[CQ-Contest] Split operation in CQ WW CW

Dave Mueller daven2nl at gmail.com
Tue Aug 28 02:41:47 EDT 2012

I for one am somewhat baffled that the topic of operating split was 
brought up in the results writeup in the first place; from my experience 
the vast majority of operating in the contest is simplex so I don't 
understand how this came to be a hot topic of discussion.  I do admit 
that in last year's WWCW, I did operate split for short periods of time 
when the pileup became overwhelming.  I feel my actions are defendable 
and that split operation can be helpful to those on both ends of a big 
pileup when used carefully and sparingly.

 From Guam, we get relatively short openings especially into eastern 
North America.  The band usually "turns on" shortly after sunrise and is 
open across all 50 states at the same time.  The result is a massive, 
instant pileup the first time I get spotted on a new band. I always try 
to pull stations from a few Hz high or low, and try to "train" the 
callers by working as many as possible in a row just a little off my 
frequency.  Some get it, and get in the log quickly. Most don't, and the 
result is an eventual zero beat pileup of noise, even with a K3 with 
narrow filters, the bandwidth narrowed way down, and the RF gain backed 
off.  The rate plummets for me, and my callers get frustrated and either 
get more aggressive or stop calling altogether.  Since I am a long 
distance from NA and EU, signals are generally weak and often my signal 
is covered up by callers so they can't hear who I'm responding to.

There simply are not enough skimmer users out there yet to simply QSY to 
a new frequency - the rate is still significantly less until you get 
spotted again which could be several minutes.

What I do, when the pileup gets unruly, is to go split up 1 - but only 
after confirming the frequency is clear.  If it's not, I don't go 
split.  I generally operate high in the band to increase the chance of 
having a hole above me.  Please also note that I do this on bands that 
are not highly congested - either on 10/15 when NA is working EU on 20, 
or 40 and 80 after EU sunrise when the band is mostly empty.

The benefit is two-fold:  My rate goes back up and my callers get in the 
log much more quickly (giving them the mult).  As soon as the pileup 
gets manageable, I stop saying "UP1" and return to working guys 
simplex.  Picking a non-even frequency helps guys spread out a few Hz 
(which is all that is necessary), instead of creating a new zero-beat 
pile 1KC up from my transmit frequency.

I know that the typical NA-EU path results in wall-to-wall activity 
across the bottom 120KC or more of the band, but all this activity means 
more targets of interest for everyone to chase and generally more 
manageable pileups unless you are at ZD8 or some other very rare 
multiplier.  From my part of the world, the bands generally less 
congested, resulting in fewer targets for callers.  This, along with 
short openings to NA results in much bigger pileups and more chaos.

73, Dave KH2/N2NL (NH2T)

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