[CQ-Contest] The Perfect Contest

Eric Hilding dx35 at hilding.com
Thu Oct 27 13:02:58 EDT 2005

Contesting Guru & NCCC NS "West of the Mississippi" Top Gun Award Winner, 
Jim, N3BB, wrote:

 > For me, the following aspects are important:
 > 1. For Single Ops there should be a time limit of 36 or 40 hours maximum
 > out of a 48 hour contest.  For a 24 hour contest, 20 hours maximum.  For a
 > 12 hour contest, 2 hours off, etc.  This makes strategy more important and
 > makes a contest more physically healthy.

Thank you for posting this, Jim.  I've been castigated for a similar 
suggestion, but now find more of us out here in Contesting-Land agree to 
varying degrees (including AL, 4L5A/D4B).  For starters perhaps a separate 
category until the die-hard Single Ops who want to still grind out the full 
48 hours (like my good friend Jim/N6TJ/ZD8Z thrive on :-).  One day, they 
*WILL* yearn for a shorter stint!!!  I think the challenge of new 
strategies to be utilized is great.

 > 2. Multipliers count per band.  This encourages moving stations and will
 > stimulate activity on all bands, unlike the WPX and Sweepstakes, which are
 > "rate" contests on one or two bands with SO2R on the next best one.

My final verdict isn't in on this one yet, as I see a problem for so many 
LPCS ("Little Pistol Contest Stations")...especially during these 
deplorable band condx.  A heck of a lot of guys simply do not have the real 
estate for competitive multi-band antennas (like 160m), and they will be 
further penalized and perhaps be disheartened from making serious 
efforts.  Yes, there are HP-LP-QRP categories, but these are somewhat of a 
joke, IMHO, as 5w to a pair of stacked 6el yagis on a 150ft tower vs. 100w 
to a dipole, well, umh, you get the pix.

 > 3. Points are allowed for QSOs with one's own country.

Interesting...very desirable during current band condx :-)

 > 4. There are not double mults in general.  The HQ mults in IARU, over and
 > above ITU zones, have made it another East Coast centric contest in North
 > America.

Amen, Amen & Amen.

 > 5. Some portion of the exchange always should include a serial number,
 > which makes copying more important and difficult, and also provides a
 > measure of "how one is doing" real time vis-a-vis competition.

Yes, Yes, & Yes!!!

 > 6. The Internet should be the main focus on potential real time reporting,
 > and certainly "3830" style reporting immediately.  A good Internet site
 > will include all records up to date, and awards will be available to be
 > printed out by the winners on their own printers!  There will be a
 > confidential code sent to winners to allow them to print the
 > certificates.

The technology to do this has been available for years, and years, and years.

 > This is a starting point, and how I would design a contest.  Now some
 > additional comments.
 > The US and VE championship, the Sweepstakes, includes all these except that
 > it counts a multiplier only once.  It would be a more interesting and more
 > difficult contest if it would count mults per band.

Exceedingly difficult for the majority of LPCS ops (especially on the 
extreme West Coast :-)

  The NAQP is a unique 12 hour long "maxi-sprint" (ten hours out of twelve
 > for S/Os) and is perfect, with the exception that serial numbers would add
 > a nice touch and make log accuracy more important.

I agree.

 > The Sprint is the best contest in the world.  Of course people will remind
 > me that mults count only once, and they do, so why not add that mults count
 > per band.  Then, you *really* have the best contest in the world.

Except for many of the LPCS ops as per above :-)

 > The ARRL DX contest is USA/VE based of course, and it should be, as it's
 > the primary 5B WAS "tool" for the world, and a great operating test for USA
 > operators.  The  advantage to EU is almost impossible to overcome for the
 > "non-east Coast."  I would add a serial number for the reasons stated, and
 > make it 36 out of 48 hours for S/Os.

The EU part isn't too bad during the high part of the sunspot cycle.  I 
agree with serial numbers, although I see the mega-QSO total counts 
decreasing due to the expand length of time for each exchange.  No biggie.

 > Comments?

You asked, you got :-)

As AL, 4L5A/D4B and others previously pointed out, something like 36 out of 
48 hours will put MORE players back in the Multiband ballgame to the 
benefit of all vs. going Single-Band QRV.  I believe this is an extremely 
important factor to consider.

The precedent for 36 (or whatever) out of 48 hours has already been 
established with SS, NAQP, et. al., so the concept is nothing 
new.  Personally, I'd like to see "Age" added to more contest exchanges (00 
or 21 for YLs, of course :-)  As I've heard more and more guys sharing 
their ages during non-contest QSOs on the bands, I've been amazed at the 
number of QRQ CW ops over 70 !!!   Disheartening, however, to hear very, 
very few ages under 40, 30 and especially 20.

I think a priority needs to be on how to rekindle interest in the "Art 
Form" of CW.  Personally, I've been working on several guys in the local 
(primarily UHF/VHF) club and two of 'em have now downloaded software and 
are trying to get their code speeds up and studying for their Extra Class 
Licenses.  I'm always trying to recruit new Contesters to our ranks.  NCCC 
member Ken, N6RO, graciously let one of my "recruits" come up and 
sit-in-the-(SSB)-chair for a while during the big N6O CQP Multi-Multi 
operation. He is Gung-Ho on Contesting now, and studying for his Extra.  I 
helped him string up a Stealth 40m Delta Loop under the eaves at his heavy 
CC&R QTH into the dark on Saturday Night.  He is starting to build his 
"LPCS" so he will be ready to go when the ticket arrives.  Yeah, man!!!

Regarding the future of CW Contesting, perhaps we need some kind of 
"Madison Avenue" marketing campaign to the public & youth to tag onto the 
Leno thing, with some kind of headline like "CODE IS COOL".  As you 
mentioned to us at the recent NCCC N3BB NS Award Lunch out here a few weeks 
ago, I too would hate to think of Contesting if there wasn't any 
CW.   Maybe the major Contest Clubs need to put an effort into developing 
some Jr. High & High-School Radio Clubs.  We gotta do something!!!  I'll 
keep plugging away at converting more of the local 2m/440Mhz club guys to 
"our world" :-)

FYI & 73...

Rick, K6VVA

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