SPECIAL NOTE: The “A” 1×1 call sign has been changed to “N4A”. A review of the call signs to look for are: N4T, N4A, N4R, N4H, N4E, W4E, and N4L I have noticed that there are a few other 1×1 calls that have been reserved for SC/NC QP weekend and that’s great, but they are not part of this official spelling bee event.
2020 will be here before we know it and change is afoot for NCQP. Without beating around the bush I’ll just get right to it. The bonus stations W4DW, NI4BK, W1VOA, and NC4QP have been retired from their status as extra points in the scoring system. You will still hear these hallmark stations on the air, but they will be regular QSO points like all others. In addition, the two “bonus counties” will no longer be in play for any special scoring advantage. This is a big step we’re taking but we believe it’s the right direction in keeping NCQP vibrant and healthy for years to come.
Now for the exciting news. Replacing the old bonus system this year is a new “TARHEEL” Spelling Bee. Basically, seven special stations with 1×1 calls will be on the air during the entire 10 hour event. The letters in each of the call suffixes will spell out the word “TARHEEL”. The calls to look for are: N4T, W4A, N4R, N4H, N4E, W4E, and N4L.
Like the old bonus system, working these will get you an extra 50 points each (350 possible) plus an extra 200 for sweeping them all (550 total). This is added to your score after QSO’s and multipliers have been calculated.
Working a sweep will qualify you for a very nice personalized certificate that will be sent to you electronically. In addition, each op who achieves this will receive, free of charge, a commemorative coffee cup to celebrate their accomplishment. Kind of like the ARRL Sweepstakes clean sweep mug except NCQP picks up the tab. (Actually our great sponsors do that!)
The 1×1 bonus stations are already selected and have the special 1×1 calls assigned for March 1-2, 2020. We’ll let everyone know who they are after the event.
Good hunting, looking forward to hearing everyone on the air for NCQP 2020!
Marty / W4MY
PS: There’s no need to make a separate application if you achieve the TARHEEL sweep. Logbot will get that out of your log when you submit it. Be sure to have your address correct in the Cabrillo header so your cup will come to the right place! We will also probably list the folks who got the sweep in the 2020 results.
Since I’ve been NCQP chairman the second most asked question to me was, “…why doesn’t NCQP have (a) multi-op category(s)?” My answer has always been that that is taken care of by our club categories and expedition to a lessor extent.
Well, that’s changing. For In-State operators 2019 was the last year for all of the club categories. Essentially, they are being replaced by new multi-2 categories Mixed-LP, Mixed-HP, and SSB-LP. Any group, in or out of state, using any call can have up to two simultaneous signals now. Club groups can certainly enter one of these new categories as they always have done, but now they are sharing entry and competition with any group wishing to compete similarly.
In-State ops note there is no change to the expedition or mobile category. All the old rules are still intact. One transmitted signal maximum regardless of how many folks are in the group. This doesn’t mean a group wanting to do a multi-2 can’t go on an expedition and set up Field Day style. It’s just that they would enter as a Multi-2 and not have the benefits of an Expedition class (i.e., moving to a new county.) So its a strategy decision we’re leaving to the participants.
Check the 2020 rules if you have a group that wants to enter a multi-2 log in the next NCQP. I look forward to working many of the new groups next year.
Marty / W4MY
Working all 100 North Carolina counties in a 10 hour period is a very overwhelming and difficult task. In the past few years a couple ops have approached working 80% of them. Of course, all 100 counties must be activated and on the air in order for a sweep to even be possible. This is where our expeditions and mobiles play a critical roll. There are quite a few NC counties with almost no active hams residing in them.
We are ramping up our effort to get all 100 counties on the air and changing the county award. No more “Worked most counties” awards. We’re going for broke. The award is for a 100 county Sweep. To my knowledge, this has never been done since NCQP started in the early 70’s. The first person to achieve a full NC county sweep will receive a very fancy (read: expensive!) plaque with annotation it being THE FIRST EVER NC county sweep. Second, a $100 cash prize, and third, I will travel to anywhere in the continental USA to personally present your award before your peers at your local club meeting or time of your choosing.
This is a huge deal for us on the committee and we are all looking forward to the day this FIRST award is presented. To help this along, a few small, but important, rule changes are being made. Every In-State op can count the county they make their QSOs from as part of the sweep (only 99 more!) Expeditions, mobiles; same thing applies. Each county operated from checks off the sweep total regardless if you made a QSO to someone else in the county from which you were physically in operating.
Note these “county credits” only apply to adjudicating the status of your sweep. Score multiplier rules are unchanged. Mults are only posted and calculated in your points for your operating county if you actually work someone else who is there also.
Marty / W4MY
PS: In the rare situation we have more than one “sweep” next year, #1 will be given to the op who completes it first during the event. Lets hope we have that problem!
Another one is in the books! Go to the Results tab above to see the 2019 Results. The plaques are currently at the engraver getting done and will be sent out soon. Congratulations to all the winners. Second place certificates will be going out shortly also. Thanks again to everyone for making NCQP and The Carolina Weekend a spectacular success!
