[I'm posting this to the reflector because I would like to read others
unfiltered remarks.] -- Eric K3NA eric.L.firstname.lastname@example.org
Hi John -- Here is my survey response. (I'll never remember what I've said by
the time this gets into print - hi!)
1994 CQ Magazine Contest Survey
Your Callsign (optional):
Contesting Experience (years):
27 years. wow, I never thought about it: what a large number this seems. Of
course I was only 15 when I started, so 27 years back then seemed like
1) Do you favor the concept of limiting contest operation to
portions of bands, thus creating "contest-free" operating
First, on 80% of the weekends the contests that are on the bands are
relatively smaller affairs which do not consumed the whole band.
For the 8-10 weekends a year when the big contests take up the bands, there
are already too many participants to be accomodated on the bands when they are
open (except maybe 10m). Furthermore, on almost all of these weekends, the
contest is a single-mode affair, so even the non-WARC bands are available for
non-contesters who can operate the mode switch on their radio. In other
words, on nearly 90% of the weekends, any one particular mode+band combination
will be relatively free of contest operations
The WARC bands are already treated as contest-free zones.
The combination of these two factors seems like an adequate workaround for the
ever-growing amateur HF population on these weekends.
On a major contest weekend, there are a lot of hams playing the contest game.
Each of them has an equal "right" to use a frequency with everyone else,
contester and non-contester alike. Yes, the band population is much larger
than on the other 80% of the weekends of the year.
2) Who would you recommend should be the next inductee into the
CQ Contest Hall of Fame?
What are the criteria? (Can you include this when the survey is printed?) I
assume you are looking for someone who has done more than just make a million
QSOs in contests, but has added something to the state of the art.
K1EA -- for being the first to make computers an integral part of the
W3LPL -- antenna designs, introducing bandpass filters and pi-L amplifier
tuning networks to control inter-station interference, bringing more rigor
into station design (one of many), consistent top performance as a contester
K5ZD -- growing the NCJ and making the conversion from an adhoc 'zine to its
present robust format and schedule. maybe this is not sufficiently
international, but it was a major investment in the contest community.
W6QHS -- adding engineering rigor to mechanical design of yagis.
3) What do you predict the winning CQWW scores will be in the
year 2000 for the following categories:
Single Operator/USA SSB
Single Operator/World SSB
Single Operator/USA CW
Single Operator/World CW
no opinion. fun to speculate, tho. the answer will depend on decisions taken
on items like the following.
4) Do you support the elimination of the traditional 59/599
portion of contest exchanges in favor of more meaningful
YES. 59/599 is just a boring time-wasting 'synchronization' pattern. Let's
dump it or put something else in its place that would be more fun. 59/5NN is
5) Should the single operator category:
A) Be limited to using only one radio?
Absolutely do NOT limit to "one radio" -- whatever that is. Now that
computers have eliminated much of the time-consuming paperwork maintenance
during the contest, single op is actually BORING when done with only one
radio. If this restriction was imposed, I might just be ornery and do it
anyhow, submitting my logs clearly marked and let the contest sponsors decide
what to do with it. This is part of the FUN quotient for me.
Secondly, the definition of "one radio" will be very difficult to make and
enforce. Is an FT-1000 "one radio" when it has two receiver sections? What
about something that I homebrew that contains two receivers and a single agile
transmitter? This means, that the definition of "one radio" actually would
most likely be cast as a limitation in band-changes for single ops. This will
have a serious impact on tactics such as the quick scan of 160m or 10m when
propagation is marginal... which will limit the ability of single ops to
constantly check for fluky Es and other openings on marginal bands in the
middle of the night or depths of the sunspot cycle. That means that
propagation-savy contesters will lose an incentive to be propagation-savy
(bad, in my opinion) and multiplier=passing by single ops will diminish (also
bad for the FUN factor).
B) Be allowed to use packet spotting? YES NO
NO packet spotting in the single op "unassisted" category. Packet spotting
networks are NOT universally available, even within a single award-district
(e.g., not all locations in Germany have good access to a packet cluster
network, for instance).
The present assisted/unassisted is an adequate solution that allows people to
play the contesting game with packet spots, as well as play the contesting
game using only what they themselves individually discover on the bands.
6) What was your first contest operation?
1967 SS CW as WN2CAL. I won my section in the Novice calls, too, with a very
measly score... mostly by default.
7) How did you become interested in contest operating (circle all
D) Magazine -- saw the SS rules in QST, saw that there was a Novice award, and
decided to try to win it for Western New York section.
