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[Articles Home]  [Add Article]  

'59...Really'

David J. Holmgren (K9RUF) on March 10, 2014
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ď59...Really?Ē

To modify an opening line from an old Charles Dickens novel ďA Tale of Two CitiesĒ - ďItís the best of times yet the worst of timesĒ. The ham operator today has available to them the best quality radios and the ease with which to get their license to use these radios. Yet with all these benefits sometimes Iím dismayed with the direction amateur radio is heading. My issues are two fold, contesting and DXing. I know others have written similar articles on the subject but I thought I would share my views.

When I fire up my HF rig it seems all I hear these days are contests. Itís almost as if these contests are continuous, and actually they are. When did the amateur radio hobby become a sport? When I met the president of the ARRL and asked her the question why we need to have so many contests; her answer was to practice our emergency preparedness. Now while I support the activities of field day in my club I feel contesting for that one day is more than enough to practice our emergency preparedness. Beyond that the real purpose of contests, letís face it, is to sell magazines. Contesters will stay up for countless hours hoping to garner enough contacts for their name to be printed in some magazine or even better, earn some plaque or certificate.

I know in life I compete in my job, I compete for a better parking spot and on and on. It seems all around me everything is getting more and more competitive, extreme this or that. Things that use to be relaxing and enjoyable are now ďletís see how many, how fastĒ and letís make a reality TV show about it while weíre at it separating the winners from the losers. Ham radio use to be the one place we could go to relax and enjoy getting to know another fellow ham or maybe learn about some new technology. Iím very thankful for the WARC bands so I can actually use my radio during what seems like the weekly contest chaos. But wait there is now a contest that runs all year long called ďDX MarathonĒ! It was created by CQ Magazine and operates on all the bands including the contest free WARC bands. They promote the contest as being transparent to the other non-contesting hams. Really, itís still a contest and doesnít belong on the WARC bands. Period. When I take issue with contesters over the excessive contesting theyíll tell me ďwell, you have the WARC bands to use during contests.Ē Hmmm this really doesnít seem fair that Iím displaced to another band when I want to use my radio during contests especially when you consider MUF. While I would prefer to have these contests go away I think a workable solution would be to have certain frequency segments devoted to contesting and others that are contest free within the same band.

My next issue I have is with DXing. While this article could probably be two articles the issues dovetail into each other because of the competitive component. Now Iíll admit, I get a kick out of talking to a DX station thousands of miles away even if I just get that quick perfunctory 59 and 73. When DX stations are willing to chat a bit, those are the QSOís I really enjoy. I think often times DX stations welcome the opportunity to practice their English with us too.

Now Iím going to swerve back into my previous comment that amateur radio is a hobby, not a sport. In recent years the behavior of hams has become so competitive to contact that DX station that a ďDX Code of ConductĒ was created teaching hams how to behave. I think this speaks volumes to the state of the amateur radio hobby when decorum among hams must be taught rather than understood. When ham radio was more of a hobby and less of a sport, in years past, something like this would not have been necessary.

So why do hams compete so intensely? Of course to win another award or certificate and to be mentioned in, you guessed it, a magazine. Hereís my view on any kind of award. I really donít care. If I looked at my log Iíve probably earned DXCC, WAS or several other awards. The importance of trophies and awards became crystal clear to me a few decades ago. My high school was a competitive powerhouse winning many awards in just about everything. The school put the word out to the community to come get any of the trophies the students had won over the years because they were out of room in the trophy case. The trophies had become pieces of wood, metal and plastic they were trying to dispose of. Despite the now missing trophies the students in their hearts will always know they won. So when I look at my log, I know that I made these contacts and I donít need any proof or recognition that I did it.

In order to win these awards I was alarmed and dismayed at the extent hams will go through to ďstalkĒ rare DX. Some of the techniques taught at classes for hams on DXing include setting up a schedule with the DX ham with an email contact to meet them on the air to make an RF contact. Another method is tracking their every movement through ham radio internet programs showing the time of day and the frequencies they typically operate on, hoping to catch them. This is like shooting fish in a barrel. What happened to good old fashion chance? Itís like a fisherman bragging that he caught a big fish but wait, he used a fancy depth finder to do it. Is it really that important to get every country, on every band, with every mode? Seriously?

I think about when I was a kid building a model railroad. When I finished building it and couldnít do anything more with it, except drive the trains around the track, I got pretty bored with it. I think when hams are so eager to win an award and they end up doing it, they will quickly loose interest in the hobby and probably drop out. Iíve known hams like this who finish up and burn out. They sell their gear and quit because they donít see anything else to do. Iíll say it another way, ham radio at its core is a hobby not a sport. Relax and enjoy all the facets of it. Donít be so focused on the 313 countries or whatever the number is these days.

When hams are laser focused on contesting and DXing they will miss out on everything else ham radio has to offer. In my case the marriage of computers and ham radio has taken the staleness out of the hobby after doing it for 36 years. I have HRD connected to my Kenwood that I use for rig control, logging and all the digital modes. I also have my echolink node tied to one of our local repeaters. Finally I enjoy D-star and set up my own repeater. I embrace new technology as it comes along and love to learn about it through shared experiences with other fellow hams by engaging in complete conversations. I think more hams need to take a deep breath, relax and enjoy the hobby, called amateur radio.

One more final thought I have concerns the perception some contesters have about non-contesters. Because weíre more laid back they think weíre a bunch of geezers with one foot in the grave, organizing our medications on our TV trays and comparing doctors for our next medical procedure. I always laugh when I hear these comparisons because ironically the contester with their Type ďAĒ, win at at all costs, personality will likely suffer the health malady before I will. Join a net or have a rag chew, youíll live longer.

A while back I remember reading a great article instructing hams on how to have a conversation on the radio. At first I thought this was a joke but the author was serious. He recognized in a world of texting, contesting and DXing weíve forgot the art of conversation. Kudos to the author. Do yourself a favor, lower your blood pressure and promote activity on the ham bands, call CQ. You never know who will answer...

Member Comments:
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'59...Really'  
by K2BEW on March 10, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
I think largely it gives people something to do in the hobby. I listen once in a while to "traffic nets" and I often think how odd that people keep them going and devote so much time and energy to them. I almost never hear any "traffic", and the only traffic I have heard is just some HAM trying to find another one they haven't talked to in while. You can do that on the internet through QRZ in a few seconds by finding an email address. I listened to one the other day where the guys were taking at least an hour to give weather reports from where they all were from, it was obvious they were reading it off the internet, again why? If I want to know the weather in Duluth Minnesota I can search it myself on the internet in seconds instead of waiting 45 minutes for "Fred" in Duluth to check in and give me his report. But, Fred still does it every day because it gives him a reason to get on the air and gives him a sense of purpose, even though it actually serves no practical purpose.
The only one that still might have a litigate reason to exist is for maritime emergencies.
Lets face it, if a service member is on the other side of the world and wants to talk to home they don't find a buddy on a radio, they go to the communications tent where they have full internet and free phones to use, I know because I did it. If a missionary is in some far flung place of the world is calling home it is not a problem at all anymore. When I was in Haiti I never saw so many cell phones. Like so many aspects of the hobby "tradition" and just the need to have a focus and something to do with that fancy expensive station drives people to take part in activities that serve no practical purpose anymore. That is not to say people don't still enjoy these activities, I am sure they do. Competition in any area of life is fun, just look at the incredible amount of money spent on professional sports to feed that hunger. I personally don't watch them because I also think it is pointless to watch people with the most money, buy the best players, and put them in a ring to win something only to see them do it all again a year later, it gets old. College and amateur sports are much more interesting and fun to watch. The winter Olympics were a good example. I have no interest in watching professional hockey players play against themselves. I can watch that in the NHL anytime. But who can forget the Miracle on Ice in 1980?
That is why the women's hockey is getting more popular in the Olympics, it is still fun to watch amateurs compete, maybe that is why we contest?, pun intended. But we can't go back to 1980 and we can't go back to 1950 in radio, yet we keep these traditions going, why? because we always have and people don't like to let things go. I personally like just rag chewing and checking in to regular nets to make new friends. To me that is a big part of the hobby, meeting people from all over the world on the air that I will never have the chance to in any other way. And I listen, a lot more then I talk. But, I have to admit I often turn off the radio on a big contest weekend because it gets old quick listing to people shout "CQ CQ K2BEW contest!" over and over. Tom K2BEW
 
RE: '59...Really'  
by K9MHZ on March 10, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
In much of Europe, ham radio absolutely IS considered a sport...."radiosport" Maybe something in the translation, and maybe that refers to contesting, but I think a competitive part does exist. Competitive DXing isn't a bad thing.....big tent for a big hobby.

For the rest of us who don't care much about contesting, I think it's a real stretch to think we're viewed negatively. In fact, in almost 40 years of amateur radio, I have never, ever heard that.

So relax and enjoy. I think you're thinking too much.

 
RE: '59...Really'  
by N0IU on March 10, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
Wow, another article whining about too many contests and expecting the ARRL to fix the problem. Knock me over with a feather!

And then you go on to say that one of the main reasons many people chase DX awards is so they can get their name published in a magazine. In other words, its all about ego.

But then by your own admission you open your article by saying, "I know others have written similar articles on the subject but I thought I would share my views."

So if you are not saying anything that hasn't been said before, it sounds like your objective is to satisfy your own ego by having an "article" published on a website that is seen by thousands of amateurs all over the world. How is your objective any different than that of the DXers?

This is just another diatribe trying to convince people that if they don't do amateur radio your way they are doing it wrong.


 
RE: '59...Really'  
by W1JKA on March 10, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
Re: K9RUF

Although I can relate to your thoughts in a nicely written article it leaves me in doubt as to what your definition of what a Hobby is. Amateur Radio is no different than any other hobby in which participants have various niches and goals.

I have several Hobbies i.e. Woodworking: carving decoys, making toys for the kids, making furniture for recognition at a crafts fair and everything in between. Treasure Hunting: coin collecting for old coins and jewelry to searching historic battlefields for Civil war artifacts. Radio Control: kids flying balsa gliders, string control, to the latest and greatest electric motor flying fortresses, ships , tanks and submarine models.

Amateur Radio is no different there's room for Contesters, QRP nuts(me) Flexers and everything else. Contest heavy weekend? I take the easy way out by taking my 5 watts and moving to 30m and if I get bored with that I go out and experiment with some antenna design I've dreamed up.

There is plenty of RF still available and room for everybody in Amateur Radio and as you said it's just a Hobby for the majority and a life style for the rest.

 
RE: '59...Really'  
by W4KYR on March 10, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
10 most common words in ham radio

..."you are 59....good luck in the contest...QRZ!......again?...."
 
'59...Really'  
by KB2DHG on March 10, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
I agree with you. I do not partake in CONTEST outside of Field Day, YES you are right Field Day is the best and should be the only contest out there... I am into this hobby for several reasons but mostly to chat with people all over the world, to find out about them and their interest and the areas where they live.
As far as DX, I love making that long distance contact but when I get blown off with just a call and signal report, that to me is just a waste... I want to have a QSO with this distant station.

I do like to get on an occasional net from time to time but ones that have a format with topics of discussion.

CONTEST? To me the best reward is a nice arm chair copy long QSO!
The art of communication has been lost for some time now. I believe that these modern advances with cell phones and computers have made us socialy retarded... BUT THIS IS A WHOLE OTHER SUBJECT!
 
'59...Really'  
by AJ3O on March 10, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
I love contesting AND ragchewing. There are many rare DX stations out there that ONLY come out for the contests and I personally love to chase them. MY problem is this, and you yourself may/may not be guilty of this. IE: There is a contest going on, and there is a rare DX station calling CQ. You hear him as do I, but I call and respond to his CQ that is VERY legible with NO OTHER activity on the frequency for MINUTES. As soon as I finish replying to the DX, I get a very HATEFUL, "THIS FREQUENCY IS IN USE AND WE HAVE BEEN HERE FOR HOURS!"

I could call BS, but instead, I take the high road and politely leave hoping that I can find the DX station on another frequency. This has happened way too many times to let it go. Then there are the "HOLAAAAAAS" and Tuner-Uppers, ALL who consider themselves "gentlemen and proper amateur radio operators" GIVE ME A BREAK! The ARRL and other publications, even this website should play recordings of these operators as an example of what NOT to do.

By the way, within the next few years with the new SDR radios and the software/antenna systems being designed and widely implemented by the tech hungry hams, this will be a very scaled down problem as it will be extremely easy to literally pinpoint within a block or two of an operators position. This will also allow digital signatures of the equipment being operated to be recorded for proof.

But then there will be the radio police arming themselves with the same equipment and yelling over the DX stations CQ's and....... oh well, I could go on and on.

What can we do, there is always someone claiming that they are always right and we are wrong.

Look, this is hobby with MANY facets and opportunities for all to try. It is my goal to try as many as my budget will allow. Ok, OK, what my YL will allow, but I digress... I am here to have fun and meet as many of you as possible ON THE AIR and I plan on it. One way or another.

Joe / AJ3O
 
'59...Really'  
by W5YZR on March 10, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
The only reason I listen to contests is as a Beacon!

I agree with the article.

It's not my thing......

Good luck to those who contests are their thing....

Bob.....
 
'59...Really'  
by K9ZF on March 10, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
I am always amazed that just because someone doesn't enjoy an aspect of the hobby, they feel the need to attack it.

If you don't like contesting, don't participate!

If you don't like DX'ing, don't do it!

If you like rag chewing with the same group night after night, then do it!

