Spring 2004 North American Meteor Scatter Rally

1. PURPOSE: to promote activity using meteor scatter propagation on the amateur VHF/UHF bands.

2. RALLY PERIOD: starts on Saturday, May 1, at 0000 UTC and ends on Monday, May 10 at 0000 UTC (Friday evening through Sunday evening, North American time.) The dates have been selected to make good use of the annual Eta Aquarids meteor shower. Please take note: this is a morning shower, the radiant being in a good position from about 0500 to 1200 local daylight time. If you operate only in the evening you will get no benefit from the shower! Sporadic meteors will be picking up by May, however, so even in the evening it should be fairly easy to make QSOs.

3. ENTRY CATEGORIES: Specify Low Power or High Power, Single Band or Multiband, and Assisted or Unassisted operation.

Low Power: Less than 200 Watts output was used at all times.

Unassisted: Entrants for the Unassisted category must make all of their contacts by calling CQ, answering a CQ, or tailending on another QSO. There are two exceptions to this rule. It is permissible for a Multiband Unasissted station to move a QSO partner to another band. For example, if you are working someone on 6 meters you might send "QSY 144.113" instead of "73". In addition, an Unassisted station may make schedules with other stations so long as the schedule is arranged before the Rally has begun and the other station is at least 1300 miles distant (as determined by the six-digit grid locators of the two stations). This rule is to encourage efforts to push the envelope of meteor scatter communication.

PLEASE NOTE: Unassisted means NO use of the Internet or Ping Jockey during the rally period.  Stations may post their operating schedule or/and  frequencies of operation prior to the rally, but during the contest period no posting or reading of the various Internet pages is permitted. The Honor System applies!

Assisted:  Entrants in the Assisted categories may make any normal use of email, Ping Jockey, telephone, or other scheduling aids during the Rally, but of course they may not exchange any significant QSO information by non-meteor-scatter means while a QSO is in progress.  Also note that for any unassisted contacts, made by an Assisted entrant, the points per contact/band are the same as for unassisted operation (see Scoring, below).  If a station that has already been worked via an assisted means is subsequently worked totally unassisted, the earlier contact may be disregarded and the unassisted scoring applied.

An example of this is: You copy a station calling CQ and work him, but you did not see any postings, during the contest, indicating that the station would be there (at that time or frequency).  Any question as to whether or not a contact is random can easily be answered by asking yourself, “Did my internet access make this contact any easier?”.  If the answer is Yes, then it is an assisted contact.

4. EXCHANGE: full callsigns, four-digit grid squares, and final rogersmust be exchanged. Any communication by non-meteor-scatter means during a contact invalidates the contact.

5. MODE: any transmission mode (for example, CW, SSB, HSCW, FSK441,JT6M) is permitted. QSOs with the same station count only once per band, regardless of mode. The propagation mode must be meteor scatter. The WSJT FSK441 mode of choice is FSK441A for the Rally.

6. OPERATING PROCEDURES: QSOs will be much easier to make if everyone adopts conventional procedures. In general, the westernmost station should transmit in the first sequence. On a directly north-south path, the southern station goes first. For scheduled QSOs in FSK441 mode you may find it desirable to use 15 second sequences rather than the conventional 30-second sequences. However, please do not use anything but 30 second sequencing on 50.260 or 144.140, the standard CQ frequencies.

All participants are encouraged to listen for "tailenders" after completing QSOs, and to listen on the standard HSMS calling frequencies (50.260 and 144.140 MHz) for CQs. The preferred method of calling CQ is the form "CQ U5 W1ABC", "CQ D13 W1ABC", or "CQ 113 W1ABC", indicating that W1ABC will be listening for replies "Up 5 kHz" or "Down 13 kHz" from the CQ frequency, or, in the third example, on 144.113. In each example the subsequent QSO will take place on the reply frequency, NOT the CQ-calling frequency.

For example: W1ABC in FN42 beams southwest and calls "CQ D10 W1ABC" on 144.140, transmitting in the second half of each minute. W4XYZ replies on 144.130 and thereafter listens 144.130. As soon as W1ABC hears a reply, he QSYs to 144.130 to send "W4XYZ W1ABC FN42", and the two stations complete their QSO on that frequency. When the contact is complete W1ABC can go back to CQing on 144.140, knowing that either a tailender or someone answering the new CQ might call him on 144.130.

As a further aid to stations operating in the Unassisted category, all participants are encouraged to look for requests to QSY to another band. After receiving RRR from W4XYZ, instead of sending "73" W1ABC might send "QSY 50.265". When W4XYZ receives this request she immediately QSYs and starts calling on 50.265. W1ABC moves over to 6 meters when he hears no further pings on 144.133, and the pair then make a QSO on 6.


Assisted: Each QSO counts 1 point on 50 and 144 MHz, 3 points on 222 MHz, and 10 points on 432 MHz.

Unassisted: Each QSO counts 3 point on 50 and 144 MHz, 9 points on 222 MHz, and 30 points on 432 MHz.

Contacts made by any of the permitted methods -- pre-arranged schedule, real-time schedule, calling CQ, tailending, or requesting a QSY to another band, are all scored the same way. Your final score is the sum of all QSO points multiplied by the total number of unique 4-digit grid locators worked, per band. Standard Rover rules apply for Rover stations; Rovers also get credit for each band-grid from which they make a QSO.

8. REPORTING: Log information must contain the following data: Date and time of QSO, callsign of station worked, frequency, grid square, claimed QSO points, random indicator, and new grids by band. For example:

Date UTC Call Band Grid Points Mult
Dec 14 0103 W1ABC 144 FN42 1 144-1
Dec 15 1237 N4XYZ 50 EM83 1 50-1
Dec 15 1252 N4XYZ 222 EM83 9R 222-1
Dec 16 0203 W9JKL 144 EN62 1 144-2

Note that the 222 MHz. contact was marked as R for random, and received the extra points for an unassisted QSO.

The following information should be contained on the summary sheet accompanying the log: Callsign used, Grid Locator, Power Category, Assisted of Unassisted, Single or Multi-Band, Name, Address, and Email Address (if available).

Callsign used: K0ABC
Grid Locator: EM48
Power (High or Low): Low Power
Assisted or Unassisted: Assisted
Single or Multi-band: Multi-band
Time Zone: Central

Name: John Doe
Address: 1234 Main Street
My Town, State, Zip

Email address: [email protected]

The summary sheet should include a table of the following form:

Band QSOs Points Grids
50   1   1   1
144 2   2   2
222 1   9   1
432 0   0   0
Totals: 4 12 4

Total Score = 12 x 4 = 48

Logs must be postmarked or email dated no later than June 1, 2004.  Email logs received will be acknowledged with a return note. If you fail to receive an acknowledgment please inquire as to your logs status.  Individuals using the postal address may confirm receipt of their log via email to [email protected]  .

Email logs should be sent to [email protected] ; paper logs should be sent to:

Louis R. Tipton
Edna, Texas 77957

Please, please send in your score! It's very easy to do, and we want to have a good record of the level of activity in the event!

9. RESULTS will be posted on a pre-announced web site.

-- 73 from Joe/K1JT, Tip/WA5UFH, John/N6ENU, and Russ/K2TXB for
the WSJTGROUP, sponsors of this event.