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Re: [CQ-Contest] A Newcomers Question

To: cq-contest@contesting.com
Subject: Re: [CQ-Contest] A Newcomers Question
From: "Leigh S. Jones, KR6X" <kr6x@kr6x.com>
Date: Tue, 30 Oct 2007 22:43:32 -0700
List-post: <mailto:cq-contest@contesting.com>
Your question is a bit vague, as your post is lacking details, but I'll
have a swing at it anyway.

First, it would help us provide answers if you were to tell us whether
the station you called answered someone else rather than you when
you made your call.  Or else, is he turning around and calling CQ
again right away?  Was he handling a pile-up?

Also unanswered: is this station distant, as in DX?  Does he seem to
be answering calls from your area or are the stations he answers
distant from you?

It's worthwhile to start out by saying that a few times each contest you
may encounter someone who is handling two radios at once, and
calls CQ on one band while he listens to another station sending on
another band.  A few times in each big contest you may run into
someone who is confused as to which of his two frequencies he
needs to listen to.  For example, a TS950 transceiver has VFO A and
VFO B, and he may be calling CQ on VFO A and listening for
responses on VFO B -- accidently.

It's also worth noting that a tiny number of operators may be self-
centered enough to put a CQ machine to work on a band unattended
for a few minutes before they arrive from another band just to "drill a
hole" and make a clear frequency for themselves to start up on.

But these instances account for a mere tiny fraction of the contesting
experience, and I'm going to assume that this doesn't apply to your
situation.  A few of these per contest, however, might amplify
your perceptions of the level of the problem, because they usually
stand out as perfect instances of very loud signals with operators
that don't hear you.

More often than not, you're likely to find that levels of interference
are very high in contests.  Numerous stations try to crowd onto a
single frequency.  Each of them believes that the frequency "belongs"
to them, or at least wants to pretend that the frequency "belongs" to
them.  Often times, they ignore some very loud signals with which
they feel they are competing for frequency ownership.

It's worth understanding that on many bands at certain times the
level of interference that is perceived on the band will be markedly
different in different parts of the country or world.

For instance, in 9Y4-land on an afternoon the 10 or 15 meter band
may seem extremely crowded with very loud signals from the USA,
while at the same time in Minnesota only a few signals will be heard,
but very loud signals from 9Y4 might be observed.

At these times the 9Y4 stands out on the band starkly in Minnesota.
But there are so many stations active from Texas, California, Florida,
etc, at that time that might be 20 dB louder than the Minnesota
station for the same power level.

9Y4 and the US is only one example.  One of the great challenges
in contesting is learning to recognize when you as a competitor might
have the kind of advantage that the 9Y4 has in this circumstance and
make the best use of it.

Often it will seem that the station who does not hear you must surely
be transmitting with excessive power.  Frankly, that's not often true.
There may be a few exceeding legal power in every contest, but in
general the problem you are talking about has a different cause.

Propagation can seem like sunglasses.  Your signal and the other
guy's signal will be virtually certain to be attenuated the same amount
as it propagates, just as light is attenuated equally moving both ways
through the sunglass lenses.  But if you wear very dark sunglasses, it
always seems as if you can see the other person's eyes much better
than he can see yours.  There are a lot of reasons for this, but
generally it happens because a lot of "noise" or "interference" is
heard at his location, but at yours it can be quite silent.

If you are having more experiences where you are not being heard
than the average station, rather than just asking about a few isolated
oddities, then the answer is probably simple.  In that case you'd need
to learn to radiate a bigger signal.  That's one of the biggest
challenges in contesting.  The biggest one is avoiding bankruptcy.

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Dave Sloan" <desloan@earthlink.net>
To: <cq-contest@contesting.com>
Sent: Tuesday, October 30, 2007 11:15 AM
Subject: [CQ-Contest] A Newcomers Question

> Why is it during contests that I can hear a station at say 20db over S9 
> and
> that they never hear me. I had thought that it was my poor antenna
> installation. But, yesterday I was talking with a friend that has a tower
> and beam and he says they same thing happens to him. If this were just a 
> one
> time occurrence I would chalk it up to the other station just not having 
> any
> ears. But this happens numerous times during every contest that I have
> worked. I can hear the other station working all sorts of other stations. 
> I
> have tuned in of the frequency of the station they are working and then
> called them on that frequency. I've called maybe 25 or 30 times over a 5 
> to
> 10 minute timeframe. I have heard the same station at different times 
> during
> the contest and on different bands and yet every time I try to work them
> they don't hear me. Can someone please explain what I am doing wrong.
> TNX & 73,
> Dave N0EOP

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