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An Enticement for Contest Newbies

from N0AX on October 28, 2003
View comments about this article!


An Enticement for Contest Newbies


This is an updated version of an article that ran on eHam last year at this time.



Some of you have expressed an interest in CW and Contesting, and upcoming is a great weekend (for 2003 it's Nov1 - Nov2 local) for US and Canadian hams to practice it. The annual ARRL CW Sweepstakes runs 1PM Saturday to 7PM Sunday PST (or 4PM Sat to 10PM Sun EST) on 80 through 10 meters (not on 30, 17, or 12-meters). While you might recoil in horror at the high code speeds, tune wayyyyyyy up in the bands and there will be some folks going nice and slow. The Novice bands on 80, 40, 15, and 10 meters often have a number of slow-speed stations hanging out up there. Don't be afraid to jump in there and give 'em a call. I *guarantee* your code speed will double with just a few hours at the key.

Here's how it works...

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

What's the object? Make as many contacts as you can. Try to contact as many different sections (there's usually some kind of trophy for making a "Clean Sweep"!) as you can. Try to spell your name from the last letters of the calls you work. Work your home state. Work your brother's state. Nobody can stop at just one QSO...

It's a lot of fun - the hours will fly by. Keep a simple paper log the first time out to make it easy - you can worry about entering it on a computer later. There are complete rules and instructions for operating and scoring and sending in the log on the ARRL Web site http://www.arrl.org/contests/rules/2003/novss.html. Come next spring, you can click on over to the contest results on the ARRL website (Click here for last year's write-up)

and wonder-of-wonders, there your call will be with the mighty titans in the very same font size just a few lines away. Woo-hoo!!

Go for it!


Phone SweepstakesAdded by N2MG

There are a few obvious and not-so-obvious differences between the CW Sweepstakes and the Phone Sweepstakes.

First, quite obviously, is the Phone SS uses voice (say what?) and second, it is held on a different weekend...historically two weeks after the CW weekend. Like the CW weekend, it runs 1PM Saturday to 7PM Sunday PST (or 4PM Sat to 10PM Sun EST).

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

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

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

Signal quality is much more of an issue on phone. Before the contest, have a friend check your signal at full power - is the audio clear and splatter-free? If not, take steps to make it so - you will make more contacts and have fewer problems on adjacent frequencies.

And a tip - having a noise blanker or preamp turned on will likely lead to severe intermodulation and overload problems in your receiver. Turn them off whenever possible - doing so may also work for a non-contester. In fact, cranking in some attenuation or turning down the RF Gain control will improve receiver performance dramatically under the strong-signal tractor-pull known as Phone Sweepstakes.


All that said, Phone SS can be a blast. Let's rumble!

Member Comments:
This article has expired. No more comments may be added.
 
An Enticement for Contest Newbies  
by K0BG on October 28, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
Save for Field Day, I don't contest. For those who do, I only ask that you be more polite than is the norm for contesters. There are, after all, nets which operate regardless of any contest schedule. Jumping on any frequency without inquiring if it is occupied is both rude and inconsiderate as is running your processor wide open just because you can.

Alan, KōBG
 
RE: An Enticement for Contest Newbies  
by N8VB on October 28, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
What a great way to get people motivated in CW - let them operate with the rude contesters! Heck, most of the exchanges in the contest can be handled by computer so they won't even know if they are communicating with a real person or not.

73,
N8VB
 
RE: An Enticement for Contest Newbies  
by WR8D on October 28, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
A lot of the attitudes here expressed toward contesters is from operators who think they "own" a freq. Dont get me wrong now i dont contest but i've had the same experiances at field day. I've been on freq's for hours working folks then some ole fart that thinks he owns that freq comes on and starts calling his buddies. I'm not talking about any net freq either. These are just places picked at random to talk on and unknown by me there's been a group of folks hanging out there for years.

Now for you contesters...if you want folks to treat you better...well you damn well know when you're within the 3 kc band of other stations. No we all dont enjoy contesters and contests but if you would observe good amateur practice and stay away at least 3 kc's from other stations you'd get treated with respect. Instead of getting right on the exact freq that folks are having qso's and start calling cq contest cq contest.

My two cents:
John WR8D
 
RE: An Enticement for Contest Newbies  
by N0FI on October 28, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
This is one of the best articles I have seen on eham! There are many new hams who are just trying to get into different areas of the hobby. When someone first listens to contests, it sounds like giberish and can be very intimidation to someone who doesn't know how to do it "right".

I am sure your instructions will help more new hams (or not so new hams, who are still new to contesting) become more involved and get interested in a new area of the hobby.

Thanks again!!

N0FI
 
RE: An Enticement for Contest Newbies  
by N2MG on October 28, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
3 kHz spacing sounds nice, but if there's say 200kHz of "phone" band and a hundred or so contesters willing to space themselves at around 1.8 kHz, aren't they doing a better job of squeezing more out of the band?

If all of these 100 or so "channels" were occupied by rag chewers and nets, would the 1.8khz spacing be any more tolerable?

I notice the complaints are mostly phone-centric (even though the article was more CW-centric). This is why I operate CW contests far more often than phone. Seems lots of phone ops just can't stand the heat.

Mike N2MG
 
An Enticement for Contest Newbies  
by N7BUI on October 28, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
Very well written article. Lots of well thought out instructions. Though I never have participated in a contest in the 30 years I've been a ham, I just might give it a try.
 
An Enticement for Contest Newbies  
by W4ROT on October 28, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
I absolutely love contest. I have worked a few phone and one rtty so far...absolutetly had a blast every time. I'm looking forward to the cw contest. Thanks for the post and I hope I can give somebody some points.
w4rot
 
An Enticement for Contest Newbies  
by KE4ZHN on October 28, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
Personally, I think contesting is repetitive drivel. But I dont begrudge anyone who enjoys it. It does puzzle me how this activity can be considered "fun" by repeating the same thing over and over for hours and even days at a time though. Many times I have had my ongoing qso rudely interrupted by some idiot screaming cq contest! cq contest ur 5-9! ur 5-9! To each his own, but this is very irritating when your trying to talk to friends on the band and you get bombarded with this crap. Usually when you inform the contester that the frequency was occupied before he rudely fired up on top of you, they ignore you and keep right on calling. Or, sometimes you get an occasional smart remark and they will eventually move on. Why must these contests occupy the entire phone segments of every band? Why cant they have these things in certain portions to allow others who dont wish to participate in this fiasco to operate in peace? I think its inconsiderate of the folks up in Newington to encourage this behavior when it promotes massive qrming of peoples qso`s who arent interested in this activity. Sometimes you get the ones who fire up a kc away from you and splatter you to death running 50db of processing where all you hear is their amplifiers fan drowning out their voice. Those are my favorites. Heil headsets, mike gain wide open, processor set to 11. ALC? Whats that? Oh, you mean that thing pinned all the way to the right? These are the guys using the pinched up heil 4 elements to "penetrate" the pileups. Real pleasent to listen to. Sounds like a cat in a blender. If this floats your boat, more power to you, but all I ask is you please dont destroy my enjoyment by firing up on top of my qso for your 10 mintues of ARRL fame. Howabout we entice contest newbies to act more civilized on the band instead of giving them pointers on how to increase their 5-9 count? And what about the guys who use a computer to call and log their "5-9`s"? What a joke! Real challenge there, sit back and watch the computer make your contacts for you. Would be nice if the BPL martyrs up in Newington encouraged this contesting drivel in only portions of each phone band so those who dont wish to be famous by reading their callsign in QST can still enjoy their rigs too.
 
RE: An Enticement for Contest Newbies  
by W9WHE on October 28, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
And for you contest newbies, please bear in mind that sliding in 1.5 KC above/below an ongoing QSO:

1) Is rude and inconsiderate;
2) Will cause QRM to an ongoing QSO;
3) Will foster friction and anti-contest sentiment; and
4) Might cause the QSO members to go QRO making your "5/9 alabama" far more difficult.

