[CQ-Contest] The King (Packet cluster network) is dead! Long live the Kin...

Julius Fazekas phriendly1 at yahoo.com
Wed Jul 28 05:05:39 PDT 2010

Better receivers...

Better understanding/appreciation of propagation to maximize openings. Consider that records have been decimated in the past few years with out the benefit of any significant action on 15 or 10, but much more action on 160 and 80. 40 and 20 are still the workhorse bands.

Better antennas due to modeling and experience. Even many modest contest stations have much better antenna systems than some of the more competitive stations of the 70s.

Think a real major reason is that contesting is one of the more enjoyable activities even if you are not a contester. It's a way to work towards awards, see if you station still works, make a bunch of contacts in a short period of time and catch the thrill of an unusual opening.

Think Jim is right, being spotted generally is most beneficial (or detrimental) to "rare" multipliers, versus the rank and file.


Julius Fazekas

Tennessee Contest Group

Tennessee QSO Party

Elecraft K2     #4455
Elecraft K3/100 #366
Elecraft K3/100 #1875

--- On Tue, 7/27/10, Jimk8mr at aol.com <Jimk8mr at aol.com> wrote:

> From: Jimk8mr at aol.com <Jimk8mr at aol.com>
> Subject: Re: [CQ-Contest] The King (Packet cluster network) is dead! Long live the Kin...
> To: ct1boh at gmail.com, cq-contest at contesting.com
> Date: Tuesday, July 27, 2010, 8:29 PM
> Jose,
> Thanks for the FB data search and the interesting
> opinions.
> I would like to elaborate on one of your listed
> reasons,  and to add 
> another, for the big increase in qsos over the years.
> First, computer logging and CW sending (and its predecessor
> of memory keyer 
>  CW sending) has allowed useful CW speeds to nearly double.
> I recall a 
> recording  made, I believe by K3ZO, of US signals into
> Thailand during a DX 
> contest back in  the late 60s. More interesting that
> the signal strength was how 
> slow they  were sending!
> This is not just because people back then did not know CW.
> It was  because 
> it's hard to write by hand at much over 25 wpm. Especially
> if  you want to 
> read it later. And even if you did send 35 wpm, you'd 
> likely end up waiting 
> as long as the time you saved, waiting for the other 
> guy to stop writing 
> and start sending.
> This effect really hit me a few weeks ago in the NS Ladder
> Sprint. This is  
> a 30 minute CW contest where the average speed is up around
> 40 wpm. I got 
> on  late, didn't have the time or energy to set up the
> computer, so just 
> started  sending and logging by hand. Sending at that
> speed requires some pretty 
> good  fine motor control in your fingers; trying to
> copy by pencil (keeping 
> up with  what was sent as it was sent) was
> impossible.
> Second explanation: Vast improvement in station hardware,
> in particular  
> antennas.  Back around 1970 a single set of 4 element
> monobanders up 30  
> meters, with a rotator to turn it to wherever,  was a
> superstation. 40  meter 
> beams were rare, and even more rare to be more than 2
> elements.  Fast  forward 
> to the typical big station today, and those sort of
> antennas  are third tier 
> antennas, probably the ones fixed on the Caribbean 
> (from the USA).
> Add those extra 5-10 db of today's big stacks, and the way
> those  stacks 
> will lengthen an opening, and I think you have a good
> explanation of the  
> score growth over time.
> Extra bonus explanation: 160 meters.  Not a huge
> factor, but back in  the 
> 70's few modern rigs had 160, and the frequency
> allocations  were tiny, 
> limited slivers. Much more happens there 
> today!   
> Here in the USA we have an expression, "You can lead a
> horse to water, but  
> you can't make him drink". I think this describes the
> increase in spotting  
> information available today. A rare DX station will
> benefit, but I doubt  
> that many Europeans will get excited to know that another
> K8 is available  on 
> 20 meters.
> 73   -  Jim  K8MR
> In a message dated 7/27/2010 7:11:53 P.M. Eastern Daylight
> Time,  
> ct1boh at gmail.com
> writes:
> When one  looks at the growth of QSOs during 48 hour
> contests (notably
> maximum QSOs  in the CQWW SOAB CW category in the past
> decades:
> 50's 1277 QSOs
> 60's  2623 QSOs
> 70's 4505 QSOs
> 80's 5970 QSO
> 90's 7555 QSOs
> 00's 7828  QSOs
> one has to wonder where have all those extra QSOs have
> come  from.
> - The operators have better resources and share more
> information  (more
> knowledgeable with propagation and openings, more skillful
> with  SO2R
> resources, ...)
> - The logging software and Computer Generator CW  have
> added extra 
> efficiency
> when working stations
> - The stations (split  TX signals) and low band
> antennas (both RX and TX)
> have added extra QSO  potential
> but If there is one aspect that has  impacted
> Contesting the most, for
> good or for bad, in my opinion, it  is:
> - The development of Packet Cluster network by AK1A in the
> late 80's  and 
> the
> enhancement it has given to contest operators to be found
> while  CQ'ing on a
> band
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