Lantern Battery Challenge©
Operating Parameters September 2013

Call them rules

Entry FormResults Summary Form

The fifth NVARC Lantern Battery Challenge will start in October. This year we are making some major changes to the event. So read on. We hope to make the event more interesting and get more people to take part. This year in recognition of the first amateur radio contact across the pond on November 27th of 1923 we are adding an incentive to try and duplicate that event by encouraging contacts outside North America. See the write up in the August 2013 Signal for background details. In this earlier write up I proposed scoring contacts outside North America at 9 points each and North America QSOs at 5 points. At the time I considered using the DXCC countries list to determine what was North America and what was not. But after reviewing the list and some discussion among others I think that there are many DX QSOs that should qualify for the bonus. But rather than draw a circle on the map I’ve decided that a simple solution is to consider North America as the 49 states, that includes Alaska, Canada and Mexico as QSOs that count five (5) points. All other QSOs count 9 points. The 9 is in reference to the 90th anniversary of the first amateur radio contact between North America and Europe. The final score for this years Lantern Battery Challenge will be the North American QSOs as described above, times five (5) plus the number of all other QSOs times nine (9). See “Scoring” later. This scoring change is really the big change in the event from previous years. But I hope this will encourage more entries in this year’s event.

We will be going back to the lantern batteries this year. The batteries will be made up of nine (9) cells as in past years. The entry fee will go back to $15 to cover the cost of the batteries and provide a little extra for the prizes. The sign up period will close shortly after the September meeting. If you can’t make the September meeting please see me or a board member to register for this year’s event. Now they say the devil is in the details. So here are the revised Operating Parameters for the 2013/2014 NVARC Lantern Battery Challenge.

Activity Period
The 2013/2014 Lantern Battery Challenge will run from the end of the October meeting, on October 17th, till 0001 UTC March 1st, 2014.
All contacts must be made on the normal contest bands of 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, 10, and 6 meters.
Modes of Operation
There are three modes of operation, CW, SSB (including AM), and Digital (This mode lumps all digital modes such as RTTY, PSK, JT-65, JT-9 and any of the other so called “sound card” modes together.
Classes of Entry
There are really twelve.
  1. Mixed mode is operating more than one of the three primary modes, CW, SSB, and Digital.
  2. CW
  3. SSB includes AM
  4. Digital, note the computer and display do not need to run on the battery for this mode. Only the radio.
  5. Transmit only mode. This mode allows the use of a line powered receiver. Only the transmitter is required to be battery powered.
  6. Crystal controlled transmitter. This is the same as 5 above except the transmitter is crystal controlled. This is for radios like the Tuna Tin and Rock Mite transmitters. Pulling the frequency of the crystal is permitted. You can use as many crystals as you have.

Now in addition to these six operating modes there are two antenna classes as explained next. The modes of operation and the two antenna classes combine to provide 12 entry categories.

Antennas - There are two classes of Antennas

General class
Any and all types of antennas with no part of any antenna used for operating in the Lantern Battery Challenge higher than 55 feet above average ground.
Unlimited class
The Unlimited class consists of all other antennas. The purpose of this is to try and level the field between competing stations.
Contacts may be made from anywhere in the United States. Fixed, portable, or mobile, just as long as the same battery must be used for all contacts.
Logs must be submitted with a contact summary sheet (form to be supplied later) at the end of the event. Logs can be readable paper, original or a copy. Electronic logs must be readable with available software in an easy and convenient form. If we can’t read it, the entry will be set aside. Logs must contain date and time of contact, station call, mode, frequency or band and contact information. If the contact is made in a contest the contest exchanges is required in the log. For just general QSOs the signal report, name, and state, or province are required. For DX QSOs only name and report are required. Logs are due at the end of the March club meeting. We will try and make arrangements for those that cannot attend the March club meeting to submit their log on line or via US mail.
This is the large change in the event this year. As mentioned above this year contacts with stations located in “North America” (as defined below) will be worth five (5) points. Contacts outside “North America” will count nine (9) points. The final score will be the sum of the two products. In short, contacts outside of North America (as defined) will be worth about twice those within North America. “North America” is defined as the 48 states, Alaska, Canada, and Mexico. All other contacts are outside “North America” as defined for the LBC. For this event Puerto Rico, US Virgin Island, and KG4 are outside NA, while 4U is considered inside NA. Any and all questions regarding the disposition of points or multipliers or other event “rules” will be resolved by the NVARC board and their decision will be considered final.