Come on folks, there is lots of band width, enough room for all of us. Whether they are doing something you enjoy, or not...

73
Dan

--
K9ZF
Amateur Radio Emergency Service, Clark County Indiana. EM78el
former K9ZF /R no budget Rover ***QRP-l #1269
Check out the Rover Resource Page at:
<http://www.qsl.net/n9rla>
List Administrator for: InHam+grid-loc+ham-books
Ask me how to join the Indiana Ham Mailing list!
 
RE: '59...Really'  
by KB9WQJ on March 10, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
Another "article" complaining that ALL of ham radio isn't what they want it to be. Yawn.
 
'59...Really'  
by K1CJS on March 10, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
There are too many contests? Wow. There's an eye-opening statement. I never would have known....

Ham radio is what it's made to be by its participants. If you don't like the way the contests have taken over the bands, there are bands where contests haven't taken over--use those. Sit down and hunt for contacts you can converse with.

Instead of complaining about how you don't hear anything else, go looking to find what you want. Don't expect it to come to you, because it never will.
 
Stale articles designed to provoke.  
by AI2IA on March 10, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
eHam.net is definitely running out of steam.
There is nothing new in this old style to provoke.

As we all know, there is plenty of room for contests and rag chews. In fact there is plenty of room to try out new ideas, if anyone has any new ideas.

Everything is just as fine as it can be in the amateur radio service. Proof of that is that the bunch of whiners never come up with a new whine. It is always the same old gripes.

Neither you nor I should waste another minute on this old, rehashed trash. It is time to go on the air and do rather than share imaginary miseries.

Vy 73,
de Ray, ai2ia
+ + +
 
'59...Really'  
by KE6SLS on March 10, 2014 Mail this to a friend!

I don't dx, but I enjoy it when I work a few like last night on 10m! I enjoy some of the contests and I really like how the contests spark the bands. I've listened while no contests were going--knowing the band was open, but no one is on it since they don't try calling cq. Then the contest starts and BANG--it's amazing to me.

I spend most of my time in digital areas, so the ssb bands can do what they will. When I do answer a cq on ssb, I enjoy the ragchew completely.

Like you, I have a computer in the shack and enjoy all it does to enhance the qso's!

I recommend that we all enjoy the bands and play nice!

73
 
RE: '59...Really'  
by K4ELO on March 10, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
I don't know about there being too many contests, but I certainly think they should be limited in terms of band space they are allowed to use. Those of us who participate in regular nets get really tired of being qrmed by rude contesters who think they have a right to every frequency just because it's a contest.
 
RE: '59...Really'  
by KC2HRG on March 10, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
Okay on having your opinion on contests. I happen to like both ragchewing and contesting. But I have to admit that some of the weekend nets get to me.

The fact that you run 300 to 400 watts to talk about your recent trip to the doctor still puzzles me. But then again, who am I to be critical of nets?

If you enjoy them then you should be part of them, if they are not your thing, just slide up or down the band and work a contest!

HI HI

de, KC2HRG
 
'59...Really'  
by KI5WW on March 10, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
Im not a contester either. Nor a "real dx'r. Been a ham since 1973. I have no problem with either of these areas of interest in ham radio.
Yes, the contesters are intense and passionate about competition radio. Yes they will take over my fav bands. Im ok with that. I listen a little, but not long. They are good operators i think. Hell, i couldnt do it. And the dx'rs are intense and passionate as well, and they are very good at what they do too. But dx stuff is more intertaing to listen to (five min at the most). Both of these areas arent just for ego's as stated. They drive sales on equipment, and new technologies for our beloved ham venders and manufacturing as well as the rest of us. But they go through equipment like a baby goes through diapers. All good for the big picture of our hobby. Contesters dont like noncontesters? Yer kidding right? They dont even know we exist i have no idea where he came up with that. Big baby!

Nets? Please dont pick on these guys. I dont do nets either, but ya know, if thirty or ten hams wana get on one frequency and have a common interest conversation, by all means, more power to them. I can listen to nets far longer than pile ups, or contest. Please if they want to pass a msg via a net i thank thats great. Why dont we start getting with a net person, land line and send a msg to one of out ham friends just because, no reason. Then they will have some traffic to handle. They are very good at it ya know. Ive listnd to the cw traffic nets. Amazing.

Theres always something in my shack that i have been meaning to address but put it off. Contest weekend is a gud oppurtunity to catch up. Or do some ant work. Listen to short wave stations. I know not much left there but there is a few. All this shows how important it is to have several interest in this hobby. Thank god for cw and the warc bands. Or just leave the shack and go do something entirely different. Please dont go to the warc bands and bitch about the contesters! I love this hobby. Not no one gona ruin it for me. NO ONE! Try to play nice. Ill be listning.
 
'59...Really'  
by NS0R on March 10, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
I would argue that some of the most professional and skilled operators that I have met are contesters. They devote time and effort to further their knowledge of antenna and station engineering and share that knowledge with the ham community. In my opinion, contesting plays a significant role in keeping the hobby alive, as well as advancing technology and education. Contesting is another great part of our hobby. I find it odd that one would post an article about how contesting is bad for the hobby simply because it is a different way of operating that he doesn't enjoy.

I enjoy contesting, and I have had success with a very minimal station. Most of my knowledge of propagation and antenna theory comes from great elmers, and self education in the pursuit of better station engineering for increased success in contesting.

I also enjoy CW ragchewing. I am on the radio 5-7 days a week in the evenings and make about 60-80 QSO's a week outside of contests.

Perhaps the author should actually try NAQP or Sweepstakes before forming a general opinion that contesting is a detriment to the hobby. Who knows, maybe he would like it? Chances are he would.
 
RE: '59...Really'  
by K7CB on March 10, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
"Beyond that the real purpose of contests, letís face it, is to sell magazines. Contesters will stay up for countless hours hoping to garner enough contacts for their name to be printed in some magazine or even better, earn some plaque or certificate."

I couldn't DISAGREE with you more. I work contests - but only casually. I simply don't have the set up needed to even come close to winning. I do it simply to make the contacts. I couldn't care less if my name was in some magazine or not.
 
'59...Really'  
by K1DA on March 10, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
60 meters is nice. Not sure you can buy a "brand name" dipole for it, though.
 
RE: '59...Really'  
by WO7R on March 10, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
>>>> Contesters will stay up for countless hours hoping to garner enough contacts for their name to be printed in some magazine or even better, earn some plaque or certificate.

Do you actually know any contesters?

Sure, your call appears -- in 8 point font -- in CQ.

But, not everyone subscribes to CQ. Not everyone _reads_ all the fine print. Not even contesters. Not even for their own call.

And, many a contest never makes it to any publication. If "ego" and "being in CQ or QST" was all that mattered, then a lot of State QSO parties would have zero participation. So would a lot of foreign contests.

Paper is nice, but is it really _that_ important to be #1 in the seventh call area, low power? To some, perhaps, but not enough to float a contest, that's for sure. The majority of contesters _know_ full well, that they aren't even going to have a top score in their category in their contest club, much less the nation or world. Yet, they are still in the fray.

Besides, not everyone that is in the contest is an avid contester. Since time out of mind, DXers have known that contests are an easy place to pick up "new ones", at least early in the DXing saga (and there are always newbies). Sometimes, you can find something very juicy there. I remember picking up 5A in a contest on the first activation it had had in years.

And sometimes, it's just plain fun to participate for a while -- without the slightest idea of turning in a log.

This idea that we are one particular thing -- a DXer, a contster, a ragchewer -- is bogus.

Most of us are different things at different times. A contester who _only_ does contests is only active two days a week.

You really think that all contesters are that single-minded? I don't. But then, I know some of them and so when I hear their calls outside of a contest (and I do) then it is impossible for me to hold such views seriously.
 
RE: '59...Really'  
by KI5WW on March 10, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
Yes you can. Par End fed. Not real cheap but works very well. I was in the Hospital, wanted on 60 meters soon as i got out. LnR Par End fed dipoles.
 
RE: '59...Really'  
by W5TTW on March 10, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
W4KYR said: "10 most common words in ham radio

..."you are 59....good luck in the contest...QRZ!......again?...."


Very true. But he neglected to add the most common words in a ragchew:

"Colostomy...Obamacare...grandkids...retirement...
 
'59...Really'  
by ND6P on March 10, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
For me, a contest is an opportunity to see how well my station is performing. I've made many improvements to my station that are based on contest experience. So I'm glad to have them.

Since adding a pan adapter, I can see up to 192 Khz of spectrum at once and am amazed at the number of stations that are on the air for the major CW and RTTY contests. The lower ends of the HF bands seem rather quiet otherwise.

I also enjoy working the DX expeditions. I visit their web sites, donate money if I have worked them, and enjoy reading about them in the magazines.

When I would complain about people to a friend of mine, he would say "Thank God we are all different." And so it is with ham radio as well.

nd6p

 
RE: '59...Really'  
by N3HEE on March 10, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
Ham radio is many things to many people. That's what's so great about it. I am in this hobby as an experimenter. I make improvements to my station and antennas and then want to see how they work by chasing DX or by casual contesting. Or, if I'm in the mood, maybe by having a very quick qso (rst, name, qth, rig) I really have no desire to carry on long winded conversations. I'm an introvert! A man of few words. A thinker and a tinkerer. A tweaker and a peaker. Please understand and respect my operating practices as I understand and respect yours. -Joe n3hee
 
'59...Really'  
by W6CAW on March 10, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
SPOT ON!
 
'59...Really'  
by N4UFO on March 10, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
"When did the amateur radio hobby become a sport?"

As early as the 1930s... The first ARRL Sweepstakes contest was in 1933 and the origins of chasing countries for DX Century Club go back to 1935: http://www.arrl.org/desoto

And think about this... if every DXer and contester gave up those pursuits tomorrow and became avid ragchewers, there likely wouldn't be a clear place on the bands for you to call CQ. Be careful what you wish for!
 
RE: '59...Really'  
by K2FOX on March 10, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
K9RUF, thanks for the interesting comments. I don't participate in contests for the points or awards, but as AJ3O pointed out, it is the only time some of the rare DX stations can be heard, and they are the one I am interested in contacting. I don't see your comments as " whining" or "complaints", only as opinions. Why some choose to see it that way is anyone's guess.

Everyone please enjoy HAM radio in your own way.

-Jay

 
RE: '59...Really'  
by WY4J on March 10, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
Yes, it seems like the art of saying more than just 59 and 73 is quickly disappearing. Whys is that? Anti socials, no technical knowledge or just today's social norm?

Have my DXCC, WAS (SSB & CW) and VUCC, all while rag chewing. 100% rag chewer on both SSB and CW and proud of it.
 
RE: '59...Really'  
by K8QV on March 10, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
I hear plenty of everything on the bands. Ragchews (mostly quite boring) in SSB and CW, the many digital modes with their canned responses, endless nets for weather wackers and emergency enthusiasts and plain old 'check-me-in-no-traffic' gatherings. Big guns complain about QRP stations making "regular" operators work too hard, DX chasers don't appreciate the interference of nets obliterating that rare station calling CQ from Flebotnistan Atoll, AM signals are a pain to the other modes, and almost everybody is irritated by the non-stop contests and silly special event pileups ("this special event station is to commemorate the first Lego set").

I still chase DX but not awards. I don't keep track but I would guess I'm close to 300 'countries' collected through casual operation over the years. I have a nice collection of those vintage QSL cards that were actually printed on glossy stock and mailed from distant lands. I don't care about LOTW. I prefer QRP and CW. I like working DX SSB mobile. Contests are boring to me. But as they say, to each his own. Do your thing and don't worry what others do and ignore the criticism. This is a hobby (though some would argue even that) so enjoy it.
 
'59...Really'  
by KO4OP on March 10, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
Ok contesters, lets be fair: you can contest all the time on the warc bands and leave all the other bands for non contesters. Now, discrimination solved, eh? What, not fair!!!
 
RE: '59...Really'  
by WO7R on March 10, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
>>>>> everybody is irritated by the non-stop contests

Contests are now taking place during weekdays?
 
'59...Really'  
by W9CPI on March 10, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
There's plenty of room for all kinds of operating. I love contests and DXing . . . all modes and all bands (at least, all that I can gin up an antenna for). I also enjoy general conversation. One of the keys is to pick your mode and band to avoid the congestion.

If it's a CW contest weekend, work phone. If it's a phone weekend, work CW or RTTY or digital. Work 30, or 12, or 17 meters.

There's ALWAYS something available! 73 and see you on the air.
 
'59...Really'  
by K8AXW on March 10, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
Contesting as well as DXing is part of ham radio and are two of the things that help make it go.

"Come on folks, there is lots of band width, enough room for all of us. Whether they are doing something you enjoy, or not..."

Going through the comments on this well written article, I ran across the above comment. This comment is correct for Monday through most of Friday. However, forget Saturday and Sunday! Those are two days that I need to stay off the air and find something else to do.

I would venture to say that most people work day shift, that is from morning until evening with the weekends off, and contesting does create a major problem.


While I don't think contesting should be eliminated, I do thing some conversation should take place about the possibility of limiting the number of hours each contest can run and perhaps even have a few weekends a year when there isn't any contesting at all.

Just my thoughts on a controversial subject.


