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FISTS Down Under - Activities

1. New Zealand and Australian Based Events
2. United Kingdom Base Events
3. United States Based Events
4. Other Popular Activities
1.Sangster Shield Contest
2. Trans-Tasman Contest
3. NZART Straight Key Night


1.808 MHz (160m) – 3.528 MHz (80m) – 7.028 MHz (40m) – 10.118 MHz (30m) – 14.058 MHz (20m) – 18.085

MHz (17m) – 21.058 MHz (15m) – 24.908 MHz (12m) – 28.058 MHz (10m).

Members are reminded that the above frequencies are suggested calling frequencies. If they are busy, it is
suggested that once you establish contact with a station, it may be prudent to change frequency down the band,
avoiding other calling frequencies of known clubs.

Presented to the amateurs of New Zealand by Mr R Sangster in 1927, the Sangster Shield is for annual competition to be won by the most efficient station. In this respect it should be pointed out, that in addition to the efficiency of the equipment used, the efficiency of the operator is of the utmost importance. To win this contest marks an operator as one who not only knows how to obtain the most effectiveness from low power but also one who is most proficient in the art of telegraphic communication.
1. When? Third full weekend of May each year, between the hours of 2000 NZST and 2300 NZST on each evening. The maximum period of operation will be six hours.
2. Power: To compete for the Sangster Shield and Trophies the output of the transmitter must not exceed 5 Watts.
3. CW to CW contacts only are permitted.
4. All operations must be in the 80 m band.
5. Contacts
a. QSOs with any one station are permitted once only each half hour, based on an "even half hour" basis, eg 2000 to 2030,2031 to 2100 etc.
b. It is not permissible to claim QSOs with the same station "twice running", i.e. at the end of one half hour period and at the beginning of the next, unless a different station is contacted by one of the two stations between QSO's, or a time delay of at least 5 minutes elapses between QSO's.
6. All ZL entrants must be financial members of NZART, except for first time entrants qualifying for the Transistor Trophy.
7. All Radio Regulations must be observed.
8. To give QRP contestants a fair chance (particularly with DX stations) higher power stations are requested to operate above 3530 KHz.
9. Logs
a. Quarto or A4 size paper -preferably NZART log sheets.
b. Data in this order:-Date, Time, Station Callsign, Cypher Sent, Cypher Received, Points Claimed.
c. ON A SEPARATE SHEET a summary to show:
i. Entrant's callsign, name and address in BLOCK LETTERS.
ii. Number of contacts with stations using 5 W or less.
iii. Number of contacts with stations using 6 W or more.
iv. Number of contacts with overseas stations.
v. List of different branches worked with the number and name of each branch as given in the Call Book (in branch number order) plus the callsign of the station claimed for that branch.
vi. Total score -(total points multiplied by the number of branches worked)
vii. Description of equipment, antenna and output power used.
viii. Signed declaration that all contest rules have been observed.
10. Cypher system
a. RST followed by branch number followed by power output -eg 569/11/04. Indicating a 569 report; branch 11; and power of 4 W. Power will always be given as two figures: -over 100 W will be given as 99, while below 10 W will be preceded by 0.
b. Overseas stations are required to give RST plus a serial number beginning at 001.
For ZL Entrants:
a. ZL to Overseas -10 points
b. ZL to ZL with Power given as 5 W or less -5 points.
c. ZL using 5 W or less to ZL with Power given as 6 W or more -1 point.
d. ZL using 6 W or more to ZL with Power given as 5 W or less -1 point.
e. ZL using 6 W or more to ZL with Power given as 6 W or more -Not permitted for contest purposes.
For Overseas entrants:
a. Overseas using 5 W or less to ZL with Power given as 5 W or less - 10 points.
b. Overseas using 5 W or less to ZL with Power given as 6 W or more - 5 points.
c. Overseas using 6 W or more to ZL with Power given as 5 W or less - 5 points.
d. Overseas using 6 W or more to ZL with Power given as 6 W or more - Not permitted for contest purposes.
e. Overseas to Overseas -Not permitted for contest purposes. Final score is total points multiplied by the Number of Branches worked.
NOTE: Contacts with a Contestant's own Branch are OK for points but are not to be counted as a multiplier.
12. Mobile or Mobile/Portable operation will be permitted for New Zealand stations, however, the station must be operated from ONE LOCATION each evening. This means a station could operate from one location the first evening and another location on the second evening. The station must use the Branch number applicable to its location at the time. The entrant may combine both logs for contest purposes, but the logs must indicate their locations on both evenings. In this case then only one branch (either) is to be eliminated as an "own Branch" multiplier. Overseas Stations may be mobile or portable, but a maritime mobile station must be outside New Zealand's territorial waters to be counted as a DX contact.
13. Discounted Contacts: The Contest Manager expects that participating stations will provide a fair chance for all entrants to make contact with them. While it is not intended to discourage contestants from operating only part of the full contest it is considered that at least 20 contacts should be made and station operation should be over at least 3 half hour operating periods. Stations considered to have worked less than this requirement will have their contacts and branch multiplier contribution deducted from contest logs.
14. Awards
a.  SANGSTER SHIELD: to the highest scoring entrant using 5 W or less and observing the rules as enumerated. (Note that all first time entrants qualifying for the Transistor Trophy will also be eligible for the Sangster Shield Award)
b. TRANSISTOR TROPHY: to the highest scoring entrant using 5 W or less and observing the rules as enumerated, but in addition who has been licensed for 12 months or less. Entrants must give Operator's Certificate number together with date of issue.
c. The "ARTHUR STEVENS TROPHY" will be presented to the highest scoring South Island entrant using 5 W or less. (This trophy is in honour of Arthur, formerly ZL1MT, a very long time stalwart of the Sangster Shield Contest).
d. Certificates to the first three entrants using 5 W or less, also to the first three "newly licensed" entrants qualifying for the Transistor trophy.
e. Certificate to entrant using 6 W or more with the highest score.
f. Certificates to Overseas entrants with the highest score in their respective call areas.
g. Certificate to the branch with the highest aggregate score from three entrants operating in the QRP section. A minimum of three entrants are required to be eligible for this section. The top three scoring entrants for any Branch will automatically be aggregated -it is not necessary for a Branch to send in an entry for this section.
15. Logs must be posted to reach the Contest Manager, Glenn Kingston ZL2KZ, 53 Tannadyce Street, Wellington 6003, on or before the third Thursday of June.
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Trans-Tasman CW & Digital Contest
Welcome to the home page of the Trans-Tasman CW & Digital contest!
For Contest Dates Click Here
80m CW & Digital 
160m CW & Digital
0800-1300UTC (best 4 hours out of 5)
CW, RTTY, PSK31, and others.

