Tips & Tricks
Logging Software Compatibility
We have recently added new multipliers in the SSB Sprint. This will require logging software authors to update their programs. Some have already been updated, some can work with a few tweaks, while others will need additional time to make these necessary changes. Please see our SSB Sprint Logging Software page for the latest information.
Printable Multiplier Checklist
With the new multipliers added, you may want to print out this handy US & VE Multiplier Checklist and keep by your computer or logging desk for handy reference — or check off the mults as you work them. Of course, in addition to the US & VE multipliers, every other country in North America is a multiplier, too!
Special QSY Rule & the “Two-fer”
Unlike most contests, the SSB Sprint has a QSY rule that prevents contestants from CQing on the same frequency over and over. In the SSB Sprint, if you call CQ and then work a station, you must QSY at least 5kHz before you can call CQ again or at least 1kHz before calling another station.
Because of the Sprint QSY rule, most competitors find Searching and Pouncing (S&P) for new QSOs to be more rewarding, than it is to call CQ. S&P QSOs generally make for two quick QSOs per frequency rather than one. It works like this:
You spin the dial and hear a station finishing up a QSO by signing his callsign:
“KW8N 203 Scott Wisconsin KA9FOX”
If you haven’t worked KA9FOX on this band yet, you should say you callsign now:
Now KA9FOX is going to work WDØT:
“WDØT KA9FOX 204 Scott Wisconsin”
Now WDØT is going to give KA9FOX his report:
“KA9FOX 195 Todd South Dakota WDØT”
At this point KA9FOX has to QSY (per the QSY rule) so WDØT now owns this frequency and hopefully someone will come by and call WD0T and complete a QSO… in which case WDØT will have to QSY and the new caller will have the frequency. Fun!
Parts of this tip are from W4AN’s Sprinting Beginner’s Guide
When to Send Your Call
The Sprint rules require you to not only send the call sign of the station you are working as part of the exchange – but also your call sign. You may notice that sometimes stations send their call sign at the beginning of the exchange and sometimes at the end of the exchange. What’s up with that? Because of the QSY rule described above, one of the stations in the QSO will be leaving the frequency after the contact is over – and the other station will be staying on the frequency for the next QSO. A simple “trick” has been developed to help you figure out not only who it is that will be staying on the frequency – but when it will be okay to call them.
If you tune into someone sending an exchange – and you hear it end without any call signs being sent – you have just tuned the middle of a QSO. The station that was just was sending that exchange will be the one leaving the frequency after the QSO is complete. However, if you tune into a station that is sending an exchange – and he finishes it with a callsign – you have just heard the callsign of the station who will be staying on the frequency after the QSO is completed. If this is someone you would like to work – you will want to be ready to call them when the time is right. The right time would be right after the other station acknowledges that they have received the exchange and the QSO is complete. The right time could also be after the station staying on the frequency calls a CQ.
In summary, if you hear someone send an exchange with two call signs in a row or that ends with a QTH, that station is not the one that will be available for you to work after the QSO. Listen for the responding station’s exchange that should end with their call sign – they are the station you can call and work. The QSO example below will demonstrate this trick and it should become second nature after a little practice.
“WDØT KA9FOX 204 Scott Wisconsin” — Do not call now. This is only the first half of a QSO in progress.
“KA9FOX 195 Todd South Dakota WDØT” — WDØT will be available for a QSO, as soon as KA9FOX acknowledges.
“Thanks!” — now that KA9FOX has ack’d that he got all of WDØT’s info, you can say your callsign now.
Parts of this tip are from N6TR’s Sprint Survival Web Page
Start the contest on 40 meters?
Tip: Many stations in the East and Midwest start on 40 meters while the propagation there is shorter, then they go to 20 meters and then later back to 40 meters again when it has lengthened.