[CQ-Contest] Contest Decisions

George Fremin III geoiii at kkn.net
Mon Aug 22 12:30:22 EDT 2005

On Sat, Aug 20, 2005 at 01:39:26AM -0500, KE5CTY Bob wrote:
> The subject concerns modes but I would like to see a
> discussion on something that was brought up inside the
> reply "Decisions during a Contest" and in other words -
> contest operating methods (assuming all equipment is
> functional and in top shape).

When I first read your post I was a bit confused as
to what you were asking - I think maybe I understand now
having read it a few times.

> You have
> to make the same decisions in either contest.  When to
> change bands.  Moving guys from band to band.  When to run
> and when to S&P.  Run 2 radios or 1 radio.  Catching that
> LP opening on 10 meters for a quick couple of new ones.
> The excitement of seeing (or hearing) a "goodie" come back
> to me is the same, no matter what contest or mode it is.

> As a newbie to contesting can I hear what you more
> experienced operators feel are the *really* important
> decisions and what criteria you use to make your judgment
> calls on them? You don't necessarily have to use those
> stated above but whatever you think are the things to
> consider during a contest and what criteria you pull
> together to formulate the decision.

You are asking about the decisions that are made during a contest to
further the contest effort and (hopefully) increase your score.

This is a very big topic.  Many many decisions are made during the
course of a contest.  For those of us that have been doing this for
more than a few years many of these decisions have become second
nature to us and we do not really have to spend much time or effort
thinking about them.  Since they have become second nature to me it is
hard for me to explain then or in some cases to be aware of them as
being decisions.

As I have watched some less seasoned operators operate at my station
over the last few years I have noticed that they have to expend more
of their brain cycles on just the basics of operating and as a result
they have less time to think about higher level strategy.

I have also noticed as these operators get more chair time in contests
they are getting a better handle on the skills and are getting to
where they do not need to spend as much mental effort on just logging
guys and they can think about other things or make a few contacts on
the second radio or whatever.

My first suggestion is to get on in as many contests as you can
for as long as you can and start gaining skills.  I learn something
every time time I operate a contest. 

As far as getting your question answered I would suggest breaking it 
down into some smaller chunks as your question is so broad as to be
more than most can answer - I dont even know where to start.

Also some things that are trivial to a veteran contester would 
be of intense interest to a newbie and the the reverse would be true.

As an example from my past - I have a memory of having a fairly
in depth rag chew once with K5GN and W0UA one 80 meters about what
brand of mechanical pencil and lead we each liked and why.  We also
touched on the subject of erasers and what we found to be the best in
that area.  In addition K5GN could tell you what make an model of
photocopy machine did the best job on copying your logs after the

I would say that you need to have mastered other things before you
need to worry if H or HB or the new high polymer leads are the 
right choice for your witting style in the contest.  And do you use
.7 or .5 mm?

George Fremin III - K5TR
geoiii at kkn.net

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