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To: 3830@contesting.com, N4TZ@ARRL.NET
Subject: [3830] WPX CW KS9K(N4TZ) SOAB LP
From: webform@b4h.net
Reply-to: N4TZ@ARRL.NET
Date: Wed, 2 Jun 2004 15:01:57 -0700
List-post: <mailto:3830@contesting.com>
                    CQWW WPX Contest, CW

Call: KS9K
Operator(s): N4TZ
Station: N4TZ

Class: SOAB LP
Operating Time (hrs): 36
Radios: SO2R

 Band  QSOs
  160:    0
   80:    0
   40:  316
   20:  725
   15:  193
   10:   25
Total: 1259  Prefixes = 591  Total Score = 1,972,167

Club: Society of Midwest Contesters


The Case of the Missing Dits

The meek, mild-mannered ham slumped in Perry Mason's
comfortable client chair.

"Gosh, Mr. Mason, there must be some conspiracy!  This past
weekend, whenever I called some juicy DX station using my
special KS9K callsign, they either CQed in my face, or
worse yet, came back to KI9K or KS0K.  But when I checked
the DXCentral spots after the contest, there was no sign
of activity by either of those two stations.."

The famous lawyer nodded sagely to his attractive secretary
Della Street, and said, "Let's put that clever detective
Paul Drake on the case.  It sure sounds like something is
rotten in the state of Denmark, and all of those other
DX locations, too."

Della hopped off her perch on the desk to open the door in
response to Paul's secret knock.  The detective's cheery
"Hello, beautiful," was followed up by "the problem with
you guys is your no-code backgrounds.  Everyone knows that
weak signals combined with QSB and heavy QRN causes shorter
elements like dots to be missed while dashes get through.
KI9K is only one dot short of KS9K.  Not only that, but
if the dit in the nine is missing, a ham might guess at
a zero which has lots of dashes but no dits.  The problem
is deeper than you think.  It's not a conspiracy of
people, but of the propagation gods.  KS9K is in the
infamous Black Hole, from which only the strongest signals
can emerge.  His low power station didn't have a chance."

****  **

This is the worst score I've had in the five 36-hour CW
WPX contests from here in Indiana.  Of course, with the
steady downturn in sunspots, it's not a big surprise that
the number of Europeans in the log have declined the past
three years.  Of more interest is the number of USA calls
worked.  Last year, running high power, I had 829 USA QSOs
in the log, most of which responded to my CQs.  This year,
and the other low power years, I had 400-odd USA QSOs.
Thus, I conclude that most of the missing USA QSOs are
an indication that casual participants seek out louder
signals.  With the afterburners off, I drop 12 dB.  This
observation, combined with the missing dit phenomenon
described above, suggest there is a strong threshold
effect in DX contests.  The missing dit problem surfaced
this year, but the missing casual USA problem is always
there with low power, even in the good years.  Since
the run-of-the-mill high power TS entrant probably has
a signal somewhere between mine and N9RV (aka KW9N), it
would be interesting to see whether both their USA QSOs
remained steady this year, or whether the DX QSOs dropped
but the USA stayed constant.  In other words, I'd like to
know where that threshold is.  It's pretty hard to add
much more than another dB here at the antenna end, (besides
fixing the 20m stack - the bottom antenna has been very
unreliable since this last fall's SS).

I sure wanted to fold my tent when I heard KK9A sending a
number twice as large as mine after 12 hours, but figured
I might as well see how things turned out.  I'm glad I did.
The nice thing is that the good memories remain long after
the excuses have faded away.  I can't wait until October!

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