[CQ-Contest] A Decent Rate?

Stephen & Marilyn Haines steveandmarilynhaines at gmail.com
Mon Feb 22 15:16:40 PST 2010

The ARRL DXCW contest was my best contest effort so far. After casually 
contesting since 2007 with only a search-and-pounce style, I finally 
worked up enough nerve to call CQ. The pileup surprised and buried me -- 
I may have been the only ZP in the test. That happens if no one comes 
down to run Tom's station, ZP0R.

Here's my question: Given my conditions, what would be a competent QSO 
rate during a run? I averaged between 1.5 to 2 QSOs per minute, with a 
few minutes reaching 3. I know I frustrated a lot of of the guys at this 
pace, but I never felt like I had control of the pile.

I'm 63, with 50 years as a casual CW operator comfortable at 25-30 wpm. 
My rig is a Yaesu FT-757GXii with a factory 600 hz narrow filter. The 
antenna is a ground plane 10 feet from a two-story house, with wire 
elements for 15 and 20 taped to a fiberglass fishing pole. It's got 3 
radials on 20 and 1 on 15. My signal is always weak; 100 watts to a wire 
is what I've always had. When I operate split I can usually set up a 
rhythm, but in the test with a simplex frequency I couldn't be heard in 
the racket of nearly continuous callers.

So what would be a reasonable personal goal under these conditions? From 
you experienced guys, what QSO rate would  a competent (not world-class) 
operator achieve?

Steve, ZP9EH/W9CPI

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