Changes for 2021

Changes for 2021

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



Meet the Spelling Bee Bonus Volunteers

First off, I’d like to express my deepest gratitude to the ops that manned the 1×1 Spelling Bee bonus operations. They willingly removed themselves from the competition to give out QSOs. 4, 838 QSOs to be exact, averaging over just shy of 700 each! That works out to be over one a minute for each of the seven during the entire ten hour period! Whew!

We kept the identity of these seven stations under wraps in the weeks prior to the event to add to the allure, but now I’d like to give proper acknowledgement. Here they are in spelling order:


Marty Young, W4MY, Bob Sarkenburg, W4TTX, and David Burt, W4OTO operating from Marty’s QTH in Harnet county. Yes, this dream team included your chairman! We all had a great time!


Nate Moreschi, N4YDU, operating from Franklin County. Nate is a QSO machine and veteran WRTC op. Needless to say, Nate got the most QSOs of the seven Tarheel operations where he alone made 30% of all the bonus station QSOs.


Team N4R consisted of K2JB, Dean Blair, and W4PH, Howard Hazelrigg who lit up Buncombe county in a big way. I knew these guys would have a great time as a bonus station as whenever I run into Howard at a hamfest he is always passionate about telling me their NCQP expedition stories and plans. And they are no stranger to being in the outdoors with their radio equipment with the many SOTA expeditions they have survived!


Jim Jordan, K4QPL, and Tad Danley, K3TD, took N4E to the road giving out bonus points from 14 different counties in North Carolina. Jim is a big CW contester with PVRC. When I asked Jim to do this he graciously agreed to put in some time on SSB and that was right in Tad’s wheelhouse. So this team had a good one-two punch on these two modes. Good job guys!


Our own committee Logs Manager/Data Analyst Marc Sullivan, W4MPS, took on this important letter of the alphabet operating in a very interesting way. He doesn’t have any antennas at his actual QTH but rather operated remotely connecting to the Knightlights, WQ4RP, conclave Excalibur II in rural Wake county. Paul Stroud, AA4XX, curator of that station made it available to Marc for this special event and thanks go out to both.


Dwayne Ayers, N4MIO, was W4E representing Alamance county. Dwayne and I go way back running into each other at hamfests, prior to 2013 when I started my tenure as chairman, bantering about NCQP. Dwayne’s passion for NCQP is second (arguably) only to mine! Thanks buddy!


Vlado Karamitrov, N3CZ, from Ashville is a multiple NCQP plaque winner. When it comes to cranking out QSOs, Vlado can do it! When I asked if he was willing to give up the opportunity for another plaque to be a bonus station, Vlado said, “Anything to help NC QSO Party!” And help he did with 776 contacts!

Again, Thank You TARHEEL stations for making the spelling a tremendous success! Here’s how they did:


Spelling Bee Huge Success

Spelling Bee Huge Success

We are currently deep into our log analysis for the 2020 North Carolina QSO Party. The deadline for log submission was March 16 and we started auditing logs the next day. Since St. Patrick’s Day was basically a bust this year, thanks to Mr. Covid-19, what better way to self-quarantine than to review the exciting results of this year’s contest. From what we’ve seen so far, it looks like we will have set a new record for participation.
This year’s Bonus was our TARHEEL Spelling Bee. Special event callsigns were issued: N4T / N4A / N4R / N4H / N4E / W4E / N4L. And our special event/Bonus Ops did a fantastic job of staying on the air throughout the contest to make it very possible for stations to achieve a clean sweep of all 7. Previous spelling bee challenges were quite popular, but we didn’t expect the amazing response to this year’s bonus challenge. 77 stations have qualified for a Clean Sweep, having successfully completed QSO’s with all 7 of our TARHEEL Bonus Stations. These Operators will receive a special certificate as well as a commemorative coffee cup in recognition of their achievement. Certificates will be going out via email in the next two to three weeks. Coffee Cups must be special ordered and will take longer to deliver, but rest assured they will be on their way as soon as possible.
A listing of stations qualifying for the Clean Sweep are listed below. If for some reason, you don’t see your callsign listed, and you believe that you should have qualified, please contact me directly, Marc Sullivan W4MPS – w4mps[@] I will be more than happy to double check your log submission.
A big thanks to all who chased our Bonus Stations and congratulations to those who were able to achieve a clean sweep. Well done by all.
Our priority right now is completion of our log audits, so that we can post the results of NCQP 2020 as soon as possible. Thanks for another great North Carolina QSO Party.
Marc, W4MPS
NCQP Logs Manager

North Carolina QSO Party 2020
Spelling Bee Clean Sweeps
Stations Qualifying:


Bonus Changes and ‘TARHEEL’ Spelling Bee

Bonus Changes and ‘TARHEEL’ Spelling Bee

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

NCQP Chairman

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.

Category Changes

Category Changes

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

NCQP Chairman

Worked Most Counties Changes

Worked Most Counties Changes

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

NCQP Chairman

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!

The 2019 Results are in!

The 2019 Results are in!

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!

We’re Ready to Go!

We’re Ready to Go!

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

Chairman’s Challenge

Chairman’s Challenge

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

Working County Lines

Working County Lines

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