Grid Squares in HF Contests

ve2zp at bbs.ve3jf.AMPR.ORG ve2zp at bbs.ve3jf.AMPR.ORG
Wed Jul 27 23:11:23 EDT 1994

The "Top of Europe Contesters" - a group of Scandinavian hams operating under
the umbrella of the Swedish national society SSA - have organized an HF contest
with 10 degree by 20 degree "fields" as the multiplier.  The first running was
anounced here on the reflector.  As Tree N6TR suggests, this experiment is
being conducted with a new contest, one that should have a very unique flavour.
The rules were worked up in rather a hurry, so the anouncemnts may not have
gone out in sufficient time to secure publicity in the magazines, but if anyone
would like to read them, I will quite happily send a copy of what I received
from this reflector.  These aren't the 1 by 2 degree squares used by VHF DXers
and contesters, so every third station won't be a multiplier.  It will be most
interesting to see how non-contesters handle requests for their "field"
identifier from contesters.  If you though serial numbers were a difficult
concept to explain....
73, Dave VE2ZP/VE9CB in vastly overpopulated FN field

>From Kenneth G. Kopp" <0006485696 at  Thu Jul 28 05:01:00 1994
From: Kenneth G. Kopp" <0006485696 at (Kenneth G. Kopp)
Date: Wed, 27 Jul 94 23:01 EST
Subject: Another Idea....
Message-ID: <51940728040115/0006485696PK1EM at>

Mike has a GREAT idea ... wish I had thought of it!  Maybe one of the
contest sponsors will give it a try.  Perhaps there is someone out there
who has the "pull", "stroke", etc to pull it off ... (Hi Billy).  Maybe
we could give it a test drive in FD.  It would give additional "value"
to almost every QSO, it would seem.

(Trey, if this is double-posted, it wasn't intended to be ....)

73! de Ken Kopp/K0PP

>From Lyndon Nerenberg <lyndon at>  Thu Jul 28 06:05:38 1994
From: Lyndon Nerenberg <lyndon at> (Lyndon Nerenberg)
Date: Wed, 27 Jul 1994 22:05:38 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: ethernet summary
Message-ID: <Pine.3.89.9407272104.A1398-0100000 at>

On Wed, 27 Jul 1994 W5XD at quoted someone who wrote:

[ This is straying a little off topic perhaps - we can take further 
discussion to private e-mail ]

I want to dispute some points made here:

> >1. At 10 MHz signalling, Ethernet is a MUCH higher source of RFI.

On paper, perhaps. In real life, no. For this sort of application it would
be a miracle if you achieved even 1% utilization of the network. Assuming 
a typical data packet contains a callsign, timestamp, band/mode indicator,
a flag byte indicating the network message type, and lots of other 
baggage, the total frame length isn't likely to exceed 1600 bits. At 10 
Mb/s the time to send the frame is 160 microseconds. Even if your noise 
blanker didn't catch it, you'd never hear the thing anyway. You would 
have to send a large constant stream of data before it became audible.
It's very unlikely this would be the case (as you point out in your 

> >2. Although you probably wont notice it often (degraded performance
> >unnoticed due to extreem over-kill from a bandwidth perspective, for
> >this application), Ethernet is much more susceptable to RFI from
> >transmitter local field radiation (neither RG-58, thin net, nor
> >twisted pair -- even if shielded -- provides effective shielding).

But if it works ... ?  Does anyone have some *hard* data that indicates
(one way or the other) that this is in fact the case? I've run thinnet
into high RF environments before without any trouble being apparent. (I 
didn't put a scope on the coax to check things out, however.)

> >3. thin-net installations are very susceptable to disruption due to
> >bad connector installation, cheap T-connectors, terminators being
> >improperly installed -- a triped-over cable can bring the network
> >down.

No. Some network *protocols* are very sensitive to media disruption, but 
thinnet (properly constructed) can take quite a beating. If you run a 
robust protocol (such as IP) you can tolerate disruptions of almost 
unbounded length. At one shop I worked at we would regularly break the 
thinnet to insert new workstations, or take them out. Those of us running 
IP hardly noticed these disruptions. The folks running LAT, however, did :-)
Choose your protocol to fit the application.

> >4. network OS and drivers are memory hogs = fewer QSOs in memory.
> >3. serial interfaces are an order of magnitude cheaper and have more
> >than adequate throughput.

How many of you have actually filled a 10000 QSO buffer? This is more of 
a problem with the application software. If you maintain a hashed index 
of callsigns in memory with offsets into the logging file you would save 
menory *and* speed up the software. (I don't know how CT and the like 
store the QSO information in memory, but performance on low end machines 
suggest linear searches of linked lists.)

Serial interfaces may be cheaper, but they don't give you a true LAN 
environment. One could argue that a LAN isn't needed, but if we never 
implement LANs we'll never have an environment in which to advance the 
current state of our software.

