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Author Topic: Contest every weekend?  (Read 1199 times)

Posts: 68

« on: October 25, 2003, 10:21:11 AM »

Do we really need to have a contest every weekend? It seems that it is ruining the fun.

Many of us only have the time to operate on the weekends and hear contesters tearing it up when we merely want to chat with some friends can be a drag.

Now don't get me wrong, I enjoy contests, the big ones when there is much participation. CQ WW, North America QP are great. But it is now beginning to seem like with all these little contests going on contesters get a bad rap due to the less enthusiasm of the norm.

I like chocolate, but I don't want for breakfast lunch and dinner.

Is a contest a contest or is it a marketing tool?

Posts: 67

« Reply #1 on: October 25, 2003, 04:33:54 PM »

tremendous amount of amateurs get a lot of satisfaction on contests, and rightfully so.  It is there hobby, there "thing" and more power to em.. I wish them well, BUT what about the well entrenched nets that are on, the nets that do incredible public service and in many cases save lives... here is a exerpt from my log re: a serious incident that occured recently....................
After action report,   re mayday call from vessel Endless Journey.
26 Sep 2003
from net log of WB6LNH
At approximately 1920 est I heard a mayday after a triple break on freq 14300 uab.
A crewwoman from the vessel “Endless Journey” was reporting that they were taking on water at a high rate.  She reported her position as 15degrees 19 minutes North and
082 degrees 28minutes West.
The vessel was a CT 54, white hull color with 3 POB.  Unknown documentation number.
The vessel was equipped with a life raft and a 406 epirb.
Larry Gordon captain
Tammy Tonti-Crissmore crew
Chris Malescha crew
At 1930 I called USCG district 7hq in Miami Fl and contacted a PO Sean Ponegt at this time I advised the PO who I was, and what the call was about re: vessel in distress off Honduras.
I initiated a phone patch from USCG to stricken vessel.  USCG advised them to put on pfd.
Tammy who was acting as the stricken vessels radio operator advised that they had deployed their life raft, and were preparing to ditch the stricken vessel.   The PO at Miami advised me that they were in contact with the USCG cutter Harriet Lane (270 ft)
And that the cutter was approximately 60 miles away and was being diverted.   Air assets would also be deployed.  I decided then to maintain the phone patch until rescued or vessel lost.
At about 1945 the captain Larry Gordon came on freq and advised me that the crew had abandoned ship and were in the life raft.  That he was unable to gain on the water and that the water was soon to cover the engine.  He had deployed two 3700 gph  pumps and was not gaining on the water.    
At about 1952 captain Larry Gordon came on freq and advised that the water was now over the engine, and he could not find the source.
I advised him to leave the vessel, that there was nothing more to do, and there comes a time when you have passed the time of “no return”, He agreed.
At 1952 the crew of Endless Journey abandoned ship.
I advised the USCG of this fact
Terminated the phone patch and returned to normal net operations.
Ira R (Rick) Jones/WB6LNH
26 SEP 2003
27 Sep 2003
I contacted USCG district 7 hq via land line and got the following report.
“the crew of the vessel Endless Journey were picked up off their life raft at about
0300 est, all three are safe”
if that would have happened today, those three folks would have been in deep trouble..........there needs to be a solution

Posts: 122

« Reply #2 on: October 26, 2003, 07:26:37 PM »

This is a common complaint by non-contesters.  I sympathize with anyone who tries to find a clear spot on a busy contest weekend.  However:

1) While there are contests planned on many/most/all weekends, very few of them tear up the bands.  I can name about eight or ten.  CQWW, ARRL DX, WPX, and Sweepstakes (maybe NA QSO Party).  Each of these has a phone weekend and a CW weekend. So perhaps 43 or 44 out of 52 weekends are without a major contest.  There are other short contests with lots of activity (Sprints last 4 hours) or single-band events but their effect is obviously small in comparison.

2) In addition, in each contest listed above, only one mode is active at a time, so the other "half" of the band is free.  So, there are only four weekends a year with signficant phone contesting, for example.  48 out 52 are fairly clear.

3) No contests occur on the WARC bands.

So...there are plenty of places to go on the few weekends that the bands are really full.  The other contests have VERY limited participation and so do not cause much crowding.  Is it really so unreasonable that 90% of the weekends are free of large contests?

4) Thousands of hams get on for these contests  - is it being suggested that nets or ragchewing or any other sub-hobby is so much more important that perhaps they should be given protected bandwidth?  Or be given divine right to a specific frequency at the expense of other legitimate operating?

What would one say if suddenly the band were full of ragchewers and nets, operating shoulder-to-shoulder and one couldn't find a clear frequency to call CQ?  Is this really any different from finding the band full of contesters?  Sure contesters can be brash, bold and some are obnoxious and worse and there's no excuse for some of them, but I've found plenty of regular occupants of 20m and 75m to be the same way.

I notice that this compliant seems to NEVER occur during CW contest weekends and the CW bands are quite full on them.  Seems to me that lots of phone ops just can't take the heat...

Mike N2MG

Posts: 20543

« Reply #3 on: October 27, 2003, 05:27:00 PM »

The maritime rescue story was cool, and had a happy ending.

I would like to think that both the maritime ops and their landbound counterparts have it planned out that when 20 meters doesn't work, go to 17 meters -- and so forth.  If they don't, that's very poor planning.

