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jcrovell at jcrovell at
Tue Dec 3 14:20:05 EST 1996

>From jcrovell Tue Dec 03 15:23 EST 1996 remote from 580howard
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>From: "John Crovelli" <jcrovell at 580howard>
To: "cq-contest" <cq-contest at>, "WYLIE" <WYLIE at>
Subject: RE: Re:Contesting and the Internet
Date: Tue Dec 03 15:30 EST 1996
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Tom you wrote:  << I do not seek to question skill levels as I already said 
skill levels have been honed by technology and even now at the bottom of the
sun spot cycle records are being broken.">>

Where do you get the notion that skill levels are honed by technology? 
 Technology has very little to do with skill which is essentially the 
product of the physical and mental abilities of the participant.  At very 
best technology is tool used to produce the desired result but it is not 
under normal circumstances anywhere near as important as what goes through 
the mind of a competitor and how he applies his cumulative knowledge. 
 Someone said earlier that contesting is 80% operator and 20% hardware.  I 
think this is a fair supposition of the truth.

Example:  In 1987 (give or take a year) I operated the ARRL DX  CW contest 
as P40GD.  My station consisted of a Cushcraft 402CD at 55 feet, a Cushcraft 
A4 tribander at 47 feet, an 80 meter loop with the apex at 45 feet, and a 
160M inverted vee apex at 45 feet.  TS930S and MLA2500 amplifier.  My 
 competition that year was NP4A, operated by a really great operator, Chip, 
K7JA.  Padro's station at that time was unquestionably the loudest in the 
Carribean, if not the world, located on a commanding hilltop above Ponce, 
P.R.  with monbanders gallore on multiple 100' plus towers.  I likened the 
competition to David vs. Goliath.  The only way to be successful in this 
sort of huge mismatch of hardware (assuming the operators are evenly 
matched) required execution of an operating strategy superior to the other 
guy.  I knew I was down 10 to 20 db on most bands, especially 80 and 160. 
 Who won the contest would hinge on which of us would make the most of the 
10 meter openings and who ended up with the most mults, esp. on 160 and 80. 
 It promised to be a close competition and an exciting one.  I felt like the 
underdog and by measurment of hardware/technology as you call it, there is 
no question I was.

Well, when Sunday evening rolled around it was evident the course that I had 
charted was enough for success.  P40GD  had a few more QSOs on 10m and more 
mults on 160 that translated into a very narrow victory, a  product 
seemingly more the result of intellectual effort than brute force.  The very 
modest station at my disposal  at that time was sufficient to upset a very 
formidable and skilled opponent.  Again, it wasn't the hardware or 

Skill is the product of experience.  There are so many little things that 
make some contesters better than others.  I would love to understand what 
exactly what makes KR0Y or K1TO or W0UA or N2NT or OH2MM or N6KT or CT1BOH 
or G4BUO or N5KO or N6AA or KW9KW or KM9P or W1KM or KQ2M or K1AR or N6TR or 
G3SXW or DK3GI or ZL3GQ or JE1CKA or ZS6EZ or any number of others such 
 great operators?  It's certainly not  the radio station they happen to be 
sitting behind at any given time.  Its the thought process they go through 
over and over and over  again that ultimately determines the outcome of 
their performance and seperates them from others.   That process is the 
product of their cumulative contesting experience which has been refined 
over many years.  I'm willing to bet that if you asked any of them, they 
would tell you OPERATOR SKILL is more important than hardware or supporting 

Of course you need a station that is at least average.  When piloted by an 
experienced operator, the result will be an above average score.  Everything 
being equal, operator performance will be the deciding factor in 9 out of 10 

I can't get worked up about connections between rigs and the internet. 
 Guess you might say I'm a believer in OLD Technology...hell I'm still using 
a 286 laptop and version 7.19 of CT, not a Pentium and CT 9.XX,  a beat up 
TS930S, not an FT1000MP.
Again, these are tools and old ones ofter work just as well as the latest 
and greatest.
I am against using the WWW for multiplier alerting.  If its not entirely 
over radio frequencies, it shouldn't be allowed.

Well Tom, I suppose we will continue to disagree.  But for every example 
being cited on this thread of how operator skill is most important there are 
another 1000  examples that are going unspoken.

Contesting  is what you make of it.  You can compete at your own level and 
have great fun.  It doesn't seem to matter how old you are either. 
 Something for everyone.


John, W2GD/P40W

To: cq-contest
Subject: Re:Contesting and the Internet
Date: Tuesday, December 03, 1996 6:50PM

Well, I got a few interesting replies.   However, a lot of them completely
missed my point and concentrated on my thoughts that cash is more important
than skill.  I do not seek to question skill levels as I already said that
skill levels have been honed by technology and even now at the bottom of the
sun spot cycle records are being broken.

The main thrust of my message was to seek views on permitting
interconnections between rigs and the internet and all that entails.   Some
of the replies confirmed my point that you can only win from certain parts
of the world - the carribean or north/west africa.   Now I dont expect ever
to do well from Scotland and past results will confirm that.   I have been
5th in the world SSB ARRL SOSB 20 and 11th in the world 1995 SOSB 20, and
that gives me personal satisfaction from north of 56 degrees north.    56
degrees north - hey thats south alaska or half way up hudson's bay.

I agree that skill is important, but skill cannot win alone.  You do need a
station and the bigger the better.   Rigs and amps are not cheap neither are
towers, antennas and real estate.   Well they may be cheaper in the USA but
not in other parts of the World - I can live with that.

My point is that be cultivating a friend in a part of the world where YOU
CAN win the Contest, by using the Internet, you DONT EVEN HAVE TO BE THERE -
and that surely is wrong.   You dont even need your own rig just a PC.
Ham radio contesting is in danger of being swamped by its own technology -
and I for one would like to see the interconnection between rigs AND the
internet banned.

That is nothing to do with skill........

I must look out my asbestos suit.   Most of the replies have been from "the
big guys"
how about the views from the minnows - like me

Regards to all - whatever your opinion

73 de Tom - GM4FDM

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