Meeting Findlay 2016

The next meeting of the Mad River Radio Club will be at 11:00 AM on Sunday, September 11, 2016 during the Findlay Hamfest, held at the Hancock County Fairgrounds in Findlay, Ohio.  The location of the meeting on the hamfest site will be in the covered aluminum grandstands in the center of the fairgrounds (the same location as in 2015).  Also, as has been recent practice, we can expect the meeting to be announced over the public address system in advance.

The Hancock County Fairgrounds is not hard to locate. Referring to the map, exit from I-75 either northbound or southbound at exit 157 and proceed east on SR-12 into town.  Turn right (south) on S Main St for about two blocks, then turn left (east) on SR-568 for about one mile.  The fairgrounds will be on your right.  Access to the parking lot is from the east side of the Fairgrounds.

2016-2017 Budget

At the MRRC meeting during the Dayton Hamvention in May 2016, the club budget for its 2016 fiscal year was presented to the membership and approved by unanamous vote.

2016 Planned Expenditures

Budget Item Description and Detail Payment Due Amount
Web Hosting for MRRC, Michigan QSO Party and Ohio QSO Party web sites

All sites hosted under a single account with qth.com (e.g., no additional expense for multiple sites)

December $120
Web site domain name renewals for MadRiverRadioClub.org, MiQP.org, and OhQP.org May $40
Expenses for the Dayton Hamvention “Suite in the Sun”

(Club hospitality and member sales area in the Dayton Hamvention flea market)

June $150
Commitment of Support for the Contesters SuperSuite at the Crowne Plaza Hotel during the Dayton Hamvention

(This is a max value which is reduced by the amount of beverage sales – in recent years our responsibility has been zero)

June $100
Monetary support to the Ohio QSO Party for operating expenses and awards June $150
Monetary support to the Michigan QSO Party for operating expenses and awards June $150
Total: $710

To Meet This Budget:

We need 36 members paying $20 each  to meet this budget.

20 members pre-paid their 2016 dues totaling $284, (some at the old $12 rate, some at the new $20 rate)

17 members paid dues at the Dayton meeting,

so we only need 5 more members to pay dues to meet this budget

2015 OhQP Portable Summit County – NZ8O, K8CC-op

The Ohio QSO Party (OhQP) is a contest which I greatly enjoy.  It runs a convenient 12 hours over a Saturday afternoon & evening, has clear rules and is sponsored by MRRC.  Over the years, I’ve participated in the contest in a variety of ways.  Four times, I’ve been a mobile entry, driving around Ohio activating various Ohio counties in my Jeep with a partner.  Twice I’ve been part of a multi-operator team from K9TM’s QTH in Sylvania, OH, and twice as a full-time out-of-state entry from my home QTH in nearby Michigan.  But my late mother grew up in Akron, OH and I still have relatives who live there south of the city in Summit County.  For years, I’ve thought it would be fun to do a portable OhQP operation from their QTH.

A family visit three weeks before the 2015 OhQP provided an opportunity to broach the subject with my relatives and scope out their yard for antenna possibilities.  My aunt and uncle readily agreed to allow me to come operate from their QTH.  They live on an acre lot in a quiet rural setting, and I noticed they had empty flag pole in their yard.  It appeared to be only 20’ tall, but was surrounded by open space and would make a perfect dipole support.  I paced off the distance (70’) to their nearby garage for estimating the amount of feedline I’d need.  The garage was clean and offered a good operating location.  My relatives said that mosquitoes would not likely be a problem in August and so my plans for the operation were starting to take shape.

I went back to Michigan and started making a list and collecting equipment that I would need for my operation.  The first consideration was the antenna.  I wanted to take maximum advantage of the OhQP rules which count QSOs on 80M thru 10M, on both CW and phone, with scoring that encourages multi-band, multi-mode operation.  At the same time, I didn’t want to clutter my relatives’ yard with a bunch of antennas which would require a lot of time and effort to install and make my operation glaringly obvious to their neighbors.  I settled on a G5RV dipole which is 102’ long with a 34’ ladder-line feeder with a run of coax to reach the operating position in the garage.

