[CQ-Contest] contests and participation on air

Larry lknain at nc.rr.com
Mon Jul 22 10:44:59 EDT 2013

Some of this is perhaps the attitude "if it isn't on the cluster there is no 
propagation" which is not always true. Many times in years past I would tune 
across 10M and not hear a signal. So I would call CQ and most of the time 
many signals would appear. Everyone was probably tuning around and listening 
(a novel concept) and assumed the band was dead because there were no 
signals. (Not as much cluster in some of those days.)

There is an old saying that 90% of the fish are caught by 10% of the 
fishermen. The 10% are generally the ones that pay attention to details. 
Having a large antenna array and full legal power can certainly help and you 
don't even have to be a good operator. But even the 100W stations with wires 
can work a lot of DX simply by paying attention to the details. Your RBN 
scheme is certainly one way to help with the details. Just looking at the 
cluster spots can help if you have access. The ability to remember details 
is useful of course.

I was surprised how dead the bands seemed in SE Asia especially during the 
day. But I find it is almost as dead many times here in the US during the 
day. Of course, the sunspot cycle has not been as good to us as it has been 
in the past. Still, I think about some of DXpeditions and how much activity 
they can generate even when the spots are down. Maybe I can't fill all of 
the band/mode slots but there can be activity.

73, Larry W6NWS

-----Original Message----- 
From: Pete Smith N4ZR
Sent: Monday, July 22, 2013 6:55 AM
To: Charles Harpole ; CQ Contest
Subject: Re: [CQ-Contest] contests and participation on air

Well said, Charly. For most of my ham life I got into contests *in order
to* work DX, because I was stuck with low power and wire antennas in the
trees behind our townhouse.

I think what we need is a way to get the word out about what times of
day and on what bands hams in the rest of the world can expect to hear
(and maybe even work!) Southeast Asian stations like yours.  I know that
if you asked me (I've only been on the air since 1954) I could not tell
you with confidence when the openings occur between the US mid-Atlantic
and HS-land.  Sure, I could go look at VOACAP, but I suspect a lot of
new guys, even ones with HF privileges, don't know how to use tools like
that, and a lot of others have been frustrated when they realized that
those predictions are averages, and don't reflect conditions on any
particular day or weekend.

Of course, you can go to the RBN and set filters so that it only
displays stations heard in your area, and then select the zone or
country you're interested in.  The server will then look back a maximum
of a week (it resets on Monday morning, UTC). Another tool that can help
is ViewProp, by ZL2HAM.  It is described at
http://zl2ham.wikispaces.com/, and you can download the latest beta at
http://zl2ham.wikispaces.com/.  With ViewProp and a copy of DXAtlas from
VE3NEA, you can download the RBN archive of spots from, say, the IARU HF
contest, set your location, and play back the contest, showing when and
where stations in your area were hearing/being heard, on all bands.  You
can even keep it running in the background, continuously, and see at a
glance which bands opened over the last 24 hours, and to what areas.It
is a very neat way to painlessly learn about propagation and plan your
operating time, whether you're a contester or a DXer.

73, Pete N4ZR
Check out the Reverse Beacon Network at
blog at reversebeacon.blogspot.com.
For spots, please go to your favorite
ARC V6 or VE7CC DX cluster node.

On 7/22/2013 4:23 AM, Charles Harpole wrote:
> No real news to most of us but maybe more striking in signal-poor South
> East Asia----- contests GET HAMS ON THE AIR.  Then, no contests equals 
> lots
> of artificially dead bands.
> Many times in week days, I can tune ALL of the HF bands and hear less than
> ten ham-originated signals totally !  Think of it, most bands TOTALLY DEAD
> and at any time day or night even with high flux times.  And it is not
> propagation's fault;  there are just no hams on the air that would
> propagate to me near Bangkok.
> THEN comes a huge contest weekend and all the bands light up with hundreds
> of signals, maybe thousands (the thousands calling me in zone 26, for
> example).  Twenty and fifteen have no blank spaces to slip in to start a 
> CQ
> and a run!
> The fact is that without contests (and DX chasing) ham radio would appear
> to have disappeared if listening around.  12 meters with less than 25
> spots!  Imagine !
> Contests and DX sell radios and antennas;  get people improving their 
> rigs;
> and get hams off the Internet and back on the air.
> Tell all this to the grumpy few rag chew groups too lazy to move to the
> WARC bands.  But, get on the air, hams!  Bands are open and waiting.
> 73
> Charly, HS0ZCW
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> CQ-Contest at contesting.com
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