[CQ-Contest] No more Unassisted in ARRL VHF Contests?

Jim Brown k9yc at audiosystemsgroup.com
Sat Nov 15 11:58:30 EST 2014

On Sat,11/15/2014 3:29 AM, Paul O'Kane wrote:
> In plain language, this means that, to be competitive,
> single ops will have no option but to use the internet
> while contesting. 

VHF/UHF is quite different from HF. Perhaps you don't spend much time 
there. It has long been common (and good) practice for meteor scatter, 
moonbounce, and other small signal mode contacts to be scheduled via 
chat rooms. Such contacts often take 30 minutes or more to complete, and 
often are not completed. Likewise, contesting on 6M is quite dependent 
on catching band openings and noting propagation conditions that change 
very quickly. Double hop Sporadic E conditions may appear for only 15-30 
minutes, single-hop openings for a bit longer. All are VERY 
location-specific. Operation above 6M depends on highly directional 
antennas -- 20-30 degree beamwidth is pretty much the standard for a 
competitive station. If you don't know a station is there, or if he's 
pointed in the wrong direction when you listen, there's far less chance 
that you'll work him.

Another factor, which IS also at play in HF contesting is that many 
participants are more interested in picking up award credits than in the 
contest. I fall into that category for VHF contests because of my 
location "on the wrong side of the ridge, and in HF DX contests, because 
contest scoring rules make my location in California non-competitive by 
a factor of 20:1. In both cases, I chose to work these contests assisted.

73, Jim K9YC

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