Rather than build a G5RV dipole, I simply purchased one off the Internet from RadioWorks (http://www.radioworks.com).  I chose this particular G5RV because the antenna and ladder line were made of stranded wire which would be easier to install and take down in a portable setting.  The antenna arrived two weeks before my trip so I hung it temporarily at my home QTH to test it.  Being a simple multi-band antenna, the G5RV is a compromise which presents moderate to high SWR on the coax feedline and use of an antenna tuner is recommended.  I wanted to see if the automatic tuner built into my Yaesu FT-1000MP transceiver would match the antenna adequately.

I set up the transceiver in my garage and ran 100’ of RG-58 coax to the G5RV.  I tested this setup on the recommended OhQP frequencies and found that the auto-tuner in the transceiver would tune the antenna satisfactorily.  Casual operation during the August SSB North American QSO Party yielded 36 QSOs on 80M, 40M and 20M, made with reasonable effort so I was satisfied that the antenna performance was adequate.  However, I decided to bring along a Drake MN-2000 coax-to-coax tuner “just in case”.  As will be seen later, this was a fortuitous decision…

The Friday morning before OhQP, I loaded my Jeep Cherokee with all the things I’d need for my operation.  Besides the G5RV dipole, various lengths of coax, tuner, transceiver, keyer paddle, foot switch, headset and a small tool kit, I brought an Acer mini-desktop computer, keyboard and monitor for logging.  I chose the desktop computer vs. a laptop for its bigger screen display, full-sized keyboard and built-in voice keyer for phone operation.  Since I was traveling by car, the extra weight and bulk was not a problem and it was nice to have the home station amenities.  I packed a card table to operate on, a desk lamp, a box fan (in case it got warm) and a fleece hoodie (in case it got cold).  I also packed a picnic cooler with Coca-Cola and a sub sandwich for meals, with some pop-tarts and granola bars for snacks.

It was mid-afternoon Friday when I set out on my adventure.  It is only about a 3-1/2 hour drive from my QTH to my relatives’, and it was a perfect summer day.  Traffic was moderate and I arrived about 7:00 PM, after they had finished supper.

After some family chatting, with the help of an adult cousin we had the antenna hung from the flag pole just as it was getting dark.  30 minutes later, the station was set up on the card table, which is when things got interesting.  Contrary to the testing at my home QTH, in Ohio the FT-1000MP would not tune the G5RV dipole properly on any band other than 20M.  The only differences were that the antenna was about 10’ lower in Ohio, and I had decided to use 100’ of RG-213 rather than RG-58 to reduce loss, but that had also been tested in Michigan before the antenna was taken down for the trip.  Switching to a shorter 50’ length of RG-213 did not help.

On Saturday morning, I put the MN-2000 antenna tuner in line, and started to pre-mark knob settings for each band-mode.  On some frequencies, like 75M phone and anywhere on 40M, the MN-2000 could only match the antenna to about a 2:1 or 3:1 and it was necessary to have the auto-tuner activated to “finish the job” to 1:1.

Nevertheless, we were ready to go when the contest started at 16Z (noon local time) and after all of the preparation, it was a relief just to sit down and operate.  I set up on 7044 KHz CW and ran 15 stations in the first 10 minutes so things were looking good.  But it wouldn’t last…

I didn’t have an Internet connection so I didn’t know that there had been a Coronal Mass Ejection (CME) from the sun, I only knew that I wasn’t working many in-state (Ohio) stations.  I also didn’t have much experience with such a low dipole to know what to expect.  Eventually, as things slowed down on CW I had to QSY up to 40 SSB and while I could get answers to CQs, the rate was slower and I finished the first hour with 47 QSOs.

This is where my operating strategy had to reflect the OhQP rules.  CW QSOs are worth double points and could be made at a faster rate, but the all-important multipliers are counted once on CW and once on phone, so for best score at times my small antenna station had to crawl along at slow rates on phone to get the phone multipliers.