Sample calculation. If KD1LE makes 10 QSO’s with W and VE stations, that would be 10 x 5 = 50 points. If he also works 10 stations outside NA that would be 10 x 9 = 90 points. His total score for the event is 50 + 90 = 140 points. Note that points and multipliers are the same across the different modes, CW, SSB or digital.

Awards will be decided by the board upon review of the entries. We guarantee all the fame you can car-ry home. But we may come up with something like cups, CDs or books. Certainly certificates will be awarded. The idea that everybody that enters is a winner comes to mind. Awards will be made at the April 2014 or later club meeting.
Entrance Fee
The entrance fee is to cover the cost of the battery provided by the club. It is $15.00. This is just to cover the cost of the batteries and maybe have a little left over for awards. The fee along with a completed application form is payable at the September meeting and must be paid before the October meeting to receive a battery. Members that cannot make the September meeting should contact me or a board member to try and make arrangement to pay your fee and submit your entry form. We will hold the entrance fee payment period open for a limited period (a few days) after the Sept meeting to give members that can’t make the meeting an opportunity to pay their fee.
Event Spirit
The spirit of the operating event (we are reluctant to call it a contest) is to work as many contacts as possible on the limited amount of energy in the bat-tery. This year we have added the DX multiplier. Working stations with another rig and asking them to stand by and work you with your QRP rig is not in the spirit of the event.
It should be obvious that trying to run any of the modern transceivers on the battery will be short indeed. It will require a low drain radio. There are of course many of this type of radios available. The FT 817 and KX3 are examples. But radios that in general have complicated modern receivers with displays require a lot of current in the receive mode. Even transceivers like the K2 that have a low current drain mode draw 120 to 150 mills of current and will eat up the energy in the battery in short order. With the small battery it is best to have a plan. Use headphones and keep the transmit power down. Turn off the receiver when you are not actively listening to save batteryj capacity. I suggest disconnecting the battery when not in use. The battery will probably start to fail in the transmit mode where the current required is higher. Giving the battery a rest to recover can stretch the capacity. Low power rigs with simple low drain receivers will probably have an advantage but that remains to be seen. A big part of this is ex-perimental.

There are those that will say, “Well I don’t have a radio and I am not going to plunk down the Big Bucks for some fancy low power radio kit or radio. Well that is one reason for the Transmit only mode. Low power, low drain, simple CW transmitters are little more than a week end project, and they will get you in on the fun. A one watt crystal controlled transmitter only takes two transistors and can be built in an evening. I have a few boards and we can scrape up the parts for those that may be interested in building their own little transmitter to get in on the fun. (If you are interested, get in touch with me).

Operation with different equipment is encouraged. The only requirement is that any equipment must be powered by the battery supplied. So you are free to try as many different rigs as you like during the event. The same is true of antennas as long as they are in the same class. So it is a good time to experiment with antennas.

The board may modify or issue new event rules at any time it feels necessary to the conduct of the operating event.

Main Objective of the Lantern Battery Challenge - Have Fun!

Issued Sept. 17th 2009, revised Sept 2nd 2011, Sept 7th 2012, and Sept. 10th 2013
Bob W1XP

"Lantern Battery Challenge" is copyright © 2010 Nashoba Valley Amateur Radio Club.
Change history
2013-09-29   2013 paramters posted, copied from the September Signal
Last changed: $Date: 2014-03-23 10:18:28 -0700 (Sun, 23 Mar 2014) $