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[CQ-Contest] Low power and QRP cheating

To: cq-contest@contesting.com
Subject: [CQ-Contest] Low power and QRP cheating
From: Paul Young <youngp@hp.com>
Date: Wed, 12 Dec 2007 21:54:02 -0500
List-post: <mailto:cq-contest@contesting.com>
Andrei EW1AR-NP3D said:

 > IF This would happen - we would be amazed of shrinking results of those
 > "QRP" and LP champions, tens times lower. To run at 130 Q's plus per hour
 > within 48 hours with 5 watts output in any major Contest... nice joke

Not a joke at all.  Low power numbers are quite believable.

I'll start with my VP9I 2003 low power operation as an example.  This
was from VP9GE's rental QTH.  It is a well known location and it is also
well known that you can't run high power from there.

In 2003 the antennas consisted of a CL33 with a TA33 driven element and
a G5RV.  It is a reasonable location and there is some height gain but
the tower is less than 25' (8 meters) tall.  I had 4827 QSOs, just about
100 per hour average.  I did take some time off to sleep and to eat and
I spent too much time chasing countries on the low bands.  I had quite a
few 100+ hours, including one which was over 180.

The same year W2SC set the North American low power record from 8P5A.
8P is a better location than VP9, and the station had much larger and
higher antennas, including a 40 meter beam, and it had SO2R capability.
Tom had operated from there before and he's a better operator than I am.
He made 6175 QSOs, a bit under 30% more than me.  I think this is
reasonable - I have no doubt but that this was a legitimate 100 watt

The world record was set from South America by P40W in 2001.  W2GD is
a world class operator and he's had lots of experience operating from
Aruba.  His 5763 QSOs is a bit less than 8P5A's but the three point
advantage and a very good multiplier total (John knows where to look
and when) gave him the higher score.

The African low power record was sent in 2004.  SU9NC had 4848 QSOs.
That's just about what I had from VP9.

I set the Oceania low power record from H44MX in 1999.  My station was
simple, just verticals, but they were on the beach and had a clear shot
over the ocean towards North America, Europe, and Japan.  With very
good conditions I managed 3043 QSOs.

Looking through the zone and country records I see that in most cases
where there is regular activity the low power record is somewhere around
half of the high power record - greater in places where some of the top
contesters have done a low power operation.

I don't have as much experience with QRP - I've only entered that
category once, this year from 6V7D.  Conditions weren't good but with 5
watts and a 3 element beam I had about 100 more QSOs on 15 meters than
W3LPL.  Given good conditions I can believe that a QRP station in the
right location and better low band antennas (especially a 40 meter beam)
could make 50% more QSOs than I did.  Indeed, the world QRP record is a
bit under 3300 QSOs.

My brief survey (and overly long message) suggest that cheating with
excessive power in the low power categories isn't rampant - or at least
that the cheaters are not setting the records.

I only looked at CW.  But I can't imagine anyone cares enough about
phone to actually cheat at it.

                                  Paul, K1XM
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