PLEASE NOTE:  This contest is run separately from the original VK/TransTasman contest. All logs should be sent to ZL3AKM at the address given in the rules.
This contest has been introduced to fill the gap left by the demise of the previous VK/Trans-Tasman CW contests. While there have been around 50 active stations each year in each of the CW contests, the lack of submitted logs, and the structure of the scoring system made the contest unnavigable. To address this, the new Trans-Tasman CW & Digital contest aims to boost activity and contact rates by: introducing digital modes to the contest, allowing stations to be contacted twice per hour (once on CW and once on digital), and actively encouraging the use of CW decoding software to boost CW activity.
Statistically, the relatively low number of active ZL stations results in wide fluctuations in the number of ZL stations from year to year. This leads to a wildly varying Participation Factor from year to year, ranging from 0.33 to 0.62, resulting in widely varying ZL scores while VK scores are dominated by local contacts with less statistical variation. Furthermore, when there are few ZL stations, not only is the PF low, but ZL's also make fewer ZL-ZL contacts, further reducing ZL scores... and visa versa when ZL participation is high. To combat this wildly random effect, and to simplify the scoring system, the participation factor has been replaced by a change to the scoring table. All ZL scores are now reduced by 6 points per VK contact. The adjustment will be made after the contest in 2009 so that SSB logging programs can be used without modification. The change is equivalent to a fixed participation factor of 0.4.
Have Fun! Check  for rules on the web site: Click Here 