This set the pattern for the afternoon: CW first on a band, then go to phone for as long as its productive.  17Z was only 37 QSOs, mostly 40 phone.  18Z was my first shot at 20M with results similar to 40M; decent rates on CW, phone not so much and a total of 44 QSOs.  19Z it was back to 40M for 58 QSOs, mostly phone.  20Z was a full hour on 40 CW for 38 QSOs.  Experience from mobiling in OhQP had taught me that 40 phone can be good in the 21Z hour, a combination of decreasing D-layer absorption and European BC QRM that is not yet audible.   I went to 40 phone and yes, it was a little better with rate (20 QSOs in 23 minutes) to go with some QSOs on 20M resulting in 34 for the hour.

Up to this point, I had not worked very many Ohio stations and there were a lot of Ohio counties missing on my multiplier sheet.  I was hoping that 80M/75M would correct that beginning in the 22Z hour.  I went to 75M first, hoping to get there before the band got taken over by the “pig farmers” and other curmudgeonly band residents.  I started at the low end of the OhQP activity and worked my way up the band doing “search and pounce”.  The rate was only fair, but nearly every QSO was a new multiplier.  Eventually, I found an empty hole at 3869 KHz, and started calling CQ uncontested.  The result for the hour was 34 QSOs with 27 on 75M, and 15 new multipliers.

Experience has taught me that if you can get a frequency on 75M, stick with it until it dries up so the 23Z hour was more of the same.  I ran 38 stations during the hour, all on 75M; only fair rate but 12 more new multipliers.  The string continued into the 00Z hour for 13 more QSOs before I QSY’d to CW, hoping to repeat the success.  The rate there was not spectacular, but 26 more QSOs went into the log in 48 minutes along with a bunch of CW multipliers.

01Z was my best hour of the contest, with 41 QSOs on 80 CW and 31 on 40 CW for 72 QSOs total.  For whatever reason (perhaps the dissipating effects of the solar CME), the conditions on 40M were simply spectacular.  I was working everywhere; eastern stations, western stations, in-state Ohio stations, and another bunch of multipliers on CW.  The excellent conditions continued into the 02Z hour for 66 more QSOs on 40 CW and 12 more CW multipliers.

For the last hour of the contest, I went to 40 phone for a little while; not many stations but the first five in a row were all new phone multipliers.  I went to 20 phone for a little while which still had activity and I hoped to snag some western multipliers (I never did work CA on phone the entire contest) but only three stations and no new mults answered my CQs.  I finished the contest on 75M and had a total of 47 QSOs in the hour, all on phone.

Here are my results:

Band CW avg rate phone avg rate
80 84 55 78 34
40 190 58 128 40
20 41 44 18 23
15 0 0
10 0 0
total 315 55 224 36
multipliers 76 75

Final Score: (315 CW QSOs x 2) + (224 Ph QSOs x 1) x (76 + 75 multipliers) = 128,954

Overall, I’m pleased with the results which place me fourth among single-operator/low power entries in the claimed scores made public thus far.  The old record from Summit County for SOLP entries was 24,288 points, so I think I did pretty well with my little portable station.

Comparing the average rates between CW and phone, it would appear that I could have made more QSOs had I spent more time on CW.  However, I think the nearly identical multiplier totals for CW and phone are indicative that I used the correct strategy for best score.

I would like to do another similar operation in OhQP next year.  The only things I would change is to get the antenna a little higher (perhaps using a taller portable mast supported by the flag pole) and a better antenna tuner configuration (perhaps an automatic antenna tuner like the MFJ-927 located at the feedpoint end of the G5RV ladder line).

I hope this article gives the reader an example of what is possible with even a simple setup in OhQP, and perhaps inspires them to try something similar themselves in the future.

Meetings

Because MRRC covers such a large geographic area, and the somewhat specialized nature of our primary interest, the club tends not to have regular in-person meetings.  Over its 30 year history, the club has developed it’s meeting schedule to match it’s member’s interests, holding meetings at related events and augmenting these with “local” or specialized meetings as member interest requires.

