more on packet spots

WmHein at WmHein at
Tue Aug 16 01:59:55 EDT 1994

I am convinced that huge numbers of bogus calls make their way into contest
logs due to the blind faith many operators have in packet spots.

I was in Curacao late in 1992 operating as PJ2/AA6TT.  Pileups were modest as
the Netherlands Antilles are one of the most common DXCC countries (lone
exception: I did experience big pileups to JA on 10 meter CW).

One evening, however, I had a massive 20m SSB pileup into the USA.  I
actually had to go by districts because so many were calling.  I thought this
was pretty weird.  This went on for at least 15 minutes.  Turns out I was
spotted on packet as "TJ2/AA6TT."  I was IDing, often with standard
phonetics, after each QSO, yet dozens -- hundreds??? -- continued to call and
call thinking I was a TJ2.  I subsequently received in the mail around 10 QSL
requests for TJ2/AA6TT QSOS.  (Perhaps I should have ID'd as A58/AA6TT and
let folks work some real DX?)

(That same evening I told a KD4 station "no last two letters" which prompted
him to call with his "last three."  I spent the rest of this vacation
operating CW!)

Bill AA6TT
wmhein at

>From k2mm at MasPar.COM (John Zapisek)  Tue Aug 16 07:55:26 1994
From: k2mm at MasPar.COM (John Zapisek) (John Zapisek)
Date: Mon, 15 Aug 94 23:55:26 PDT
Subject: K3EST's Beetle Valley Redux
Message-ID: <9408160655.AA26892 at greylock.local>

Tree told me he might of [sic] been interested in reading K3EST's story if
only the bizarre line-formatting hadn't made him so cross-eyed.  I told him
I'd fix it and send it to him.  But it occurred to me that he might not be
the only one, so I figgered I might as well post it.  73.  --John/K2MM

P.S.  Maybe I'll even read it now, too ;-)


Date: Sun, 14 Aug 1994 21:07:44 -0700 (PDT)
From: <cmschonewaldcox at>
Subject: Beetle Valley lives

A Beetle Valley Tale.

A Little Story

You can't tune the same band twice.  1969..WN3UTA

The alarm clock rang.  I shook myself and wondered where I was.  The clock
glowed 5:30 AM just as I had set it the night before.  My mind clock earlier
had brought me from deep sleep quickly to lazy resting.  The alarm had a
different purpose than time.  It told me I had to get up.  I must be there
for the band opening.  A band opening, as anyone knows who has waited for
one, is special.  When you catch it just right, like that perfect wave, it
gives you a complete feeling.  I couldn't miss it.  Not after so much
planning.  And I wouldn't the alarm had seen to that.

I don't know quite why but coffee helps me enjoy the feeling better.  There
I was sitting with my earphones on holding the cup close to my mouth, not
really drinking it.  The view out the window told me I was secure.  It was
pitch black.  I would see the band grow as the sun filtered through the
trees.  Everything was in perfect harmony.  I would catch the first ripple
and ride the building wave for all it was worth.

The band was completely dead.  Searching for the first sign of life takes a
plan.  Experience dictates it.  Point the beam just south of east and tune.
The band always opens that way.  Percentages point to keeping the beam on
Africa.  Some of those boys never get on again.  Ideas race through my head
as I wait and tune.  I peak and re-peak the receiver for fear that I
accidentally hit the tuning knob.

Sitting, listening, drinking and waiting for it to happen.  6AM now.  So any

Tune.  Tune.  Stop.  I don't know why.  I certainly didn't plan to stop.  It
must be that some deep unconscious process is at work.  I rock the receiver
knob over the KHz.  There it is, too weak to even get a tone yet but
unmistakably a manmade noise.  Peak it with the antenna.  Peak it with the
preselector.  Concentrate on it.  What it needs is a little more sun.  I
mark it down on my paper and search again.  More ripples, all still too
weak.  The coffee somehow was gone.  Why do I feel I must hurry if I'm to
get some more.  I almost run to the coffee pot.  I must not miss anything.
I must not lose my grip on the band.  I am controlling it.  I was the master
of it so far.  Later it would prove too much to hold, but now I felt secure.
Ham radio is infinitely more than electronics.  It's spiritual.

Sitting, drinking, waiting for it to happen.  Thoughts fly through my head.

I earn my living as a contester.  This was my 16th Universal Contest.  I
remember when it used to be hard to get all the calls right.  Some calls in
a log were always broken.  I still have some friends in prison.  They got
caught before the use of digital exchanges.  They had 1% percent error in
their log and off to jail they went.