 
'59...Really'  
by N5MF on March 10, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
Ya know, I hear this a lot but it just aint true. I was listening this afternoon on several bands and didn't hear a single contest. Except for the the real biggys they rarely occupy the whole band. There are 3 bands where contests are not allowed. You can go there. Yeah not everyone likes contests, but many do. Not everyone can buy huge antenna farms and $5000 dollar radios but they have fun. Some like to build, some like to experiment with antennas. Some do satellite work and moonbounce and 160 meter ops and local nets. Some like CW and some don't. Its a great hobby with something for almost everyone. Contesters and DX'ers have a right to the bands and a few weekends a year they are jammed but the other 40 some no so much. 50khz up from the band edge is usually quiet.

My god people. Ive been a ham almost 50 years and tried many things. Some I liked, some I didn't, but live and let live and with all the freqs we have surely you can find a QSO thats not in a contest. They dont usually run on CW and phone at the same time, with some exceptions, and while I like to contest, if I'm not in the mood I can always find somewhere quiet. Did I mention there are no contests on 30, 17 or 12 meters. Try em you'll like them.

Just because you dont like something or don't understand why others do doesn't make it wrong.
 
RE: '59...Really'  
by N4UE on March 10, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
I listen a couple hours / day while at the PC. Almost never transmit on HF, some operators on 14.313 have made ham radio today pretty disgusting. My late Uncle/Elmer must be pretty sad.
Live and let live is my moto. Do whatever you enjoy, radio wise.

OK, here's one thing I could never understand.....

How can someone take pride in 'working' someone when they have to have a 'relay' since the stations can't hear each other?

"Yeah, Joe, he said you're 59, OK???"
I don't get it, but that's OK...ha ha

enjoy
ron
N4UE
 
RE: '59...Really'  
by KC3JV on March 10, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
I agree! I am an inveterate ragchewer. I like to chat with people all over the world. I am mostly PSK31 these days. But I've had good conversations with many stations in Europe talking about what we do and how we got into the hobby. Contesting is fine for those that like it I just wish they wouldn't HOG the bands for those that want to RAGCHEW. Same goes for nets. Don't know how many times I have been asked to QSY because the XYZ net meets here. Once I got pissed of and told him I was in QSO and they could QSY up a few kHz.

Mark KC3JV
 
'59...Really'  
by PY2APJ on March 10, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
Fantastic your observation. We should rather respect those in various competitions, however, we also need to talk, even though we do not know to speak English correctly to the various parts of the world.
Congratulations for the initiative and observation, I am ham radio since 1976.
73 de py2apj
 
'59...Really'  
by KK6CVE on March 10, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
I'm new to Ham radio, having obtained my Tech a year ago then upgraded to General last May so I could do some HF. I was so confused with all the contesting that I put the HF rig away and stayed on VHF/UHF. I hope to do more HF in the future via CW, which I am now studying. I'm hoping for a more traditional Ham experience on those freqs.
 
RE: '59...Really'  
by N7FSM on March 10, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
Me too! As soon as I hear "XX6XX CONTEST!" I just turn off the radio or head for a WARC band. 10 meter AM or just get off the air. If I can't find spectrum to get on the air, why bother?

Lately I've dropped HF all together, in favor of VHF. Between the local noise level on the lower bands (160, 80, 40 specifically) and hosed weekends with contesting activity (20,15, and the bottom of 10), then factoring in time time I actually get to be alone in the house to actually use my radio, things can get discouraging.

Not that I have a problem with contesting. Don't get me wrong, but it does tend to wear the hobbyists kind of thin sometimes.
 
'59...Really'  
by N8TI on March 10, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
I agree that on most weekends there is a contest of one type or another. However, you can always get away from the contests with the WARC bands and I notice that activity does pick up on them during a contest. At least the vast majority of rigs are not crystal controlled nowadays and most have WARC capability.

I think that Ham Radio is probably one of the few activities where you can have a conversation with a person you never met before who may live in a part of the country or world that you may be interested in learning about. However, such an activity may not seem interesting or exciting to everyone, so they invented contests and certificate chasing. To each his own.
 
'59...Really'  
by GILGSN on March 10, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
Great article, thank you. I am somewhat of a new Ham and have always been appaled at the lack of respect of contesters. I don't understand why they have to park themselves on QRP calling frequencies and call non-stop for hours with only two seconds between calls. During contest week-ends I am locked out my hobby. Operating becomes impossible. Why would I have to be relegated to WARC bands? Not everyone has an antenna for 30 and 17m. My favorite radio has 20 and 40m only.

Contests make no sense to me, but i am tolerant and think Ham radio is a lot of things to a lot of different people. However, when a group of Hams prevents others from enjoying their hobby, that has to stop. Here is a message to contesters: Not everyone likes contests. We are supposed to SHARE the bands. Yet these guys will park themselves on a frequency, usually a calling ones, turn up the power to 1KW and blast away non-stop for a whole week-end. I call that abuse. I call it blatant disrespect.

I receive offers from the ARRL by mail all the time. Why would I sign-up? To promote an activity I deem stupid and invasive that keeps me from enjoying my hobby? So that more contests keep more regular Hams out of their favorite bands more often? The ARRL won't get a penny from me until they police their horde of bullies. Not only that, but I will suggest to new Hams I introduce to the hobby not to join as well.

We should take our Ham bands back from these people, get them to police themselves. It would be easy, ask organizers to deduce points for abusive operating, using accepted calling frequencies and using frequencies not in the suggested band portion for the contest. But they won't do that, will they? No, it's the whole band and do whatever the hell you want!

Am I the only one tired of this?

Gil.
 
'59...Really'  
by OE5AKM on March 10, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
Well done, David.

If you speak German read http://oe5akm.jimdo.com/mix/akzentverschiebung/

73, Alfred, OE5AKM
 
RE: '59...Really'  
by KW6LA on March 11, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
Iíd rather make a friend than a POINT, on Ham Radio.
 
RE: '59...Really'  
by K6VOR on March 11, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
You know I don't normally reply to topics. But this struck me for some reason. I have set up a HF station and been licensed since 1994. I learned earlier on, if you can't hear em' or work em' then turn it off and go do something else. If you don't like what you are hearing, then you have a big knob just turn it and find something else. Don't complain, you have control. That all being wonderful I understand the authors theory.

To me it gets old to hear three and four exchanges all to have a 5/9 report sent. If it took that long to get the information you need, then it wasn't 5/9. An actual report is OK. You made the contact, that's the important part. The logbook may be to some what they are interested in. However for me and some, I am not competing against you, I am competing against me. If my skills and equipment are good enough to make contact then I have achieved what I set to do.

The best part of radio is you don't have to listen to what you want to. If you like contesting, then contest. If you like rag chew, then rag chew. The modes CW, SSB, RTTY, Dstar, etc, then work what you like. There is plenty of room from what I hear. Lot of listening, not a lot of talking. Nets are good things, they generate radio traffic. Remember if we do use them we will lose them.

I find myself on HF more just because you never know who will show up
 
RE: '59...Really'  
by W1JKA on March 11, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
This just keeps getting more interesting day by day i.e. I didn't realize that Contesters and the ARRl's glossy high end rig catalogue called QST was the only thing keeping Amateur Radio alive today, I always thought it was the QRPers. Live and learn.
 
RE: '59...Really'  
by N0IU on March 11, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
@ GILGSN
"During contest week-ends I am locked out my hobby. Operating becomes impossible. Why would I have to be relegated to WARC bands? Not everyone has an antenna for 30 and 17m. My favorite radio has 20 and 40m only."

No one ever promised you that you would have interference free access to the bands any time you want. Just because you have two favorite bands, why should be have to work around your preferences when there are nine HF bands?

@ GILGSN
"I receive offers from the ARRL by mail all the time. Why would I sign-up? To promote an activity I deem stupid and invasive that keeps me from enjoying my hobby? So that more contests keep more regular Hams out of their favorite bands more often? The ARRL won't get a penny from me until they police their horde of bullies. Not only that, but I will suggest to new Hams I introduce to the hobby not to join as well."

Have you ever actually looked at the ARRL contest calendar? If you are talking about CW, they sponsor the International DX contest in February and the November Sweepstakes. If you are talking about phone, the International DX contest is in March plud the Sweepstakes. Everything else is either VHF/UHF or band specific or things liek Kids Days. So why does the ARRL have to fix ALL of the problems since they actually sponsor very few contests?

@ GILGSN
"Am I the only one tired of this?"

Most of us are just tired of people like you who have this mistaken notion that you are entitled to work any mode on any band any time you want. And we are also tired of blaming the ARRL for ALL of the problems with amateur radio.
 
RE: '59...Really'  
by WA2DTW on March 11, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
There are many legitimate ways to enjoy amateur radio, and contesting is certainly one of them. However, I agree that there is no need for contesters to take up an entire band. Some hams have a rigorous work schedule all week, and can only use the radio on weekends. And many home-brew of kit built QRP rigs are singly band only.
Why not leave even a tiny sliver of the CW and phone bands free of contesters? The WARC bands are good, but they are not enough.
 
'59...Really'  
by W8EIR on March 11, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
The ham bands are for everyone, contester or not. There are the WARC bands, if a phone contest is going on, move to CW or another mode of communication during the contest, and visa-versa. Why limit one's self to just one mode of operation?

As for the OP commenting that contesters are laser focused and missing out on growing trends in ham radio, that my friend is pure Bovine Scatology. Someone has been living under a rock for too long.








 
RE: '59...Really'  
by N0IU on March 11, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
@ WA2DTW
"I agree that there is no need for contesters to take up an entire band."

With the exception of the IARU World Championship and the 10 meter and 160 meter contests, there are NO OTHER CONTESTS THAT TAKE UP AN ENTIRE BAND!
 
RE: '59...Really'  
by N0IU on March 11, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
@ WA2DTW
"Some hams have a rigorous work schedule all week, and can only use the radio on weekends."

That's right, contesters don't have jobs or other obligations like "normal" hams. We can operate all seven days of the week 24 hours a day. The only reason we have contests on weekends is to trample on the rights of rag chewers and force them on to the WARC bands or other modes.
 
RE: '59...Really'  
by N0IU on March 11, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
@ WA2DTW
"The WARC bands are good, but they are not enough."

If that was true, how come the WARC bands are not filled with wall-to-wall activity during a contest? If was truly "not enough", logic tells me that one would have difficulty finding an open spot on the WARC bands when there is a major contest and we all know that is simply not the case!

If you are going to complain about contests and contestors, at least try to get your facts straight!
 
'59...Really'  
by KB2DHG on March 11, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
You know I have to agree with K9ZF...
It's a hobby and a great one at that. With so many different things to do with it, it does not mean that every aspect of the hobby has to be liked or dissliked.
Take what you like with the hobby and don't bother with what you don't like... SIMPLE!

 
RE: '59...Really'  
by HAMMYGUY on March 11, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
I'll admit that contesting has killed much of my interest in the hobby. Who the hell wants to battle wall to wall "CQ CONTEST" almost every weekend. Yes I know you can find a few rarer locations in contests, but that doesn't make up for some of the "windows" for QRP, DX, or digital modes being continually hammered.
 
RE: '59...Really'  
by K9RUF on March 11, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
I thought Iíd wait a couple days before writing a response to all the comments thus far. Itís clear that there are 3 groups. The folks like me who donít like contests, the laissez-faire, live and let live, just ignore it and leave the contest bullies alone and the fervent contesters.

Iíll admit that nets can be a bit boring and dry but they serve a purpose for a bunch of ham friends in an orderly way to say hello to each other. For some itís a ďwell being check ď on hams who live alone and perhaps it's their only social outlet. Yes the internet has the current weather conditions but sometime you hear how the weather has impacted a particular location that wonít show up on your weather app. When contesters cause interference thatís wrong and they should respect the ongoing net

The crux of my article was to get to know one another in the ham community and have a conversation the way ham radio use to be before the contest creep by ALL the ham radio magazines. Contesting is cheapening the conversation within the hobby. Everyone has a story to tell more than just 59 Önext. Call CQ and find out what it is.

My suggestion of segmenting part of each band for contesting was picked up by some of you. I think this gives all of us fair access to all the bands we love for whatever activity we want to do.

For full disclosure N0IU is part of the ARRL and itís probably the reason he is so fervent about contesting. Speaking of the ARRL, when did they become the FCC? It seems whenever regulatory issues arise we genuflect to the ARRL, a magazine company. Folks, the FCC is our regulatory agency not the ARRL. They and they alone should handle these issues.

Finally to GILGSN, you are not the only one tired of this. There is a large silent majority of hams that are really tired of what contests have done to ham radio. When we mobilize the contesters will surely know it!
 
RE: '59...Really'  
by N4KC on March 11, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
Well, you have finally convinced me. It is clear now that the downfall of our wonderful hobby will be due to:

- Contesters
- DXers
- Ragchewers
- Traffic nets
- Special interest nets
- Ragchew nets
- Weather nets
- EMCOMM
- People who criticize EMCOMM
- CW ops
- No-coders
- Newcomers
- The lack of newcomers
- The ARRL
- People who knock the ARRL
- Digital mode ops
- People who don't accept new technology like the digital modes
- Beacon stations
- Clubs
- Lack of clubs
- Lack of technical knowledge
- A hobby that is too technical
- Rigs that are too complicated
- Rigs that won't do all I need them to do
- Dumbed-down license exams
- QSO parties
- QRP
- QRO
- Menu-driven radios
- Radios with too many knobs
- Pile-ups
- Not enough DXpeditions
- Too many DXpeditions
- Too much QRM
- Lack of interest/not enough people to talk to
- VHF/UHF repeaters
- Lack of activity on VHF/UHF repeaters
- Lack of solar activity
- Solar flares
- 14.313
- People who talk religion on the air
- People who pay for store-bought antennas
- The Democrats
- The Republicans
- The Libertarians
- Baby Boomers living too long
- Baby Boomers dying out
- Gen X and Y...the slackers
- Not doing enough to interest Gen X and Y
- Lids
- Frequency cops
- The economy
- Homeowner Associations
- Deed covenants
- Local zoning boards
- The price of copper
- Cell phones
- Smart phones
- iPhones
- iTunes
- The Internet
- Twitter
- Facebook
- Netflix
- Video games
- The economy
- The conversion rate of dollars to yen
- Cheap Chinese radios
- Global warming
- The Polar vortex
- Voodoo
- The Baptists
- The Lutherans
- The Catholics
- The atheists
- Demise of local ham stores
- Getting ripped off on the web
- LOTW
- eHam
- QRZ.com
- Yahoo forums
- Old hams
- New hams
- Middle-aged hams
- CB radio
- Family Radio Service
- TV
- DVRs
- Internet porn
- Lack of trees
- The price of tea in China

Look, we're blessed with plenty of spectrum for all of us to enjoy whatever aspect of the hobby we like. With a little common courtesy and a little less territorialism, we can all enjoy ourselves to the fullest.

