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Author Topic: SIGNAL REPORTS  (Read 1256 times)
KE6AEE
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Posts: 53




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« on: April 26, 2009, 03:43:30 PM »

Im not a contester but I do listen a lot on contest weekends, and the one thing I have noticed is "EVERY" report is a 59.  Now we know from our many years in hame radio all contacts cant be a 59, but somehow contesters always give the 59 report.  We all know these are bogus reports that dont relfect reality so why are they required as one of the contact log items?

Richard
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WB2WIK
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« Reply #1 on: April 26, 2009, 06:50:19 PM »

It is silly.

Not all contests include a signal report.  Field Day, Sweepstakes, various Sprints, VHF contests, etc. use other data instead, which I think it much smarter.

Maybe some of the HF contest folks will ultimately change this.  You're right, in some of the major HF contests, everyone is "59."
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KB9CRY
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« Reply #2 on: April 27, 2009, 03:11:38 AM »

so why are they required as one of the contact log items?



Because.....they are required by the regulations of the contest.  They are just following the rules.

I wouldn't let it bother you if you can.
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W0GLB
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Posts: 45




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« Reply #3 on: April 27, 2009, 12:02:12 PM »

Pretty sure its been said here before, but in practice, the "59" is akin to saying, "pay attention, the important stuff is next!"  Usually, right after the report will come the variable of the exchange, be it the serial #, S/P/C, zone, or whatever the contest requires.
Maybe that is not an excuse for the practice, but it is a reason.

73, W0GLB
Gordon
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K8AC
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Posts: 1477




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« Reply #4 on: April 27, 2009, 12:51:00 PM »

It wasn't always that way.  Before computerized logging, it wasn't unusual to give a real signal report.  You may have noticed that this "you're 59" habit has spilled over into DXing outside of contests.  Everyone gives the DXpedition a 59 even if he's just above the noise level.  I suspect a lot of new guys have no idea what the 59 means, but everyone else is sending it so they do as well.  
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KG6MZS
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Posts: 476




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« Reply #5 on: April 27, 2009, 03:04:18 PM »


It is amusing to hear two stations go at it again and again just to dig the call out of the mud and they have them give each other a 59!

Sometimes I feel like it is a macho thing too.  Like I feel dared to give them anything less than a 59.

73 de Eric, KG6MZS
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KB3LIX
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Posts: 1123




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« Reply #6 on: May 01, 2009, 07:02:37 PM »

Of course 5-9 signal reports on each Q are silly,
but I suspect they have been a part of a given contests exchange for SO LONG, they have become part of the "heritage" of the contest and will never be removed.
The days of accurate signal reports are gone forever.

I have had people give me something other than a 5-9, and I just ignore the report and let the logging program default to 5-9 or 5-9-9 as the case may be.
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K9NW
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Posts: 454




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« Reply #7 on: May 02, 2009, 05:38:30 AM »

>Of course 5-9 signal reports on each Q are silly

Perhaps, but.....

>The days of accurate signal reports are gone forever.

Which signal report would you like?  The one with:
 - my 5/5 stack pointed at you?
 - your signal off the back of my beam?
 - your signal on the low RX dipole?
 - your signal on one of the four Beverage RX antennas?
 - your signal with AGC turned off?

Basically, if I'm operating a contest and I can hear you, you're gonna get 59(9).  Purists may not like that....so be it.  I'm not going to flip through all my antenna combinations on every QSO to see which one gives the best meter deflection.  My goal in a contest is to make the QSO and move on the next one, not stimulating the S meter.  Most of the time I'm not even looking at the S meter - I'm watching the computer screen, turning a rotator, chomping on a potato chip, drinking a soda, checking out the ballgame on TV across the room....whatever.

>I have had people give me something other than
>a 5-9, and I just ignore the report and let the
>logging program default to 5-9 or 5-9-9 as the
>case may be.

Why?  It's easy to change the "default" report.  I log the report that the other guys sends.  

