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People's State of Contesting

Subject: People's State of Contesting
From: len@ariel.coe.northeastern.edu (Leonard Kay)
Date: Wed Jun 9 14:40:00 1993
OK, OK, I've been following the equalization discussion since
it started.... I wasn't going to jump in, as I wasn't sure I had
anything new to add... But my blood pressure has been rising :-).

First off, I'm a little pistol. Quite little. Barefoot + dipole farm.
BUT I've happily been contesting for 15 years, and fairly consistently.
I find my own strategies to the competition question. I'm lucky to 
have had club stations at my disposal. I guest op at big guns. I scheme
over what single-op category (and what contests) to enter to maximize my

The first post that got my goat was KR2J's suggestion (sorry, Bob)
that MASTER.DAT (for CT) should NOT contain exchanges, or grid squares if it
went to that. Geez, why should MASTER.DAT exist at all? Why shouldn't we
ban computer logging? After all, we're trying to test operator skill, right? 
Isn't ability to manually dupe a true test of an A-1 OP? Sheesh, why not
go back to crystal-control? Come on, guys..... if it helps, use it. Every
advantage counts. Even exchanges in MASTER.DAT. 

Then Scott, K9MA lamented about no room to call CQ in between the big guns.
I don't know what bands he's operating, but I always can find a spare kHz
somewhere, even if it's at 14.055. I can call CQ just fine, and if the band's
open, I can get a decent rate (not enough to win, maybe, but enough to keep
me from going to S/P mode). In fact, I have a trick or two I won't divulge

Tom, WB4IUX seems to share my philosophy. If you have the resources to
be a top gun, GREAT! If you don't, then:

     (1) Accept it, compete against friends, set your own goals
     (2) Find a big multi-op to join
     (3) Guest op at a friend's

but above all, STOP WHINING! Life is not equal, and neither is contesting!
THAT'S THE POINT! Let's not turn contesting into one of these (I'm being
extreme here to make a point) no-competition, everybody-wins deals like
what seems to be the rage in grade schools these days. If you have the
burning desire to see your name in the Top Ten box, then I'm afraid I have a
dose of reality for you: Become a BIG GUN. Period. (or guest-single-op 

I *am* a strong proponent of participatory incentives - Sweepstakes pins,
CQWW toothbrushes (tnx Derek), certificates for 200 QSO's, etc. We *do* need
to attract new contesters all the time, and many hams would be prouder of a 
baseball cap studded with 15 or 20 SS pins than one top score certificate. And
seeing your name in QST or CQ boosts one's ego as well. But I don't think I'd 
want to become involved with a competitive hobby if I found out that winning
an event didn't mean a whole lot. Let's not confuse encouragement of 
participation with proliferation of winners.

If - if - we really want *any* sort of rating/handicap/whatever, I think the
'Category 1-4' thing is a good way to go. But I say, 'if'.

OK, I'll shut up now, and sit back and take what's coming to me... :-)

Len KB2R (most recently, op at WZ1R m/m WPX)

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