[CQ-Contest] Key Clicks.... Continuing Problem

Randy Thompson k5zd at outlook.com
Sat Nov 14 17:55:37 EST 2020

I think that is Rich’s point. All contests should have their own self contained rules. 

When someone reads the rules for a contest they should everything right there. Too confusing to have some rules in other documents. 

Randy K5ZD

Sent while mobile. 

> On Nov 14, 2020, at 2:28 PM, Zack Widup <w9sz.zack at gmail.com> wrote:
> How much operating have you done in VHF contests? Have you ever been in the
> 10 GHz and Up Contest? Some contests MUST have their own rules.
> 73, Zack W9SZ
>> On Sat, Nov 14, 2020 at 10:51 AM Richard F DiDonna NN3W <richnn3w at gmail.com>
>> wrote:
>> May I make a suggestion since you are involved in the decision making
>> process at the League.  In my opinion, its time to put an end to the ARRL
>> contest rules where you have THREE sets of rules governing a contest: the
>> particular contest rules, the "rules for all contests" and the rules for
>> contests above or below 30 MHz.  Incorporate the rules into ONE document
>> for each contest.  Working for a law firm in Washington DC, every time I
>> look at the ARRL DX rules or the Sweepstakes rules, I feel like I'm having
>> to read statute, regulations and legislative history - utterly confusing
>> and time consuming.
>> 99.9% of contesters are digital capable now and the 0.01% isn't looking to
>> make the box.  Very few trees are being killed if you added paragraphs or
>> combined the rules to create one concise document per contest.
>> 73 Rich NN3W
>>> On Sat, Nov 14, 2020 at 7:44 AM Michael Ritz <w7vo at comcast.net> wrote:
>>> Randy;
>>> "I must admit some surprise that a task like this would fall into the
>>> domain of a Director of the League."
>>> I'm on the ARRL Board's Programs and Services committee, (PSC), along
>> with
>>> four more Directors, and others. The rest of the remaining ten Directors
>>> are either on the Executive Committee, or the Administration and Finance
>>> Committee, both which deal more with actually running the ARRL and
>>> governance. Our purview is ARRL contests and events (such as Field Day),
>>> awards, the DXCC program, contests, and for now, the ARES program under a
>>> sub-committee.
>>> (If you read the Board minutes at all, you will see that I have been
>>> involved in many of the recent Board governance motions anyway. I've done
>>> that in "rogue Director" mode, not as part of a committee.)
>>> So, why am I involved here? I brought the "key click" issue (I noted it
>>> also during CQWW CW), before the PSC in a recent meeting after somebody
>>> here noted, then I confirmed, that the ARRL General Contest Rules on the
>>> subject were a lot more vague than those employed by CQ. I volunteered
>> for
>>> the tasking in this case in order to get this minor rules clarification
>>> done quickly, and on the books. HQ staff is still under COVID guidelines,
>>> and most of the building is empty. It was felt by the committee that this
>>> did not need to go to the CAC as a big and drawn out project. I'm
>> basically
>>> just spelling out in our rules what is already noted in FCC Part 97.307,
>>> paragraphs (a),(b),and (c). Those cover, in order, excessive bandwidth,
>>> splatter and keyclicks, and spurious emissions. (Without specific
>>> parameters, I might add.)
>>> People have two big criticisms about the ARRL. Number one is: "nobody
>>> listens to us". Well, I do, otherwise you wouldn't be hearing from me.
>>> Number two is: "you guys don't do anything". Well, at least I try.
>>> 73;
>>> Mike
>>> W7VO
>>>> On 11/13/2020 6:30 PM Randy Thompson <k5zd at outlook.com> wrote:
>>>> I must admit some surprise that a task like this would fall into the
>>> domain of a Director of the League.  Are there not staff to handled such
>>> details?  This seems like a perfect tasking for the underutilized Contest
>>> Advisory Committee.
>>>> This is also a much more difficult topic to write rules around than it
