[CQ-Contest] N2RM packetless M/2 details

James Neiger n6tj at sbcglobal.net
Wed Feb 20 13:45:02 EST 2002

Congratulations, John, to you and the N2RM crew for showing the way.  Let's
hope it sticks...............

Vy 73

Jim Neiger
----- Original Message -----
From: "John Golomb" <kz2s at hiway1.exit109.com>
To: <cq-contest at contesting.com>
Sent: Wednesday, February 20, 2002 9:15 AM
Subject: [CQ-Contest] N2RM packetless M/2 details

> Why did we do it?
> -----------------
> I've wanted to do this for quite some time now.
> There has been quite a bit of discussion the past few years about how
> multioperator contesting has been somewhat tarnished by the introduction
> and evolution of the extensive packet/internet spotting system.  The
> thrill of hunting down your own multipliers has been replaced by how many
> clusters you can connect or telnet to over the weekend.  I can remember a
> discussion that K3EST, N2AA, K3LR and myself had about 4-5 years ago after
> a MM effort at K3LR about how cool it would be if all the MMs agreed to
> turn off packet for the weekend.  There was some follow up discussion, but
> things kind of fizzled out.
> Then in November 2001, W4AN made the following post to CQ-Contest:
> >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
> From: Bill Fisher W4AN <w4an at contesting.com>
> Date: Thu, 29 Nov 2001 18:24:59 -0500 (EST)
> I've already got my sites set on ARRL CW.  A few of us bound for OH in
> July are considering competing in the M/S category and not using
> packet.  K1DG ran the idea by me this week and the thought of doing a
> multi-op without packet got me all excited about the contest!
> So, I'm wondering if it would not be fun for all of the top multi-op
> stations to turn off the cluster for just one weekend?  After its over,
> lets see if you don't all have more fun.  I know I will.
> 73
> Bill Fisher, W4AN
> >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
> Renewed interest in multi-oping without packet!  N2NT and I quickly agreed
> that our M/2 operation from N2RM for ARRL CW would be packetless.  We also
> had several of the other serious M/2's to agree to do the same.  About two
> weeks before the contest, I found out that our competition had changed
> their mind, mostly due to some staffing issues - not enough operators.  I
> still really wanted to operate without packet.  I polled the rest of our
> crew and we all agreed that we would still carry through with no packet
> and see what happened.  I was much more psyched about operating the
> contest knowing that we would have to work extra hard to keep our
> multiplier total up.  Our crew hopes that some other multiops may take
> interest in operating this way after our effort.
> Some private correspondence I received from Greg, K8GL probably best
> expresses why things are better without packet, "This gets us back to
> operating and spotting as a team.  Good stuff! LONG OVER DUE!"  W4AN put
> it somewhat less eloquently in his 3830 post "Packet stinks".
> What did we do?
> ---------------
> There are some capabilities that we have at N2RM that were very important
> for our success this past weekend.  Probably the most important is a short
> beverage that is several hundred feet away from the main transmitting
> antennas.  We can effectively tune for mults on the same band that we are
> running on with this RX antenna.
> We set up four rigs for this effort, two "main" stations and two
> "supplemental" stations.  The first supplemental station could be
> interlocked with either of the main stations and had transmit antennas for
> 40-10 meters.  You could listen on either the transmit antenna or on the
> short beverage.  The other supplemental rig was RX only and used the short
> beverage.  We had four computers running CT and interfaced them to a stand
> alone 386 computer running cluster software.  This allowed us to
> "internally spot" from the supplemental stations and load up the ANNOUNCE
> window in CT.  We could still "point and shoot" for mults.  There may be
> an easier way to implement this capability, but I wasn't smart enough to
> figure it out before the contest.
> So we had some important new chairs in the contest.  The
> "spotting" chairs.  We pretty much had the third chair active for almost
> the entire 48 hours.  The fourth chair was active when we had the
> operators available to staff them.
> Some observations and conclusions
> ---------------------------------
> First of all, our entire crew agrees that the contest was much more fun
> without packet.  It is immensely more satisfying to "build your
> own" multiplier total during the contest.  It was also refreshing to have
> to deal with so few packet pileups during the weekend.  Believe it or not,
> I think the actual number of packet pileups we ended up in over the
> weekend was probably in the single digits.
> This was the ARRL DX contest and is certainly not as multiplier rich of a
> contest as CQWW.  The closest thing to M/2 in CQWW is probably
> multi-single. If we operated this way in CQWW as multi-single, I'm not so
> sure we would be as successful in keeping up with the
> "packetized" stations.  We compared notes with K1AR on Saturday
> morning.  We were ahead in QSO's quite a bit, but way behind in mults.  We
> figured that with the somewhat limited pool of mults in ARRL DX, we would
> be able to catch up by the end of the contest.
> The somewhat unique capabilities we have at N2RM for same band receiving
> were essential for our success.  Would it be fair to other stations that
> didn't have this capability to compete against us in the
> (hypothetical) packetless multioperator categories?  I don't know what the
> answer is.  Isn't this just part of building and improving your
> station?  If K1AR turned packet off this weekend, I doubt they would have
> kept up with us in mults.  They don't have the same band receiving
> capability we have.  Look at W3LPL.  Frank has built a crew of several
> people per band and can receive effectively while transmitting.  Shouldn't
> he be rewarded for having this capability instead of having it nullified
> by packet?
> Would we do it again?  Absolutely.  Although I'm not sure how practical it
> would be to implement no packet at the Multi Multi level.  Seems like
> there are enough problems staffing the major MMs without having to fill
> additional spotting chairs.  I'd love to see additional interest for MS
> and M/2.
> Who else is interested in joining us operating and spotting as a
> team?  I'm telling you - multiop contesting is much more fun and
> satisfying without packet.  We'll be doing this again in next year's ARRL
> DX CW.
> If I may quote N2AA after the contest, "This is one of the coolest things
> I've done in my 40 years of contesting".
> 73,
> John N2NC
> For the 2002 N2RM ARRL CW team
> --
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