eHam.net - Amateur Radio (Ham Radio) Community

Call Search
     

New to Ham Radio?
My Profile

Community
Articles
Forums
News
Reviews
Friends Remembered
Strays
Survey Question

Operating
Contesting
DX Cluster Spots
Propagation

Resources
Calendar
Classifieds
Ham Exams
Ham Links
List Archives
News Articles
Product Reviews
QSL Managers

Site Info
eHam Help (FAQ)
Support the site
The eHam Team
Advertising Info
Vision Statement
About eHam.net



[Articles Home]  [Add Article]  

An Enticement for Contest Newbies

from H. Ward Silver, N0AX and Mike Gilmer, N2MG on November 3, 2010
View comments about this article!

An Enticement for Contest Newbies


This is an updated version of two eham articles [1] [2] by N0AX and N2MG that ran on eHam in past years a bit before the ARRL Sweepstakes.

N5RZ operating the K5TR station in the ARRL CW SSTwo of the next three weekends are great opportunities for US and Canadian hams to jump in a give it a try. The ARRL November Sweepstakes is the oldest domestic contest and it has two weekends – the first for Morse (CW) and two weeks later for Phone (SSB).  Since it’s a domestic contest, even modest stations with low antennas can do very well indeed.

What’s the object of the contest?  Make as many contacts as you can on 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, and 10 meters (not on the WARC bands or 60 meters) with the 80 ARRL and RAC Sections.  You can contact each station once during the contest. If you work all 80 sections (called a “Clean Sweep”) you can get a really nice coffee mug.  If you make 100 QSOs, you can get a pin and start a collection! Work on your WAS or WAVE awards. Try to spell your name from the last letters of the calls you work. Work your home state. Work your brother's state. Nobody can stop at just one QSO... 

When is it?

The 2010 ARRL CW Sweepstakes is Nov 6 – Nov 7 local time
The 2010 ARRL Phone Sweepstakes is Nov 20 – Nov 21 local time.
That’s Saturday afternoon through Sunday evening.
You can operate for 24 out of the 30 hour contest period.

How Do You Play?

Since CW is the first weekend, let’s see how it works using CW jargon.  (It works just the same on Phone.)

  1. You hear somebody calling "CQ SS CQ SS de N0AX"
  2. Send your call ONCE - "W7VMI" - don't send their call and don't send yours twice or three times. If they don't copy your call on the first try, they'll send "AGN" or "?" or just CQ again. So call 'em again. If they're going too fast, send "QRS W7VMI" and they'll slow down.
  3. If they hear you, they'll send something like this - "W7VMI 107 A N0AX 53 CO" What the heck does that mean?
    • W7VMI is your call to let you know they're talking to you
    • 107 is the number of the contact in the contest for them (their next contact will be 108, etc.)
    • A is their entry category (low power) – the categories are A, B, M, Q, S, and U
    • Then they send their call
    • 53 is the last two digits of the first year they were licensed - it's called a "check"
    • CO means Colorado, their ARRL/RAC Section (There are 80 - some are states, others aren't, all are two or three letters – be SURE to use the right abbreviation!)
  4. If you don't get it all, it's perfectly OK to send "QRS PSE, AGN" - which means "Slow down, send it again, please"
  5. If you do get it - way to go! Here's what you send...
    • Their call
    • The number this contact is in the contest for you - if it's your first send "1" and pat yourself on the back
    • Your class (QRP is Q, <150W is A, >150W is B, M is multioperator, S is a school club, and U is unlimited...don't ask)
    • Your call
    • The last two digits of the first year you were licensed - if you got your license in 2001, it's "01", for example
    • Your section, "WWA" for Western Washington, maybe, or "IL" for Illinois, or "PQ" for Province Quebec - ah, but oui!
  6. If they don't get it, they may say...with a question mark, maybe...
    • "AGN" - send everything all over again
    • "NR" - repeat just the number a couple of times
    • "PREC" or just "PR" - repeat your category letter, it's called "precedence" for a number of reasons you don't need to know right now
    • "CALL" - repeat your call (this is rare)
    • "CK" - repeat the two digits of the year, your check
    • "SEC" or "QTH" - repeat your section
  7. They may ask YOU to QRS, you speed demon, so do it with a smile!
  8. If they copy everything, they'll say a short "TU" (for thanks) or "R" (for Roger) or "QSL" (for received OK) and then just send their CQ or maybe just their call and away you both may go.
  9. Sometimes, it just doesn't work out - QRM (interference) or QRN (static) or QSB (fading) or the cat could cough up a hairball on the rug requiring immediate action. Don't take it personally; just go find somebody else to call. It's a no-fault deal.
  10. If you get tired of "Searching and Pouncing", then tighten your belt, mop your brow, cock your hat at a jaunty angle and call CQ! It's easy - don't have a cow, man, just call "CQ SS CQ SS de W7VMI W7VMI" and listen, repeat if necessary. Soon you'll get an answer. Just play back the above steps with you as the call-ee.