8) At what age did you start operating contests?
15 years old.
9) Do contests still have the same appeal for you that they did
when you began?
Absolutely YES! I wish I had the time to do more, and to build/maintain a
better station. But I need to work for a living, and I also need to have a
social life (the curse and blessing of being single).
10) As a contest operator, what feature(s) would you like to see
in the next generation transceiver?
#1 -- better front end performance in the receiver.
#2 -- quiet synthesizers with much lower spur/trash factors.
#3 -- better reliability; e.g., thru a combination of maximizing digital
signal processing for ALL the bells and whistles, and minimizing the
complexity of the design (component counts, etc).
#4 -- much better audio sections: hi-fi distortion-free with plenty of margin
in the audio driver amps.
#5 -- modularity: ability to swap out cards or software in order to upgrade
the transceiver to contain additional features or better performance. An
objective for a manufacturer's family of radios would be:
a) same chassis frame work
b) drop in power supply
c) drop in receiver front ends, at various price-performance levels
d) drop in digital section(s) or software, with various feature sets
e) drop in direct-digital-synthesis transmitter, where the synthesizer
creates the modulated signal directly (no analog modulators, speech
f) slots for after-market drop-ins: e.g., digital voice keyers, more
DSProcessors (feeding off the original digital bit stream, not a re-digitized
11) Are you in favor of limiting transmitter output power to 100
watts for domestic contests?
NO. For many people higher transmitter powers are necessary to overcome
antenna limitations on the lower frequency bands.
12) If you had the power to change one and only one aspect of
contesting, what would you recommend?
Hmmm.... Here was my first "quickie" answer: "Quicker turnaround of results.
This is about the only competitive sport or hobby, where the results are not
known until months (or a year) after the end of the event. We are NOT making
use of our abilities as a communicating hobby."
But, upon reflection, while that is helpful, I think it is too tactical and
inwardly focused. Here is something that, to me, is a more serious,
long-term/strategically important matter:
" Not enough young people are trying this game and finding it fun. There are
very serious barriers to entry for young people:
-- we, as a community, are not reaching out to incorporate young people
into the game.
-- building even an "average" contest station (e.g., good tribander, 2-el
on 40, and dipoles on 80 and 160m with 1.5 kW) is becoming more and more
difficult in the USA. Real estate restrictions are the major barriers even
for professionally employed adults, let alone teens and college-age
There could be many solutions to incentivize contesters to seek out and
include young people in their operations. We should do this, in order to
establish both a broader base of support within amateur radio and to ensure
the longevity of this part of the hobby."
13) In a few words, how does your spouse really feel about your
interest in contest operating (Ladies--feel free to answer
this question personally!)?
Problem #1 -- You are assuming that all spouses of contesters are ladies.
There ARE women contesters who happen to have men for spouses, too! K1AR
score for cultural awareness: minus 10!
Actually, since I don't have a spouse, I can't offer you any answers. (Or
maybe the lack of a spouse is, in itself, one answer! *chuckle*)
(use extra sheets if necessary)
Return your survey responses to:
John Dorr, K1AR
1994 Contest Survey
c/o CQ Communications, 76 N. Broadway, Hicksville, NY 11801
Deadline: November 30, 1994
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>From Trey Garlough <GARLOUGH@TGV.COM> Wed Jul 13 23:35:29 1994
From: Trey Garlough <GARLOUGH@TGV.COM> (Trey Garlough)
> Well, John, if thats how everyone feels then I must be from another planet.
> Because the folks I talk to think it *is* an issue that is worthy of
> discussion, albeit there is no known cure for the problem. Even the
> FCC couldn't stop a notorious W2 hi power op from abusing the
> priveleges of his license.
Whatever. Seldom are the high power are winners, so it isn't much of
an issue. Sometimes these guys make the top ten, but typically the other
guys in the top ten are cognizant of who the gassers are, and they apply a
mental filter to the results. Once in a while a gasser wins and gets a
trophy for his effort, but the victory is hollow and the true winners know
who they are.
>From Trey Garlough <GARLOUGH@TGV.COM> Wed Jul 13 23:37:08 1994
From: Trey Garlough <GARLOUGH@TGV.COM> (Trey Garlough)
Subject: w5wmu power
> Although W5WMU may be using more than 1500W, it is certainly possible
> that he is using aluminum and location instead of or in addition to
No one denies that W5WMU has great antennas.
> [stuff about amplifiers omitted]
> (These power levels are only available with 3 phase service entrances.]
You are getting into the ballpark now.