[CQ-Contest] Re: copying weak signals was: K4OJ's problem

Pete Smith n4zr at contesting.com
Tue Dec 18 12:01:09 EST 2001

At 04:33 PM 12/18/01 +0000, Bill Tippett wrote:
...but when a station is EXTREMELY weak, you can
>waste a lot of time for nothing so I often choose not to.  Many times I
>ignore stations calling that are so weak I feel I'll never get their call 
>or exchange.  I'm more likely to try to dig them out in contests like CQWW
>or CQ 160 where I know the exchange if I get their call...but in serial
>number exchange contests like ARRL 10 or WPX, I'm more likely to ignore
>the water-weak guys who call.  ARRL DX is somewhere in between because
>the exchange is usually a round number. 

This raises a related issue.  I find it much harder to copy a serial number
with high confidence on CW than on phone, when the signal is really weak.
I guess this is because a spoken number ("seven") has many more points of
potential recognition than "--...".  The benefit is increased because of
the multiple ways that one can speak a number -- "one-two-seven, that's one
hundred twenty seven, etc."  Any info theory professionals out there with
real scientific explanations?

I believe that the need to copy serial numbers is one reason why rates in
the ARRL10 don't get as high as CQWWCW, even though participation in Europe
(our big rate-generator) is every bit as high. I had to ask a lot of
people, "Did you say one-twenty-seven?"  At least on phone most people at
least said "roger" or "QSL" before some of them repeated the whole thing
three times...

73, Pete N4ZR

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