[CQ-Contest] In defense: Contesting and DX'ing

Jim Reid jreid at aloha.net
Fri Nov 7 13:35:42 EST 1997

Carl R. Stevenson wrote:

> I have little respect for "know-nothing of radio and don't care to"
> yackers, beepers, gamers, DXers and others who only use the radio
> medium as a "playing field" for their testosterone-induced macho
> electronic paintball wars endeavors.  Those things are NOT "the heart"
> of ham radio.  Ham radio has *always* been *intended* as a place to
> experiment, tinker, invent, and advance the SOTA, not as an arcade
> for mindless games.

Aloha,  The above statements were posted today on the amateur
radio policy newsgroup.  It is one of many being pushed to
change the rules/nature of amateur radio;  that is,  in hopes
of influencing decision makers and WRC conferences,  etc.  I
posted the following in response.  If I left your station out
in my list of examples,  I am sorry.  If I included a station
which does not belong,  again,  my ignorance,  but you will
see my point against this argument.

Well,  I must respond to Carl's comments; re. "beepers,  gamers,
DX'ers" and the HF band "playing fields".  Carl points out the intended
use of our bands:  experimentation, tinker,  invent,  etc.

Evidently Carl does not realize the contributions made, particularly by
the "gamers and DX'ers" to the STOA of HF radio.

In the late 40's and early 50's,  SSB modulation techniques were brought
to the ham HF bands by exactly those interested in DX and Contesting.
I was an operator at W6YX, Stanford University in those years.  That
was exactly when SSB techniques were worked out there  between the
technical faculty in the engineering school/ amateur radio club trustees,
in particular Oswald G. Villard, and Art Collins.  Collins also had
a contract with you know who in Nebraska to work out SSB.
The entire point of SSB was to get the energy of our signals into
one side band,  not two,  and get rid of the energy loss in the
useless carrier of AM modulation.

Today,  about the entire globe,  the most sophisticated,  and elaborate
HF band stations are owned by Contestors and DX'ers.  ON4UN in
Belgium,  CT1BOH in Portugal,  WB9Z in Illinois,  IR4T in Italy,
PI4COM in The Netherlands,  IY4FGM near Bologna,  GW4BLE
southeastern Wales,  JA3ZOH in the hills of Japan,  PY5EG in
Curitiba, Brazil,  W3LPL in Maryland, VE3EJ in Ontario,...
.... and on and on.

Each of these stations has ELABORATE  and multiple rig set
ups,  multiple antenna installations,  many computers with each
operating position networked with logging programs,  band
mapping programs,  propagation monitoring radios,  etc., etc.

These amateur radio stations,  every one of them,  and many others
are Contest/DX stations.  They each have the most sophisticated and
up to date technology possible.  Each has invested into it what would
be comparably invested into a stable of Ferrari racing automobiles;
and I have seen both,  especially in Southern California!!

These guys have pushed and pushed at manufacturers,  at antenna
designers,  at software writers,  and continue to do so.  The station
owners themselves are all first class operators and technicians.  They
spend virtually all of there time "tinkering" and pushing the state of
the HF art,  in every way feasible.  Every station I listed represents
thousands of man-hours of work,  every year to maintain and remain
in the top ranks of competition in the sport of DX contesting;  which
of course has no more purpose than the sport of auto racing:fun to have
and maintain and win with the BEST.  The owners of these stations
and their interests is every bit and intense,  and focused on winning
as any Indianapolis racing stable owner!

They have pushed the SOTA  of amateur radio every bit as directly
as the owners of Indianapolis racing machines have pushed the
SOTA of tires,  lubricants,  engines, brakes, frame design,  etc.

So that is my bit;  wish I had such a station,  at least I think I do.
Might be a real bother keeping all of that stuff in tip top shape.

73,  Jim, KH7M
On the Garden Island of Kauai

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