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Polish and lubricate that old morse key and enjoy an evening of old time radio fun. An activity night in which everyone can be a winner with a certificate to prove it.
First Sunday in November 2000-2300 NZST.
80 m (3.5 MHz) only
CW sent with STRAIGHT KEY ie characters formed manually, no system of automatic dots, dashes or spacing permitted.
1. Vintage QRP, 2. Vintage QRO, 3. Open QRP, and 4. Open QRO.
Vintage receivers and transmitters or transceivers using valves, no solid-state devices in the signal line permitted. QRP: 5 watts or less rf output.
1. RST, 2. QTH, 3. Operator's name (one word), 4. Key used (e.g. ZC1, P&T), 5. TX type (eg ZC1, FT1000, homebrew), and 6. TX power (watts).
Except for DX stations (ie non ZL mainland) only RST, operators name, and QTH need be exchanged.
ONE Point per QSO.
Stations may be worked once, CW to CW only. All stations submitting logs MUST use a straight key throughout, but straight key stations may QSO stations using bugs, electronic keyers or keyboards.
1. Vintage QRP multiply total points by 2, 2. Open QRP multiply total points by 1.5, 3. Vintage QRO multiply total points by 1.2, and 4. Open QRO multiply total points by 1.
Suggest using standard NZART log pages (not contest log sheets).
Each log QSO entry to show of station worked:
1. Time (NZST or Z ), 2. Callsign,  3. RST, 4. QTH, 5. Name, 6. Key type, 7. Tx type, and 8. Tx power.
Calculate total score then multiply by the appropriate multiplier to give total score claimed.
Logs to have associated data sheet giving entrant's:
1. Name,  2. Callsign, 3. QTH, 4. Age (optional),
Full description of equipment used including: 5. Key, 6. Tx/rx, 7. Tx power, and 8. Antenna.
Send logs by mail by 30 November to:
Ken McCormack, ZL1AIH, 181 Ararimu Valley Road, Waimauku, AUCKLAND, or email zl1aih@xtra.co.nz
All (including DX stations) who send a log will receive a certificate. Special certificates to top three in each division. Annotated certificates e.g. Best ZC1, Youngest/oldest op, etc., at manager's discretion.
Any photos of operators and/or equipment gratefully received.
FISTS Down Under Prize
FISTS Down Under awards a prize to the leaders in each of the four divisions, consisting of a certificate and a year's subscription to FISTS Down Under.
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1.  UK FISTS coordinated events
2.  RSGB Commonwealth Contest

Details of UK FISTS activities and events can be found at: Click Here 
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The Commonwealth Contest promotes contacts between stations in the Commonwealth and Mandated Territories.  Although not a FISTS organised event, it is very popular among FISTS members and all VK and ZL operators generally.  Some participating operators go out of their way to activate rare Commonwealth call signs so in a more relaxed contest environment it gives the opportunity to work some choice DX.


Date:  Second weekend in March.
Time: 1000 -1000UTC.
Bands: 3.5, 7, 14, 21, 28MHz. Activity is normally concentrated in the lower 30kHz of each band.

Mode: CW.

Exchange: RST plus serial number. HQ stations will additionally send HQ, which must be logged.

1. Eligible entrants:
Land-based stations operated by licensed radio amateurs within the Commonwealth or British Mandated Territories (as defined by the RSGB call-area list) are eligible to enter. UK entrants must be members of the RSGB. Sections (a) and (b) are for single-operator stations who may not receive any assistance whatsoever during the contest, including the use of spotting nets, packet cluster or other assistance in finding new contacts or bonuses. Additionally, with the specific exception of the HQ station GB5CC, UK stations may not use any special callsign. Remote operation is permitted, but all elements of the station (transmitters, receivers, antennas and operators) must be within the same Commonwealth Call Area.

 2. Sections:
(a) Open
24 hour operation - full legal limit on power - no antenna restrictions.
12 hour operation - full legal limit on power - no antenna restrictions. 
(b) Restricted
24 hour operation - output power limited to 100 watts - antenna restricted to single element.
12 hour operation - output power limited to 100 watts - antenna restricted to single element. 
For stations in the 12-hour categories, off periods must be clearly defined in the Soapbox field of the Cabrillo file and a minimum of 60 minutes in length. However, time before the first contact, and after the final contact, may be of any length. Stations opting to operate for a maximum of 12 hours will be annotated in the results listings.  
The term single element defines each antenna (eg. dipole, vertical, long-wire, etc), and does not preclude the use of different single-element antennas during the contest. However, the concurrent use of one single-element antenna for transmitting and another (eg beverage) for receiving is not permitted.
(c) Multi-Operator
24 hour operation - single transmitted signal - full legal limit on power - no antenna restrictions - packet cluster use permitted.

3. Scoring: Contacts may be made with any station using a Commonwealth Call Area prefix, except those within the entrant's own call area. Note that for this contest, the entire UK counts as one call area, and therefore UK stations may not work each other. Each contact scores 5 points with a bonus of 20 points for each of the first three contacts with each Commonwealth Call Area on each band. Commonwealth Call Areas.

