[CQ-Contest] WPX QRM - Time For A Rethink.

brian coyne g4odv at yahoo.co.uk
Mon Mar 28 17:23:30 PDT 2011

I dust off the mic just a couple of times per year for the two 'big ones'. I began about 6.00am Saturday and around five or six hours into the event began to wonder 'What the heck am I doing here?' It was bedlam. In days gone by dx and low power stn's could go up to the high end of the band and do some work - not any more!  21.2 up to 21.45 was an endless wall of splatter and wide signals,  it really was a no go zone for Lp & Qrp guys and couldn't have been much fun for the big guys either. To describe the contest as hard work is to understate the case by some margin. 
It is noticeable from the 'Soapbox' comments that many more guys have commented on being unable to run or been unable to complete many contacts because of the careless, belligerent, or inconsiderate operating of others mainly due to faulty equipment. We are amateurs, broadcast or 'homebrew' amplifiers (don't get on my case, you know what I mean) have no place in our in our hobby. Where is contesting going to be in 2020 when problems are really emerging now? Minds of those who promote these big contests need to be addressed and focussed. Is the problem due to increased participation or overcrowding? I think not. Increased usage of amplifiers  is  the major part of the problem. On the few occasions I dared to tune the band portion mentioned there were in fact not that many contacts going on. There were some piles for dx stns but most room was taken up by wide big signals de-sensing all other signals around that area or splatter making adjacent
 frequencies unusable and an endless wall of noise from 21.200 to the 21.450 band edge. I think the problem is far worse in EU than any place else..
 One thing for sure is that we are not going to get more space so we need to maximise efficiency in control of what we have and power level control is a method of achieving that. Just consider the qso  numbers achieved in WRTC 2010 in only 24 hours during the summer doldrums using 100w to simple tribanders and wires. Unthinkable? - well, in Formulae 1 car racing they have been reducing engine capacity and power for decades and technology keeps making up the losses. In athletics they re-designed the Javelin to make it travel less distance - who knows what advances there are to come in our hobby?
73  Brian 5B4AIZ.

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