The other point to this that Richard doesn't touch on is this: if you choose
a hard name and make it hard to copy, with fills and so on, then you are
disadvantaging yourself for every QSO you make.
You are only disadvantaging the other guy for a maximum of five QSOs (once
Net result, defensive strategy fails.
----- Original Message -----
From: "Richard Ferch" <email@example.com>
Sent: Sunday, January 19, 2003 7:43 AM
Subject: [CQ-Contest] Re: NAQP name handicap experiment
> On Sat, 18 Jan 2003 at 09:34:28, Matt said:
> > I could be wrong, but I believe using hard names was born out of a
> > to use "defense" instead of just "offense" in the realm of contesting.
> > Most contest operators use an offensive strategy primarily. That is to
> > the operator marches the ball down the field and increases his score by
> > running stations or S&Ping. The operator doesn't really have a whole lot
> > do with what his competition is doing. However, by using a hard name, it
> > actually does slow down the copying station and therefore can be seen as
> > defensive strategy.
> And the point of the brief analysis in my previous post was to point out
> that any such "defensive" technique is counter-productive, i.e. over the
> duration of a contest it can hurt your own score a lot more than it hurts
> your competition's scores.
> Radio contesting is an unusual form of competition, in that unlike most
> competitions your own success is critically dependent on cooperation with
> the opposition. This cooperation is not merely passive (both following an
> agreed-upon set of rules), but active (trying to complete a mutual
> communication correctly). You won't win at tennis if you always hit the
> to the other guy's strength, but in radio contesting that is exactly what
> you must do.
> According to the rules for the NAQP, both stations must correctly copy and
> log the exchange for it to be valid. In other words, you are depending on
> the other guy not only to send you his information but also to receive
> and to enter it correctly into his log. If you make his job harder, you
> also making it harder to complete your QSO as described in the rules.
> So in working out your strategy and tactics you must take into account the
> needs of your opponents. You make decisions on things like CW speed and
> often you send your callsign or repeat your exchange based not only on how
> long it takes you to send them but also on how hard it will be for the
> guy to copy.
> The element of humour may indeed enter here. A funny name may be less
> to cause confusion than some real ones (Eric vs. Ric vs. Rich vs. Rick vs.
> Dick), and be more memorable for the QSO on the next band, not to mention
> making the event more enjoyable for all. It may even lead to contests
> the contest (did anyone achieve Worked All Chads a couple of years ago?
> about 5BWAChads?). But this is not a "defensive" strategy, it's a
> cooperative one.
> Likewise, you don't try to make it hard for the opposition by operating on
> 160 only during daylight hours and on 10 only at night. Indeed, in entry
> classes which permit it, you even want your exact operating frequency to
> available to your opposition via means such as the DX cluster.
> The cooperative vs. individual aspect extends further, as shown by the
> on spotting. It's considered acceptable if other contestants post your
> sign and frequency cooperatively, but unacceptable if you do so yourself
> by asking someone to do so (self-spotting) except when you give out your
> information directly to another station during a two-way communication
> (passing mults to other bands).
> I would suggest that this is the real reason for opposition to BEACONet.
> appears to be a self-broadcast of information about your operation instead
> of a cooperative unprompted posting of this information by another
> Therefore it appears to be outside the spirit and intent of the rule on
> self-spotting, hence the ARRL's ruling.
> To return to the defensive vs. offensive theme: To get the highest score
> shouldn't conceal your call sign or send the exchange as fast as possible
> with the deliberate intent of making it hard for others to copy. You
> send them just often enough to maximize the chances of correct copy with a
> minimum of repeats. Depending on how often you get asked for repeats
> depends on the strength of your signal, band conditions, etc.), you may
> decide to send your call sign or exchange twice or more so as to minimize
> the number of fills.
> This even extends to the details of how you send the exchange. This is
> obvious in RTTY, where you should design your message buffers so that your
> call sign and exchange are both preceded and followed by spaces in order
> that the other guy's software can pick them out of the incoming data.
> In the RTTY exchange, in terms of raw speed 599005 is faster to send than
> 599-005 or 599/005 , which in turn are faster than 599 005 assuming the
> standard unshift-on-space. However, the fastest choice makes it more
> difficult for the other guy's software to pick out the serial number (no
> delimiters), so it is actually least effective. In fact, under noisy
> conditions the slowest option ( 599 005 ) may well be best, because it
> includes a bit of redundant information (a second FIGS character) which
> reduce the rate of FIGS vs. LTRS case errors.
> I would even suggest that this cooperative element is a reason why most
> contests include the meaningless RST in the exchange. It is easier for the
> brain to recognize a two-element exchange than a one-element exchange,
> particularly if the first element is completely predictable. The 5NN or 59
> is mainly there as a synchronizing element to help the other guy to get
> ready for the serial number or whatever that follows. And this in turn
> explain why everyone sends 599 instead of a real report. It is, of course,
> because that is easiest for the other guy to copy and therefore the best
> cooperative strategy.
> Evidently I have nothing better to do this weekend. Or rather, I find this
> more interesting than the tasks I am avoiding. I'd better extend the
> cooperative theme to my family and job too!
> Rich VE3IAY
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