>>> might seem.  The CQ WW added rules about signal quality a few years ago.
>>> The following falls under section XII.A Unsportsmanlike Conduct. "Signals
>>> with excessive bandwidth (e.g., splatter, clicks) or harmonics on other
>>> bands."
>>>> Several of the CQ WW Contest Committee members have spent time trying
>> to
>>> come up with a more formal definition of wide signals that could be used
>>> with audio recordings to make a solid case.  I.e., something more than
>>> "knowing a bad signal when we see it."  It has been a challenge.  Jukka
>>> OH6LI did a write up on SSB signal quality at
>>> https://www.cqww.com/ssbsignalquality.htm
>>>> It is probably best not to tie to specific rules or technologies.
>>> Bandwidth seems to be the best metric for determining signal quality.  A
>>> signal is either within expected norms for the given mode or not.  The
>>> challenge is how to measure that after the contest.
>>>> 73,
>>>> Randy K5ZD
>>>> -----Original Message-----
>>>> From: CQ-Contest <cq-contest-bounces+k5zd=outlook.com at contesting.com>
>>> On Behalf Of Michael Ritz
>>>> Sent: Friday, November 13, 2020 5:50 PM
>>>> To: cq-contest at contesting.com
>>>> Subject: Re: [CQ-Contest] Key Clicks.... Continuing Problem
>>>> Not that it means much, but I am in the process of updating the ARRL
>>> General Contest rules to include "clean signal" requirements, including
>> key
>>> clicks and splatter. Right now there is only a general "entrants are
>> bound
>>> by regulations of their national licensing authority" in the ARRL rules.
>>> That implies FCC Part 97.307 for US entrants, but what about everybody
>> else
>>> in the world?
>>>> What I'm proposing to add "Each participant in an ARRL sponsored
>> contest
>>> shall take precautions to ensure that all signals emitted are free from
>>> excessive bandwidth, splatter, key clicks, or other spurious emissions".
>>>> As far as adjudication, I'm adding under "Disqualification and
>>> Penalties": "Unsportsmanlike conduct will not be tolerated in ARRL
>>> contests. The ARRL reserves the right to take disciplinary action, up to
>>> and including disqualification, for entrants that violate this rule. This
>>> includes the emission of signals that do not meet applicable standards as
>>> specified...."
>>>> Keep in mind that we (the ARRL) now have a pretty sophisticated
>>> Volunteer Monitor program in place, and they are looking for not only
>>> band-edge violators, but signal quality violations as well. Of course,
>>> still only for US entrants.
>>>> 73;
>>>> Mike
>>>> W7VO
>>>>> On 11/12/2020 1:50 PM Jim Brown <k9yc at audiosystemsgroup.com> wrote:
>>>>> Great post, Jim. Thanks!
>>>>> Based on what I learned doing that study several years ago of ARRL
>> Lab
>>>>> data, I completely agree. There are other things we can do as well.
>>>>> After I gave a preliminary version of that study to someone who I
>>>>> strongly suspected would pass it along to Yaesu, whose radios were
>> the
>>>>> worst offenders, a firmware upgrade for that series of radios was
>>>>> released that improved keying to the extent that it looked more like
>>>>> the second worst offender (of that generation), ICOM. :)  If you have
>>>>> one of those rigs, by all means install the upgrade. I did before and
>>>>> after measurements of keying bandwidth on a neighbor's FTDX500. They
>>> are here.
>>>>> http://k9yc.com/P3_Spectrum_Measurements.pdf
>>>>> The study of ARRL Lab data is here.
>>>>>  http://k9yc.com/TXNoise.pdf
>>>>> Yes, the slowest possible rise time should be used when it can be
>>>>> adjusted. The reason no adjustment is needed (or possible) with
>>>>> Elecraft rigs (beginning with the K3) is that the keying waveform is
>>>>> carefully shaped for maximum clarity and minimum clicks. Flex adopted
>>>>> this a year or so after ARRL Labs first tested the 6500 series. I
>>>>> don't know if they've tested those rigs for keying bandwidth after
>>> that upgrade.
