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An Enticement for Contest Newbies

from Larry Hammel - K5OT, H. Ward Silver - N0AX and Mike Gilmer - N2MG on October 24, 2013
View comments about this article!

An Enticement for Contest Newbies

This is an updated version of previous eham articles [1] [2] [3] [4] by N0AX and N2MG that ran on eHam in past years a bit before the ARRL Sweepstakes.

The first and third weekends of November are great opportunities for US and Canadian hams to jump in and 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 83 ARRL and RAC Sections. You can contact each station once during the contest. If you work all 83 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...

ARRL 80th SS Logo

When is it?

The 2013 ARRL CW Sweepstakes is Nov 2 - Nov 3 local time
The 2013 ARRL Phone Sweepstakes is Nov 16 - Nov 17 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 83 - some are states, others aren't, all are two or three letters - be SURE to use the right abbreviation! And pay close attention to tricky ones, like LA vs. LAX and OR vs. ORG.)
  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...we'll get to that later)
    • 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 "QC" for Quebec
  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 station being called.

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 characteristics all its own.

The phone bands are considerably more crowded than CW. First there's the bandwidth issue - a phone QSO takes up more frequencies than a CW QSO. 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!)

What Is Unlimited?

N5RZ operating the K5TR station in the ARRL CW SS

Single-operator stations can enter Sweepstakes in the A, B, or U categories. What is the U category? It stands for "Unlimited" and it means that you may use information from the spotting networks such as DX Summit or a local VHF channel to help you find stations to work. There are Unlimited categories for both low-power and high-power operation. If you use ANY kind of information from outside your station to find call signs, obtain exchange information, or learn the frequencies of stations to contact, you must enter your log in the Unlimited category. If you tune in and copy every signal on your own, you may enter as Q, A, or B depending on your power level. If you have questions about what category to use for your entry, send email to contests@arrl.org and the Contest Branch Manager will answer them.

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. In fact, cranking in some attenuation or turning down the RF Gain control will improve receiver performance dramatically under the strong-signal conditions in a contest. 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!

Preamplifier - OFF

Because there are so many strong signals present during a contest, having the preamp turned on is not at all necessary and will likely lead to severe intermodulation and overload problems in your receiver. Turn it off - this will also help a non-contester operating on the bands.

Noise Blanker - OFF

Noise blankers work by sensing strong pulses of RF anywhere on a band and then turning off the receiver during the pulse. In a contest with lots of strong signals, the noise blanker gets confused and starts turning off the receiver in sync with the strong signals. This makes your receiver audio sound like the strong signal is splattering all across the band! The first thing you should do when operating on a busy contest- filled band is turn off the noise blanker.

The Attenuator - ON

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 even on a weekday!

k5tr 20m tower

RF Gain - TURN IT DOWN

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 overload. 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. 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.

Special Receiver Features - USE THEM

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 interference. There's no time like the present to find the receiver's manual and learn what these controls do. You'll find they make day-to-day operating easier and more successful, too.

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 logIt'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 website for Sweepstakes. Check out the 2013 Sweepstakes Operating Guide .

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 2012 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 W1JKA on October 24, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
Just curious, if this is an "ARTICLE" to promote an ARRL contest why is it not listed in the Contest forum?
 
An Enticement for Contest Newbies .. give it a try  
by N6BOB on October 24, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
Wonderful article for newbies and old timers as well. The receiver adjustment section was very clear and contains information every ham can use for any contest or daily ... Thanks for sharing and see you on the Sweepstakes Weekends.
N6BOB U 60 SV K
 
RE: An Enticement for Contest Newbies  
by HAMMYGUY on October 24, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
"Just curious, if this is an "ARTICLE" to promote an ARRL contest why is it not listed in the Contest forum?"

Because not to many read that forum?

While I'm not a contester, this does sound like it might be fun.
 