I decry...hear me? DECRY!...the "if you don't enjoy what I enjoy then what you enjoy is crap" attitude. It is not just prevalent in our hobby. It is there in all areas of life. And it's a bad, bad thing.

73,

Don N4KC
www.n4kc.com
www.donkeith.com
(Author of the new book RIDING THE SHORTWAVES:
EXPLORING THE MAGIC OF AMATEUR RADIO)
 
RE: '59...Really'  
by WA2DTW on March 11, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
@ WA2DTW
"The WARC bands are good, but they are not enough."

If that was true, how come the WARC bands are not filled with wall-to-wall activity during a contest? If was truly "not enough", logic tells me that one would have difficulty finding an open spot on the WARC bands when there is a major contest and we all know that is simply not the case!

If you are going to complain about contests and contestors, at least try to get your facts straight!

I have no problem getting facts straight. Conditions are not always ideal in every band. And many homebrewers, QRPers or users of vintage rigs do not have access to the WARC bands.
In general, when there is a CW contest, the entire CW portion of the band is unusable. When there is a phone contest, the entire phone portion of the band is unusable. If there is a 160 meter contest, the entire band is unusable. This is not necessary. It is perfectly possible for contests to leave over a fraction of the band for use by noncontesters. Even on weekends.
 
RE: '59...Really'  
by W4KVW on March 11, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
Don-N4KC you forgot FRS & GMRS Radio.Those are the real Killers of Ham radio!All stations PLEASE QRX other than the station ending in Kilo Victor Whiskey! {:>)

Clayton
W4KVW
 
RE: '59...Really'  
by K9RUF on March 11, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
Being a bit sarcastic aren't we? Read the post after yours by a gentleman who wants to use 20 meters on a vintage radio that doesn't have the WARC bands. Guess according to you tough sh*** stay off your radio, join a contest or buy a newer radio. How about splitting up the band idea on contest weekends?
 
'59...Really'  
by N8TI on March 11, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
It would not be a bad idea to keep some portion of the regular bands contest free just like the WARC bands are kept free of contests. Contests really do push aside the guys who want to use their vintage rigs during big contest weekends and do not wish to work the contests.
 
RE: '59...Really'  
by K9RUF on March 11, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
Agreed and this might not go over too well but I'd be willing to give up a part of the WARC bands to contesters to be fair. The parts reserved should be for both CW and Phone for operators interested in either.
 
'59...Really'  
by KE7FD on March 11, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
Wow #1: Here we go!

Wow #2: I thought I was the only one out there who felt ham radio had become all about points. I also asked ARRL "heads of state" at Hamvention the same question and got the same answer; sounds like a prepared script to me. Talking to hams about cutting back the number of contests is like trying to convince males to "abstain" until after marriage. Only those who posses the ability to let reason direct their actions will see the wisdom behind it.

There is one possible way to enjoy radio even during a contest, which I admit could be fraught with difficulties to sustain, but is nonetheless legal as far as I can tell... Why not establish large scale nets before a contest begins, then hold the frequency with the requisite, "Sorry, the frequency is in use"? Such a net would have to have the express purpose that ties directly back to FCC Rules and Regulation ß97.1 "Basis and purpose" (part "e"). I would think choosing a spot on the dial that hams everywhere could use, somewhere in the General band here in the US and where DX stations could also get to (if there are differences in allocations). That way anyone on HF could join in, even contesters who need a break from the chaos then dial back down to the cacophony of "CQ contest" after catching a breather. There's no reason such nets would have to be a negative function against any given contest but just a way to allow non-contesters a place to meet and tune elsewhere if they needed to. Sure you'll have a ignorant diehard who'll insist it's his right to contest on the same frequency as the net, yet if the net was there first then anyone who deliberately interfered would be the one in violation. That's why tape/MP3 recorders were invented to compliment the enforcement branch of the FCC. I'm sure though these type of operators would be few and far between, right?

I'm under no illusions that any organization, group or entity, foreign or domestic will ever agree to dial back contesting. Every time I bring this up to avid contesters their response is most often, "No one is keeping you from rag chewing instead of contesting". Well, yes and no. It's hard to get a "CQ rag chew" slipped in between the seemingly mindless "...59. Thx old man. Good luck in the contest" that goes on but then again, all someone has to do is establish a beach head and hold it, right". This way contesting can go on as it's now going (not as it's always been because I'm old enough to know the number of contests have grown exponentially during my years as a ham), I think we call this coexistence.

Ironically, the crazy thing is if nets like this can become an ongoing practice, there should be tons of DX stations and hard to find call signs on these nets. We just have to maintain the rag chewer's credo: "Chew".

IMHO

Glen - KE7FD
 
'59...Really'  
by KK4MHI on March 11, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
I got my Tech ticket in 2012 and other than VHF/UHF repeaters didn't really dabble in HF much at all.

Until this month when I thought "eff it, time to properly learn how to use that expensive toy I bought over a year ago." I dusted off the FT-817nd I bought as my first "ham radio" back after my shoulder surgery after coming home from overseas (don't ask) and went to the local candy store and bought a little G5RV-mini and strung it up in my tiny apartment. Seriously tiny since the wire antenna stretched from one side of the apartment to the other.
Tuned it up, configured Fldigi on the Macbook Air for use with the Rigblaster Plug-n-play and off I went with my little 5 watts.

So far in the last 72 hours I've logged 20 QSOs in 7 countries using 5 watts from an antenna inside my apartment just on 10 meters alone. Only made a single voice contact, but that doesn't bother me I'm more into the digital modes.
Now it's got me jonesing to take the General exam so I can dive into the lower bands and make more contacts.

I've seen famine, floods, and war so this whining about "contesters" means jack all to me.

I'm having fun and that's the bottom line.
I'm not letting anyone else's opinions ruin my fun.
 
RE: '59...Really'  
by K9RUF on March 11, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
Hello KK4MHI. First off thanks for your service to our great country. Glad to hear of your success with your 817 a radio I own as well. While I know the contesting issue pales in comparison to what you've experienced thus far in your life it's something that has worsened in recent years. It may seem trivial but when you get on the bands during a contest weekend, especially with a QRP radio, you'll understand. Really we're not whining, it's a discussion that will hopefully spawn ideas to help everyone coexist in the hobby and be happy. To respond to N4KC I decry when an activity as invasive as contesting has become forces me to change my operating practices, then I will fight it.
 
'59...Really'  
by N2RJ on March 11, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
Another rant about contesters and DXing. How original.

Look, not everyone wants the same thing out of the hobby. I like contests and DXing. I do not like nets and rag chewing.

Enjoy what you want in the hobby and don't try to diminish the enjoyment for others.
 
RE: '59...Really'  
by K9RUF on March 11, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
Ryan you and others are missing my point. I don't want to diminish the the enjoyment you derive from contesting I just want it to stop taking over the bands on certain weekends. There needs to be parity between us and that's why I'm suggesting some shared us agreement on each band during contest weekends. To help you put this in perspective from a non-contesters point of view imagine if I managed to all the rag-chewers (and I'm not really fond of this name but I'll use it) to get on 20 meters when your contests are going on. I think you might find that annoying. Right. As far as DXing goes I like DX too. I'm just not as intense at it as some. I think it's cool to talk to people around the world. In fact I finally talked to someone in India for the first time. That was a wow moment for me. Hope you understand better where I'm coming from.
 
Each to His / Her own  
by G3SEA on March 11, 2014 Mail this to a friend!

Just enjoy the hobby and communicating with fellow hams
whether in Contests,Rag Chewing,on HF,Repeaters or in my
HOA restricted situation Echo/IRLP.

KH6/G3SEA
 
'59...Really'  
by K4PIH on March 11, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
I don't participate much in contests. I use them to check out my equipment, maybe catch a few rare ones, and then I check out. What does get my QRM up is when a contester looks me up on say QRZ, and then tells me to get my old ass and my old gear of the frequency! These people I like to call "appliance operators"! Now I know that they are not all "appliance operators" and a lot of them are really into it and more power to them, but a lot of them have more money than brains. I lost track a long time ago on how many I've asked questions like "what type of antenna do you have" and the answer I get is "I don't know I just bought it at the store" or "did you solder your own coax connectors?" and they answer "who does that, I bought a hundred feet with the connections already on"! I am also one of those hams who likes to ham on the weekends because I work during the week, and when I turn on my station and all I can hear is "5-9 good luck CQ contest" it makes me just want to power down and so something else like work on a mic or a piece of gear that I bought at a fest.
 
'59...Really'  
by N5DIT on March 11, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
I am not a contester but, I do enjoy all the DX stations on the air during a contest and do work some of them with my home brew dipole antenna and my measly 100 watts. I set back and wonder how many on here that "complain" about contest have tried to work W1AW as they have gone from state to state? I sure have listened to some big pileups on both voice and cw.
Ham radio is what you make it. Its like the tv you don't like whats on one channel well turn the knob, push the button what ever you do.
 
ENJOYMENT  
by LEON on March 11, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
NOT ME:

Another rant about contesters and DXing. How original.

Look, not everyone wants the same thing out of the hobby. I like contests and DXing. I do not like nets and rag chewing.

Enjoy what you want in the hobby and don't try to diminish the enjoyment for others.

-------------------------------------------------

LEO:

Enjoy what you want in the hobby and don't try to diminish the enjoyment for others.

Contest folks can be disrespectful, buzz kill for enjoyment.

Ragchew that sounds like the 1970's CB radio days, buzz kill for enjoyment.

DX is nothing but a scream fest, buzz kill for enjoyment.

Contest people a KC away, SCREAMING, buzz kill for enjoyment.

Ragchew folks that call the frequency their channel, turn up the Amplifier's and SCREAM come and get me FCC. Buzz kill for enjoyment. 1 KC away from everyone, just like the Contest people.

Ragchew people that ask what is your handle? Buzz kill for enjoyment, sounds like the 1970's CB radio days.

Look, not everyone wants the same thing out of this Hobby.

Enjoy what you want in the Hobby, but don't diminish the enjoyment for others.
 
'59...Really'  
by KD8RKJ on March 11, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
I really get tired of these articles that insist the only way to enjoy this hobby is to ragchew. I operate a beacon station, I enjoy casual contesting and DXing. I really enjoy amateur radio, but I don't really like to talk on the radio.

How arrogant must you be to insist that unless someone enjoys the hobby exactly the way you do, they are inferior?

 
RE: '59...Really'  
by WA3RSL on March 11, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
I agree with you!

73
 
RE: '59...Really'  
by WA3RSL on March 11, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
I was agreeing with N0IU. :)

73
 
RE: '59...Really'  
by N0IU on March 11, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
@ K9RUF
"For full disclosure N0IU is part of the ARRL and itís probably the reason he is so fervent about contesting."

This comment just goes to show how little you know about the ARRL. I am indeed an Assistant Director in the Midwest Division. I am one of 35 Assistant Directors who were been appointed by the Division Director. Because Division Directors cover such a wide area, they often appoint local amateurs to be their "eyes and ears" in their area. In other words, we act as sort of a liaison between the local amateurs and the Division Director.

And no matter what you think, Assistant Directors have absolutely no influence over ARRL policy. None. Zero. Zip. Nada.

And with regards to my fervency about contesting, it has nothing to do with my position in the Division or even the fact that I am an ARRL member. Why am I so fervent about contesting and the rights of contestors? Because that is one of the aspects of amateur radio I enjoy... period!
 
RE: '59...Really'  
by N0IU on March 11, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
@ K9RUF
"I don't want to diminish the the enjoyment you derive from contesting I just want it to stop taking over the bands on certain weekends."

Which weekends specifically? My guess is that it is the weekends that are convenient for YOU!
 
RE: '59...Really'  
by W8MW on March 11, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
Dave .. Thanks for sharing your opinions. Here are a few of mine.

Die-hard contesters love the heart-pumping competition that comes with radio sport.

Rag chewers with calls like K9RUF and W8MW want a low-key escape from daily pressures.

Contesters thrive on heavily loaded bands with high yield scoring opportunities. Itís not QRM, itís game on!

Rag chewers like pleasant chats in the rocking chair on the front porch with cricket chirps off in the distance. QRM disturbs the peace.

Contesters think rag chewers convey no valuable information.

Rag chewers think contesters convey no valuable information.

Contesters arenít going away. (Except between contests).

Rag chewers arenít going away. (Except during contests).

Any argument about one amateur's preferences being more noble than another's is pointless.

