it's time for the annual Weekend Sprintathon Boat Anchor Regatta. If your rig has tubes, you're worth bonus points. Tubes, as in the sum of the tubes in your transceiver or transmitter-receiver pair, and power supply. And if your transmitter's frequency is set by a crystal instead of a VFO, you're potentially worth mucho bonus points.
Here's how it works:
Count up the number of tubes in the rigs you are operating and attach that number to your name during your WES exchanges. If you have five tubes, send YOURNAME/5. If you are operating using crystals, add an X to the number. Send YOURNAME/5X.
When the event ends, add the number of non-X points you've logged. That's a bonus subtotal.
Then calculate the points you've earned for working stations using crystals. You do this by **squaring** the number of tubes for each station you've worked that was using crystals: 2X is worth 4 bonus points, 3X is worth 9 points, and so on. This means that if a station sends 14X because the operator is using a 12-tube Hammerlund receiver and a 2-tube, crystal-controlled transmitter, that's 14x14, or 196 points for that QSO.
I can hear the question now: What if I have an old solid-state transmitter that is crystal controlled. Can I offer any bonus points for that? For which the answer is: 0 (no tubes) x 0 = 0.
Your bonus total is the sum of non-crystal bonus points and crystal-control bonus points.
If both stations in a QSO are using boat anchors, each station in the QSO may claim the sum of both stations' tubes, scoring them as outlined above.
So as you operate, be sure to hunt for the folks using crystal-controlled transmitters. You may need to listen to one or two exchanges to be sure. But the nice thing about that is that unless that station has a bucketful of crystals, it won't be QSYing any time soon. If you find one, spot it on the K3UK Sked Page. And if you are operating a crystal-controlled transmitter, it would be in your interest to advertise your presence via the K3UK Sked Page.
Now, please pass the PFDs.
June's WES will run from 12:00 UTC Saturday, June 13, though 23:59 on Sunday, June 14.
The 100th Weekend Sprintathon is coming up in May. This event will be a different in two ways.
To commemorate the event, the club will raffle off two LNR Precision SKCC straight keys -- one to a US SKCC station and the other to a DX SKCC station.
The "price" for entry into the raffle? Your participation, at whatever level you can muster between 1200 UTC on May 9 and 2359 UTC on May 10. Each participating SKCC member*** will automatically be entered for the drawing. Shipping is on us. The DX winner? Shipping also is on us, but customs duties, if any, are on you.
For the purposes of the drawing, we'll be departing from the typical DXCC listings by including Alaska, Hawaii, and US possessions or territories as "US."
Each participating member will be entered into the proper category and assigned a number: 1 through the maximum number of participants in each of the two raffle categories. We'll seed a computer's random-number generator and let it "tumble the cage" for us. The members whose numbers the computer picks win the keys.
***You must submit your results using the event's submissions page to qualify. The For this raffle, current members of the SKCC board and members of the club's support team, as listed on the club website, are ineligible.
From 0000-2359 UTC May 9, the US Islands Award Program is holding its first "One-Day Getaway." Hams will be operating portable and mobile stations from fresh- and salt-water islands around the US. Both activators and chasers will be trying to bag islands for the program's awards. Any SKCC member operating from a qualifying island for three hours or longer during the overlap in our two events (1200-2359 UTC May 9) will be worth major bonus points. If you are activating and island, please try to post your island and the approximate times you'll be operating from it on the SKCC's Yahoo email list.
The islands from which you operate must meet the US Islands Program criteria, as described here.
If you are activating an island but the island doesn't appear on the USI Program's official list, you can have the fun of garnering the QSOs needed to make it official. You can see the list here.
If you are activating an unlisted island, please let Ted Sarah, W8TTS, know before May 9 so he can verify that it qualifies and assign it a number. Anyone activating any island should also let Jay Chamberlain, NS4J, know so he can include it on the publicized list of islands available for the event. You can reach Ted at QM@usislands.org. Jay can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. (Copy and paste those email addresses.)
Note that an island can be connected to the mainland by a bridge or narrow causeway, as long as the island is the right size and far enough away from the shore (no peninsulas need apply). Be sure to look over the US Islands Program's list of already-qualified islands. You may find they are closer and easier to reach than you think.
WES participants who work SKCC-activated islands will earn a one-time bonus of 500 points per island -- one time as in, once during the WES. Similarly, SKCC "island activating" stations conducting an SKCC-island-to-SKCC-island QSO can claim 750 points apiece, but only once per island.
The typical CQ for island activators is CQ Islands. SKCC members who activate an island should call CQ WES/USI.
If you are an activator, feel free to post a screenshot of an APRS map showing your location or just a photo of your set-up so that all may marvel at your seamanship, lakemanship, or rivermanship skills. Remember to give out your SKCC number as well as the island number during your QSOs, which for WES purposes must meet the usual SKCC requirements for valid exchanges and sending devices.
SKCC members operating from islands should respond to all stations wanting to contact the island, not just SKCC stations. USI groupies will be just as eager to snag your island as SKCCers will be to snag the bonus points (and, perhaps, islands toward their own USI awards).
This does imply that for members whose schedules don't allow them to operate May 9, there will be no opportunity to earn bonus points that month. I hope you won't let that dissuade you from participating in May's WES. The key raffle still dangles in front of you, as does the opportunity to wrack up additional QSOs for SKCC achievement awards.
And for those intrigued by the prospect of a day-long island getaway, don't forget the sunscreen!
