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Author Topic: How to set up and run a contest?  (Read 8114 times)
WB6RLC
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Posts: 54




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« on: April 11, 2012, 12:57:32 PM »

The club that I belong to has been trying to find ways to get the club name out there. We came up with the idea of sponsoring  a contest. I've worked a few. Some members work them on a regular basis. But how do you go about setting one up? What pit falls should be avoided? I have read lots of rules etc for different contests. It would be a basic kind of contest. Make as many contacts as possible within certain parameters. Nothing fancy. But where does one start?

Thanks in advance.
Glenn
WB6RLC
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K0IZ
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Posts: 738




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« Reply #1 on: April 11, 2012, 07:24:22 PM »

First figure out why anyone would want to enter the contest.  Unless of interest to a reasonable number of hams, the effort will be wasted. 
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N2MG
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« Reply #2 on: April 16, 2012, 03:06:15 PM »

You could support an existing contest by sponsoring one of its awards/plaques.

Mike N2MG
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WB2WIK
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Posts: 20613




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« Reply #3 on: April 16, 2012, 03:26:55 PM »

It usually takes years before a new contest generates worthwhile activity, and there are already hundreds in existence.

I'd recommend doing a Special Event station, instead.  Think of a reason for one ("The 100th Anniversary of Whatchamacallit" or whatever), apply for and receive a special event callsign, and have club members run it.  These actually do generate immediate activity.

In the Palm Springs area, there are lots of homes where famous people lived (Sinatra, Dean Martin, Marilyn Monroe, Liberace, et al) and maybe one of those is celebrating an anniversary or something.  Almost anything can create a "special event."
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K8GU
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« Reply #4 on: April 18, 2012, 05:02:08 AM »

I think you have the horse behind the cart: a contest usually does better if a well-known organization sponsors it.  But, to answer your question, starting a contest is straightforward like throwing a party---make some rules and choose a date, then invite everyone you can, just like the hundreds of other upstart contests out there. Pretty much any date you pick is going to have other parties with more free booze than you can afford, though.

Personally, I like N2MG and WB2WIK's suggestions of supporting an existing contest or doing a special event.  If you support an existing contest, it will definitely get the attention of at least the contesters in your area, especially if you sponsor some official contest awards and then maybe some awards (top HP/LP/QRP/multi scores, working 100/250/500 QSOs, etc) within your club to drum up activity.  I think everyone will have more fun with a friendly internal club competition in an existing event than trying to do it from scratch.  You already have a bunch of people on the air with agreeable rules.  If it's successful, then write up an article for your ARRL section newsletter, QST, eHam, etc, to us all how much fun you had doing it. Good contests for local club support are, probably in descending order, your state/region QSO party, ARRL November Sweepstakes, NCJ North American QSO Parties, or possibly the CQ VHF contest.
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AD6KA
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Posts: 2238




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« Reply #5 on: April 18, 2012, 09:40:59 PM »

Make the contest REALLY DIFFERENT!

I.E. Exchange:
Name of the ugliest dog you've ever owned.
+
Give out four numbers in the Fibonacci Sequence, in reverse order.
+
You sing one bar of your favorite Broadway Musical. 
BUT....The other guy only gets credit if he can NAME that musical! Grin
Ken  AD6KA
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K5END
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Posts: 1309




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« Reply #6 on: April 23, 2012, 05:04:20 AM »

Make the contest REALLY DIFFERENT!

I.E. Exchange:
Name of the ugliest dog you've ever owned.
+
Give out four numbers in the Fibonacci Sequence, in reverse order.
+
You sing one bar of your favorite Broadway Musical. 
BUT....The other guy only gets credit if he can NAME that musical! Grin
Ken  AD6KA

Call it, "The ugly dog Oscar Hammerstein FNCC sprint."
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KG4RUL
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« Reply #7 on: April 23, 2012, 05:56:00 AM »

[.......You sing one bar of your favorite Broadway Musical. 
BUT....The other guy only gets credit if he can NAME that musical! Grin
Ken  AD6KA

That would be broadcasting music which is a no-no in part 97.  Of course if your singing is bad enough, it would not be considered music but a really nasty form of QRM.  HI HI
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K0CBA
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Posts: 302




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« Reply #8 on: April 23, 2012, 08:00:09 AM »

You will need to use standard contesting rules....

1) Run as much power as you can...to hell with that pesky 1500 watt limit nonsense,

2) Run the mic gain wide open at all times.

3) Speech compressors are mandatory and must be run full open at all times. (Extra points for CB type power mics).  
     A good rule of thumb;  if last night's pizza gurgling in your lower intestine isn't going out over the air, you need more compression.

