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[CQ-Contest] Low Bands operating skills (longish)

Subject: [CQ-Contest] Low Bands operating skills (longish)
From: luther@mail.mdt.net.au (Martin Luther)
Date: Tue Oct 29 01:49:34 2002
Following CQWW Phone I have a few ideas and suggestions. This is not for the
rate kings/queens on the equatorial islands but for those of us struggling
with more normal locations!

There are clearly some operations that are skill deficient. One European
Multi is a joke with me. They are consistently over nine here on 40, at
times 40db ove, and I almost never work them! This year I allocated them,
their usual 2 minutes especially after an impassioned plea from their
20meter op.

They knew I was there. They managed to get VK, 5, G and N at various times.
They also had access to a super check partial database because they started
to guess at VK calls that I know have been active in contests.

Let me start with the last point. The super check was just giving them all
and any calls from previous contests, No sorting was done as some of their
guesses were calls that I know only operate in one or two contests each year
and not usually in CQWW. The first job is to get a usefull SCP file. For an
active station like the one mentioned they can create their own from their
past logs. They could take their previous logs for this contest and then
look for anyone who has appeared in more than four contacts biased towards
recent years. That way you mainly get the regulars.

If there were the programming skills it would be useful to be able to call
up a second level of SCP that can be tailored for a particular problem!

Put simply if the operator had the basics of my call he should have been
able to complete the QSO. There are no VK5 stations, or even no phone VK
stations that are more active in contests.

Another technique I use to try and get the weak ones in the noise is to
create a little jigsaw puzzle. I still use pencil and paper for notes....(I
have been computer literate since 1970 so I am well aware of the strengths
and LIMITATIONS of computers HiHi.....). It works this way.

I hear a signal under the pile. It is distinctive and definitely there but
very difficult to read. I get one letter, say a G, I put that into a box I
draw on the paper. As It keeps on I get a 5 so that goes in the box randomly
so there is no apparent pattern to the already existing G. Later I get a Z
and then GN. I put them in the box again. As the G is in two places I put a
line through the single G. Eventually it makes some sense and I call the
guy. It is not always right but it often gets me within one letter of a
correct call. The rhythm of the sounds helps to collect the letters in the
box into a complete call. It is harder to describe than to do.

On 160 I was calling an LY and he came back and asked me to give only my
prefix a few times. Once he had that he knew which was his best receive
antenna and we soon completed the QSO. A technique I will add to me skills

An EUxx station also on 160 failed to complete the QSO because he got
fixated on the wrong error. He got me as VK3GN and as I tried to get across
the 5 he varied it to VK3GNZ and thereafter he kept varying the last letter.
Very frustrating for us both and we never completed the QSO. I suspect the
letters in the box technique may have helped him to keep away from the
fixation on one pattern. Just listening to the rhythm tells you that it is
xxnxx not xxnxxx.

Finally I wonder why stations on 40, like the European multi I mentioned
first just keep calling and calling. They are not getting rate and they are
not working the rare ones because they create too much QRM.

It IS possible to hear, there are other European stations that regularly
hear my signal through the noise at their end.

I accept that my 40 meter antenna is still sub standard for the rest of my
station and that is the next work to do. However, at best I will only add a
few db's to my signal. That will not be enough without extra good operating
at the other end!

Any one else got any ideas for operating in the noisy low bands? (On the
Saturday I was getting static levels above 9 even on the Beverages!)


Martin VK5GN

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