[CQ-Contest] RE: SO2R

Bob Naumann - N5NJ n5nj at gte.net
Wed Jan 29 03:18:06 EST 2003

Modern SO2R ?  Was it really SO2R before then?  I find myself in the
somewhat awkward position of partially agreeing with KQ2M.  I don't think
Bob was the first to use SO2R, but more on that later.

I also think that while there were people using more than one radio, but I
doubt that they were really doing it the way we all have come to know and
love SO2R as it is defined today.

I've been looking at this phenomena for a while, and I believe that what has
happened here is that some of the more creative operators recognized that
once CT came along in the mid to late 80's, it was doing all of the clerical
stuff for us that used to occupy all of our 'free' time.  This was an
opportunity to do something else with our time and energy.

Those of us who were around in those early years, recall the burden of
writing down the time, callsigns, exchanges, entering them on the dupe
sheet(s), tracking multipliers, and so on.  The paperwork was a huge burden
and consumed a lot of energy and focus.  Just keeping it all organized was a
task in itself.

My guess is that we were all too busy doing paperwork to develop today's
SO2R skills and I believe that computer logging and transmitting was the
catalyst for SO2R developing into what it is now.  Devices external to the
computer like CW memory keyers and DVK's, and then later, computer-based
solutions using LPT ports for CW; and for fone, the DVP and sound cards,
made it more obvious that the an operator wasn't doing anything while the
computer and other hardware were transmitting.

In my opinion, that while it may have been possible to use a tape loop to
transmit on fone, calling a CQ perhaps, or use a CW keyer transmitting on
one band while listening to another, I would be very surprised if anyone was
actually doing this in a way that even comes close to what SO2R is today
before computers were introduced to contesting.  As I recall, this would not
have been until the late 80's at the earliest.  If anyone was able to do
this without the benefit of computers, I would have the greatest respect for
that person's dexterity and organizational skills.

Some history:

As early as 1980 or 1981, I had K2GL's station rigged up to be SO6A so I
could switch one rig to 6 amplifiers and not have to re-tune for the fone
SS.  I did have a second radio that I kept on 20m connected to another
amplifier and another antenna, but did not transmit on one radio and listen
on the other at the same time however.  I confess that the thought never
occurred to me, likely because I was actually talking the whole time I was
transmitting.  I was only able to instantly switch from one band to another
simply by rotating one switch.  I was also logging on paper back then.

Around the same time, I built a real SO2R box that I did not use for long,
but went to one of the perennial winners in the New England area that he
used quite effectively with a Drake Line on one side, and a TS-830/930 on
the other as I recall.  I think he won a few DX contests using this setup
before KQ2M claims that he did.  I built that box originally so that I could
use both my old SB-102 and my new TS-830 simultaneously from my home
station.  This switching system did enable listening to both radios at once.
I sold the SB-102 shortly thereafter and sold the switching system to that
person in New England who installed a tower upside down once.  I did get the
switch box back later on and still have it.

All of this was inspired by what I saw N2NT do at W2YV's station where he
had an SO6R set up with 6 different radios, amplifiers etc.  This was in
1981 I believe.  He used a push-button arrangement to instantly change from
one band to another.  It was a mechanical interlocked pushbutton deal.  I'm
not sure how effectively he was able to listen on one while transmitting on
the other.



----- Original Message -----
From: "Robert Shohet" <kq2m at earthlink.net>
To: <cq-contest at contesting.com>
Sent: Tuesday, January 28, 2003 9:42 PM
Subject: [CQ-Contest] RE: SO2R

> Thanks to K8IA and KR6X for correcting my
> mistaken assumption that I was the first to use SO2R
> consistently in DX contests.
> I was the first to do MODERN SO2R then.   :-)
> I find it interesting to note that when I actively did
> SO2R in DX contests starting in the early 80's, no one else in the
> perennial top ten was doing it.   Some had a radio and amp
> on each band, but they were not operating SO2R.
> If it had been such a helpful and interesting strategy previously
> used by W4KFC, W9IOP, KR6X, and others, why was it
> abandoned  in DX contests?  Does anyone know?
> 73
> Bob KQ2M
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