Fellow contesters -
Tree's remarks below need to be included in one of the updated chapters
about single-op competition in the contester's cookbook.....
We all have looked for advantages in the overall competitive spirit of
contesting. I first got the hint when Chip (K6JA)went down to Pedro's
(NP4A, then KP4RF). Yes, it is a 2-point country, but he won CQWW CW and SS
phone that year. Perhaps there was an element of surprise in his doing this
that gave him a little more advantage. We all knew Pedro as a phone op
...KP4AST at the time: "Atlantic Standard Time". This was a CW first for
him. Pedro invited me the following year so I had first hand knowledge of
what it takes. We won SS but came in 2nd in CQWW. The game was up....it
was time for contesters to find that location advantage and search they did!
However, clear knowledge of the mutual goals with the host of a superstation
ahead of time is part of the overall advantage buildup. Guest operating
takes the location advantage to the top, but knowledge of your own skills
and ability to set up the ideal station hardware at a moment's notice is to
I also recognize your point in station familiarity. N2IC is my benchmark.
Steve's two broadside towers and stacked beams in mid-USA is a dynamite
combination for SS, as he has demonstrated in the past. He once invited me
to do exactly that, so he could run up to Wyoming and guest op. Maybe he
wanted to compare operating skills and witness from a remote location what
his station can do by someone else. I was honored to be chosen as his
student. Certainly he had proven that the station advantage was there.
However, I failed him because he stomped me. Why did this happen? It was
I had never used his two ICOM radios. I should have brought my
FT-1000's because of familiarity with the functions..
I did not spend enough time in advance going over the station with Steve
to learn all the seamless antenna switching functions well enough.
I had not trained in SO2R, thus my ears were not prepared for the
elegance of this tool.
My multi-tasking skills have slowed, due to my physical aging factor.
Winning SS takes a great amount of preparation ahead of time. It was an
extremely great honor to be invited to Gordon Marshall's superstation, W6RR,
to do SS CW from there for the first time. He had me visit his station
several weeks ahead of the event and set it up just so I could be
comfortable with operating. We went over the antenna switching over and
over and over. I thought he was being overbearing at times about this.
What he wanted to assure me was that RF always got to the right place. In
those days, we didn't have computer switching. Relay boxes were high
maintenance if abused. His diligence worked. It is tough to win SS from
6-land, but it can be done. I would love to hear from Lew Gordon (K4VX)
about his Elmering Jeff (N5TJ) to the top of current world-class
competition. There was a glow in his eyes when Jeff came up to him after
WTRC 2002 and simply said "Thanks, Boss".
Winning CQWW puts location at the apex of the advantages. HC8, EA8, PY0,
C4, etc. are all great 3-point locations. You must have a great location to
win this one. Station preparation requires the additional skill of being a
DX-peditioner. Jim Neiger (N6TJ) and many others do this every year. And
what about the "flying Finns"....they know the location and pre-contest
preparation as a science in their repertoire.
What we all frown on is "bending the rules". Innovation within the rules is
cool stuff. It has helped enhance the challenge within all of us. I have
no patience for the complainers that keep crying about this or that minor
issue in contesting. Frankly, I applaud all contest sponsors and elmers for
tolerating us mavericks. It is still the magic of radio that keeps the
spark alive. Competition simply adds to the thrill!
----- Original Message -----
From: "Tree" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Sent: Friday, January 24, 2003 1:57 PM
Subject: [CQ-Contest] Advantages - guest ops - Puerto Rico and 2 point rules
> Fellow contesters.
> Well - I think everyone who has beaten me in all of the contests I have
> operated has had an advantage. In that CD party when WA2UOO/KP4 showed up
> was on 10 meters working EVERYONE, when everyone else only had one QSO on
> the band - he won because he had an advantage.
> When K5RC beat me by one half of a QSO in the NAQP CW 4 or 5 years ago -
> clearly was because he had an advantage (although I am hard pressed to
> you exactly what it was - since after all, it was only worth one QSO).
