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ARRL TEN METER CONTEST 1995
Call: N7STU Country: United States
Category: Single Operator, LP
MODE QSO QSO PTS STATES COUNTRIES
CW 16 68 8 0
SSB 24 48 7 4
Totals 40 116 15 4 = 2,204
All reports sent were 59(9) CA, unless otherwise noted.
Kenwood TS-120 80w (my 6m IF rig. Had to modify it back to full power).
Vertical dipole @15'
A pitiful score but I've seen lower so I don't feel as bad. Third attempt
at working CW in a contest.
Average signal strength was 3-6db over noise. I was suprised that several
big guns back east could copy my foolish attempts to work them when they
were soooo weak running full power (90% of them didn't).
Still getting settled in a new QTH, hope to get up some real antennas soon.
Club Affiliation: NCCC
>From email@example.com (Rob Hummel) Wed Dec 13 17:23:57 1995
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Rob Hummel) (Rob Hummel)
Subject: New Categories - there goes the neighborhood
I don't want to beat it to death on the reflector, but you are, of course,
I stumbled onto contesting by accident. I was using an indoor 5-band dipole
strung in my attic that I made by unwinding twisted-pair wire from Radio
Shack and threading it through popsicle sticks.
I next horse-traded for an R5 vertical, then a 2-el Butterfly, then a tower,
then a log periodic, then a 2-el 40, and maybe this year I get my new towers up.
What's the point?
The point is that I didn't do any of this because my name was #1 in the
Single-op, low-power, <1acre, part-time, no-VOX, etc, category. I looked at
the score listings and concentrated on the #1 high-power guy. In those first
contests, there wasn't even a low-power category! And yet with 100 watts and
a hell of a lot of trying I sometimes managed to get into the high-claimed
right next to the 1.5KW boys.
Now THAT was a sense of achievement.
Will this dumbing-down of standards affect contesting negatively? Of course;
it already has. Soon, everyone will feel ENTITLED to a custom-fit category.
Those that don't have an amp or a beam or a tower will soon see themselves
as VICTIMS. Because it's NOT FAIR! Rather than seek to UPLIFT themselves,
they will begin a campaign to RESTRICT or PUNISH the progress of others.
They'll get the rules changed to put limits on power, tower height, run
rates, and so on. This CLASS ENVY will destroy contesting simply by removing
from it the only thing worth while -- not the winning, but the trying.
Funny, I feel as if I've seen this all happen somewhere before.
Rob Hummel (WS1A) <email@example.com>
>From George McCrary <firstname.lastname@example.org> Wed Dec 13 17:33:14 1995
From: George McCrary <email@example.com> (George McCrary)
Subject: New Blood and New Categories
Well, once again I just don't get it. People who would never enter
the 3 new categories and would more than likely soundly thump the scores of
anyone who would, are up in arms. I keep seeing these posts about wanting
new blood, but when someone tries to find a way to lure more hams in, the
naysayers of change react.
These new categories should be looked at as stepping stones for the
new contester to get his feet wet, without the risk of drowning in a sea of
mega and minor-mega stations. Remarks about buying categories or making
categories about cars, dogs etc. are just reactionaries jumping on the
"anti" bandwagon without adding anything to the real debate.
One Gentleman referred to NASCAR in his post. Surprisingly enough,
most NASCAR (INDY, Le Mans) drivers have started out racing in leeser
classes. Very few got their drivers liscense and immediately started racing
at the top levels of their sport.
Likewise, in most athletic competitions at levels such as the
Olympics, the participants have competed before against others whose skill
was similar. Carl Lewis could win almost any Jr. High School track event,
but does that mean that there is no value in the Schoolkids racing each other?
The difference between the above and Amateur Radio Contests is that
all the different levels of competition occur at the same time. This allows
everyone to benefit from the increased participation. It would seem rather
unreasonable to hold contests on different weekends depending on what
power/antennas/number of operators your station is using.
As far as I understand, no one will be forced to enter these
categories. If you want to use a TS-140, QRP with a dipole and enter the
CQWW Multi-Multi category, that option is still open. But, if some new
categories can put a couple of thousand more search and pouncers on the band
it should help the "Real Contestors" to some new records.
I feel strongly that for someone with a small station like mine (TS
850, TH-3 at 42 ft, and a 30L-1), the real competition comes from bettering
my last years scores, working some new band countries or just sticking with
it for a few more hours. But others may not agree with me there.
