[CQ-Contest] How frequent to ID? Every QSO? No way!

n7jb at arrl.net n7jb at arrl.net
Mon Jan 17 21:19:31 EST 2005

Very interesting, Jose.  I liked your post......and as you've pointed out,
how frequently one ID's is a strategic decision.  I also think it reflects
one's personality and contest operating style.

During a contest, I am tuning around listening for contesters that are
actually trying to win the contest.  I am just searching and pouncing, not
trying to win, just trying to work some DX and get used to WriteLog
(especially on RTTY!).  If I don't hear your call, I will just spin the
dial.  HOPEFULLY, I will spin back and catch you later.  I will certainly
TRY!  The more frequently you identify, the better chance you'll have of
working me and perhaps other S&P-ers.

While there are many fine contest operators in the game today, to me ZD8Z
stands out (as I've been listening to him for 30+ years) and let's not
forget Nose, KH6IJ - now wasn't HE great too!

73,  Jim N7JB

-----Original Message-----
From: cq-contest-bounces at contesting.com
[mailto:cq-contest-bounces at contesting.com]On Behalf Of CT1BOH - José Carlos
Sent: Monday, January 17, 2005 23:04
To: CQ-Contest at contesting.com
Subject: [CQ-Contest] How frequent to ID? Every QSO? No way!

The importance for a contester, how frequent to ID, is of paramount
importance to his final score.

When people say, a contest DX station should sign every QSO, they should
know better.

Let's imagine the following situation:

ZD8Z from Ascension during CQWW CW contest does 8000 QSO's, at a 166,77 hour
QSO rate, signing his callsign every QSO. He works 170 zones, 550 countries
with a 2,97 average QSO point for a final score of 17,107,200 points.

In the same contest there are four ZD8Z clones:

ZD8Z clone#1 signs his call every two QSO's (1,0,1,0,..)

ZD8Z clone#2 signs his call every three QSO's (1,0,0,1,0,0,1,.)

ZD8Z clone#3 signs his call every four QSO's (1,0,0,0,1,0,0,0,1,.)

ZD8Z clone#4 signs his call every five QSO's (1,0,0,0,0,1,0,0,0,0,1,.)

With the help of an audio spectrum analyzer, it is known that ZD8Z @ 40 WPM
lasts exactly 1,655 seconds.

Let's determine how much time each operator spends in a 48-hour contest
transmitting his call:

ZD8Z               1,655*8000=13240 seconds = 3,68 hours

ZD8Z clone#1 1,655*4000=6620 seconds = 1,84 hours, i.e. saves 1,84 hours

ZD8Z clone#2 1,655*2667=4414 seconds = 1,23 hours, i.e. saves 2,45 hours

ZD8Z clone#3 1,655*2000=3310 seconds = 0,92 hours, i.e. saves 2,76 hours

ZD8Z clone#4 1,655*1600=2648 seconds = 0,74 hours, i.e. saves 2,94 hours

ZD8Z is working at a 166,67 hour rate (8000/48), the same rate as the

But the clones, because of the time they saved, not signing every QSO, will
work more QSO's in the 48 hour period:

ZD8Z                         8000 QSO's

ZD8Z clone#1            8000+306 QSO's

ZD8Z clone#2            8000+409 QSO's

ZD8Z clone#3            8000+460 QSO's

ZD8Z clone#4            8000+490 QSO's

So the final score will be:

ZD8Z clone#4              18.155.808 (8490/2,97/170/550)

ZD8Z clone#3              18.090.270

ZD8Z clone#2              17.980.985

ZD8Z clone#1              17.762.580

ZD8Z                           17.170.200

ZD8Z can be admired for signing every QSO, but the clones will beat him
anytime. And clone# 4 will defeat ZD8Z with 1.000.000 points!

Impressive, isn't it!

The decision making process how frequent to ID has some variables:

  1.. How long since last ID
  2.. The instant rate
  3.. The number of stations calling in the pile-up
  4.. The number of stations coming to the pile-up

The combination of these four variables will give the contest operator all
the information he needs, when to ID next.

Signing every QSO can be the worse decision and the best decision, depending
on the situation. From a DX location, with constant pile-ups for 48 hours,
signing every QSO is poor operating practice: not only it will reduce the
contest DX station score but it will prevent the DX contest station to work
more contest stations. Of course being for very long periods of time without
ID is also poor operating practice, and the contest DX station will face
aditional dupes, pile-up disruption, NIL's of dusgruntled unsportmanship
operators ;-) etc.

It is my experience that IDing at least every minute of until someone sends
"?" is a good way to balance the needs of the contest DX station and the
needs of those arriving to the pile-up and unaware of the DX contest station


José Nunes



PS: This post is dedicated to my very good friend Jim Neiger. My inspiration
and the reaon why I went into contesting.

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