[CQ-Contest] Important Issues

Bill Coleman aa4lr at arrl.net
Mon Oct 31 19:11:00 EST 2005

On Oct 28, 2005, at 2:06 PM, <ku8e at bellsouth.net>  
<ku8e at bellsouth.net> wrote:

>   I think the perception that most contesters have big KW stations  
> and have multiple towers with stacked monobanders. That is not the  
> case. I'm sure the majority are in the same situation as me and are  
> in the tribander and wires only class. (or lower)

There's certainly a lot of "bedsprings" contesters out there.  
(defined as those without monobanders or stacks) In fact, most  
contesters fall into this category. The guys with huge antenna farms  
and lots of radios are the exception -- although they do tend to  
submit higher scores.

>  Just think if you are trying to build yourself a modest SO2R  
> contest station today:
>   2 HF radios - $4000
>   2 Amps       -  $4000
>   Tower and associated hardware  (guys, rotor, cable etc..)- $2000
>   Antennas - Something like a TH7 , F12  - $1000
>   Other stuff (SO2R boxes, keyers, headphones, mics, etc...  -  $500

You call this MODEST?

Modest would be:
2 used HF radios (One TS-850, one 430) - $1200
1 600 watt amp - $600 (you don't need an amp on the second radio)
Used tower guyed or bracketed to 50 feet with rotator and mast - $1000
Used tribander, wires - $200
Stuff - $200

Just a little over $3000. Less than you'd spend on one TenTen Orion.
> This all adds up to over $10,000 - hardly within the budget of  
> someone just out of college or raising a family.

That's why $10000 ain't modest. You've got to take it a piece at a time.

> Plus you haven't even come close to the level of your typical big M/ 
> M or M/S station.

No, but contesting is less about boxes and more about skill. You've  
got to develop the skills. Most of those skills can be developed from  
a modest station. W4AN learned most of his SO2R techniques with an R5  
and dipoles at home.

> Many of the big station owners are resourceful and can save some $$  
> but it's still a huge monetary commitment to put together a  
> competitive station.

Since when did "modest" turn into "competitive"? Sure, it takes lots  
of bucks to build a competitive station. And by the time you build  
it, one of your competitors will have raised the bar that much more.

> Being an auto racing fan I see similarities between it and contests.

In just about any competitive avenue, there's someone out there who  
can invest more bucks than anyone else.

>  But in the end they classify everyone into classes based on their  
> equipment.

That's very hard to do. We already have some of that, based on  
multiple and single operator, multiple and single transmitter, and  
power levels.

Remember those racing events have judges on site that can inspect and  
categorise each competitor. That doesn't exist in contesting.

> I think more classifications in a contest based on the type of  
> station you run would promote more activity. How much power you run  
> is a bad choice. Even if I run a KW and tribander in most cases I'm  
> not going to be able to compete against another station with  
> monobanders and a KW. Maybe add some " LP and wires only" or  
> similar classes for those that are just starting out in contesting.

And then some guy will enter the category with a collection of  
carefully crafted rhombics....

Bill Coleman, AA4LR, PP-ASEL        Mail: aa4lr at arrl.net
Quote: "Not within a thousand years will man ever fly!"
             -- Wilbur Wright, 1901

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