[CQ-Contest] The battle of the callsigns

CT1BOH - José Carlos Nunes ct1boh at sapo.pt
Fri Jan 21 02:01:26 EST 2005


It is known that the outcome of a contest performance is determined by three main factors:


  1.. Geographical location
  2.. Operating skill
  3.. Station performance

What perhaps it not so well know, there is a callsign battle going on, and this factor is also of great importance to the final outcome of the contest.


With the help of an audio spectrum analyzer, I determined the length of some well know calls, at 35 and 40 WPMs.


Also I collected data from P40E CQWW CW 2003 operation. In this operation, according to my logging software, I pushed F1 button (TEST P40E) 5605 times. Although the program did not record how many times I pushed F4 (P40E) button, taking into account the 8183 QSO's, let's assume, the overall number (F1+F4) is around 10.000 times, which if anything, it is a conservative number.


With all this information, let's check how long different calls take, and it's impact in the final score:


@40 WPM


P40E = 1,593 second * 10.000/60/60= 4,43 hours

D4B=1,031 seconds *10.000/60/60= 2,86 hours

ZD8Z=1,655 seconds*10.000/60/60= 4,60 hours


So the battle of the callsigns is won by D4B.

D4B callsign will give the operator a 1,56 hour advantage over P40E (3,25% of the contest time) and a 1,73 hour advantage over ZD8Z in the contest

P40E is the shortest callsign available to foreigners in Aruba, so there is nothing more to be done regarding this subject.

ZD8Z would gain a bit had he chosen ZD8E instead of ZD8Z.


Let's now check some calls in the USA. Let's continue to assume the USA stations broadcast their calls 10.000 times, but now at 35 WPM


KQ2M 1,867 *10.000/60/60=5,19 hours

K5ZD 1,584 *10.000/60/60=4,40 hours

N9RV 1,660 *10.000/60/60=4,61hours

K1AR 1,659 *10.000/60/60=4,61hours


Now what if all these USA stations instead of using their callsigns would rather use, one of the shortest USA calls: AE5E


AE5E 0,883*10.000/60/60=2,45 hours


What would be the gain in hours be and the respective % in the total contest time (48 hours):


KQ2M 2,73 hours 5,7%

K5ZD 1,95 hours 4,1%

N9RV 2,16 hours 4,5%

K1AR 2,16 hours 4,5%


It is quite impressive. Just by choosing a shorter call, KQ2M would have almost 6% more of available time. That's a lot of time and points to the final score.


And what about those famous MM callsign that relentlessly broadcast their calls over the air. Well because they operate MM the total operating time is not 48 hours but the sum of the operating time on all the six bands. I have no data regarding how many times they broadcast their callsigns, but lets guess it is 30.000 times.


W3LPL 2,223 seconds*30.000/60/60=18,53 hours

K3LR 1,659 seconds*30.000/60/60=13,83 hours

KC1XX 2,503 seconds*30.000/60/60=20,86 hours

K9NS 1,587 seconds*30.000/60/60=13,23 hours


Would they rather use AE5E call this would be their gain in hours:


W3LPL 11,17 hours

K3LR 6,47 hours

KC1XX 13,50 hours

K9NS 5,87 hours


It is funny how both KC1XX and W3LPL calls are lousy contest calls (judged only by the time it takes to transmit it). Of course they are well know, and there are advantages, but they would be better off switching definitely to a shorter call, like AE3E or AE1E or AE9E


Anyway, the point is, if your objective is records, winning, etc, the quickest way to boost your score is choosing the shortest contest call available.


73, José Nunes, CT1BOH, www.qsl.net/ct1boh

More information about the CQ-Contest mailing list