Carolina DX Association W4DXA

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Rules for the 2018 CDXA FT8 Challenge:

Objective:
Contact amateur stations in as many different 2 degrees by 1 degree Maidenhead 4-digit Grid Squares, using the FT8 protocol only. Find any qrid square location - - > here < - - .

Challenge Period:
0000Z Jan 1 to 2359 Dec 31, 2018

Bands:
80-6 meters, excluding 60 meters

Power:
100 watts maximum power output. 

Logging:
Your WSJT-x ADIF log will be used as the basis for calculating your score.  You must state your output power in your log.  It's easy to do.  When your QSO is complete, a log entry window pops up with a “TX Power” field.  See the sample log window in the Attachment for how it's done.  NOTE:  Please also add your call and the submission date to the log file name before submitting it.  Simply make a copy of the log, change the name to “[YOUR CALL][DATE in Mo. Day format]wsjtx_log.adi” and save it in a separate folder before submitting it.  (See the Attachment for details.)
Log entries without a power level will not be included in your total QSO count, nor will any QSO made at greater than 100 watts.  You may also include QSOs made with other WSJT-x protocols in your log, but, again; only FT8 contacts will count for the FT8 Challenge.

Portable operation:
If you have more than one QTH (whether permanent or temporary) in different Grid Squares, each QTH will be counted separately  Since your Grid Square is part of the normal FT8 exchange, simply make sure your Grid Square is set correctly for the QTH from which you're operating.

Rover Operation:
...is permitted, and encouraged, especially if you announce an operation in advance.  Rover operations will be scored the same as Portable operations.

Remote Operation:
Remote operation is permitted. QSOs are scored for the Grid of the transmitter site.

QSO reporting:
...will be based on the FT8 entries in your WSJT-x ADIF log as stated above.  Logs shall be uploaded in ADIF format to Drop Box at https://tinyurl.com/y7lynkn8.  Directions on the website are simple and self-explanatory.  Logs will be accepted beginning on the 5th of February 2018 for January logs.  You are encouraged, but not required, to upload logs monthly, because we will publish standings monthly in the Pileup.  To meet processing and publishing deadlines, please upload your logs by the 5th of the month following the operating month.  Note that you may simply upload your entire WSJT-x log.  The location of WSJT-x logs is described in the attachment.  Please remember to include your TX power, and put your call and submission date in the log to be uploaded, as described above in Logging.  Your log will be processed by a program, developed by W3OA, which will ensure that only FT8 contacts made at 100 watts or less after 0000Z Jan. 1, 2018, and only new band/Grid Squares are counted. 

Scoring:
Each new Grid Square will count for one point, and each Grid Square can be worked for a point once on each of the 9 operating bands. 

Final logs for the year will be due by 10 January 2019.  The total scores will then be determined.  The scores will be announced in the February “Pileup”.   Prizes will be presented to the high scoring entries and raffle winners, as described below, at the Hamfest Banquet in March, 2019.

Prizes:
At the end of the year, the participant with the highest Band/Grid Square count is the Overall Winner of the 2018 CDXA Grid Square Challenge.  The Overall Winner will be awarded a $50 Amazon Gift Card.  The second place entrant will receive a $25 Amazon Gift Card.  There will also be a raffle which will give all other participants with at least 200 Grid Squares a chance to win one of five $25 Amazon Gift Cards.  Certificates will be awarded for first and second place, and to all entrants with greater than 300 Band/Grid Squares.  Just to put this in perspective, there are 488 Grid Squares in the contiguous 48 states, according to the ARRL.

ATTACHMENT to Rules for the 2018 CDXA FT8 Challenge:

WSJT-x logs are easily located within the WSJT-x program by going to FILE – Open log directory.  In the log directory, you will see two log files:  wsjtx.log is a Cabrillo log file.  wsjtx_log.adi is the ADIF version of your log.  Always, before submitting your log in ADIF format, copy the ADIF log to a separate directory of your choice, and change the name of the file to “[YOUR CALL][DATE in Mo. Day format]wsjtx_log.adi”.   For example: NV4A0205wsjtx_log.adi.

 When a QSO is completed, the form on the right “pops up” in WSJT-x.  As described above under Logging, be sure to add your power level to the form before clicking ENTER to log your contact.

If you don't want to reenter your power level at the end of each QSO, click the “Retain” button next to the “Tx Power” field.

NOTES:
For a description of WSJT-x and to download the latest version (v1.8.0), go to  https://physics.princeton.edu/pulsar/k1jt/wsjtx.html 

Be sure to reread the article on WSJT-x by Bill Turner, W4WNT, in the September 2017 issue of the Pileup. ( http://www.cdxa.org/pileup/archives/cdxa1709.pdf .)

Here's another excellent article:  “...tips for HF DXers on Operating FT8”, by Gary Hinson, ZL2IFB: http://www.g4ifb.com/html/ft8_tips.html

NOTE:  Just because the maximum power permitted for the challenge is 100 watts doesn't mean you should always use that much power.  Look at your signal reports.  If you always have a “+” in front of your report, you might try backing your power off a bit.  Also remember that FT8 is an AFSK mode (8 tones in a bit less than 50 Hz), so your transmitter is always on when you're in Transmit.

Finally, here's a frequency chart you can use to get yourself to where you can expect to find FT8 signals.  With the quickly growing popularity of FT8, you will probably not have much trouble finding plenty of potential QSOs.  FT8 is easy to recognize by sound, and the waterfall display in WSJT-x will show you the signals.  An FT8 signal consists of eight very tightly spaced (about 50Hz total bandwidth) tones. 

80m  3.573
40m  7.074
30m  10.136
20m  14.074
17m  18.100
15m  21.074
12m  24.915
10m  28.074
6m  50.313
Cliff Wagoner, W3ZL
Carolina DX Association
218 Ohenry Ave.
Davidson, NC 28036
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