RE: An Enticement for Contest Newbies  
by KB6QXM on October 24, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
Contesting. Is that what has happened to ham radio? Thank you very much ARRL. ARRL you will never get a dime of my money.

Contests, nets, Emcomm and DX pileups? What ever happened to getting to know people and build relationships with people from all over the world. Stay at their house when you are vacationing in their country. Not spends thousands of dollars just to say "you are 5/9, QRZ" Huh? Am I missing something here?

Contesting would not be so bad if they stuck to one portion of a band and did not try to take over the entire band and declare a certain frequency theirs and speak down to you because you are not one of their contesting groupies.
 
RE: An Enticement for Contest Newbies  
by N4JTE on October 24, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
Understand the point of how to adust a radio for contesting, most of the $30,000 stations already know that.
Hey, we got the CQ contest this weekend, not sure if they need this primer, so to speak.
Good luck if it is your first time in a contest!!!!!!!
Bob
 
RE: An Enticement for Contest Newbies  
by N4JTE on October 24, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
Sorry, not done yet, hi. The rediciculous 59 robo thing response does nothing for Ham Radio, it is not any indication of a contact from your antenna you worked hard to be heard, the 59 crap is pointless.
However these contest stations need to get a line in QST months later with their results.
No problem with that but understand EVERYBODY is a 59 to move there list along.
"Article" as posted is missing the point of what really goes on during big contests.
Bob
 
RE: An Enticement for Contest Newbies  
by W0AEW on October 25, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
There's no 59 in the exchange for this contest, but your point is well taken. As a non-contest slacker lacking the competitive gene, I appreciate articles like this that decode the exchanges that swamp my favorite bands and modes and that warn me when these events will occur so I can plan accordingly.

This weekend: mow, rake leaves, and drain fuel from the mowers.
 
An Enticement for Contest Newbies  
by KE4ZHN on October 25, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
To each their own I guess. As far as I'm concerned contesting sucks.
 
An Enticement for Contest Newbies  
by JOHNZ on October 25, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
The treachery and deceit of the ARRL continues. The self-centered Newington Yankees sold out ham radio decades ago, solely for their own personal gain. Hiram Percy Maxim is spinning in his grave. Card collectors and contesters are ham radio pollution. It has never been shown how repeatedly screaming "Ur 59 59 59, good luck in the contest" could possibly improve personal technical skills.
 
An Enticement for Contest Newbies  
by WI4P on October 25, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
Thanks for a helpful article. You can't work em if you can't hear em and following this advice should help in pulling them out of the mud. Good info also on contest message format.
 
An Enticement for Contest Newbies  
by KE7TMA on October 25, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
The other day I was tuning around the dial on 40m and noticed a fella was calling CQ. I answered him and he sent me a bunch of garbage, or that's what it looked like to me. I asked him to send it all again, and lookie there, the garbage came back same as last time. I asked him what he was trying to say and he asked me for my county and serial number! I told him I didn't have a serial number and that my county was listed on the FCC's ULS but then mentioned the name of the county just to make it easy for him. Then I asked him what kind of rig he was using, just to get the ball rolling again. He eventually responded and said that he didn't have time for this, because he was in a contest!

Well, forgive me, but I felt this whole interaction was just pointless and typical of contest behavior. It was almost as if he expected that I knew he was in a contest (I don't keep track of them) and that I should know about their message format and whatnot. To me this is typical of contest behavior.

I think is is a waste of my ARRL dues as well. Nobody gets their license in order to participate in contests - if anything it turns people off when they get steamrolled because they happened to turn the radio on the day of a contest and had the gall to take up bandwidth that the contesters seem to think they own that day.
 
RE: An Enticement for Contest Newbies  
by W8AAZ on October 25, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
Ah, a weekend and another contest going on. CQWW I guess it is called. Just checked on 40M this Friday night, and they are running phone even below 7050 for it, apparently trying to push the poor CW ops off the bottom of the band. Maybe when I retire I will have the time to try a contest myself.
 