4) NEVER call on an open frequency; always find an ongoing QSO to start calling 'CQ 'test' on top of OR, a minimum of 1 kHz away or 3 kHz if rule #1, #2 and #3 gives you sufficient splatter to wipe them out.

5) No matter if a station can not be heard....take your best guess at the call and of course, tell him he's 5X9!

and ................

6) Learn to talk faster than a tobacco auctioneer who's ass is on fire 'cause what the heck, you're 5X9 too.
 

« Last Edit: April 23, 2012, 08:21:39 AM by K0CBA » Logged
N3QE
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Posts: 2303




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« Reply #9 on: April 23, 2012, 10:28:46 AM »

Rather than start from scratch, maybe set up a field day station, maybe get club members heavily involved in activating some counties during California QSO party, maybe set up a club contest station for the events your members like best (e.g. SS, ARRL DX, etc.)

If there's a local or regional event your club members particularly care about, do a little planning and activate a special event call for it.

Many of the well known clubs do all the above.
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AH6RR
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Posts: 803




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« Reply #10 on: April 23, 2012, 03:47:37 PM »

N2MG has the best way to get your club name out there by sponsoring a Plaque/award. The CQ contests have lots of Hams world wide that enter and if you check each of the contests that CQ has you can find a catagory that does not have a sponsor or in some cases you can create one by working with the contest staff. I would think that a new Plaque offered in the contest would draw a lot of op's wanting to win it. Just MHO.

Roland AH6RR
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K9NW
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Posts: 449




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« Reply #11 on: April 23, 2012, 08:43:09 PM »

Most contests are based on some sort of award program.  For example:  ARRL DX Contest and DXCC, CQ Worldwide DX and CQ WAZ & CQ DX, CQWW WPX and the WPX program, ARRL Sweepstakes and WAS.  A state QSO party typically encourages working all the counties in a state (even if the sponsors of the contest and the award are different.)  You really have to have a reason for someone to want to participate.  Just having an event for everyone to work everyone probably won't cut it for the casual guy just tuning the bands.

Others in this thread have offered some good ideas which may be better suited for what you're trying to accomplish.
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WB6RLC
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Posts: 54




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« Reply #12 on: April 24, 2012, 02:20:55 PM »

Wow, thanks for lots of great input. Some good things to think about.

The club that I belong to is the Desert RATS (Radio Amateur Transmitting Society). We put on a hamfest each year and get good member participation at that. At that time we run a special event station. We don't get very much member participation on that and not a whole lot more on the other end. Meaning, for a few dozen contacts, is it worth the trouble? Yes, it gets our name out there and is good advertising.

We also put on a Field Day station. We usually run 3 stations for the event. Not as many participants as I'd like, especially in the wee hours (so what else is new)?

We are located in Grid DM. Looking at a map, Grid DM is mostly desert...Desert RATS! Some of the grid squares are somewhat rare. Having a DM contest would encourage rovers etc to operate in some of the more rare grid squars and ops would want to work them. How many grid squares in DM can you work in 24 hours? Anyway that is/was the plan.

I like the sponsoring a category idea. Food for thought. I also like the idea of having a club contest run within a major contest. We have a lot of new techs in the club. Having awards for members that operate during the VHF contest would be good. An easy way to get new Hams into contesting.

I know that playing music over the air is a no-no. That is rebroadcasting or playing prerecorded music. Humming a few bars of your favorite show tune? Naw, don't think so. “Soap...soap...soap”. “What are you doing”?.  “Singing a few bars!” (Smothers Brothers c1965).

I've never owned an ugly dog. My neighbor has, but not me.

Thanks everyone.
73
Glenn
WB6RLC

 
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WB2WIK
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Posts: 20613




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« Reply #13 on: April 27, 2012, 10:53:25 AM »



We are located in Grid DM. Looking at a map, Grid DM is mostly desert...Desert RATS! Some of the grid squares are somewhat rare. Having a DM contest would encourage rovers etc to operate in some of the more rare grid squars and ops would want to work them. How many grid squares in DM can you work in 24 hours? Anyway that is/was the plan.

Nobody cares about grid squares on the HF bands; they do count for awards and contest multiplier credits on VHF-UHF-SHF.

You should be in DM13, which isn't the slightest bit rare.  DM12 to your south and DM14 to your north aren't rare, either.  Tons of hams in all those grids, and they're not sought after even by UHF operators.  DM03, believe it or not, is actually much "rarer," because only a bit of it is on land and the rest is in the water.  DM23 to your east is a little bit rare, much less population.

It's possible for rovers to cover a dozen grids in a weekend, easily.  I've done it, in VHF contests, and so have many others.  It's just a lot of driving and burning up lots of gasoline. Wink






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