Just remember, contesters are not the only people with big amps.

Happy hamming.
 
RE: An Enticement for Contest Newbies  
by KE4ZHN on October 28, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
Amen Mr. Gunn!
 
An Enticement for Contest Newbies  
by K1RDD on October 28, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
<<There are, after all, nets which operate regardless of any contest schedule. Jumping on any frequency without inquiring if it is occupied is both rude and inconsiderate as is running your processor wide open just because you can. >>

And don't forget, the opposite is true. Just because you usually have a rag-chew (or other) net on a certain frequency, doesn't mean you own that frequency, and can tune up over someone who has been contesting there for the past few hours.
 
RE: An Enticement for Contest Newbies  
by WB2WIK on October 28, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
It's certainly true that a lot of the complainers know so little about contests that at this point, they're just making stuff up.

You won't hear any "59" reports in the November Sweepstakes, for example. That's not part of any SS exchange, for anyone.

Sweepstakes and Field Day are the only two contests that really promote building operating efficiency and emergency preparedness, because they use "reports" that are complex and cannot be predicted in advance. It's not a "59 California" contest. The report is lengthy, and must be copied properly, despite propagation and interference. Those who excel at SS are the same hams who can truly be of service in an emergency. I wonder if the complainers who were using the same frequencies for ragchewing can claim that?

Contests also provide the general non-contesting ham population a fine opportunity to stretch their wings and try other things, like using the WARC bands (no contests there!), switching to CW or digital modes during phone contests, and so forth.

It's difficult to generate any empathy for anyone who complains his long-standing scheduled rag chew on 14.296 is being interfered with.

WB2WIK/6

 
An Enticement for Contest Newbies  
by AB2NM on October 28, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
N0AX / N2MG:

Great article! Thanks for the tips. Tried my first contest last weekend - WHAT A BLAST! Thanks to your article, I might just give this a try (in between chores on the 'honey-do' list, of course).

Tnx agn for a great write-up. 73
 
RE: An Enticement for Contest Newbies  
by N2MG on October 28, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
<<It's certainly true that a lot of the complainers know so little about contests that at this point, they're just making stuff up>>

I think you hit the nail squarely on the head, Steve.

Mike N2MG
 
RE: An Enticement for Contest Newbies  
by AD6WL on October 28, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
Nice article mike. SS is a great contest and gives slower CW ops like me some good practice. Contests are a great way of honing your operating skills. Look at the exchange of the SS contest. There are no ď5NN TUĒ exchanges. You have to receive the information correctly or you will not receive the points or possibly the multiplier. Also if you incorrectly copy the exchange then you will loose credit for that QSO and one additional contact will be deducted as a penalty. So, accuracy is more important than speed.
 
RE: An Enticement for Contest Newbies  
by AD6WL on October 28, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
Also tnx to N0AX, the original author of the article.
 
RE: An Enticement for Contest Newbies  
by W9WHE on October 28, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
WB2WIK and N2MG miss the point.

If you READ my post, it was clearly targeted at those that might slip in 1.5 Kc away and thereby cause QRM.

Sorry contesters, its difficult to generate any sympathy for contesters that deliberately slide in 1.5 KC away from an ongoing QSO just so they can say "your 5/9 Alabama".
 
RE: An Enticement for Contest Newbies  
by KE4ZHN on October 28, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
Making stuff up? C'mon Steve, I expected a more intelligent response then that out of you. I didnt make up any of the facts stated in my post, your not here to deal with it. Maybe in 6 land the contesters are more courteous, but here in the southeast, they are a rude bunch of louts. Many of them are from the northern east coast and dont care who they qrm or who they trample on just to make their 5-9 crap or whatever it is. Not everyone enjoys being run off by these idiots. If contesting is your bag, fine, enjoy it, have a ball, but dont sit there and call me a liar, or tell me I dont know what I hear in my own rig. I could care less about sweepstakes or 5-9 or whatever contest it happens to be, all I know is the rude SOB`s seem to not care who they run off with their drivel. Why must the whole spectrum except for the WARC`s be inundated with this trash just because the ARRL says its fun? Im perfectly capable of writing down info in an emergency situation Steve, I think your off base implying that because I dont choose to participate in this stupidity that Im somehow "inferior" to some idiot who repeats the same thing for 48 hrs on the air.
 
RE: An Enticement for Contest Newbies  
by N2MG on October 28, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
KE4ZHN pontificated:
<<Howabout we entice contest newbies to act more civilized on the band>>

Um, how about reading the phone section of the article?
It politely suggests the reader tread lightly on the phone bands.

Perhaps I should of dwelled on the point, badgering the readers to the point of going crosseyed before they even turn on the radio?

Mike N2MG
 
RE: An Enticement for Contest Newbies  
by KE4ZHN on October 28, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
Hey Mike that would be fine and dandy IF they actually followed your advice...but how many of them bother to? Many of these guys just dont care if its in use or not, they just start calling. I thank you for at least mentioning it in your article though.
 
An Enticement for Contest Newbies  
by AA8LL on October 28, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
Ward, you know you're enticing more than just the Newbies. My ears are still ringing and my back is still sore from CQWW-SSB. I was going to give it a break next weekend but now I feel drawn. Ah, contesting season! Life is good.
 
RE: An Enticement for Contest Newbies  
by KE4ZHN on October 28, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
By the way Mike...your 5-9 ;)
 
An Enticement for Contest Newbies  
by MW0KIK on October 28, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
tnx fer ur article
73
leigh mw0kik
 
An Enticement for Contest Newbies  
by WE8Q on October 28, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
Tired of the same old Sweepstakes contest grind? Try making all 80 sections in just 80 contacts! I did it in 81 contacts one year. Takes a lot of patience and careful listening but very challenging and something different to try.
 
RE: An Enticement for Contest Newbies  
by WB2WIK on October 28, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
KE4ZHN, I'd argue this with you, but I won't fight the unarmed.

You are truly showing your roots here, and I doubt anyone wants to see more.

WB2WIK/6

 
RE: An Enticement for Contest Newbies  
by N2MG on October 28, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
I think both sides are guilty of EXTREME generalization. There is plenty of bad operating on all sides of the contester/non-contester/anti-contester issue.

If all sub-hobbies were to be disallowed by virtue of their having any/many bad operators as part of their following, the list would include every single facet of ham radio.

Contesters are just an easy target (some of it deserved for sure).

Mike N2MG
 
An Enticement for Contest Newbies  
by K2WH on October 28, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
BPL will put a stop to this contest foolishness. Contests are not what is important. BPL will make your contests history.

 
RE: An Enticement for Contest Newbies  
by N4GI on October 28, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
A refreshing informative article. As usual, it's followed up with rhetoric from those speaking of which they do not know.

"Contests are too much QRM"
Well, this is easy to solve, it's a matter of simple station engineering practice. Buy filters for your rig, upgrade to a directional antenna, or put your antenna up higher. Contest stations today employ a wide range of cutting edge technology and it's all available even to non-contesters. If you like to operate QRP (no offense) with a wet noodle antenna in a cave, that's your choice. Don't complain about how much your contest experience sucks though.

Contrary to the uninformed oppinions here, contests do give younger folks an awsome alternative to listening to all you old crustys talk about your gout and goiter on the "Snowbird Net".

73, and feel free to give me a call this weekend during sweepstakes, I'm ceratin you'll all of you will be able to hear me through the QRM.

Blake N4GI
 
RE: An Enticement for Contest Newbies  
by KE4ZHN on October 28, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
Sorry to hurt your feelings Steve, but your snobbish attitude shows loud and clear too bud....take care good luck in the contest, your 5-9
 
RE: An Enticement for Contest Newbies  
by W9WHE on October 28, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
N4GI writes:

"If you like to operate QRP (no offense) with a wet noodle antenna in a cave, that's your choice. Don't complain about how much your contest experience sucks though".