Some like to blame computer logging for the proliferation of 59 or 59(9) but it's been the norm long before computers were a common accessory for the ham shack.  Computer logging didn't really hit the mainstream until the early 90s.  In the dozen or so years prior, I have lots and lots of paper contest logs and DXpedition QSOs with lots and lots of 59 or 59(9).

Just log it and move on.  Enjoy the contest!
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KB1LKR
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Posts: 1898




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« Reply #8 on: May 04, 2009, 07:34:02 PM »

59 or 599 (5NN) are just placeholders in contesting practice, to maximize the speed with which required "info" can be exchanged even though they they carry no real information. When in Rome (on a contest weekend), do as the Romans I suppose.
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K0RS
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Posts: 785




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« Reply #9 on: May 10, 2009, 03:05:43 AM »

This question (comment really) arises fairly frequently and invariably on internet forums. It always comes across as a troll more than a legitimate question.

There is a simple answer which, of course, you already know if you would think about it. Two words:

Maximize rate.

Look, nobody sponsors a rag chew contest. The idea, as if you didn't know, is to exchange the required info as quickly...and accurately...as possible.

One obvious way to faciltate this need is to eliminate variables that lead to "busted" contacts. No contest that I know of requires just a signal report and nothing else. There's always other data that must be copied correctly, most obviously the other station's call. Additionally, some other piece of data...a serial number, state, zone, name, *something*...will be required. There's plenty that needs to be logged accurately (or lose points). Why make it harder? Invariably in every contest some PIA with something to prove is handing out 5x5's or 5x1's or some other dumbass thing. As if those were any more accurate than 5x9s.

Someone said that it's humorous to listen to two stations struggle to get an exchange across when both signal reports are 59. I would contend: What better reason to standardize reports? How much harder would it be if one station was trying to send "You're 53, 53,53 in Kukumonga" and the other was trying to send "4 by 6, 4 by 6, Buttocks, TX!"

Please.

You tip your hand by prefacing your editorial, "I'm not a contester, but...." Yeah, no kidding.

Not all contests require signal reports, but when the contest sponsor does...well...it's just easier to make it easier.  Ultimately any data that a sponsor decides to include in the exchange is arbitrary.  There's a CW contest where the exchange is one's name.  This contest allows team competition.  Well, one team decided that everyone on the team was named "Ed."  The Talking Eds.  Do you understand CW well enough to see the advantage of sending Ed rather than, say, Jebidiah?

If you have an issue with including signal reports in some particular contest, why don't you contact the sponsor and suggest changing their format instead of making a snarky post here? Make sure to explain, "I'm not a contester, but..."

If you don't like signal reports in contests, try a VHF contest...none required. Just grids. Or better yet, try ARRL Sweepstakes. *LOTS* of info required, but nary a signal report in sight. Try it after 36 or 48 hours of nonstop operating. Try it on CW. You *do* CW, right?

I gotta disagree with WIK who says it's silly. No, it's not silly...there's a *reason* for it. He knows that too. He was just trying to be nice.

The problem with playing dumb in order to exercise your passive/aggresive tendencies is that you sound, well, dumb.
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KG6MZS
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Posts: 476




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« Reply #10 on: May 10, 2009, 09:23:32 AM »

>>>>Someone said that it's humorous to listen to two stations struggle to get an exchange across when both signal reports are 59. I would contend: What better reason to standardize reports?<<<<


I said that and I wasn't specifically referring to contests.

Like a lot of things it is pretty much a common sense issue.  The transmitting station sets the tone.  If they are handing out "fi ni" then that's what they get from me.   If I listen around a contest and 99.99% of the calling stations are handing out 59s then when in Rome...  Why be a PITA?

As one who dabbles in contests the other thing I find funny are contesters that are trying to go so fast that they actually end up being inefficient by going so fast they need to repeat the exchange more often then they would if they just slowed down a little bit.  Taking "efficiency" to the point of inefficiency.

BTW, it wouldn't surprise me if there weren't others like me out there that casually search and pounce and avoid grouchy stations that go too damn fast.  It might actually end up being more efficient to go a little slower and take the time and energy to put a smile in your voice.   Maybe not.

