Sweepstakes Clean Sweep now 84 Sections

Bruce Vanselow N8BV

The following was taken from the ARRL Letter dated 11/5/20

A Sweepstakes "Clean Sweep" Means Working 84 Sections This Year

The ever-popular ARRL November Sweepstakes (SS) weekends are upon us -- one for CW and the other for SSB. This year, participants will have to search out an additional Section. The CW event takes place November 7 - 9 (UTC), and the SSB event is from November 21 - 23 (UTC). Each Sweepstakes leg begins at 2100 UTC on Saturday and runs through 0259 UTC on Monday. Stations may operate 24 of the available 30 hours. An SS Operating Guide package, available via the SS web page, explains how to participate in Sweepstakes. Clubs or public service teams that are considering participating in SS will find

the guide to be a useful source for information. This year marks the 79th SS event, which attracts more than 3,000 entries each fall for both weekends.

The number of ARRL and Radio Amateurs of Canada (RAC) Sections rose to 84 earlier this year with the addition of Prince Edward Island (PE) as a separate entity. The objective of SS -- or "sweeps" -- is to work as many stations in as many of the 84 Sections as possible within 24 hours of operating. The number of Sections worked is a score multiplier, and working all of them -- a "clean sweep" in SS terminology -- is the goal of many SS aficionados, who qualify for a clean sweep coffee mug. Hardcore SS operators try to run up the contact and multiplier counts by operating for the allowed 24 hours.

Some multipliers are rarer and/or harder to work, and these can vary from year to year. For many years, the most difficult SS multiplier was considered to be Northern Territories (NT) in Canada, where J. Allen, VY1JA, in Yukon Territory, was often the only station available. Allen has stepped back from amateur radio, however, owing to health issues. Making a clean sweep also requires working Alaska and Hawaii (or another station in the Pacific Section), as well as Newfoundland/Labrador (NL) and Prince Edward Island (PE) in the other direction. On the rarer side, finding -- and working -- stations in Alberta (AB), North Dakota (ND), Northern New York (NNY), US Virgin Islands (VI), Wyoming (WY), and Delaware (DE) has proven vexing for some SS operators.

Nonetheless, even stations with modest equipment and antennas can

enjoy success. Many stations like to operate in the QRP category (with an output of 5 W or less), although that challenge has been more daunting at this point in the solar cycle.

ARRL November Sweepstakes is the oldest domestic radiosport event (the first was in 1930). The SS contest exchange has deep roots in message-handling protocol and replicates a radiogram preamble. In SS, stations exchange:

  • A consecutive serial number (NR). Operators do not have to add zeros ahead of numbers less than 100.

  • Operating category (Precedence) -- Q for Single Operator, QRP; A for Single Operator, Low Power (up to 150 W output); B for Single Operator, High Power (greater than 150 W output); U for Single Operator, 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.

Full contest rules and an Operating Guide that includes examples of log formatting are available on the Sweepstakes web page. The deadline to submit CW entries is November 16. The deadline to submit phone entries is November 30.

Direct questions to the ARRL Contest Program.

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