What if the problem with making contact wasn't a contest, but simply propagation?  Would you blame that nasty sun, or the ionosphere in general?  Amateur bands, and HF propagation, cannot be relied on for emergency services without a lot of backup plans.

Although I didn't participate in last weekend's CQ WW Phone contest (I have, many times in the past), I was very happy for those who did, since a major solar event could have wiped out most HF propagation entirely.  Thankfully, it didn't.  So, I hope those in the contest had a great time and racked up big scores.

While I wasn't in the contest, I was ragchewing and DX chasing on 17 meters, which was also in good shape.  No contests on that band, or on 12m, or 30m...and Sunday 10/26 cooperated further by providing us some excellent E-skip on 50 MHz!  There are all sorts of "escapes" from the contests, if one wishes to escape.

Maritime ops, if you're relying on 20 meters to do the job for you 100% of the time, that's really silly.


Posts: 242


« Reply #4 on: October 29, 2003, 06:55:11 PM »

I don't want chocolate for breakfast, lunch and dinner either, but I usually want a piece every weekend.  Sometimes I want a big piece and sometimes just a little piece.

Posts: 214


« Reply #5 on: October 30, 2003, 12:11:08 PM »

I really do like contesting and it is true there's almost every weekend one on more contests going on.
Just the very big one's ( few in a year) are making it almost impossible to have some normal QSO's on the standard HF-bands.
Why don't you use just the WARC-bands? Thanks to the contests these are used sometimes, because when you listen outside a contest to the WARC-bands, it's like a desert with no-one in!
What can we say about our bands? USE THEM OR LOOSE THEM. I think contesting and the use of the WARC-bands by non-contesters is a great way to keep our bands.

73 de ON4MGY Nic

Posts: 20543

« Reply #6 on: October 31, 2003, 05:12:30 PM »

ON4MGY, I have to believe you don't have any WARC band antennas, because when I listen to the WARC bands, they are very heavily used any time there's propagation available.

17m is very tightly packed all the time, and I work lots and lots of Europeans there, especially on weekend mornings when I can get on early enough to enjoy propagation in your direction (from my QTH in California).  30m is so packed with CW and digital signals that there are no free spaces to call CQ, usually.

12m lately hasn't had much propagation, but when 10m is "open," so is 12, and at those times, 12m is packed.  Two weeks ago Saturday morning, there was "no contest" going on at all, and I sat on one frequency and filled three log pages with European stations between about 1500 and 1630 UTC.  That's "no activity?"

The bands are very, very utilized.  However, I'll admit that if I use "wrong band" antennas, like my 15m antenna to listen to 12m, I don't hear a lot.  Switching to a real 12m antenna, the band is full as long as there's propagation.


Posts: 8

« Reply #7 on: November 15, 2003, 11:49:31 AM »

No, we dont need one every weekend. In fact we dont need any at all.

Posts: 73


« Reply #8 on: November 18, 2003, 07:32:29 PM »

WB6LNH has a valid point, if those poor people had been stranded on a contest weekend, God help them.  If you don't think that contesters didn't try to horn in on 14.300, you were not listening.  I was on 3.870 for a will with a group and we finaly had to end each transmition with "Frequency in use".  Once we started that, we kept most of the contesters out. But it was a chanlenge. We need to allocate bandwidth for just contesting so poor people that really NEED to make a LIFE OR DEATH call, really can.  Yes you are right, I am not a contester (not yet).  However, after listening to the fighting, cussing, back-biting, and just plane rudeness on the bands for SS, I just may not want to start.

Posts: 182


« Reply #9 on: December 17, 2003, 08:24:42 PM »

 Never mind code vs no code; give a courtesy test. I'll bet most would fail, especially on a contest day.


Posts: 704

« Reply #10 on: February 22, 2004, 10:16:03 PM »

So what contest ruined your life this weekend?

Posts: 122

« Reply #11 on: February 23, 2004, 04:10:30 PM »

C'mon K0RS, you know the answer to that one...

"Um, *what* contest?"

CW contests don't ruin it for CW operators - they join in the fun.

Now phone ops on phone contest weekends, well, that's a different story...

Mike N2MG

Posts: 9889

« Reply #12 on: March 01, 2004, 02:43:42 AM »

lets  see... there is satalites, Leo satalites, 2m 220, 440 mhz, 10 to 160, warc bands, am, fm, ssb, cw,  psk31, hellschriber, atv, packet, irlp, and so on on each and every band..  

surely there is some where on some band  with no contesting..  really.. use contesting on your favorite band to get you to move some where else to try a different part of ham radio..

Posts: 16

« Reply #13 on: March 03, 2004, 04:09:56 PM »


There will be a large influx of radio contesters into the phone bands this weekend for perhaps the 2nd largest phone contest of the year.  This contest has been occuring on the same weekend for longer than I have been alive - likely longer than your net has been on frequency.



Posts: 15

« Reply #14 on: March 09, 2004, 09:49:03 AM »

Just cuz there is a contest every weekend does not mean everyone competes in every one.  Some pick and choose.  Some operate for an hour here or there.  Baseball teams play 81 home games in a season.  I go to 3 or 4.  If they only played 4 home games they would be overcrowded and I wouldn't have a choice.  I think of contests the same way
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