[CQ-Contest] Why not do a test??

Tom W8JI w8ji at w8ji.com
Sat Jul 2 13:31:40 PDT 2011

The existing transmitting beacons are useless unless they use standard 
antennas properly oriented at similar site types and they are in useful 
general locations in the USA.

Reverse beacons with us using antennas we can control would be perfect. We 
would get an accurate comparison of sources with identical ERP and patterns 
at many individual receive sites.

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Robert Chudek - K0RC" <k0rc at citlink.net>
To: <cq-contest at contesting.com>
Sent: Saturday, July 02, 2011 3:59 PM
Subject: Re: [CQ-Contest] Why not do a test??

There has been a beacon system in place for many years.
http://www.ncdxf.org/beacon/earlyhistory.html  It also adds the feature
of variable power levels to help determine minimum power needed to
overcome the path loss.

The reverse beacon network could be used to track the signal strengths
of these beacons (maybe it already does?).

73 de Bob - KØRC in MN


On 7/2/2011 9:34 AM, Tom W8JI wrote:
> Scores are a product of many factors that are entirely the responsibility 
> of
> the person controlling the operation. We want to take propagation out of 
> the
> equation.
> The only way to do that is to determine the actual difference between 
> areas.
> That clearly cannot be done with scores.
> There are two steps to solving this problem. First we have to know how 
> much
> a path loss change actually affects contacts or scores. Second we have to
> know how much the average path loss changes with different locations.
> I found only one attempt at determining score vs. signal level (power), 
> but
> the information processing method was so seriously flawed it is really
> totally useless. Signal level (or path loss) related to contacts or scores
> seems to be an unknown, and may never be solvable because of all the
> variables.
> We can quantify path differences pretty easy though.
> All we need to do is setup a few test beacons using identical very
> repeatable antennas in different areas with known power and let them run
> over a period of solar conditions. Then we look at skimmer comparisons.
> This would establish a typical path loss and opening duration for 
> different
> geographical locations.
> > From that we have a very useful tool.
> I'm pretty sure there is software around that estimates things like this,
> but most likely it is not well verified. This would verify the software, 
> if
> working software exists. It would also give us a real basis for any
> correction or geographical scoring.
> I'm pretty busy, but I'd be willing to work with a group of people
> interested in this. It would be something VERY interesting to learn. The
> equipment and work would be minimal.
> The very least we would get out of this, even if we could never translate 
> it
> to what the real differences in score are, is to put a number on claims
> certain areas are at an insurmountable disadvantage. For example we might 
> be
> able to say with some authority one area has xx% of the opening time and 
> xx%
> average signal strength of another area.
> This really should have been done long before any proposal was made.
> Doing any correction by score alone is totally useless, unless we decide 
> we
> want an overall handicap system and operator skills and station 
> construction
> do not matter.
> For example if K3LR and I set up 100 watt transmitters on automatic keyers
> into dipoles and just let them run as often as possible at the same time
> during contest season, over a period of months we would get a really good
> idea exactly what geographic differences are. This would involve very
> minimal effort and time, and also give me a very good idea how my station
> compares to Tim's. Not only would this get the egos out of the equation, 
> we
> would then learn when something is obviously wrong with something we are
> doing.
> It would give us a baseline for everyone to know how much signal level
> difference there should be on average between areas.
> I'm fairly excited at the prospect of doing something that can benefit all
> of us!! This could be one of the best QST articles ever, because it would 
> be
> the ultimate BS filter on why some people actually have better results 
> than
> others. It would stop a lot of negativity.  :-)
> 73 Tom
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