You know Blake, that sounds an awful lot like "might makes right". And just in case there are some "newbies" that might come away with that impression, ITS LEGALLY AND AND FACTUALLY WRONG.

Just because I have an Alpha, doesn't mean I can go around "squashing contesters like a bug".

 
RE: An Enticement for Contest Newbies  
by N8CPA on October 28, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
Great article!

I'll be SO2R this weekend using a commercial vertical and home brew VEE. Anyone who works my Precedence A station, will work ME. I use a keyer with an iambic paddle, but I do all the reading by ear.

I've made up my mind. The broom goes up the tower this year!

CU Saturday 2100Z. That's less than 100 hours from now. Woohoo!

Steve

 
RE: An Enticement for Contest Newbies  
by KE4ZHN on October 28, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
Keep in mind WHE, that according to guys like Steve, we, as ragchewers who enjoy actually communicating with people on the air, rather then engaging in repetitive, meaningless, empty contacts, are supposed to bow down and move or find something else to do while these others enjoy endless drivel and ridiculous pile ups. Personally, Id rather listen to the old timers talking about their goiter, then some moron with ridiculous overmodulation spouting the same garbage over and over to get his coveted ARRL piece of paper. Its a two way street fella`s, you either love contests or hate them, but theres NO reason why the people who DONT like them should have to be driven off the bands because someone up in Newington wants to make some easy money.
 
I Won a Plaque with 20-something Points, You Can D  
by KF6IIU on October 28, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
My first CW SS I made about 10 QSOs. A few months later a big envelope from ARRL arrived with my "First Place, CW, Novice/Tech, Santa Clara Valley" certificate inside!
 
RE: I Won a Plaque with 20-something Points, You C  
by N8CPA on October 28, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
My first CW SS, I only made 26 Q's. I spent most of the time just listening. But I increased my code speed by 10-15WPM. I've been back every year since.

All it took was one time to get hooked. That's why I call it the crack operating event:D

Steve

 
RE: An Enticement for Contest Newbies  
by WW0H on October 28, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
I missed something - how does the League make money on contests?
 
RE: An Enticement for Contest Newbies  
by KE4ZHN on October 28, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
Dont they sell advertising space in QST? Dont they get paid to put those ads in the magazine? By promoting contests, they encourage more folks to buy better gear to work these contests. They also recruit more members through this contesting thing. Simple enough no?
 
An Enticement for Contest Newbies  
by KC7ATO on October 28, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
"Contesting" to me is about as interesting as "Echolink" DXing.
 
RE: An Enticement for Contest Newbies  
by RobertKoernerExAE7G on October 28, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
Nice article.

TU spending your time creating it.

Too bad the leaches are attracted to it. But, they are everywhere on the internet. At least, it keeps them of the air.

73
Bob
 
An Enticement for Contest Newbies  
by KC7MM on October 28, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
I'm not a newbie by any means, but I have never tried SS, especially on CW! Guess it's time to test the water and give it a try. Looks like a good opportunity to increase my WAS QRP count.

Thanks for a wonderful, positive article. I'm sorry that you have to take so much guff for trying to get newer hams active and on the air.

There seem to be a lot of very angry men making comments here on eHam. They seem to blow up about everything. It looks like a control issue to me - they're losing it. I suggest, with all due respect, that they take a look at their actions and seek professional help. A few sessions on anger management may give them back a healthlier life, and show them that there is more to it than sitting in front of a computer all day and insulting people they have never met in person. Life is too short!

For the rest of you, slow down for me on SS-CW this weekend.

73,

Dale KC7MM
 
RE: So Where's The Beef.....er.....Enticement????  
by HAMFAN on October 28, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
FRAUD!!!FRAUD!!! The article author clearly stated he was offering an ENTICEMENT to get interested in this upcoming archaic beeping cypher contest thingy.....well I've read all this crap and still havn't seen any stinkin' enticements offered. I mean, to get people to like cw I figured he'd be offering everyone a big wad of cash or some doughnuts or maybe even free parking...but no...he's offering nuttin'. Just another big boring speech about how much he loves working cw and cw contests. What a whorrendous waste of some perfectly good electricity. Ppbbbssstttttt
 
RE: An Enticement for Contest Newbies  
by WILLY on October 28, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
I am not anti-contest. I've had some fun in them. Although I tend to agree with the folks that make anti-poor-operating comments. The truth is, poor operating is poor operating, contest or no.

But to digress a bit:


"
by N4GI on October 28, 2003
A refreshing informative article. As usual, it's followed up with rhetoric from those speaking of which they do not know.

"Contests are too much QRM"
Well, this is easy to solve, "

It is?



" it's a matter of simple station engineering practice. Buy filters for your rig, upgrade to a directional antenna, or put your antenna up higher."

Oh boy!
This is so nice of you. I'm really going to like the new tower and beam.

Do you want to give me your credit card number here or do you just want me to send you a copy of all the bills?



" Contest stations today employ a wide range of cutting edge technology and it's all available even to non-contesters."

Look around on the web at their sites. Try to estimate what all that costs.


" If you like to operate QRP (no offense) with a wet noodle antenna in a cave, that's your choice."


Is that all? Its just a choice? You mean all I have to do is choose otherwise?
Oh boy! I didn't know you were going to pay a new mortage too. No way to get moved in time for this contest, but there is always next year.


"
Don't complain about how much your contest experience sucks though. "

Don't claim it is easy or simply a matter of choice, to improve a station. It must be nice to be rich.


"
Contrary to the uninformed oppinions here, contests do give younger folks an awsome alternative to listening to all you old crustys talk about your gout and goiter on the "Snowbird Net". "

Yes, contests are something different. And since they only come around once per year, that is what makes them different and interesting.
But please be careful of the ideas you put in young folks heads. Of all folks, often the younger ones can't afford to improve their equipment and station.


"
73, and feel free to give me a call this weekend during sweepstakes, I'm ceratin you'll all of you will be able to hear me through the QRM. "

Congratulations on being able to afford a station that you are confident will rise above the QRM.




 
RE: An Enticement for Contest Newbies  
by N4GI on October 28, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
W9WHE writes:
<<<You know Blake, that sounds an awful lot like "might makes right". And just in case there are some "newbies" that might come away with that impression, ITS LEGALLY AND AND FACTUALLY WRONG.
Just because I have an Alpha, doesn't mean I can go around "squashing contesters like a bug".>>>

Ah, it's time for the lame lawyerspeak again. I don't care what "impression" you got, I didn't say might makes right (I did say no-offense). As we both know, this isn't the case. Hell, there are plenty of QRP contesters who could beat the pants off of those with several Alphas. Why? better station design, better antennas, better technology, more experience..... What contesting is all about.

I'm really glad you have an Alpha linear to help you cope with your inadequacy issues Mr. Gunn. Funny how you're the only one here threatening to "Squash" and "QRM" anything.... In the courtroom that's called a motive, right?
73,
Blake N4GI
 
RE: An Enticement for Contest Newbies  
by N4GI on October 28, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
From Willy: (Whoever you are)
<<<Don't claim it is easy or simply a matter of choice, to improve a station. It must be nice to be rich.>>

Go to your library (0$) and read an antenna book. Go to home depot and spend a few bucks and HOMEBREW something that works (oh, the horror). This website even has a swap section with folks selling used gear at reasonble prices.

Still too much money? Guest op at your local club. This hobby ain't free, dude, neither is contesting. If you thought so, you've been fooled.

I managed to have fun in contests on a college budget, in a rental house. Did I "Squash" anyone, no, but I didn't bitch either.

Lame excuse, try again.


Blake N4GI

 
An Enticement for Contest Newbies  
by N9AVY on October 28, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
When I first read this article I knew it would bring out the usual complainers; so, I just went to work and forgot about it. There have been a lot of good comments and some negative ones. So be it.

