AA8IA Amateur Radio

Archive for March, 2011

How I wish I were a rare DX station in a contest

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If I were operating from a rare DX location in a contest, the first thing I would do is make sure my exchanges are nice and wordy… I’d personalize things a bit more than the typical contester. I’d have the software automatically look up the name of the station I’m working and the macro would send them a greeting, give them my name, tell them about the weather at my DX location, and then repeat the required exchange ingredients twice. I’d also make an extra effort to respond to the weakest signal that I could reliably copy. The stations with stacked antennae and 1.5 KW wouldn’t be guaranteed priority service. Doesn’t matter though. Everybody wants to work the rare DX mult.

Why would I do this? Because I could. Let’s face it, when you’re rare DX in a contest, everybody’s ears [and eyes, in RTTY] are on you. You could seriously ruin the rate of a contester in about 30 seconds. So many contesters are so concerned about improving their rate, because improving rate will typically improve score. I can’t fault them for that. We all want to see our callsigns in the top ten [or better] on the 3830 reflector. But, in the quest for the best rate some contesters give up contest ethics and common decency, becoming rude and omitting crucial exchange information.

Unlike typical DX, who shorten things up by not providing their call very frequently because they are in a pileup and need to maintain efficiency, I’d be sure and ID after every Q. Imagine, actually giving the people who are trying to work you a fighting chance by giving them your callsign before they work you. Heck, it’d also save me some trouble because once somebody spotted my call incorrectly on the cluster, the station just tuning in as a result of that spot could quickly determine what my true call was and wouldn’t waste everyone’s collective time making an invalid contact with the wrong callsign in the log.

I’d also make sure I’d work only the last 5% of the contest period. All the contesters who have a chance at a top 10 spot would be frothing at the mouth looking for just one more elusive multiplier. And, a Q with me could easily increase their score by thousands of points.

Just the thought of being able to throw off the rate of the fanatics makes me giddy like a schoolgirl. I could actually be the difference between somebody getting the #1 slot and the #2 slot.

Written by Mike

March 23rd, 2011 at 2:12 pm

Posted in Contesting,DX

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ATTN: RTTY Contest Ops

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I”m growing more and more fond of RTTY the more I work this mode. I really have a lot of fun in the contests. If you are a RTTY op who has worked me in a contest before, you likely have noticed that my exchanges haven’t been very brief and in fact have been quite lengthy at times. I do promise to attempt to shorten up the exchanges.

With that said, there is one thing I will not do. I will NOT omit items that the contest sponsor specifies as requirements in the contest. I’ll give you an example…

In the BARTG RTTY contest [starting tonight], the exchange is supposed to be:

RST SERIAL_NUMBER GMT_TIME ( ex: 599 001 2359 )

I will not omit 599 simply because everyone sends 599 and it can be presumed that 599 will be sent.

In a contest that specifies that the callsign[s] be sent as part of the exchange, I will not omit callsigns. Rules are rules. I feel that anyone who attempts to omit items from the exchange when the contest rules clearly state that they are required is doing everyone a disservice by claiming a Q that didn’t meet the smell test.

On the other hand, if the rules state that the exchange only consists of an RST, then an RST may be all that you get from me unless I need verification of your call/exchange or you need verification of mine.

I know, contesters in general want to make everything as short as possible in order to achieve the highest rate possible. But the idea shouldn’t be to merely achieve the highest rate possible but rather to achieve the highest rate possible in that particular contest within the constraints of the rules of that contest. If you want to omit items that clearly are required items per the rules, you’re cheating. Really, you’re cheating.

Now that the rant is out of the way, let me say that I to hear you and work you in the contest this weekend. My 65w and low wires should provide enough fun. BARTG is great because anyone can work anyone for points… nobody is excluded!

Written by Mike

March 18th, 2011 at 4:22 pm

Posted in Contesting

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