73 de Eric KG6MZS
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K0RS
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Posts: 785




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« Reply #11 on: May 10, 2009, 07:07:14 PM »

Hi Eric,

>>I said that and I wasn't specifically referring to contests.<<

Likewise, I wasn't specifically referring to your post.  This comment (normally referencing constesting) is almost as common as the original poster's.

>>As one who dabbles in contests the other thing I find funny are contesters that are trying to go so fast that they actually end up being inefficient by going so fast they need to repeat the exchange more often then they would if they just slowed down a little bit. Taking "efficiency" to the point of inefficiency.<<

Exactly.  This is so common, especially on CW.

>> It might actually end up being more efficient to go a little slower and take the time and energy to put a smile in your voice. Maybe not.<<

Right again.  I have a friend that is a world class contester and even went to the WRTC.  He absolutely contended the same thing.  He said the key to winning contests was to attract non-contesters and he felt that the best way to do that was to make it sound like you were having so much fun that they couldn't resist wanting to particpate.  Great contest psychology.

Good comments, thanks.  
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KC9ATJ
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Posts: 88




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« Reply #12 on: May 14, 2009, 05:39:40 PM »

I don't know if anybody else has ever had this happen, but I remember a contact that I had (I don't remember if it was a contest or not), but they had given me a 57 or so on the air.  When I got my QSL card from them, it stated I had a 59.

KC9ATJ
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K0OD
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Posts: 2578




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« Reply #13 on: May 21, 2009, 07:34:31 AM »

Worth reading again:

"He said the key to winning contests was to attract non-contesters and he felt that the best way to do that was to make it sound like you were having so much fun that they couldn't resist wanting to participate. Great contest psychology."

--
Good advice.

The big guns work almost all the other big guns. Winners in DX tests are determined by who snags the most Euro mobiles and Japanese apartment dwellers, plus Canadian ragchew types on the low bands during broad daylight.

When casually operating, I've handed out Qs to guys only because they've sounded friendly and I've ignored stations who came off as frequency-hog jerks. While everyone uses "59 or 599." I suppose a US station can attract a few more Qs by giving some real indication of his contact's signal strength. Fun to hear a DX station say,  "K0OD 59... nice signal."

I also tend to work stations who sound dazzlingly competent at contesting!  
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VE3CX
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Posts: 44




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« Reply #14 on: May 26, 2009, 11:45:09 AM »

The one thing that has not been mentioned yet is that most folks do NOT send CW by hand anymore.  Rather, their computer sends a preprogrammed string for the exchange.  In a contest where a report is required, everyone just programs in 5NN {and the rest of the exchange}.  To start sending "real" signal reports, I would either have to send the exchange with a paddle, or manually enter it into the keyboard.  More work for no benefit.  Rather - it would make for more work, and end up hurting me in the end...

For folks that do SO2R, while the computer is sending your exchange on one radio, you are listening to the other radio.  Again, to send "real" reports, it would just add to the operator workload and harm your score.

Contesting is about speed and accuracy.  Is it possible to go too fast?  Sure.  Just crank your keyer up to 40 WPM and see how many callers you get.  Instead, speeds seem to hang around the 25-30 WPM mark instead.  More QSO's, more points.

The same thing applies to voice contesting as well.  If you just mutter something representing the exchange, expect to have to repeat several times.  Casual folks hearing this will just keep on dialing past.  So much for saving time.  The key is to contest with a smile.  Its a HOBBY.  Have FUN.  Even if you are serious, it is important to sounds like you are having fun.

59(9) also acts as a control sequence - "pay attention to what follows".  Its important, so pay attention.


The bottom line being - if you want accurate signal reports, and want to try a bunch of different tests - power levels, antenna combinations, etc., find a ragchewer and spend half-an-hour doing tests to your hearts content!  I hear the "hi-fi" folks do it quite often....  Just don't expect to find that on a contest weekend!



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