[CQ-Contest] Wasting Time

al_lorona at agilent.com al_lorona at agilent.com
Fri Dec 3 10:56:53 PST 2010

As a little pistol I must admit that a lot of what I read here can be intimidating. For instance, for years I have read the opinion that goes like this: such-and-such behavior wastes valuable time in a contest. The behavior in question is usually saying "Please copy...", or sending the other station's call sign before sending your own exchange, or any number of things that irk contesters who have little patience for such "wasteful" practices.

Most of these statements are highly ironic. To see why, tune in to the last few hours of any contest, when stations can go several minutes on a frequency calling CQ without an answer but keep pushing the button anyway. I'm in no way begruding their right to call CQ;  I'm saying that if you add up all of the precious seconds "wasted" by those of us that say "please" or "QSL" or whatever, that "wasted" time doesn't even come close to the time you spend sitting on a quiet frequency looking for those last few contacts.

In other words, most stations are not time-limited in most contests, they are 'finding-another-Q' limited.
You may argue that it is worse to lose seconds in the first hours of the contest when rates are higher, than in the last hours when rates drop. This argument may have merit, but remember that presumably everybody is being impacted more or less equally by the "wasters" and so all this does is change the point of peak rate (as well as the peak rate itself) for each participant. To me this is little different than everybody being affected by a solar flare. You may argue that if your goal is to set a new world record then any deviation from your precise idea of the perfect exchange has a greater negative impact and there I might agree with you, unless you find yourself pushing the button a lot at the end... in which case, maybe most contests are too long?

I submit that most of the "wasted seconds" arguments are moot and belong on the Aargh! wiki page.
Al  W6LX

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