RE: An Enticement for Contest Newbies  
by N4KC on October 25, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
Might have expected it. This very good article brought out the usual "If you don't like what I like then what you like is pure pond scum" crowd.

If contesting is not your thing, fine. Don't contest. On the other hand, don't dismiss it if you haven't tried it. Many enjoy it.

Yes, a big contest creates a lot of activity and QRM. Yes, some contesters are less than courteous, but they are not likely to deliberately plop down in the midst of your every-night-of-the-week roundtable. That's not a good idea if they really want to make lots of contacts. They usually prefer an unused frequency. But for the most part, a contest is good, clean fun, a great test of propagation, operating ability and station capability, and an exciting way to engage your competitive gene.

Perhaps the biggest contest of them all from a sheer participation standpoint, the CQWW, kicked off at 0000 tonight. I've listened around and had no trouble finding lots of empty spectrum if you really wanted to ragchew. I did pick up a few new countries on 75, too.

I'll never understand why more people can't be understanding and accepting of other people's interests. Why is "Five-nine zero-four" any more irritating than "Well, Joe, ain't much going on here...got some rain yesterday...had the dog down to the vet..."

There are many, many aspects to our hobby and it's unlikely all of them will appeal to everyone. But why would anyone denigrate the interests of others just because they don't happen to match his.

73, and enjoy what you enjoy but, at the same time, let me enjoy what I enjoy,

Don N4KC
www.n4kc.com
www.donkeith.com
(Author of the new book RIDING THE SHORTWAVES:
EXPLORING THE MAGIC OF AMATEUR RADIO)


 
An Enticement for Contest Newbies  
by KB8UHN on October 26, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
Well put Don, N4KC.
This is a very good article. It will help me in my occasional contesting fun. Contesting helps me learn more about my transceiver as well as propagation.

If I don't want to participate in a contest, I have plenty of other spectrum where I can move to. Ya, we've heard that before. "WARC bands are free of contesting."

It just might inspire me to try other bands or modes. There is plenty of room for everyone.

I just wonder what some of these anti-contesters do when the bands are shut down. No propagation. I guess they can get on a forum and complain about what the sun is doing to them.

73, John kb8uhn
 
An Enticement for Contest Newbies  
by JOHNZ on October 26, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
Might have expected it, disagree with the "contest mentality" and out they come, name-calling those who don't agree with their "59 59 59 contest" mentality. Knew a guy who prepared for his extra exam by screaming "59 59 59 contest" ten times a day for ten days, and he still flunked the extra exam.
 
RE: An Enticement for Contest Newbies  
by KC8TLF on October 26, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
Although I avoid the contests, I am happy they are doing something with ham radio they enjoy. After all it is a hobby.
 
RE: An Enticement for Contest Newbies  
by WI4P on October 26, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
N4KC says it very well. There's all kinds of hunting, fishing, boating, team sports, individual sports. No one expects you to like or participate in their activity but we should all respect another's right to participate in the activities they enjoy.

For my part, I enjoy a good ragchew and also trying to bust a DX pileup I check into some of the social nets from time to time and also some of the awards nets. I've never entered a contest but I recognize contest activity when I hear it and sometimes answer a few CQ's giving someone another contact or another multiplier and perhaps I pick up new countries in the process.

I'm working on getting my CW back up to my 1960's military speed and would likes to try some of the digital modes someday.

Ham radio truly has something to offer almost anyone and it is that variety that makes it such a great activity for all of us.

73, John
WI4P
 
RE: An Enticement for Contest Newbies  
by W8AAZ on October 26, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
I am sure it is not only ham radio. I bet that the casual fishermen on the lakes grumble about the weekend speedboat races, too.
 
An Enticement for Contest Newbies  
by K4ELO on October 26, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
And you need to remember that contesters do not rule.
Please observe common amateur courtesy and do not qrm existing nets or qsos. Not all hams do your contest and you need to be aware of that. Please do not sacrifice the amateur principles for the sake of a contest.

