A column for new comers in a niche magazine such as NCJ or the new CQ Contest
is nice... warm and fuzzy and makes you feel good... But as far as being
useful, it ranks right up there with mammary appendages on a male
Newcomers to contesting may find an entry level column helpful... But, if
they are reading it, it is because they are already interested, and I
strongly doubt that the presence or absence of that column will make or break
them as contestors... In fact, that column, needs to be in the general
circulation magazine to troll for new talent, not squirreled away in the
By the time they develop in interest in reading a contesting magazine, they
are already past the "See Spot Run JA's at Sunrise" stage...
The truly new hams we need to fish among are not reading these niche
magazines, and probably don't even know, or care, that the magazines exist...
It requires us to do the fishing, to identify the prospective contestor and
to actively invite them to contest with us... Then out of the few who bite,
only a few percent will actually show up the second time, develop an
interest, and ask to be invited back... These are the ones that we need to
press back issues of the magazines upon...<here is where the newcomer columns
The efforts to get active contestors to sign up on your list and attract
newer hams is also good... but, it is neither easy, nor fun (at first).... A
case in point is my contest station... brand new and still more incomplete
than complete... Out of a local population of about a hundred hams I found 6
who showed interest and were invited to participate in ww cw... one showed up
once for a few hours and one showed up twice... this second one has asked to
be invited back, and shows the makings of a contestor....he has even asked to
help with the grunt work!.. will wonders never cease...
The flip side of this, is that it cost me hundreds of q's to let them
operate... their rate capability, at this stage, is low... BUT... the only
way to improve that is to show them how for an hour, then let them operate
<being available, but only if asked> to gain experience and skills... at the
cost of low rates and scores....There is also a strong undercurrent of self
selection here... In volunteering my station I have marked myself as an
also ran.... The usual top five station is not going to accept slipping down
for any reason, and the usual second tier station is too busy trying to move
up to accept a handicap.... so, who is left?...
I see the comment that not many new hams have taken advantage of the list of
volunteer contest stations... Well, how will new hams know these
opportunities exist... By reading NCJ/CQ Contest?... <oink, oink >
OK, I will finally give my answer to the question asked by W9XE... how do we
attract more newcomers?...
Same answer as the old saw, "How do you get to Carnegie Hall?"... <of course,
you know this one... all together now>... Practice, Practice, Practice....
More succinctly, we need to continue to troll the clubs, and the local packet
bbs, and the local repeaters looking for new talent... invite them out for a
contest and accept the fact that actually letting them operate means a hit on
the rate/score... The magazines can't do the job of showing them that
contesting is a blast, right up there with motorcycles, sky diving, and
contact karate... except, you live to do it again :)
>From email@example.com (Jim Pratt) Sat Dec 9 00:18:49 1995
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Jim Pratt) (Jim Pratt)
Subject: Attracting new blood
ON the subject of "new blood"...
I remember back in the old days (gee, I sound like someone on 75 meters
during the day) I operated from home with a vertical and wire and entered
contests. I did this a LOT until I was invited to come and WATCH a
bigger operation (really only a KW and tribanders); it was then several
years until I graduated to the "big gun" stations.
K8DO uses the example of Carnegie Hall. Yes, you get there by
practicing...BUT NOT AT CARNEGIE HALL! You practice on your own; you
learn how to break pileups with a puny signal; you learn the basics, get
better, then graduate to the "big leagues". I think contesters need to
invite the "new blood" over to see operations at their stations, perhaps
let them listen, then get them set up to operate their own stations to
get experience. If they don't have stations, perhaps let them operate a
smaller contest from your station...but keep the amp off and perhaps make
them use dipoles. If you learn how to contest from day one from a big
station, I don't think that you learn as much as from a small stations.
Most people I know (at least on the left coast) started the way I did.
Perhaps times have changed, but I don't think the "winning formula" has
As for a column in NCJ or CQ Contest...I agree with K8DO. Put the effort
into getting a column in WorldRadio, 73, Popular Communications, some
other type of journal that appeals to the more "mainstream". non-contest
Thanks for listening and 73! Jim N6IG
>From Stephen Lufcy <email@example.com> Sat Dec 9 03:20:08 1995
From: Stephen Lufcy <firstname.lastname@example.org> (Stephen Lufcy)
Subject: Attracting new blood
Regarding your post about attracting newcomers to contesting;
For many years we have run multi-ops at my relatively small station,
knowing we aare not competitive with the bigger stations. I hve always
rationalized this by claiming to be the training ground for the real thing.
In other words, the newcomer can come over and get a good taste of
contesting, learn the ways, and decide if he likes it. Then, if he
graduates from the KM0L school of contesting, he is ready for the big
show at the local superstation- where we really are trying to win. In
this process we have ended up with some pretty good showings, some
certificates, and some pretty good contesters- not to mention some good
Food for thought (the best contest diet!)
73 de KM0L
>From Tim Totten, KJ4VH" <email@example.com Sat Dec 9 05:13:44 1995
From: Tim Totten, KJ4VH" <firstname.lastname@example.org (Tim Totten, KJ4VH)
Subject: Whatever happened to . . . ?
All this talk abt "new blood" has got me wondering whatever happened to a
couple of young contesters who used to really put in some very
1) Laura, WE7B (and she had a sister who was also active--WE7D?). Great
CW op. And call me politically incorrect, but if we put HER on the cover
of CQ Contest, that would probably do more to attract new young contesters
than anything else (at least new young *male* contesters!).
2) Paul, VP2EXX/V47NXX (don't remember his stateside call). This guy was
on the bands day and night, contest or otherwise. (I know there is quite
a bit of controversy abt his WPX SSB QRP record, but that's another topic.)
So what happened to these two? Went off to school? Got married to
spouses who don't support contesting? Just lost interest?
It seems to me that more than just *attracting* new blood, we've gotta
figure out how to *keep* them. Or at least keep 'em *interested* during
the period of their life when they'll be going to school, living in dorms
or apartments, getting married, working 75-hour weeks, trying to raise
kids, going into debt up to their eyeballs to buy a house, etc. If
nothing else, we should at least keep in touch, personally invite 'em to a
club mtg or multi-op every now and then, and try to keep the flame alive.
Tim Totten, KJ4VH email@example.com
KJ4VH Home Page - http://www.iglou.com/kj4vh/
>From Diego Angel Mejia <firstname.lastname@example.org> Sat Dec 9 08:53:06 1995
From: Diego Angel Mejia <email@example.com> (Diego Angel Mejia)
Subject: Pse a QSO on 10 meters contest!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I'm going to be on 28.395-28.450
I need only a few conditions!!!