[CQ-Contest] Re: Efficiency is the name o' the game

Scott Robbins w4pa at yahoo.com
Wed Jun 7 15:28:52 EDT 2000

----- Original Message -----
From: Scott Robbins <w4pa at yahoo.com
>> But Bill - you're missing the fundamental point of
>> what contesting is.  Contesting is not working
>> stations and multipliers, it's all about racing the
>> clock and operating efficiency!  When I compete in
>> contest, I am not competing against any of the
>> hams who are operating the contest.

W7TI writes:

>If this were true (it's not) why do they list scores
in descending 
>order?  Why not just randomly?  Or not list them at
all?  After all, you >know your own score, don't you? 
The heart of contesting is a competition >between
stations, not competition against oneself.  

This is a philosophical rift about how the contest is
viewed by the competitors, then.  When I am operating
a contest seriously, I don’t think for a minute about
what other hams who are operating the contest are
doing.  There is nothing they are doing that will
motivate me, and in fact I make an effort to ignore
other competitors while the contest is in progress –
it can have nothing but a negative effect on my
psyche.  What they are doing, and how they are
operating has no bearing whatsoever on how I will end
up comparatively in the final standings.  I don’t
compete against myself; I set a goal and compete
against a clock when running a radio contest.  If
there is any absolute in radio contesting, it’s that
there is a set amount of time that will be made
available to operate the contest, whether it is 4
hours or 48 hours.  Within that framework, decisions
about how to maximize that operating time must be made
and the two that are the most effective for me are
operating two radios simultaneously and skipping
sleep.  Variables are many in contesting; time is an

>Do you really think the K1ARs, KC1XXs, W3LPLs and
>K3ZOs of the world are >competing only against
>themselves???  Get real, Scott.

The answer during the contest is: yes!  Who else is
going to motivate yourself to put your mind and body
through the punishment that an all-out 48 hour DX
contest requires?  I don’t believe that the top
operators are willing to put themselves through it
only for the sake of competition.  You have to want to
push yourself, and motivate yourself to achieve
excellence – and that simply cannot happen if your
motivation is other competitors in the same event.  It
has to come from within yourself and has to be for
personal achievement.  The recognition of your peer
group and your place in the standings has to come
secondary to this unless reasons for participating in
radio contesting are strictly egomaniacal.   

While the contest is actually in progress, the only
person that is going to beat you is yourself.  Poor
decision making skills before and during the contest
are what separate the great operators from the rest of
the pack.  The biggest contest decisions are not made
during the contest itself; they’re made when stations
are constructed, plans are made, goals are set.  The
easy part (once you believe you have the will to be
all that you can be in a contest) is the actual
physical operation of the contest.  The preparation,
commitment and motivation are year-round and never
ending with top radio contesters and it’s an all
consuming passion.  This is not any different from any
other sport where individual achievement produces
results that are then compared to other competitors in
the same event.  

>So if I get beat fair and square, fine.  I just don't
like the idea of having such a great >handicap
>before the contest even begins.  And PLEASE don't
>tell me to get a second radio - I have operated
two->radio and didn't care for it. 

I think you’ll have to accept, then, that others who
have taken advantage of maximizing efficiency in their
contest operation are going to finish ahead of you in
the standings.  I have operated one radio for many
years, and don’t care for it anymore and see one-radio
operation as being a handicap to maximizing contest

I’m now repeating a post I made on Monday, but the
thing that irks me the most about complaints about
SO2R is that it somehow is unfair.  The reason I
started doing it was to be able to compete with the
top competitors.  Hey, I can run one radio and feel
competitive if the circumstances dictate (like when I
operated as W4AN in the 10 meter contest in Dec.) –
but you can bet that if Bill’s station had been set up
to operate a second radio on the same band at the same
time that I wouldn’t have hesitated for a second to do

>The two-radio station doesn't need to worry about
>openings and closings, since he'll catch them almost

I disagree.  In the closing hour of the 1998 CQ WW CW
contest I was running JA’s on 10 meters and trying to
decide among running them on 15, running Europe on 40
or whether I just ought to be tuning around looking
for multipliers.  The decisions become more complex. 
And that’s what’s so fun about SO2R – trying to decide
all of this stuff and copy callsigns in two ears at
the same time after 45 hours with no sleep.

Again, I am dead set against the ideas that SO2R is
unfair and that it should be segregated into a
separate category.  We’d just be diluting the level of
competition further by doing so. 

Scott Robbins, W4PA

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