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Author: Marty Young W4MY

Bonus Update

Bonus Update

As promised, here is an update of the bonus lineup for this year’s QSO Party

N4RAL – Wake county home of Fin Gold, NC4FG, (Wake County) staffed mostly by members of the Raleigh Amateur Radio Club and guests. Note: they won’t be at a POTA park, but are representing RARS, the QSO Party sponsor. Thanks, Fin, for heading this up!

Work N4RAL and the other five for a clean sweep! All bonus stations will be QRV on both phone and CW.

Chairmans Message: New for 2024

Chairmans Message: New for 2024

We’re excited about the event coming up in a few months. Here are the highlights of the changes. Enjoy!

Bonus Theme for 2024

“North Carolina Outdoors”

We are encouraging hams to go outdoors portable or expedition style and get on the air! POTA is really getting big in NC and we want to challenge our in state activators to do their thing on Sunday, February 25, 2024. We see this as a way to get rarely activated counties on the air. Go to the website under the “County Activity” tab to view a great list of POTA parks by NC County. Spend the day at your POTA honey-spot no matter where you might live! That said, this is not a POTA event. Therefore, the “Outdoors” spot you pick does not have to be a POTA sanctioned place. A city park, private park, etc. is OK for NCQP. There’s no reason, though, a POTA activator can’t go to a recognized park and make their operation a “two-fer” a POTA and NCQP!

Work the bonus stations that will be on the air operating Phone and CW modes from a North Carolina (POTA) park as follows:

N4AMW – Carl Sandburg Home, National Historic Site, Flat Rock, NC, N4AMW Op.

N4W – Wright Brothers National Memorial, Kitty Hawk, NC, W4MPS Op.

N4A – Alamance Battleground, Alamance County, N4MIO Op.

NI4BK – USS North Carolina Battleship Memorial, Wilmington, NC ACARC, W4MY Ops.

NC4QP – Goose Creek State Park,, Beaufort County, W4TTX/K4RLC Ops.

N4RAL – QTH TBD, Raleigh Amateur Radio Society, Raleigh, NC*

*Will be updated when known

Expedition and Portable Categories

Please take the opportunity to read the new descriptions of these categories if they apply to you. There have been some small, but significant, changes. First thing you will notice is the name change. We brought back the name “Expedition” to describe the classic scenario of going out and setting up your station outside “Field Day” style. There are some new restrictions (no mobile equipment) to better level the playing field. Maximum simultaneous transmitters was reduced to one.

The name “Portable” is now reserved for a kind of new operation style that we see the need to accommodate. Many POTA activators who (for example) travel to a park expeditiously deploy their radio equipment using a combination of mobile radios and quick setup antennas. After making the desired QSO’s, they pack up quickly and travel to a new QTH doing it again. Its sort of a “no restriction” category where you get on the air with just about anything, move quickly and tak advantage of working everyone again in a new county. One transmitter only here also, and no QSO’s are to be made while in motion.

100 NC Counties on the Air

Our desire is always to light up North Carolina with as many of our friendly hams as possible for a day. It’s never been a disappointment! I am frequently amazed and humbled by our level of participation. That said, we always are trying to think of new ways to get all of out 100 counties represented.

NC Weather

With all the emphasis this year on the “outdoors” the issue of weather is always in the front of our minds. February is in the middle of winter and that’s always a concern. Over the years we’ve had snow, rain, fog, freezing temps, warm temps, clear skies… no telling what’s in store. But whatever it turns out to be, we NC hams are a hearty bunch! Minnesota, with their QSO party in the dead of winter (Feb 3), has nothing on us! At least they can depend on ice, snow, and sub-zero temps, we never know what we are going to get!

Make your plans!

Think about what you want to do this year and gather up your plans. Please announce your activation, on the website (/map/create.php) whether operating at home as a single/multi-op, or outside with the new Portable or classic Expedition categories. Of course, we always want our Mobiles out there also!

See you in the pile-ups

2023 Results are In!

2023 Results are In!

2023 is now official! Take a look at the Results page. We’ve worked hard to get them out as soon as possible. Winner or not in any of the categories, congratulations! If you do get a plaque this year, double high five for you, a really special treat is coming, they look fabulous! The draft orders for printing are on the way to JNS as we speak to be made. As soon as all the winners have theirs we’ll post a picture here. Marc did a super job with the design this year Now that we’ve switched over to making the plaques using the sublimation printing process the result will be nothing short of awe inspiring.

