Welcome to contesting. You may be interested to hear about my
progression of increased scores and standings which runs completely
counter to the theory that SO2R is worthy of a new category. I have
been seriously doing SOABLP SO2R contesting since 2001.
Funny thing is, when I started, I had the modern SO2R setup: 2 good
radios with tight filters, Dunestars, 2x6 Array Solutions boxes. Even
7/8 inch LDF5-50A going out to the antennas for low loss. I was also
operating 40 - 42 hours per contest. Guess what, I didn't win. Most of
the time, I was darned lucky to even make the top 10 box, especially in
the SSB contests.
So what was the problem? I should have been so advantaged over some,
especially living in W1 area for CQ WW and ARRL DX, that the top 5 or
top 3 should have been routine, right? Wrong!
I was using limited antennas..3 el low beams on 10 and 15. A fixed wire
beam and vertical on 20. Dipoles at 45 - 55 feet on 40 - 160 (all
individually grabable with the SO2R switching).
Take a look at my scores and results today. I am literally, without
exception, using the same SO2R station (radios, software, dunestars, 2 x
6, and hardline). In fact the hardline is even longer now so the losses
to the antenna feedpoint is even bigger. And my new QTH is 10 miles
from my old one. What's the difference? Antennas my friend..
I now have 2 - 70 foot heavy duty towers. On them sit competitive
aluminum and arrays: 5 el mono banders on 10 and 15, 4/4 on 20. 2el on
40 at 80 feet. 2 el wire array on 80 to EU, 160 vertical, 1000 foot
beverage to EU.
Yes, I believe that I have raised my game along with hardware. Its
natural..we become better drivers with a fabulous sports car over
The point is IT'S THE ANTENNAS and LOCATION that make the difference in
many cases. Not SO2R. I wouldn't hesitate in an instant to go to SO1R
from my current station vs. SO2R from my old station. SO2R is a red
herring..its the whole package that wins.not SO2R. I love SO2R and
would not want to give it up, but for those in the contesting community
that keep focusing on SO2R as a separate category, it just IS NOT the
BIG EQUALIZER.IT'S THE ANTENNAS!
Have fun with contesting.I know I do.
Ed N1UR ex K8EP
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