[CQ-Contest] QSO Parties

nf1j at juno.com nf1j at juno.com
Tue May 4 10:30:01 EDT 1999

Well, last year, I operated portable from three different places in the
CQP. I learned some important lessons that (in my mind) are probably
pivotal for any state QSO party.

1: You need to be good *and* loud. I operated from three fairly rare
counties (Colusa, Lake, and Yolo), with low power and not exactly
directive antennas (an R-7000, about 1300' ASL). Big mistake #1. If
you're not screaming loud, you'll never run much, and the smaller
stations won't hear you. There are at least 5 stations that probably
didn't sweep CA because they only heard Lake, and didn't copy Colusa. Not
to mention the people who can't figure out how to enter it into the
computer (and why was it *my* problem you couldn't make *your* software
work right?)

This year, beam antennas, amplifier, and I'm bringing the Airstream
instead of operating in the dust bowl. There are probably a lot of
stations out there that just aren't going to be heard by many operators
on the "outside". Heck, I couldn't work some of the big guns in

2: Big mistake #2--operating from a county line. If I had one QSO for
each person I had to explain that I was operating from two counties
simultaneously, I'd have finished about 10k higher. Half the people know
the rules, half have no idea, and then there's the folks who just hear a
CQ and feel honor bound to answer it--and you have to go over the entire
exchange with them in order to get the Q. Does this happen on CW, too,
guys? (I only did phone last year, big mistake #3).

I can honestly say that I think NCCC does an incredible job promoting CQP
both inside and outside the state; and several other groups have gotten
serious about it too. The trick for any state to be successful is going
to be how many of the state's general ham population they can motivate to
just get on and try to make contacts--and it takes a lot of effort to
produce even minimal results.  Look at the CQP awards (and even a
banquet), or how the Rochester VHF Group promotes January VHF SS in their
local area with awards and trophies. Just giving out a bunch of
certificates probably isn't going to do it for the most part. 

If you're expecting to work vast amounts of hams in some other state,
you're probably in the wrong pursuit when it comes to state QSO parties.
It's always been that way, for the most part, and it probably always will
be. Thankfully, we have NAQP and SS. 

As for me and CQP 99, I plan to be good, loud and everywhere all at once.
Yeah, yeah, that's the ticket... :-)

Warren, NF1J
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