Lets not leave out Dwayne’s design of the second place certificates. He’s got that process nailed and they look great! We still put those in the snail mail, a frame quality document worthy of the achievement.

Click over to the RESULTS tab and have a look! Enjoy! And, as always, please let us know if you have any questions or comments about this or any other subject.

73 Marty W4MY NCQP Chairman

CW Spelling Bee Sweep

CW Spelling Bee Sweep

The present spelling bee bonus award system of the NC QSO Party has turned out to be very popular since its inception a few years ago. Whenever I am out and about talking with fellow QSO party hams I always hear proud stories of clean sweeps or the agony of the one that got away. Your NCQP committee expends good effort in organizing and balancing the spelling bee in such a way it is available and elusive at the same time making the game an enjoyable one. A very unfortunate issue has come to our attention and I want to address it right away. Bonus station N4T (New Hanover county) did not field a CW operation. It was not possible for anyone in one of the CW only categories to accomplish a clean sweep.

The first thing everyone should know is that we on the committee are aware of the situation and have verified that the rumors of N4T’s CW absence are correct. Many ideas have been kicked around on how to mitigate the damage and all committee members have contributed in just this short of time. I will just pare it down to whats going to happen. Rest assured steps have been identified so this doesn’t happen again.

  1. No rule or scoring changes will take place. Those in other categories than CW only will receive what they earn, sweep bonus (if applicable) etc. CW only categories will not receive the sweep bonus but since this applies to everyone in that category its a level playing field. Bonus credit is still given for each individual bonus worked.
  2. Sweep certificates will be automatically e-mailed to all non CW category entrants who earned it. CW only entrants who worked five out of the six possible can receive a certificate also in recognition of working every possible bonus station available to them.

To those entering one of the CW only categories, and to those that made a last minute decision to go mixed mode in order to work N4T on phone, please accept my sincere apology. I bare the responsibility of this miss step and promise to take corrective action so it doesn’t happen again.

As I say often, we appreciate each and every NCQP participant who gets on the air whatever mode it may be in this great hobby of ours.

Marty Young W4MY

NCQP Chairman


2023 Chairman’s Message

2023 Chairman’s Message

Its that time of year where the new changes for NCQP come out and we have some great things in store for the event coming up in 2023. The updated rules are posted so look them over and form up your plans!

“In-State” operator is now called “NC”

“Out-of-State” operator is now called “Non-NC”

First, these are just simple name changes to use a more conventional way of naming and to improve the first and second place awards increasing clarity.

“Expedition” is now called “Portable” and a new “Single Portable” category has been added

Along with the name change like many other state QSO parties, we’ve responded to suggestions and requests. First thing is that the “Multi Portable” is now closest to the old Expedition category with the exception we have added the option to have an additional transmitter here. So “Multi” was added to the Portable name here because that is what it actually is.

The next thing we did was add a new “Single Portable” to not edge out the single-op who wants to go outdoors in somewhat of a “POTA” style. You don’t need to go to an actual POTA QTH, but you can if you want. This satisfies the two most requested changes we have gotten about this category. The big groups wanted to use two rigs, and the little guys didn’t want to have to compete against the larger groups.

Under ordinary circumstances we don’t like to split up a category where diluting the competition usually results. However, we’re hoping that the new single option will be attractive to all the POTA op’s out there thus resulting in MORE activity ultimately.

The “Digital” category for both NC and Non-NC has been retired.

Since the digital mode was allowed and category created about 10 years ago there hasn’t been any significant traction with it resulting in any significant participation. I’m sure FT-4/8 plays a significant role in this. Many state QSO parties don’t even include digital. We’re not going to that extent.

Here’s whats happening. The digital mode is still OK to be used in NC QSO Party for credit. Since a “Digital” category no longer is an option, making digital QSOs puts you in the “Mixed” mode along with (or without) your other QSOs. FT-4/8 still is not allowed as in the past. The software programmers for that haven’t made any accommodation for state QSO parties heretofore.

Activated NC county is added to the mult score in all NC categories     

We really appreciate the ops who travel to the lesser (aka “rare”) counties but often times they have difficulty getting credit in their multiplier score for that same county. (Like everyone else, that’s why they’re there!) We want to reward them for that effort by giving them mult credit for that county whether or not they work anyone else from there. Of course, this applies to ops in all NC categories, including mobile and portable, getting this credit for all of the counties they activate.

