[CQ-Contest] Wasting Time

Pete Smith n4zr at contesting.com
Fri Dec 3 12:44:12 PST 2010

Awww... I don't think I can agree.  I don't think the difference is 
between the outlooks of the big guns and little pistols, but between 
good and bad technique - I think we are all aware of plenty of big guns 
who practice bad techniques (at least by our lights).

Of course, one of the metrics for judging good and bad technique is 
economy - saving time by eliminating as much non-communication verbiage 
as possible from the exchange.  But that's only one metric.  For 
example, on CW, in contests where there is a real exchange - not like 
CQWW, which is essentially a call-copying contest - large speed changes 
between a signal report and a serial number will lead to more requests 
for fills when conditions are marginal.  Similarly, the use of exotic 
cut numbers, particularly when they are substantive, as in a serial 
number, will throw off most of us, no matter how experienced we are.

I'd love to see a discussion of other, non-time-related examples of good 
and bad technique, on CW, phone and even (gasp!) data modes.

73, Pete N4ZR (56 years contesting, and still a little pistol)

The World Contest Station Database, updated daily at www.conteststations.com
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On 12/3/2010 2:27 PM, David Kozinn, K2DBK wrote:
> Well put, from a fellow little pistol.
> I try to operate as efficiently as I can, but I'm nowhere near having to
> worry about losing a few Qs in an hour with triple-digits rates. For some
> contests, they do more in two hours (or even one) than I do for the whole
> contest.
> What some of the big guns forget sometimes (and I say "some", others are
> much better) is that without us little pistols they'd be done after the
> first hundred of so Qs working each other.
> Here's to the little pistol!
> 73,
>       David, K2DBK
>       k2dbk.com
>       k2dbk.blogspot.com
> On Fri, Dec 3, 2010 at 1:56 PM,<al_lorona at agilent.com>  wrote:
>> 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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