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RE: [CQ-Contest] Splqdecripity

To: "Bob Gates" <regates@kingwoodcable.com>,"cq-contest" <cq-contest@contesting.com>
Subject: RE: [CQ-Contest] Splqdecripity
From: "Hanlon, Steve" <SHanlon@dnr.state.md.us>
Date: Tue, 16 Mar 2004 07:43:47 -0500
List-post: <mailto:cq-contest@contesting.com>
> Hoping to "hear" from someone with listening tips.

my first phone contest blew me away.  not only were they talking fast, but i 
couldn't understand sideband.  it was as if beings from another planet were 
talking.  i was supposed to copy the callsign, serial number, check number, sig 
report, and section from this seemingly garbled mess of sounds. 

that was back in Novmber for SweepStakes, and this was my first exposure 
contest, and to be honest my first time listening to the HF bands.  i had heard 
sideband before, but not like this - splatter, weak signals, QSB, QRM - it was 
all there.  and the speed at which people talked.  whoa!

i took a back seat and concentrated to understanding the exchange and the 
callsigns.  after listening to the op a few times, and after a few hours of 
listening to a few hundred qso's, i was able to understand what was being said, 
for the most part.  there was still the issue of QSB and QRM.  

i had a hard time with some of the callsigns in the DX SSB contest, but for the 
most part, i was able to understand - i think.  i did not use packet spotting, 
but i realize that would have helped my overall score in the end.  next year 
i'll be using that "crutch."

as for tips to get up tp speed (no pun intended), i suggest just listening to 
the bands and finding a pileup on some DX station on 17m or 15m.  there seems 
to be enough action there to get a few hours of listening a week.  and if you 
get the guy in Iraq, it will be a bonus!  just listen to the op work the pileup 
and try to write down ALL the callsigns of the stations the DX works.  you'll 
get a sense of the accents if they have one and also a sense of the various 
methods used to work the pileup.

with that said, i noticed during the 160m SSB contest i was talking very fast.  
i caught myself going a little too fast for some ops, but once i realized as i 
worked the pileup, i got faster and faster, i made a mental note to slow down.  
maybe there is a parallel to thinning the pileup on CW bby working faster and 
faster - maybe not.

so, with all that, just get on and listen for pileups.  copy the callsigns of 
the stations the DX works, and just have fun.

-steve hanlon
    The world's top contesters battle it out in Finland!
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