I suggest that those who don't like contests take the weekend off and do something contructive like take the wife out, visit friends (if they have any) or just plain get the heck out of the house. Who knows, maybe if they got off the radio and got some exercise, they'd be around a few more years to complain about everything else.

Every year when contest weekends rolled around I'd find other things to do so I wouldn't have to put up with all the noise. Then, a few years ago I decided to join the contesters and have had a lot of fun "duking it out" in the pile-ups and QRM.

Sweepstakes is a great contest to start out in. Be sure to submit an entry to see if you actually get credit for everyone you worked; if you didn't copy calls correctly those QSOs may get thrown out. Am always amazed how people want to handle traffic in emergencies, but can't seem to get callsigns right in a QSO.

There is even a little friendly competition between clubs in Midwest and both Coasts. Get affiliated with your local contest club and see what a difference even a "little pistol" can make.
 
RE: An Enticement for Contest Newbies  
by N9AVY on October 28, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
Must be "FREE WILLY", huh ?

Many contesters that I know are running modest stations. We're talking verticals and dipoles and no Alphas. I've never run an amp in a contest and don't believe I ever will.

 
RE: An Enticement for Contest Newbies  
by W9WHE on October 28, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
N4GI writes:

"Funny how you're the only one here threatening to "Squash" and "QRM" anything...."


Blake, again you fail to accurately state the facts. What I said was:

"Just because I have an Alpha, doesn't mean I can go around "squashing contesters like a bug"


ANYONE that can read knows that I never threatened (or even advocated) squashing anyone like a bug. THE CONTRARY IS ACTUALLY THE CASE.

THE LINE "SQUASHED LIKE A BUG" ACTUALLY CAME FROM YOU IN A POST ABOUT 9 MONTHS AGO, WHEREIN YOU WERE TELLING US NON-CONTESTERS HOW UNSKILLED, POORLY ENGINEERED, AND UNDER POWERED WE WERE.
 
RE: An Enticement for Contest Newbies  
by WILLY on October 28, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
" by N4GI on October 28, 2003
From Willy: (Whoever you are)
<<<Don't claim it is easy or simply a matter of choice, to improve a station. It must be nice to be rich.>>

Go to your library (0$) and read an antenna book."


Oh.
I must have misunderstood this:

"Buy filters for your rig, upgrade to a directional antenna, or put your antenna up higher."

To mean buy filters for your rig. Buy a beam, or buy a support to put up an antenna.

All three can be very expensive.


" Go to home depot and spend a few bucks and HOMEBREW something that works"

I don't know of a way to homebrew 50' of Rohn 25G. Nor do I think it would be wise to attempt it.



" (oh, the horror)."

What's so horrifying about home brewing? or are you talking about home brew towers? I agree with that.


" This website even has a swap section with folks selling used gear at reasonble prices.

Still too much money? Guest op at your local club."

You assume that there is one.


" This hobby ain't free, dude, neither is contesting. If you thought so, you've been fooled. "

No, I haven't been fooled. Unfortunately it is becoming a hobby for the rich though.


"I managed to have fun in contests on a college budget, in a rental house. Did I "Squash" anyone, no, but I didn't bitch either. "

What does this have to do with your original statements that it is simply a matter of choice to upgrade one's station?
That's what I commented on. I pointed out that it is not that simple. I'm not the one that brought up Squashing, nor have I bitched. Maybe you got me mixed up with someone else.

If you'd like to change the subject, I'll save you some time - I'm really not interested.


"Lame excuse, try again. "

Lame excuse? Hardly. It is the truth. You seem to be a bit arrogant - that's not good.

http://web.tampabay.rr.com/blakem/ Looks like a nice directional antenna, up higher.
 
RE: An Enticement for Contest Newbies  
by WILLY on October 28, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
" by N9AVY on October 28, 2003
Must be "FREE WILLY", huh ?"

No.

"Many contesters that I know are running modest stations. We're talking verticals and dipoles and no Alphas. "

I'm quite familair with that kind of station.

"I've never run an amp in a contest and don't believe I ever will. "

I don't know if that is by your choice or not. If it is, thats fine. Glad you are having fun. Thats what it is all about.

My point was that upgrading the station is not simply a matter of choice as the original post made it appear.

Enjoy the contest, or whatever you like to do.
 
RE: An Enticement for Contest Newbies  
by WB2WIK on October 28, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
Wait a minute.

I fail to see how any of this has to do with fan dipoles.
 
RE: An Enticement for Contest Newbies  
by N2MG on October 28, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
Steve, I'm a big fan of dipoles.

N2MG
 
RE: An Enticement for Contest Newbies  
by N9AVY on October 28, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
I converted my fan into a dipole and it rotates, too.
 
RE: An Enticement for Contest Newbies  
by NI0C on October 28, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
Nice, timely article on the ARRL Sweepstakes, always a fun contest-- a perfect way for new and old hams to hone their operating skills. Contest "newbies" reading some of the posted comments will note that there are those who do not appreciate contests and that courtesy to fellow amateurs should not be abandoned in the heat of competition. I hope everybody has radio fun this weekend-- contesters and non-contesters alike.

73 de Chuck NI0C
 
RE: An Enticement for Contest Newbies  
by NI0C on October 28, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
Oh, one more thing I should mention-- don't forget to fan your dipole to keep it from getting too hot!
 
RE: An Enticement for Contest Newbies  
by KE4ZHN on October 28, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
Just dont get your dipole caught in the fan...ouch!
 
RE: An Enticement for Contest Newbies  
by LNXAUTHOR on October 28, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
- i'm sure contests are fun, but it'd be a lot more fun for other hams if all contests were at QRP levels...
 
RE: An Enticement for Contest Newbies  
by K3UD on October 28, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
The Sweepstakes and the 160 CW contest in December are my favorite ones. Don't think that you can't compete with low antennas and 100 watts.

In 1983 I managed to win the section award for Kentucky using just that. I managed about 60,000 points in about 50% of the allotted time and thought I would be an also ran. Like the other poster in this thread I was surprised when the certificate came from the ARRL.

This is also a great contest to finish up your WAS or get WAS in one weekend. Also, towards the end of the contest when the guns are scratching for new contacts, the old line about "If they need you, they can hear you" is proven out. Cut the power down to a few watts and see who can hear you at the end.

I wonder if there would be any merit in the ARRL bringing back a version of the old Novice Roundup and limiting it to the present Novice bands.

73
George
K3UD
 
An Enticement for Contest Newbies  
by W5GNB on October 28, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
I guess I am ready for the contest this weekend, I have the old boat all tuned up for a great day at the lake, the motorcycle is all ready for a LONG ride if the weather is good and I have my WARC antennas all tuned up so I can ESCAPE all that QRM and get away from the LIDS that tend to congrate during the contest times......
 
An Enticement for Contest Newbies  
by N8UZE on October 28, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
Another nice feature of the Sweepstakes is that anyone who makes 100 contacts can get a pin. You don't have to "win" a division or anything else.

Another reason I like the Sweepstakes is that it is like a mini QSO since you are making a longer exchange. It includes location, class, and year licensed. You actually learn a little about the person, club or group.
 
RE: An Enticement for Contest Newbies  
by NQ4S on October 28, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
My only wish is that there was a contest or two out there mandating low power. With the HOA regulations here I'm restricted to running 100W into an indoor antenna. That setup isn't going to do well in the pileups for any interesting stations. Still, I managed to do over 200 contacts in the CQ WW DX SSB contest last weekend and added a few new DX entities to the log. It puts me that much closer to finishing up DXCC using only indoor antennas.

There are many aspects to the hobby. It is a shame that so many waste their time complaining about everyone else out there.

My biggest wish is that we could do more to encourage DX stations to get on the air. With so many US HAMs its a rare day when an interesting new DX station is on. Trying to get a contact with that station can be near impossible without the "big guns". If more were out there the pileups wouldn't be so crazy.