Although you might recoil in horror at the high code speeds, tune wayyyyyyy up in the bands and there will be some folks going nice and slow. The old Novice bands on 80, 40, 15, and 10 meters (above 100 kHz from the bottom of the band) are often the home of a number of slow-speed stations hanging out. Don't be afraid to jump in and give 'em a call. I *guarantee* your code speed will double with just a few hours at the key.

What about the Phone weekend? Many of us might say, "Gee, Phone SS must be easier to operate than CW." Well, yes and no. Certainly it's more natural to use one's voice than the paddle and the rules are the same so Phone should be a snap, right? All other things being equal...but they are not…phone operation has a distinct set of characteristics.

The phone bands are considerably more crowded than CW - first there's the bandwidth issue - a phone QSO takes up more band than a CW QSO does. Also, there tends to be more casual (non-contest) phone operating (nets, rag chews, etc.) of which you need to be aware and coexist. Please be courteous to other band occupants - whether contesters or not.

Unlike CW, some folks seem to be enamored with using "the last two" to call. Please use your entire call sign. Nine times out of ten, the other station will copy it right the first time. And use phonetics - NORMAL phonetics. (Willie Billie Five Willie Billie Willie might seem funny to your friends, but not in the middle of a crowded contest band!)

Driving in Traffic

Contesting isn’t like day-to-day operating.  The bands are full of strong signals packed close together.  It’s like playing a real football game instead of a game of catch.  You’ll find that you need to use some of those receiver controls and narrower filters.  For example, you’ll find that having the noise blanker or preamp turned on will likely lead to severe intermodulation and overload problems in your receiver. Turn them off whenever possible - doing so may also work for a non-contester. In fact, cranking in some attenuation or turning down the RF Gain control will improve receiver performance dramatically under the strong-signal tractor-pull of a contest.

The attenuator seldom gets a workout, but it can be your biggest friend when dealing with strong nearby signals. It's surprisingly easy for a strong signal to drive a receiver's RF amplifier or mixers into non-linearity known as overload. This creates spurious intermodulation products, known as “crud,” up and down the band. 10 dB of attenuation cures a surprising number of ailments at the cost of just a couple of S-units of signal strength. Try cranking in some attenuation and you may find that interference drops dramatically when your receiver is no longer being overloaded. Remember that the goal is to maximize signal-to-noise ratio, not necessarily absolute signal strength. Try out your attenuator and you may be surprised at how much it cleans up a band!

Late breaking news - RF Gain controls are not welded in the full-on position! This makes your receiver very sensitive, but also leaves your IF (and sometimes the RF) amplifiers susceptible to overloading. Experiment with backing off the RF Gain to see if it doesn't improve your receiver's performance in a strong signal environment. Even during casual operating, backing off the RF Gain can dramatically reduce background noise.

Does your receiver have Passband Tuning, IF Shift, Variable Bandwidth or similar controls? All those new DSP features you paid for can also clean up noise and attenuate low-frequency or high-frequency audio. There's no time like the present to find the receiver's manual and learn what these controls do. Experiment with changing the AGC settings or even (gasp!) turn it OFF and use the RF Gain control instead. It doesn't take much to change a QRM-clobbered QSO into a fairly manageable channel.

