[CQ-Contest] Cut Numbers

Steve Harrison k0xp at dandy.net
Wed May 30 11:07:36 EDT 2007

At 09:52 PM 5/29/2007 -0700, James Cassidy wrote:
>While it may be time saving to send cut numbers, is there any advantage if
>the receiving op need repeats to get it right. I think one normal
>transmission would be quicker than repeating. 
>I recall a M/M operation several years ago when stations started using more
>cut numbers, the ops were pretty skilled and almost everyone felt it was
>not the fastest way to get the info across,

My point was that a skilled op, upon being called by someone, can often
make an impromptu estimate whether that other station can handle being sent
cut numbers. For example, when called by someone of the caliber of K4BAI or
N4AF or N6RO or W9RE or N9CK, I can be 90% certain that they will
immediately copy and interpret most cut numbers. But if I'm called by a
KI4, especially when he/she called me at a slower speed than my CQ, I would
immediately assume I had better send traditional numerals with no more
cutting than perhaps an N for 9 and maybe a T for a zero.

And your observation of propagation and signal strength plays into your
impromptu estimate, too; if W9RE calls me and he's barely discernable, I'm
not going to send cut numbers to him on the presumption that I'm no
stronger to him.

Skill and experience of savvy operators is what guides them as to what they
can get away with when looking for shortcuts to get the exchange done in
the most efficient manner possible. Listen closely to some of the big-gun
Europeans running other Europeans for examples.

I heard plenty of examples this past weekend on the part of a few US
operators (and one VE, too) who, despite being asked to repeat their call
or number, continued to repeat their info at high speed. I have no idea why
they didn't immediately slow down, as a savvy operator would have. Several
of the US stations guilty of that, were also so-called "big-guns" and my
impression was that they took umbrage at the very thought that someone else
didn't copy them the FIRST time, and so they continued repeating their info
at high speeds, or using word spacing that caused them to repeatedly double
with the other station. In one case, I wish I had a recording as the amount
of doubling that occurred became hilarious. It took that "big-gun" almost a
whole minute to complete the QSO due to his/her reticience and refusal to
pay attention to conditions and what the DX was doing  8-))))))

One thing that I learned this past weekend, trying to work 80m DX in
summertime conditions, was that unlike during the wintertime contests, when
asked for repeats, I more often than not would get through the very next
time if I slowed way down. During the wintertime, you usually don't have
the amount of storm QRN that the Europeans (and apparently, some Norte
Americanos) experienced this weekend; and so usually, the problem is simply
QSB and you can USUALLY repeat your info at the original speed. (And, too,
the noise floor is lower during the wintertime so that signal-to-noise
ratios are higher than during the wintertime.) That didn't hold true this
past weekend, I quickly found: QRSing worked FAR better while repeating info.

Steve, K0XP

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