73 de NQ4S
 
An Enticement for Contest Newbies  
by W9JCM on October 28, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
A Enticement to work the WARC bands.
 
RE: An Enticement for Contest Newbies  
by N6AJR on October 29, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
Fan Dipole, it will straighten you teeth (or tooth, as the case may be) grow your hair back and make you loose weight. and they work good on cw too. $15 or so for an all band antenna...naner naner
 
RE: An Enticement for Contest Newbies  
by N4GI on October 29, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
Folks making scrapbooks of my previous posts, and non-hams complaining about the price of 25G????

I'm flattered, but Sheesh! bottom line: Somebody spent some time to share some great SS tips. Contests are about having fun, competing against yourself, and developing skills. I didn't know that there were so many who opposed these things.

You don't need big bux or an Alpha to have fun.

Contesting is much more fun than trying to prove points to the uninformed trollers on the internet.


73
CU in sweepstakes
Blake N4GI


 
RE: An Enticement for Contest Newbies  
by N2MG on October 29, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
To NQ4S:

Certainly the contest sponsors cannot MANDATE low power (the power you TX is regulated by governmental authorities) but many (dare I say most?) contests have low power entry classes.

In addition the North American QSO Party has a 100W limit for all entrants. Again, there might be a few running QRO, but they cannot legitimately submit a log for "credit" then.

See page 2 of the rules
http://www.ncjweb.com/naqprules.php

73 Mike N2MG
 
RE: An Enticement for Contest Newbies  
by N2MG on October 29, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
Blake,

Some folks just don't get it.

Mike N2MG
 
RE: An Enticement for Contest Newbies  
by N2MG on October 29, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
W5GNB wrote:
<< guess I am ready for the contest this weekend, I have the old boat all tuned up for a great day at the lake, the motorcycle is all ready for a LONG ride if the weather is good and I have my WARC antennas all tuned up so I can ESCAPE all that QRM and get away from the LIDS that tend to congrate during the contest times......
>>

This is the kind of thinking I go through every night of every week if I start considering getting on 20m or 75m phone.

At least it's easy to find out when/where the bigger contests are going to be - they publish calendars. Some of the pig farmer, medical disorder and list-lizard nets seem to appear out of nowhere.

Mike N2MG
 
RE: An Enticement for Contest Newbies  
by WR8D on October 29, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
Another thing i just cant understand is sometimes my friends and i will have been in qso for several hours. Between the 20 or so of us at least 15 of us are running the legal limit with "gain" antennas. You'll aways hear a few just jump in and start their demented cq contest cq contest...when they unkey you know there's no way they'll hear anyone but us...but these weirdo's still try to do this.

Like i said i do field day so i can see it from both sides of the fence but most contesters are rude and will try to get right ontop of you and you not even in the contest. All i can honestly say is use "good amateur practice" thats in all the study guides. One guy up the thread said you dont need big bux and an alpha to have fun. No but most of us think it really makes it "more" fun. To heck with contests..chase dx..find a big pile up and a rare contact. Dang it feels good to key down one time and have the dxer come back to you on the first try when the world is calling him.

Get off these stupid threads and on the air...make a few contacts...have fun and stop getting on each others nerves. Stop sitting there infront of that computer looking at the monitor..Or if you must then use it to try some of the digital modes...But get on the air! I'm gone to 20meter psk31 to stir up a few contacts.

73
WR8D John
 
RE: An Enticement for Contest Newbies  
by KD7EZE on October 29, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
Contests and rude people. Two valid reasons NOT to upgrade. CW is dying and BPL is alive. Why then, is everybody so excited about HF? I'm quite comfortable being a "lowly tech", with an engineering degree.

KD7EZE
 
An Enticement for Contest Newbies  
by RS177889 on October 29, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
Have a go... my advise would be join newbie or not. I'm in Uk so not involved in this US contest.

This Summer in the UK as they have done away with the cw requirement lots of older qualified hams swarmed over the HF bands as they couldn't do before during the IARYU SSB field day and many got involved in CW again.

Be nice to others and use the Q code QRL and WAIT for a response before plowing on it. C TU or TU C or QRL TU might be a response... just QSY to another freq. But for heavens sake don't tune up in the middle of the CW band either or try and hog the qrp calling freq's all w/e either. The OP's out there that do it every contest are a pain in the neck for everyone else.

Contesting is very fast and more than a bit impolite when you hit one of the big players that are already at 300 contacts and only 45 minutes in when you are at 1 or2 but just wait until later in the day... even they will slow down for you as they will have worked everyone else out there by then and are desperate for the extra points.

 
RE: An Enticement for Contest Newbies  
by KE4ZHN on October 29, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
WR8D Thats what Ive been saying all along John. There are SOME, not all but some of these jokers who are rude, arrogant, and just plain ignorant who fire up right on top of you when your in qso. But there are some folks on here who seem to feel that thats perfectly alright and even defend this in the name of contesting. Some of them even suggested that if you ragchew, you should go do something else while the contest goes on. Well frankly, I feel I have just as much right to be on the air as the holier then thou attitude 6 lander who made this ridiculous suggestion. Why should I be forced off my favorite net or ragchew because some screaming louts are splattering all over the place trying to impress the folks in Newington? The whole issue is trivial garbage anyway, but the point is, that some of these contesters, new and veterans alike, need to at least respect the fact that not ALL of us care to participate in this fiasco. I dont like contesting, but I dont feel that because I dont like it, everyone else shouldnt. I could care less if Joe ham wants to repeat his 5-9 garbage all night and into next week, just dont destroy my qso rudely in the process. If screaming the same rubbish over and over again into your rig hour after hour is fun and real ham radio to you, FB, have a ball. Im sure youll enjoy your ARRL piece of paper, or plaque, or whatever it is your after. I guess some of these bigtime contesters just dont understand that, probably because their the ones keying up on top of qso`s in their quest to get their callsigns printed in QST.
 
RE: An Enticement for Contest Newbies  
by WN5T on October 29, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
One of these days I will learn to read the articles and skip the comments!

To be positive: Thanks for the article. My CW speed won't get me out of the school zone, yet. Thank you for the tips and the encouragement. I'll try the CW 'test with paddles and keyer. (I have the computer and software...I just would rather work on my code speed.) Hey, if I have fun, great! If not, I can always mow the yard. : )

73
Michael
WN5T

 
RE: An Enticement for Contest Newbies  
by WB2WIK on October 29, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
Some people seem to think that contests are all about the ARRL, and somehow the League benefits from them.

Nothing could be further from the truth. The ARRL organizes four major contests each year (SS PH, SS CW, DX PH, DX CW) as well as Field Day, three VHF-UHF contests, a microwave contest and numerous other operating events; however, the plaques, trophies, etc are all paid for by private individuals or organizations and the processing of entries, including log and score checking, is a tiring, thankless job.

However, many more contests are organized by CQ Magazine (CQ WW PH, CQ WW CW, CQ WPX PH, CQ WPX CW), various state amateur radio organizations (state QSO Parties), foreign entities galore (ham radio and DX clubs abroad, everywhere), as well as QRP clubs, Ten-Ten, the Boy Scouts of America and dozens of other organizations. In all, there really is pretty much some sort of contest (sometimes more than one) going on every weekend, and of all those, only four major HF contests have anything to do with the ARRL.

While some contesters are very rude indeed (no one can argue that point), if you really listen to what's going on, it's obvious the rude ones are really newbies who just haven't learned the ropes. Hopefully, they will learn, or give up contesting, because nobody can win if he's a poor operator.

The operators who do win pretty much start an HF contest on one frequency and stay there for most of the weekend, only changing bands with propagation and to maintain a high QSO rate. I've been with many major contest groups who do win the competitions, and there's no dial spinning going on at any of them. The likelihood that one of us would find an already occupied frequency and hammer down to call CQ there is pretty much zero.