Following this methodology, MRRC has three meetings on the schedule for 2017.  Click on the hyperlinks to see details about that meetings:

Christmas Party (Saturday 14-Jan 2017 @ 2:00PM) Aurora, OH
Dayton Hamvention (Saturday of 3rd weekend in May) Dayton, OH
Findlay Hamfest (Sunday of 2nd weekend in September) Findlay, OH

The Christmas Party meeting, historically held just after New Years at K8MR’s QTH in Cleveland OH, has been moved to 1500 Danner Drive Aurora, OH 44202.

MRRC Email Reflector

    One of the ways MRRC members stay in touch with each other, and get their club news, is via MRRC’s e-mail reflector.  For those not familiar with e-mail reflectors, it is a mailing list where any e-mails sent to it are “reflected” back to all of the users subscribed to it; sort of an e-mail “party line”.

    The MRRC e-mail reflector is open to anyone – you don’t have to be a member to subscribe; perhaps to learn what the club is all about.  While the reflector is not “moderated” (where a club official would have to approve any e-mail to it), courteous use of the reflector will limit e-mails to topics of interest to the club and its members.

    There is no cost to subscribe to the MRRC E-mail Reflector. To join, send an email to

mrrc-request@contesting.com

    You must include the word “subscribe” (without quotes) in the body of the message.  Once you’ve subscribed, the list server will send you an e-mail confirming subscription, along with instructions in managing options in how you receive e-mails from the reflector, and how to unsubscribe.

    To send an e-mail to the reflector, simply address it to:

mrrc@contesting.com

    Please note that the above e-mail addresses are not actually text (which can be clicked on to send the e-mail, but are instead graphical images of the addresses to prevent automated Internet robots from grabbing the addresses and bombarding the reflector with spam.

    It is not recommended that you subscribe to the reflector through a forwarding address like arrl.org or similar. You have to send all your postings to the forwarding address, which then sends it to the reflector. The reflector then has to send the postings it distributes to the forwarding address, which then sends it to you. While this WILL work, it slows everything down for no good reason.

Mad River History

By Jim Stahl, K8MR
(Reprinted from the April, 1985 MRRC Flash)
With minor updating by K8CC

In the beginning there was the Potomac Valley Radio Club and the Frankford Radio Club.  In radio contests, they would compete against each other, and when it was all over they would congratulate each other, and say it was good.

Over the years, FRC drifted away from domestic contests and toward DX contests.  Murphy’s Marauders was born and took on the job of providing competition for PVRC.  It was still all simple, and it was good.

In the spring of 1970, at the urging of people from the other side of the country, the ARRL Board of Directors voted to extend the limits for club territories in Affiliated Club Competitions to 175 miles.  The Atlantic Division director was not sure that this was good, and asked to be recorded as voting against.  The July 1970 issue of QST announced this change, with the Operating News column including examples hypothetical such as a New York City club which could cover from Baltimore to Boston.

Living in the center of Ohio was Dick Bennett, K8EHU (now K8MZ).  He looked at what the new radius would cover in his neighborhood.  He also considered what might be covered by careful location of the center of this 175 mile radius circle.  With a paper cutout and a Gulf road map, he discovered that it would cover such cities as Detroit, Indianapolis, Louisville, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh and Cleveland.

At the Dayton Hamvention® in 1971, K8EHU approached various “big gun” contesters about forming a club covering such an area.  On Saturday morning, April 24, 1971, a group of a dozen or so contesters ate breakfast together at the VJ Pancake House, across the street from the Dayton Sheraton hotel (later the Biltmore Towers, then Stouffer’s, and today known as the Dayton Crowne Plaza hotel) which was the downtown hamfest hotel in those days (and still is).