It took me quite a few years to finally accept the inevitable. When the ratio of testers to chewers is 1000 to 1, might makes right. All normal operating conventions and courtesies are suspended. The level of civility changes radically, just as it does during riots. I had to be the one to change, since contest behavior never will. I find other bands or other things to do. This is by far the best option for me.

73 Mike W8MW
 
Raising the dead.  
by AI2IA on March 11, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
Essence of his complaints:
My issues are two fold, contesting and DXing.
Now Iím going to swerve back into my previous comment that amateur radio is a hobby, not a sport.
Iíll say it another way, ham radio at its core is a hobby not a sport.

How many, many times will someone with a call sign dig up this old corpse and try to animate it?

FROM A PERSONAL POINT OF VIEW, HAM RADIO IS WHAT YOU MAKE IT FOR YOURSELF.

The facts are that there are plenty of hams who find ways to do plenty of things. We have so much opportunity to explore and experiment, to rag chew and to contest.

As a parting comment, amateur radio is not a hobby. Yes, you can indeed do hobby things within it, but first it is a public service. If any complainers have problems with that, they should read the beginning of PART 97.

This is just a variant of the old rag chew vs. contest argument that never ends among the idle.
 
23 bands to use and he complains...  
by M6GOM on March 11, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
Dear Mr. Complainer.

You have at least 23 bands you can use. Contests aren't on every mode on every non WARC HF band every weekend worldwide. Some weekends have none, some weekends have short sprints on limited bands in one or two modes, some contests are region specific such as the US QSO parties. Even when the massive CQ-WW and CQ-WPX contests are on there is still space on the HF bands they're using, i.e when the SSB contests are on there's space on the CW and Data sections of the bands.

And judging from the activity I've seen over the last few years until very recently, if it weren't for the contesters and the DXpeditions the activity on the bands would be next to nought. You should look at some of the WebSDR waterfalls outside of contest weekends. See how much activity there is when you remove the DXpeditions. Very little for much of the week. And do you know what would happen once the use of a certain part of the radio spectrum drops below a certain point? It gets reallocated by OFCOM, the FCC or whoever is the government department in charge of spectrum management because that space has a commercial value. Just ask amateurs in various countries who've seen space in the UHF and microwave bands lost due to lack of use and sold to commercial entities.

As I said, there are 23 bands you can use and on any contest weekend I doubt you'll find no more than a quarter of them occupied. That leaves you four HF bands where no contesting is allowed and 13 VHF and higher to use. If you can't find space its entirely because of your own unwillingness to move to where there's space. NOBODY OWNS A FREQUENCY OR BAND, everyone has as much right to use it as you.
 
RE: 23 bands to use and he complains...  
by K9MHZ on March 11, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
This is so stupid......giving the troll original poster so much bandwidth.

He knew full well what a $h!+ storm this would be, but posted anyway to enjoy the show. Just look at his page, and you'll see real obsessiveness. Bonehead.



 
RE: 23 bands to use and he complains...  
by KF4HR on March 11, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
People, people, come on! For the non-contesting types out there, the answers to these complaints about contesting are utterly simple! 59 QSL?

Anyone that has listened on the popular HF bands for more than a month should know (and fully adopt) the modern ham rules about contesting! 59 QSL?

If you enjoy checking into your favorite Net or Nets, just don't do it on any contest weekend. Instead call your friends on a phone, cell phone or Skype instead. 59 QSL?

If you have plans to experiment with a new piece of equipment or software, and want to run tests or experiments, use a dummy load, or better yet, reschedule your testing and experiments until the contesting is over. 59 QSL?

If you don't enjoy the rapid fire 59, next, 59, next, QRM on top of QRM, qso counting type of operating. Not a problem! Just turn your rig off and wait for the contesting to end. (Or use the WARC bands, but hurry because they'll no doubt be contest bands eventually.) 59 QSL?

And perhaps most importantly, try to remember that contesting prepares all of us for emergency communications! So if you do have a legitimate communications emergency, by all means do not schedule your emergency communications during a contest weekend! Odds are the contest QRM will cover you up and you will not get through... unless you can somehow figure out how to embed the contest jargon into your emergency call. So if an emergency does occur during a contest week, use your cell phone, satellite phone, a megaphone, or two cans and string instead. And if you're on a sinking boat during a contest weekend, realize the odds of being heard will be difficult (at best), so be sure to take plenty of flares, an ERB, some M&M's, and an inflated dingy along. 59 QSL?

People. It's time to understand the nature of contesting in today's modern ham radio environment. Even though contesting comprises the minority percentage of hams, but during contests this minority controls and takes over the majority of the popular bands. The non-contesters need to understand and adhere to this. And contester's are also permitted to create all the QRM they wish, right up until each contest ends. Sorry, that's just the way it is, there's is no stopping it. Also understand that more contests will be added each and every year. If you can't adhere to modern contesting weekends, there's little you can do about it other than turn your equipment off, find something else to do, or turn your license in. Contesting really is that important, even if you don't think so. 59 QSL?

But assuming you don't like contesting but are not ready to turn your license in yet, there is a way to prepare. Thankfully the ARRL warns non-contesters by posting an excellent contest calender. Just mark your personal calendar with the dates and times of each contest, then you'll know ahead of time whether you need to leave your equipment turned off, so you can do something else.

See? It's simple!

 
To K9MHz and others That Think I'm a Troll  
by K9RUF on March 11, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
Ouch. Nice personal attack. I can tell you engage in radio combat I mean contesting. I can tell you put your heart and soul into you QRZ page, oh wait that's because you're too busy contesting. I'll say this again I think a workable solution would be to have a segment say 50 KHz at the top of say 20 meters off limits to contesters for people to enjoy a conversation. Not everyone can has a WARC antenna and some with vintage radios without the WARC bands are still out there. These people don't want to be bullied to turn off their radios. Believe it or not they every right to use their radios as much as you do during contests.
 
To N0IU  
by K9RUF on March 11, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
Scott I hope you realize that the ARRL is not the only organization sponsoring contests. So to paint a picture that there aren't that many contests is disingenuous. Let's be clear, contesting has grown exponentially. No one owns the bands, not me or you. They need to be shared to be fair. When contesting occurs people that don't like them turn off their radios because they literally take over the band. How is this fair for the non-contester with vinage gear with no WARC bands or WARC antennas. That's why I submit that we share or split the band up on contesting weekends. Reserve perhaps the top 50 KHz for non-contesting on 20 meters. You're with the ARRL, so suggest the idea. We can't go on like this being bullied by contesters pushed off to the WARC bands like sheep. And let's not forget about the nets that get annihilated by rude contesters taking over the band. Some sort of parity action must take place. My comment about certain weekends referred to the weekends that contests occur, not the weekends that are convenient for me.
 
'59...Really'  
by KD7YVV on March 12, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
You know, I've done a contest or two, even had my
call appear in QST once. That's all nice and dandy,
but for me, ham radio is a chance to meet someone new.
Make a new friend, find out what's going on in another
part of the world without having to watch Canned News
Network. Recently three people I knew personally became
SK, W7DAL, W7LMA and N7VIQ. One of the first nets I
joined up with was the Northwest Country Cousins net.
It's a semi-formal net where members get together to
tell each other a bit about their day. We kid each
other sometimes and our Sheriff/Executioner passes out
the pushups if you're a meanie. All in good fun of
course. Dallas, W7DAL, was a fun person to talk to
and definitely knew how to make people laugh.
Had a tech question? Ask Dallas, he'd have an answer.
If he didn't, he'd find it.
Ermanno, N7VIQ was one of the first people I talked to
when I earned my technician license. Turns out he and
my mom were both born in the same tiny remote town
in Italy. It was heartwarming to see my mom smile,
meeting someone not only from "the old country" but
someone who spoke her native language fluently and
knew of the place she was from. Yapping away at a mile
a minute in Italian with lots of laughter.
He even called her on her birthday.
I'll always remember the joy he brought her that day.
Bob, W7LMA, for him, radio was his world.
He was blind, in a wheelchair, and didn't get
out much, but you could turn on the radio to any net,
any frequency, and there would be Bob, chatting away.
When I finally met him at a hamfest, he gave me a
piece of advice I still remember to this day.
He said, you know, these young people think they can
do anything with the internet and their phones, but
there's one thing their internet and phones can't do.
When I asked what that was, he said, ham radio brings
people together in a way no computer or cell phone can.
As another poster said, if you don't find what you want
in ham radio, look for it. It's a diverse hobby, and
while you have your contesters ranging from the
extremely avid to the casual, every contact is a chance
to make a new friend, learn something new, or discuss
another hobby or interest of yours with someone who
has similar interests. So don't despair Dave, you have
many many friends in the hobby, you just haven't talked
to them yet.



 
RE: '59...Really'  
by ONAIR on March 12, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
Contests and working DX is fun, but I do miss the days when a whole bunch of locals would often get on a frequency and chat with each other via ground wave!
 
To KD7YVV  
by K9RUF on March 12, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
George, you struck a nerve in me with your heart warming story. You teach that everyday above ground should be cherished with all the amateurs we can meet in this great hobby called amateur radio!
 
K9RUF  
by N0IU on March 12, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
"Scott I hope you realize that the ARRL is not the only organization sponsoring contests. So to paint a picture that there aren't that many contests is disingenuous."

David, you are taking my comment out of context. My comment about the ARRL not sponsoring that many contests was in response to another contributor who said that he was not going to give any more money to the ARRL until they "reign in their horde of bullies". My point was extactly what you are saying. The ARRL is NOT the organization that sponsors contests.

"No one owns the bands, not me or you. They need to be shared to be fair."

When you say "shared", what you really mean to say is that you want to operate whenever you want and if there is a contest, they need to give up a portion of the band to ME!

"How is this fair for the non-contester with vinage gear with no WARC bands or WARC antennas."

This is a total line of crap! The WARC bands have been around for 35 years so if someone operates "vintage" gear, then that is a personal decision they have made knowing full well that they do not have access to all of the bands available and understand the consequences.

"You're with the ARRL, so suggest the idea."

Why don't you make the suggestion yourself? Here is your Divison Director's name and email: George R. Isely, w9gig@arrl.org. Not a member of the ARRL? Then join! If you are not a member, why should the ARRL pay any attention to you?

"We can't go on like this being bullied by contesters pushed off to the WARC bands like sheep."

David, when was the last time you were forced off of any band because of a contest?
 
To N0IU  
by K9RUF on March 12, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
Scott, I'm done with you. It's clear until you take off your contesting googles, you won't understand how those of us who don't contest feel. The ARRL is already aware of my idea so hopefully they'll seriously consider it.
 
RE: '59...Really'  
by K8AG on March 12, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
For decades I never participated n contests. In the last few years there have been contests with QRPers and CW ops and such that are a lot less competitive. They are a pleasure to work and give me an opportunity to break away from life and operate my radios.

You can operate just to operate. You can set yourself a task that has nothing to do with a certificate. For example I will run an entire contest with 1W or even 100mW, even though there is no multiplier for QRP. Its just a challenge.

It would be nice if people would say 57 or 55 rather than 59 all of the time. But operating is just fun.

My 2 cents.

73, JP, K8AG
 
To K8AG  
by K9RUF on March 12, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
John thanks for sharing your idea. Sounds like you have fun. QRP can be very rewarding.
 
'59...Really'  
by N9ZVV on March 12, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
I guess we need more ragchewing contests.
 
RE: '59...Really'  
by VE3TMT on March 12, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
Some interesting comments that's for sure.

Contesters have a right to contest. I don't participate in the majority of contests because I don't feel I have a competitive station. I don't own an amp, or have stacked monobanders. Doesn't mean I don't enjoy a few contests now and then. They are a great way to increase you DXCC or other totals, if you chase awards. My personal challenge is to work all 50 states on RTTY on 80/40/20/15/10. It's tough, but I use the RTTY contests whenever possible. So if you work me on RTTY in a contest, please upload it to LOTW. I just might need your state.

Nets have their place. I'm not a big fan of nets personally, but many are. I guess if I was retired, I'd probably spend more time on the radio in the mornings and jump in on a few. Another bean for the pot.

I enjoy a nice QSO every now and then and the WARC bands are a great place for this. I don't have a WARC antenna but my sloper will tune up nicely and I have had many nice QSO's on 17m.

Everyone has their likes and dislikes about the hobby, just as in any other hobby. If you don't like it, do something about it, or find another hobby. Sometimes I think people just take things too seriously.

IT'S A HOBBY PEOPLE!

(Still looking for a cheap amp and stacked monobanders)
 
'59...Really'  
by N8TI on March 12, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
I think this is a good conversation that we are having about what it means to share the bands. There is no question that on contest weekends, you really can't get on the original bands for noncontest activities. For example, on a recent contest weekend, I was trying out my GRC-109, a vintage military radio that is crystal controlled. I got nowhere calling CQ on 40 meters into the din of the CW contest operators. It would have been nice if a part of the band had been "off limits" to contesting.

Was it the end of the world? Of course not. But, I think that it would be polite and courteous to leave some space for the people that don't contest on all of the bands. I simply shut down the rig and gave up my radio time for that weekend. I did not feel happy about that as there are only so many weekends left. As a result, I understand why people get a little perturbed with wall to wall contesting on certain weekends.

The issue is not whether I should retire my old fifty year old radio, or whether I should resign myself to not turning it on during certain weekends. The issue is whether as a community of hams, should we respect others' choice of activities. I think that the ARRL has already done that with suggested "band plans." See, for example, www.arrl.org/band-plan.