By effectively using the capabilities of a modern receiver, you will surely find that the band is quieter and nearby signals less disruptive. In fact, you will find yourself making better use of your receiver's controls every day!

Sharing the Road

When operating in a contest, you need to be sensitive to the effect of undesired spurious transmitter byproducts. It's one thing to set up your voice keyer and speech processor on a calm, weekday after work and quite another thing to then hammer it during the contest when you're excited.

Do an on-air audio check with a friend to learn where to set mic gain and processing level. Learn what your ALC and Compression meters show with audio levels set properly. Turn on the amplifier fan and every other noisemaker in the shack to see if they make an unwanted contribution to your signal. Be sure you don't have RF feedback on any frequency. Listen to a playback of your voice with every noisemaker in the shack turned on. It's important that all that RF energy is carrying your message and not fan noise. Use a windscreen on your boom mike to limit the high-frequency pops and snaps. You need the crisp high end of speech, but not the transients that overdrive a compressor. Windscreens also reduce fan and background noise.

Check to be sure that running an amplifier doesn't cause RF feedback or distortion to your mic or voice keyer. Better to find that out now instead of during the contest. CW operators should check for key clicks, too.

A small digression. I often hear that contest stations have low-quality audio and I believe that some of these complaints are a result of confusion. Contests are not about audio fidelity, they are about intelligibility. The two do not always go hand in hand as the military well knows. The important thing is to convey the information, not to sound like Bing Crosby. During a contest, I want to have a punchy, crisp signal that is easy to understand on a crowded band. During a regular ragchew, I'll switch to a signal with more dynamic range and more low-frequency response. The two types of operating have very different audio requirements.

Ready to Give It A Try?

paper ss log It's a lot of fun - the hours will fly by. Keep a simple paper log the first time out to make it easy - you can worry about entering it on a computer later.There are complete rules and instructions for operating and scoring and sending in the log on the ARRL Web site. Come next spring, you can click on over to the contest results on the ARRL’s Contest Branch Web site, such as these PDF versions for 2009 CW Sweepstakes or Phone Sweepstakes, and wonder-of-wonders, there your call will be with the mighty titans in the very same font size just a few lines away. Woo-hoo!!

Member Comments:
This article has expired. No more comments may be added.
 
An Enticement for Contest Newbies  
by KG4TKC on November 4, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
Nice article. I found it very useful. If all goes well I intend to give the cw ss a try this weekend. Will be my first try at a cw contest other than Field Day. Actually,I think of Field Day as more of an all around operating event than a contest,so maybe it will be my first attempt at a real cw contest,,:)
 
An Enticement for Contest Newbies  
by W7PRG on November 4, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
Thanks for all the tips, humor and encouragement to "Live Lightly" as one jumps into contesting!
 
RE: An Enticement for Contest Newbies  
by N0YXB on November 4, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
Thanks for the well written article. Great tips!
 
RE: An Enticement for Contest Newbies  
by G3LBS on November 4, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
Excellent encouragement for new hams
 
RE: An Enticement for Contest Newbies  
by K3AN on November 4, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
Another benefit of working a contest is finding out how good your antenna really is. By Sunday afternoon you should be able to get through to most of the "Big Boys" on your first call, as they've worked just about everyone. If you find that the other station needs a repeat or a "fill" on many or most contacts, then your antenna isn't as good as you think it is.

At my old Florida QTH, my only antenna was an end-fed random wire running up the outside of the house and across the ridgeline of the roof (no trees more than 15' tall on the lot). I could work lots of stations, including DX, on CW and PSK in non-contest periods. But trying to get through in the SS Phone contest was an exercise in futility. I gave up after a few hours. That proved how bad the antenna was.
 
An Enticement for Contest Newbies  
by K0CBA on November 4, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
""there tends to be more casual (non-contest) phone operating (nets, rag chews, etc.) of which you need to be aware and coexist. Please be courteous to other band occupants - whether contesters or not..."""

Whoa, did I just see a pig fly by????
 
