[CQ-Contest] SS observations ( kinda long)

PaulKB8N at aol.com PaulKB8N at aol.com
Mon Nov 5 17:47:33 EST 2001

Dave's (K6LL) comments in many respects are on the mark.  In a perfect world, it would be great to have a low power/QRP-only contest.  To illustrate our excesses in a stateside contest, I recall loud SS QRM in Okinawa Japan that actually disrupted normal operations over there.

However, I think that the great thing about this contest is that it offers something for everyone.  Most select the low power category, but if you want to run with the bulls, QRO or QRP, you can do that also.  I like the choices we all have, and hate to see this contest throttled in any way.

This is a contest that requires both running and S&P skills.  It is also a contest of wills.  On Sunday, I found myself losing focus, and I probably missed hitting 1K QSOs because of it.  

It appears that high and low power scores are "clustering" a lot more than in the past.  A top low power score is probably 80% of a top high power score, indicating the finite nature of the stations to be worked.

I've operated SS since the early 60s, and I had always thought that on Sunday afternoon there was a bottomless well of available stations to work.  That wasn't the case this year.  After a jack rabbit Saturday afternoon and evening, I found myself slumping into mediocrity on Sunday, and having to fight and scratch for every QSO.

We're facing a combined problem here:  Computers and automation have enabled us to surge early in the contest, yet, at the same time, we're facing a dwindling resource of new participants to sustain us late in the contest.  The "divide" between the first and second halves of the contest will probably be more pronounced in coming years.  Will the marginal participants lose the will to continue?

One final observation:  I had aways noted a "rush to the finish line" the last hour or two of the contest.  That did not happen this year, or at least it was not as noticeable.  Most notably, 80M did not provide the rush of activity that I normally have found in the waning minutes of the contest.  Conditions, or participation?  

Paul, K5AF

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