Queue Jimmy Buffett!
Here at WES Central, we get occasional emails from members asking if we can have a WES that includes more than the perfunctory exchanges. Well, here we go:
This month marks the 155th anniversary of the first Pony Express runs on April 3, 1860 -- one westbound and one eastbound. To mark this event, two short messages will be sent out, each originating with an anonymous volunteer. To earn bonus points, your task is to collect both messages though on-air exchanges between you and other participants.
Each message will carry a two letter code noting its direction: WB for westbound and EB for eastbound. The body of each message will be three random words long, with no punctuation. Once the event ends, I'll post the messages on the WES's main page so you can see how you did.
And the messages are: WB - lophobranch diclinous sacque; EB - longicorn dicrotic safranine. And yes, they're all in the dictionary!
For each correct message, you will earn 1,000 bonus points -- 2,000 total points possible.
The implication, of course, is that you will be sharing the messages as well as receiving them. So once you have finished the basic WES exchange, the station originating the QSO should either ask the other station if they have messages or if they need messages: A simple "hve msgs?" or "need msgs?" will work.
The other station should reply accordingly: "Hv WB" (or EB), "Need WB" (or EB) , or "None" if you haven't copied any at all yet or don't need any. Even if you have or need both, the exchange should involve no more than one message each way; you may not copy both EB and WB messages from the same SKCC member during the event, even if that station has both messages.
If neither station in a QSO has or needs the messages, feel free to wrap up the QSO and move on. These messages will be short, so requests for fills may be few. But please respect such requests if they come your way.
Yes, this will slow the pace of the event a bit. On the other hand, no saddle sores! And lots of opportunities to send for clarity as well as for QSO points. Now, which saddlebag is holding the carrots?
(A tip of the Stetson to Dick, K2RFP, and his CW Fun Event for the inspiration for this one.)
The event runs from 1200 UTC Saturday, April 11 to 2359 UTC Sunday, April 12.
This month, we're doing a mean mess o' flea-power flickin' with QRP/QRPp stations as the bonus-point targets.
QRO participants can earn 10 points per contact with a station running from 2 to 5 watts (QRP). A station running 1 watt or less (QRPp) is worth 20 points per contact.
For those running the peanut whistles, bonus scoring goes something like this:
Each station in a QRP/QRPp x 2 QSO earns the sum of both stations' bonus values: A QRP x 2 is worth 20 points for each station; a QRP<-->QRPp QSO is worth 30 points to each; a QRPp x 2 is worth 40 points to each station in the QSO.
If you are running QRP/QRPp, please send your power level after your SKCC number during your exchanges and identify yourself as a QRP/QRPp station either during your CQ, as in CQ WES QRP, or after your call, as in N1ABS/QRP. Multiband QSOs with a given QRP or QRPp station are permitted for bonus points.
The event runs from 1200 UTC Saturday, March 7 to 2359 UTC Sunday, March 8. And remember, US jurisdictions that recognize daylight saving time switch over to it in the wee hours of March 8.
This month, we're "traveling" the Lincoln Highway -- the first transcontinental highway, although in 1913, it was a bit rough. The coast-to-coast route that takes you through 14 states (auxiliary routes excluded). For background on the highway, see www.lincolnhighwayassoc.org.
Here are the states through which the highway passes:
NY   NJ   WV   PA   OH   IN   IL   IA   NE   WY   CO   UT   NV   CA
You have two independent opportunities for bonus points. Give yourself 20 points for each state you contact among the list above. If you sweep the states, give yourself the 14-state total (280 points) plus 120 points for the sweep.
The second bonus, 200 points, comes if you can use the letters in the call signs of the stations you work to spell out Lincoln Highway. You can use as many letters as needed in a given call, but only once from that call. When you run out of a letter, say the letter L and you need it again, you'll have to wait for another fresh call with that letter. If a call has two Ls, use 'em both.
Your total bonus score will equal the bonus points from the states you've "visited" plus the bonus for spelling Lincoln Highway. The maximum possible bonus is 600 points.
Thanks to Roger Land, KC4HCH, for the inspiration for this theme!
K3Y this month celebrates the club's anniversary, so this month, the club's Weekend Sprintathon celebrates those who founded the club or joined it during its inaugural year, 2006. Any member whose number is 2545 or lower is worth a one-time bonus of 25 points, in addition to any C, T, or S attached to the number. For example, a QSO with W7GVE, 729T, would be worth 25 bonus points, in addition to the T you can claim on the number.
And since the Sprintathon is overlapping the K3Y celebration, do we have a deal for K3Y stations! The time you spend operating as a K3Y station during the WES counts toward the Sprintathon's 24-hour operating limit. But if you contact a station during WES as K3Y/#, you may contact the same station again when you return to "civilian" status and claim its SPC multiplier for both K3Y and civilian QSOs.
For instance, if K3Y/2 contacts N1ABS and later, as K2DUH, contacts N1ABS again, that operator can count a MA for each contact. In such cases, you can count only the SPC multiplier twice. Additional QSOs with N1ABS on other bands would count for QSO points only. This double counting is available only to stations taking shifts as K3Y/# during the Sprintathon.
Many thanks to those first 2545 members who poured the foundation for SKCC! And many thanks to the volunteers this year serving as K3Y stations!
January's Weekend Sprintathon runs from 12:00 UTC Jan. 10 to 23:59 UTC Jan. 11.
For earlier themes, please click here.