73
Wayne
K4ELO
 
RE: An Enticement for Contest Newbies  
by KF4HR on October 27, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
"Please observe common amateur courtesy and do not qrm existing nets or qsos."

Wouldn't it be nice if this really occurred during contests? Unfortunately there's not much chance of this happening on most contest weekends. Nets typically get put on hold and qrm is the order of the day. And courtesy for other qso's during contests? Oh yeah, that's going to happen.

Contest weekends for many hams means either moving to the WARC bands or just leaving the gear turned off until the contest is over.
 
RE: An Enticement for Contest Newbies  
by KA2FIR on October 27, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
W8AAZ:

They're down to 7040 or slightly lower with a few in the Extra portion of the CW band.
 
BE NICE  
by LEON on October 27, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
N4KC


Might have expected it. This very good article brought out the usual "If you don't like what I like then what you like is pure pond scum" crowd.

If contesting is not your thing, fine. Don't contest. On the other hand, don't dismiss it if you haven't tried it. Many enjoy it.

Yes, a big contest creates a lot of activity and QRM. Yes, some contesters are less than courteous, but they are not likely to deliberately plop down in the midst of your every-night-of-the-week roundtable. That's not a good idea if they really want to make lots of contacts. They usually prefer an unused frequency. But for the most part, a contest is good, clean fun, a great test of propagation, operating ability and station capability, and an exciting way to engage your competitive gene.

Perhaps the biggest contest of them all from a sheer participation standpoint, the CQWW, kicked off at 0000 tonight. I've listened around and had no trouble finding lots of empty spectrum if you really wanted to ragchew. I did pick up a few new countries on 75, too.

I'll never understand why more people can't be understanding and accepting of other people's interests. Why is "Five-nine zero-four" any more irritating than "Well, Joe, ain't much going on here...got some rain yesterday...had the dog down to the vet..."

There are many, many aspects to our hobby and it's unlikely all of them will appeal to everyone. But why would anyone denigrate the interests of others just because they don't happen to match his.

73, and enjoy what you enjoy but, at the same time, let me enjoy what I enjoy,



---------------------------
LEON


There are many, many aspects to our hobby and it's unlikely all of them will appeal to everyone. I'll never understand why more people can't be understanding and accepting of other people's interest.

Yes a big contest creates a lot of activity but should never create a lot of QRM. Some contesters are less than courteous, so are some ragchew folks.

Yes, contesters deliberately plop down wherever they want. They get way to close and QRM everyone. It seems that the contest folks can be rude and don't like to follow the rules the FCC has put in place.

Ragchew boys do it too, sometimes I listen and it reminds me of CB. Both, contest AND ragchew folks.

If contesting isn't your thing, fine, don't contest.
If contesting is your thing, be courteous and don't QRM anyone. 3 KC's please.

If ragchew is your thing, be courteous and don't QRM anyone. 3 KC's please.

I don't care if you scream "Five-nine zero-four" all day long or talk about your new Dog or your bad back and diabetic toe falling off. Be courteous!!!!


 
RE: BE NICE  
by W5GNB on October 28, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
YAWN..... Meanwhile, Back to Channel 19 !!!!!
 
RE: An Enticement for Contest Newbies  
by KH6AQ on October 28, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
You may contact each station once per band.
 
RE: An Enticement for Contest Newbies  
by AA5TB on October 28, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
This is a good article to entice folks to try SS.

This event has been going strong for 80 years as the article says so this isn't the ARRL trying to mess up ham radio. Also, there are no 59 or 599 reports in the exchance. It would be nice if folks actually read the article before blasting it.

I enjoy contesting and rag chewing alike. I agree some contesters don't watch out for existing activity but not all of us operate that way.

73,
Steve - AA5TB
 
RE: An Enticement for Contest Newbies  
by N4OGW on October 29, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
No, you can only contact a station once on any band in Sweepstakes.

