[CQ-Contest] ARRL 10m mult strategy

Trey Garlough trey at kkn.net
Wed Dec 15 06:22:54 EST 1999

>   I am wondering of any of you upperclass contesters out there would be
> willing to share with me your strategy for when to run or when to work
> mults.  I have tried several different ideas, but I never can get QSOs and
> mults to balance out for a maximum score.  
>  I can give you several examples of when I spent valuable time looking for
> multipliers.  I won't say 'wasted' time, because I don't know whether I
> really wasted time or not, or whether it was well spent.  At 0011z I have
> 20 contacts in the log.  I abandon ship.  This nets YB, VR2, VK, and T8.
> Back to running.  Another pass at 0038 gets me 9M2 and KL7.  Later I start
> at the bottom and go up.  This gets me BY, KH0, and KH6.  

In your situation (operating from Texas, ARRL 10 Meter Contest, CW
only), I would find it really hard to walk away from a rate of
109/hour in the first hour to hunt for mults, especially since there
is a chance you might very well be called by half of these guys
anyways.  Furthermore, the band will be open for hours to KH6 and VK
(and with conditions like this, maybe everyplace else), so there's
no point in giving up a good rate to find these guys.

>  Another example, during the 10 meter contest this weekend, I abandoned my
> clear run frequency where I had just had a 113 hour to go look for
> multipliers that hadn't yet been found.  I started high in the band and
> just worked my way down looking for mults.  I'm having the time of my life
> busting mults like nothing else.  I stupidly bust Carribean pileups during
> prime time, which should be the last into the log.  I spend the hour and
> work KP2, FM, 4X, KP4, LZ, SU, Mississippi, VP5, TZ, YV, Arkansas, VO1,
> VE2, VE5, V2, CT, and LX.

Well, you have propagation working against you on the SU, 4X, LZ, and
LX.  The band will shut down to these guys first, so you find yourself
in a time-crunch to get these guys, but if you miss them it's not the
end of the world.  The rest of the stuff you should be able to work
throughout most of the day.

> These two mult scavenges alone probably cost me well over 150 QSO's.

> BTW, the final totals were for N5NU SOHP CW only:  1152 QSO's  60 dom, 78
> countries for 638k part time from TX. (1kW + 2 ele Quad 65ft etc)

> So...here's the question - was it worth it?  

You tell me.  You made 1152 QSOs and 138 mults.  That means a
multiplier is equal to 8.3 QSOs.  And you made two mult scavenges
which netted three mults at the cost of 150 QSOs (50 QSOs per mult).
In addition to the cost of the 150 QSOs, you have to consider the
number of multipliers that would have called you but didn't because
you weren't calling CQ.

All in all it doesn't sound like you came out ahead on this decision.

>   Then on the flip side, by not working the mults that you think are
> 'easy', you run the risk of never even hearing them again.  This nearly
> happened with SD, and it had me scared for a bit.
>   So...what are YOUR methods?  I am dying to know how these people can sit
> there and work 2000+ QSO's and then have more mults than I do.  It behooves
> me.  

I think people tend to get a little intoxicated with the idea of
making a big multiplier, and focus on this to the detriment of their
overall score.  I imagine a number of reasons for this, but
principally that hunting multipliers is fun (and therefore easy to
stick with) and making lots of QSOs is tedious work (and therefore
hard), so people tend to focus on the former.

One thing that folks tend to forget is that MULTIPLIERS ANSWER CQ's.
A guy with 2000 QSOs will typically have more mults than a guy with
1000 QSOs because he has reached a larger audience and therefore has
more potential to work multipliers.  The HP1 that answers your CQ is
worth just as many points to you as the 5A with the pileup you spent a
half hour cracking.

Finally, one comment about multiplier hunting methodology: when the
band is open between the most populated ham areas (Europe, North
America, JA), the band is wall to wall with non-multipliers calling
CQ, in addition to the dozen or so "interesting" guys who are calling
CQ that you want to find.  Finding the interesting guys is a real
chore during these times.

However, when inter-JA/Eu/NA propagation dries up, these guys tend to
start dialing around rather than CQing, and suddenly multiplier
hunting becomes more "efficient".  To wit, from Texas when the
Europeans fade out and the JA's haven't started yet, the band is
usually full of Carib and South American guys running W's (and a
little Europe).  This is a fun time to search for mults.

In Texas before the sun comes up you might tune across 10 or 15 meters
before the band opens to Europe and hear only four stations, but those
four stations might be ZS6EZ, 5H3US, 5Z4FO and 5X1T.  It sure is fun
to work those guys then, rather than at 2100Z when you have to fight
through a giant W pileup!

In any event, sorting all of this stuff out is part of the fun of
contesting.  See you in the next one!

--Trey, N5KO

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