> When K7NHV beat me in the Bicentennial contest, he had an advantage
> he could run Europeans all night long at over 100/hour.
> When N6RO beat me in that CD Party when I was operating at W6DGH, he might
> of had an advantage because of the experienced gained winning contests
> longer than I was alive. Oh yeah, did I mention that I was using a bug
> had to manually tune my transmitter frequency using a KWS-1?
> Furthermore - I submit that KE3Q has an advantage over me in the SS CW -
> even when I am at W5WMU.
> It also seems that those four people who beat me in the 1993 CQ WW CW when
> was at TI1C had an advantage over me (mostly because I was in a "two
> point country" - but I think I knew that before I went down). This is one
> of the pinnacles of my contesting career - and I know how to divide by 2.4
> and multiply by 2.9 in my head now.
> Finally, I think I have advantages over most everyone in the upcoming CW
> Sprint. Here is a list of them:
> 1. I am using a station I am "at one with". This involves a lot of
> not the least of which is writing "my own" logging software. For some
> reason, my logging software works EXACTLY the way my brain works. This is
> COMPETITIVE advantage for me in many contest situations. If you wish to
> overcome this advantage, you will either need to make your brain work like
> one of the existing programs, or spend 10 years perfecting your own
> 2. I have a big station that can operate effectively on any two bands with
> competitive signal on all bands. This involves years of experimentation
> with different antennas and the investment of 3 towers on 14 acres. You
> could go to a big station (like W7RM) and probably be just a loud (or
> a little louder), but you would also need to understand how they work and
> what is possible. A full sized 3-element 40 at 105 feet was the latest
> addition to this arsenal. A 4-square on 80 might be next. You say you
> don't have room for this? Advantage to me - but I would love to have your
> commute time to work.
> 3. I have worked about 43 Sprints and know the contest inside out. This
> an advantage - and it is easy to figure out how you can match it (I just
> wish N6MJ wasn't figuring it out quite so fast however).
> 4. Being in Oregon turns out to be an advantage in this contest. So does
> being in Texas, but in February, Oregon can be an advantage more of the
> time. It depends on conditions - the wild card that makes each contest
> unique. The September CW Sprint played very differently because of them
> (see the writeup at http://www.ncjweb.com/).
> 5. Luckily for me, at the "advanced" age of 48, I still have reasonable
> control over my motor functions and can even still send some CW with a
> paddle when required.
> 6. I have considered, and even recently tried, using a "bigger" station
> mine in the sprint. I think conditions threw a curve ball at me, but it
> a lot of work to go and set up a station that I could be "at one" with.
> Using my home station is an advantage for me in this contest. It would be
> fun to operate the Sprint from places like KL7 and VE6, but I don't think
> would be as competitive as I can be at home. Louisiana? It is a neat
> to get away for a weekend and just focus on radio. It is one of the more
> relaxing weekends of my busy year. True, it does work out to be an
> advantage as well (in the SS) - but back in '84, I think I could have won
> that contest from Oregon if I would have taught myself how to do two
> I missed that opportunity because I didn't train myself to make that an
> In summary, some advantages are very easy to understand and some you can
> even do something about. Focus on those you can do something about.
> worry about the ones you can't. Play hard, do the best you can and use
> yourself as a measuring stick of your success. Thousands of you do this
> already and enjoy the experience even though you know you don't have a
> chance of "winning". You are the uncelebrated heros that make contesting
> work. Without you, there wouldn't be anyone for us egomaniacs to work.
> Winning = Preparation + Opportunity
> Opportunity is a function of conditions - however, if you are really
> prepared, sometimes you can overcome them. In the meantime, I'll be busy
> preparing so that I have as many advantages as possible over W7TTT so that
> he will NEVER beat me again in a contest. I would say that silly callsign
> Tom got will more than make up for whatever advantage he had on me in
> NAQP contest.
> 73 Tree N6TR / K7RAT
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