Tor
N4OGW
 
An Enticement for Contest Newbies  
by N8RAT on October 31, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
The Sweepstakes is more of a challenge than the usual “K1ABC this is W9XYZ, you’re 59” type contest. Because the exchange is a bit more involved, it’s one of the few that I run. That being said, it won’t take long before the problem of contesters moving in 800 Hz away from an ongoing QSO occurs. And let’s not forget the equally annoying situation of a contest station being on a frequency for hours then hearing “You’ll have to QSY OM, we’ve been using this frequency every night since…” as if their VFOs are welded in place. Oh the humanity!
 
An Enticement for Contest Newbies  
by AE5ZE on November 6, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
I am what I consider a new ham, I am not a serious contester, I am a communicator,I participate casually in the contests looking for a new call. What I don't understand is this is a hobby, by definition it is suppose to be fun and enjoyable, and last time I checked all of my radios had an off button, and as an extra I have operating privileges on all the bands, but not exclusive use to those bands. So I must play nice with all of those others who are playing. Lets all grow up, act nice, and we all can have a good time!!
Great article, good information, and well written, Thanks!!

73,
Jim
ae5ze
 
An Enticement for Contest Newbies  
by K7FD on November 14, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
SS is great fun! My only nitpick are the over-modulated and distorted sounding signals that seem to be the norm on contest weekend. I guess it's all knobs to the right...

 
RE: An Enticement for Contest Newbies  
by JOHNZ on November 15, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
@K7FD
The signal characteristics you describe are known as "The CB Effect," the result of over two decades of dumbed down amateur radio exams and exam fraud, brought to you by the Newington Yankees.
 
An Enticement for Contest Newbies  
by K3ZL on November 15, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
I am not really an avid contester, but this is a very good article. Some of the suggestions would also work well in a DX pileup.
 
An Enticement for Contest Newbies  
by KY6M on November 17, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
This is a GREAT ARTICLE...and it is a REAL article that has substance. Some just post an opinion in the article section that really belongs in the forums. Anyway, great fun this weekend! I wish I could participate today (the second day) but other things to do.
 
An Enticement for Contest Newbies  
by K8JAG on November 18, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
This was a great article. I am also not a big contester but I try to work Sweepstakes Phone every chance I get.

If you are new to HF or new to Contesting give sweepstakes a try. You never know who you may contact. For example, yesterday I contacted KL7AIR in Elmendorf Air Force Base Alaska. This was my very first Alaska contact!! What a rush, I was using an old Kenwood TS440SAT on 10m with a G5RV at about 35 feet!! What a rush!!
 
An Enticement for Contest Newbies  
by N8CMQ on November 24, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
I became a novice in 1973 and only contested once as a novice. When I became a general in the 80s, I contested a few times but my interest in ham radio dimmed while raising a family and other life interests came along.

I had an accident a couple of years ago, and during the recovery time, my interest in ham radio flared up again, and I borrowed a rig from a friend. To say I was blown away by the amount of contesting I heard, is an understatement.

While I didn't have much experience contesting, it didn't seem to matter to the other hams I worked, and they helped me to understand and enjoy the events I participated in. And the fact I wasn't trying to be overly competitive, but just have fun while I still making good contacts helped keep my interest in participating.

Not only did I make many local contacts, I also made some DX contacts I had only dreamed about as a novice.
It seems that many of the DX stations also like to contest as well!

So now my log book and QSL collection has increased just because I jumped into a contest and started to make contacts. I have also received nice certificates which I have framed and displayed for visitors to notice and I can explain the fun of amateur radio to.

When I have the time, I still enjoy having a rag chew with fellow hams, but like many things in life, peoples schedules don't always mesh for being able to get on the air, but contests help to bring more people on the air at the same time.

So if there is a contest out there, I like the ability to make many contacts, while during the times there are no contests, I enjoy being able to sit back and relax while enjoying another amateur radio operators company on the air.
 
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