[CQ-Contest] When do we spot? Should it be required?

Jack Brindle jackbrindle at me.com
Mon Oct 26 21:59:57 EDT 2015

I think I can provide a different perspective on this. In NCCC, we encourage ops to spot everyone.
Yes, everyone. Doing so has many advantages - it tells others where our guys are, and tells us
where others are. It also fills up everyone’s bandmaps with calls they may have worked, so they
know that in S&P they can most likely skip over that spot and move on to other stations.

I use this strategy on two levels - the obvious is when I am working assisted with external spotting
enabled. But I also use it when working non-assisted. In that case I simply enter the call, mark it
in my bandmap and move on. If I work the station the call turns grey. If not, I can come back later
if need be. If the station is still there when the spot times out, I re-mark it.

The one time this can be a problem, as shown in CQ WW, is in changing propagation conditions.
In that case the station I hear is not the one marked on the bandmap, so I will give a listen to
make sure it is the same station, and if not I treat it as a normal S&P event.

So, yes, it does make sense to spot everyone you hear and work. Just make sure you spot
them _after_ you work them. I’ve made that mistake on too many occasions, creating a pileup
that hurts my own chances of working the needed station.

I’m not a big fan of automated spotting, however. RBN now makes it much more difficult for us
little pistols when we work unassisted. Without automated spotting, there is a very good chance
of tuning across an unspotted station we need to work before the pileup begins. RBN has changed
that, making life for the unassisted op much more difficult. It is what it is, however, so we live with
it and develop new strategies to win in the pileups (or even run!) and move on.

Either way, contesting is a whole lot of fun, something we can thank each other for!


Jack, W6FB

> On Oct 26, 2015, at 11:22 AM, Edward Sawyer <EdwardS at sbelectronics.com> wrote:
> Taking a look at my spots this morning.  It is very surprisng
> when you are spotted and when you are not spotted according
> to DX Summit.  Are there other locations where spots exist on
> SSB that is not shown here?  I had a number of runs during the
> contest and was never spotted according to DX Summit.  A nice
> JA run on 15M and very loud and fast 20M run to EU on Sunday
> afternoon, neither of these ever appear despite producing
> probably 400+ Qs in the log over a few hours.
> With CW, the RBN system is an effiient harvester of signals
> that basically instantly populates the band map with spots.
> There is no such system on SSB.
> The major contests call asking to be spotted a violation. Every contest,
> I either hear or am asked a few times regardless.  I am very fine
> with this being considered unsportsmanlike.  However, with the
> increasing number of contesters having a contest experience that
> is nothing more than clicking on spots, its becoming
> equally unfair for stations to be spotted in very disproportionate
> frequencies.
> I put this question to the contest sponsors and the assisted and
> multi-op contest community: What is your responsibilty to make
> spots of stations?  Are you just a harvester?  Or do you contribute
> to the process?  It would seem to be in everyone's interest that
> doesn't "spin the dial" much, or at all, anymore to make sure that the
> interaction is bi-lateral.
> Should a minimum spotting requirement be added?  We have a minimum
> ID requirement in CQ major contests?  How about a minimum
> spotting submission requirement for those using the system?
> I personally like the unassisted experience.  But being a "ghost"
> in the bandmap world doesn't help anyone in contesting anymore.
> 73
> Ed N1UR
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