The only real value of winning a contest is what the participant
feels inside. Very few outside of the other participants in that category
will care who won. Anyone who has taken the time to put the effort into a
contest already realizes that only a few thousand out of the billion people
on earth will even see the results of a contest. But, the callsigns in the
BIG categories like Multi-Multi, and the Single High and Low categories will
still be the ones recognised at Dayton, when they're seen at the bottom of a
message here on the reflector or in the Alpha ads . :)
73 DE KQ4QM (George)
Why are you looking down here?
>From Dan Robbins <firstname.lastname@example.org> Wed Dec 13 17:43:13 1995
From: Dan Robbins <email@example.com> (Dan Robbins)
Dropping the first dit when running VOX CW is a common problem for many rig
and amplifier setups. Here's two possible solutions:
1. Let the keyer key both the rig and the amp. This way the amp relays
begin to close immediately and do not wait for the T/R signal to make its
way through the transceiver's logic. The T/R output from the rig will then
hold the amp's relays closed. You will need a blocking diode (1N4007 or
sim.) in the leg between the amp and the keyer or else the rig will lock
itself in keydown.
Keyer O ---------------------------O Rig key jack
| O Rig T/R out
|---------|<-----------------O Amp T/R
This is not suitable for amps that use AC for their T/R relays or for those
that use a lot of current or voltage on T/R. (A fast relay might work for
SB-220s and the like.) I also parallel the computer keying lead with the
keyer output jack so dits aren't dropped when using either the computer or
the keyer. For some keyers you may have to add a blocking diode to either
the keyer out or the computer out to prevent the two from interacting.
Sadly, some rigs will not key properly when their keyline is grounded
through a diode due to the voltage drop across the diode. Did not notice
any problems running FT-990's or TS-930's, however.
2. The fall issue of Communications Quarterly has a blurb about the Radio
Adventures new C1A keyer IC. This chip has sequential T/R keying - it can
close antenna or amp relays 5.5 mSec prior to sending the key closure to the
rig. (A delay on relay open is also available.) It also has a VOX delay
option of .75 seconds. Another interesting feature is an input for manual
keying - bet that would be a perfect place to tie in a computer. They are
also apparently making complete keyers or kits. Here's the company info:
Radio Adventures Corp.
P. O. Box 339
Seneca, PA 16346
(814) 677-6456 (FAX)
This might help clear up some of those zone 25 OA's we keep hearing in the
Couple of other hints for those who are working on getting better keying.
Opto-isolators between the computer and the rig work as well as a transistor
keying interface and should provide more isolation. I use ECG 3044 which is
a darlington opto-isolator, but a junkbox opto-isolator seemed to work, too.
The ECG 51 series of DPDT relays is a low cost solution for a fairly fast
relay that can handle more power than a reed relay. I use these to switch
the RF input on a modified AL-1500 and a HB 8877 amp. The RLY5142, for
example, has a 12 V DC sensitive coil with contacts rated at 2A max.
Operate and release time are 5 mSec. I can run QSK with one of these on the
amp input and a RJ1 vacuum relay on the output. These relays also pass the
microvolt receive signals well. Some relays have contacts which build up an
oxide or something that looks like a big resistor at the microvolt level.
They work good on handling 100w, but are not good on receive. Reed relays,
on the other hand, are operating beyond their ratings when hit with 100w of
RF. The ECG 51 series seems to handle both transmit and receive just fine.
They come in a DIP package that just plugs into an IC socket, so they are
easy to change, I just haven't any reason to change one yet.
No, I don't have any affiliations with the above mentioned products.
>From H. L. Serra" <firstname.lastname@example.org Wed Dec 13 19:18:47 1995
From: H. L. Serra" <email@example.com (H. L. Serra)
Subject: Midwest "Black Hole" Explained?
Did anyone see the article in today's (DEC 13 '95) NY TIMES Science Times
section about the discovery of upper atmosphere "elves," "sprites," and
"jets" --new forms of lightning/EMF disturbances discovered over the
midwest by VLF scientists and visually observed by the space shuttle? Do
these new electro-magnetic "creatures" explain the alleged contest "Black
Hole" over the mid-west? Particularly interesting was the observation
that some lightning strikes which hit the ground can heat spots in the
upper atmosphere to 200,000 oF (can this be correct?) and ionize it.
Anybody know more about this, and how it can be used in CONTESTING,
besides sporadic E?
