[CQ-Contest] Using Reverse Beacon Network Spots in the ARRL DX Contest

Pete Smith N4ZR n4zr at contesting.com
Mon Feb 13 12:44:23 PST 2012

If you're not planning to operate Assisted or Multi-op in this weekend's 
contest, delete this now.  Otherwise, let me offer a few thoughts that 
may help you make best use of Skimmer spots from the Reverse Beacon Network.

1.  Use a node that allows you to include or exclude Skimmer spots with 
a simple command.  Both ARClusterV6 and VE7CC Cluster nodes have this 
capability.  Some logging programs and Telnet clients may also have this 
capability built in

2.  If you use the RBN and your logging software lets you set a packet 
time-out value, set it for no longer than 10 minutes.  The skimmer 
software automatically re-spots stations that continue CQing on the same 
frequency only once every 10 minutes, but typically such re-spots appear 
within a few seconds of the 10-minute threshold, since we now have 
pretty wide coverage.  You'll cut down on the number of "stale" spots 
this way.

3.  By all means *do* use filtering of some sort to limit the number of 
Skimmer spots you receive.  The major contest software packages can all 
handle the load, but except in very special circumstances you'll want to 
filter.  For example, of you filter by geographic origin of spots, you 
can pretty much assure yourself that you'll be able to hear everything 
that is spotted.  ARCluster version 6 also has the ability to set a 
threshold and not pass you a spot until at least "x" Skimmers worldwide 
have concurred.  This can materially help you to reduce busted spots.

4.  Be skeptical of spots that appear on your bandmap on the very same 
frequency as someone who has already been spotted there.  Despite all 
the care VE3NEA has taken to prevent it, stations that call more than 
once, very close to the running station's frequency and CW speed, may be 
mistaken for runners and spotted by a Skimmer.  As you can imagine, this 
may be particularly common on the low bands.

See you in the pileups!

73, Pete N4ZR
The World Contest Station Database, updated daily at www.conteststations.com
The Reverse Beacon Network at http://reversebeacon.net, blog at reversebeacon.blogspot.com,
spots at telnet.reversebeacon.net, port 7000 and
arcluster.reversebeacon.net, port 7000

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