So, give the newbies a break. Yes, they make mistakes and not only interrupt QSOs in process but even sometimes operate outside the band (oops, wrong VFO!), violate rules by changing bands too often, and so forth. But, they'll learn, and get better, or get out -- nobody wants to spend a weekend doing something he stinks at.

WB2WIK/6
 
RE: An Enticement for Contest Newbies  
by W9WHE on October 29, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
Ughhhh....let's not blame newbies for contest problems. A newbie will almost ALLWAYS move if told "the frequency is in use". Its the experienced guys that think that they can do as they please.
 
RE: An Enticement for Contest Newbies  
by N4GI on October 29, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
KE4ZHN writes:

<<<There are SOME, not all but some of these jokers who are rude, arrogant, and just plain ignorant who fire up right on top of you when your in qso.>>>


I could say the same thing about the "Old Crusty Snowbird Sunday Brunch Net" that fires up on the frequency I've been running Europeans on for the last 3 hours. Those Jokers don't give a damn either, huh? After all, they've been discussing clogged arteries on XX.XXX frequency for the last 46 years.....



Blake N4GI
 
An Enticement for Contest Newbies  
by KC5NT on October 29, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
Great article! FD and SS are my two favorite contests and I've been participating for years. I'm never a winner, but I like to check out my equipment and work toward awards. This year, I'll use my Elecraft K1 on 40 and 20 meters. Look for me near the top end of the CW band. I'll be "paddl'n" at about 15 wpm. My goad is to pick up a WAS QRP award with my K1. See you there!
 
RE: An Enticement for Contest Newbies  
by WB2WIK on October 29, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
Good one, Blake.

It's sure evident that the complainers are "phone only" operators, isn't it? It's also evident the complainers have the radio equivalent of road rage. "How dare someone cut me off?"

Sure glad I don't suffer either of these maladies!

WB2WIK/6

 
RE: An Enticement for Contest Newbies  
by N2MG on October 29, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
To WN5T:

Hey Michael - that's the spirit (and finally some on-topic posts). CW SS can be intimidating during the early hours - the reg'lars are running them quite fast. But do as the article said (move up the band) or wait until Sunday afternoon and the code speeds drop way off.

GL,
Mike N2MG
 
RE: An Enticement for Contest Newbies  
by KC8VWM on October 29, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
CQ E-Ham!...CQ E-Ham!...CQ E-Ham!
 
RE: An Enticement for Contest Newbies  
by KC8VWM on October 29, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
Oops... I am bleeding over into this forum...
 
RE: An Enticement for Contest Newbies  
by KE4ZHN on October 29, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
Hey Blake, I dont condone their actions anymore then I do some idiot screaming CQ contest on top of my qso either bud, calm down your blood pressure is way over the safety limit. I too have run into the OF nets who feel they "own" their particular frequency since they have been there for 45 years. Its funny how guys like you and your buddy Steve will jump to conclusions without finding out the rest of the story, but thats ok bud, you and your pal Steve dont bother me anymore then a fart in a windstorm anyway. Good luck in the contest...UR 5-9
 
RE: An Enticement for Contest Newbies  
by NI0C on October 29, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
In my earlier response to this article, I mentioned that contesters should not abandon courtesy in the heat of competition. However, non-contesters must also expect more challenging conditions than normal just because of the increased band activity. Those who don't like putting up with increased activity and want QRM free communications have the WARC bands and 60 meters.

KE4ZHN, you claim not to be bothered, and you began your first posting with "I don't begrudge..," however you seem to have some issues. Here are but a few of the expressions you've used here with regard to contests and contesters: idiots, morons, fiasco, crap, drivel, rude louts, screaming louts, stupidity, trivial garbage, etc. I'm not a professional counselor, so I won't presume to give you any advice. But I thought you might want to know how you come across.

73 de Chuck NI0C
 
RE: An Enticement for Contest Newbies  
by WB2WIK on October 29, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
Good observation, Chuck. I had drawn the same conclusion.

Interesting that someone who's been a ham eight years knows so much about what's right and wrong with amateur radio -- more so than contesters who have been licensed 40 years and more.
 
RE: An Enticement for Contest Newbies  
by OLDFART13 on October 29, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
Of course all the problem contesters are on SSB. The no-coders or the ones who were given a free element 1 by w5yi and never really learned code only operate SSB. You never see these problems during CW contests. Of course the SSB folk like to tune up their linears, processing, and mic gain and wonder why their signals are so wiiiiiide. CW ops can fit about 5 QSOs in 1Kc spectrum. One is a waste of band space the other is using the space efficiently.
 
RE: An Enticement for Contest Newbies  
by OLDFART13 on October 29, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
Since the bands are overcrowded by all the contesters, nets and ragchewers on HF it is apparent that we have too many hams there. What we need is more hams on VHF/UHF. We gave away the license with the no-code techs but that didn't help VHF/UHF. So how is giving away the license for HF going to help?
 
RE: An Enticement for Contest Newbies  
by KE4ZHN on October 29, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
Hey Chuck,would you care to be my shrink? What a riot! As for begrudging anyone who likes to contest, no, I do not, but the ones who rudely interrupt my communications are the idiots, morons etc. I was reffering to. Got a guilty conscience? Maybe your one of the qrm`ers yourself who trample on whomever happens to be on your chosen contest frequency? If I come across a little too abrasive for you Chuck, perhaps you need a little thicker skin, as this is only an internet forum, not the air, or real life. And as for my good buddy Steve, the know all wise one of amateur radio who thinks because he had a ticket 40 years he is somehow "better" then everyone else, you sir are a pompous ass. Its not worth even wasting my time addressing you since your so much better then everyone else. A legend in your own mind.
 
RE: An Enticement for Contest Newbies  
by NI0C on October 29, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
KE4ZHN:
I'm not qualified to be your shrink. If you need one look somewhere else-- this is a ham radio forum. As for those who cause you QRM, perhaps you should take it up with them individually on a case by case basis, then get over it! I doubt that I've ever caused you any QRM. I operate contests strictly for fun, almost always search and pounce, and only rarely on the phone bands.

73 de Chuck NI0C
 
RE: An Enticement for Contest Newbies  
by W4EF on October 29, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
Oldfart13 wrote:
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
"Since the bands are overcrowded by all the contesters, nets and ragchewers on HF it is apparent that we have too many hams there. What we need is more hams on VHF/UHF. We gave away the license with the no-code techs but that didn't help VHF/UHF. So how is giving away the license for HF going to help?"
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

This is real problem for SSB contests. When you look at how many signals are jammed into the 10 meter phone band during a major DX contest (when the band is open of course), you get a feel for the magnitude of the problem. In 2001, when I operated the ARRL DX Phone Contest, SSB contest signals were packed tightly from 28.300 MHz all the up past 29.100 MHz. Finding "hole" in this wall of signals was a real challenge. In this case, however, there was still an oasis for non-contesters up above ~29.100 MHz. Unfortunately, the amount of SSB spectrum consumed on 10 meters by the typical big DX contest like ARRL DX or CQ WW is greater than the total amount of phone spectrum available on 15 and 20 meters combined (800 KHz versus 450 KHz). As 10 meters starts to fade you can imagine how the competition for spectrum on 15 and 20 meters heats up. There are probably twice as many people looking for slots as slots available. The competition for slots becomes fierce, so it is not surprising that there are people getting their toes stepped on.

While its sounds like a noble idea, a contest free zone for these larger operating events is probably not practical for bands like 20 and 15 meters where the current spectrum allocation is already inadeaquate to support activity levels. Because of this shortage of resources, there needs to be some give and take on both sides.

There are clearly some bad actors on both sides of this debate. I have heard some contesters run roughshod over ragchewers just because they could. The most egregious example of this occured after one of the CW sprint contests. After the contest everyone QSYed to 3830 KHz to exchange scores. There was a QSO already on frequency which the contesters chose to trash because there was a "might makes right" mentality going on. And you can't tell me that the culprits didn't hear the QSO. It was very loud here on the west coast and many of the offending Sprinters have good lowband receive antennas. They could have easily slid down 3 KHz and avoided what was a public relations fiasco. If I were the guys who got stepped on, I would have been thinking to myself, "what a bunch of arrogant a#$holes". What stupidity.