An Enticement for Contest Newbies  
by AB0RE on November 4, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
Great article; thanks! You've convinced me to try the CW Sweeps for the first time ever. Now if I could only find that dusty old code key. ;-)
 
RE: An Enticement for Contest Newbies  
by W4PC on November 4, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
This is a good reference manual for SS


http://www.madriverradioclub.org/userfiles/MRRC_SS_Handbook.pdf


Rick - W4PC
http://www.w4pcsoftware.com
 
RE: An Enticement for Contest Newbies  
by K0FF on November 4, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
K0CBA said:
""there tends to be more casual (non-contest) phone operating (nets, rag chews, etc.) of which you need to be aware and coexist. Please be courteous to other band occupants - whether contesters or not..."""

Whoa, did I just see a pig fly by???? "


Bob, don't forget to stay off of 50.125 and 144.200 , the "calling frequencies", during contests.

Oink Oink

Geo>K0FF

 
An Enticement for Contest Newbies  
by WD9FUM on November 4, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
Nice article.
 
An Enticement for Contest Newbies  
by W3TTT on November 4, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
I notice that there is no place for an RST report. Why?
 
RE: An Enticement for Contest Newbies  
by WA8MEA on November 4, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
I use to be your typical anti-contest butthead. I think I have a few anti-contest posts still buried on this site somewhere.

Then I learned it was a great way to pick up new states, counties, countries, zones, etc. Even the state QSO parties were an opportunity.

I also learned if there was a particular contest I wasn't interested in, there was always the WARC bands and 60 meters.

73, Bill - WA8MEA
 
RE: An Enticement for Contest Newbies  
by KI9A on November 4, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
WA8MEA sez:

I use to be your typical anti-contest butthead. I think I have a few anti-contest posts still buried on this site somewhere.

Whoa! Cool! I think we may have sparred a bit then also! :-)

I guess you found out, not all of are ego driven heathens, eh?

If you hear me on, gimme a call...I don't mind taking a break to say hello!

73- Chuck
 
RE: An Enticement for Contest Newbies  
by KG6YV on November 4, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
I would agree that not all contest operators are "butt-heads" and I do partake in contests casually from time to time.
However, those who are serious about contesting should "listen" before calling on ANY frequency. If There is a net or conversation on a given frequency it should not be "stomped on". That means do not call on an obviously occupied frequency and please move > 3khz away before calling CQ.

 
An Enticement for Contest Newbies  
by K1CJS on November 4, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
If the contest rules and etiquette were to be followed in the contests, there wouldn't be half the complaints heard. But.... in most contests, they're not--by a few that expands to too many.

In the last survey, (Do you use a linear amp on HF?) a few people came right out and said it--contest time? Turn on the amp, tune for 'max smoke' and go for it! That's hardly the proper--or polite--way of doing things, but it is certainly the result of the "Me first" attitude that pervades most things these days. Those few lids ruin it for the rest of the operators--and give contests the bad name they have in places.

I would hope that newbies take heed of one of the section titles of the article--"SHARING the road."
 
RE: An Enticement for Contest Newbies  
by AC6RH on November 4, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
Outstanding.
 
An Enticement for Contest Newbies  
by K0IC on November 4, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
The reason I stay off of most contests is due to a lack of information I have tracked down. I prefer CW but might use a computer if I do so. I have a thing about sending perfect CW. I do not work Sideband on contests unless I have a linear near by to be heard better with my NVIS antenna.
 
A STUPID Contest for Contest Newbies  
by AD6KA on November 5, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
I enjoy contesting VERY much, HOWEVER....
the exchange in this contest is just
plain STUPID! Why not add your mother's
maiden name, and the name of your first pet, too?!
Why stop there?

Only a "committee" couldv'e come up
with such a hare brained exchange. Maybe this is
NOT such a good "First Contest" after all, eh?

It's already hard enough distinguishing
"Echo" from "X-Ray", especially when one
op's English is heavily accented. Let's
throw in at least 3 non-standard exchange
"words"
 
RE: A STUPID Contest for Contest Newbies  
by NI0C on November 5, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
AD6KA:

The SS contest exchange was designed to mirror the standard message preamble used by the ARRL's NTS for many decades. Not too many years ago, paper logging was the only option for entries to this contest. It is about being able to actually copy something and exchange information during the QSO.