Over pancakes and eggs, the contesters decided to go ahead with the proposed club.  Naturally, the question arose of what to call the club?  The Ohio-Michigan-Indiana-Kentucky-West Virginia-Pennsylvania-Ontario Contest Club somehow didn’t make it.  Where again was the club center?  No, the Wapakoneta Radio Club wouldn’t do either.  What’s this river running through Western Ohio?  The Mad River?  Sold!  The group also decided to make the 1971 Sweepstakes their first serious effort in the Affiliated Club Competition, elected K8EHU the first “Big Fish”, and then left to go forth, multiply, and search for flea market bargains…

The first club membership list, published in the second issue of the Flash listed 36 members including (with today’s callsigns) N4AR, K5TM, K7GM, K7NHV, KU7U, N8AA, K8BPX, K8MZ, WB8EUN, K8IA, W8KIC (sk), K8MR, K8NZ, NA8V, W8WPC, N9RV and K8RR (sk).  Each subsequent issue of the Flash listed more new members.  The weekly net on 75 meters was bustling with activity.  By SS time the club roster had grown to 154 members.  Needless to say, during the Sweepstakes weekends the bands were filled with the sound of “GO MAD RIVER!” as members greeted each other.  Naturally, all this caught the attention of the PVRC and Murphy’s.  When the SS dust settled, it was a close finish with MRRC out in front.  As the Flash put it:

“The SS results have not been taken well on the East Coast, especially by many of Murphy’s members.  It has also been reported that many PVRC members do not like our victory, but have generally accepted the situation like the sportsmen and gentlemen they have long been respected for.  On the other hand, some of Murphy’s members are very bitter and acting very frustrated.  However, we expected this reaction.”

Murphy’s did protest.  The SS results were published in the May 1972 QST with MRRC first with 9,960,874 points from 174 entries, with K7NHV operating from the MSU club station, W8SH winning both modes.  PVRC took second with 8.79 million points from 133 entries, and Murphys’ was third with 7.36 million points from 116 entries.  The MRRC line score contained the infamous asterisk, indicating that the validity of the entry was in question and would be determined later.  There was much haggling back and forth with ARRL HQ over whether certain MRRC members were indeed within the 175 mile radius, and whether needed to have any in-person meetings at all (the rules at that time said nothing on this topic).  A QST “Stray” in the June 1972 issue announced that the MRRC had been disqualified, and the club gavel went to PVRC.

K8CC addendum: “One of the other controversies raised about MRRC’s 1972 SS club entry is that new members were being recruited to join the club during the contest(s), in order to contribute their score to MRRC.  While this did not violate any rules in place at the time, it certainly contributed to the discussions at the ARRL which led to the “four in-person meetings per year” requirement which wasn’t instituted until much later (see below).”

At a Mad River dinner the following Spring at Dayton, the then ARRL President W2HD attempted to soothe feelings, but instead managed to give one of the better “foot-in-mouth” performances in recent times.  He told the club that as an experienced contester himself, he knew that “when Murphy strikes,  Murphy strikes hard”.  But MRRC already knew…

MRRC submitted a much smaller entry in the 1972 Sweepstakes, but it was ignored.  No specific rules for club entries were adopted until 1974 a requirement for four in-person meetings per year as instituted.  By 1975, interest in MRRC was again bubbling up, based around holding the four meetings at popular hamfests within MRRC territory.  Prompted by K8MR and K8NZ, a reorganization meeting was held at the ARRL Great Lakes Division convention in October 1975.  By the time of the 1976 Dayton Hamvention®,  the club was back to full strength.  K8NZ was elected “Big Fish”, succeeding club founder K8EHU who was keeping himself busy enough with law school in the evenings.  The club’s entry in the 1976 Sweepstakes Club Competition was accepted with no issue at ARRL HQ, taking fourth place with 3.7 million points from 42 entries.  The 1997 ARRL DX tests were the club’s first effort in a DX contest club competition.

MRRC was by then off and running, quickly becoming an active force in contesting, a legitimate contender for club awards, and frequent contest/DXpeditions by its members.

SO2R What it is, and how to Get Started

By Dave Pruett, K8CC

SO2R – probably no other term in amateur radio contesting is more talked about, and less often understood.  Some contesters want to implement it, while others want it delegated to its own category in contests.  This article will talk about what SO2R is, what you need to implement it, and what you might want to do with it.

