[CQ-Contest] Field Day SO2R

donovanf at starpower.net donovanf at starpower.net
Wed Jun 17 00:51:44 EDT 2015

The then new 1970 Field Day rule eliminated the use of electrical or 
mechanical devices that allowed multiple fully equipped and fully manned 
stations to operate in a smaller transmitter category by making it impossible 
to transmit more than one signal simultaneously. This technique had been 
adopted in the 1960s by at least one Field Day competitor, the 
Connecticut Wireless Association W1TX/1 in the 2A Category. 

See the Jeeves cartoon on page 74 of November 1965 QST. 


The typical 21st century applications of octopus techniques prevents two 
simultaneous transmitted signals in SO2R stations and prevents two 
simultaneous transmitted signals on the same band in multi-operator stations. 

This is a good opportunity to resurrect a twenty year old thread on this topic, 
immediately below my signature 


> From Dr. Eugene Zimmerman" <ezimmerm at DGS.dgsys.com  Mon Aug 14 04:26:03 1995 Subject: return of the Octopus! Fwd: CW Radio-2 Lockout?

Hi Jim

You have that story correct.

W1TX did use a mechanical octopus to prevent more than one transmitter 
from transmitting at a time.  It was built by John Doremus 
W2ADE/W2TA/W0AW and was a fearsome looking thing with a huge aluminum box 
in the middle loaded with relays and a large number of tentacles 
radiating outward from the box.  Sort of like a modern day Wouff Hong.

Unfortunately I do not remember what was in the box.  And John is no 
longer with us.  You might try Roger Corey W1AX/JYH, Gary Foskett W1ECH or 
Pet Chamalian W1RM/BGD - they might remember.

I adopted the operating technique you mention as a defense measure.  All 
of the operating at W1TX was search and pounce using the octopus to keep 
you honest.  My partner that year on the other end of the octopus was 
Dave Sumner K1ZZ.  We sat across from one another and looked at the other 
guy for most of the contest.  The most efficient way to operate was to 
find a station to work and then press down the transmit button and gobble 
like a turkey until the other guy was finished transmitting.  

Little did I realize how useful that technique would be in meteor scatter 
contacts where the scheduled contacts sound very much like a bunch of 
turkeys or at best a used car auctioneer.

73  Gene W3ZZ  

On Sun, 13 Aug 1995, James White wrote:

> ...........once again ham radio cycles through it's history. > > in the sixties (& early 70's I think) there was a killer device called the > octopus which would prevent two rigs simultanesously x-mitting. It was honed > by some of this reflector's readers. Those being the Sweepstakes' dynamic > multi-single duo WA5LES/K5PFL (nowadays known as K5RC and K5NA)....the > interlock would keep one from going from m-s to m-m by avoiding simultaneous > xmitting (hmmmm - sound familiar to any refelctor readers????) > > I understand that K5NA is moving back to TX with KU2Q, so dunno if he is up > and running on the reflector....and I think K5RC secretly monitors these > posts..... > > If one of them would care to elucidate on their ole 'pus it would serve to > answer todays needs of the single op two radio gang - myself included.... > after last weekend and my fingers constanly going for the ESC key to kill > x-mitting I suspect these guys could help us keep from re-inventing the > wheel. > > > The octopus was outlawed back then, but among other things it generated some > interesting contest-lore....I once heard tale of an operation by the > Connecticut Wireless Association one Field Day where one of the operators > was, Mr Voice on your CQ Loop, K1ANV (W3ZZ)... > > Gene was one of the 'phone ops (of course) and he would try and "capture" > the octopus, and the opportunity to be the next to xmit, by saying over and > over and over: > > doubleyou doubleyou doubleyou doubleyou doubleyou.......... > (and then when the relay would close) > One Tango X-ray portable one. (W1TX/1) > > ....although it was before my time I can just imagine Gene rolling the > doubleyous... > > Before we reinvent the wheel lets hear from of the ocopusses former users! > > Jim, zx    k1zx at mcimail.com 

----- Original Message -----

From: "K5WA" <K5WA at Comcast.net> 
To: cq-contest at contesting.com 
Cc: donovanf at starpower.net 
Sent: Tuesday, June 16, 2015 9:12:45 PM 
Subject: Re: [CQ-Contest] Field Day SO2R 


It is very interesting that you didn’t have any issues with the meat of my statement to Jim which is that the rule is idiotic in that it stifles innovation and is badly written. You even give tacit support to my theory that this rule was initiated to target a VERY small (about 1) participant pool by bringing in your citation to support my argument. The actual year it was implemented is irrelevant if my theory is correct for its reason of being instituted. I actually went and looked at the 1970 rules and they are different (slightly) than the currently published rules in regard to simultaneous transmission. There is no simultaneous transmission in SO2R (which is what Jim was asking) as you well know so if this rule should continue, it needs to be worded better. In the meantime, my advice to Jim (go 2A) was sound based on the spirit of the rule even though the rule is flawed. 

FD isn’t a contest anyway. ;-) 



From: donovanf at starpower.net [mailto:donovanf at starpower.net] 
Sent: Tuesday, June 16, 2015 1:51 PM 
To: cq-contest at contesting.com 
Cc: K5WA 
Subject: Re: [CQ-Contest] Field Day SO2R 

"A couple of years ago, someone put an idiotic rule into FD which says no 
"octopus" can be used at FD" 

A little fact checking is in order... 

That rule has been in place for at least forty five years! See the rules for the 
1970 Field Day. The rule was put in place because of the use of octupuses 
by at least one entrant in the 1A category. 



From: "K5WA" <K5WA at Comcast.net> 
To: cq-contest at contesting.com 
Sent: Tuesday, June 16, 2015 3:21:25 PM 
Subject: Re: [CQ-Contest] Field Day SO2R 


A couple of years ago, someone put an idiotic rule into FD which says no 
"octopus" can be used at FD. This had to be a politically motivated rule 
which kills some aspects of innovation at FD (which is an event FOR 
innovation at multiple levels) and was probably targeted at one cross-town 
rival of the rule writer. So, if you follow that vaguely written, poorly 
worded "rule" for this non-contest, you would have to go 2A to comply. Now, 
if you just happen to have a fast antenna switch that doesn't say "Octopus" 
or "Simulcaster" on the side of it, then SO2R your little self away. ;-) 

Line 4 in the ARRL FD rules. 

The use of switching systems that allow for lockouts in order to use 
multiple transmitters (i.e., an "octopus") in an attempt to enter a 
lower-number-of-transmitters class are prohibited (i.e. using 2 transmitters 
that can transmit simultaneously, with two operators, and a lock-out system 
and entering class 1A). The use of simulcasting devices which allow a single 
operator to key and transmit on more than one transmitter at a time, is 

Have fun at FD. We'll see you as K5TU this year if the Texas floods and 105 
degree heat doesn't get us. 

Bob K5WA 

Message: 10 
Date: Mon, 15 Jun 2015 16:06:36 -0700 
From: Jim Brown <k9yc at audiosystemsgroup.com> 
To: cq-contest at contesting.com 
Subject: [CQ-Contest] Field Day SO2R 
Message-ID: <557F5A7C.80502 at audiosystemsgroup.com> 
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=utf-8; format=flowed 

A small group of us have been doing FD QRP 1A Battery for several years, and 
I've recently considered doing it SO2R. The question is, does SO2R put me in 
1A or 2A if there's only a single operator and software insures that one one 
radio can transmit at the same time? 

73, Jim K9YC 

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