Randy once again brings up the concept of trying to reduce contest time from
48 hours to something a bit more reasonable. It's an old and familiar
subject; I think, Randy, you first started talking about it about 10 years
ago or so, and if logic were to follow it's course, you're probably 10 years
older by now.
(What's ironic to me is that Randy was also one of the first ones to
characterize that stretch from October through the end of the year as "the
But Randy does make his case very eloquently once again, and I understand
and respect his viewpoint. I also disagree with it, but you can't have
On this one, I have to come down on the same side as K1ZM, for the most
part. The rules are, it's a 48 hour contest. If you want to win the contest,
you play by the rules--don't whine, do the time. If you're not able to put
in a 48 hour effort single-op, well, then, you're not going to be
competitive. Pavarotti just finally got the hint and retired...if you don't
have the physical endurance to sit and operate for that long, then you can
either accept the fact (gracefully or not), or you can rage against the
unfair nature which dictates somethings will get harder as you get older,
and if there was any justice in the world, you'd win every contest you
wanted to (and I hear a *lot* of that these days, just in different words).
Others make the other valid point of the possibility of propagation wiping
out a 24 hour period. I know I've said this before, but a 24 hour contest is
much more difficult for "Casual Participants", especially in DX contests.
Let's face it--we get a lot of our scores from ops who just get on, work a
couple of hours, and go back to their regularly scheduled lives. In fact,
the trick to winning any contest is how many of those "small operators" who
get on and work three or four stations you work, that no one else does. When
I used to check logs, and eastern Europe was still what it was, you'd see
this time after time--someone would get on, tune the bottom of the band,
work three or four, and shut down. We want to have the contest running when
they turn the rigs on.
My second objection to the concept of shortening the 48 period also concerns
the casual operator. If a rare station comes on the air in a contest, you've
generally got two choices. You can jump into the pileup with both feet and
work it now, because you might never hear it on that band again; or you can
try again the next day when propagation runs around again. In the case of
the former, the numbers of "True contesters" (and you know who you are) are
going to make it pretty difficult for Joe Weekend Ham Hunting for DXCC to
crack a pileup with an old TS-940, 100W, and a vertical in the back yard.
No, *not* impossible. But a lot harder; and a lot more frustrating.
So to summarize:
If you can't do the full weekend, you might not win. There's nothing wrong
with not winning. Nor is there anything wrong with admitting you're getting
old. If you can only operate 33 hours, then just go with it.
Going to 24 hours presents propagation risk which could wipe it out.
Contests are for the little guns, too. It is those little guns which become
the chum we sharks consume as we patrol our personal oceans of airwaves. If
you kill off the incentives for them, we're going to get to a point where we
all work each other the first two hours, and then sit around the shack
hitting the F1 key and drinking coffee.
With Malice Towards None,
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