The WAE contest offers additional points to entrants who exchange QTC's over and above the standard serial numbers during their QSO's.

73,
Chuck NI0C
 
RE: A STUPID Contest for Contest Newbies  
by K5TR on November 5, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
I will confess at being a big fan of the arrl sweepstakes contest. I love the long exchange. It used (before my time) even longer. As was pointed out it was designed to follow the format of the preamble of an NTS formal message. Someone was asking about RST, there is no RST as part of the exchange. Over the years I have done fairly well in the swestakes contest but the first time I heard the phone ss on the radio I did not make a single contact. My friend and I just tuned around a bit dumbfounded at what we were hearing. Maybe if I had had Ward's article bcd then.
 
RE: A STUPID Contest for Contest Newbies  
by AD6KA on November 5, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
NI0C Said
"The SS contest exchange was designed to mirror the standard message preamble used by the ARRL's NTS for many decades. Not too many years ago, paper logging was the only option for entries to this contest. It is about being able to actually copy something and exchange information during the QSO."

OK, that explains a lot, thanks.
My bad.
73, Ken AD6KA
 
RE: An Enticement for Contest Newbies  
by KF4HR on November 5, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
K0CBA said:
""there tends to be more casual (non-contest) phone operating (nets, rag chews, etc.) of which you need to be aware and coexist. Please be courteous to other band occupants - whether contesters or not..."""

Unfortunately that's a pipe dream. But it's nice to dream.

Sorry K0CBA. My guess is you will never see contest rules that state, "Contests will not cause interference to operators not operating in the contest, and will provide the utmost courteous behavior at all times. Contester's which get reported for non-courteous on-the-air behavior will have their point count reduced in half for each such report."

Typically nets and general qso's expect and get bombarded by waves of QRM during contests. Some like myself just turn their equipment off until the contest(s) are over, or use the WARC bands.

I find it amazing the ARRL and others that sponsor contests can't come up with better contest operating rules that would allow everyone to enjoy the airwaves equally during contests - rather than the free-for-all for contester's that typically occurs.

But like I say, it's nice to dream.

KF4HR
 
RE: An Enticement for Contest Newbies  
by EX_AA5JG on November 5, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
KF4HR stated:

"Contests will not cause interference to operators not operating in the contest, and will provide the utmost courteous behavior at all times. Contester's which get reported for non-courteous on-the-air behavior will have their point count reduced in half for each such report."

How could you enforce this? I could just have a friend report my competition, so they get their points reduced and I win! I don't think a contest committee could even come up with a definition of non-courteous on-the-air behavior that everyone would agree with.

And remember, nets need to be accommodating as well. If "their" net frequency is already in use at net time, it is their responsibility to find an open frequency, the person already using the frequency doesn't need to leave.

73s John AA5JG
 
RE: An Enticement for Contest Newbies  
by K4LVR on November 5, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
I would agree that not all net and ragchew operators are "butt-heads" and I do partake in nets and ragchews casually from time to time.
However, those who are serious about nets and ragchewing should "listen" before calling on ANY frequency. If there is a contester running on a given frequency he/she should not be "stomped on", even if your net or ragchew group has been meeting on the same frequency since Hiram Percy Maxim himself picked it out. That means do not call on an obviously occupied frequency and please move > 1.8khz away before calling CQ (3kc is rather a lot! Get some filters, use the facilities in your radio to fight adjecent channel interference and learn to copy through QRM... It will make you a better operator)! If said contester is on your usual frequency, simply give him/her a point and then ASK HIM/HER *nicely* to QSY. I GUARANTEE that the 99% of the contest operators I know will be GLAD to move when rate drops. But understand this... If he/she was on the frequency FIRST, its *YOUR* responsibility to either wait or, if you cant wait, move someplace else.
-lu-
 
RE: An Enticement for Contest Newbies  
by N2EY on November 5, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
To N3IQA: There's no RST report for two reasons:

1) The exchange is based on the preamble of a standard message

2) In contests everybody is 599.

