[CQ-Contest] CQ WW Rules preview

Igor Sokolov ua9cdc at gmail.com
Thu Jun 26 20:47:31 EDT 2014

Thanks a lot for publishing that 1998 explanation from N6AA.
This is an excellent stuff on the subject and should go into all contesting 

73, Igor UA9CDC

>>  N6AA on pileup management - 1998
>> Periodically this reflector is subjected to well-intentioned advice about
>> CQ-ing stations signing their callsigns after every QSO.
>> Managing a pile-up by judicious callsign rationing is an advanced
>> operating technique that, if executed properly, can squeeze a few extra
>> contacts out of an operating period. Since small differences in operating
>> skill rarely affect contest outcomes, many contests can be won without 
>> ever
>> mastering such skills. In fact, most entrants are rarely in situations
>> where such action even matters.
>> However, there are advantages to not signing after every QSO.
>> 1) If you can make another contact without signing your call, the time 
>> you
>> would have used to sign the call can simply be used to make additional
>> contacts.
>> 2) By keeping some potential callers off balance until they know who you
>> are, you may be able to reduce the size of an excessively large pile-up 
>> to
>> a size where you can copy callsigns.
>> 3) There are a number of highly-skilled operators with small signals. If
>> these individuals sense that you will allow their skill to get them
>> through, ahead of competitors with bigger signals, they will stick 
>> around,
>> trying to work you. If they sense that you are a plain-vanilla operator,
>> signing your call every time and then working the loudest station, they
>> will go away since they know how weak they are.
>> 4) If you are a common CQ-ing station, many S&P'ers will call you only
>> once. When two stations reply, and you finish the first contact extremely
>> rapidly, and give the second station the impression that you know he was
>> there, he may call again, even if you completely missed his callsign.
>> There is a downside, in that you may cause other operators to take 
>> actions
>> that may lower your rate. Certain operators may feel that their superior
>> stations and/or favorable locations entitle them to know your callsign
>> where their identification skills and experience are not advanced enough 
>> to
>> determine it, or enough about you to know whether to call, without 
>> hearing
>> you actually sign it. They may QRM your weak, target stations by sending,
>> "Call?" They may work you without knowing your call, which of course, is
>> usually only bad if they are duplicates.
>> There is considerable skill involved in maximizing the benefits while
>> minimizing the liabilities incurred.
>> The callsign-signing decision may change after every contact. Factors 
>> that
>> may impact the individual decisions include:
>> 1) Do you already know the callsign of another station in your pile-up?
>> 2) How many people are tuning the band listening, and what percentage of
>> them have already worked you? Have you made 10 or 5000 QSO's on the band?
>> 3) What is your signal like in your target area?
>> 4) Is your call EE5E or KH5K/JQ9YXJ/M?
>> 5) Do you have an overall picture of what is going on in your pile-up?
>> 5a) Can you say something like, "There are now 5 or 6 calling, and 3 or 
>> so
>> have been there for some time. There have been no new additions to the
>> pile- up during the last few contacts?"
>> 5b) Or, can you say, "One weak guy, with a long call, has been here for a
>> while. He sends fast and always zero beats the last station. Maybe I can
>> sneak him through."
>> 5c) Or, are you simply struggling to copy callsigns, and therefore 
>> unaware
>> of your pile-up structure?
>> Summary:
>> If you feel that the callsign should be signed after every contact, this
>> strongly indicates that your operating skills have developed to the stage
>> where you should indeed sign your call after every contact.
>> However, when you give unconditioned advice to others suggesting that 
>> they
>> absolutely always do the same, note that you are primarily broadcasting
>> your skill level rather than giving good counsel.

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