[CQ-Contest] Does might make right in contesting?

Patrick Barkey PBARKEY at gw.bsu.edu
Fri Feb 25 09:18:16 EST 2000


These are excellent questions.  Here are a few observations I
have based on my experience.

Ethical operators do not knowingly, willfully, steal frequencies
from each other.  (E.g., I hear you CQ-ing and decide that
your frequency is too good for you). 

Having said this, what is stealing from one persons point of
view is self-defense in another's.  This occurs because of
several factors:

	propagation changes, and stations which had been
	unknowingly sharing a frequency together now
	become aware of each other's existence;

	the necessarily intermittent use of one's own frequency,
	because of the need to listen for weak signals;

	different definitions of exactly what is a "frequency".
	Some operators feel the need to police a much wider
	piece of the spectrum than is literally needed to
	run stations.

As a person who often operates in M/M's, it is interesting to note
when I am accused of "stealing" a frequency that I have 
occupied for hours previously.   This usually happens because
another station calls a CQ when I am listening, gets a few answers,
and only later hears me there.

For these reasons, you should expect your use of any particular
frequency during a contest to be challenged from time to time.
This is particularly so when, say, only one band is open for good
rate, or the range of usable frequencies is small, as on 40 meters.
If you occupy a frequency that is low in the band, often these
challenges will come from M/M or similarly well equipped stations.

If you run low power, have poor propagation, or have smaller
antennas, you will lose more of these challenges than otherwise.
Even if you do have a big station, you will find that these
are more persistent to the extent that you are an "unknown."

We have all been frustrated by these situations in our contesting
careers, but they are a part of competition.  There are no "nice
after 0000z in a DX contest.

The most effective response, in my opinion, is to upgrade your
One of my most memorable experiences in a contest occurred in
1981, in the CQ WW CW.  We had a 2 el full sized 40m beam that
at the time I thought was the best antenna I had ever used.  But
early in the WW N2AA (the old K2GL M/M) came on my frequency
and simply took it, leaving me CQ-ing into empty air.  The next
the 2 el was replaced by a 3 el and I never had that happen again.

   - Pat

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