[CQ-Contest] Level Playing Field - my 2 cents

Tom W8JI w8ji at w8ji.com
Wed Jun 29 06:46:57 PDT 2011

>I am a competitor.  I often liken amateur radio contesting to the Hot Rod 
>1/4 mile drag strips.  You work on your "rod" (station) all week long and 
>then you go the the drags on Saturday night (favorite contest) to see how 
>your rod (radio & antennas) and your driving skills (operating) stack up 
>against your hobby friends.

One thing about racing is people learn to take a licking without excuses. 
Whining and moaning doesn't go far. No one tolerates it, and that probably 
is why I have such a low tolerance for it.

This is just like boxing or any other sport. If we think we do everything 
perfect and can't improve, it is a perfect formula for never winning. If we 
copy what others do, that is a prefect guarantee we will never be better.

Look at 160 from here. Prior to Fisher coming over here, no one ever 
imagined a station in middle GA could win. QST even pretty much said one 
east coast station had it locked up. Because we were innovative with 
antennas and didn't just copy other people, we could hear better. We won 
many times. True stereo diversity came from here, so did phased vertical 
arrays, and so did PROPERLY phased Beverages. So did better transmitting 
antennas, like an eight direction four square with better pattern control 
and less loss.

Despite being farther away, the worse we ever do is second place. Often we 
set new records. NONE of that happened by whining and bitching and pointing 
fingers, or negative attitudes or thinking we were perfect. None of it came 
from wanting special points because of our location.

With almost no effort at all on 40, we can HEAR much better on 40 than other 
people. Almost 24 hours a day, we can hear Europe. With an AL1200 and the 
minimal effort 40 meter system, we can win forty from here.  I don't even 
have the best 40 meter antenna that can be built!!

If we can do as well as the exceptional stations on the east coast on those 
bands there is absolutely no reason it cannot be done on 80 and 20 from down 

In 1970 or so I set the national record for a stock production car with a 
RAMBLER American. This was heads up racing with no "level playing field" and 
a lowly $2800 Nash put 428 Cobra Jets, Corvettes, and other muscle cars on 
the trailer.

Things like all of this happen because of constant improvement and always 
knowing things can be improved. It takes a desire to do the best that can be 
done and thinking outside the box. It isn't about money, alleged degrees, 
time or anyone else's perceived advantages that matters. It is about how can 
I do better the next time.

73 Tom 

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