Besides what others have mentioned, SS is a great contest for these reasons:

- It has a real exchange. You have to send and receive 5 pieces of info (NR, PREC, CALL, CK, SEC), not just a section and 599.

- You can only work another station once. Not once per band, once per contest.

- A modest station can do really well but it takes a really good station (and op) to win.

73 de Jim, N2EY
 
RE: An Enticement for Contest Newbies  
by KC8VWM on November 5, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
Contests are like driving in rush hour traffic.

This means there will always be some people who will always complain about them regardless how well stations may or may not be operating at the time.

It's basically an inconvenience for some people to hear contests. For them, it's kind of like seeing the orange cones up ahead and the traffic starts to back up in front of them.

There's no amount of rationalizing that is going to help resolve the inconvenience they are experiencing at the time.

Hams complaining about contests go back a long way.

For example, it was recently reported by KB4QAA in a Letters to the editor section found in a 1928 QST magazine, had many written complaints concerning matters such as new operators who exhibit bad procedures and don't respect tradition (all of 15 years old), crowded bands, bad signals, poor morse sending, veiled use of ham bands by commercial interests and annoying contests.

...So basically, nothing has changed.
 
An Enticement for Contest Newbies  
by N0AH on November 6, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
Addictive contest- both SS are- Have a blast!!! Just make sure you get the exchange right- bobo call signs are a killer on penalties- double chk all your exchange- write it down and put it up on the shack walls- Have a blast!!!!

73 Paul N0AH
 
RE: An Enticement for Contest Newbies  
by WB4TJH on November 6, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
Good, informative artical, but other than looking for new states or countries, contesting to me is the most boring thing I ever took part in on radio. I just don't see the point in it. Also, the extreme rudeness of so many contesters runs me over to the WARC bands or two meters until the idiocy is over with. If contests were the only thing I could do on amateur radio, I would give up the hobby; fortunately, it's not.
 
RE: An Enticement for Contest Newbies  
by K3AN on November 6, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
"A modest station can do really well but it takes a really good station (and op) to win."

And of course there can be only one winner. But please don't let that stop you from playing, even if you're a newbie and/or have just a modest station. Set a goal and see if you can reach it. Next year, compete against your prior year's score. You'll find that your skills improve each year, making each successive contest that much more fun.


 
An Enticement for Contest Newbies  
by VE2EZD on November 6, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
I love this contest.

I have nothing to complain about the long exchange. It's a challenge and can even be informative. Ever wondered about the "year of the first licence" sent by the stations you worked? It makes me think about the present and the future of this hobby in general and CW in particular.

I'm always glad to receive from time to time at the end of an exchange a "MCI" wich means "merci" in french. The north-american amateur comunity is realy amazing.

And by the way, Québec is QC not PQ wich is now old fashioned.

See you in the contest.

73 de VE2EZD
 
RE: An Enticement for Contest Newbies  
by EX_AA5JG on November 6, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
WB4TJH wrote:
"runs me over to the WARC bands or two meters until the idiocy is over with"

You go to 2 meters for a break from idiocy???

73s John AA5JG
 
RE: An Enticement for Contest Newbies  
by W1XZ on November 6, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
A "modest station is all you need to win" now has new definitions. A modest station must have a computer with good contest software, an op who can type and has an understanding spouse, a location other than the major high density amateur population areas, an op who understands the finer points of contesting and band conditions, and antennas better than a G5RV @ 20 feet.
SS is a hoot...probably the easiest contest to run besides state QSO parties, but you probably aren't going to win, but finishing and submitting a log are worth the effort, and a good op will learn a every exchange. Have fun.
 