Bonus Spelling Bee this year is “WRIGHT”

The year 2023 is the 120th anniversary of the Wright brothers first flight in Kitty Hawk, NC in 1903. In celebration, NCQP has partnered with the Wright Brothers’ Memorial and Museum in sponsoring special event station N4W on the day of the QSO party. The other five calls of the bonus spelling bee word are N4R, N4I, N4G, N4H, and N4T. Not to give anything away, but the USS North Carolina battleship hams and your chairman are among the group of other great ops making up the 1×1 stations. Though I won’t be at the Wright Memorial for N4W, your vice chairman and NCQP log manager, W4MPS, will be heading that up and he has done a stellar job of setting that up.

Thank You to our Bonus Team

Thank You to our Bonus Team

The bonus ops this year were out there front and center for the taking. We had a record number of sweeps. Close to 200. Marc, W4MPS, created the certificate and disseminated it to each of those successful in gaining a QSO with all five bonus stations.

N4D

The NC Ham Activators, NC4NP (North Carolina Four National Park) headed up by David, ND1J. John, K4SGR, with logger Sarah, KN4SGR, Howard, WB4GUD, Chip K2KJD, Meg, K5MEG, and David, ND1J, operated N4D. “November Four Duke” from Macon County did a great job of putting up QSOs for the QSO Party bonus. N4D was on the air the entire 10 hour period, giving everyone lots of opportunity to work them. Ops were attempted on all bands and QSOs made on 80/40/20/15/10. A big thank you goes out to these guys.

N4U

Floyd Sense, K8AC, is no stranger to the upper part of the mixed mode award listings in NCQP over the years and he did us a great favor in applying his skills in handing out bonus QSOs. I asked Floyd to volunteer for this job based on his consistent participation and support. Funny co incidence is that my Drake TR-7 in my antique collection was modified and improved by Floyd and passed through other hands before it got to me. When talking to Floyd about it he was very generous and helpful in helping me get it to top condition. This is the type of ham we like to have working with us and we are grateful.

N4K

Bruce, N1LN, and Laurie Meier, N1YXU, took on N4K this year for us. Laurie is a Duke alumni and said she liked taking on the suffix letter “K” to commemorate Coach K’s retirement from Duke this year. Bruce and Laurie have a long relationship with us on the NCQP committee in offering their operations skills to help the QSO party. In those off years where they weren’t in the bonus lineup they were aligning with the Orange county club helping them. These guys are the truest of what ham radio service is all about.

N4E

Dick Godwin. K4JJW, hales from New Bern with a long list of awards to his credit. DXCC Honor Roll, 5 Band WAZ (including 160), VUCC 500+, the list goes on. Having Dick in the bonus lineup for the first time this year was a pleasure. I’ve worked Dick on the air outside of the QSO Party more than once (CW) and it was my pleasure to do so.

NC4QP

W4MY had the pleasure of teaming up with W4MPS to operate this one from chairman headquarters in Harnett county. We had a great time and made a lot of QSOs! It was a blast, conditions were better and participation was very good.

Congratulations to each of our sweep holders, and a big thank you to our bonus stations. As soon as the plaques and second place certificates are mailed in a couple of weeks, this one will be in the books!

73 Marty W4MY

NCQP Chairman

Time for the Results!

Time for the Results!

2022 is now history as the results are posted! We’ve worked really hard to get them out as soon as we could. If you are a first or second place finisher in any of the categories, congratulations! Your plaque is coming soon. Watch your mailbox!

Click over to the RESULTS tab and have a look! Enjoy! And, as always, please let us know if you have any questions or comments about this or any other subject.

73 Marty W4MY NCQP Chairman

Logs Due Sunday 3/13/22

Logs Due Sunday 3/13/22

We have well over 500 logs submitted so far with only a couple of days left to get yours in if you have yet to do so. Its due before Sunday, 3/13/22 at midnight EST (0400Z. 3/14/22).

So don’t miss out! Get your log in right away!

This Year’s NCQP

This Year’s NCQP

The QSO Party is now less than 2 weeks away. I trust everyone has their operating plans ironed out. Hopefully the keepers of good weather and propagation will be good to us!

Want to remind everyone, if you haven’t already done so, to go to the COUNTY ACTIVITY page and announce your operation. There are a few there already, but lets fill up that map with announcements, a very useful feature for our out of state county hunters and others. Just click on “Report an Operation Here” and fill out the form. It only takes a few minutes.

