[CQ-Contest] How do you get better? A few more ideas...

Robert L. Shohet kq2m at earthlink.net
Sat Nov 1 11:19:35 EDT 2008

Lots of excellent suggestions/techniques and ideas from
those who know.  Here are a few more....

1) The CQWW Log database is an INCREDIBLE source
of operating information/strategies and techniques based on
ops actually working people in the contests!

Go to:

and click on the log that you want to see.

Want to know what propagation paths are/were possible on a given weekend?
Then read the M/M, M/2 and single band logs of serious competitors.

Want to see what the competition was doing in your category?  Then look
at their log.

Even with having operated contests seriously for 35 years and still having
most of the logs (with handwritten notations!), I am still learning; and
"reading" the logs of others is an invaluable source of operating ideas/
information and strategy.  With a few hours of "study" I can quickly
figure out what I am doing better than others and what I can improve.

Also, looking at my old logs is also a good review of band conditions at 
various points
of past cycles that I may have forgotten about, including those easily 
and obscure, short-lived band openings.

2) I "operate" daily with five computers and LCD's watching and trading in 
stock/bond/commodities and other markets in "real-time".  In these 
volatile times, nothing prepares you for the mental/physical demands of SO2R
like the mental focus required to watch and then integrate the visual and 
information from five computer screens with 100 charts+ and 400+ quotron 
symbols, plus simultaneously watching CNBC and answering my office phone. 
Of course I am also making split-second "real-time" decisions to buy/sell 
while all this is happening, just like the split-second operating decisions 
we must make during a contest.  However, unlike contests, there are no 
time-outs or rest periods when the markets are open!

3) Listen to complex music (all types from Jazz to Classical to Rock, etc.)
and try to pick out all the instrumental and vocal parts, one by one.  When 
get good at that, "dial it up a notch" and then try to "see" the artist 
playing their part of the piece with the actual fingering while you are 
focusing on them.
The focus on the next artist and the next and so on.

The more complexity and detail that you can "see", the more successfully
you are training your brain to develop concentration and focus and to 

4) I regularly watch DX-Summit on one of my computers to get the "feel" of
daily propagation as it changes around the world.  I also check the various
www.noaa.gov solar activity websites and monitor auroral cndx and A/K/SF
indices in real time.  After a while of doing this on a daily basis, I can 
reasonably predict the A/K/SF indices just by looking at DX Summit spots and
seeing what bands they are on.

Although a lot of unusual propagation paths and weak stations are not 
spotted, overall
this is a very useful strategy for learning current propagation and what to 
expect during
a contest.  Despite the often busted callsigns, this is an excellent way to
become familiar with the DX and DXpedition callsigns BEFORE the contest, so 
know who to look for DURING the contest.

5) There are a myriad of other ways you can take things from your daily life 
and work
and make them tools for training your mind and body and improving your 
skills.  All it takes is a little imagination and creativity plus effort, 
and having fun.

There is a simple equation that I use every day:

Learning = Improving skills = Having fun!

73 and CU in CQWW CW!

Bob KQ2M

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