[CQ-Contest] down the path with Dave

Tim Shoppa tshoppa at gmail.com
Mon Dec 3 09:10:53 EST 2012

Actually taking full advantage of skimmer or RBN or manually-posted spots
is something that I think very very few have mastered. Up until the past
year or two, the "assisted" category of most contests meant little more
than that the entrant was a part-timer looking to optimize his limited
hours on the air which were primarly S&P. The net scores in the end showed
this pretty well - the top assisted scores were always well below the top
unassisted scores. But this is rapidly changing and lately the top scores
in the assisted contests, they are the folks who know which skimmers work
well and how to effectively use them to maximize score, and they are often
comparable to the unassisted scores.

As to maximizing score, you can take the 3830 summaries or the (much later)
official results and make an interesting graph. Make a graph of total QSO's
vs total mults, and compare unassisted vs assisted scores. It is no
surprise, that for the same number of QSO's, the assisted scores have a
notably higher number of mults.  But how you spin this depends a lot on
style. Most of the "assisted" scores in fact lost QSO's while they were
waiting for the rare-mult pileup to thin out. Only a few were truly
maximizing their score by picking up the rare mults without hurting their
QSO rate. I betcha there are some HP assisted stations with good antennas
who love to go slug it out in the cluster generated pile-ups because they
like busting pile-ups. That's great for them. But with my LP station
there's no chance.

I have a very modest station - LP, wires and no beams. As I learn how to
contest better I find the larger and larger part of what is driving my
score, is not the S&P part, it's the running part. At the same time, as I
pull down more QSO's per hour running, it becomes imperative that I
optimize my S&P effectiveness too. I think entering some contests
"assisted" with RBN is helping me not necessarily total score-wise much,
but it is helping me learn the weaknesses and strengths of my station and
style. Every time somebody gripes about a RBN spot they cannot hear, I am
trying to spin it the other way, and figure out what factor or weakness is
preventing me from hearing the DX, and even take advantage of that factor.

Tim N3QE

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