[CQ-Contest] Packet/internet spotting

Kelly Taylor ve4xt at mb.sympatico.ca
Mon Feb 17 07:55:16 EST 2003


I don't believe your situation is limited to packet: certainly packet
exacerbates the situation, but chances are good that a good pileup will
attract lids with or without packet. Packet just attracts that many more

All of the remedies you suggest (with the exception of the multi-op rule)
are good operating practices that should be followed regardless of packet.

But for calling stations, timing is important but it's not the only thing.
Depending on the size of the pileup, timing may be irrelevant. Timing PLUS
frequency selection is also key: if I call you zero beat to everyone else on
the frequency, my chances are poor. If I slide up or down just enough to
provide a tonal difference on your end, your biological filters have
something to lock on to. I've seen guys who can do that and carry on a full
QSO through the entire pileup din.

For the receiving station, using the tools on your rig are also key: IF
Shift or PBT or slope tuning can help distinguish the guy who's smart enough
to be just a little off-frequency.

I think you're right: education is key. But to me, it's education of general
operating practice that's important: packet is just a side issue.

73, kelly
----- Original Message -----
From: "Martin Luther" <luther at penalvagold.net>
To: "cq-contest" <cq-contest at contesting.com>
Sent: Sunday, February 16, 2003 10:35 PM
Subject: [CQ-Contest] Packet/internet spotting

> Okay, I am getting better at this CW stuff but I do want to comment on the
> effect of packet/internet spotting on contesting from the further reaches
> the known universe i.e. Australia.
> Some important points:
> * Each band only opens for quite a limited period from here to each
> population centre. By open I mean when I can hold a frequency and run on
> * I am strong into the target area for an even more limited period. That
> when I can command the frequency with my maximum of 400 watts p.p.
> * I could invest even more of my life and funds in the antenna farm but
> there have to be limits. Towers and hardware generally is much more
> expensive here than in the US. I now have three 70ft towers, a 60 footer
> an 80ft used as a vertical.
> * Packet spotting has been around for ages. I well remember getting called
> by strings of  W1's as the message went out in New England and then 3's as
> the PVRC came on board etc. It is just now bigger!
> * Once a frequency has been established from this far away , I do not want
> to lose it if possible. Finding and creating another is hard (400 watts,
> long distances and no 200ft towers). So while I have used the option with
> spotting piles of just moving, it is another form of disadvantage to me.
> I carefully monitored the effects of spotting on my rate. On cw I can get
> to about 150/160 when I am going well. If I stuff up the operating it can
> slip down to about 100 and pick back up as I get myself going again. It is
> not hard to keep at 120 during openings. This may last no more than an
> Getting the best results in that hour is critical to my scores.
> The effect of packet is to slow my rate, I saw it go down as low as 60
> I was wrestling with a particularly unruly mob who were just not hearing
> well enough. At no point did a packet pile increase my rate! I accept that
> it may have brought stations to my frequency with beams in my direction.
> The critical point is that this happened right in the middle of, for me, a
> good opening. Without packet I would have had a minimum rate of 120. With
> packet it was probably a bit more than half that.
> Yes, I know the smart alecs will already be in print, before they even
> this, to tell me to get better skills. Well that is a load of B/S. It is
> the skill I need (although more is always better and at CW I'm certainly
> nowhere near the best !). It is the signal strength to command the
> and keep the mob in order that is most important. I simply will not have
> that without more power, bigger antennas or a new location in the
> or N.Africa!
> The problem with the spotting phenomenon is not the shear size of the
> That is usually manageable. It is the nature of the calling. Some of the
> following are relevant:
> * Many call without identifying the called station. They do not know which
> signal to listen to for instructions.
> * Many do not use their intelligence. If they hear CC? Then it is likely
> be the called station asking for a fill of the call from someone with CC
> their call. I'm not sure what they think it is but they call and call
> anyway.
> * Good stations slot their call in well. It is interesting to note which
> high scoring stations I get first time in the pile and not just because
> are loud. Timing is everything. To get the timing right requires
> listening............something packeteers do not seem to wish to do.
> * Some give long calls. In this contest I was sending de vk5gn and
> between until the pile stopped so I could get a partial call, who was
> weaker, to come back. It took me seven transmissions of de vk5gn pause de
> vk5gn etc until the frequency became quiet. (To the smart alecs, prior to
> this I had been getting back to the pile with  a call or partial call very
> quickly so there was no reason for it to build into a mess) It was just a
> couple of stations calling and calling and calling. They were not all
> contest neophytes either.
> * I heard a pacific station work a couple of stations. Not in the test
> giving out a few points. Someone spotted him and every multi in the US
> called on his freq at the same time. He never came back! He may have gone
> another frequency but I didn't hear him again.
> I know all the arguments made in favour of spotting, I even agree with
> of them. However, there is a down side to this and as usual what
> some, disadvantages others. In this case I am on the bad side of the
> as is every station that is a long way from population centres so has
> difficulty in getting in a big enough signal to control the mob.  Of
> as is true here, we also have no or limited access to the spotting
> information.
> What to do?
> I am not arguing to ban spotting nets. It has all become too pervasive. I
> will always argue that any use of these things is inappropriate for a
> op. They are an adjunct to multi operators.
> The problem is getting control by the spotted station. It is unreasonable
> expect that all spotted stations have the best and strongest possible
> signals so the users of the spots should be expected to contribute to the
> orderly use of the technology.
> I think we should promulgate a set of "rules" or guidelines.
> 1. Using spotting nets of all types makes the operation multi operator
> below - *)
> 2. Make sure you can hear the spotted station before calling on the
> frequency
> 3. Understand the mode of operation and the instructions given by the
> spotted station before calling on their frequency.
> 4. If in any doubt do not call. Make sure you understand any automatic
> features in your station and how to keep them from embarrassing you!
> 5. Only put your call-sign out once, there is no need for long calls. Good
> operators get through with one call correctly timed.
> * - (t has been argued that spotting is now so pervasive that policing is
> impossible and therefore all single op classes should allow spotting. I do
> not see why this is any different to power, one operator at the controls
> etc. They all depend on trust and honesty. It is not part of the
> of single operator doing everything for themselves.  Further, it would
> represent just another disadvantage to the already geographically
> challenged!)
> Any other ideas?
> This could be added to newsletters, web pages etc to try and educate
> Of course those on this reflector can set a good example...please!
> 73
> Martin VK5GN
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