[CQ-Contest] Placement of One's CQ Frequency

Nat Heatwole nat at ajheatwole.com
Mon Jan 13 21:05:25 EST 2003

Sorry for the delay in posting this; I have been without internet access
for the past month (over 3300 e-mail messages waiting for me - thank you
CQ-Contest, Towertalk, and 3830). Anyway, I encountered an interesting
scenario in this past 10m contest and I wanted to run it by the
expertise of the reflector.

Mid-afternoon on Saturday in the contest I heard KL7D and KL7RA about 3
KHz apart on SSB running stations. I don't remember the exact
frequencies, but KL7D was lower in the band than KL7RA. The two stations
were not interfering with each other, both had good signals, and both
were running sizable pileups. I'm wondering, does KL7D have an advantage
over KL7RA here? Let me explain...

Most people (especially casual ops) search and pounce up rather than
down the band (although searching *down* the band is a great way to
avoid following a competitor up the band). Therefore, most people will
encounter KL7D before KL7RA and subsequently, most ops will presumably
have KL7D in the log before they reach KL7RA's frequency (of course,
they may not be able to break KL7D's pileup). So, does the fact that
KL7RA is running stations *above* KL7D hurt his QSO total? Would a lot
of ops, after just working KL7D, not bother to try and break the pile-up
on KL7RA, alreadying having an Alaska QSO that's fresh in their mind? I
would think that casual ops, especially those who have limited operating
time who are working on their DXCC, WAS, etc., would surely skip over
KL7RA. After all, if they already have a QSO with KL7D, why bother to
spend time trying to work KL7RA if they don't need the QSO for any
awards and their operating time is limited?

If KL7RA is at a disadvantage relative to KL7D, that makes contest
operation that much more complex. If KL7RA is disadvantaged, it would be
to his advantage to find a frequency *bellow* KL7D so that stations
would reach him first. Taken to it's logical extreme, this would mean
that everyone located in a relatively rare, yet still commonly worked
QTH (AK or HI, for example) must continually sweep the band to ensure
that they are the lowest station from their location calling CQ on the
band. This would not only use up a lot of valuable time but it's not
guarenteed: for example, a station in one part of AK might not hear
someone in another part of the state - Alaska's huge! This would result
in a huge "race for the bottom" and the farther down a bad one goes, the
fewer the CQ frequencies, another factor that would eat up more valuable
time that could be used to make QSOs.

Is KL7RA disadvantaged here, or is this just a trivial matter? And if
KL7RA is at a loss, how could he effectively account for that
shortcoming in his operating?

73, Nat, WZ3AR
<nat at ajheatwole.com>

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