Pre-Contest Checklist

To maximize your fun and success, please complete this checklist before every contest:

1. Review the contest rules, exchange and objectives.

Always be sure to check the contest sponsor's website to familiarize yourself with the rules, expected exchange and any abbreviations needed. This will greatly enhance your ability to participate and enjoy the experience! Here's a great summary source that's available both weekly and long term.

2. Select the correct software.

Make sure that you are using the latest version of the correct software for the contest that you are about to operate. Also, if the program prompts you for your password when you start the software, be sure to enter it!

3. Select the correct mode (if necessary).

If this contest is mode specific, click Settings > Setup and select the correct mode.

4. Make sure your country list from AD1C is current.

You only have to download the country list once to update all our software, but if you haven't done so since Jim's last update, from any of the programs, click File > Download Country Files from AD1C.

5. Enable Super Check Partial and make sure your Super Check Partial file is current.

Click Settings > Super Check Partial and check the check box to enable Super Check Partial. Like the country file, you only need to run the SCP download once to update all our software, but if you haven't done that in a while, please do so now.

6. Enable DX Spotting.

Click Settings > DX Spotting and check the check box to enable DX Spotting. You'll likely want to display the band map vertically, so be sure to drag the main form's right edge to the left and press Ctrl E to show the band map. You'll find a video tutorial on DX spotting, all the details on how to use the band map and Click & Pounce contesting techniques here.

7. Set DX Spotting Filters.

From the DX Spotting form, click the More Filtering button and add any additional filters. I recommend filtering for spots posted from your continent, mode (if applicable) and to block contest duplicates. With block contest duplicates enabled, every spot you see is a new station to work for this contest! Remember, with block contest duplicates enabled, you will not see the spots you post if you click Spot Last, but please keep spotting stations!

8. Set Backup Options.

Click File > Backup Options and set any backup options that you would like to enable.

9. Enable CW Transmit and set up your CW F key strings (for CW contests).

Click Settings > Transmit > CW Setup and set up your CW functions. Remember, you can load and save your CW settings from the CW set up form to quickly load your settings.

10. Enable rig interface (if you have the necessary rig interface cable).

Click Settings > Rig Interface to configure. The software will follow along as you tune your rig and you can click on DX Spots to tune your rig right to the spot frequency instantly! This can really speed your Search and Pounce (or Click and Pounce) QSO rates and it is great to not have to remember to change bands and modes in the software! Remember, you can load and save your Rig Interface settings from the Rig Interface set up form to quickly load your settings. All the rig interface set up details are here.

11. Enable Master Log Entity Confirmation Status Check (this is entirely optional for contesting, but fun!).

To see if the juicy DX you are calling is unconfirmed or an All Time New One in your master log file (in Amateur Contact Log):

- From Amateur Contact Log 5.6 or later click Settings > API and check the upper checkbox that says TCP API Enabled (Server).

- From the contest software click Settings > API, check the lower checkbox to Enable Entity Confirmation Check via API.

When you tab from the Call field in the contesting program, a status query will go out to AC Log via API to check the confirmation status and, if needed, the result will be displayed in the contesting software's dialogue box!

By the way, if you are using rig interface and don't want to disable it in AC Log (to free the com port), from the contest program, on the rig interface form, just select N3FJP API from the rig list. That way both programs will continually be connected to your rig. Just remember to keep AC Log running too, as AC Log is the program connected directly to your rig in this configuration.

12. Enable History File

Click Settings > History File and check the check box to use your history file.

13. Enable HamDash and Other Online Sites! (optional).

Watching your score and seeing how your club is doing in real time on our HamDash leaderboard is a blast! Please enable HamDash and any other online sites you like by clicking Settings > Web Upload Contest Status!

14. Make sure your PC clock is properly set.

Does anybody really know what time it is? These guys do!

15. Remind your ham buddies and invite a new or prospective ham over.

Contests have a way of sneaking up on us. Make sure your buddies are ready for this weekend's event. Also, contesting is a great opportunity for outreach, so invite that new or prospective ham over and let them see first hand all the great fun we are having!

16. Take a moment to give thanks.

We are about to have great fun, communicating all over the country and world, using only our radios and antennas. We have our radio passion, spectrum, time, license, station and equipment ready to go! Take a deep breath, a moment to soak that in and give heartfelt thanks for everything that has come together to enable you to be a part of this amazing adventure!

17. Prepare refreshments!

Pour yourself a big, cold, glass of ice water and fill a bowl with some tasty, healthy snacks!

If you are new to contesting and looking for more tips, please see this page our Northeast Maryland Amateur Radio Contest Society put together here!

We are going to have fun!!!

1 Peter 3 vs 15: Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect...

N3FJP Software Home