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Author Topic: Best contesting prefixes and suffixes  (Read 5409 times)
EX_AA5JG
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Posts: 26




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« on: February 17, 2012, 07:32:02 PM »

If you were trying to build a callsign that would get through when your signal is marginal, which of the following prefixes do you think would be best:  KW or NA?  And which suffix would be best: KW, NA or AN?  

Any thoughts will be appreciated.

« Last Edit: March 01, 2012, 08:05:23 AM by AF5CC » Logged
K3AN
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Posts: 787




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« Reply #1 on: February 18, 2012, 07:22:57 PM »

I'd go for the P5 prefix myself. I guarantee the suffix wouldn't matter one bit!   :-)
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N3QE
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Posts: 2360




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« Reply #2 on: February 19, 2012, 05:55:14 PM »

Avoid leading and especially trailing dits. (Look at my call, the hardest part for anyone to copy in noise is the E at the end.)

Best readability comes from having a high dash to dot ratio. Also most duty cycle, most photons out the antenna :-). So... shortest callsign is not always the best. You want a high key down fraction.

(On subject of shortest callsign... EE5E may be the shortest but I'm also sure that it's the most miscopied!!!)

So things like "M", "W", "O", "K", "X" have the best rhythm. I think a standalone T while shorter than all of those is just a little under optimal leaving you hanging if at the end.
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N8TI
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Posts: 115




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« Reply #3 on: February 20, 2012, 09:19:55 PM »

My old call's suffix was "HV.". That did not work well in contests. I agree that dits are hard to pick out at times. So, even though one of the reasons I went with the "TI" suffix was it was short, I have to leave enough space between the T and I to emphasize the I. I like the sound of the AN but I am always amazed how these guys with these longer calls seem to break the pileups. Did my shorter call help?  Yes, compared to my old call, but I think that I could have stayed with the old call and just applied more skill, I would have been just as successful in getting through.

How N8TI
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K3AN
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Posts: 787




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« Reply #4 on: February 21, 2012, 11:40:50 AM »

I think dit letters are indeed hard to pick out. I is often copied as S. I know this because my former 2 x 1 callsign ended with 5I. And H is confused with 5. I frequently copy KH6_ _ as K5B_ _ the first time I hear a Hawaiian callsign in a contest. However, I think the letter "S" is an exception. I'm guessing it's because for most wannabe hams, "S" and "O" were among the first letters they learned, as they had fun sending "SOS" with their code practice oscillators.
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N4KC
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Posts: 288


WWW

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« Reply #5 on: February 28, 2012, 10:04:11 AM »

Interesting thread!  There was a time when we were stuck with whatever the FCC issued us.  My call was WA4BDW.  The B and D were a mess to copy on both CW and SSB, and a callsign beginning and ending in W seemed to confuse people on both modes, too.  That was especially true when the 2 X 2 callsigns came into being.

So, as soon as I could after passing the Extra, I requested N4KC (third choice...back then you listed all the callsigns you wanted and they issued the top one on the list that became available).  KC = "kilocycle," easy to remember!  Except that was about the time that Mr. Hertz began to get his proper recognition.  And to this day, and especially with old-timers, I end up being "K4NC."

Still, the call works most of the time, has a nice rhythm on CW, and if all else fails, "Kilowatt Charlie" seems to break through on SSB.  Now, if I could just keep N4KZ and N4KG off the air!  Those guys, with their big signals and even better operating skills, sure appear to be top-of-mind with DXers when they're trying to pull my puny signal out of the QRM and decipher my fist.

BTW: have you ever seen EE5E's QSL?  It's great.  And I love to hear him on the air.  It's almost musical the way he sends, "Dit, Dit, Di-di-di-di-dit, Dit."

To answer the original question, though, it seems to me the best contest call would one of the "Mickey Mouse" ones: N6MM, for example.

73,

Don N4KC
www.n4kc.com
www.donkeith.com
http://n4kc.blogspot.com
 
 
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W5ESE
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Posts: 550


WWW

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« Reply #6 on: February 29, 2012, 10:02:10 AM »

Avoid leading and especially trailing dits. (Look at my call, the hardest part for anyone to copy in noise is the E at the end.)

I agree with this. Don't ask me how I know.  Undecided

To add insult to injury, on phone, 'ECHO' is sometimes copied as 'TANGO'
under weak signal conditions. Both have an ending 'O' sound at the end.
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K3TN
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Posts: 293


WWW

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« Reply #7 on: March 01, 2012, 03:06:00 AM »

Well, you've laid out these choices: KW5AN, KW5NA, NA5AN, NA5NA

I'm not all that wild about any of them but I would go with NA5NA. It seems almost like a special event call, NA is shorter to send than KW, and the phonetics are better.

73 John K3TN
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John K3TN
N5NA
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Posts: 217




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« Reply #8 on: March 01, 2012, 07:00:02 AM »

Since N5NA is taken  Smiley I think the next best choice would be NA5NA!

73, Alan N5NA
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K5END
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Posts: 1309




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« Reply #9 on: March 02, 2012, 04:01:42 AM »

Since N5NA is taken  Smiley I think the next best choice would be NA5NA!

73, Alan N5NA

Showoff!  Grin

Hey, Alan

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K5END
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Posts: 1309




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« Reply #10 on: March 02, 2012, 04:15:56 AM »

If you were trying to build a callsign that would get through when your signal is marginal, which of the following prefixes do you think would be best:  KW or NA?  And which suffix would be best: KW, NA or AN?  

Any thoughts will be appreciated.



A wise local contesting Elmer told me that CW contesters build up a mental "vocabulary" of call signs heard most often in contests and this helps for faster copy. This could mean that the more you are heard in contests, the more likely someone will copy your call each time, the first time, no matter what it is.

For example, W5ESE's call is actually very easy for me to copy because I expect to hear him in, say, TQP.

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N3QE
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Posts: 2360




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« Reply #11 on: March 02, 2012, 07:33:14 AM »

A wise local contesting Elmer told me that CW contesters build up a mental "vocabulary" of call signs heard most often in contests and this helps for faster copy. This could mean that the more you are heard in contests, the more likely someone will copy your call each time, the first time, no matter what it is.

For example, W5ESE's call is actually very easy for me to copy because I expect to hear him in, say, TQP.

The vocabulary also works at the less than full call level, there are letter combinations that are well known for getting through the noise (even in some case despite some statistical disadvantages like a lot of dits):

ESE's: K1ESE, N2ESE, W1ESE.

OX's: AF4OX, DF9OX, GU4YOX, K7OX, KA9FOX, KD8GOX, N4OX, N7LOX, OX3XR, VE3OX, W4OX.

NA's: DC0NA, HK0NA, K5NA, K5SNA, K6NA, K7INA, N5NA, N8NA, PY2NA, VO1NA, W0NA

MM's: (I don't even bother to list... very common suffix with hundreds of entries in my logs!)

I think many of these patterns like "OX" and "NA" become ligatures, combinations of letters that are more than just letters, they have dits and dahs in very distinctive sounds that our ears key off of way above the dit and dah or even letter level. (For example in any domestic contest whenever I hear N8NA my ears and brains work together to tell me DELAWARE! DELAWARE! one of the less common mults)
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