Perhaps there should be a modification to the suggested plan for contest weekends with contest free zones. Say, for 40 meters, 7.100 to 7.125, or something like that. Just carve out a small portion that hopefully would not crimp anyone's contesting style.

There are a lot of activities for amateur radio operators and I think that not intentionally pushing anyone out of their personal activity of choice is probably the "golden rule" that regulates the airways.
 
To N8TI  
by K9RUF on March 12, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
Joseph thank you, thank you, thank you for championing my idea and carrying the torch for a bit. Glad to hear it's resonating with someone. Any others out there?
 
RE: '59...Really'  
by WO7R on March 12, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
As it happens, CW is allowed (for US hams, at least) on the entire 40 meter band.

And every other band.

So, for CW at least, you can simply move up the band until the contest stops. Somebody presumably doing the same will find you.

Even very heavy contests often stop a little short of consuming the entire band.

Sometimes, too, you may have to pick another mode.

Not very many contests are "all mode" so if 10m SSB is crowded with contesters, 10m CW is probably wide open. As is 10m RTTY.
 
RE: '59...Really'  
by AB4D on March 12, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
Quite the rant above. Seems to be an unhappy camper. I found it somewhat hypocritical that he is displeased about hams making skeds with DX operators using the internet, but approves of talking over the internet using echo link.

His main point seems to be, he is unhappy that he's not getting more conversation on the air. However, the lack of conversation from others could be indicator of how he is perceived. There are many people I hear on the air that I would never engage into a conversation for various reasons. Perhaps the issue is simple, most hams do not wish talk to him at length. Based on the diatribe above, it's easy to see why.

73
 
'59...Really'  
by PD2R on March 12, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
If you want to have "real" conversations on air with DX stations, how about learning a foreign language instead of expecting them to all learn English.

Some people, often in the US, seem to forget that not everyone out there is a native English speaker.
What about all those amateurs out there that want to have "real" conversations as well but all the English they know is "59" and "73".
 
RE: '59...Really'  
by AJ6B on March 12, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
Field day is NOT a contest.

"Field Day is part educational event, part operating event, part public relations event Ė and ALL about FUN!" - http://www.arrl.org/field-day

 
RE: '59...Really'  
by W8MW on March 12, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
>Field day is NOT a contest.

ARRL, sponsor of the event says it is. See Contest Calendar on their web site. This year's field day contest is June 28-29.
 
'59...Really'  
by K8GY on March 12, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
Love your article thanks for taking the time to write it.

It takes some balls to take a stand in a public forum because so many people are just waiting to criticize an opinion that is contrary to theirs. I happen to agree with you on this, but I also understand the other side. Thank God we are still free to have opinions. Lets listen and not criticize. You rock
 
RE: '59...Really'  
by N0IU on March 12, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
There will never be a way to solve this "problem" that will satisfy everybody because its all a matter of perception.

It has happened to all of us. We work all week long and now its Saturday morning and you have no plans for the day and as far as you know, no one else has made plans for you! So you put on a pot of coffee and while it is brewing, you put a bagel in the toaster and put a healthy "shmeer" of cream cheese on each piece after it pops up. Coffee and bagel in hand, you head off to the shack and settle in for a morning (or longer) of casual operating.

But what's this? "CQ CONTEST CQ CONTEST" blaring from the speaker! A quick peek at the contest calendar shows this is the weekend of a major 48 hour multi-band contest on the mode I was hoping to work!

Now this is where the matter of perception kicks in.

Sure, I am a little disappointed, but I get over it pretty quickly. Life is just too short to let things like this bother me. So what are my choices?

1) Join the contest. Even if it is for a short period of time, I might be lucky enough to get a few needed band fills.
2) Switch to a different mode.
3) Switch to a WARC band.
4) Turn off the radio and do something else that doesn't involve radio at all! There's plenty more weekends to play on the radio. Besides, its just a hobby!

But for some people, when they hear "CQ CONTEST", their blood pressure immediately starts to rise. Dammit! I have been waiting all week for this time to get on the radio and now this happens! Every time I want to get on the radio, there is some damn contest! I don't want to switch to a different friggin' mode and I sure in hell don't want to get on those worthless WARC bands! This is MY TIME to get on the radio and now those rude and arrogant contesters are trampling on my rights and forcing my off the air. It just isn't fair!!!

It is very easy to pick out who is in which category in this article!


 
To N8GY  
by K9RUF on March 12, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
Thanks Tom for your support of the issue. It's nice to hear from other like minded hams.
 
'59...Really'  
by KH6DC on March 13, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
Different strokes for different folks.
 
RE: '59...Really'  
by K6VOR on March 13, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
@ N4KC

Well it is clear to me now. That was (enter your choice of word here) HILARIOUS!

73

I'm still laughing :)
 
RE: '59...Really'  
by K9MHZ on March 13, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
+1

Yes Don, that was a beauty! Made much more sense than K9RUF's original non-issue "issue."

I wonder what else our OCD, sensitive K9RUF does in his spare time. Check that....really don't want to know.

Well K9RUF, I hope you had your fun with this one.

Unbelievable.
 
RE: '59...Really'  
by N0IU on March 13, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
@ K9RUF
"Scott, I'm done with you. It's clear until you take off your contesting googles, you won't understand how those of us who don't contest feel."

For the record, I am not a die hard contester. I am one of those poor "working class" hams who runs 100 watts into a vertical or dipole. While I do participate in a handful of competitive events during the course of the year, I am pretty much just a casual operator most of the time.

When I go into the shack, I just go there to operate in the most generic terms. I may go in with a specific mode or band in mind, but if that doesn't happen to work out, I use one of my other options. I have a key, a microphone and software for digital modes.

This is why it is not a "crisis" for me when there is a contest in which I am not interested in participating. There is always something else to do.

The fact that you choose not to exercise your options is really not my problem.

 
To K9MHZ  
by K9RUF on March 13, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
...and look Bradley is recruiting another bully to join him. I thought children out grew that when they became adults. Today, schools are taking bullies seriously it's too bad that's not the case on ham radio. Seems Bradley thinks I'm OCD and sensitive. Well details in life are important. When Bradley flies I guess details don't matter. Better make sure I'm not on his flight. Normally I don't lower my self to their level but I did it to illustrate a point that bulling left unchecked is not a good thing.
 
RE: To K9MHZ  
by KE7FD on March 13, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
As I read through the posts being made I find myself saying to myself things like:
"Hmmm, he's right"
"He makes a good point"
"Well, I guess that's true too..."

Undoubtedly, over the years there's been a lot of affronts made across the lines by both sides and naturally tensions rise along with blood pressure resulting in a lot of vehement verbal volleys. I've been a member of the ARRL off and on ever since I got licensed a long time ago. I don't always agree with everything they do. In my opinion I get something out of my being part of that organization and I absolutely support anyone's opinion to the contrary if they do not belong to the league. Nothing is perfect; yet we humans always expect perfection of those around us while expecting others to give us a break. Ironic. Contesting has it's place and role in the amateur service and so does rag chewing. CW, digital, SSB, the other modes all bring value and variety to the hobby. There's something here for everyone. What we need to do is not just rant verbally about our differences but is to coexist, to actually DO IT. If you're a rag chewer, find a place where you can call CQ or carry on a sked around contesters without interfering and visa versa; contesters should not jam with tuning up on a QSO of non contesters. Let's ALL be the adults; take the higher road. I'd love to find a reason to buy a newer radio with high-end receiver functions to slide in between two contest stations without interfering with them (I guess that's a "contesting" radio) even though no one who knows me would ever accuse me of being a contester. Until that day of getting on the air with a high-end radio, I'll make do with what I have and hone my operating skills to coexist.

I'll not step on contesters when I get on the air during a weekend contest, but I do ask that they in turn not push me off the band. Fair enough?

By the way, is it contester or contestor? The spelling checkers don't seem to know what is "write".

Best Regards,

Glen - KE7FD
 
'59...Really'  
by KE7FD on March 13, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
BTW, I hit what is probably the wrong Reply button; my comments were not directed to K9MHZ but to this thread in general. I'll try to remember to use the "add a comment" at the bottom of the posted article.

G
 
RE: '59...Really'  
by W5TTW on March 13, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
"Everyone please enjoy HAM radio in your own way."

Exactly! We should all be able to enjoy the hobby. To each his own! (Except of course, people that say "73's" instead of "73," "HIHI" on phone, no-coders,.....
 
RE: '59...Really'  
by KI5WW on March 13, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
W5TTW

Very true. But he neglected to add the most common words in a ragchew:

"Colostomy...Obamacare...grandkids...retirement...






Im guilty! sooooo funny.
 
'59...Really'  
by W3AFC on March 13, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
I have to confess, I laugh out loud when I hear someone give a 59 report and then have to ask the other OP for his call sign 4 or 5 times. And sometimes I have to repeat my sign several times, especially the "3" and then I receive a 59 report. That puts pressure on me to give a similar report, because I don't want to appear rude. But sometimes I can't lie so I just explain that it's my simple wire antenna's fault, and not their equipment.
 
'59...Really'  
by RSHIRE22 on March 13, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
70 million Americans are on psychotrophic or anti depressant medications. If a lot of people like ham contesting it does not strike me as a social problem. Get your priorities right.

Ron
 
'59...Really'  
by W8NYK on March 13, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
I absolutely enjoy all facets of amateur radio from participating in contests to ragchewing (as long as the rag is clean:) to special events to DXing; SSB, CW, FM and digital modes. I have yet to turn in a log for a contest, but participating is just plain FUN for a variety of reasons! Contesting does not even come close to taking up the entire spectrum. To infer such is silly. There is plenty of room unless there is a MAJOR contest which only occurs on a weekend. Even then, the WARC bands are open.
Many times, a ragchew will get in the way of my normal operating space. I just work around it without QRMing the QSO.
 
'59...Really'  
by RSHIRE22 on March 13, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
Right now we live as sheep in a dumbed down country sold out by a corrupt president, and an in the tank media run by pharmasutical companies. We've probably seen the last of free elections.

Once we've solved those problems we can go after ham radio issues.

RS
 
RE: '59...Really'  
by KJ3N on March 13, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
I'm constantly amazed as to what passes for an "article" on Eham. This should be filed under "Rants, Pissing & Moaning, and Whiners".

I think nets are some of the most useless things in ham radio. To wit:

"No traffic" traffic nets
WAS nets
DX nets
Medical Ailments nets (also known as Same 6 OFs Meeting On the Same Frequency 7 Days A Week, Since Hiram Percy Was Alive net)
Masturbate Your Audio (and yourself) for Hours On End nets (sometimes known as Audio Circle Jerk nets)
HF Whacker Net (a.k.a. MMSN)

What you won't see me do, is go online and write some Piss & Moan "article" on Eham, claiming that my way of operating is the only "pure" way to enjoy ham radio.

Get a grip, get a life, and get lost.
 
RE: '59...Really'  
by N0IU on March 13, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
@ KE7FD
"I'll not step on contesters when I get on the air during a weekend contest, but I do ask that they in turn not push me off the band. Fair enough?"

How many times have you actually been "pushed off the band" because a contest was taking place? By this I mean that there was not one single spot anywhere on the band where the contest was not taking place.
 
'59...Really'  
by N3XF on March 13, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
I have been around long enough to remember when the AM guys were mad about sideband. Later on it was it was about computers having no business in Ham radio. Then it was about codeless Hams...
Personally, even though I am Medicare eligible, I really don't want to get on the air to hear about someone's health issues, which happens on too many ragchews.
It's my money I'm putting into my station and if I want to operate contests or DX'ing, that is what I'll do, with due respect for those who wish to operate differently.
My favorite quote was heard when walking around Dayton one year.... "we spend how much to talk to the people we see walking around here!?!?!?"
 
'59...Really'  
by W4DLE on March 13, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
I'm pretty new to the hobby, so I'll throw that in at the beginning for context. I'll admit up front I don't know everything. That being said.....

Every car you can buy these days owes its technology and safety to racing. Sporting goods I can buy at Wal-Mart are ten times better than what the pros were using only a few short decades ago because of what we have learned through competition. Even hunting gear is made better because of what we learned during wartime. Shoes of every kind fit and support better today than Converse Chucks did in the 60s because of what we have learned through professional, Olympic and college sports.

The gear we use will keep pushing the limits because of contests. Radios will get more portable, reach further, be lighter, and simply do more faster because of what we learn today through competitions.

I have only participated in a couple of school club roundups and one local club field day. I don't plan on competing on my own. I do enjoy the comradery of group contests where one guy is on the mic, one guy is keeping log, and everyone else is sitting around the room saying "Was that whiskey delta or whiskey bravo coming through the static?" (all the while eating junk food and swapping stories).

But I certainly plan on taking full advantage of the technology brought about by those innovators who are trying to get further faster and log it all in the process. If competition breeds gear that will reach the other side of the planet, weigh a couple pounds, change bands and tune antennas in a flash, and log it all in the process, then my relaxed style of radio talk will be enhanced by it. I'll be able to do what I want to do better, and more often, because of what competitors have designed to make it all possible.

And for me anyway, pileups are fun to listen to. Even if I can't get in I like to hear those guys log 'em in lightening fast. But so far I really enjoy listening/monitoring as much as talking anyway. (Being new I figure its the best way to learn the lingo and etiquette.)

The more I read on forums and ham sites, the more it seems that some people are staking claims to bands and frequencies. Those are the only people I can see being hurt by contests. Anyone else who just enjoys the hobby will simply try another band or frequency during contests. But the "get off my lawn" crowd will always find something to get ruffled feathers about. So if a contest dares to play itself out on "your frequency" then of course you will get mad. But, it's not "your frequency" to begin with, now is it?

