VK Contest Log
The ACMA requirements for mobile or portable operation are given in the Amateur operating procedures on the ACMA web site, in the Call and reply section.
They require that when a station is operated as a portable or mobile away from the licensed address, each call sign or reply is suffixed with the locality of operation, for example:
CQ CQ CQ VK3AVV VK3AVV VK3AVV portable/mobile Darwin Northern Territory
For contesting, such a procedure would be very unwieldy and also prone to error as an operator working the above station may not know how to enter it in his log so that it can be processed by the contest manager. The procedure is therefore shortened and simplified by specifying the prefix of where the station is portable and appending that to the "home" call sign, for above example, VK3AVV/VK8. If you are operating outside VK altogether, in New Zealand for example, then you should append the appropriate ZL prefix to your call sign, such as VK3AVV/ZL1.
VKCL ignores single characters after the '/' and also multiple characters, unless they are "MM" for maritime mobile, "AM" for aeronautical mobile, "QRP" for low power operation when relevant to the contest, or they resolve to a valid prefix identifying a country/entity. The number of characters required may vary, but must be at least two (remember one character is ignored) and maybe three. For example, VK3AVV/RA is not sufficient as RA is part of the prefix for both European and Asiatic Russia and the two are separate countries/entities for amateur radio purposes. The call sign entry should therefore include the following digit, 1 to 7 for European Russia and 8 to 0 for Asiatic Russia. If however no digit is provided, a '0' is appended to the prefix making it in this case VK3AVV/RA0, which may or may not be what is wanted.
"MM", "AM", and "QRP" should always be appended, but many international contests, such as both of the CQ contests and the Oceania DX contest now require that the portable location prefix to be put before the home call sign, for above example, ZL1/VK3AVV. To cater for all situations, VKCL accepts the portable location prefix in either position, but as resolving a call sign these days is more an art rather than an exact science, do check that the desired result is achieved when portable prefix is placed before the home call sign.
Since VKCL ignores all single characters after the '/' and the portable station is in their home State and it does not affect any scoring, then you can append a "/P" after the home call sign to indicate they are portable, as it would be equivalent to VK3AVV/VK3 but much simpler.
Special call signs are being issued in Australia from which it is not possible to determine their correct State, for example VI40xxx to a club in VK2 that is commemorating their 40th anniversary. For the Remembrance Day contest and any other State based contests, that call sign appears to be in VK4 and hence disturbs working that station and the scoring for both VK2 and VK4 operators. The way to solve the problem is to append "/VK2" to put it explicitly in VK2.
A similar problem arose in VK Shires contest, where Australian stations use their Shire in the exchange while all DX stations use their CQ Zone numbers. Shires are multipliers but CQ Zones are not, so if it is desired to log a VK0 station on Macquarie Is. (which is a DX entity but which is apparently administered by a Tasmanian shire) as an Australian station rather than as a DX station then just make it portable in Tasmania by appending a "/VK7" to their call sign (ignoring any issues as to whether such action is legal under the contest rules).
Not specifically a portable station issue, but you may notice that sometimes when you enter a call sign or a portable prefix, the Country of QSO display (when it is shown) may show a number of countries from where the call sign may be from. If it is not relevant to the contest, the display is just there for your information, but sometimes it is important to know either the country or the continent of where the station is from, as number of points may be different for different continents or countries may be used as multipliers. In those cases, radio buttons appear against each entry in the list and you will need to select one, either when you are logging the contact or later when editing, to get a better estimation of your final score. (In most of these cases, Cabrillo format logs are sent to the contest manager, which are just the raw log data without any processing, so he or she will be the final arbitrator as to where the stations are located.)
Page last updated: 28/ 6/2012