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Subelement E2
OPERATING PROCEDURES
Section E2C
Operating methods: contest and DX operating; remote operation techniques; Cabrillo format; QSLing; RF network connected systems
Which of the following is true about contest operating?
  • Operators are permitted to make contacts even if they do not submit a log
  • Interference to other amateurs is unavoidable and therefore acceptable
  • It is mandatory to transmit the call sign of the station being worked as part of every transmission to that station
  • Every contest requires a signal report in the exchange

The FCC has no requirement to identify the station you are speaking with, or to provide signal reports of stations being contacted. There is currently no longer a mandate to submit any logs. Interference to other amateurs is bad radio practice, and should be avoided where possible.

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Which of the following best describes the term self-spotting in regards to HF contest operating?
  • The generally prohibited practice of posting one's own call sign and frequency on a spotting network
  • The acceptable practice of manually posting the call signs of stations on a spotting network
  • A manual technique for rapidly zero beating or tuning to a station's frequency before calling that station
  • An automatic method for rapidly zero beating or tuning to a station's frequency before calling that station

There are online services called "spotting networks" where people can post which callsigns they have been able to hear / make contact with. In a contest it is nearly always against the rules (and always considered bad form) to "self spot" -- that is, to post your own callsign and frequency to the network.

Don't do it =]

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From which of the following bands is amateur radio contesting generally excluded?
  • 30 m
  • 6 m
  • 2 m
  • 33 cm

On the HF bands, for example, operating on the “WARC bands,” is normally prohibited. Therefore, 30 meters is one band on which amateur radio contesting is generally excluded. (E2C03). The other “WARC bands” are 17 meters and 12 meters. They were named after the World Administrative Radio Conference, which in 1979 created a worldwide allocation of these bands for amateur use. Due to their relatively small bandwidth of 100 kHz or less, there is a sort of gentlemen's agreement that the WARC bands may not be used for general contesting.

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What type of transmission is most often used for a ham radio mesh network?
  • Spread spectrum in the 2.4 GHz band
  • Multiple Frequency Shift Keying in the 10 GHz band
  • Store and forward on the 440 MHz band
  • Frequency division multiplex in the 24 GHz band

Mesh networks most often use commercial off-the-shelf WiFi equipment in the 2.4 GHz range, using amateur privileges to run higher power and gain than allowed under Part 15 operation.

[Suggested memory hint: mesh => wide net => spread apart => spread spectrum]

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What is the function of a DX QSL Manager?
  • To allocate frequencies for DXpeditions
  • To handle the receiving and sending of confirmation cards for a DX station
  • To run a net to allow many stations to contact a rare DX station
  • To relay calls to and from a DX station

QSL cards are sent to confirm radio contact. Knowing that, it makes sense that a QSL Manager is someone who handles the sending and receiving of confirmation cards.

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During a VHF/UHF contest, in which band segment would you expect to find the highest level of activity?
  • At the top of each band, usually in a segment reserved for contests
  • In the middle of each band, usually on the national calling frequency
  • In the weak signal segment of the band, with most of the activity near the calling frequency
  • In the middle of the band, usually 25 kHz above the national calling frequency

Because the VHF & UHF bands often require line of sight, during a contest most activity will concentrate on pulling in weaker signals at the edge of propagation or experimenting with weaker propagation modes like Sporadic-E and Tropo Ducting.

As a result, most of the activity will be found in the weak-signal portions of the bands, often just a few steps away from the calling frequencies. Additionally, US band plans do not define any portions specifically for contesting.

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What is the Cabrillo format?
  • A standard for submission of electronic contest logs
  • A method of exchanging information during a contest QSO
  • The most common set of contest rules
  • The rules of order for meetings between contest sponsors

The Cabrillo standard file format has revolutionised the world of amateur radio competitions. Log files can now be emailed in for adjudication from a variety of different logging software programs

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Which of the following contacts may be confirmed through the U.S. QSL bureau system?
  • Special event contacts between stations in the U.S.
  • Contacts between a U.S. station and a non-U.S. station
  • Repeater contacts between U.S. club members
  • Contacts using tactical call signs

The QSL bureau system was established to help members reduce the costs and hassles of international postage for QSL cards headed to foreign amateurs by packaging many cards headed to the same destination together in one shipment.

Because mailing a QSL card within the US is fairly cheap and easy, the bureau does not facilitate distribution of these cards.

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What type of equipment is commonly used to implement a ham radio mesh network?
  • A 2 meter VHF transceiver with a 1200 baud modem
  • An optical cable connection between the USB ports of 2 separate computers
  • A standard wireless router running custom software
  • A 440 MHz transceiver with a 9600 baud modem

Normal wifi 2.4GHz / 5.8GHz wireless equipment can be used for mesh networking, as the ISM bands used for wifi overlap with amateur allocations.

Amateurs are permitted to use higher power levels (sometimes this can be done in software, or sometimes it requires an external amplifier) and gain antennas than the secondary ISM allocation.

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Why might a DX station state that they are listening on another frequency?
  • Because the DX station may be transmitting on a frequency that is prohibited to some responding stations
  • To separate the calling stations from the DX station
  • To improve operating efficiency by reducing interference
  • All of these choices are correct

Amateur stations transmitting in foreign countries or regions may have different operating privileges than the receiving stations. In order for a contact to be made, the DX Station must transmit on his authorized frequencies and receive the frequencies permitted to the responding stations.

Also, separating the transmit and receive frequencies can cause less of a "pile up" of callers for the DX station.

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How should you generally identify your station when attempting to contact a DX station during a contest or in a pileup?
  • Send your full call sign once or twice
  • Send only the last two letters of your call sign until you make contact
  • Send your full call sign and grid square
  • Send the call sign of the DX station three times, the words "this is", then your call sign three times

In pileups, there are a multitude of operators all transmitting at once in the hopes that the other station (in this case the DX station) will hear their call sign and answer. It's usually hard to pick out

Knowing this, process of elimination:

Sending full callsign and grid square would be annoying/confusing because grid squares are also comprised of letters and numbers which could be mistaken as a call sign.

Sending only the last two letters is brief, yes, but leaves a lot of room for confusion because there's a chance that there's someone else in the pileup that also has those two letters. Also, the DX station will just have to ask for clarification if he/she hears you, which is a waste of time in pileups and contests.

Sending the DX's call, "this is", then yours, etc. is way too much repetition. Also, it's pretty clear if you're in the pileup that you're trying to reach the DX station. No need to say their call repeatedly, too.

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What might help to restore contact when DX signals become too weak to copy across an entire HF band a few hours after sunset?
  • Switch to a higher frequency HF band
  • Switch to a lower frequency HF band
  • Wait 90 minutes or so for the signal degradation to pass
  • Wait 24 hours before attempting another communication on the band

As solar flux decreases and the maximum usable frequency (MUF) becomes lower long distance traffic on the higher frequency bands are the first to vanish but conditions may still allow traffic at lower frequencies.


Study tip: Sun gets lower in the sky at sunset....lower frequency.

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What indicator is required to be used by U.S.-licensed operators when operating a station via remote control where the transmitter is located in the U.S.?
  • / followed by the USPS two letter abbreviation for the state in which the remote station is located
  • /R# where # is the district of the remote station
  • The ARRL section of the remote station
  • No additional indicator is required

If you are utilizing remote control of a US station then the rules simply require that the station operate correctly. There is no requirement to add any sort of indicator. Remember that you are still the control operator, even if the control point is not physically located where the station is (i.e. the station is under remote control).

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