Relax. Enjoy the fruits of others' labors. And I dare you to show me a day and/or time that you can't find a band/frequency to chat on. If there's a pileup on your "home turf" then go to another band/frequency and find some new anti-contest people to chat with. There's room and bandwidth for everybody, especially being that the numbers of serious hams seem to be dwindling. (At 42 I'm one of only two members of the local club under 60 that I can think of. Most guys in that club have had their ticket longer than I have been alive.) Anything that keeps the hobby going is fine by me. And when disaster strikes, those contesters will have some serious on-air chops to work with.

Pile 'em up. Log 'em in. Have fun. And try to be respectful of each other. That's all we can do.

My very inexperienced two cents.
 
RE: To K9MHz and others That Think I'm a Troll  
by KF4HR on March 13, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
K9RUF: Ouch. Nice personal attack. I can tell you engage in radio combat I mean contesting.

Not enough close Dave. I'm one of the ones that leave my equipment turned off during contest weekends. I guess my comments (hints) weren't apparent enough?
 
'59...Really'  
by SLAPSHOT351 on March 13, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
There's always the CB :)
 
To Everyone Reading This Article  
by K9RUF on March 14, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
As my article slides down into relative eham obscurity I felt I should write a final post to explain where I was coming from. Iíve read all your posts on my recent article and I appreciate your viewpoints. Just so you know Iím not one of those Wayne Greene crazies. I have a wife, 8 year old son named Ben and I take regular showers. From all the comments Iíve read contesting appear to be hear to stay and I'll have to learn to accept it.

As a kid who grew up without a father when he was killed in a car accident when I was 4 I was raised by my very passive mother. When I had conflicts in school with kids my mom told me to turn the other cheek and they would go away. In so doing I became the school punching bag. She reached out to every school official and parent involved to mitigate the abuse I received, to no avail. Iím telling you all this now not to play the victim card but rather to give you some perspective where I was coming from when I wrote the article. When I see a conflict such as this I become hyper sensitive to the underdogs because, I was one of them. I wasnít being a troll trying to create controversy to raise everyones blood pressure. My sincere sole purpose for writing this article was not not make people do ham radio my way but to do it a fair way for all those that want to use all the bands, all the time.

73,
David
K9RUF
 
RE: To Everyone Reading This Article  
by W8MW on March 14, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
Dave thank you for daring to approach these taboo topics. I didnít think you were trolling but did think you were poking at a hornetís nest. The result was a ďspiritedĒ thread with the usual personal attacks. As much as those of us who prefer conversing welcome your idea about contest and ragchew cooperation, Iíd bet the farm it will never fly.

If there are any avid contesters still reading, I would make one suggestion in the interest of our trying to get along in the big RF sandbox. When the clock ticks down and the contest is on, please listen for any QSOs that might be in progress. Start your operating a respectful distance from those QSOs, not 1 kHz up or down. It is a given those QSOs will be clobbered soon. But feel good about the fact it wasnít you who did it.

73 Mike W8MW
 
RE: To Everyone Reading This Article  
by W4DLE on March 14, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
Please accept my apology if I offended you in any way. You are entitled to your views on the subject (or any for that matter). But when you post a topic, it is assumed that you are also welcoming the views of others. That is the spirit in which I posted my reply. Just offering up another view.

In no way do I think you are stupid for not thinking exactly the way I do. (How boring would this hobby, or any aspect of life be if we all felt exactly the same way about everything?)

Here's to hoping your weekends are filled with less crowded bands/frequencies.
 
RE: To Everyone Reading This Article  
by KC9CUK on March 14, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
Ham radio is something different for everyone, I believe that is it's strongest acspect. You want my opinion here it is. For all the hams that say ham radio is all about contesting and its the future you are ignorant plain and simple. For all the operators that think ham radio is all about rag chewing you are also ignorant. So now that I have insulted everyone, please all take a deep breath and remember there are many aspects of our great hobby HF,VHF,UHF,SSTV,ATV,SSB,AM,FM,DIGITAL,CONTESTING,EMS,SATELLITE,moon bounce and Backpacking just to name a couple. Please learn to respect each other and enjoy the bands together we all at our core have a love for the magic of radio.

Erich KC9CUK 73
 
To W8MW and W4DLE  
by K9RUF on March 14, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
Thanks to both of you guys for your understanding and maybe someday things will change. I'm kidding with myself that I should archive this article for my son so if he ever gets the ham bug he can see that dad tried to make a difference.

Regarding the benefits of competition leading to technological advancements you're right as it does create better devices. I think back to the space race and the need for minaturization to make all the required systems fit in the space capsule. They couldn't do it with vacuum tube electronics and as a result the transistor was born. I'm just hoping to strike a balance between the competitive spirit and the human spirit.

73
 
'59...Really'  
by N8TI on March 15, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
Maybe the old saying, " Sometimes there can be too much of a good thing," applies to competitive contesting at times. Just sometimes.
 
'59...Really'  
by SHORTWIRE on March 15, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
@K9RUF O.P.

Well said. Sir!
I could not agree more!!

The sad fact is that Hamradio has become an agressive competition sport, largely pursued by licensed CB'ers who have been attracted by the low, low bar of entry, or by the aggressive pursuit of ARRL and their ilk in getting as many as possible licensed, regardless of Quality or Motivation. When I got my license a little less than 30 years ago, this was not yet the case. I had to present myself and let it be known that I was interested. This meant no Instant Gratification, but lots of Hard Work, a concept also unknown to todays generation..

This gets us what we see today, the Aggressive, Antisocial Contester and DX'er. The sad, sad sort of people who don't think life is worth living if they are not on the ragged edge all the time, and thereby spoiling it for everybody else. This is actually in the same league as Extreme Sports, and is a mental illness which can be treated quite well. It is generally related to, but not identical with, Depression. I can't remember the exact name, go look it up!. Daemon Hill, the former racedriver, appears to be one of the sufferers. They'll do anything to prevent their minds being idle and relaxed, so that they do not have to think about their condition. It's Escapism, nothing more, allthough Damon admittedly made fame and fortune from it..

I completely agree with your notion that Contesting and DX is different only by degrees, but not by attitude.

It also thereby follows, that it is the Attitude, more than the actual contest, which is the problem. It's not What you do, but How And Why you do it..

Sadly, knowing this is not helpfull, in the same way that an animal lover knowing both about Lemmings, Cliffs AND Gravity does not help the lemmings survive.

Only a few people really try to fight this Degeneration of Hamradio.
I greatly admire Nino, IT9RYH, for doing his little bit to make a saner world. Sadly, it has proven not to be enough, and the Psycho's are after him constantly. Still, he remains a real Gentleman, even it They don't deserve it..

I wonder what would happen if Nino "Took The Gloves Off".
He is Sicilian, after all.. :-)

Oops, gotta go!
Bought a new Kent KT-1 and need to solder a connector on to it.

CU in a quiet part of the band, if one can be found..
 
RE: To Everyone Reading This Article  
by N0IU on March 15, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
There is always a "back story" and I thank you for sharing yours. I know it must not have been easy for you to open up as you did.

However...

And with all due respect...

I think you will lose a lot of people with the last three words of the last line of your post where you say, "My sincere sole purpose for writing this article was not not make people do ham radio my way but to do it a fair way for all those that want to use all the bands, all the time."

All amateurs have access to all modes on all bands (within the bounds of their license class of course) all of the time, but it never has been and never will be a reasonable expectation that amateurs should be guaranteed to have a spot on which to work on any band at any time and it seems to me like that is precisely what you are asking for. That will never happen.

Simple math will show that there is simply not enough bandwidth within the amateur spectrum to accommodate the wishes of all of those who want to use it any time they want. The bottom line, in amateur radio as well as life in general, we don't always get what we want and to expect otherwise is just setting yourself up for disappointment.
 
'59...Really'  
by N8QBY on March 15, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
Tell me again how contesting is practice in case of an emergency? Swapping 59 signal reports is hardly emergency preparing.
 
'59...Really'  
by N2SLO on March 15, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
To contest or not to contest?.. That is the beauty of the hobby. I like contests, and the thrill of logging several contacts in a competitive manner. I also like to just "rag chew", on VHF or UHF. At least we have a hobby with choices. I have "tweens", almost teenagers, and I can say they want no part of the hobby. They like their IPAD, IPOD, texting, etc... We are lucky that amateur radio is still viable. Just wait another 20 years. So, contest? Go for it... CQ N2SLO QRZ....

If not, that's also fine.
 
RE: '59...Really'  
by W5TTW on March 16, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
N8QBY wrote: "Tell me again how contesting is practice in case of an emergency? Swapping 59 signal reports is hardly emergency preparing."

I must have been absent when the FCC sent the memo stating that amateur radio traffic should be exclusive to emergency preparedness. Am I subject to a fine?
 
RE: '59...Really'  
by KE4RWS on March 16, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
I get where you're coming from on this issue but I think he only mentioned this because it bugs him so much (and rightly so), not so he could get his name published. I also dislike these contests and if it bothered me enough I would write about it too but I think a lot of people do this not to get their names published on a popular website, but merely to express their own frustration on a given issue. I get where you're coming from here but my personal take on this guy is that he's just a man who is fed up with contesting and simply wanted to express his own viewpont (even though it's been expressed by lots of others already). If nothing else, it helps people deal with their frustration in dealing with this stuff :)
 
RE: '59...Really'  
by N2MU on March 16, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
Dave is brave for authoring a 3rd rail subject of Amateur Radio and well equipped with his cogent responses...I generally agree with his premise but believe Contesting has a function and a place in Amateur Radio. However, Contesting is now ubiquitous, saturating and precluding useful bands at given times, for other ďHammingĒ interests. So would it be so egregiously sacrilegious for Contesting to be a little more restricted with Band Plan, time etc., and cooperatively making more bandwidth available for other Hamming interests instead of being pushed around the band..?

Perhaps a segue into another topic, but, I believe Marketing plays a roll in the unimpeded proliferation of Contesting over the years.
-Hams are being bombarded with contests and contest style marketing. To be competitive, skill must be combined with the latest state of the art equipment boasting roofing filters, superior blocking gain compression, etc., not to mention dual receive and Oh now, 2 rigs are a must for SO2R. That antenna is not adequate either! -Better have diversity and redundancy, so that rare contact doesnít get away. .. If Iím just a casual Ham operator I suppose that if the latest equipment is great for Contesting, it must be great for Dxing and optimal for mundane conversation, too. And, what Ham doesnít like Dxing now and then, aside from contesting..

The old Marketing ploy - generate the need for the latest product by coordinating and sympathetically promoting a Ham Radio activity and then saturate point of interest advertising so the product flies off of the shelves... Once rooted, what sells better than another Ham talking on the air with a 20db over signal, showing how effective his setup is - in or out of a Contest.
Thanks for your post, Dave...
 
'59...Really'  
by N8TI on March 16, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
There is no doubt about one thing. Based on what I hear on the bands, if contesting were eliminated, there would probably be a 50% reduction in ham radio activity on the weekends. And, as it was suggested, probably a 70% reduction in equipment sales.
 
'59...Really'  
by W5TTW on March 17, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
One only needs to read this thread in order to understand why so many choose to limit their contacts to signal reports. The art of conversation isn't dead. Civility is.
 
RE: '59...Really'  
by WO7R on March 17, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
>>>>>>> Tell me again how contesting is practice in case of an emergency? Swapping 59 signal reports is hardly emergency preparing.

Are you kidding? If the emergency requires HF, the _superior contest station_ is the first place to turn.

More than a DXer like me. More, certainly, than a casual ragchewer. We just don't have the need to do what they do.

These guys don't just show up and shout '59' into a mike. Many are active on all modes just to start with. They frequently have stations atop hills unaffected by floods. If you can get a generator there, they'll probably be QRV just like that. They may even own one themselves.

They have to win an arbitrary pileup to an arbitrary part of the world on an arbitrary band. The only real requirement is "some" propagation.

So, not only do they understand propagation (in good sunspots and bad) they have the antennas that cope with it as well as can be coped. They'll know what frequencies work without a lot of fussing about.

And, someone who is a contester knows how to operate _efficiently_. Even on VHF. They won't stop for idle chit-chat when giving out critical traffic. They are disciplined. They won't, just by accident, put in a lot of extra verbage on the air.

I've seen the difference in how ragchewers and contesters go about just about anything. If it were my life, and I knew nothing else about them, it would be the contester, not the ragchewer, to whom I would entrust a message worth my life.

When time matters, if you gotta get a signal somewhere and then _deliver the message_ with the least amount of time wasted, because there's another one to send, contesters have 90 per cent of the skill if they never have seen an ARES net in their life.

But, of course, many of them do that, too.
 
RE: '59...Really'  
by WO7R on March 17, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
>>>>> So would it be so egregiously sacrilegious for Contesting to be a little more restricted with Band Plan, time etc., and cooperatively making more bandwidth available for other Hamming interests instead of being pushed around the band

How, exactly, do you propose to do that? I sometimes contest and maybe it will be my main interest, but it isn't today. It may never be.

But, these guys have licenses, just like you and I do.

The amount of bandwidth they consume is based on the _interest level shown_.

If contesting weren't so interesting to so many hams, it wouldn't be a problem. Bandwidth would take care of itself.

So, your real-world problem, if you want to do more than whine, is to figure out _how to make contesting less interesting to those that like it_.

Nothing else will really solve it.

Good luck.