>>>>> Another major generator of clicks (and splatter) is the use of ALC
>>>>> between the transceiver and the power amp to control power. In
>>>>> general, that form of ALC should ONLY be used to protect the amp from
>>>>> faults in the antenna system, including the operator transmitting
>> into
>>>>> the wrong antenna. :)
>>>>> I haven't studied the current generation of Yaesu rigs on CW, but the
>>>>> lower cost models generate terrible splatter -- typically 2 kHz or
>>>>> more on both sides of their intended bandwidth, only 20 dB down. That
>>>>> is, 2 kHz on the suppressed side of the carrier, and 4-5 kHz on the
>>>>> other side of  suppressed carrier. I discovered this when helping a
>>>>> neighbor figure out why his new Yaesu was splattering, also by
>>>>> observing it on other signals, alerting the splattering station, who
>>>>> told me what rig he was using.
>>>>> Obviously, if the transceiver is generating the splatter (or the
>>>>> clicks), the power amp will amplify it (and maybe add more of its
>> own).
>>>>> Think about it -- if someone with one of these rigs is 30dB over S9
>> in
>>>>> your receiver, his sidebands will be 10 dB over S9, not great if
>>>>> you're trying to work someone on an adjacent frequency.
>>>>> Yes, there were some very clicky signals this weekend. Thankfully
>>>>> fewer, as Elecraft and Flex rigs continue to proliferate.
>>>>> 73, Jim K9YC
>>>>> On 11/12/2020 9:23 AM, Jim McCook wrote:
>>>>>> Anyone who has been operating in CW contests is aware of the
>> rampant
>>>>>> key click problem we all must deal with.
>>>>>> If you are using a JA made radio, please check the CW rise time to
>>>>>> be sure it's set to 8ms (unless 6ms is maximum... which needs to be
>>>>>> changed).  Also check to be sure you're not hot switching your
>>>>>> amplifier.  Key clicks in contests have become a serious problem
>> and
>>>>>> it's long overdue for resolution.  If you use an older JA radio
>>>>>> without that adjustment, there may be a key click mod that will
>>>>>> eliminate those clicks.
>>>>>> There is a reported case of a radio set for 8ms being sent to the
>>>>>> manufacturer for repair and was returned with a 4ms setting. Please
>>>>>> check after such repair returns.
>>>>>> Elecraft and Flex users need not be concerned unless something is
>>>>>> wrong with the radio.
>>>>>> 73, Jim
>>>>>> W6YA
>>>>>> _______________________________________________
>>>>>> CQ-Contest mailing list
>>>>>> CQ-Contest at contesting.com
>>>>>> http://lists.contesting.com/mailman/listinfo/cq-contest
>>>>> _______________________________________________
>>>>> CQ-Contest mailing list
>>>>> CQ-Contest at contesting.com
>>>>> http://lists.contesting.com/mailman/listinfo/cq-contest
>>>> _______________________________________________
>>>> CQ-Contest mailing list
>>>> CQ-Contest at contesting.com
>>>> http://lists.contesting.com/mailman/listinfo/cq-contest
>>>> _______________________________________________
>>>> CQ-Contest mailing list
>>>> CQ-Contest at contesting.com
>>>> http://lists.contesting.com/mailman/listinfo/cq-contest
>>> _______________________________________________
>>> CQ-Contest mailing list
>>> CQ-Contest at contesting.com
>>> http://lists.contesting.com/mailman/listinfo/cq-contest
>> _______________________________________________
>> CQ-Contest mailing list
>> CQ-Contest at contesting.com
>> http://lists.contesting.com/mailman/listinfo/cq-contest
> <https://www.avast.com/sig-email?utm_medium=email&utm_source=link&utm_campaign=sig-email&utm_content=webmail&utm_term=icon>
> Virus-free.
> www.avast.com
> <https://www.avast.com/sig-email?utm_medium=email&utm_source=link&utm_campaign=sig-email&utm_content=webmail&utm_term=link>
> <#DAB4FAD8-2DD7-40BB-A1B8-4E2AA1F9FDF2>
> _______________________________________________
> CQ-Contest mailing list
> CQ-Contest at contesting.com
> http://lists.contesting.com/mailman/listinfo/cq-contest

More information about the CQ-Contest mailing list