[CQ-Contest] WAE QTC tactics

kd4d at comcast.net kd4d at comcast.net
Thu Aug 13 10:25:48 EDT 2015

I agree with Ken and Henning as well.  I prefer just the "QTC?" when I'm running.  If i have a caller and I'm busy, I'll ignore the request and call the station.  That should be taken as a "No".  :-)


Mark, KD4D

----- Original Message -----
From: "Ken Low" <kenke3x at gmail.com>
To: "Cq Contest Reflector" <cq-contest at contesting.com>
Sent: Thursday, August 13, 2015 7:21:25 AM
Subject: Re: [CQ-Contest] WAE QTC tactics

OZ1BII wrote:

"I DISAGREE - It is much faster to just send QTC?  And get an answer YES or
NO. If Yes then send Callsign. 
WHY - The caller knows if he has got some QTC's from you. Else he wouln't
ask for it 
Best 73 de OZ1BII Henning"

I agree with Henning.   In fact this is quite an interesting discussion on QTC's - here are some more thoughts.

In my experience, the European ops were extremely professional.   Only once did a station call 'QTC?' and it turned out he was already maxed out at 10 QTC's already.   In that case, he recognized it immediately and said 'SRI', I said 'Dit Dit' and the whole episode cost me 10 seconds.

I would rather hear 'QTC?' without a callsign.   That way if another station is calling me for a QSO, I can copy the new station's call and work him.    If there are no other callers and I opt to send QTC's, I'll send 'YES', the QTC requestor sends his call and off we go.

Late on Sunday, it's quite valuable to have stations stop by and ask 'QTC?'.   This allows me to send QTC's on my Run frequency.   Otherwise I risk losing my Run frequency when searching for a 'Dark Black' station on my band map and hoping he'll take my QTC's off my hands.   

If I don't have QTC's, I hit F8 (programmed with 'SRI') then F1 ('CQ message) and it cost me 1/2 a second for the F8.   That is a very small cost for me owning the 'option' to unload my QTC's without losing my Run frequency.   (No coincidence I have spent 30 years trading the financial markets since I think of QTC's in terms of 'Option Value' ;-)

Late in the contest, most of the available 'Dark Black' spots (N1MM color code for a station with less than 10 QTC's logged) are casual operators only interested in handing out QSO's anyway.   There's nothing worse than finishing the contest with un-sent QTC's!   It's like you passed a $20 bill on the street but were too lazy to pick it up.

With respect to sending QTC's on Day 1 versus Run rate, mastering that mix is a key to doing well in the contest.   Basically I have a 'Last-10 QSO rate' in my mind where if my Run rate drops below that level, I'll send lots of QTC's that hour to allow the band to 're-populate' with new S&P stations while I am QTC'ing.   That way I maximize my Total Rate = (QSO + QTC) / Hour.

Another thing I do is guess how fast the European operators can copy, to minimize the total QTC sending time.   If I recognize the op from HST or otherwise know he's a fast CW op, I send at 36-38 knowing he can copy 100% at 40-42, but my signal might not be strong enough at Low Power for 100% copy at 40-42.   

If I don't recognize the op, I'll start at 30wpm and increment or decrement the speed based on his copying ability, whether he asks for repeats, whether my frequency is clear, if there is QSB on my signal, etc.   My goal is to establish the correct speed for that op in those conditions within the first 1-2 QTC's to optimize the time it takes to send the other 8 QTC's.

QTC's add a very interesting element to contesting, and makes WAE much more fun than most other events, especially in poor propagation.


Ken KE3X
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