by Ryan Oostland – Guest Writer & Kendra Burkey – Horizon Advisor
On Nov. 19 and 20, Hesston College’s Amateur Radio Club competed in the American Radio Relay League’s November Sweepstakes contest. Led by professor Bob Harder and consisting of Ryan Oostland, Tyler Nissley, Ryuki Kawamoto, Yedidiya Zewdu, and Amos Pangaribuan, the group was tasked with contacting as many people in 83 sections throughout the United States and Canada as possible.
While the official scores won’t be posted for a few weeks, the club made a total of 1200 contacts and a “clean sweep,” meaning they contacted at least one station in each of the 83 sections. According to Harder, that’s probably good enough to put them in first place, leading around 20 teams in the school category.
“We got in a number of good practice sessions…before the big weekend, and the practice paid off,” he said in his contest report. “Team logging worked great, and both Tyler and Ryan even ‘soloed’ the station as others kept track of the sweep.”
Starting at 3 p.m. Saturday and ending at 9 p.m. Sunday, the contest included six hours of mandatory breaks, making the contest a total of 24 hours. Members took various shifts at Bob’s house, whose radio is used by the club, throughout the weekend.
During the contest, operators must exchange a particular set of identifying information for each contact. In the case of the Hesston College team, that’s their serial number followed by “S, K0HC, check 97, Kansas.” In radio language, that’s “Sierra, K zero Hotel Charlie, check niner seven, Kansas Kilo Sierra.”
Stations are given two points for each contact, then their points are multiplied by the number of different sections they contacted for their final score. Hesston has historically beaten teams from Stanford and MIT. It looks like this year is no exception.