Its that time when we start gearing up for 2021. I hope you are making your plans for that activation, Multi, or Expedition. It will be here before you know it. Helping you do that is my job, so let me point out some of the significant changes this year.
First, here is the date:
1500 UTC February 28, 2021 to 0100 UTC March 1, 2021. (10 am to 8 pm EST on February 28, 2021). All stations may operate the entire contest period. Logs are due March 15. And, this will be the last year for paper logs. We held out as long as we could. Its time. If you are still using paper while operating, that’s fine. Its just each participant will be responsible in 2022 for getting it into the acceptable electronic form when submitting the results to us.
We’ve made some changes to the categories, hopefully for the better. There is now a high and low power category for each of the Phone, CW, and Mixed modes. Remember, when we added high power five years ago, you could only do it if you were mixed. No more. If you want to operate CW high power, for example, go for it! This applies to both in and out of state ops. Mobile, Expeditions, and the Digital mode still have lower power restrictions, so be sure to read those rules carefully if that applies to you. We made some other small changes to the categories removing the out-of-state Multi-Op as well.
SOMETHING BRAND NEW, PLEASE READ: A GigaParts gift card in the amount of $150 will go to the In-State entrant, in any category, who makes the most combined QSO’s on 20, 15, and 10 meters. These are QSO’s that otherwise qualify for score credit in the submitted log (Duplicates don’t count, for example.) I know its only for in state ops, so for those of you out of state don’t be disillusioned. This is going to keep the NC ops on the upper bands longer and trying harder to reach you guys and gals that are further away. Maybe we’ll have some out-of-state plaque winners from the upper mid west or New England this year! Please see the rules for complete details.
The point system is staying the same. Its worth noting that the Maritime change the ARRL made this year segregating out Prince Edward Island (PE) doesn’t apply to us. PEI and the other small northeast provinces of Canada have always been their own multiplier in our contest.
There’s a new Spelling Bee Bonus. “WOLFPACK” We are giving equal time from Tarheel last year. Duke fans, don’t worry, 2022 is coming before you know it! Same system, 50 points each 1×1 call you work. 200 more points if you sweep and you get a certificate.
We said good-by to former committee member Bill Turner, W4WNT, who resigned. Bill’s not finished, look for him to be activating Union county for a good time to come. We welcome Steve Jenkins, W4MGT, to the committee of “Jenkins Family plaque winner” reputation. We had to save the wood from a few trees by taking Steve out of the running! Seriously though, Steve brings to the table a wealth of NCQP Expedition experience as well as his background in automation and programming. This will provide depth, backup, and help to Andy as needed to keep NCQP operating smoothly and efficiently.
Dwayne is now in the process of collecting sponsorships from the previous year’s donors. We always give them first shot. I think with the category expansion there may be some openings. Any remaining to be sponsored by December 31 will be up for grabs. If you or your club is interested in participating in this let Dwayne Ayers, N4MIO, know about it.
Under miscellaneous changes, 25 QSOs are now required to be in your log in order for us to give you an award if you win anything. When you participate and submit your log, make sure it has 25 QSOs in it and you’ll be good to go.
And lastly (and I intentionally saved this for last) is the FT-8 issue. I know that’s all digital uses nowadays, or some variant of it. We spent a significant amount of time during the committee meeting discussing how we could include it in the authorized digital modes. We looked at how Nevada did it using the “Field Day” contest mode by transposing the meaning of the FD exchange. We agonized over it, but in the end, it just doesn’t fit into the spirit of a “QSO Party”. So, when there is a more generalized contest mode available for FT-8 that suits a QSO Party, we’ll incorporate it. Until then, PSK and RTTY is still an authorized mode. Remember, NCQP is in the minority of state QSO Parties that authorize any sort of digital mode. I personally believe, and the committee agrees, that digital is a legitimate QSO Party mode when its used in the spirit of two way communication over the air between two living, breathing parties.
Hopefully I have helped in forming your plans for 2021. I look forward to working everyone on the air the last day of February coming up. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions regarding the rules, suggestions, or anything else.
Very 73 to all. Marty Young, W4MY, NCQP Chairman