September 17, 2008
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Invitation to The 50th Scandinavian Activity Contest
This is a reminder, and at the same time an invitation to participate in this year's jubilee edition of this popular event on the third (CW) and the fourth (SSB) weekends of September.. The activity is decent in relation to the number of licenced operators and clubs in the Nordic countries.
I use the term Nordic instead of Scandinavian because Scandinavia is historically and legally only Sweden, Norway and Denmark. Other countries and territories count for this contest: Iceland and Faroe Islands in the North Sea, Svalbard and Jan Mayen almost in the Arctic and Greenland which, as a amatter of fact, is in North America. And of course Finland, frequently winning the contest, sharing with Russia the land that joins the peninsula with the continent.
All this information seems needless but my experience shows that even Amateur Radio operators do need freshen up some geographical facts.
There are usually more Swedish stations on the air during the SAC but Finns make higher scores. Norway and Denmark is always far behind - the spirit of contesting has never become widespread in these countries. Other areas are rarely activated in the SAC event. With one exception - the Aland Islands. The population of the archipelago is roughly 27,000 but there are usually a few OH0's on the air during the SAC weekends. Regrettably these are not local operators but visitors from, most often, the neighboring countries.
Talking about the weekends, the official rules of the SAC mention "full weekend". A full weekend is both Saturday and Sunday. This contest lasts only 24 hours and if you are in UTC-12 Time Zone, it will be a Saturday contest for you. If you are in the UTC+12 Time Zone, you will have all Saturday available for other things.
Considering the propagation, chances of working Northern Europe from any +12 or -12 Time Zones are limited. You might have to spend only a couple of hours but get a decent rate. There are tens of Big Guns in Finland, several potent stations in Sweden and a few strong ones in Iceland, Denmark and Norway.
The 160-meter band is not used in this contest which is a pity considering recent record breaking scores on this band in major contests. Most likely the exclusion of the Top Band originates from the early years when this band was not available for Amateur Radio Service in this region.
The 40-meter band is restricted in the official rules to below 7090 kHz. Many Region I countries, including Finland and Norway, allow the use of frequencies above 7100 kHz but not all. The penalty for using frequencies above 7090 kHz is not defined in the rules, the frequencies above 7100 kHz are not mentioned at all.
Nordic stations can choose a single band or all bands for this contest. However, non-Nordic stations can only participate in the All-Bands category. Countries close by and very far away have little chance for a high score compared to those at a medium distance allowing for daytime propagataion on HF bands and nighttime skip on low bands.
Multipliers are quite a mystery to me. Apart from the territories mentioned at the beginning, the islands between Sweden and Finland called Aland (Åland) is counted twice in the multiplier list. The half-Swedish half-Alandish islet called Market (Märket) counts as a separate multiplier. To be exact, only the eastern part of the island counts as a multiplier. The information in the official rules is incorrect stating that the official prefix of Market is OJ0. The official prefix in Market Reef is OH0. The OJ0 prefix is optional and can be issued for a fee. The island is not restricted in any way and the eastern part of it belongs to Aland province of Finland.
One more item about the official rules. There is a deadline for submitting the logs but nowehere to find is the deadline for announcing the results. It happens too often that the results of the SAC are still unveiled one year after the event. I am sure, however, that this edition of the contest will be summarized promptly by the Swedish team.
This contest is a joint effort of the national organizations of Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden. It seems difficult to coordinate the opinions and suggestions of those interested in contesting and those responsible for HF contests. Maybe too many cooks spoil the soup...
I often take pictures and always try to use them in the stories or articles I write. I hope these two fellows will be active in the CW-part of the contest as they are both high-speed telegraphy fanatics.
This is Hans, SM0BYD at the controls of SK0MT, the club station in a suburb of Stockholm.
Ingemar, SM0AIG caught in action at the Science Museum club station SK0TM in Stockholm.
The links to more information about the SAC are http://www.sk3bg.se/contest and http://www.qrq.se
by SM0JHF on September 19, 2008
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As usual, writing stories in the middle of the night results in some confusion. The time zones should be reversed - Saturday only in the +12 Zone and Sunday only in the -12 Zone. At least no one has to sacrifize Friday or Monday as in 48 hour contests.