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Re: [CQ-Contest] How do you get better?

To: CQ-Contest <cq-contest@contesting.com>
Subject: Re: [CQ-Contest] How do you get better?
From: Barry <w2up3@verizon.net>
Date: Fri, 31 Oct 2008 10:28:33 -0400
List-post: <cq-contest@contesting.com">mailto:cq-contest@contesting.com>
Another thing I have found very helpful over the years is to review and 
compare rate sheets with competitors.  For years, K3WW and I have been 
swapping rate sheets, and sometimes logs, and I've found hour by hour 
comparisons very educational.  Questions to ask yourself:
Were you on the right band?
If you were, why was your rate better or worse? 
Barry W2UP

Robert Naumann wrote:
> Randy,
> One other thing that someone can do is observe how others who do well in
> contest (such as yourself and other HOF guys) conduct themselves when
> running a pileup or while S&Ping a band.
> Last weekend, as I tuned across VP2E, not only did I recognize Jeff's voice,
> I was reminded of how smooth and consistent an operator he still is - even
> after a few years of lost focus on bicycling. Not once did he end a QSO with
> QRZ? for example. Every qso ended with Victor Papa Two Echo. His results
> speak for themselves.
> Sometimes when doing as you recommend, "Start at the bottom of the band and
> see how fast you can search and pounce your way to the top", I find that
> someone else is hitting the same stations that I am. But it seems that he's
> getting to them faster than I am - why is that? What's he doing differently?
> Paying attention to someone who is "better" for a few minutes can teach some
> lessons. I might find out that he's not sending "NW CPY" at the beginning of
> each exchange which enables him to go faster. He also might not be repeating
> his exchange twice like I programmed into F2 and instead he is only sending
> it once. It seems the station he works copies it right the first time most
> often. That would save time too.
> Lastly, if there is a multi-op station in the area, getting to one of them
> and seeing how people actually operate is a great learning opportunity. I
> remember seeing W2RQ running stations on CW while carrying on a conversation
> in the shack at the same time without skipping a beat either way. Amazing.
> 73,
> Bob W5OV
> -----Original Message-----
> From: cq-contest-bounces@contesting.com
> [mailto:cq-contest-bounces@contesting.com] On Behalf Of Randy Thompson K5ZD
> Sent: Friday, October 31, 2008 7:25 AM
> To: cq-contest@contesting.com
> Subject: [CQ-Contest] How do you get better?
> "How do you get to Carnegie Hall?" the guy asked his cab driver.  The reply,
> "Practice. Practice. Practice."
> I think we all can acknowledge that practice is an important part of
> learning and improving any skill.  Sports players practice, sometimes for
> years.  Kids learning musical instruments practice.  Very few people are a
> "natural" who can just pick something up and be instantly good at it.
> Why does no one ever talk about practice with regard to radio contests?
> I find the SS CW contest is the best single thing I can do to be ready for
> WW CW.  Why?  Because it lets me practice my SO2R techniques.  After doing
> SS CW, I find I can sit down in WW CW and immediately go into SO2R mode
> without much thought or effort.
> Other ways to practice in radio contests:
> - Start at the bottom of the band and see how fast you can search and pounce
> your way to the top.  Then go back to the bottom and do it again.  The first
> time is about knowing how to acquire the next signal and dump in your call
> (or decide to keep tuning).  The second pass is the valuable one.  It helps
> you practice call sign recognition, duping skills, and how to dig between
> the fast loud guys.
> - Work a QSO party or smaller DX contest that is focused on one area.  See
> if you can work every station you hear from that area. Again, this helps you
> practice recognizing signals from a target area and duping skills.
> - Work Field Day running high power.  No better simulation for practicing
> running skills.  :)
> - Work RTTY contests to learn SO2R skills.  In RTTY, the computer is doing
> the brain work and the QSOs have a fairly consistent timing and pattern.
> This frees you to practice the keyboarding skills of jumping between the two
> logging windows.  For even higher level of practice, try running on two
> bands at the same time (while never transmitting on two bands at once).  The
> goal is to do it so smoothly that no one listening can tell what you are
> doing!
> - Search and pounce in a contest using low power.  Almost everything I
> learned about busting pileups came from my early years in ham radio with 100
> watts and wires in trees.  You take a different approach when you are not
> the loudest guy in the pileup.  Learn that different approach and then be
> amazed when you apply it while running a KW!
> - W4AN used to do work in his shack with two radios turned on listening to
> two different stations.  He would practice copying both.  You probably won't
> be able to copy solid on both, but you will learn how to quickly shift focus
> back and forth.  The goal is to get this skill happening without thinking.
> - Get on the air between contests and make some QSOs.  Nothing helps your CW
> sending more than having to think and send at the same time.  :)
> Most of all, have fun!
> Randy, K5ZD
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