Hope everyone has been thinking about their planned activity for this year and are ready to proceed. Its only a short time to go!
You’ve probably noticed some changes to the scoring of digital QSOs. They are worth 5 points now. A big incentive to get on this exciting mode. This should stir up some interesting results in the mixed categories for those who make use of Digital extensively. We’ll see how it goes!
Speaking of Digital, there have been a number of questions concerning the new WSJT-X (FT-8) software in the new “contest” mode recently added. Unfortunately, state QSO parties are not yet supported. After much research and discussion by our committee I’ve been asked not to recommend this mode be used by our digital ops. I’m not against any legal digital mode be used in NCQP as long as the QSO exchange requirements be met. Unfortunately, as I understand it, WSJT-X can’t do it, at least not yet. Maybe 2020 will be the year. I’m recommending the “old fashioned” PSK and RTTY for now.
Please pass the word to everyone you know to get on the air sometime Sunday, Feb 24 from 10am to 8pm and help put North Carolina on the radio map. Call CQ as much as you can, or dare, there will be plenty of folks out in the either looking for us. And turn in your log when you get done.
As a bonus, work the SC chairmman Dave Edmonds, WN4AFP, on Saturday Feb 23 and me, W4MY, on Sunday, submit your log to both SCQP and NCQP, and your call gets put in the hat for a $200 HRO gift card drawing! Can’t beat that!
See you guys on the air!
Marty / W4MY Chairman
To celebrate five years of North and South Carolina QSO party synergy Chairmen Marty, W4MY, (North Carolina) and Dave, WN4AFP (South Carolina) are teaming up to operate very special bonus stations for the QSO parties this year.
The two head honcho’s are teaming up to activate and operate Bonus Station WN4AFP/W4MY as a full weekend bonus. The Chairmen will be the ops. When you you work this bonus it will be either Dave or Marty. (And maybe a helper on digital in NCQP.) In addition to being in the slate of bonus stations, there are some additional perks offered to those that get these guys in their log.
Working this bonus station (one QSO in NCQP, and one in SCQP – and submitting your log to each appropriately) puts you in a the hat for a very special drawing. The two state QSO Party committees are sponsoring a $200 ham radio store gift certificate to go to the winner. This is open to both In-State and Out-of-State Single-Ops and In-State Mobiles who submit logs to both North and South Carolina QSO parties.
It will be a test of ability and endurance for both Marty and Dave to be QRV from two states over the one weekend. But they are up to it and looking forward to working everyone as a way to express their appreciation for everyone’s support and participation.
Oh, one more thing, the application process will be just like the “CAROLINA” spelling bee this past year. Just go on line and fill out the form after you submit your logs. (Link to the form will be put on the log submission page when its ready)
Work call signs WN4AFP in Saturday’s SCQP and W4MY on Sunday in NCQP. We look forward to hearing you on the air! 73
For 2019 there has been some changes and clarifications in the rules for Mobiles and Expeditions who work from county lines. As before, two counties can be worked in one QSO and logged by each as two entries in the Cabrillo. What’s new is that ONLY ONE county line (thus two counties) can be done this way. Three or more simultaneously is not allowed. You can do this as many times as you want moving to a new county line, just ONLY TWO counties at a time in one QSO.
Also, what constitutes being in two counties simultaneously has been clarified. If you are planning an in-state mobile or expedition on a county line, be sure you read these new provisions in the 2019 rules and proceed accordingly. We are planning to strictly enforce these new county line provisions.
We are now requiring that the mobile vehicle or expedition setup be physically in the two counties, no exceptions. What constitutes knowing that is referenced in MARAC as follows:
County Line (see Wet County Line)
A County Line is the legally defined boundary between two USA Counties. A marker or sign usually identifies this boundary; however, some County Line markers are located close to, but not on, the actual surveyed boundary. For purposes of contacts for MARAC Awards, the official government County Line marker or sign is deemed to be on the County Line boundary except where there is a Wet County Line. A mobile may (but is not required to) use a more accurate method of determining the location of a County Line boundary, such as a survey map or global positioning system (GPS). On secondary roadways or country lanes, other County Line markers may be found, such as a livestock gate, cattle guard, or a monument placed in the fence line. A change in the composition of the roadway surface may also be an indication of a County Line boundary. When no other means of identifying a County Line is available, these markers may be used.
We are requiring that ops that do county line operations keep a record of their method of determining the county line. Taking a digital pic of important landmarks with your vehicle and/or operation in it, GPS screenshots with Google Earth coordinates of county lines, etc. You’re not required to submit this information with your log, but the committee may ask for it as part of our audit we do every year before publishing the final results.
Remember, driving and safety are the #1 job of any mobile and expedition!
See you in the pile-ups! 73 Marty / W4MY
A big THANK YOU goes out to Joanne Mars, AA3N, for her service on the NCQP committee. 2018 was Joanne’s last year of the four years she served. We will be consolidating her role as Clubs Manager. We wish you the best, Joanne! Marty / W4MY
In case you missed Marty’s (W4MY) interview with Bob Heil (K9EID) on Ham Nation, here’s the link. Great job promoting the NCQP ! 73
W4MY on Ham Nation