First, what is SO2R?  SO2R means “Single-Operator, Two Radios”.  I would expand that definition to “a single operator using a second receiver to listen and search for new stations to work while his first radio is transmitting”.  (OK, so that mouthful doesn’t fit the four-letter acronym.)  However, this describes the fundamental advantage to SO2R, which solves the perpetual dilemma for the contester: whether to call CQ hoping to attract a station to work, or to search for one.  With SO2R, there is no dilemma because the contester can do both at once.  While the computer or other automated device calls CQ, the contester can devote their attention to finding new stations to work on the second receiver enabled by the SO2R system.

SO2R is NOT transmitting on two radios simultaneously.  To the best of my knowledge, every major contest sponsor restricts single-operators to a single transmitted signal at any instant in time, and an SO2R setup which meets this criteria will have some sort of hardware circuit and/or software logic in the logging program to ensure that this requirement is met.

Next, what do you need to do SO2R?  The most fundamental item is a second transceiver.  It might seem that a second receiver is all that is needed, but after finding a new station on the second receiver, working that new station (which is the point, after all) is much easier if the second receiver comes with its own transmitter.  Some people (and at least one transceiver manufacturer) claim that SO2R is possible with a single transceiver with a sub-receiver.  Ten-Tec floated this claim when their Orion transceiver came to market some time ago because it has separate antenna connections for the sub-receiver.  The Yaesu FT-1000D which is the basis of my K8CC contest station has the same thing, but both the FT-1000D and the Orion fail in that most basic SO2R precept: “receiving on the second receiver while the transmitter transmits“.

The next requirement for SO2R is having enough antennas to provide for the desired band combinations of transmitting and receiving on the second receiver.  This is both a hardware question and a strategy question which can be contest and geographically dependent  If your station has all mono-band antennas, a relay switching matrix like the KK1L box or the Array Solutions Six-Pack will allow either radio to be on any band, allowing all band combinations.  But most stations have one or more multi-band antennas and so some compromises are necessary.  For example, in Sweepstakes 40M is the most important band so I’ve done SS SO2R with one radio dedicated to 40M, and the other radio to the remaining bands.  If you have a tri-band beam and dipoles for 80M and 40M, such an arrangement is possible as long as the 40M dipole has its own feedline.

Another consideration regarding antennas for an SO2R station is the isolation between one antenna being used to transmit and another antenna being used to receive at the same time.  If too much transmitted energy is picked up an antenna being used to receive, the receiver can be damaged.  Designing the antenna farm to prevent this is a technical problem beyond the scope of this basic article, but common sense and intuition can go a long way.  The two most effective tools to enhance isolation between two antennas is distance and cross polarization.  Each time the distance between two antennas is doubled, the energy coupled between them is reduced by 9 dB.  The isolation between cross polarized antennas  such as a horizontal dipole and a vertical monopole is approximately -20 dB, but both antennas have to be as close to straight as possible.  For example, an inverted-vee and a vertical will have less isolation because the sloping wires of the inverted-vee radiate with both vertical and horizontal energy.  But the ultimate tool for augmenting isolation between antennas in an SO2R station are bandpass filters such as those sold by Dunestar and Array Solutions which are inserted in the feedline.  Such filters restrict the energy flowing on the coax to only the band of interest, which reduces the undesired energy which makes it to your receiver and can cause damage to it.

Another factor in the layout of an SO2R station relates to the “competitive goodness” of your two radios.  If you have two “equivalently good” radios, then either can be used for running stations (what I refer to as “symmetrical” SO2R) and the 40M/non-40M strategy described in the previous paragraph makes sense.  But if you have one “good” radio and one “not-so-good” radio, you might want to put all of your best antennas on the “good” radio for running stations, and let the “non-so-good” radio make due with a lesser antenna like a trap vertical.  A less-capable station might not be adequate for running stations but can be perfectly adequate for answering other stations, particularly in domestic contests.

