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Author Topic: What do you win?  (Read 3564 times)

Posts: 4

« on: April 30, 2000, 09:08:25 PM »

You just finish describing ham radio contesting to a friend or co-worker.  The first question they almost always ask is, "What do you get if you win?"

What kind of answer do you give?

Posts: 37

« Reply #1 on: May 01, 2000, 07:37:22 AM »

I've been asked that question many times.  I usually answer "nothing".  After the 10 Meter Contest last December,  I was especially "burned out" the following Monday at work.  After describing what the contest was about, and what demands it places on a person over a whole weekend, one of my co-workers made the comment that Ham Radio contesting made Ice Fishing look like a very reasonable activity!  Actually, you do "win" some tangible things.  It's nice to see your call in print.  Breaking your personal best is satisfying.   It's the reward for all of the work you did on your antennas and station last summer.  Cool stuff happens, like SU9ZZ calling you in the middle of a run.  And for me, it's an opportunity to contribute to the contest club I belong to, the Minnesota Wireless Association.  I know I'm not going to "win", or even make top ten.  Not from Minnesota, and not with a small station.  But there are definitely other rewards for all that work.  

Posts: 6

« Reply #2 on: May 01, 2000, 11:12:10 AM »

Well, I know this is gonna sound like sour grapes but if its a recent CQ Contest, you dont win anything. I know you get a chance to work new countries/zones, its a great rush to get a run going and a challenge to continually improve your score/station but dog-gonnit if you "win" your category in a CQ contest ( 160, DX, WPX) you should get your certificate and in a timley manner. It appears as though the DX and WPX ones a being mailed ( I finally did receive those ones from 1997)  but I have yet to see my 160 one from a few years ago even after repeated e-mails
to the contest director. I have offered an SASE, postage, donations, etc but no reponse. At least the ARRL sends theirs. If CQ cant afford it or needs help, etc. they should make the contesting community aware; I'm sure there are many volunteers out there, I know I would help. 73, Jamie WW3S

Posts: 94

« Reply #3 on: May 03, 2000, 01:35:07 AM »

Great question.

Not a direct answer to your post, but on the rare occasions when someone says to me, in a looking down sort of way, "Why do you do that?".

I answer...

Name one thing that you do or have done that you have been recognized as a world champion, US champion, or even state champion...  I don't care if it's picking your nose.  Just name ONE.  

99.9% of the population will look at you with a dumb look on their face and say something profound like "oh".  



Posts: 5


« Reply #4 on: May 08, 2000, 10:22:29 AM »

First, you win some certificates, if you get better and select categories that allow you to be more competitive with peers, you win plaque or trophy. Those are material "rewards," with time and improvement, they become less important.
    Next you win respect of those whom you beat. It is no better feeling and satisfaction to see one's callsign on the top of the heap. The top of tops is to beat the World (or whatever) record. This is why we get involved in sports - to have some satisfaction (and exercise - physical or mental), have fun and have goals and ways of measuring them.
    The biggest think that you win, is learning how to maximize your efforts, how to get better, how to compete and win - the most valuable lesson and quality needed in every day's life and professional work. Sports and competitiveness are the foundation for driving force to success in professional or business life. No wonder, most contesters are very successful.

Posts: 9

« Reply #5 on: May 09, 2000, 06:00:56 PM »

What a good post from K3BU.  Unfortunately, the competitive spirit is suppressed a lot in our society.  (All must acheive the same results, be alike, not think for themselves, etc.)  Contests allow us to express our natural desire to excell.  Keep it up, K3BU.  73 es dx.  Mike

Posts: 3

« Reply #6 on: May 15, 2000, 07:15:21 PM »

Ok, let's be honest.  Most of us just want to win some bragging rights.  (That's not to discount chasing DX when a contest just happens to be bringing them out).

You can forget trying to explain it.  It doesn't make any more sense than the hammer throw or competitive ballroom dancing.  Competition is fun for its own sake, and it makes us improve: operating skills, stations, strategy, etc. But everyone whose not competing will just have my wife's opinion, "So, your trying to see who can talk the loudest for longest, right?"

Posts: 4

« Reply #7 on: November 20, 2000, 11:51:58 PM »

Usually, it's best not to talk about it to non-hams.  That way, you are not left in that situation.  They don't understand, what they do not know.


Posts: 11


« Reply #8 on: July 16, 2001, 11:44:37 PM »

In response to N6AFI, for some hams, it IS who can talk the loudest the longest. It is especially true for those who do not turn in a log, even though they are on for the duration of the test.

Posts: 2

« Reply #9 on: July 23, 2001, 12:31:06 PM »

I enter the Pa. QSO Party every year and do it primarily to help a local club, either the Reading Radio Club or the Radio Assn. of Erie,in the point standings.
I've also found that I'm usually the top scorer in the " CW Only " catagory in either club.
What do you get? A "Warm,fuzzy feeling" - which ought to be enough for anybody entering ANY contest as an amateur anything.


Posts: 173

« Reply #10 on: July 27, 2003, 02:57:09 AM »

Wow, I'm amazed at the empty-headedness of these answers.  Look at the scores of ANY contest.  ALL the scores, not just the winners.  90% of hams who enter lots of contests never win.  NEVER.  We know we have puny signals because we can't afford the electrician to run 240VAC into the shack, don't have the real estate for a tower, or don't have the money for one.

Most hams enter contests for the thrill of it.  I mean, gads, the bicycle races I enter have over 10,000 entrants and only 3 to 10 winners.  Do you think all 10,000 entrants really thought they had a chance to win?  Of course not.

It's not the winning that folks enter contests for.  It's the craziness.  It's being able to say "I worked the winner on all bands".  It's about knowing that after the contest, you are a better operator than before the contest.  It's about knowing that your station can handle the stress of 24 hours of continuous operation, which should go a long way in making the local emergency comms folks satisfied that it's proven.

So, when someone asks me "what do you win?", my immediate reply is "If I won, I'd be recognized by my peers as having accomplished something that required careful planning, intense strategizing, changing plans on the fly in the middle of the game, lots of stamina, a well-engineered station, and outstanding relations with family and neighbors.  However, if I don't win, I also don't lose because the event itself is a big thrill, like doing a footrace is a thrill whether you cross the finish line first or last.  If the event weren't fun, I wouldn't enter.  So I don't enter to win."

Which is good for the winners, by the way.  Since 90% of contest entrants never expect to win, guess where 90% of the winners' points came from?  Contest scores would go way down if the only folks who entered had expectations of winning.

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