Wednesday, January 6, 2016

The First Annual Ohio ARES VHF Simplex Contest!

OK everyone! It’s almost here - - the first annual Ohio ARES VHF Simplex Contest! 

Some questions, and answers: 

-  On the bonus situations, the EOC bonus is exactly what it says- operation must be from an EOC, not a nearby trailer or remote location. EOC ops, add 50 points to your total contact score. Operation from any portable location (trailer, tent, park bench, igloo) is 100 points added to your total contact score.   Contact an ARES officer of any type, add 5 points to that contact (in other words, if your contact says he’s an EC, it’s worth 6 points.) 

-  On digital. All modes are open, we’ve had some questions as to ‘which’ mode. Any of the modes commonly accepted for NBEMS work!

-  Frequencies haven’t been mentioned. Grab any you like- if your district has a prescribed simplex frequency, try that first. Anything except a repeater.  Make sure you get the county or location of your contact- the whole point is to be able to plot your best coverage area. Look for ‘real’ signal reports.

-  You know what? If you get bored and want to fry some eggs on your six-meter antennas, go for it. DO NOT INCLUDE your six contacts for a score, but plotting coverage will be good!


Here are the rules again!

ARES is tasked with being able to provide communications “When all else fails.”  Local communication is critical and typically takes place on the VHF or UHF amateur band. In order to improve our ability to perform on these bands, Ohio Section ARES is sponsoring the ARES VHF Contest (Yeah, we know, but calling it the Ohio VHF / UHF Contest got a little long-winded).  Participants in the contest are encouraged to make as many contacts as possible within the time-frame of the contest, with as many different geographical locations as the bands permit. The contest is open to all amateur operators, ARES members are strongly encouraged to participate. How else are you going to win the ‘bragging rights’ session of your next ARES meeting?

When did you say it was?
The contest is January 9, 2016.  The start time is (for those of us who sleep in) 10 AM through 6 PM Eastern. Yeah, a civilized time-frame that doesn’t rob sleep, and allows time with the family. Why, you can even watch a few cartoons in the morning!

Where you gonna be?
You may operate this contest from anywhere. There are certain benefits for venturing out from your warm, comfortable home station. EOC stations can gain extra points. Portable stations can gain even MORE extra points – that is, if your frozen fingers will still be able to operate a keyboard. Portable stations MUST use portable antennas, nothing permanently attached…kind of like Field Day on ice.  We are not going with any mobile operation this time. The image of a bunch of vehicles running around with portable towers, 150 pounds of antenna hardware and an occasional grounding anchor is best left to the ARRL contesters.

Da Bands – a la’ Mode
Because local emergency communication takes place primarily on the two meter and 70 centimeter bands, the contest is limited to those two bands. Within each band, we will have these modes:  FM Simplex, “Everything else” Simplex; DIGITAL simplex contacts will make up a third mode on each band.  Contacts with a station count once per mode- if you can talk the other guy into abandoning “his frequency” and meeting you on SSB or CW, more power to ya!  NO REPEATER CONTACTS WILL COUNT.  If you get bored, you certainly are welcome to chat amongst yourselves on repeaters, or simplex, or cell phones, or smoke signals.

Da Contacts
The goal is to contact as many different stations in as many different counties as possible. You can make as many overall contacts as you like, they will then be multiplied by the number of counties you’ve reached.  Extra points will be available for contacting an EC, AEC, DEC, ADEC, ASEC or SEC.  Pretty simple- any more complex and we’ll confuse the scorekeepers.

Da Score
Each FM Simplex contact counts as 1 point.
Each non- FM simplex contact counts as 1 point.
Each digital simplex contact counts as 1 point.  (Detect a pattern here?)
Contact with EC, AEC, DEC, ADEC, ASEC or SEC adds 5 points.
Contact with an EOC or with a portable station adds 5 points.
Operation from an EOC add 50 points to your total contact score. 
Operation from a portable location add 100 points to your total contact score.
Total contact score (all bands/modes added together) will be multiplied by the total number of counties you contacted. 

Da Logs
Please use any of the appropriate computer logging programs, paper dupe sheets, a well-worn slide rule or rusty abacus.  Just keep all that to yourself, we can’t find anyone with the time to go through all the detail contacts. Submit an email to “  “ with the following:

Your name:
Group name:
Location:  (City, county)
FM Simplex Contacts:
“Everything else” Simplex Contacts:
Digital Simplex Contacts:
EOC bonus:
Portable bonus:
Total Contact Score (Add above together, but you figured that out already):
Multiply by total number of counties contacted (include your own!):

Bask in the glory of a well thought out, well executed effort!

Definition of acronyms..

EOC           =   Emergency Operations Center
NBEMS     =   Narrow Band Emergency Messaging System
ARES        =    Amateur Radio Emergency Service
SM            =    Section Manager
SEC          =    Section Emergency Coordinator
ASEC        =   Assistant Section Emergency Coordinator
DEC         =    District Emergency Coordinator
ADEC      =   Assistant District Emergency Coordinator
EC           =    Emergency Coordinator
AEC         =   Assistant Emergency Coordinator
CW          =  Continuous Wave
SSB         =   Single-Side Band
FM          =   Frequency Modulation