[CQ-Contest] RX Heresy?

Randy Thompson K5ZD k5zd at charter.net
Sun Feb 28 13:51:15 PST 2010

Put me in the category of people who thought that a radio just couldn't make
that much difference.  After all, I was working people and making good
scores.  Sure, there would be times I would have trouble finding a frequency
or copying a station through strong signals near the frequency, but that's
contesting, right?

After purchase and use of an Electraft K3 for CQWW CW and recently ARRL DX
CW, I have changed my opinion.  Very simply, the K3 was directly responsible
for my #1 or #2 USA score (subject to log checking) in WW CW.  I say this
because it enabled me to get into some prime run frequencies low in the band
on 40 and 20 meters that I would have never tried in the past.  (I had
almost given up on ever trying to CQ below 7025 in a DX contest.)

The difference is the receiver.  It is so quiet compared to my FT1000D, a
radio I had been very satisfied with for years.  No pops or beeps or phantom

Top ten contest stations are loud.  People hear us.  Success comes from
being able to hear.  Even a few avoided repeats per hour can add up in total
score over the course of a weekend.

Its probably like antennas.  A single antenna works fine.  Add a stack and
you can't really hear much difference when switching back and forth on any
given signal.  Yet, over the weekend you find your scores are higher with
the stack.  I suspect the K3 is providing a similar advantage.  Not much
when listening to any given signal, but an advantage over time.

I am sure there are other high end radios that are just as good.  The K3 has
certainly impressed me with its receiver (especially on CW).  It doesn't
have quite as nice of a sound on SSB to match the effectiveness of CW, but
that's not my favorite mode anyway.


Randy, K5ZD

> -----Original Message-----
> From: cq-contest-bounces at contesting.com 
> [mailto:cq-contest-bounces at contesting.com] On Behalf Of Pete Smith
> Sent: Thursday, February 25, 2010 1:46 PM
> To: CQ Contest
> Subject: [CQ-Contest] RX Heresy?
> I have watched with some amazement as the Elecraft K3 has 
> seemingly taken over the top dog's spot among contest radios, 
> both among the top ops and the rest of us.
> This impels me to wonder, though - how much does improved RX 
> strong signal performance really improve your ability to 
> score in contests?  My suspicion (showing my going-in bias) 
> is that most of us have long since developed responses to our 
> receiving problems that tend to minimize the damage they do. 
> Knowing when to abandon a run frequency, QSYing just a bit 
> ("skootching"), riding the gain instead of using AGC, all of 
> these devices have been useful since the dawn of time.
> And so the question - how much do serious, full-time, top-ten 
> contesters feel that improve RX hardware has really improved 
> their scoring ability, compared to other improvements in 
> their stations over the years?
> --
> 73, Pete N4ZR
> The World Contest Station Database, updated daily at 
> www.conteststations.com The Reverse Beacon Network at 
> http://reversebeacon.net, blog at reversebeacon.blogspot.com
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