73, Larry N6AZE
>From Hans Brakob <firstname.lastname@example.org> Wed Dec 13 19:47:55 1995
From: Hans Brakob <email@example.com> (Hans Brakob)
Subject: WPX Categories
>> Meanwhile, I'm sure that the "real
>> winner" does not feel his accomplishment diminished or
>> devalued because somebody's Grandma won in the "over 65
>> female" category.
Russ AA5RB said:
>You're right, the #1 overall probably doesn't care at all about grandma.
>But, grandma cares about the #1 overall.
Only if #1 is her grandson!
She's just proud of her accomplishment against her peers.
Maybe next year she'll try to beat the best of the "over 65 male"
group, but she knows she's not equipped to make the "top ten"
Then Russ AA5RB said:
>Didn't anyone ever play sports??<
Yes, I played high school football in the Six-Man League
(because our small town didn't have enough students to
compete against the large city schools). We won our
class, got the trophy, and were proud of it, but we never
pretended we could beat the winners in the Nine- or
73, de Hans, K0HB
>From firstname.lastname@example.org (Bill Coleman AA4LR) Wed Dec 13 19:07:57 1995
From: email@example.com (Bill Coleman AA4LR) (Bill Coleman AA4LR)
Subject: New Categories - there goes the neighborhood
>Since when do you need money to compete? I can talk all day about small
>stations (with skilled operators) achieving big scores and making top 10,
>etc. No one cares.
I agree. My experience at the KM9P superstation in SSB SS bears this out.
Although I had some antenna troubles, my skills were not up to the level
with this station.
Perhaps the focus needs to be on exactly WHAT skills the better operators
have that the little guns don't, and how to enhance those skills.
>What happens when you lower standards? You get lower quality.
>Doesn't anyone care about skill? Seems as if everyone is concerned about
>getting a call in a box without having to work for it.
I don't think standards need to be lowered, but there should be some room
for recognizing effort, even if it didn't make the top ten box. What
happens when a little gun works his behind off in a contest, and manages
only a wimpy score?
Some level of recognition is called for, and that is why we have categories
in contests. High-power / Low-power / QRP-power is a pretty good
distinction. I don't have an amplifier, so I'm content not to have to
compete with those who do. It also helps to subcategorize to a level so one
can tell what OTHER operators with similar setups are acheiving.
>If you don't push your skills to the limit you won't get better. By
>competing with the best you force yourself to get better.
Yes and no. If some super operator is at a super station, he can loaf along
and still beat the crap out of a lessor operator with a wimpy station. The
categories tend to eliminate some of the station factor, leaving only the
> Assuming you
>actually want to compete. It seems as if folks want to win a category
>(they keep asking for new ones) but they want it done by having a
>category that so limits (in quantity) those entered that everyone winds up
>"in the box". Is that achieving anything?
I agree that there can easily be too many categories. Part of the problem
today is that many of the defining criteria are orthogonal, which tends to
multiply the number of categories. For example, for single operator, we
have assisted and unassisted, three power levels. Now add Unlimited and TS
antenna configurations. You just jumped from 6 categories to 12!
>What good is new blood if it's tainted. I think this sends the wrong
>message. Yes, get new people involved but what kind of people do we
>I think most casual op's will remain casual. They make the
>contest possible by handing out ton's of qso's to those of us who are
>really serious. I think they have fun by setting personal goals. It
>appears those who really want new categories may not realize what is
>possible with the stations they already have.
Perhaps the new categories will allow them to measure their skills against
similarly equipped stations.
I know it happened to me. I thought I was just about as good as my station
allowed. I got to use a much better station and found my skills wanting.
Now, barring everyone a shot at a superstation, proper categorization would
seem to help things. ("Gee, if I could just make 10% more Qs, I'd be in the
top ten in my category.") Rather than just lumping everyone together.
("Gee, all I have to do is triple the number of Qs, and I'll be in the top
>I think that societies "lowest common denominator" practices have finally
>hit contesting. What a bummer.
I don't think so. The thing about the TS category is that it tries to
define a very "typical" station configuration -- tribander and dipoles. My
prediction is that these new categories won't be won by your typical casual
contestor, but by some serious top-25 individual who decided he could win
this new category.
In some ways, that raises the bar, since it shows what can be done from a
Some years ago, 73 magazine tried to sponsor a contest that involved
antenna multiplers through some complex arrangement. I think it only made
one year and then was dropped.
The alternative to subcategorization is station handicapping.
Bill Coleman, AA4LR Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Quote: "The same light shines on vineyards that makes deserts." -- Steve