Contest automation - be careful

Sun Nov 10 13:01:07 EST 1996

QSL Con. Your English is fine....much better than that of many people I work

I like the speed shifting feature Tree has proposed simply because it is
something I do ANYWAY!

When I get called by N6TR and hit the exchange button, the next thing I do is
hit the speed and crank it up because I know he will be able to copy faster.

Sometimes I forget to "undo" this, and this is why I like this idea.

I agree that we have to be wary of de-humanizing contesting, but in my 25
years of doing it I still have those moments of jubilation during a contest
just like I did when I used seperates, didn't have a memory keyer and only
knew one guy who had stacked antennas...not to mention we were all paper
logging!  It still is a most exciting hobby...last weekend we still were
hooting and hollering at our station when we were called by the rare VY1
multiplier and hollered again when the last multiplier we needed for a clean
sweep called us.

The introduction of the conmputer has made contesting more fun because it has
eliminated the tedious duties of duping logs...those who make a lot of QSOs
could look forward to long periods of time AFTER the contest re-duping their
logs, uggggh.  Within minutes after a contest we know our scores, within
tenths of a percentage point...I was at Dayton when K1EA received induction
into CQ's Contest Hall of Fame for starting us down this road, and nobody
clapped any louder or longer than I did!

The tedious nature of post contest duping has been removed, now we can spend
that time doing something else, maybe even playing chess - or - if we are
wise, spending time with our families!

I agree that Pakcett has created a mess in that there are hams who think they
know DXing because they can pick off a spot from the cluster....huh?  But
these guys aren't winning anything - and they are spending more hours in the
contests making contests more enjoyable and a more "powerful"  force in the
amateur radio community - strength ALWAYS is in numbers I am afraid.

I still say hi to friends in the contest with the manual key - and just
because a callsign isn't in the master.dat file doesn't mean it doesn't
exist....I LOVE UNIQUES!  The problem is with those logs where the uniques
aren't SO unique.

Over 25 years ago, long before anyone thought about the ease of having one's
own PC in their own shack, another ham told me, the Novice, what a stupid
thing the 5NN report was in contests....since that time we have added an
awful lot of changes to the hobbie...but the 599 remains.  When 5995 is
replaced with something "more meaningful" everyone will make that
change...whether they have a computer or not.

I think Tree is onto something with the automatic speed  changing...why,
because the computer will now do something I have been doing by hand anyway -
just like my first memory keyer (an endless tape loop in a cassette player
driving a reed relay) did...bring it on.

73 - GL

Jim K4OJ


>From k5zd at (Randy Thompson)  Sun Nov 10 14:27:00 1996
From: k5zd at (Randy Thompson) (Randy Thompson)
Date: Sun, 10 Nov 1996 09:27:00 -0500
Subject: SS CW scores were down - WHY?
Message-ID: <01BBCF03.A62DEDE0 at>

I too noticed that activity was down.  I was surprised when several =
stations made comments that they thought it was better!  Maybe it =
depended on where you were.

We can all agress that big scores come from lots of part time =
participants.  What encourages these people to stay on longer?

- Participation awards (rewards).  SS has these but I sure didn't have =
the "feeling" that there were lots of people chasing these this year =
(not enough low numbers in the log).  Have they worn out their interest?

- Success (i.e. good conditions).  This is where we got hurt the most.  =
Saturday night was horrible.  Bad QRN on 80.  Long skip on both 80 and =
especially 40.  Weak signals.  The guys who normally get on in the early =
part of the contest just didn't stick around.  Of course, they did all =
work K1ZX who was booming in all night on 40.  Any of them that showed =
up on Sunday found a long 40m band, 20 that was wall to wall phase =
noise, and 15 with few signals.  Again, not much reason to stick it out.

- Trade off with CQWW.  I have a theory that the better the CQWW Phone =
contest is the weekend before, the less activity there is in SS CW.  =
Most "normal" people can't devote lots of time two weekends in a row.  =
WW is first, DXing is more fun, so they spend their time there.  One of =
the best record setting SS contests ever was when the calender gave us a =
weekend off between WW and SS.

Interested to see if others have any ideas.  If we can determine the =
problem, then a "marketing" solution may be possible.

Randy, K5ZD

From: 	K1to at[SMTP:K1to at]
Sent: 	Saturday, November 09, 1996 5:48 PM
Subject: 	SS CW scores were down - WHY?

As usual, I had fun in SS CW this year.  Hearty thanks to the White =
for hosting me for my first Florida SS operation...

Clearly, scores were down this year.  This holds true in all categories.

With such good A and K-indices, were conditions too good?  I read =
postings that alluded to DX calling in more than usual. =20

Were there other factors that affected activity levels?  I and many =
noticed a significant drop in rates on Sunday.  Was the weather =
nice up north, leading to outdoor activities replacing SS for the casual
participants?  (I can ask that, being a Floridian now!)?  Were the =
games particularly interesting?  Was 60 Minutes more riveting than =

Are we just so increasingly efficient that we can work each other =
quicker and
quicker each year?  (Jim and I went to sleep with #968 in the log, I =
 On CW especially, there is a finite number of QSOs available.  =
that would not account for why there were 100+ more stations to work =

Are we just at the bottom of the sunspot cycle and SS is just not =
any more?

Is it, as one poster suggested a while back, related at all to the
announcement in QST?

This has the potential to be an interesting thread.  As soon as it =
please refrain from posting...

73, Dan, K1TO/4 (opr. at K1ZX Multi-Single)

Randy Thompson                                                           =
                     Amateur Radio Call Sign: K5ZD
E-mail: k5zd at
11 Hollis Street,  Uxbridge, MA 01569
h (508) 278-2355  w (508) 337-6600

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