[CQ-Contest] FD observations and suggestion

Kelly Taylor ve4xt at mts.net
Thu Jun 29 08:49:37 EDT 2006

I can't help but think that maybe it's just us who sees FD as an opportunity 
for some serious contesting.

My experience in FD suggests that sentiment is not shared by the majority. 
The last time I dropped in on the local FD operation, the radio was 
unmanned, everybody was eating, the computer was NOT connected to send CW 
(don't even ask if it was set up to control the radio), everybody expected 
that I would 'need help logging' and the concept of running was completely 
foreign. I even sat next to one operator who didn't even know how to tune in 
an SSB signal.

You know what? So what! Everybody was having fun, amateur radio was still 
the focus of the event, even if folk didn't have the requisite contesting 
skills, and everyone who helped in set-up enjoyed playing with antennas, 
feedlines, power supplies, generators, etc.

And here's the best part: folk who often spent very little radio time NOT on 
a handy-talky were actually getting in to the whole HF thing.

I suspect that's the experience at many of the FD operations set up across 
North America.

None of this is to suggest we shouldn't take whatever opportunity we have to 
demonstrate proper operating technique -- even if just by example. I applaud 
Mark's attitude toward newbies.

But I suspect that if there is any operating event we need to lighten up 
with, it's field day. We see it as a contest. Doesn't mean everybody does. 
Or should.

Are there serious operations? Consider the highest number I ever received 
(19a) and of course there are. But there are probably countless more 
operations that just see it as a fun weekend involving amateur radio. And 
that can only be a good thing.

I don't support the idea of denying D stations CQ. So you end up with some 
zero-pointers in your log. (If the idea is that it's an emergency 
preparedness event, it's not like in an actual emergency EVERYBODY is going 
to be without AC, now, is it?)

Play FD. Have fun. Teach some newbies. Encourage them to bring it to a real 
contest. Enjoy the fact that so many people who don't usually turn on an HF 
rig are actually on HF.

It's a lot easier to drink the half-full part of the glass, isn't it?

73, kelly

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