QST Contest Coverage

pescatore_jt%ncsd.dnet at gte.com pescatore_jt%ncsd.dnet at gte.com
Fri Nov 6 09:40:34 EST 1992

In the U.S., our contest scores are made up of QSO's from:

1. Full time serious entrants - those of us who want more contest coverage in
2. Part time serious entrants - still want more coverage in QST.
3. Part time potential contesters - will send in their log, want to see their
   score (their call, really) in the results in QST. Probably happy with
   current coverage, or would like less.
4. Fodder - Only call to get an award, or because you sound desperate, or they
   think you will then go away. Would like to see to a lot less coverage in

I guess focusing on domestic contests, the first two categories probably make
up less than 10% of QST subscribers. They probably represent 90% of our QSOs in
the Sprint and maybe 50-60% in Sweepstakes, maybe less (due to the work once
rule.) They are also the ones who would subscribe to another magazine, like
NCJ, to continue to get "full" contest coverage. They (we) are an aging, some
would argue dying, breed.

The part time potential contesters are the bulk of the rest of our QSOs, they
are a  much larger slice of the ARRL pie, and they probably wouldn't pay for
another magazine just to read about contesting. They need the contest calendar
and rules in QST to remember when to get on and what the exchange is, and if
they couldn't see their call in QST they wouldn't send in a log and might not
get on.

The fodder we need to be nice to, or they will join the *very* large group of
hams who we don't work in contests, but they could care less about contest

Face it, from a magazine's (or a large unruly club's) perspective, contesters
are a fairly small special interest that probably get a lot more pages in QST
than our numbers justify. At best the coverage volume will stay the same or
decrease. Dumping everything into NCJ is not the answer, because the
potential/casual contester is not going to see it. How can the signal-to-noise
of the current coverage be increased?

1. In DX contests, eliminate the detailed listing of DX station results. I
don't want to sound xenophobic (Limbaugh-istic?) but the majority of QST
subscribers are U.S. hams.

2. Cut down on the quotes from well known hams, and the little one-liners from
assorted folk. Don't eliminate it, but I don't need to see K3ZO's quote or
N3JT's picture. Let us true contest nerds look to NCJ for ego gratification,
save QST pages for the little folks.

3. Cut down on endless verbiage on who won (essentially repeating the
information in the tables,) and spend the column-inches on what strategies
worked in this contest. Again, let those of us who are willing to invest the
time to operate a contest full time invest in NCJ.

4. Use some of the saved space for more categories, such as sprint classes,
first time entrants, etc. If any "real" (tm) contesters enter these categories,
write sarcastic letters about them in NCJ.

5. Simplify log requirements for QSO totals under some minimum. No one is going
to win with 500 QSOs, why even require a log? Print a full page summary form in
QST and let people fill it in and send  it in. Pre-CT, not having the forms
lost a lot of logs even from contest club members.

John Pescatore


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