In the meantime, get your ass to 12 meters on the weekend. Plenty of room there to do whatever you want and all over the world, too.

When a contest I don't like is too heavy, that's what _I_ do. So, I'm actually taking my own advise here.
 
RE: '59...Really'  
by WO7R on March 17, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
>>>>> One only needs to read this thread in order to understand why so many choose to limit their contacts to signal reports. The art of conversation isn't dead. Civility is.

Truth!
 
'59...Really'  
by K4TSF on March 17, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
Wow! The many facets of amateur radio. Something for everyone. Isnít it great?
 
'59...Really'  
by KB9UWU on March 19, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
Hope to work you in WPX SSB next weekend! 48 hours of radiosport fun!
 
RE: '59...Really'  
by NN3W on March 19, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
>>Field day is NOT a contest.

>ARRL, sponsor of the event says it is. See Contest Calendar on their web site. This year's field day contest is June 28-29.

I guess you missed the part in the ARRL rules which says -explicitly- that Field Day is not a contest.

You instead rely upon the "Contest Calendar"...which, by the way, also includes "Straight Key Night" and "Kids Day".

Think before you post.
 
RE: '59...Really'  
by KB9UWU on March 19, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
GILGSN says "Contests make no sense to me"

That is very obvious by your post, OM. Nice callsign, btw. See you in WPX SSB next weekend!
 
RE: '59...Really'  
by W8MW on March 19, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
>I guess you missed the part in the ARRL rules which says -explicitly- that Field Day is not a contest.

You are correct, in recent years ARRL has made a specific point of saying that. Do you have any idea why that language is so carefully managed these days? But that's a topic for another discussion. I'll give you that they deny it is a contest. That's their language while including FD information in their Contest Calendar. You can find FD rules on the Contest Rules page. You can retrieve FD results in their Contest Results Articles. In this case there's no point debating semantics. The language award goes to ARRL because it's their language.

But it's my hobby and when you've been around the block a few times you can identify the characteristics of a contest. You show me an organized operating event that does not involve sending logs or other submissions in a quest for recognition and I'll agree it's not a contest. A contest is: an event in which people compete for supremacy in a sport, activity, or particular quality.

BTW I was at a Field Day event last summer and had a fine time talking with people about our hobby. You?

73 Mike W8MW
 
'59...Really'  
by N8QBY on March 19, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
W1AW/5 Portable, handing out 59's on 12 meters like they are going out of style. Get yours now. Impossible for every station to be 59. It is entertaining tho....
 
RE: '59...Really'  
by NN3W on March 20, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
>>But it's my hobby and when you've been around the block a few times you can identify the characteristics of a contest. You show me an organized operating event that does not involve sending logs or other submissions in a quest for recognition and I'll agree it's not a contest. A contest is: an event in which people compete for supremacy in a sport, activity, or particular quality.

I've been around the block a few times too.

Straight Key night is listed in the Contest Calendar. Its an organized event where you send in your log.

Few would consider that a contest.

As to Field Day, I operated with my 10 year old son. So, what's your point?
 
RE: '59...Really'  
by W8MW on March 20, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
For me the point of making a post is to further a discussion. Although I am not a contester I have participated in FD many times since my first one in 1963. The public visibility, the educational and social and in-field aspects of it are among amateur radioís fine traditions. Why wonít you acknowledge the competitive component within it? There are operating classes, points, multiple points, bonus points. There are log submissions and published results ranking participants by class. No contest here, really? Anyway, good for you, involving your young son.

I donít know why ARRL found it necessary to include awards as part of Straight Key Night. Each year the participants in SKN are asked to nominate the station demonstrating the best fist for the event, as well as the station who held the most interesting QSO. Where there are awards there is judging or tabulating or some process for determining results of the contest.

73 Mike W8MW
 
RE: '59...Really'  
by K9MHZ on March 22, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
From K9RUF...."and look Bradley is recruiting another bully to join him. I thought children out grew that when they became adults. Today, schools are taking bullies seriously it's too bad that's not the case on ham radio. Seems Bradley thinks I'm OCD and sensitive...."


Nice try, RUF. Start up a crapstorm with a very hot-button topic, and then call people "bullies" because that's all you have left. Run along now, and add another page to your narcissistic "it's all about me" QRZ page. You forgot a picture of Aunt Millie, BTW.

 
RE: '59...Really'  
by ZL4IV on March 24, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
I use WARC bans and like them but you have to learn them, when they are usable etc. Most old timers have 20, 15 & ten which they have learn t! Non contester just need a window in in which to work the on bands they know.

It goes like this, ZL4IV 5/9, me, 5/9 what? other, give me my report, Me, 5/7, other, whats my number? me, what number? other contest number, me, I'm not in the contest, other can you give me a number as I really need the multiplier, me, no I don't log this contest and so it goes on. All I wanted was a good qso but because they didn't call contest we are both not happy. Give us a window to ragchew. The present situation is insane, like setting up street car racing all through the city and I drive right into it. Give the boy racers their own part of the city to race in, not all the roads!

 
RE: '59...Really'  
by WO7R on March 24, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
>>>>>> Impossible for every station to be 59.

And?

Signal reports are pretty close to pure ritual.

A few operators seem to think there's some sort of obligation to give an "honest report" whatever that means.

But, many can't be bothered and have never been bothered to "get it right" presuming we know what "right" even is.

In the whole history of radio, few things are sloppier or more honored in the breach than "signal reports".

For openers, has _anyone_ calibrated their rig to some standard so that we all agree on what "59" represents?

And, how many signal reports are given without a glance at the rig based on how it sounds "in the ear" without any consideration of what AGC does to said signal?

Field Day doesn't even require them in the contest exchange.

WAS goes out of its way to say "there is no minimum signal report". Since Field Day doesn't even _require_ them, and of course you can use FD cards if you can get them, that only makes sense.

There's a lot of "lore" surrounding signal reports that I have never understood. It doesn't seem to be an FCC rule. It doesn't seem to be a contest requirement (though many have them). It doesn't seem to be required for most of the major operating awards.

Yet, they seem to be regarded, by some at least, as some sort of sacred obligation.

When I started out, I made my own cards and dutifully put both RSTs on the card. I rapidly found out nearly no one else did.

A few groups, like the Century Club, seem to require them, but most don't.

And I still have no idea, if it is so darn important, why most cards only have one of them and not the slightest discussion or agreeement about _which_ should be on the card!


 
RE: '59...Really'  
by WO7R on March 24, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
>>>>>>> Give us a window to ragchew.

The "window" is called the WARC bands, which have been around several decades.

If you can't trouble yourself to buy an _old_ rig that has them, you'll get very limited sympathy from me.
 
RE: '59...Really'  
by N0IU on March 24, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
@ZL4IV: Give us a window to ragchew.

@WO7R: The "window" is called the WARC bands, which have been around several decades.

You don't even need to go that far. If you really need to ragchew, just use a different mode than that of the contest.

This weekend is the CQ WW WPX SSB Contest. This will not cause any interference whatsoever with any of the digital modes (except for maybe SSTV). Or heaven forbid, there is always CW!

But if you insist on using only one mode on a limited number of bands, then there will be times when you are going to be disappointed, period! That's the way it works. I have said this before, but I will say it again... IF SOMEONE PROMISED YOU THAT YOU WOULD BE ABLE TO WORK ANY MODE ON ANY BAND ANY TIME YOU WANT, THEY LIED TO YOU!

 
'59...Really'  
by KC8YXA on March 24, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
I was on the 40m band running the dial and I came across a special event station and every one was 59. I start to listen for 10 min or so and there was a station calling them and the event station went back to them and he said 2 times your right at my noise level he had them repeat his call 3 times.Then In a few seconds he gives him 59 and I about fell over. This goes on for the next 2 hours...
 
RE: '59...Really'  
by WO7R on March 24, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
>>>>>> Then In a few seconds he gives him 59 and I about fell over.

Where have you been for the last 20 years or so, if not more? Are you actually on the air much?

See my comments above. There's nothing very magical about signal reports. I can see both sides of this one. I don't think it matters how you deal with this one.

It's lore. It's not a sacred trust. It's just something to exchange when you've got nothing else to exchange.

Some (maybe you?) take it very seriously. Some (a lot of ops whatever their interest) do not. Everyone is 59.

And yet, whatever the preference, nobody's gear melts down if they choose either operating style.

Until we all start calibrating our rigs (something I have never even seen discussed in a serious way), I find it hard to get very excited about "accurate" signal reports. If the other guy wants an "honest" report (meaning, "anything but 59"), I'll give one. I don't mind. Hopefully, it makes the "other guy" happy. I'm for that.

But, how would anyone (including me) know for sure? Who tests it? How are rig "S" meters calibrated? How to make sure they stay calibrated?

So, let's get on with a campaign for calibration before we start dividing ourselves up over the issue.
 
RE: '59...Really'  
by W4AUE on March 29, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
By George ... Don ... I think you've got it ...
 
'59...Really'  
by KM5WX on April 15, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
awesome article! it's so true
 
'59...Really'  
by KB7XU on April 17, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
David, I think you've really captured the issue and I agree with you. Weekends seemed to be totally swamped with contests. It's hard for a person who works during the week to just relax and engage in conversations with other operators without being QRM'd by contestors wanting a 10-second "QSO" or just the horrendous noise level that is common to contests. As for DX spotting techniques: I'd feel like I was fishing in a fish hatchery. Duh. What's the point?

As for Echolink and other pseudo ham modes, they're useful under some circumstances but I don't use them either. The delays needed for the computer networks to "reset" are a complete waste of time and they add up to a large chunk of wasted repeater time (and wasted operator time) throughout the year. For me, the activity is ham RADIO, not internet comms. I can always talk to my buddies when I get back. If I am traveling, I try to make VHF/UHF RADIO contacts with hams in the area I'm traveling through.

I'm going to try HF digital techniques sometime soon but with RADIO, not the internet crutch. Thanks Dave for a really great article!
73,
Max
 
My Final Post For This Article  
by K9RUF on April 19, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
As my article falls of the list I wanted to make one last Comment. Thanks for all your posts either way. I understand there are folks that enjoy contesting and I that it pushes the envelope on technology just like race car driving creates ideas that we enjoy in our everyday automobiles. I just want those that are only doing contesting to pull back for a moment and look at the rest of the hobby so you donít miss everything else it has to offer. The reason I make that assertion is when there isnít a contest where are all these hams when the bands are quiet? Seems itís ether contesting or nothing. Start a conversation, meet someone on the air and maybe learn something at the same time. Judging from all the posts I kicked over the hornets nest with the passionate responses on both sides of the issue. Let's see if there is a way to control contesting growth and provide some relief for those that want to use their radios on the regular bands (not WARC) during contests. Hope those that can make something like this happen are listening/reading. I didn't write this article to be controversial as an internet troll would do. Rather I believe passionately in what I wrote and some of you picked up on that. My hopes are that I created a dialog where people will think outside the contesting box and enjoy the rest of amateur radio. Hope to see you at Dayton. Look for my ham call hat. Until then...


Best 73,
David
K9RUF
 
RE: My Final Post For This Article  
by N0IU on April 19, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
>>> I just want those that are only doing contesting to pull back for a moment and look at the rest of the hobby so you donít miss everything else it has to offer.

I have been licensed for nearly a quarter of a century. I am well aware of pretty much everything amateur radio has to offer. If there is some aspect of amateur radio with which I am not involved, it is not because I am not aware of it, it is because I choose not to participate.

>>> The reason I make that assertion is when there isn't a contest where are all these hams when the bands are quiet? Seems itís ether contesting or nothing.

This statement is absolutely true. This weekend (4/19-20) there are no less than 16 competitive on-air events (plus 2 really short "sprints"), but this afternoon from 14.150 - 14.350 MHz, the only thing I heard were a couple of state QSO parties and some other "minor" contests. But you know what I never heard? A simple ordinary every day rag chew!

But then you say...

>>> Let's see if there is a way to control contesting growth and provide some relief for those that want to use their radios on the regular bands (not WARC) during contests.

This makes no sense! Why should we control contesting growth to provide relief on the non-WARC bands if no one is using them even when there is plenty of bandwidth available? With over 750,000 North American amateur radio operators, one of the most popular non-WARC bands should be jam packed with rag chewers this weekend, but it is virtually devoid of "casual activity" that contests are stealing from you!

So to all of you people who are crying about how all the contest activity is ruining the hobby for you, how come I don't hear you this weekend?
 
RE: My Final Post For This Article  
by K9RUF on April 19, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
My point was why don't the contesters try just talking on the radio when there isn't a contest. Where do all these people go when they aren't contesting?
 
RE: My Final Post For This Article  
by N0IU on April 19, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
>>> My point was why don't the contesters try just talking on the radio when there isn't a contest. Where do all these people go when they aren't contesting?

Because its NOT the contesters who are bitching and moaning and crying and getting their panties in a wad over this perception that there are too many contests or that contesting is trampling on their rights or that contesting is ruining the hobby, ITS THE RAG CHEWERS!

Why aren't the rag chewers talking on the radio when there are no contests??? YOU are the ones who want more time on the air but you don't even use the time you do have so why do you deserve more?
 
RE: My Final Post For This Article  
by K9RUF on April 19, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
The future of ham radio according to Scott: Isn't great the bands are jam packed with activity. "Copy your 524rnewe22 you are 2324ss 59 and73, next?"
 
RE: My Final Post For This Article  
by N0IU on April 19, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
In your opening remarks you said:

>>> ...I would prefer to have these contests go away

So in a perfect world of amateur radio according to David, the less activity the better!
 
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