Contest exchanges became more secure when mandatory digital exchanges were
instigated.  Each exchange was accompanied by a digital burst.  There was no
room for error.  I had the Ra-1000 the top of the line.  To be competitive
you could leave nothing to chance.  Nothing.  To prepare myself for the
ordeal of 48 hrs non-stop, I had spent the previous week stocking up on the
proper nutrients.Six hours before the contest, I dusted off my old copy of
the 7th episode of Joseph Campbell's mythology series.  You know, the one on
the importance of "OM".  For five hours, I repeated this ancient activator
of deeper energies.  I was ready.

I had decided to enter the partially human category.  This allows me to just
find the stations and nothing else.  The radio and computer do the rest.  It
is more fun to me than the totally automated group.  I guess I'm sentimental
about the human involvement.  As computers became more involved in
contesting there developed no excuse for error.  Still small pirate groups
using pencils get on.  It is sad when they ask for a repeat.

Later today the JA's will be pounding into my ears.  I thought the west
coast finally got what it deserved when Japan ran out of calls and started
issuing decimal call signs.  This, I guess, is another thing that did in the
human element.  You just can not make a dupe sheet big enough.  Where do you
put JA3.789ADE?  The computer had no problem meeting this challenge.  Of
course, the prefix boys went crazy.  The problem was obtaining enough
prefixes to make the minimum of 50,000 for first stage eligibility while
keeping a job.  Hunting for prefixes is now only for the wealthy.  They have
to be on the air all the time to catch the 1,000,000 plus prefixes.  Every
QSO is a new one.  Usually marriage or a job are out of the question.  But
alas the East coast just waited.  Soon most countries went down the decimal

By using the digital bar code system, clean copy in excess of 800/hr was
common place.  Deciding how to handicap top contesters so everyone was equal
was more difficult.  The Department of Contesting (the government office in
charge of contesting) first tried applying a voltage to the receiver knob.
The better the operator, the higher the voltage.  This led to disaster when
the # 1 man in the world was electrocuted when he held the knob too long on
an expedition pileup frequency waiting for them to identify.  Temperature is
now the standard handicapping method.  I have to operate in a room at 110
degrees F.

The signals are becoming stronger.  As I sit and think, a 1E4 pops out from
the noise.  A 1E4!  These native people had just reclaimed their mountain
homeland they lost 6700 years ago!  Only a few were active and one was in my
beam width.  My computer quickly calls him hoping no one has yet found him.
Instantly his digital burst shows up on my screen.  He is in the computer!
In 1997, the World court had ruled that all peoples have a right to their
native lands no matter how recent or far back their claim.  An ingenious
solution was hit upon by building high rises, where earliest claimants
occupied the first level, and later peoples occupied successively higher
levels.  Each level was self contained and located over their native land.
My computer tells me that 1E4 is on the third level of what used to be
called Nigeria.  I've got to move fast.  S99?  What was that.  Quickly my
computer goes through all bulletin boards and data bases.  S99A, that be
must it.  A dxpedition by the Finns.  I push the button.  Braaap!  He is in
the log.  But I will have to wait for more sun.  Then the beam will swing
further north.  Last year I had a multiplier of 1560.  Ever since PTI came
on the air years ago there have been 1230 additions to the DXCC.  1E4 was
just the latest.

Soon it happened.  I lost control.  The band was full of signals stacked on
one another.  RF-audio frequency stacking allowed as many as six signals to
occupy the same frequency without interference.  I moved the dial with all
the speed I could muster.  The computer screen showed 500, 700 then 1057
QSO's/hr.  Each QSO was checked against the Sampson data bank.  Everyone
entering the contest was required to register their call.  You could not
work anyone in the contest who was not registered.  Still, every once in a
while you would run into a South American you needed.  In your enthusiasm to
get a number out of the guy, you would forget he was not registered.  All
you did was waste time since the QSO was screened by the computer and never
made it into memory.  But that's the joy of the partially human category:
the operator can still make mistakes.

Finally the final bell!  The hard disk lights up.  After whirling for a few
seconds I can hear the familiar tones of modem calling the Department of
Contesting being called.  My results enter the headquarters data bank.
About five years ago, a ruling was made that if your results were not in the
headquarters data bank by 0015Z after the contest your registration for the
next contest was withdrawn.  A strong incentive.  I sure liked the more
relaxed deadline of one day after the test, but numerous people were caught
by the Contest police tape recording the contest.  That was ruled OK.  But
then some were found to be using sonograms to analyze the voice
characteristics of questionable QSO's to change their logs.  That was too
much and the 0015Z deadline was imposed.  So now all I have to do is wait
till Tuesday at 0015Z for the results.

Its a long time to wait, but I can prepare for next weeks Worked all New
Zealand test.  Ever since the study in Science Weekly conclusively
demonstrated that being isolated on a remote island increased your chances
of cancer and heart disease, and that talking rapidly to total strangers
reduced your risk, you can now run the ZL's at 200/hr.  Contesting is
cheaper than psychotherapy.

I vote for that 73 K3EST

More information about the CQ-Contest mailing list