[CQ-Contest] New Blood in Contesting (can one go home again?)

Wigi Tozzi wigi at alaska.com
Thu Mar 16 16:27:01 EST 2000

I think Merri makes some excellent points... which prompts me to add my
comments, and offer a challenge...

I have asked a few people how they got into contesting, and have almost
always gotten some very interesting stories. One of the things that I
think is most interesting about these stories is that they are
generalizable (the ones I've heard) to our hobby at large, and
contesting, specifically. That is, they share a lot of common elements.
I think we should look at some of the stories to see what it is that we
might do to bring more into contesting, because we have some anecdotal
evidence that it works... many of us wouldn't be contesting otherwise.

Which brings me to my challenge. I'd like to see some comments posted
about how people got into contesting... So that maybe we can look at
those stories, and see if one or more of those ideas can be used to
bring more people to contesting now. Since I offered the challenge, I'll

My first exposure to contesting happened many years before I became a
ham. My father (Lou, W3URI) was a member of a radio club at his office.
They would do Field Day every year. I was probably not more than 9 or 10
at the time, but I found myself fascinated by the tents and the radios
and the generators. I remember sitting in the tent keeping logs while my
dad's friends operated. They even let me make some contacts.

I also remember watching Tom, K3TC sit at a table for hours at a stretch
working CW with a bug. Nobody helped him log... he never seemed to get
up (except when the generator ran out of gas). He never talked. He was
wearing phones (nobody else did, cause there was one person logging as
the other "ran" (I use that term advisedly, in retrospect).

My dad's club did FD many times, and I often did it with them. Right
before I got my license I actually operated CW during Field Day. My dad
wondered why I could work people on CW so easily but I couldn't pass a
code test (back in the days of a minute of solid copy from plain text).

For me, Field Day was about the radios, and about a de facto camping
trip, and staying up late. But it was also about a social event. I
enjoyed doing stuff with the guys at the club. Today, I much prefer
multi-op contests to single op.

For me, it was those social experiences that put me in a place to learn
about the competitive aspects of contesting. Even though I prefer
multi-op contests, I have also done many contests single-op. I enjoy the
competition, both with other and myself. I enjoy working to beat the
Alaskan records with my very modest station (as I did in ARRL DX CW).

To date, I have not a single piece of wallpaper. But when I go operate
M/M contests at KL7RA, my call is on the WPX North America plaque in the
station. And honestly, to me, it looks a lot better there than it might
on some certificate hanging in my home. That is a lot more satisfying to

Wigi, AL7IF

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