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Re: [CQ-Contest] Contesting Extinction

To: "CQ Contest Reflector" <cq-contest@contesting.com>
Subject: Re: [CQ-Contest] Contesting Extinction
From: "Ron Notarius W3WN" <wn3vaw@verizon.net>
Date: Fri, 06 Oct 2006 00:19:24 -0400
List-post: <mailto:cq-contest@contesting.com>
OK.  In response to a few recent posts:

So: the general amateur population in the US is greying.

So: you don't see as many younger hams active as contesters.

So:  you think there are too many inactive Tech hams who have little
interest in contesting.

So if that's also what you've gathered from these posts... what are you
going to do about it?

(You ARE going to do more than kvetch about it on this reflector, aren't

Here's two quick suggestions.  Keep in mind that they're not overnight fixes
(there probably is no such thing) since this has been a gradual trend.

First:  Try and get interest among the VHF crowd in contests.  How?  Well,
we're now coming up on the 6th year for the WASH 2 Meter Simplex Contest --
and interest has gotten to the point where we stopped it from being just an
FM contest and added CS & SSB (packet?  still working on that interest
level).  We get about 60-70 local participants, some hard core experinced
old f... well seasoned hams, but also a lot of less active and newcomers.
Whets the appetite.  (And the incentive of a free main prize ticket to our
hamfest the next month for each log submitted don't hurt... not to worry,
they still have to pay admission, and in the last 5 years, we've had exactly
ONE ham mail in his prize ticket and ask that we deposit it for him!)

Second:  Pick an operating event other than Field Day (I'm not going to
argue as to whether or not FD is a "contest" and don't change the subject)
and start getting your club members interested.  (You DO belong to your
local club, don't you?)  I've been working with WASH on interest in the Pa
QSO Party, for one, for more years than I care to remember.  Last few years,
we've fielded three club stations PLUS a mobile and many individual
efforts -- and this year we're going to be running the bonus station in the
contest from 6 locations.  It'll be a blast... and we've gotten people
interested in contesting from this and similar events who had no interest in
it before.

One of our stations will be manned by Frank KB3FZU & his wife Lori KB3GMU.
Frank is currently the CE of WPXI-TV.  Several years ago, he wasn't even
licensed, and neither was Lori.  Now they're not only part of the core of
the WA3SH contest team (N3SH Fayette this year) but are striking out on
their own to activate N3SH McKean County.

Or take Randy N3ZK, another part of the WA3SH crew, who along with KB3KOT
and N3KFD will be QRV as N3SH Venango County.  BTW, Randy is under 30.  I'm
pretty sure Paul is too, and if I'm wrong, it's not by much.  Kevin?  I
still remember the first time he stopped into the shack at the old QTH
during a DX contest and got hooked... I'd ask how old he is, but he's too
busy eating...

Ed N3ZNI, who's running N3SH Mobile, is another one who first got hooked on
contesting and DX'ing after a visit.  Still remember him stooping into the
shack (it was a converted old coal cellar under the front porch, low
ceiling, and Ed's a big guy!)  OK, so Ed's not a "younger" guy, but he
hasn't been licensed THAT long.  He had a rough time with the code, too, but
we wouldn't let him give up.

Then there's AA3FI's daughter, Sam AA3JS.  She was a really good contester
while in school... high school, that is.  She hasn't been too active since
she got accepted to CMU, but once she's done, some lucky club somewhere will
end up with a great contester.

And speaking of Sam, I shouldn't forget Michael KB3HFP, or Alex KB3IRQ, or
the recently licensed sons of N0VLR... all of whom have contest experience
and are getting more.  I could go on, but I hope you've gotten my point.

The younger generation of contesters IS out there.  It's up to US to show
them this aspect of the hobby and find ways to encourage them to get
involved... they will.

What's that?  I hear someone in the back stating something about these guys
haven't competed yet in the BIG contests, just the "small" or "local" ones.
So what?  You gotta start somewhere!  And as far as them being competitive
in the Big ones... don't worry.  They'll be sneaking up on you soon enough.

73, ron w3wn
contesting since Field Day 1972... funny, I don't feel that old...

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