On the other side of the argument, you have guys who will try to ragchew in the middle of the CQ WorldWide contest just to prove their point. They could QSY to 17 meters, or skip their schedule that weekend, but that would require compromise. You can tell from the dialog that their only reason for being there is to be stubborn SOBs. I liken this kind of behavior to someone who gets mad because they close off the streets in his neighborhood for a Grand Prix race. Instead of going, well its only once a year, he says, to hell with all these people, I am going to drive my car around the track backwards and make a mess of everything just because I can. After all, its my neighborhood.

Another aspect which hasn't been discussed is who owns the frequency when two QSOs that were previously isolated by propagation, suddenly start to interfere because of changing ionospheric conditions. If SU9NC in Egypt is calling CQ contest on the same frequency as W4ABC and his ragchew buddies but they can't hear each other because the band isn't open, then everyone is happy. What happens, however, when the band starts to open and I can hear SU9NC calling CQ at the same time I hear W4ABC talking to his buddies? Heck I like to ragchew on 75 with my buddies, I don't want to muck up W4ABC's qso any more than I would like my ragchew disrupted, but I sure would like to log that rare zone 34. And besides whose frequency is it anyway at that point? They have both been on there for two hours.

These sorts of ambiguous "collisions" are invetitable on a crowded band. Each injured party considers the other to be at fault when in many cases it's not so clear cut. Some people don't like contests. Myself, I do, but I can't begrudge someone for not wanting to yell "59 03" into a microphone all weekend. The fact that there are inflexible "hollier than thou" types on both sides of this debate doesn't help matters. My advice to contesters is to consider good public relations to be an important virtue that is more important than winning any particular "pissing contest". Non-contesters who insist on raising a big stink in the middle of a contest just to prove to everyone how they are being victimized by insensitive contest bullies, need to get a life. There aren't that many big contests that consume the whole band such that these guys can't make alternate plans (WARC bands) on a handful of weekends each year.

73 de Mike, W4EF...............................

P.S. Cu all in the SS this weekend :)
 
RE: An Enticement for Contest Newbies  
by K1OU on October 30, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
I'm just glad as hell that W9WHE isn't blaming this on us liberal free-loading pussies.
 
RE: An Enticement for Contest Newbies  
by N4GI on October 30, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
W4EF writes:

<<Non-contesters who insist on raising a big stink in the middle of a contest just to prove to everyone how they are being victimized by insensitive contest bullies, need to get a life.>>

Yep. And something else for consideration:

While you anti-contesters are blowing gaskets after your gabfests are "QRMed" for ONE weekend a year, and you're at Denny's eating your Saturday evening earlybird special, guess what?

Us idiot contesters are still sitting behind our rigs working people, honing operating skills, and enjoying the hobby!!!

Boy, that sure sucks.

Blake N4GI
 
RE: An Enticement for Contest Newbies  
by W9WHE on October 30, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
WB2WIK writes:

"Interesting that someone who's been a ham eight years knows so much about what's right and wrong with amateur radio -- more so than contesters who have been licensed 40 years and more"

So because you are a "40 year contester", you know everything and nobody else's opinion counts? Nonsence. If there ever was a reason for anti-contest sentiment, such an attitude is surely the explanation.

Does that also mean that because I have been licensed longer then many of the contesters here, that their opinions don't count either? Or is it because you have been a "contester" that makes your opinion infallable and the rest of our opinions meaningless?

Help me out here.
 
RE: An Enticement for Contest Newbies  
by KE4ZHN on October 30, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
Working people? 5-9! 5-9! Yeah thats workin em alright...what a laugh.
 
RE: An Enticement for Contest Newbies  
by AD6WL on October 30, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
To all those who response was 5-9 or contesting is the same thing over and over again, I challenge you to work the Sweepstakes contest this weekend. Then come back and post how easy it was. You have to send your correct information and receive the other operatorís correct information. The correct exchange information is:

1. Their call
2. The sequential serial number you are giving them
3. Your entry class
4. Your callsign
5. The last two digits of the year you were fist licensed
6. Then your ARRL/RAC section.

That is seven pieces of information, none of which is 5-9. Let me tell you that this does take some operating skill and is a great way of improving these skills. Since this is a CW contest, anyone who has passed their CW exam can get in there and improve their skills. You can look for me on the high end of the bands operating QRS.
 
RE: An Enticement for Contest Newbies  
by N1VLQ on October 30, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
Boy am I glad I can say I am member of such a fine, moral, upstanding fraternity of radio operators. The group that I belong to is such a fine example of intelligence, understanding, and good common sense that is a joy to be associated with them. Why, I can simply point to this (or any other thread here a eHam) and the proof is plain to see, for any who wish to see it...
What great "communicators" we are.
Pathetic. I mean that in a general sense, fellow hams, not at any one in particular. Hopefully these fine "values", graphically on display here, aren't passed on to your children.
73
Bruce, N1VLQ
 
RE: An Enticement for Contest Newbies  
by WR8D on October 30, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
RE:N4GI Honing operating skills??? I'm not trying to get in this mess Blake but you've got to understand. There's folks that like to contest and others that dont. If you're one of those folks that hangs out in differant places with their buddies and contesters key in ontop of your qso it pretty well pisses you off. Most times to be honest with you if there's a contest on i dont even turn the rigs on because i know contesters will get right on top of me where ever i'm at and it will be a mess. Yes i could and have burned a hole in the atmosphere and kept my freq clear but that just makes another mess. As for honing operating skills...well ranting cq contest right on top of folks already in qso doesnt look like much of a skill. Anyones first impression of you guys would think you're all nuts. Hi Hi...as for the denys...i always go to the steak houses and buy a 20 buck new york strip with all the trimmings while you guys are doing your thing.

Groups of guys and gals all over the country have ragchewed and become close. Most groups are almost like a family and really enjoy each others company. Most groups send flowers and call sick members and that means so much to these folks. So you've got to see it from both sides of the fence. All contesters arent rude but there are enough rude ones to give you all a bad name. Sorry but thats just the way everyone looks at it.

Just understand:
73 Have Fun
WR8D
 
RE: An Enticement for Contest Newbies  
by N4GI on October 30, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
KE4ZHN writes:

<<Working people? 5-9! 5-9! Yeah thats workin em alright...what a laugh.>>

A real shame you haven't a clue of what you speak, after all you've been licensed longer than I have.

Give me a call during SS this weekend. Just let me know if you need me to QRS, I'll gladly oblige....

Blake N4GI



 
RE: An Enticement for Contest Newbies  
by WILLY on October 30, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
by N4GI on October 30, 2003

"
W4EF writes:

<<Non-contesters who insist on raising a big stink in the middle of a contest just to prove to everyone how they are being victimized by insensitive contest bullies, need to get a life.>>

Yep. And something else for consideration:

While you anti-contesters are blowing gaskets after your gabfests are "QRMed" for ONE weekend a year,"

One?
I think these folks are talking about all contests, not just the one that is upcoming.

There are a lot more than just one contest.

If there was ONLY one contest, on one weekend per year, your statement might have some weight.


"
and you're at Denny's eating your Saturday evening earlybird special, guess what? "

What does his eating habits have to do with anything?


"
Us idiot contesters are still sitting behind our rigs working people, honing operating skills, and enjoying the hobby!!! "

Glad you are enjoying it.
Many others enjoy 'gabfests' , as you put it.



"
Boy, that sure sucks."

No.
But QRMing others, and poor operating practice - with or without a contest - does. I hope you agree.
 
RE: An Enticement for Contest Newbies  
by W9WHE on October 30, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
KE4ZHN:

You just don't get it.

