Five Categories of Contesters
Of course there are more than five categories of contesters. Every
contester has his or her unique personality "category" . a continuum, but if
I may generalize a bit, I would suggest five broad categories, ranging from
very intense to very casual. Please note that we are talking about
personalities, not about station capabilities or skill levels. And maybe
this has been done before, but I don't know any better.
So, here they are ( your mileage may vary, i.e., you may see things quite
differently, that's okay, I am not so easily offended ).
1. The Very Intense Contester. These are folks who are in it for
themselves. Everything is about points and multipliers and work rates and
winning and demeaning ( and disposing of ) time-wasters ( and whining about
them ). They tend to either not acknowledge a valid exchange or give a
minimal R. In other words, they lack common courtesy ( my opinion, not
necessarily yours ). They tend to win some contests. They are the "cold"
contesters. The ones who give contesting a bad rep. I call this the
E-Group. Or the ME-Group.
2. The Merely Intense Contester. These are also folks who care about
points and multipliers and work rates and winning, but they are gracious in
dealing with folks who are more casual than themselves. They tend to
acknowledge every valid exchange, usually with the TU. They are courteous.
They also tend to win some contests, because being gracious doesn't really
hurt them. I call this the A-Group. They have earned my respect, not by
winning, but by being both competent AND courteous ( and not whining ).
3. The Seriously Casual Contester. These are folks who enjoy contesting
but don't expect to win. They don't waste time but they are not intense.
Maybe they work the contest for new band-mode-countries ( states, prefixes,
counties, whatever ) and/or maybe they have targets and simply want to
improve on previous scores. They tend to take breaks. They have
contest-operating skills but they are not really about work rates. They
tend to be gracious and appreciative of any and all contacts. They are not
irritated by time-wasters, they simply work them and move on. I call this
the B-Group, and I am one of them. It is the middle ground of contesting,
and perhaps the largest group.
4. The Casually Casual Contester. These folks are not really adept at
contesting, but are having fun nonetheless. They don't generally "get in
the way" but they tend to be slower than the folks in categories 1-3. Note
I did not say "higher" categories. In this sense "higher" is a matter of
personal values and perceptions. In any event, the Casually Casual
Contester is someone who might actually move to Category 3, if he or she is
not first denigrated by the folks in Category 1. I call these folks the
5. The Time-Wasters. These folks may be on the fringe of the contest or
simply antagonistic to contesters because they have been denegrated by the
Cat-1's. In SSB contests these are the folks who give you Serial Number One
midway through the test, or ask what is the exchange. For most of them,
they are not doing anything wrong, they simply may not really know what is
going on. These are not all bad people. So why not be gracious, work them,
and move on. I call them the D-Group. Of course a few, the ones who are
antagonistic, who may resort to jamming or other silliness, but that is a
matter for Charlie ( FCC ). Those nasties I would put in a special
category, the F-Group.
No doubt some of you are thinking this guy ( the writer ) is not a serious
contester, he doesn't understand the thrill of the competition. The first
part is true, the second not so much. I used to be quite intense, and I am
quite accomplished, though ( granted ) not in contesting. But what I
realized in my experience, is that I value courtesy and graciousness and
goodwill over "winning and whining" ... For me, amateur radio is about
goodwill on every scale ( local to global ). I love working DX ( yes, even
common DX ) but I don't waste my time ( much ) in pileups. I prefer CW but
I also do SSB and RTTY contests. I work a lot of contests and most QSO
parties, and typically end up with anywhere from 300-700 Qs in a weekend.
For me that is enjoyable. I take lots of breaks. I usually S&P but I can
run when I feel like it. When I have done special events ( on CW and SSB )
I have had run work rates of up to 240 an hour at times, but I don't "need"
to do better than that, and I am just as happy with lower rates. I don't
"need" to push myself, I am happy right where I am. But don't worry, I
won't get in your way, not much. If my TU bothers you, then so be it. If I
make a mistake, I will apologize, but I won't apologize for being courteous
or gracious. And I won't judge others badly for slowing me down.
73, peter, N4UP
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