RE: An Enticement for Contest Newbies  
by WB4TJH on November 6, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
Nothing idiotic about 2 meters where I live...we, meaning the hams in our area, find it a good way to stay in touch with each other on a local basis. In fact, I have found it useful over the years to keep in touch with local friends wherever I have lived. No "idiocy" in that, is there? It's just another band. We use it to spot DX on the HF bands, meet for lunch, storm warnings, or any other reason local hams might have for getting on the air. I know by "idiocy" you are referring to some of the garbage we have all heard on two meters, especially in large cities, but this is a rural area made up of small towns, and we have very, very few problems on our local repeater or on the other vhf and uhf repeaters in the area. So rather than looking down you nose or badmouthing two meters, I would suggest if you have problems with it where you live, maybe you and your friends should do something about it. In the meantime, I'll stand by my comments on the idiocy of so many contesters, based on my observations of them for the past 40 years.
 
RE: An Enticement for Contest Newbies  
by N2EY on November 6, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
Half an hour to go - rig warming up...

TALLY HO!

73 es GL de Jim, N2EY
 
An Enticement for Contest Newbies  
by K9CTB on November 6, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
Great article, sir!!

Describes me to a tee! I love to listen to the contests and try to copy the CW. Some of it is incredibly fast (for me)...people tend to look at my licence date and wonder why I still send like a novice hihi.

...but I am close to catatonia at the thought of actually calling someone in a contest. Thanks to your article, I may actually rethink here.

73,
K9CTB
Neil
 
RE: An Enticement for Contest Newbies  
by K1CJS on November 7, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
Nothing 'idiotic' about two meters where I live either--but there will always be some hams that believe that anything above 6 meters--whoa, check that--anything above TEN meters isn't ham radio as it should be.

To each their own.
 
RE: An Enticement for Contest Newbies  
by NK6Q on November 7, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
First time doing SS. Only copped about a buck-and-a-half contacts but boy did I have fun! I'm sooo bummed it's over; can't wait 'til next year!

Oh, and I discovered that my rig does indeed work on 15 meters. The previous times I'd gone on that band it was as dry as the Sahara. This time, I actually heard ops and made some contacts.

Bill in Pasadena, NK6Q
 
RE: An Enticement for Contest Newbies  
by EX_AA5JG on November 9, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
6 meters is exactly ham radio as it should be!

73s John AA5JG
 
RE: An Enticement for Contest Newbies  
by N2EY on November 10, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
So how did folks do?

For me it was 485 contacts, 78 sections (I can accept missing NT, but where was Nebraska??) and a bit over 75,000 points. With a homebrew 100 watt rig, three bands and an inverted V at 37 feet.

73 de Jim, N2EY
 
RE: An Enticement for Contest Newbies  
by EX_AA5JG on November 10, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
I worked NT on 15 CW (VY1EI), but missed NE also, and KP4, VO1, VE4, and LAX! How do you miss the Los Angeles section when you make 226 QSOs?? Trying out a Kenwood TS950S for the first time in a CW contest. It passed with flying colors!

73s John AA5JG
 
RE: An Enticement for Contest Newbies  
by N2EY on November 11, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
To AA5JG: LAX was the last section in 6 land for me. It was really strange how the rarity of sections was so different this year.
 
RE: An Enticement for Contest Newbies  
by WB3GNJ on November 11, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
with due respect to those that think a computer, and
automatic odds and ends are necessary, I used a heathkit
dx-60 with vfo and Hq-180 with a chinese k5 straight key.
logging was paper with different colored pens done carefully so arrl could read it. T/R switching via an
alpha/delta manual coax switch.
I had an absolute ball, made my goal of 115 qso's
for the PIN, and as a bonus the shack kept warm.
everyone's sending was really good, speedy too, can
only go 20 something on my key, so kudos to those that
worked this OT op.
73 Jim kw3u
 
An Enticement for Contest Newbies  
by KF6VCI on November 14, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
Your article is much appreciated: thanks a lot! 73 de Chris HS0ZFE
 
Email Subscription
You are not subscribed to discussions on this article.

Subscribe!
My Subscriptions
Subscriptions Help

Other Recent Articles
The Inaugural Victorian D-Star Users Group Meeting:
An Engineer's Field Day:
HI2DX Saona Island DXpedition NA-122:
Irving Club Teaches Ham Radio Use, Serves With Emergency Communications:
Hospital Has SPARC of Security: