IARU ATV contest
The most important on-air event of the year is the annual IARU ATV Contest which takes place over the second weekend of June each year.
The 2018 event is on 9/10 June - the contest starts at 1 pm UK time on the Saturday and runs through until 7 pm on the Sunday, so there is plenty of time to get on the air.
This is an international contest and ATV operators in all countries in IARU region 1 enter and a table of results is produced showing a league table of entries based on bands used and number of entries from each country.
Who can enter?
Everyone! You can enter from your home station, from a portable location or a club station - and you don't have to be a BATC member to enter.
You can get on air for an hour on Sunday morning or go out camping on the local hill top for the whole weekend!
The rules allow for “roving” stations, so there is no reason why you should not operate from home on one day, and go out portable on another, or even use multiple portable sites. Just remember to use new 4-digit codes from each location and to ask for new codes from any station that you have worked before.
What Bands are in Use?
The main IARU Contest includes all the amateur bands above 400 MHz.
This is because only the UK have the 146MHz band - however, for 2018, the BATC is running a parallel contest for 146 MHz entries. The rules are exactly the same as the IARU contest and contacts should be scored at 2 points per km (for 2-way) and there will be an award for the top stations.
What do I send and how is the contact confirmed?
The basic aim is to send a 4 digit code and have it successfully received - you'll find that most receiving stations add the 4 numbers to together and tell you the sum as confirmation that they received them.
The numbers in the 4 digit code should not be the same or consecutive: 4752 is OK, but 2345 or 2222 are not and you need to send a different set of numbers on each band you transmit on.
The numbers can be scribbled on a piece of paper, loaded in to a .jpg and played out as video or computer generated. The Portsdown system can automatically generate a different set of numbers for each band, but you need to set the numbers before the Contest. The default Portsdown numbers are not valid for contest use; full details of how to set them are here: Portsdown Contest Numbers.
Contest reports use the P scale for reporting ATV signal readability: The P report is followed by a sequential 3 digit serial number for the contact. For example for your first contact on 23 cm you might send the report P4001, and for the second contact P5002.
Start the serial number from 001 for each band; if you are unsuccessful in receiving pictures, you should send back a report such as P0003. This ensures that your attempt at a contact appears in the log.
How do I know other people are on the air?
The easiest way to co-ordinate and set up contacts is by calling / listening on 144.750MHz FM.
Most stations will also submit proposed activity plans on the BATC forum - the 2018 plans are here: https://forum.batc.org.uk/viewtopic.php?f=75&t=5427
DXSpot.TV https://www.dxspot.tv/ was set up to co-ordinate ATV contacts and have a real time chat room where you can message other ATV operators directly - we suggest you register for an account before the contest.
You can access the DXSpot.TV chat room over low bandwidth (2G?) links using this address: https://www.dxspot.tv/chat/
Time of contest
The contest rules refer to times in UTC: this is Universal Coordinated Time (the abbreviation comes from the French translation which is internationally accepted). Many of us will know this as Greenwich Mean Time (GMT), which is the clock time in the UK during the winter, but one hour behind in the Summer when we use British Summer Time (BST). This is why the International Contest starts at 1pm and finishes at 7pm for us. UTC should be used for the contest log.
Submitting an entry
While the important thing is that you get "on the air" at sometime over the weekend, it would be great if you also took the time to submit an entry, even if it is only for a single 5KM QSO across town using the 5665MHz drone equipment you just got working! That way we can show to Ofcom and other users that there is real activity on the ATV bands and also so the UK can have highest number of entries in the contest!
Ideally you will submit an entry on the official Excel Spreadsheet which you can download from here here https://www.iaru-r1.org/images/VHF/atv/ATV_contest_log_-_ATV_yourcall_YYYYMMDD.xls
Once you have completed it please email it to email@example.com.
Alternatively, simply email in a list of your contacts including times, frequencies, callsigns, locators and numbers sent and received to firstname.lastname@example.org.
When you submit an entry your contact will be awarded a score based on these rules:
A two-way exchange of the four-digit code group by vision together with the exchange of the other information shall score:
- For contacts on the 435 MHz band: 2 points/kilometre
- For contacts on the 1.3 GHz band: 4 points/kilometre
- For contacts on higher bands: 10 points/kilometre
One way QSOs, for example where someone only has a receiver, do count and are awarded half points for both stations and you can claim points for a QSO even if the other station does not submit an entry.
Note that for scoring purposes, all valid contacts shall be deemed to have taken place over a distance of at least 5 kilometres, even if the two stations in contact have the same or adjacent IARU locators.
2017 contest results
The 2017 contest results are available here https://vhf-uhf.veron.nl/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/IARU-ATV-results-2017.pdf
Congratulations to Rob M0DTS for the top UK entry and to Terry G1LPS for winning the overall 9cm section for the third year in succession!
The number of stations entering the contest is increasing each year:
2014 = 33
2015 = 42
2016 = 52
2017 = 95
Are There Any Prizes?
For the 2018 Contest the BATC will be making the following awards to UK-based stations:
- A £50 Amazon Voucher to the winner of the BATC 146 MHz Contest
- A £50 Amazon Voucher to each station in the Best DX 2-way 5.6 GHz contact
- A £50 Amazon Voucher to the transmitting station using a Portsdown system received at the the furthest distance (any band).
Awards will be presented during the BGM at CAT 18 (on the Sunday).
The latest Rules for the International ATV Contest can be downloaded here Media:2018_ATV_Contest_Rules.pdf(.pdf).
The Contest Manager can be contacted on mailto:email@example.com