One last point about transceiver selection for SO2R.  It is a tremendous advantage IMHO to have two identical radios in terms of manufacturer, models, IF filter selections, etc.  One of the most difficult SO2R setups I’ve ever used was a Drake C-Line and a Kenwood TS-830.  The two radios were completely dissimilar in terms of features and control layouts.  The VFO knobs even spun in opposite directions!  Each time I switched radios my brain had to adapt to the different controls.  About drove me crazy by the end of the contest.

The final requirement for SO2R is to have switching hardware to select which radio the operator is listening to (or both simultaneously) and which radio gets the voicekeyer/mic/ptt/CW keying signal.  The listening/transmitting selections must be independent, and as noted earlier simultaneous operation of both transmitters must be prevented .  Homebrew switchboxes are easy to build and can be customized to your own SO2R strategy and equipment layout.  The TopTen Devices DXDoubler and the YCCC SO2R Box Plus are examples of commercially available switchboxes.  Many modern logging programs offer SO2R control capabilities, but then you are locked into adopting their style of SO2R so choose carefully.

Finally, you need to decide what you’re going to use SO2R for?  At the least, SO2R can be used to check activity on another band to help make band changing decisions (SO2R Lite?)  Maximum effort SO2R goes to the second receiver each time the transmitter calls CQ/QRZ or sends a contest exchange (Full-gonzo SO2R?).  The more you use your SO2R capability, the more potential there is for improvement to your score.  But your brain will also be working harder, and you may be more fatigued at the end of the contest, or even have a headache!

Hopefully, this brief article will help to get you a started in your implementation of SO2R.

ARRL Club Competition Circle

If you hang around MRRC long enough, you’ll eventually hear people refer to the “Club Circle”  There seems to be a fair amount of confusion as to what the circle is (or isn’t) so we thought it would be a good idea to explain the whole thing.

The history of the club circle dates back to 1972, when the ARRL, in order to prevent the formation of huge, artificial contest clubs that only existed on paper, made a rule for clubs entering an ARRL Affiliated Club Competition in the Medium and Unlimited categories that all members contributing scores for that competition had to reside within a 175 mile diameter circle.

The effect of this rule is that for ARRL Club Competitions, a club such as MRRC has to identify a geographic club center  and submit a roster to the ARRL showing all club members and stations that are located within 175 miles of the club center.  The ARRL then will only count scores from members/stations from that roster when totaling MRRC’s club score.

MRRC’s original club center in 1972 was selected to be at Marion, OH, which is east of Lima and north of Columbus.  This location was chosen to encompass the population of MRRC members, as it was at that time.  Since then, the circle has been moved twice to reflect changes in the club’s demographics.  In the early 90s the center was moved northwest to Findlay, to better cover the growing membership base in Michigan.  The club center has remained at Findlay to this day.

The map below illustrates the current club circle, covering a 175 mile radius from Findlay, OH (EN81eb).  The circle covers essentially all of Ohio except for a small area at the south.  It also covers approximately one-third of Michigan’s lower peninsula. In the process, it also covers a large portion of Indiana, which is of no benefit to MRRC since we have no members there (and most contesters belong to the Society Of Midwest Contesters (SoMC)).

Club_Circle

Some things to understand about the MRRC Club Circle:

  1. The club circle only applies to score submissions for ARRL Club Competitions such as SS, ARRL 160, ARRL 10 and ARRL DX.  It does not apply for score submissions in contests sponsored by the NCJ, CQ Magazine, or others.
  2. The club circle has nothing to do with membership in MRRC. Everyone is welcome to join MRRC – you do not have to live or operate from within the club circle to be a member.
  3. As mentioned earlier, the club tries to position the circle to cover the maximum number of club members.  We do not adjust the club circle from contest to contest. If you find yourself outside the circle, and you’d like to be inside, please contact club officers K8CC or K1LT to indicate your interest, and the club will look into a way to accommodate your request. Moving the club circle is considered official club business and requires a membership vote at an official club meeting (historically, this has been done at the Dayton meeting).

Hopefully, this information will clear up any misunderstanding about the MRRC Club Circle and what it applies to.