Marc wanted me to tell everyone about the new plaques this year. They are still an outline of the North State as usual, and JNS is still our plaque maker, but the face has been “lifted” for a new more colorful and interesting look. It really might be worth it to stay in the chair longer to make enough QSO’s to get one of these, they really are beautiful!

Operating strategy advise is still the same, stay on the highest band open as long as you can. Watch 40 meters carefully. Sometimes in the late afternoon it can go long and get really noisy. Like you, I’ve been tempted to go to 80/75 early (before dark) because of this. If you do, be sure to check back to 40 a while later because I’ve seen where the conditions straighten up and the noise goes away leaving 40 open to the west coast with crystal clear conditions! And, of course, call CQ as much as you can, they will be looking for you!

More so than other state QSO parties, NCQP has allot of “casual” non-contest types that participate. Except for maybe Field Day, this is their only “contest”. I just want to say thank you to all those ops for turning out, it makes a huge contribution for success. Of course, we do appreciate our contesters too, no doubt. Don’t want to leave anyone out.

I’d also like to give a shout out to our “State QSO Party Challenge” participants. For those that don’t know, participating in multiple state QSO parties, and submitting a log, brings the opportunity for more awards and wall paper. There’s a link in the sidebar if you want to know more about it. Oh, and be sure to get on the air Saturday the 26th for SCQP. You can put your station through the paces to work out any last minute bugs, and say hello to our neighbors to the south.

Be sure to work the “DUKE” spelling bee and NC4QP bonus stations. The one that gives out a report from HARnett will be me and Marc.

Let me know if you have any questions. See everyone in the pileups!

73 Marty W4MY

NCQP Chairman

Chairman’s Message for 2022

Chairman’s Message for 2022

The contesting season is opening up with a big bang this year as we see the sun waking up! Its been a long time coming and by February it should be even better. I was reminded during CQWW/SSB a few weeks ago that Europeans do, in fact, have frequency privileges on 10 meters!

So, what’s new with the QSO Party? The website is updated for 2022, we’ve added some structure to the committee, new spelling bee bonus, Marc has the new Facebook group going, and, of course, this will be the first year sans paper logs. Lets dive right in!

I do want to mention that we received a record number of logs last year in no small part due to the support and dedication of all participants, but especially to our NC ops. I just want to put out a “Job Well Done” to those that got on the air and submitted a log last year. Check out the website and make your plans for 2022, we’re looking forward to even better!

Some housekeeping was in order this year in the committee personnel. Steve, W4MGT, has taken over the website administration job, and started out as a WordPress novice. But, no longer. What a great job he has done and has taken to it like a fish to water. Thanks Steve! Marc, W4MPS, our tried and true logs manager, was promoted to “Vice Chairman” status. A new NCQP advisory committee will consist of three non voting members of the amateur radio community with experience holding positions of leadership. They will be our “consultants” when issues arise needing a broader spectrum of knowledge and experience. The process of forming is going on now and it should be in place by next February. As time goes on, we want to ensure the long term viability of NCQP irrespective of who is in the office.

The spelling bee bonus has been a tremendous hit in the past and we’ve got another great one lined up for 2022. The word is “DUKE” this year in keeping with the Tarheel and Wolfpack college theme. What is everyone’s opinion for having Appalachian State’s Yosef for 2023? Anyway, the ops are already lined up and 1×1 call signs secured for the event. NC4QP will also be QRV this year rounding out the bonus situation. Don’t want to give away who the op or ops will be for that, but I hope my fist holds up under all the activity! 😉

Marc has spearheaded the move away from the general social media Facebook site in favor of “Facebook Groups” See the W4MPS post on this blog earlier. Its a more private group of those that are interested, much in the vein of our e-mail reflector list of yesteryear. I think its a good move.

It was well announced that 2021 was our last year accepting paper logs. We encouraged everyone who was still using paper to work on making the transition. Out of 598 logs received last year, only a handful were paper. It looks like everyone is making the effort to get changed over. If you are one of those in this small minority that are using paper, we still want to accept your log. You’ll have to help us out this year by using the link on the right sidebar “Create Cabrillo File from Paper Log” and then upload the new file. Thank you for your support in doing this!

I hope everyone and their respective families have a safe and prosperous holiday season. Please be sure to upload your NCQP plans to the website using the County Activities tab and form once you know what you’ll be doing. It really helps everyone out.

And finely, last but not least, thank you to all of our sponsors who make all of this happen. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions concerning the rules, strategy, or anything else. I’m good on QRZ.com.

73 Marty W4MY

NCQP Chairman