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

Ron Notarius WN3VAW wn3vaw at fyi.net
Tue Jan 14 18:55:45 EST 2003


This is an interesting situation.  Off-hand, I'm not sure if it benefits
either KL station to be so close to each other.

Alaska is always a challenge (at least here on in the East) on 10 meters,
especially in the winter months; combination of distance and auroral
effects.  As a result, a KL station often has a pileup going.  Two KL's only
3 kc apart can mean that the pileups overlap -- resulting in confusion
(someone works "A" when he thinks he works "B", or doesn't realized that "A"
& "B" are both on, or gives up on both due to the mass confusion, etc.)

Be so as it may... I would not neccesarily agree that most S&P stations only
go "up" the band -- I often start at a midpoint, work my way down, then go
back to the midpoint & go up (may not work for everyone but it works for
me).  Nevertheless, I think that if both KL stations have pileups, and I
have broken through the pileup on the first station I worked (especially if
it's for a new mult), I probably won't bother for very long with the 2nd
one.  But there are a LOT of other mitigating factors involved, for example:
-- is it the 1st day or the 2nd?  If it's the first day (night) of the
'test, I may be more tempted to skip one or both pileups for now and wait 24
hours.  For example, I did this a few years ago in the CQ WPX with A61AJ;
skipped the huge pileups on Saturday, waited until Sunday when they were
begging for QSO's and snagged him on two bands within a few minutes.
-- do I need the mult?  And how eager am I to work a "backup?"  If I don't
need it, I may skip over BOTH stations.
-- how early in the opening?  If the band just opened to KL for me, again, I
can afford to wait a little bit till things calm down a little.
-- how good does the opening seem?  If the band seems wide open to KL (or
wherever), I may just continue to hunt for other stations.  For example,
when Pitcairn was celebrating it's 200th anniversary with the special VR200
calls, I heard a huge pileup on one YL on the lower part of 15 phone.  But
about 100 kHz away, there was another one calling CQ with few takers; got
her on one call!  [Obviously this was before Pitcairn's prefix got changed
to VP6, and this was many, many years before Packet & PacketCluster were

I wouldn't worry too much about the "race for the bottom."  The one thing
I've noticed is that there are a lot of SSB DX stations in the contest who
seem to thrive well above 28.5, even 28.6 and higher (I worked stations as
high as 28.950 in the last one).  I suspect many of these are the "little
pistols" who don't want to get overwhelmed by the crowd, especially from the
28.3 - 28.5 segment that the US Novices & Tech+'s are limited to on phone.
And again, I suspect that if two rare/semi-rare stations from the same
"neighborhood" find that they are as close as 3 kc to each other, one or
both will be tempted to move (if they can take the time to find a spot) just
to lessen the cross-pileup interference and other problems.

But that's just my opinion.  I could be wrong.

Thanks for making me put the thinking cap on!

73, ron wn3vaw

"Doc?  You built a time machine... out of a DeLorean?"
"The way I look at it, if you're going to build a time machine out of a car,
you might as well do it with style!"
--  Marty McFly & Dr. Emmet Brown, "Back to the Future"

----- Original Message -----
From: "Nat Heatwole" <nat at ajheatwole.com>
To: <CQ-Contest at contesting.com>
Cc: <kl7ra at ptialaska.net>
Subject: [CQ-Contest] Placement of One's CQ Frequency
Date: Mon, 13 Jan 2003 21:05:25 -0500

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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