Contesters see themselves as elete-class operators, with superior operating skills, the finest stations, and clairity of insight on all matters that non-contesters can't possibly possess. These super-heros have no eaual. Non-contesters should simply bow down in awe to these eletes of out hopeless inferiority.

While the rest of us view them as "legends in their own minds", our opinions simply don't count!
 
RE: An Enticement for Contest Newbies  
by WB2WIK on October 30, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
Just because you know you're paranoid doesn't mean we're not really out to get you.

'Sfunny how when I'm not involved in a contest at all, but just casually operating during a major contest weekend, the contesters don't bother me in the slightest. I spent hours on the air, ragchewing and working DX during last weekend's CQ WW Phone contest (when condx were a lot better than I thought they'd be) and simply stayed out of the way of the contesters -- pretty easy to do. Didn't cause me a bit of trouble, and I filled a couple of log pages without making a single contest contact.

It must really be that those who are so bothered are either somehow inviting it, or are the same ones who exhibit road rage. Inflammatory personalities. Too bad.

 
RE: An Enticement for Contest Newbies  
by N2MG on October 30, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
OK guys - how about getting back on topic?

This is an easy-to-read, well-written tutorial for operating ARRL Sweepstakes, a contest that's older than most of us on here, but many have not experienced.

I welcome folks to talk about their experiences operating Sweepstakes, or how the article's running last year helped them out, or offer some more tips.

If you want to write a general anti-contesting article, be my guest. Take the time to put key to keyboard, run it through your spell checker and post it as a new article. Then those who wish to debate that issue can migrate over to that page.

Mike N2MG
webmaster
 
RE: An Enticement for Contest Newbies  
by N4GI on October 30, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
N6TR was kind enough to write up some killer SS tips also.

Go to the link below:

http://lists.contesting.com/archives/html/CQ-Contest/

Type "SS CW Tips" in the search box.


Enjoy, GL!

Blake N4GI
 
RE: An Enticement for Contest Newbies  
by WB2WIK on October 30, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
This will be sure on topic:

Hope there's some propagation for SS this weekend, since the CME on Tuesday has really caused a big-time geomagnetic disturbance.

I was on 17m yesterday as the sun pulled the plug on the band, around 0100UTC or so. Was chatting with W5GI in TX who went from S9+20 to S0 inside of three minutes.

Hope the bands recover well and we can all have some fun!
 
RE: An Enticement for Contest Newbies  
by N8CPA on October 31, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
T -27.5 hours until CW SS start I am hearing signals on all bands 40 thru 10--including several 10M beacons in SW US sections. And, I admit, my antennae are not the best. Propagation will be fine this weekend. And if it isn't, remember it's a test of CW skill and persistence.
 
RE: An Enticement for Contest Newbies  
by K3UD on October 31, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
I plan to operate this year and actually send in a log. My operation will be a bit different this year in that I will be in the Novice segments of the bands that have them using as slow a speed as needed. I think there will also be others doing this. So if you want to try out your CW contest skills for the first time get on the Vovice segments of 10 - 15 - 40 or 80 and listen for my call and straight key sending. The keyer is put up for the weekend.

Good luck to all who operate

73
George
K3UD
 
RE: An Enticement for Contest Newbies  
by W1RFI on October 31, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
> You just don't get it.

> Contesters see themselves as elete-class operators,
> with superior operating skills, the finest
> stations, and clairity of insight on all matters
> that non-contesters can't possibly possess. These
> super-heros have no eaual. Non-contesters should
> simply bow down in awe to these eletes of out
> hopeless inferiority.

> While the rest of us view them as "legends in their
> own minds", our opinions simply don't count!

Your opinion is on how you believe contesters view you. Contesters who don't view you that way disagree with you. Can you not understand why they feel your opinion doesn't count?

I operate in contests, sometimes with a serious effort. My skills are adquate, my station is marginal and I don't think that my participating in a contest gives me any special insight or clarity (whatever the heck THAT is supposed to mean). I don't think that non-contesters, or anyone, should bow down to anyone else, excepting our Lord. And I refuse to be responsible for your feelings of hopeless inferiority.

Now, if it is truly your opinion that contesters all see you the way you imagine they do, in that instance, I believe your opinion to be wrong. And I can speak with absolute authority about my own views, so I know with certainty that you are wrong in at least one case.

Can you explain what "clarity" gives you the ability to know more about other people's views than they know about themselves? There may be 15,000 people who participate in one or more contests. I am wondering how you know the views of all them to be able to say with such conviction that "contesters see themselves..." anything.

73,
Ed Hare, W1RFI
 
RE: An Enticement for Contest Newbies  
by W1RFI on October 31, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
> Its a two way street fella`s, you either love
> contests or hate them, but theres NO reason why the
> people who DONT like them should have to be driven
> off the bands because someone up in Newington wants
> to make some easy money.

How do hams in Newington make money off of contests? Can you explain this one?

73,
Ed Hare, W1RFI
 
An Enticement for Contest Newbies  
by KC0IGY on November 1, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
Nice article. I've been a Ham for only 3 years now, and last years phone SS was my second contest. I had a blast! Since last years CQ WW phone contest (my first), I have operated every HF phone contest that I could. Under those sometimes trying contest conditions, I think I learned more about my radio, about propagation and about operating than I would have otherwise. I run 100 W into a relatively low wire with a perfectly ordinary (TS-570D) rig. Contests are intense situations. Most of the operators are very good. It can't be easy to pull my puny signal out of the QRM, but 70 or so DX operators did so last weekend. This year, work permitting, I'll do some CW tests as well.

Inconsiderate behaviour aside, contests really are good learning experiences. If you're the least bit competitive by nature, you'll find yourself pouring over the handbooks looking to get your station a little more something or other. As a father with two young boys and a third on the way, I'm not spending money on my station. Yet, despite the declining solar cycle, my scores go up, and most importantly, I'm having fun!

Very best to you all,

Pierre, KC0IGY
 
RE: An Enticement for Contest Newbies  
by WA2E on November 3, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
I'm not really a contester. I do enjoy jumping in for 50-75 contacts now and then. It provides a different slant on the hobby. I also like CW, RTTY, PSK31, Packet and just plain listening. I have to say I can't believe the venom coming from the non-contesters. I'm wondering why? Most weekends there are no contests or not major ones that cause much activity. I also am not a big gun having only wires except for VHF and no amp. To me that's the thrill. Maybe slightly off tune the station I'm calling so he notices me or working on the timing of my call. Believe me gentleman it can be fun and not "mindless". I've been involved in roundtables and you may need to slide a bit up or down to continue. I don't think your rig is crystal controlled. I read WB2WIK's reply and I just can't find some of the conclusions that were drawn written there. Don't read into someone's post something they didn't write. Don't assume "you know what they meant". As far as the ARRL, I confess, I am a member. Not because I have ARRL tattooed on my back but because I believe without them or an organization like them we wouldn't have a single frequency to bitch about. Let's enjoy the hobby instead of complaining about others enjoying the hobby.

Mike
 
RE: An Enticement for Contest Newbies  
by RobertKoernerExAE7G on November 5, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
I remember people complaining about contests in the late 70s.

Same old same old.

For some strange reason, Iím able to find open spectrum to use during any contest.

Guess my VFO, band changing switches, and mode changing buttons work better than ones in the rigs of the contest complainers?

Or is it that I have other hobbies to enjoy?

Now that riding season is finally here, got some nice day and weekend rides lined up. Now that antenna season is finally here, got antennas to build, co-ax to change, rotator to rebuild, new bug that Iím struggling to master.

Since the wx is finally not in the 100s and 90s, got quite a few vases that Iíve thrown to fire out doors.

Whose got time to be negative about contests? What a waste of time, angering about contests.

Have FUN
Bob
 
An Enticement for Contest Newbies  
by WA2JJH on January 18, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
I am not going to touch this subject with an 11M pole.
Having a better time staying cool with my FAN DIPOLE!
 
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