Why can't I have my three HF rigs at the base of the towers and interact 
with them using digital audio and control over an Ethernet? This lets me 
optimize the radio for handling the RF portion, and lets me use my 
computer for things it's good at, like DSP (noise reduction, software 
voice keyer), control, and logging with a much higher level of 
integration than is currently attainable.

--lyndon  VE7TCP (that callsign ain't no coincidence :-)

>From James White <0006492564 at>  Thu Jul 28 06:21:00 1994
From: James White <0006492564 at> (James White)
Date: Thu, 28 Jul 94 00:21 EST
Subject: Grid Squares in HF Contesting
Message-ID: <63940728052136/0006492564PK4EM at>

In the spirit of the age old:

          DON'T PUT THE CART BEFORE THE HORSE is important to understand the role most contests fill in the "big
picture"...................they usually work hand in hand with an operating
award which the contest sponsor promotes.

The ARRL contests predominately are structured to aid seekers of awards such
as DXCC/5BDXCC......WAS.........etc.  The CQWW of course has the WAZ, etc.
Incentives within the structuring of a contest's rules (or as N6TR calls it
-the contests "flavor") are such that they lead toward enhancing ones
ability to achieve the appropriate award.

Is there an award for working grid squares at HF?, if you have interest in a contest based on squares at HF then
you will probably also need to sponsor an award for squares at
get where I am coming from?

Yes, I think it is good that the HF gang learn their grid squares...but I
would like to see that knowledge obtained slightly differently.


As ongoing reflector subscribers may have seen here on the Contest Reflector
about six months ago, the Florida CW Contest Group asked the ARRL to
consider a proposal to allow the entire peninsula state of Florida to
constitute one club territory.....currently under the 175 mile radius  rules
its panhandle and the Florida Keys do not land within a circle using central
Florida as a center.  This was also mentioned by me when the CAC met at
their in person meeting at the Dayton Hamvention this past April. 

As of this date, no formal written response has been received from the ARRL
awards committee regarding this subject. The Southeastern Division
representative has been very supportive, and also has been the only one to
actually put pen to paper!

After April's Dayton meeting CAC members later asked me if increasing the
diameter of the club circle would do the trick....unfortunately, this is not
what we are after...bigger is not always better.  Florida's unique
geographical shape as a peninsula narrower than 350 miles leads to a 175
mile diameter circle which has water in about a third of its area......some
in the Atlantic and some Gulf of Mexico H2O. The area of a 175 mile diameter
circle is larger than the area of the entire state of Florida ......

We, the Florida CW Contest Group, an ARRL affiliated club, would have liked
to have heard from the ARRL on this matter formally before proceeding to
this next about using grid squares as basis for defining club
territories? Territories would be a total of "X" grid squares, maximum "Y"
squares in width by "Z" squares in heighth....all squares to be bordered by 
a minimum of one other grid square....X,Y and Z to be determined.
Seeing as we have apparently been blown off by the ARRL's awards committee
as to possibly receiving a special exemption-I chose to bring the grid
-square topic up here on the contest reflector...currently THE think tank
for contesting.

We ask for opinions from the contest community as to the possibility of this
variation in determining club territory. There have been problems all over
the US with the radius concept for years...if there are other ideas as to an
easily police-able technique for charting a club territory, please air them
now.  The contest reflector has been extremely useful in aiding the Central
and Western regions' operators in gaining better recognition of their
contest efforts, through revised score listings...perhaps the reflector can
also be the place for the formation for club territory policy which does not
discriminate against geographic oddities such as Florida.

I admit, as an HF contester I was unaware of my own grid square designation
prior to this development...I suspect that most HF contesters are also
unsure of their grid square. Perhaps with the coupling of each station's
grid square with each contest result, greater information can be derived as
to propagation patterns, distances of hops, etc (Geo iii, whatcha
think)......I suspect that California has a lot of different grid squares
within it, and the No Cal guys must have different propagation than the So
Cal guys!

What do you think...air it out...keep the status quo of the 175 mile radius
or is it time to find a better system?

Thanks in advance to all for their upcoming input, the Florida CW Contest
Group members look forward to working you all in the upcoming NAQP...beam
South on ten, guys...!


                                Jim White, K1ZX
                                Florida CW Contest Group
                                July 28, 1994                               

>From mike hansow <mhansow at>  Thu Jul 28 07:48:36 1994
From: mike hansow <mhansow at> (mike hansow)
Date: Wed, 27 Jul 1994 23:48:36 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Grid squares
Message-ID: <Pine.3.89.9407272343.A26734-0100000 at>

On Wed, 27 Jul 1994, Larry Tyree wrote:

> My brief comment dismissing grid sqares appears to have generated many
> comments.  Perhaps if I explain my reasons for saying this in more detail,
> my intent would be better understood.
> So, if you want a contest with grid squares, please work to start a new one
> that meets your desires.
> Tree N6TR
> tree at

Ah yes, but just think how much more Field Day would be if we used a Grid 
Square multiplier format. Folks would put more into location planning and 
we all could be as popular as Wyoming, hi hi....

Mike, KA7CSE....

mhansow at

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