[CQ-Contest] More Skewering the Power-skewed Stew

Milt Jensen miltj at dvec.org
Tue Dec 21 16:50:53 EST 1999

----- Original Message -----
Mark Beckwith <swca at ionet.net> wrote:

> Bill is right.  If this contest is to grow bigger and bigger, it should
> un-skewed away from the QRP advantage it currently has.  160 Meters is
> no place for 5 watts.  I operated the CQWW once (4A2MX-1991) with 5 watts
> and that was bad enough and there was a lot more to do.

After reading a number of similar comments over the last 60 hours since the
contest ended I am a bit puzzled.  I did some quick calculations and the
power difference between the QRP level of 4.8 Watts and QRO limit of 1,500
Watts is in round figures 24 dB.  The difference between QRP and LP of 100
Watts is 13 dB.  The difference between LP and HP is therefore 11 dB.

It would appear that the SPDC organizers have done a very good job of making
the differential in the three classes as nearly equal as possible using
easily remembered round number power limits.  And for that differential they
have assigned an equal differential in power multipliers, ie. 1, x2, & x4.

Most of us that are obsessed (tm, NI6T) that do not have a 4 Square would
give up the right one and sign a mortgage on the left one to have a
4-Square.  Reason:  the 4-5 dB gain the 4-Square gives is a well documented
tremendous gain and advantage.  And here the QRPer is giving up the
equivalent of about 6.5 phased 4-Square arrays.  The LP operator gives up
the equivalent of 3+ 4-Squares.   Hmmmmm!!!   Seems to me that the power
multipliers for LP and QRP  are LOWER than they should be if they give up
that much difference.

What it really boils down to folks is, 1.   for any contest there is an
advantage to particular geographic locations and, 2.  the propagation Gods
deal misery to some and bless others.  You can let VY1JA run HP with a x 10
multiplier and he will have a difficult time being top dog when the aurora
is in full bloom.  Correspondingly, a sea coast location in New England with
a decent station and operator will be among the blocked call signs 95% of
the time.  Put a superior station and operator at that same location and it
will always walk away with the Heisman.  This is no more true  on any band
than it is on Top Band.

As mentioned in my 3830 post, at the height of the sunspot cycle Top Band IS
much more difficult.  For many casual operators they get their "Ham Radio
fix" on the upper HF bands.  You know, "Rig here is a converted CB xcvr
running 5 Watts to a mag mount on the trunk of the car.  Thanks OM for the
5x9+20 report.  So why get on 160 Meters with the leads of their 80 Meter
inverted Vee tied together, endure the endless QRN, and hope your signal
gets beyond the county line.  They just didn't get on.

Also, the last Saturday before the Christmas holiday certainly took its
toll.  Much, much different than having SPDC after the holiday as it has
been in the first 3 runnings.  If I had pushed a cart up and down every
aisle of a WalMart Super Store all day long I wouldn't feel like getting on
160 Meters and contesting either.

IMHO, for the SPDC IV the "normal" conditions, propagation wise and
participation wise, were not there.  I am sure that if Jeff, K1ZM, had
participated he would be the "winner" score wise no matter which category he
chose to operate.  Last year it was QRP and he was head and shoulders above
the rest of the pack.  No competition.  He and other "Big Guns" did not show
this year.  The casual operators were few in number.  Judging from the few
comments from EU, there was very little participation from the continent.
Even the RAC produced very few VE stations on 160 Meters.

THE BAND was not open early on in the western hemisphere.  It never did get
good  to the east coast from my location.  BUT, the spotlight did shine for
a couple of hours on the western US and Pacific area.  Fortunately, it
appears I was located at the eastern edge of that short "Stew Perry

Result.  The higher scores I have seen posted so far are from the left side
of North America.  I do NOT classify myself as a "Big Gun" operator.  I
cannot copy well above 25 WPM.  I have problems separating 2 or more signals
that are near the same level.   I have participated in a number of 160
contests through the years and usually I end up buried in the "also ran"
columns.  I have worked extensively to bring N5IA and N7GP up to a moderate
competition level.

I really enjoyed having Robin, WA6CDR, my Top Band mentor, travel here last
January from LAX so that we could air both stations simultaneously in the
same contest and make some comparisons.   Robin, operating N7GP, won the
certificate for high score in AZ.  I operated N5IA and won the certificate
for high score in NM.  No Zone winners.

Is the Stew Perry Distance Challenge broken???  I do not think so.   Were
the apparent high scores skewed away from their traditional locations???
That appears to be the case.   Will SPDC V be different???  I certainly
believe it will be.
But who knows how Top Band and Stew will treat us???  Tonight.  Next week.
December Y2K.  No one knows.  That is the beauty and intrigue of the band.
The uncertainty from one minute to the next.  It is one of a kind.  It is

Let's promote what has turned out to be a unique contest.  Let everyone plan
their own strategy.  Only the acutal operation will prove who made the right
decisions at the right time.

The foregoing statement will prove that I am a certified crazy.  For many
years my wife and children have attempted to keep it a family secret and
keep me out of the public eye.  Now the whole world knows.

BTW, we will be erecting a full size 1/4 WL elevated Ground plane for 160
Meters, and full sized elevated 4-Squares for 80 and 40 Meters on Thahtay
Khun Island for the XZ0A operation in January.  Receiving will be via
independently selectable multiple Beverages wired to operating positions for
all three bands.  Check out the web page at
http://getnet.com/~k7wx/myanmar.htm and get ready to work us all bands and
all modes.

73 es Happy Holidays de Milt, N5IA

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