For many, ARRL November Sweepstakes (SS) is the premier ARRL fall operating event, with the lure of a “Clean Sweep” being the ultimate goal. The challenge of SS — or “Sweeps” — is to work as many stations in as many of the 83 ARRL and Radio Amateurs of Canada (RAC) sections as possible within the 24 available hours. The number of sections worked is a score multiplier. Be the first in your neighborhood to work all 83 and qualify for a “Clean Sweep” mug!
SS takes place on separate November weekends. The CW weekend is November 4-6, and the phone (SSB) weekend is November 18-20. The contest period for each contest begins at 2100 UTC on Saturday and continues through 0259 UTC on Monday (remember that the shift back to standard time occurs during the CW weekend). Stations may operate 24 hours of the available 30 hours.
In a change this year, logs are due 5 days after each event. SS is a “domestic” contest with broad appeal, and even stations with modest equipment and antennas can enjoy success. Many stations like to operate in the QRP category (output of 5 W or less).
Given its origins in the traffic-handling realm, ARRL November Sweepstakes has a lengthy exchange that replicates a radiogram preamble. In SS, stations exchange:
- A consecutive serial number (NR). Adding zeros ahead of numbers less than 100 is not required.
- Operating category — Q for Single Op QRP; A for Single Op, Low Power (up to 150 W output); B for Single Op, High Power (greater than 150 W output); U for Single Op, Unlimited, regardless of power; M for Multioperator, regardless of power, and S for School Club.
- Your call sign.
- Check (CK) — the last two digits of the year of first license for either operator or station.
- Section — ARRL/RAC Section.
The SS Operating Guide package, available for download, explains how to participate in Sweepstakes, including all rules and examples of log formatting. Clubs or public service teams thinking about giving Sweepstakes a try this year will find the guide a useful source for information.
For those hoping to break one of the current scoring records, there’s a high bar. For example, in the SS CW, N2IC in New Mexico holds the Single-Operator, High Power record with 255,520 points, set in 2009. The Single-Operator, Low Power record of 213,144 points was set in 2015 by W2GD operating KP2M in the US Virgin Islands. The Single-Operator, QRP record of 173,168 was set in 2002 by N6TR operating W5WMU in Louisiana.
Some record holders in the phone (SSB) event include, for example, KE3Q in the top spot, who operated WP3R in Puerto Rico to earn identical 425,280-point scores in 2000 and 2002 in the Single-Operator, High Power category. VE4GV has the Single-Operator Low, Power crown with 308,160 points in 2000 from Manitoba. WA2GO holds the Single-Operator, QRP SSB phone record with 189,920 points from KL7Y in Alaska in 2001.
SS CW and Phone records are also listed for unlimited, multi-single, and school categories.
Some ARRL/RAC sections are considered tough ones to work for a “Clean Sweep.” The often-elusive Northern Territories (NT) multiplier will be on the air this year, however, as Gerry Hull, W1VE/VE1RM, takes the helm of VY1AAA, remotely operating the station of J. Allen, VY1JA, in Yukon Territory. Hull and Allen have done a lot of work on the system on their respective ends of things.
“A Sweep may be hard, given the conditions in the US Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico,” Hull allowed. According to FEMA, power has been restored to fewer than one-third of customers in either location. Hull pointed out that all VY1AAA remote operators must hold Canadian Advanced amateur licenses.
Club Eligibility Lists
A new system is in place to submit club eligibility lists, either by uploading a file of eligible members or by copying and pasting from a list, right up until the time of the contest — November 4 at 2100 UTC in the case of SS CW, and November 18 at 2100 UTC in the case of SS phone.
Direct questions to ARRL Contest Branch Manager Bart Jahnke, W9JJ. — Thanks to Gerry Hull, W1VE; Bart Jahnke, W9JJ