4. Headquarters stations: A number of Commonwealth Society HQ stations will be active during the contest and will send HQ after their serial number, to identify themselves. Only one HQ station is permitted per Commonwealth Call Area. Each HQ station counts as an additional call area, and entrants may contact any HQ station (including one in their own call area) for points and bonuses, the annotation HQ being made in the log where appropriate.

5. Team Competition:
(a) Each team will consist of up to ten stations. In addition to Australia, Canada, Great Britain, New Zealand and Rest of the World teams, any Commonwealth country or geographical region may enter one or more teams. An individual station may only represent one team, and may compete in the Open or Restricted section. Each station's log must be submitted in the normal way.
(b) Each team will have a captain who must submit a list of the team members to commonwealth.contest@rsgbcc.org no later than seven days before the start of the contest. Substitutions may be accepted up to the start of the contest.
(c) Stations in the Rest of the World team(s) may only be drawn from countries not submitting their own team.

6. Team Scoring:
(a) The team score is the sum of individual adjudicated scores, with all stations located in the southern hemisphere or on the equator having their final score multiplied by a latitude factor.
(b) The latitude factor will be re-calculated each year based on published scores: for each hemisphere, the highest-scoring team total for each of the last three years will be used to give an overall total and the factor will be calculated as the ratio of the northern to the southern grand totals rounded down to the nearest two decimal places. Transitional arrangements will apply in determining the factor for each year. Full details can be supplied on request. The latitude factor for 2009 will be 1.34.
(c) Each team member is competing as a single-operator within the overall contest, and no passing of information between team members during the event is permitted, except that team members may work each other for points and/or bonuses where the contest rules allow.

7. Logs: Each entry must indicate the section entered, and should contain the full postal address of the entrant. Electronic logs must be submitted as an e-mail attachment in Cabrillo format to commonwealth.contest@rsgbcc.org 
Paper logs must be submitted in chronological QSO order and show time; band; callsign worked; RST+serial sent; received exchange; points. For full details see the general rules at www.rsgbcc.org/hf. The address for paper logs is - RSGB G3UFY, 77 Bensham Manor Road, Thornton Heath, Surrey, CR7 7AF, UK. Entrants are reminded that logs sent to any other address may not reach the adjudicator.
An example of a Commonwealth Contest log in Cabrillo format can be found at -
Further information regarding the Cabrillo format can be found at -

8. Closing date for logs: Logs must be received no later than one calendar month after the end of the contest.

9. Awards:
(a) Open: The Senior Rose Bowl to the overall leader. The Col Thomas Rose Bowl to the highest-placed UK station.
(b) Restricted: The Junior Rose Bowl to the section leader. The John Dunnington Trophy to the highest-placed UK station who has not won the trophy in the preceding two years.
(c) The Ross Carey Rose Bowl to the highest-placed UK station in the 12-hour category, regardless of section. The VP8GQ Trophy to the highest-placed non-UK station (who has not won the trophy in the preceding two years) in the 12-hour category, regardless of section.
(d) A Commonwealth Medal will be awarded to the entrant who in the opinion of the HF Contests Committee has most improved their score or contributed to the contest over the years.
(e) A special Commonwealth Traveller certificate will be awarded to the highest-scoring entrant in the Open or Restricted sections who operates from a Commonwealth Call Area not represented in the published results of the previous year contest. At the discretion of the HF Contests Committee, additional Commonwealth Traveller certificates may be awarded to entrants from especially inaccessible Call Areas.
(f) A certificate will be awarded to the highest-scoring station using QRP (5 watts or less).

Single-operator entrants are recommended to try SDC by EI5DI. It is dedicated to the Commonwealth Contest, runs on any Windows PC, and is free. It may be downloaded from - http://www.ei5di.com/sd/sdcsetup.exe
A vast amount of background information, statistics and photographs related to the Commonwealth Contest may be found on G3PJT website. Click Here

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Information on North American based events can be found on the US FISTS website, Click Here 
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This is a selection of popular contests.  If you have a favorite contest that you would like included in this list, please let us know, Click Here

Click on the links below:

Oceania DX Contest
Scandinavian Activity Contest
CQ World Wide DX Contest
Worked All Europe Contest
ARRL Contest Calendar

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